Connect with us

Words & Opinions

NIGERIANS ARE HELPLESS!

Published

on

When you are weak, when there is no power, when you are poor, in the time of sorrow, war and when you are not certain of what will happen next; then you are helpless.

By Obiotika Toochukwu

This is the condition of Nigerians after the flawed February 25 Presidential elections in the country. At the moment, everyone looks up to the judiciary which in recent times has become the last hope of political moneybags.

When the mockery; “Go to Court” became over-flogged, Nigerians knew that there is not any hope in the Nigerian courts. If there is any government that downplayed the judiciary and flagrantly disobeyed court orders, it is the present APC-led government of Muhammadu Buhari. This is the reason Nigerians are deeply religious, and they focus more on prayers or what God would miraculously do for them.

They prayed for Nigeria in distress, prayed for an end to bribery and corruption, but the whole circle kept getting out of control. What Nigerians feel for themselves at the moment is odious and repelling. Can the judiciary save Nigeria’s democracy?

Every liable organisation even welfare associations is being run by a written constitution. Nigeria as a nation is being governed by the 1999 Constitution. The application and interpretation of this constitution has become a herculean because a new Nigeria is about to be birthed. The office of the president in any country should be a top job for the most qualified not just in a particular aspect of life, but holistically and generally. Politics in Nigeria, even Africa, has been dirty, deadly and debilitating.

The scenario we have in Nigeria presently amongst the three major parties – PDP, LP and APGA both in their leadership and anti-party activities, leaves much to be desired from the political elites. It is one aspect through which the judiciary has been lampooned.

Sadly, the last concluded election on April 15 in some states in the country portrays vividly that the forces opposing the transformation of Nigeria are many and formidable. The attitude to politics, governance and democracy by the ruling party in Nigeria is worrisome.

Governors from the ruling party exhibit the signs that Nigeria belongs to some people or someone. The electorates in realising this phenomenon tend to lose hope or join the bandwagon. Some governors, especially the oil rich states are doing all they can to make the office of the governor a lifetime investment through signing the bill that will guarantee cars, salary, vacations abroad, and outrageous provisions as soon as they leave office.

All the leaders that Nigeria has produced since 1960 are either Christians or Muslims. These leaders take their oath of office with the Holy Bible or the Quran. This implies that they will serve the nation being mindful of the faith they profess. The underlying doctrine in the holy books urges us to take care of the poor, sick, orphan, widow and elderly.

Now some people (albeit a minority) are poor because they are lazy and need to be motivated to work hard to get their daily bread. But others are poor (a great majority) because of bad governance, government anti-people policies, lack of good health care system, insecurity, death and unfortunate incidences. Three-quarter of the world’s income ends up in the pockets of 20 per cent of its population.

Think of it this way: Some people no matter how they work hard and struggle, will only boast of a daily meal. Does that seem right? Every leader should always have a thought and prayer for the poor among us. Why is it that anyone who becomes a president in Nigeria turns himself into a demigod? Probably, we are following the same constitution. If one is sick, weak or elderly, certain leadership positions especially that of a country should not be his concern. Most African countries are dead not just sick because certain politicians have chosen to die in active service even as octogenarians.

Unfortunately, a lot of great men and thinkers that Nigeria has have shied away from the country due to her woes of leadership crisis. It is the same structure of criminality and corruption that is still keeping the country bound. No level of greatness or height of success is too lofty for any Nigerian to attain. We have infinite possibilities, limitless and unparalleled advantages in the country but leadership has completely spoiled the chances for ordinary Nigerians. We hear mostly of Nigerians in diaspora making waves.

We hear of Nigerian doctors emigrating to UK. We hear of Nigerian youths all wishing to japa. Nigerians are helpless! History will forever be kind to those souls who were fighting even before the civil war for a new Nigeria. Today, the fight is on. And it will surely stand. The boldness we see amongst the old order, the corrupt regime, in their utterances and manner of action is frightening and intimidating. That kind of boldness can only be gotten from kick-backs and filthy lucre.

Prof. Lumumba was quoted for saying; “In Japan, a corrupt person kills himself. In China, they will kill him. In Europe, they jail him. In Africa, he will present himself for election.” And in Nigeria, group of corrupt political elites will make sure he becomes the president (paraphrased). The only power Nigerians look forward to seeing in their president is servant power. A man whose character, competence, capacity and integrity will astound the doubting Thomases. So far what has held sway in the political office of the presidency in Nigeria has been oppressive, authoritarian, dictatorial and despotic.

