Connect with us

OPINION

All Lives are Equal but that of a cow is more equal than others – Wole Soyinka

Published

on

I do not hesitate to draw attention to Volume III of my INTERVENTION Series, and to the chapter on The Unappeasable Price of Appeasement. There is little to add, but it does appear that even the tragically fulfilled warnings of the past leave no impression on leadership, not even when identical signs of impending cardiac arrest loom over the nation. Boko Haram was still at that stage of putative probes when cries of alarm emerged.

Then the fashion ideologues of society deployed their distancing turns of phrase to rationalize what were so obviously discernable as an agenda of ruthless fundamentalism and internal domination. Boko Haram was a product of social inequities, they preached – one even chortled: We stand for justice, so we are all Boko Haram!

We warned that – yes indeed – the inequities of society were indeed part of the story, but why do you close your eyes against other, and more critical malfunctions of the human mind, such as theocratic lunacy? Now it is happening again. The nation is being smothered in Vaseline when the diagnosis is so clearly – cancer!

We have been here before – now, ‘before’ is back with a vengeance. President Goodluck Jonathan refused to accept that marauders had carried off the nation’s daughters; President Muhammed Buhari and his government – including his Inspector-General of Police – in near identical denial, appear to believe that killer herdsmen who strike again and again at will from one corner of the nation to the other, are merely hot-tempered citizens whose scraps occasionally degenerate into “communal clashes” – I believe I have summarized him accurately. The marauders are naughty children who can be admonished, paternalistically, into good neighbourly conduct. Sometimes of course, the killers were also said to be non-Nigerians after all. The contradictions are mind-boggling.

First the active policy of appeasement, then the language of endorsement. El Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, proudly announced that, on assuming office, he had raised a peace committee and successfully traced the herdsmen to locations outside Nigerian borders. He then made payments to them from state coffers to cure them of their homicidal urge which, according to these herdsmen, were reprisals for some ancient history and the loss of cattle through rustling. The public was up in arms against this astonishing revelation.

I could only call to mind a statement by the same El Rufai after a prior election which led to a rampage in parts of the nation, and cost even the lives of National Youth Service corpers. They were hunted down by aggrieved mobs and even states had to organize rescue missions for their citizens. Countering protests that the nation owed a special duty of protection to her youth, especially those who are co-opted to serve the nation in any capacity, El Rufai’s comment then was: No life is more important than another.

Today, that statement needs to be adjusted, to read perhaps – apologies to George Orwell: “All lives are equal, but a cow’s is more equal than others.”

This seems to be the government view, one that, overtly or by implication, is being amplified through act and pronouncement, through clamorous absence, by this administration. It appears to have infected even my good friend and highly capable Minister, Audu Ogbeh, however insidiously. What else does one make of his statements in an interview where he generously lays the blame for ongoing killings everywhere but at the feet of the actual perpetrators! His words, as carried by The Nation Newspapers:

“The inability of the government to pay attention to herdsmen and cow farming, unlike other developed countries, contributed to the killings.” The Minister continued:

“Over the years, we have not done much to look seriously into the issue of livestock development in the country….we may have done enough for the rice farmer, the cassava farmer, the maize farmer, the cocoa farmer, but we haven’t done enough for herdsmen, and that inability and omission on our part is resulting in the crisis we are witnessing today”

No, no, not so, Audu! It is true that I called upon the government a week ago to stop passing the buck over the petroleum situation. I assure you however that I never intended that a reverse policy should lead to exonerating – or appearing to exonerate – mass killers, rapists and economic saboteurs – saboteurs, since their conduct subverts the efforts of others to economically secure their own existence, drives other producers off their land in fear and terror.

This promises the same plague of starvation that afflicts zones of conflict all over this continent where liberally sown landmines prevent farmers from venturing near their prime source, the farm, often their only source of livelihood, and has created a whole population of amputees. At least, those victims in Angola, Mozambique and other former war theatres, mostly lived to tell the tale. These herdsmen, arrogant and unconscionable, have adopted a scorched-earth policy, so that those other producers – the cassava, cocoa, sorghum, rice etc farmers are brutally expelled from farm and dwelling.

