1. By Yinka Odumakin

Danjuma, Tiv, Jukun
TY Danjuma
  1. Lt Gen T.Y Danjuma is one of the vey few retired Generals whose voices cannot be ignored in this country. His taciturnity adds some pounds to his voice which compels further hearing to it. This was why his speech at the book launch to mark the 70th anniversary of Nigerian Tribune newspaper commanded the usual attention once again.

The former Defence Minister started out by saying Nigerians would not be able to sleep if he should speak out about what he knows that are going on in Nigeria. Talking about speaking remind me of an illiterate money man who was invited to be chief launcher at a book launch and started by saying “The chairman has spoke, the chief presenter has spoken, it is now my time to spark”.

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Unless it is time to “spark”, Gen Danjuma has spoken enough for this country to lose its sleep and be on perpetual vigil with his Jalingo declaration on connivance between killers and security forces. All of  us who suffer the affliction of knowledge truly understand the meaning of ignorance is blissful and sometimes wish to exchange life with an ignorant village man eating roasted yam and drinking palm wine without a freaking idea of what is going on.

Ignorance of their society

You come across even literate people everyday who are so ignorant of their society and go about carelessly as if all is normal. You envy such people because they would be snoring at night while you are staring at the ceiling in deep thought about where all you are seeing would end.

It is the feeling you have when you see people dancing away at parties these days or having a drinking binge in the midst of contradictions for chaos being mixed together that made TY to say “People appear not to care about what is going on.” They have been beaten to a stupor and it is only by the mercy of God that they would not be overwhelmed by the deluge before they come to their senses at the late hours.

Gen Danjuma further said we are in a hole and those who put us in it are still digging. He was right. Nigeria today is like a bank examiner seeing a bank going under at top speed. A  country couldn’t be liquidated quite as neatly as a company – even if the state goes away, there’s still a chunk of land and some people living on it to deal with.

The main obstacle to countries being “dissolved” may be that other countries may not want to take on the responsibility of dealing with them – what country really wants to take on an economically stagnant and terror-ravaged polity?

The bit the lovely General got partially wrong was about Yorubaland when he said: “In Yorubaland, everybody seems to have lost their voice.” That is an unfair generalisation I come across today not only from him but many non-Yoruba lamenting the tragedy of the APC regime.

I often hear the accusation “Yoruba put us in this” and I would ask those who say that to tell me if Yoruba as a whole made one choice in 2015. The records are there that in spite of the lack of capacity of the ever disappointing PDP to protect the votes Yoruba cast for restructuring promise in 2015, the official results in the zone was GMB 52 per cent and GEJ 48 per cent.

By 2019 the party had degenerated further but the Yoruba still had protest votes against APC and support for restructuring and saw PDP as the pragmatic alternative. The APC officially lost Ondo and Oyo states, used all the tricks in its book to have 10,000 win in Osun and did some magic to win Lagos.

I think where the problem comes from is to equate Yoruba APC with Yorubaland. But is there any zone in Nigeria today where APC does not have serious presence? The traditional voices of Yoruba have not shifted or have their mouths sealed in any way. Members of this core who have had to maintain silence can be counted on the fingers in one hand because they have found themselves immersed in what is going on.

I often tell people that Omoyele Sowore being a Prisoner of Conscience under a regime he helped to power today testifies eloquently to the fact that evil will never pocket Yoruba as a people. I concede to the General that the controlling leadership of APC may not have behaved as if they came from Awo region under these disturbing circumstances but they cannot be said to personify the Yoruba essence.

It can also not be denied that quite a lot of members of the community of conscience in the South West, it is indeed all over the country but more in the region for historical reasons, were mobilized into this arrangement in 2014 by their friends in APC, and have lost their voices because they know the consequences of “anti-party” under these circumstances.

It is time for the best of Nigeria who have not sold their souls across the zones to work together in one spirit at this stage to in the words of Gen Danjuma ‘save ourselves. ”

Re: Who still reads? Asks Prof J.P Clark

YINKA  Odumakin’s reflections on the state of education in Nigeria, published in your issue of Tuesday, November 26, 2019, is so telling. It makes one weep for the beloved country!

Professor J.P. Clark’s apparent sarcastic retort – “who still reads?” to Professor Anya  Anya’s references to his writings and lectures would naturally invite a follow-up question – “ but how could this country develop if no one still reads”?

Odumakin continued to bemoan the deterioration of reading culture among Nigerians, particularly among the younger generations. Surely, reading culture is on a precipitous downward spiral. A substantial proportion of young Nigerians today are engrossed  in reading “whatsapp” messages in mobile phones, not in reading books! Before long, the question may no longer be “who still reads”, but “who still writes”, because one who does not read copiously can hardly write intelligibly!

Government’s misguided policy of removing History as a subject in the Education curriculum at all levels in recent years, coupled with various other public policy actions, reactions and pronouncements have not helped the situation, but rather have indeed tended to undermine the relevance of education, academic pursuit and qualifications. How could development, broadly conceptualized, be achieved without copious reading and sound education?

No less a person than the late President John F. Kennedy of the United States of America, had the following to say ( paraphrased) about education “…there will always be those who scoff at intellectuals, who cry out against research, who seek to limit our educational system… But the educated citizen knows that knowledge is power… He knows that only an educated and informed people will be a free people, that the ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all, and that if we can, as Jefferson put it, “enlighten the people, tyranny and oppression of mind and body will vanish like the evil spirit at the dawn of day”.

It is an incontestable fact that without sound education of the citizenry, there cannot be sustainable development and progress of the nation or country. There is no prosperous future any longer for a nation whose citizens are not soundly educated and one cannot be soundly educated without being a copious reader!

Don Okpala

Re: Waiting for Malami

THANK you for the above titled article. The trend of events in Nigeria today as they concern the frequent attacks on the judiciary and other democratic institutions should be of great worry to all well meaning Nigerians.. Our country is presently experiencing “democratic recession”.

Institutions of liberty and law are under attacks today. These situations make me to ask the following questions: 1. Are we really practicing true democracy? 2. Is our democracy being strengthened or weakened in Nigeria?

It is surprising that the nation’ s chief law officer is party to the breaking of our constitution which he swore to protect while taking the oath of office. I very much fear following the example the present government at the centre is setting. This is not good for the future of democracy in Nigeria.

Sonny Okosun’s “Which way Nigeria?” is still resounding in my mind. It really looks like the answer to his question is still blowing in the wind. Now is the time for all who love Nigeria to speak out against the excesses of the present federal administration. This will help to ensure that “Nigeria won’t die”.             

Tony O. Ekwe.

Merry Christmas!!!

IT’s yet another Christmas tomorrow and I extend warm greetings to all my readers that another year has met us in the land of the living. We have every reason to thank God that we are still breathing in spite of the various challenges we have gone through this year. As I pray you all read my greetings next year, I commend the words of these famous ones for the season:

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. Unselfishness and kindliness that may have accrued during the past twelve months — Calvin Coolidge

It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.  Unselfishness and kindliness that may have accrued during the past twelve months —W. T. Ellis

Next to a circus there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit. Unselfishness and kindliness that may have accrued during the past twelve months — Frank McKinney Hubbard

God walked down the stairs of heaven with a Baby in His arms. Unselfishness and kindliness that may have accrued during the past twelve months— Paul Scherer

Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most. Unselfishness and kindliness that may have accrued during the past twelve months—Ruth Carter Stapleton

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