Finally, Nigerian youths are ready. They are heeding the call to take back their country when tribe, religion nor ethnicity makes no difference to them. The masses as well have a choice on whom will lead them having suffered excruciatingly in the hands of corrupt politicians.

But the corrupt and greedy politicians have another plan for Nigeria. The judiciary as well may not be ready as it is often funded and bribed into submission by the executive. We may not have all the questions answered but a look at them all shows that Nigeria is in mess. Readiness means we are ready to do the smallest or the largest thing – it makes no difference.

It means we are ready to take back our country and whatever it entails, we are there and ready. Whenever duty presents itself, we hear the voice of the supreme call to restore the glory of our country and we are ready for it with a total readiness of our love for her. We can always be creative without being condescending, encouraging without being egotistic, and fearless without being foolish.

Toochukwu, wrote from Trade Fair Complex, ASPAMDA, Lagos State.

For news and events coverage, photo features, contributions and adverts contact us via:
Phone: +2348029115783
WhatsApp: +2347037611903
Follow us via:
Facebook: @Words and Shots
Instagram: @words_and_shots
Twitter: @wordsandshots

Foreign

TOUGH ISRAEL-HAMAS TUNNEL WAR IN GAZA

Published

on

Tough Israel-Hamas tunnel war in Gaza looms. This is because Israel’s war is expected to target the tunnel network in Gaza, but underground warfare is risky and slow, and Hamas will hold clear advantages.

While an expected four-day cessation in hostilities and the release of 50 Israeli hostages in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners might be a breakthrough in the six-week conflict, Israel has been clear that it will continue its deadly war on Gaza afterwards.

“The war continues,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a press conference on Wednesday.

advertisement

“We continue until we have achieved complete victory … Eliminating Hamas, liberating our captives and making sure that post-Hamas there will be no threat to Israel.”

After weeks of continuous bombardments in which over 14,000 Palestinians have been killed, Israel has in recent weeks prioritised urban warfare to clear northern Gaza, including the encirclement of Gaza City and the forced displacement of residents to the south.

But a key part of the Israeli objective to ‘destroy’ Hamas will likely hinge on dismantling the intricate tunnel network constructed by the group over the years.

“The complete dismantlement of Hamas’ tunnels will come at a high cost for Israel, both in terms of time and risk”
‘Gaza Metro’

Dubbed the ‘Gaza Metro’, the tunnels primarily date back to the 1980s when they were used to smuggle goods under the newly divided city of Rafah. However, they became more important, and advanced, following the tightening of Israel’s blockade in 2007.

Initially employed for smuggling to bypass the blockade and facilitate the importation of diverse goods such as electronics, construction materials, fuel, and weapons, these tunnels have evolved into a complex network with both defensive and offensive military objectives.

Thought to span more than 500km and reach depths of 50-80 meters, according to experts, the tunnels contain housing quarters, and supply stores, and provide security and mobility for fighters.

They played a significant role in the 2014 war, with Israel claiming to have destroyed approximately 32 tunnels, a small fraction of the estimated 1,300. Israel responded to that war with various countermeasures, including a vast $1 billion security barrier with detection systems and underground walls.

In the current war, Al-Shifa hospital, the largest in the coastal territory, was recently at the centre of Israel’s shift to target tunnel infrastructure, although Israel failed to show proof of the existence of Hamas’ command and control centre under the medical facility as depicted in a video in late October.

The destruction and sealing of this network of tunnels are deemed crucial by Israel in establishing complete control over Gaza and securing the release of hostages.

Tunnels have so far served Hamas in ambushing Israeli troops during their advances in Gaza, as evidenced by videos released by the group, while allowing for swift movement within underground positions.

However, the complete dismantlement of Hamas’ tunnels will come at a high cost for Israel, both in terms of time and risk.

Tunnels have long provided an economic lifeline to the blockaded Gaza Strip. [Getty] Tunnel warfare

Mapping Hamas’ tunnel network accurately may be challenging for Israel without actually entering them.

Raphael S. Cohen, a senior political scientist and director of the Strategy and Doctrine Program at RAND Corporation, told The New Arab that Israel has been using a wide variety of technological tools to detect Hamas’ tunnels, including acoustic sensors or coloured smoke grenades.

