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Would posterity tick or asterisk your tenure? By Michael Bush

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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.

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FEATURES

MEGPUyo: Giving Face to Entrepreneurial Development in Akwa Ibom

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By Paul Sylvester

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a major role in most economies, particularly in developing countries. Formal SMEs contribute up to 60% of total employment and up to 40% of national income (GDP) in emerging economies according to world bank. These numbers are significantly higher when informal SMEs are included. Last year, world bank estimates, 600 million jobs will be needed in the next 15 years to absorb the growing global workforce, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa. In emerging markets, most formal jobs are generated by SMEs, which also create 4 out of 5 new positions.

In the foregoing, Gov Udom Emmanuel, elects to take needed steps in pursuit of an Akwa Ibom economy largely reliant on SMEs and in view to fill the job expectant gap projected by World Bank. Emmanuel, through the Directorate of Microfinance and Enterprise Development, headed by his Senior Special Assistant, Mr. Ime Uwah, is on course to meet this target, having introduced a special human resource development scheme, ‘My Entrepreneurship Goals Programme’ (MEGP).

Beyond dream, hopes, plans, intentions, aspirations; the Akwa Ibom business ecosystem, is in practical terms towed to the path of the much promised boom. As experts constantly counsel, businesses should begin and be sustained by a reasonable level of enterprise knowledge, especially peculiar to a given business. Much thanks to Mr Ime Uwah, who has graciously not only interpreted, but executed the governor’s economic blueprint in this wise.

In his manifesto, Gov Emmanuel clearly outlined his plans and approaches towards establishing at least 30,000 micro, small and medium scale businesses across the state, through the instrumentality of Akwa Ibom Micro Enterprise Development Law, which he recently signed; establishment of micro, small and medium entrepreneurs training on basic business skills. The plan include also to assist prospective Akwa Ibom entrepreneurs to prepare documentation required for financing, feasibility study and business plan and to work with available business assisting institutions like the Bank of Industry, CBN, Development Bank and related international intervention agencies.

In giving clear direction and defining purpose, the door had been opened for interested individuals to register and enroll in My Entrepreneurship Goal Programme (MEGP) in Uyo, for extensive drill on building and sustaining enterprises at different levels. So far, more than 250 participants have registered, while in the first batch, more than 100 are currently undergoing the training.

MEGP in a short while, has prepared participants to suitably qualify to benefit by practical knowledge acquisition, the business boom that is to come. For instance, participants recently engaged in ‘best mission statement contest’, having 8 persons from different classes of the training, win cash prize of N25,000 each. In a bid to also have the best of the programme, facilitators from Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) who are part of resource team, have exposed the participants to meaningful orientation on the subject.

Undoubtedly, MEGP is giving direction and definition to Gov Emmanuel’s roadmap to enterprise boom in the state. Young people should avail themselves of the chance to benefit from this platform of human capital development. In view, MEGP seeks to create 100,000 new jobs and contribute N100 billion to the revenue base of the state by 2023. For a productive scheme like this, it is only pertinent that development minded people wait no more, but join the mass movement.

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OPINION

Zayyad Muhammad: Memo to IGP Adamu Mohammed

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Dear IGP Adamu Mohammed, Congratulations on reaching the peak of your career. You are lucky and unlucky at the same time. You rise to the top at a critical moment in the Nigerian polity- election time. The next two months may mar or make your achievements as a police officer, depending on how you approach the management of the Nigerian police and its obligations during forth-coming elections.

In Nigeria, policing is interwoven with politics. During this period, many politicians will attempt to frustrate you, while some will try to manipulate you via political powers. Fortunately for you, you have a Commander-in-Chief, who does not have the traits of a typical Nigerian politician. So, as a fine officer, when you find yourself on a tight-rope, do not cry nor run.

While the pressure of the elections are there, keep in mind that you are being faced with the challenge of managing a police force that is plagued by poor conditions of service, deplorable work environment, lack of incentives and motivation, corruption, low level of public confidence and serious lack of expertise in some specialized fields.

Mr. IGP, the Nigeria Police needs total overhaul and this can be grouped into three core areas- leadership, methodology and, culture & attitude. The Nigeria Police has witnessed various changes since its inception in 1861 when it began with a thirty-member consular guard formed in the then Lagos Colony. From 1964, the NPF has had 20 IGPs, with each coming with his own transformative ideas. However, if the NPF must be responsive to modern public policing standards and demands, reforms in the three areas mentioned above is imperative. For reforms to create desired change, all strategies and goals must be communicated and a buy-in among officers created – especially junior officers. Reforms cannot be imposed on the police. However, the urgency of these reforms cannot be over-emphasized.

