December 1, 2023

Readers reactions, By Donu Kogbara

Niger urges residents to take ownership of urban policy

I occasionally share this space with readers who take the trouble to respond to my columns or to just coherently express their opinions about Life in general.
Here are 2 letters for all of us to think about. I don’t agree with all of the views expressed in the second letter. But these views are interesting and I’d love to hear YOUR views about these views! 

FROM JONAS ODOCHA ([email protected])

“Hello Donu, I am deeply persuaded to respond to your column of Friday 24, November 2023, captioned “Gloomy pronouncements” in which you outlined concerns that were recently expressed in the national assembly by seemingly helpless security chiefs.

First, I must thank you for your consistency in highlighting some contemporaneous worrisome issues, which Nigerians in more vantage positions, have clandestinely glossed over, out of cowardice, timidity, incompetence or having gotten their consciences dulled by compromise. Without any iota of doubt, this is why we are where we are today, as if the entire country is under a spell and thus rudderless.

You have succinctly hammered on the revelations of the nation’s security chiefs with regard to their avoidable challenges, while appearing at parliament. But one thing is to identify your obstacle, the more crucial matter remains what is positively being done to eliminate it, as in this case which involves those charged with our security.

But to whom are these  security chiefs laying their complaints to, the same Nigerians who have ignored the ominous economic debacle of the country and have insensitively purchased a N160m worth of SUV for each of them? Reason being that Nigerian roads are bad, and they cannot use pool vehicles for so-called oversight functions without any sighting.  

There are really many mind boggling issues to ponder over in our country today, which should make one wonder whether we are in full control of our faculties.

In Ogun state, a Local Government chairman raised an alarm that the state governor had hijacked the LGA funds; not only was he hounded by some security agents, his own colleagues disowned him. Till date, all has been forgotten about this man. Revelation closed, but are we all not aware of the emasculation of LGs by state governors?

Our country has been without functional refineries for over a decade now, compelling the government to import petroleum products with the associated subsidy payment overburden. A private refinery was welcomed and all hopes were raised for the redemption of this national embarrassment. Was this refinery not commissioned with fanfare in May 2023, and yet we are here staring in the sky six months after. Does this happen in any normal country, where there is sincerity of purpose?

D, please pardon me, I do not wish to make this personal, but how can you yourself explain away the disgraceful drama that was exhibited by the Kano State Governorship Election Appeal Court, where a court verdict pronouncement contradicted the Certified True Copy [CTC] of the same verdict?

You begin to wonder, if a CTC could have  two versions. Does it imply that there was no vetting before the final signatures were appended? The Justices did not, the Chief Registrar did not and also the foot soldiers in the relevant court offices did not? Yet the Chief Registrar is at ease attributing this horrendous error to CLERICAL ERROR!!!

We all should not be collectively taken for a ride in this country. There are errors and there are errors, little wonder that certificates are now put under the microscope when they emanate from this country.

Nigerians, as the Senate Committee on Gas invites 16 companies for an Investigative Hearing over the Nigeria Gas Expansion Programme [NGEP] Intervention Fund, which are Beneficiaries of the Disbursement by the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN], scheduled for Thursday November 25, 2023, what are your expectations? Where was their OVERSIGHT FUNCTION?  

There are too many gloomy revelations to be glossed over.”

From a gentleman who requested anonymity:

“I am pleasantly surprised and amazed by some of the reactions of some of us Nigerians on the courageous, objective and eloquent presentation to the House of Representatives in plenary by the.Service Chiefs on the security situation in Nigeria.

Why? Are the Honourable members not Nigerians ?Why should they summon the Service Chiefs to come and address them on the security situation in the country and why does the war on terror remains unabated?

What is the duty of their Committee on Defence? What of their oversight functions/duties specifically on security for which billions are budgeted every four years to purchase exotic cars?

The NASS is a serious clog in the wheel of progress. If legislators are carrying out their oversight duties, the economy, infrastructural deficits etc wouldn’t be so horrible.

On what basis are they collecting millions of Naira as overhead cost? Why can’t they pool the vehicles for oversight duties or even use the same vehicles the field officers use?

The service chiefs castigated the Judiciary for not providing appropriate support. Why? Judges are there to adjudicate on the cases brought before them, based on evidence and arguments and points of law presented by the lawyers both for and against.

In the UK, for more than two years virtually every trade group has been going on strike. And they do it in such a way that  everyone carries out his or her daily routine molested. And they are not paid for the period they are on strike.

But in Nigeria at the slightest misunderstanding, Labour declares a National strike even when the court gives an injunction. Has Labour now become the representative of the people in a democracy where the National Assembly is in place and the rule of law is practised?

In decent and sane societies it’s the rule of law that prevails in such situations. Politics in Nigeria has become nuclear war and its not going to abate like the Israeli and Palestinian war.

Why? Because people just become multi-billionaires for doing little or nothing. Our type of politics promotes corruption and everybody is blaming INEC.

Must our electoral laws be amended after each electoral cycle? All these analysts on radio and TV stations should go to the NASS and the State houses of Assembly and ventilate their analysis.

The civil rights groups should also be better focused. Why are Governors not conducting Local Government elections and still cornering revenue meant for the LGs?

We are the problem, we the governed, because we have allowed our representatives to be our overlords instead of our overlords.