The range of techniques spans from simple to sophisticated, with experiments involving robots and small drones for reconnaissance. But despite these efforts, tunnel detection remains a complex military challenge.

“It’s really hard to get a full picture of the tunnel networks ahead of time. That’s just because you’re running up against the limits of technology here,” the analyst said.

“In cases like the 2014 Gaza war, soldiers entered tunnels and got ambushed or taken prisoner”
But a lack of intelligence on the tunnel network is only the first problem for Israel if it decides to engage in underground combat.

Tunnel warfare is a historical military phenomenon that has occurred over centuries. In recent times, this type of warfare took place in Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan, but also during the 2006 Lebanon-Israel war and the Syrian war.

Luca Munaretto, a former Italian amphibious scout, paratrooper raider, and special forces instructor with extensive experience in war zones, including Afghanistan, told TNA that deploying Israeli units inside the tunnels would likely slow down military operations.

Munaretto emphasised that there is also a hesitancy to risk personnel underground without specific intelligence about targeted individuals. He pointed out that while hostages may have value to a certain extent, their significance as a bargaining chip is diminishing, particularly with initiatives such as the temporary ceasefire.

“In military terms, a truce allows Hamas to reorganise its forces, regroup troops, and reconsider the plan for advancing resistance. Consequently, it could work to the disadvantage of the Israeli movement in this case,” he said.

Cohen explained that the Israeli army is mainly focusing on sealing off the tunnels rather than going inside to clear them entirely.

“You don’t want to rush into a tunnel network because you might not know its layout or if it’s full of leaves. In cases like the 2014 Gaza war, soldiers entered tunnels and got ambushed or taken prisoner. Clearing tunnels requires a methodical and slow approach,” he said.

During the 2014 war, Hamas killed 67 Israeli soldiers, some of them through the use of tunnels. In a separate incident, the Israeli officer Lt. Hadar Goldin was pulled into a tunnel in Gaza and killed. His remains have been held by Hamas ever since.

Therefore, estimating the potential Israeli military losses inside the tunnels may be challenging due to the level of preparedness on both sides, which has evolved over the years.

A Palestinian fighter of the Al-Quds brigades, the military wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), in a military tunnel in 2022. [Getty]

Although Cohen highlighted that he doesn’t have projections on the potential Israeli losses, he said that the Israeli military has presumably made estimates.

“When you go in to fight any intense urban combat, it tends to be pretty bloody on all sides. That’s historically been the experience of all militaries, and I would expect it to be the case here,” he said.

Munaretto outlined that in an Israeli incursion into Hamas tunnels, a team of engineers, also known as sappers, would serve as the initial responders to identify tunnel types and support intervention units.

They may utilise techniques such as ground drones and wire-guided drones. While dogs can be used, their effectiveness is limited due to biological constraints like susceptibility to poisoning.

Israel may explore the use of wire-guided drones instead of GPS drones due to concerns about signal interference in tunnels. If the tunnels are constructed in a specific manner, they may include cutting points that automatically activate if explosive charges are used to disrupt the propagation waves.

“When you go in to fight any intense urban combat, it tends to be pretty bloody on all sides. That’s historically been the experience of all militaries, and I would expect it to be the case here”
False tunnels also create additional challenges, risking personnel loss and communication breakdown.

Ventilation is also crucial, and disconnecting it poses risks of poor oxygenation. Tunnels vary from concrete-resistant structures to rock-dug ones, introducing challenges such as moisture, seepage, and water issues.

“The complexity of these factors underscores the need for careful navigation and communication within the tunnel environment,” Munaretto said.

Among the special units in the Israeli army, Cohen highlights a specialised engineering unit called ‘Yahalom’, specifically designed to address the tunnel problem, and supported by units like Sayfan and Samur.

As one of the world’s largest units dedicated to underground warfare, it focuses on training, equipping, and developing innovative strategies. Collaborative efforts with police, intelligence units, and the Oketz canine unit enhance capabilities against subterranean threats, in addition to specialised equipment such as ground sensors, radar, and remote-controlled robots.

These tools, combined with underground communication and night-vision technologies, provide a comprehensive approach to addressing threats in dark and complex subterranean environments.