Government neglect? You may not have intended it, but you made it sound like the full story. I applaud the plans of your ministry, I am in a position to know that much thought – and practical steps – have gone into long term plans for bringing about the creation of ‘ranches’, ‘colonies’ – whatever the name – including the special cultivation of fodder for animal feed and so on and on. However, the present national outrage is over impunity. It rejects the right of any set of people, for whatever reason, to take arms against their fellow men and women, to acknowledge their exploits in boastful and justifying accents and, in effect, promise more of the same as long as their terms and demands are not met. In plain language, they have declared war against the nation, and their weapon is undiluted terror. Why have they been permitted to become a menace to the rest of us? That is the issue!

Permit me to remind you that, early in 2016, an even more hideous massacre was perpetrated by this same Murder Incorporated – that is, a numerical climax to what had been a series across a number of Middle Belt and neighbouring states, with Benue taking the brunt of the butchery.

A peace meeting was called, attended by the state government and security agencies of the nation, including the Inspector General of Police. This group attended – according to reports – with AK47s and other weapons of mass intimidation visible under their garments. They were neither disarmed nor turned back.

They freely admitted the killings but justified them by claims that they had lost their cattle to the host community. It is important to emphasize that none of their spokesmen referred to any government neglect, such as refusal to pay subsidy for their cows or failure to accord them the same facilities that had been extended to cassava or millet farmers. Such are the monstrous beginnings of the culture of impunity.

We are reaping, yet again, the consequences of such tolerance of the intolerable. Yes, there indeed the government is culpable, definitely guilty of “looking the other way”. Indeed, it must be held complicit.

This question is now current, and justified: just when is terror? I am not aware that IPOB came anywhere close to this homicidal propensity and will to dominance before it was declared a terrorist organization.

The international community rightly refused to go along with such an absurdity. For the avoidance of doubt, let me state right here, and yet again, that IPOB leadership is its own worst enemy. It repels public empathy, indeed, I suspect that it deliberately cultivates an obnoxious image, especially among its internet mouthers who make rational discourse impossible. However, as we pointed out at the time, the conduct of that movement, even at its most extreme, could by no means be reckoned as terrorism. By contrast, how do we categorize Myetti Allah? How do we assess a mental state that cannot distinguish between a stolen cow – which is always recoverable – and human life, which is not.

Villages have been depopulated far wider than those outside their operational zones can conceive. They swoop on sleeping settlements, kill and strut. They glory in their seeming supremacy. Cocoa farmers do not kill when there is a cocoa blight. Rice farmers, cassava and tomato farmers do not burn.

The herdsmen cynically dredge up decades-old affronts – they did at the 2016 Benue “peace meeting” to justify the killings of innocents in the present – These crimes are treated like the norm. Once again, the nation is being massaged by specious rationalisations while the rampage intensifies and the spread spirals out of control. When we open the dailies tomorrow morning, there is certain to have been a new body count, to be followed by the arrogant justification of Myetti Allah.

The warnings pile up, the distress signals have turned into a prolonged howl of despair and rage. The answer is not to be found in pietistic appeals to victims to avoid ‘hate language’ and divisive attributions. The sustained, killing monologue of the herdsmen is what is at issue. It must be curbed, decisively and without further evasiveness.

Yes, Jonathan only saw ‘ghosts’ when Boko Haram was already excising swathes of territory from the nation space and abducting school pupils. The ghosts of Jonathan seem poised to haunt the tenure of Mohammed Buhari.

______
Follow us on twitter via @akwaibominfo

Share your story with us via SMS and WhatsApp on 0902 211 0018


Comments

Akwa Ibom INFO is the digital front-door that informs, educates and entertains a global audience of readers with distinctively radical and inspirational media content emphasizing the freshness of Akwa Ibom culture, entertainment, sports, faith and lifestyle presented from a thrillingly unalike angle.

FEATURES

Would posterity tick or asterisk your tenure? By Michael Bush

Published

on

In Nigeria and indeed all of the Third World, nothing carries more weight, paraphernalia and perks than a public office. That is the only reason people steal, kill or destroy to take the seat. It is an automatic ticket to sudden wealth and impunity. However, like a double-edged sword, public office in this part of the globe doesn’t only dispense carrots 24/7; it also carries a stick -a big stick!

