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ASUU crisis: It is time for commendations

The strike action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) since July 01, 2013 will probably go down in history as the best ever well-organized action of the union. Although the action lasted longer than many Nigerians envisaged, it is to the credit of ASUU that it was fully ready for business. The union had in fact made it clear that only a complete resolution of the issues at stake would bring the strike action to an end. Hence, it was also ready for any eventuality. Consequently, when the government introduced the ‘no work, no pay’ rule into the game, the union responded by resorting to providing other welfare strategies such as distributing food items, giving out soft loans and cash advances to members to cope with the effects of the policy.

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Kudos to Governors Oshiomhole, Fashola and Orji; but…

The ideal role of a critic is to serve the best interest of society through constructive criticism by drawing the attention of leaders of society to issues which are begging for redress. It is however not enough to enumerate and propagate what is wrong. A good critic ought to, in addition, proffer solutions to the problems or articulate alternative options for handling identified concerns. More importantly, a critic should be charitable enough to commend leaders in those areas where they have made efforts to right their wrongs. The latter is the premise of today’s article which identifies 3 state governors whose recent activities deserve some measure of commendation. The governors are Adams Oshiomhole of Edo, Babatunde Fashola of Lagos and Theodore Orji of Abia.

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Corruption in Nigeria: Is it a perception?

There appears to be some measure of unanimity among analysts both within and outside Nigeria that the nation is a highly corrupt society. The country’s successive governments since the return of democracy in 1999 do not quite agree. This can be deduced from certain viewpoints that are usually officially canvassed on behalf of the nation. The first is that there is corruption everywhere, making it obvious that it is not peculiar to Nigeria. Some say, if the British knew nothing about corruption, the term would not have evolved as an English word.

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Inconclusive INEC!

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has since 2011 established for itself; certain constant canons of behaviour which Nigerians need to appreciate whenever they seek to participate in an election in the country. One of them is that no matter the election; be it nationwide or in only one state or indeed in just a single constituency, election personnel and materials must arrive late for the event. The present INEC opened its tenure with it in April 2011 when it postponed the National Assembly elections because of late arrival of materials. Since then, that principle of lateness “due logistics reasons” has become part and parcel of INEC just the same way, our airlines run permanently delayed flights “due operational reasons”.

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Kogi Governor’s Convoy Again!!!

Professor Festus Iyayi, erudite scholar and literary giant is gone forever; courtesy of the convoy of the Governor of Kogi State, Captain Idris Wada. The University of Benin Don was killed last Tuesday when a vehicle in the convoy of the governor collided with the one conveying Iyayi and some other delegates to attend ASUU’s National Executive Committee meeting in Kano.

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Enugu Govt House: A Mental Hospital?

The week which ended yesterday no doubt put Enugu State Governor, Sullivan Chime, prominently in the news and once again, it was for the wrong reason. His wife, Clara, made several damaging allegations against him which were publicised by the media. According to the story, the lady’s fundamental human right on basic issues such as freedom of association and of movement had been breached by her husband for longer than she could bear. She also claimed to have been a victim of forced imprisonment. In his response, Governor Chime insists that whatever actions he has taken have been in the interest of his wife. From the lady’s version of her state of depression and the governor’s diction at a press briefing on the subject, it is apparent that the lady has a peculiar medical challenge.

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Who is the latest Mr. Fix it?

On April 20, 2013, the Edo State Electoral Commission held local government elections in the state. Several radio and television stations were replete with disturbing reports by election observers of how the electoral body performed worse than the old infamous Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO). It is hard to forget FEDECO which in 1983 conducted elections in which the ruling party- the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) won more votes than were available and also emerged victorious in centres where elections did not hold. This was what prompted this column to imagine earlier that FEDECO which was dissolved in 1983 must have resurrected in Benin City, 30 years after and got renamed the Edo State Electoral Commission.

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With whom is ASUU in conflict?

It is no longer news that academic activities in public universities in Nigeria have been paralysed in the last 4 months as a result of the industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). With the adverse impact the strike has had on the nation, emotions have taken over and many people are now pleading with the Union to have pity on their suffering students and suspend the strike. Of course, we are all free to favour peace in our campuses but there are a few immediate issues to be noted.

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Traditional rulers as election campaign managers

On December 14 1991, governorship elections were held in all the states of the federation. The conduct was generally hitch-free, but the result of the election in one state-Edo- was nullified by the relevant election tribunal. The tribunal took the decision having convinced itself that the election was adversely affected by undue influence occasioned by a political broadcast by a Benin Chief alleging that the Oba of Benin had directed his people to vote for the eventual winner. Although the Court of Appeal later reversed the nullification, it became a moot point in Nigeria’s electoral history that partisanship by otherwise neutral royal fathers could serve as undue influence in an election.

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