However, Munaretto explained that deploying military personnel in tunnel warfare depends on the objective’s perceived value. The decision to send personnel, the need for spares, and the pace of movement depend on the objective’s strategic importance. Ensuring a conflict-free environment is crucial, with personnel securing the area and addressing complications during evacuations in a hostile, dark environment.

From Hamas’ standpoint, the situation is different. Being on its home turf inside tunnels, it benefits from continuous residence in the area, resulting in agility and familiarity with every detail of the network.

The tunnels likely intentionally include obstacles to impede progress and certain technological access may be restricted.

Once Israeli forces enter the tunnels for combat, Hamas will attempt to set up ambushes.

“The aim is to set numerous ambushes for incoming Israeli soldiers and possibly have hostages inside the tunnels. This complicates the Israeli military calculus, as using overwhelming firepower risks the lives of hostages,” Cohen said.

Hamas employs tunnels offensively to conduct protected and surprise attacks, aiming to offset Israel’s military superiority. These tunnels force Israeli soldiers into cramped spaces, known well by Hamas fighters. The interconnected urban tunnels enable quick movement between attack positions, forming a crucial element of Hamas’ guerrilla warfare strategy.

Hamas militants operate underground, striking swiftly and retreating into tunnels. Some tunnels are rigged with explosives, posing a threat as tunnel bombs could be under main roads and buildings.

The hyperspecialisation required for tunnel warfare could also serve as a prelude to the future of war.

As Munaretto highlighted, countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, France and other NATO armies are training for future conflicts, anticipating challenges with China. The focus is on developing well-armoured and concealed underground military structures for logistical support equipped with various countermeasures.

Training personnel for confined spaces is a priority, with adapted equipment. It’s a specialised task, demanding individuals with specific physical and mental attributes.

“Operating in conditions of oxygen scarcity and lack of light and noise where everything is amplified is not for everyone. We are not born to live underground,” he said.

Dario Sabaghi

For news and events coverage, photo features, contributions and adverts contact us via:
Phone: +2348029115783
WhatsApp: +2347037611903
Follow us via:
Facebook: @Words and Shots
Instagram: @words_and_shots
Twitter: @wordsandshots
Continue Reading

Words & Opinions

CORRUPTION: CASES OF THE POOR SPEEDILY DISPENSED, THOSE OF THE RICH DRAGS ON – FEMI FALANA

Published

on

Falan on Sunrise Daily show of Channels TV

Eminent jurist, constitutional lawyer and rights activist, Femi Falana, SAN, has decried the double standards in the Nigerian criminal justice system.

Falana who appeared as a guest on Sunrise Daily show on Channels Television, Monday 16 October, 2023, was reacting to the conviction of an army general by a military court for stealing money meant for arms procurement.

He noted that if the matter was in the civil courts, it would have probably dragged on indefinitely. He ascribed this to what he referred to as the hijack of the judiciary by the rich and influential, whose lawyers could afford to cause the matter to drag on infinitely.

The senior advocate blamed this on “class solidarity” where the rich are in league in all sectors at all levels to protect themselves as the same is not obtainable when the poor are in court.

According to him, corruption is an integral part of the capitalist economy, run by the elite. He said it is entrenched and so it has to be a battle for all Nigerians to fight for its dislodgement.

This, according to him, is because the government cannot muster the political will to fight corruption perpetrated by those running it.

So, he urged the media and every Nigerian to join hands to fight corruption, which is grinding the country to a standstill.

In the convicted general, he said “to steal the money meant for fight against insurgency and counter terrorism amounts to crime against humanity. We must be interested in monitoring how our funds are spent. The security votes must be subject to public scrutiny because it is public money, and when diverted, subjects the people to hardship and the country to underdevelopment.”

Falana noted that in the past, the ordinary citizens and the media fought corruption. Then, anyone could go to court and file an affidavit and the media would pick up the matter and keep it up until the person resigned.

He decried the level of corruption in the country today and how the fight is making no substantial progress because of the complicity of people in charge in high places.

However, charging the citizens to wake up, he said “we cannot go on like this. Corruption is a manifestation of impunity. The law must evenly be applied in the country. That is why the lady of justice is blind. But in Nigeria, unfortunately not only is the blindfold pulled, she has been raped.”

He called on the government across the board to stop paying lip service to fight against corruption and engage it frontally with diligent investigations and prosecution of cases, regardless of who is involved.