Public office has and can deploy the power to rubbish memory. Many men and women who ran the show yesterday are today anonymous pedestrians in the power space. In spite of their stupendous wealth which itself was a trophy they helped themselves to while in office, most of these many live in abject poverty that isolation or loneliness at that height represents. The children’s children of one who abused public office know that posterity transmogrifies into karma.

Even with no books on the tenure, this natural stratagem ensures that future generations never allow someone from that lineage to smell power again. Consider how nearly impossible it is to name, of the truckloads of families that have ruled Nigeria in over a century, say one or two that should or can stage a comeback. Can anything be worse than that, to be locked out of the power loop forever just because your parent or family messed up earlier? This is one tragedy of power that mankind continues to ignore, to its chagrin.

Now is the perfect time to recalibrate the laissez faire that attends our in-office performance. People should stop toying with their name and that of their family as happens when they abuse the public trust embedded in every office. Holders should start knowing that just as their actions and inaction today would have an impact on tomorrow, future generations also reserve the right to hold their descendants accountable and responsible. We must go to every length to bequeath a worthy memory.

Public officers should carry out a no-holds-barred self evaluation, as regularly as possible. Those who at every turn tell themselves even the bitterest truth can upturn any tide. Mistakes can only be corrected when committers are smart-humble enough to come to terms with the fact that as human beings all the aces (especially when it comes to time) are not in their hands. Let’s see how the following three randomly-selected incumbents would be remembered, long after?

Starting with President Muhammadu Buhari’s, do you foresee this epitaph: here lies a tenure that changed Nigeria and Nigerians; that defended brand Nigeria at home and abroad; that left the country and her citizens better off? Through the middle, when posterity thumbs the performance of a Simon Lalong on the plateau, would it be up or down? And down south, after all the deafening cacophony what mental picture would Rivers people have of their fire-for-fire governor? Our answers can resolve the horrendous leadership challenge that has stunted the growth of our society!

As people angle to sell their souls to the devil to secure a fresh or second term or even anticipatory appointment next year, the masses need to cut a pre-emptive deal now by putting the what-would-your-tenure-be-remembered-for question. Aspirants who become candidates must tell us in black and white what they would do once they take office. We are tired of unpleasant surprises and the attendant post-tenure frustration of inability to measure performance because the holder promised nonsense or nothing. 2019 offers Nigeria a window that Nigerians must exploit, if we truly desire a better country.

______
Follow us on twitter via @akwaibominfo

Share your story with us via SMS and WhatsApp on 0902 211 0018


Comments
Continue Reading

FEATURES

As Pioneer Newspaper celebrates Emmanuel Ekon

Published

on

A native of Iwukem village in Etim Ekpo local government area of Akwa Ibom State, a business guru, a pragmatic and an erudite legislator, Emmanuel Ekon is one fellow I feel, has been unfairly under-celebrated in Akwa Ibom State.

A consummate politician, a legislator par excellence, a philanthropist by calling, who has bagged variety of awards such as the Nelson Mandela Pan African Exemplary Leadership Award, is currently the member representing the people of Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency in the green chambers of the National Assembly and is the Chairman, House Committee on Local Content.

Permit me to mention that, Emmanuel Ekon’s pedigree can by no means be encapsulated within his rising political profile. He is, without an iota of a doubt, a go-getter of uncommon achievement in business, human capacity development, community service, youth empowerment and an outstanding philanthropist of his kind.

Emmanuel Ekon in his role as the Chairman House Committee on Local Content, has recorded enviable successes, having established that the local content law is strictly adhered to, by international oil companies and players in the oil and gas sector of the Nigeria economy.

As a young erudite and pragmatic legislator, he has similarly delivered sterling commitment to achieving results in a manner unambiguously establishing his status as a performer rather than a mere benchwarmer in the National Assembly.

As for his achievements as the Chairman House Committee on Local Content, they crucially signpost a paradigm shift in a representative governance and true democracy in a nation where scant attention is paid to real development of human capacity and effective service delivery by a National Assembly member. His contribution to Nigeria local content development  and the oil and gas sector of Nigeria economy at large sufficiently sets him apart as the best House of Representatives member we have ever had from Akwa Ibom State.