He noted that the federal anti corruption agencies are not doing enough, as there have been cases involving high profile individuals that have been in the courts since 2007.

He said the situation where it is only the government of Kano State that had an anti-graft agency among the states, loudly speaks of the reluctance of the states in genuinely fighting corruption.

For news and events coverage, photo features, contributions and adverts contact us via:
Phone: +2348029115783
WhatsApp: +2347037611903
Follow us via:
Facebook: @Words and Shots
Instagram: @words_and_shots
Twitter: @wordsandshots
Continue Reading

Politics

AUTHORITIES MUST PROTECT THE INTEGRITY OF THE NYSC – HON. EDEOGA

Published

on

We must not sacrifice our national icons on the altar of politics, greed and nepotism, he insists

Hon. Chijioke Edeoga is the governorship candidate of the Labour Party in Enugu State in the 23rd March, 2023, gubernatorial election and is currently awaiting the verdict of the Enugu State Governorship Election Court adjudicating his petition against the declaration of Barr. Peter Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the election. Speaking with Editors MALACHY UZENDU and CHESA CHESA in Abuja, Hon. Edeoga spoke about his expectations in the Court’s decision and called on everybody, personalities and institutions to strive to preserve the integrity of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and other institutions, rather than undermine them as is currently the case. Enjoy the excerpts of the interview.

We know you are awaiting the verdict of the Governorship Election Court in Enugu State. However, can you highlight some of the issues that were canvassed before that court?

As you have noted, I am the governorship candidate and the flagbearer of the Labour Party (LP) that successfully removed PDP from power; a position that PDP occupied since 1999. And the facts on the ground prove that LP won Enugu state decisively in the just-completed National, State Assembly, the Presidential and Governorship elections in the state.

For instance, out of three senatorial positions in Enugu State, LP has two senators from. Out of eight seats in the House of Reps, LP has seven, while PDP has only one. Out of the 24 positions in the State Assembly, LP won 14, while PDP has only 10 seats.

On that fateful day, the 23rd of March, 2023, the governorship election had been conducted and the results were coming out from all over the state. We have 17 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Enugu State. The governorship candidate of LP in the state, that is my humble self, Chijioke Edeoga, was leading in 16 LGAs out of 17. I was leading with more than 11,000 votes, and the PDP candidate was trailing the LP by about 11,000 votes. The one LGA remaining was Nkanu-East, and it happens to be the home LGA of the governorship candidate for PDP, Mr. Peter Mbah.

After a very long delay that was not unnecessary and was not inexplicable in the sense that the results from the farthest LGAs had come in, and Nkanu-East which is one of the closest LGAs to the state headquarters (of INEC) came in last, and when they came in, they declared results of more than 30,000 votes.

Even the Electoral Officers knew and agreed that something wrong had happened because there were only 15,000 accredited voters in that LGA. So, how could PDP or INEC have returned 30,000 votes in a place where only 15,000 voters were duly accredited?

There was a rumpus and the Returning Officer refused to announce that result. Abuja intervened and took matters into their own hands and it was agreed there was a problem, but outside the law and illegally. After three days and in the absence of any LP representative, they shed the figures down and then gave the PDP a lead of about 5,000 votes over the Labour Party, and announced PDP as the winner of the election.

We had just a few weeks to challenge that declaration, which we and even the country knew was wrong and did not represent the political wish of Enugu state people.

In spite of all the problems, all the hindrances, all the obstacles the INEC in Enugu put before us with regard to the release of essential material and essential evidences, were able to beat the deadline to submit our electoral petition on the 6th of April.

We successfully assembled a team of very brilliant lawyers from every part of the country and this team worked together every day in peace and amity and, and the shortest time possible, produced a petition that represented our position on that election, a petition that I know will go down in electoral history as one of the best – very precise, very brief, very well written but still captured the law in its essentialities.

What are those essential points highlighted?

Our first point was that Mr Peter Mbah, having submitted a forged NYSC certificate, did not qualify ab initio to run for that office and should be disqualified. That position agrees with the Constitution. What the case law says is that in order to prove this matter, the issuing authority has to come personally or in writing to accept that it was issued by them. Our first canvas is that Peter Mbah was not qualified to run as a candidate having presented a forged NYSC certificate.

We subpoenaed a Director at INEC who came and agreed that attached to Form EC-9, Peter Mbah actually submitted an NYSC certificate. We also subpoenaed the Director of Certification of the NYSC who agreed the document was forged.

We also subpoenaed a human rights lawyer, who had on the basis of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, written to NYSC, and NYSC had replied that the certificate was forged. So, our first canvass was that Peter Mbah was not qualified and we proved it adequately.

The second issue we canvassed was what we said was arithmetical error. We pointed out computational errors. We didn’t know whether they were deliberate or otherwise, but we pointed them out, especially in Udenu LGA where the votes LP got at the polling units were assigned at the point of collation to the PDP. We had result sheets certified by INEC and tendered in court, showing that in several polling units in Udenu LGA, LP won at the polling units but at the point of computation upstairs, the victories of LP were assigned to PDP and losses of PDP were assigned to the LP. We asked the court to realign these figures to the proper owners and if this is done, the margin of lead by the PDP will be substantially diminished.

On our third point, we also pointed out that they should comply with the Electoral Law which states that in any polling unit where there is over-voting, the election should be cancelled. We brought evidences from BVAS and necessary documents to show that in Nkanu-East, in Owo, the home community of Peter Mbah and nearby community of Ugbuoka, there was over-voting by more than 5,000 votes. We proved these things convincingly. These are the three major points we took to the tribunal which sat until August 6th and now adjourned for judgement.

There are now issues affecting highly-placed government officials regarding their NYSC certificates, and they seem to be riding roughshod over that institution. What is your thinking about these developments?

NYSC is a national institution which many Nigerians, including my humble self, relate to with fondness. NYSC provided us with our first jobs or paid employment and still does for many. Out of university, worried about what life holds in the future, when there is pervasive unemployment and burdened by the challenges of the average youth, and you step into the world, NYSC gives you the anchor. It takes you away from home.

Most times, your first journey away from your home, your comfort zone is under the auspices of NYSC. Those who are from Rivers State go as far as Kano or Sokoto State where they find comfort, find love, even find employment, and the government of Nigeria pays you for those things.

So, NYSC is a national institution that has endured for good reasons. We ought to do everything possible, even in spite of the other institutions that are failing, we must hold on to the NYSC because of what it portends for us as a symbol of our nationhood, like inter-marriages, interstate travels, the security, the hope, the basis to even start life. So, we must as a people – the leaders and the led, the judiciary and all facets of our people, all authorities in Nigeria, must agree, as a national consensus agreement, that, that icon of our nation must be protected and preserved from against all these opaque things that are going on.

Over time, we have seen people who because of misunderstanding or the nature of their upbringing, or the nature of the finance, they have tended to treat us as if NYSC was unimportant, and yet, they wanted to benefit from it. The country’s leadership has acted over time to show them that NYSC is a body that should be respected. When I was at the National Assembly, Salisu Buhari, was the Speaker, his case was not necessarily about NYSC, but it was still about his certificate, and President Obasanjo was firm, and Salisu lost the Speakership and exited the National Assembly.

Not too long ago, under retired General Buhari as President, he also dealt with that issue. A minister already serving and doing well, it was discovered that the NYSC of then Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, was dodgy, even when she claimed ignorance of the acts of how it was procured, she was asked to step aside. Still under Buhari, the boss of NSITF was asked to disengage because of that.

I know that there are also many reported cases of persons who were disengaged from very highly placed positions in government because of their NYSC. You are also aware of the running battle Stella Oduah is having with the authorities. Now there is this one involving Peter Mbah, in whose case the Director General of the NYSC came on Arise television to say that the certificate the man is carrying was not issued by the NYSC.

There’s nothing that can be more authoritative than that, but you’ll notice that Mr. Peter Mbah, who was sworn in as the Governor of the state, has been carrying on in manners that one can interpret or read as trying to coerce the authorities. All these provide opportunities for even foreign nationals to attempt to coerce the national institutions to make us begin to come to terms with the fact that somebody who had obviously forged his certificate can get away with that.

I urge all the relevant authorities to act decisively in defence of the NYSC. It is important that the authorities act properly, even in the case of Peter Mbah, and clearly, in order to maintain the integrity of this last-standing national institution, so that it doesn’t become a laughing stock.

The DSS and INEC as another national institutions have performed below expectations. There we have officials like Barr. Festus Okoye, who professes one thing openly and publicly, but does a different thing. So, our national institutions are being degraded in such a way that the last one standing – the NYSC – should be supported because if we degrade our national institutions and icons, the idea of Nigeria dies, that’s the point.