Emmanuel Ekon’s approach to human capacity development, youths empowerment, infrastructure development and legislative business obviously incorporates an astonishing zeal to produce results in defiance of the most profoundly contradicting odds, even to the extent of denying himself and family some pleasures for a service to constituents and the people of Akwa Ibom State at large.

The depth of patriotic stewardship Ekon has displayed in his sterling legislative business as the Chairman House committee on Local Content can easily be recommended as a template for rejuvenating sincere, committed, development oriented and purpose driven representatives governance as a tool for development in our unfortunately critically under developed nation.

This he has proven beyond all reasonable doubt that he is indeed a legislator of exceptional commitment, profound patriotism and uncommon resourcefulness. Indeed, his preparedness to regularly make personal sacrifices for the purpose of achieving results that end up benefiting all of us recommend him as a legislator in a class by himself. It is most admirable that these are rare qualities he has deployed to the benefit of the entire nation in the management of local content, a disposition that must be recommended to everyone desirous of making a mark in governance and service to the general public.

Always unassuming, never rushing to the front to be noticed and obviously too busy and focused, finding no time for self-aggrandizement, Emmanuel Ekon comes across as a man who is simply too purpose-driven to bother about hugging the limelight or blowing his own trumpet. What I would any day consider a tragedy with respect to our interface as a state with Emmanuel Ekon, is the fact that such a remarkably resourceful fellow who put smiles on the faces of Nigerian youths has clearly not been celebrated as much as he deserves nor accorded the quantum of honour he has undoubtedly earned. In fact, it is safely asserted that Ekon has most commendably effected a renaissance of leadership in Nigerian legislative business, an approach to legislative development that incontestably places him in the Hall of Fame of Nigerian legislators.

In the process, Ekon exemplified genuine leadership as service and personal sacrifice powered by a vision for the common good. He is a realist, simple but sophisticated in all facets of life, a strategist with wide experience and exposure and a compendium of knowledge on contemporary issues like human capacity development and youths empowerment.

Not withstanding a nation notorious for celebrating mediocres, while performers to whom honour is due are denied their entitlement to well-deserved glory, Ekon, since embracing politics and public life, has certain qualities nobody can ignore- courage and focus. But what is more visible in the last few years is that he has clearly been consistent in the pursuit of excellence while not allowing distraction, manufactured and sold to the public, by his traducers to distract from the goals he had set out for himself. For this reason, many elect to misunderstand him. For the same reason also, some credible organizations which go after substance and reward efforts to make positive impact on society, chose him to receive it a meritorious award.

According to the Management of Pioneer Newspaper, Ekon will today be officially conferred with an award of excellence.

It also stated that, “Ekon is being recognised for his great commitment and contribution to human capital development in Akwa Ibom State”. The letter also eulogised Ekon for “developing the capacities of young people, not only in his constituency but different parts of the state and ensuring that people have access to effective representation”. The above lines speak volumes about Ekon’s leadership in the constituency as well as his desire to ensure that no one is left behind in the quest to bequeath a better constituency.

The award is a further confirmation that despite a seeming nasty opposition, Ekon has remained focused in pushing to deliver the promises he made to his people.

Emmanuel Ekon is on a roll. He is moving on without looking back. He sure has learnt lessons on how to satisfy the desires of the people. The mandate they gave him pushes him to do more. And he will do more. I have no doubt that the Pioneer Newspaper award will open the floodgates of other such awards.

CONGRATULATIONS SIR ON THIS WELL DESERVED HONOUR!

Mr. Emmmanuel Ibok, International Coordinator of Emmanuel Ekon Support Group Writes

______
Follow us on twitter via @akwaibominfo

Share your story with us via SMS and WhatsApp on 0902 211 0018


Comments
Continue Reading

FEATURES

Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem: A true Patriot of Oro Nation

Published

on

http://www.nigeriatoday.ng/2018/04/dr-emmanuel-ekuwem-a-true-patriot-of-oro-nation/

By Meflyn Anwana

There is no better time than now to celebrate a true patriot, a man whose public service credentials, intellectual prowess, stellar characteristics among others necessitated his appointment by governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state as the secretary to the state government.