There must be shared values, things that you hold as a people; things that unite us. NYSC is one, the DSS is one, Judiciary is one. INEC is one, JAMB is one. JAMB is doing well and should be encouraged. Those ones that are not doing well should be helped to do well. Those that are doing exceedingly well, like the NYSC, should not be subverted.

Young people should have something they believe in, something they look up to. National icons are a collection of our beliefs that build the national idea which sustains our nationhood and this must not be sacrificed on the altar of politics, greed, nepotism or any kind of compromise at all.

You have spoken so passionately about national institutions like NYSC. Did you do the NYSC service?

Yes. Of course, I did. I served at Ojim College, Ikwere Road, Rivers State. My fondest memories of Rivers State are the ones I had when I was there as NYSC member. I also lived briefly at Woji Naval Barracks. With my colleagues, we went round Rivers State, met beautiful people, visited military institutions and had ‘Thank-God-It’s-Friday’ parties. That’s what NYSC does; create memories and friendships that endure. I still have friends I met in Port Harcourt who still relate with me.

So, I served (NYSC) very well. I served with distinction. I was the Director of the Theatre Arts Group at NYSC camp, and I directed the NYSC play there for that year. It was a play written by Femi Osofisan.

You seem to be invariably sending out a message to the like of the serving minister now having NYSC issues. What should be done in this case?

I think that the authorities, those who hired her, should look into that matter very well and dispassionately. But ordinarily, I don’t see any reason why she should still be serving as a minister and doing her NYSC at same time.

From your experiences, at least from when you joined the LP, up till this time, how will you advise the political elite concerning the ‘do-or-die’ mentality or attitude to politics?

Of course, do-or-die is not good. It is abhorrent. Do-or-die arises when the impetus and propelling motive is not service. You are being propelled by something that’s outside service. If you really genuinely want to serve your people, or your state or Nigeria, then there will be no door-to-die. Just play by the rules. If you win, okay. If you don’t win, okay. Do-or-die is a function of greed and aggrandisement.

Do-or-die attitude obtains because those who had done it in the past and got away with it in Nigeria are seldom punished. It is a function of the values and upbringing that one has at heart. I have never rigged election in my life. I have never asked anyone to rig for me. I have never played outside the rules because that is my upbringing. So, upbringing and values from childhood and peer group associations are important.

Beyond that, the laws must be upheld. So, if politicians are caught stealing, the police and EFCC should be up and doing but they are not. The fact that you can steal and build houses, even kill and maim, and get away with it, is what encourages do-or-die. If the laws are maximally enforced, it will reduce.

Upbringing is important, leadership is important, the led is important. If corrupt politicians are voted out, door-to-die will reduce. If INEC does its work pretty well as a true umpire and doesn’t take sides against the people at all, do-or-die will reduce. And we have amended the law that allows somebody whose election is being challenged to be sworn in; it encourages do-or-die.

So, all the litigations pertaining to contested offices, for instance, must be exhausted before somebody is sworn in. This will also reduce do-or-die in electoral contests. Do-or-die will reduce once our values and orientations change, and laws effectively implemented. When offenders are prosecuted and punished adequately, and the followership re-enlightened enough to make the necessary distinctions between good and bad. In Nigeria, there’s no distinction between good and bad; anything goes and it is not going to help us forge a society of our expectations.

What is your message to your large followers who appear to be restive?

My message to my followers is that I’m a due process person. I’m not a do-or-die person. I also believe and have faith in God. Nothing can change or stop the strength of my faith. And so, I’ve always enjoined my followers to be law-abiding, prayerful and positive; and we have to follow the due process of law as we canvass our case to the final point. Whatever that happens to the point the law allows us to reach, we know it is the wish of God. Life will go on. It is not about me but about the vision and ideas I have for good governance and betterment of our people in Enugu State, Eastern Nigeria and Nigeria. They should be prayerful, calm, peaceful and tarry. Our time will come by the grace of God.

For news and events coverage, photo features, contributions and adverts contact us via:
Phone: +2348029115783
WhatsApp: +2347037611903
Follow us via:
Facebook: @Words and Shots
Instagram: @words_and_shots
Twitter: @wordsandshots
Continue Reading

Trending