Dr. Ekwuwem who was named “the most productive individual” and was conferred with the prestigious award – the National Productivity Order of Merit – NPOM by former president Olusegun Obasanjo in 2001 will be honored tomorrow by the people of Oro nation.

Tomorrow’s celebration by Oro nation is a testimony of how governor Udom Emmanuel has changed the storyline of politics in Akwa Ibom state forever, proving beyond doubts that the Oro nation is a big part of Akwa Ibom political landscape.

It is worthy of note that Ekwuwem as a technocrat  is nationally and internationally recognised as a foremost telecommunications genius and had served as a former president of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, president of Nigerian Internet Group, the immediate past board chairman of the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) and until his appointment, was the president of the Teledon Group.

As Oro Nation gets set to celebrate Dr. Ekwuwem and appreciate governor Udom Emmanuel for his magnanimity tomorrow, this will pass a strong message to young people that hard work, consistency, and commitment is vital to success.

Congratulation! Dr. Emmanuel Ekwuwem.
Of a truth Emmanuel is with us

 

______
Follow us on twitter via @akwaibominfo

Share your story with us via SMS and WhatsApp on 0902 211 0018


Comments
Continue Reading

FEATURES

Simple ways to becoming a credible leader

Published

on

Simple ways to becoming a credible leader

By Dr Victor Udo

Credibility is vital for management at all levels.

According to Stephen Covey in a concept called “the speed of trust” A person builds trust, and when you fully trust someone, it enables you to work with them much more efficiently and productively than if you’re constantly worrying about them and assessing their abilities. In short, trust is a positive business difference maker.

Just as credibility is a key component of trust, it’s a vital element of effective leadership. When someone is viewed as highly credible, they’re seen as an asset, a valuable team player, someone you will be excited to work with.

“So how does one become fundamentally “credible”? While there are other suggestions, these are my top five based on personal experiences in the business, government and social sectors:”

RESULT ORIENTED

Management is nothing if not a results-oriented endeavor. Whatever your level – from line supervisor to CEO – you have to be able to deliver the results your organization needs to gain credibility. No results, no credibility.

BE TRANSPARENT

Plenty of employees are every bit as intelligent as their management and they spend a lot of time observing their management closely. Transparency matters, and there’s ample research supporting it. Want credibility? You’ve got to be straight with people or you’ll always be bucking the current, a trout swimming upstream.

TAKE TOUGH DECISIONS BOLDLY

 It’s easy to manage when things are going great. Not so simple when you face tough decisions. This is exactly what management is well compensated to do. 

BE CONSISTENT

Employees respond well to consistent behavior from their management. Unpredictability can be disturbing. In an uncertain world, people understandably like things they can depend on. If they can count on you, it means people believe what you say and you’re credible.

LEAD BY EXAMPLE

Again, this is basic but it’s often ignored and there’s no good alternative to it. If you don’t lead by example – if you “talk the walk but don’t walk the talk” – you’ll alienate more than motivate. Again, employees watch their management closely. If they conclude management is playing by its own set of rules, it kills credibility.

Always an invaluable leadership asset, credibility can do that for you.

About The Author

Dr. Victor Udo is the first ever Senior Special Assistant to the Akwa Ibom State Governor on Planning. He is helping the State to establish and execute a comprehensive sustainable development planning, implementation and evaluation process across various MDAs. Before joining the Akwa Ibom State Government, Dr. Udo was the manager, public policy research/development for Pepco Holdings, a fortune 500 USA company that is now part of Exelon Energy, the biggest utility company in the USA.  Under this role, he was involved in several local, state and federal government public policy issues including energy technology, social welfare and environmental regulations/legislations. Dr. Udo was appointed by the Governor of New Jersey to the Renewable Energy Taskforce where their recommendation made the State one of the leaders in renewable energy. He was subsequently appointed into the Planning Board in Delaware by the current USA Senator Chris Coons. As members of the Planning Board, they supervised the development of comprehensive plan and approval of infrastructural projects consistent with the plan, State and Federal laws.

 

______
Follow us on twitter via @akwaibominfo

Share your story with us via SMS and WhatsApp on 0902 211 0018


Comments
Continue Reading
Advertisement

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK

TWEET BEACON

Trending