The Nigerian police have some fine and intelligent officers who persevere with the many challenges of being a police officer. Some of them inspire the trust and confidence of the public. However, in general, the Nigerian Police direly needs a new direction and different orientation. In addition, it needs modernization and massive reorganization similar to what obtains in private corporations. Mr. IG, you can be one to lay the foundation for the new police.

The police under you can rejig the mentality of ‘absolute hierarchical superiority’ by giving junior officers who are always on the field the chance to weigh in their views. The public expect you to look at things ‘off-the-police-shelves’ to see what the public expects and needs from the police. This will bring imaginative ideas to strike a new resonance among the officers of the police and also bring visible functionality and efficiency in police.

The public expects the police to prevent crime, and maintain peace and public order. However, job of the Nigerian police is dangerous, with high rates of on-the-job injury and death. The police operate without up-to-date and high-tech policing equipment- you cannot fight crime with only guns, broken batons and jalopy pickup vans. The police should be armed with modern firearms and protective equipment, in addition to small tools like tasers, incapacitant spray, telescopic and expandable batons, etc. Communication is vital for modern policing. Thus, any existing police radio spectrums which are subject to serious interference should be gradually replaced by a new spectrum of superior quality. The police should have their entire vehicles and posts/stations installed with Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) system for effective communication, as well as for data and voice transmission. TETRA is encrypted to prevent interception.

The general management of policing equipment by the Nigerian police is very poor. For instance, most of the vehicles used by the police are in bad states. The processes of vehicle purchase, fuelling and maintenance should be redesigned- outsourcing and workable decentralization are the best options. The Police Service Commission should commission competent automobile firms to supply and maintain for the Nigerian police vehicles which are built to police specifications in factories. Fuelling of vehicles and other policing equipment should also be contracted out to responsible fuel marketers. This will eliminate corruption and usher in easy administration.

The biggest problem facing the Nigerian police is culture and attitude. The police need to create and cherish a strong culture among its rank and file. The Nigerian police should seek the services of Public Relations experts/firms to develop a modern PR plan for it- one that should go beyond the traditional police’s PR method- public display of achievements. Instead, its officers and men would be trained in many areas including, basic professional behaviour in the public, how to attend and talk to people, association with civilians and even posture when in public view, etc. One of the most critical aspects that need urgent attention is smart dressing. Every officer in the Nigeria police should dress smart and neat- this will reflect the meaning of the yellow colour in the police flag- Discipline & Resourcefulness and the elephant in its crest- Steadfastness & Reliability. A major benefit of culture andattitude reform is that it will help engender better community policing.

Above all, as a matter of urgency, you have to get your team well prepared for the forth coming elections which are about a month away. The police have a huge role to play in the elections if it must be successful. The time is short but in colloquial parlance, it is the baptism of fire for you. It is believed you are up to the task.
Permission to fall out sir!

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OPINION

2019: Chaos or election?

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By Luke Onyekakeyah

I raised this alarm last May in this column on whether or not we are heading for an election or chaos. Reason is that the history of wars and turmoil in Africa is the history of power struggle. From Angola’s 27 years civil war to the collapse of Somalia and the unending crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), among others, all the crises were fueled by power struggle. Politicians with overvaulting ambition stoked the upheavals. The interest of Nigeria should be paramount; it should be over and above any personal or sectional interest. All lovers of Nigeria should rally to save this country from avoidable crisis.

Nigeria has had its unfair share of political crisis that led to a three-year fratricidal war from 1967 to 1970 in which over a million citizens perished and millions dislocated from their homes, especially on the defunct Biafra side. Whatever would spark off another conflagration should be avoided. Politicians should be wary not to endanger this country once again. Politicians sowed the seed that led to the unfortunate civil war. Why are the politicians leading us to yet another dangerous precipice?

The confusion arising from last week’s unilateral suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari, has raised the tempo of uncertainty that the forth-coming general elections may be anything but free, fair and peaceful. That is a very sad development for Nigeria, a country battling with myriads of social, economic and security problems amid a scheduled general election.

Nigerians are befuddled that a crisis of this magnitude that could engulf the country in avoidable conflagration could be stoked at this eleventh hour to the long-awaited 2019 general elections, with the presidential election barely two weeks ahead. What sort of ill wind is this? Why are the embers being fanned vigorously? The sudden removal of Onnoghen is an ill wind that blows no one any good. President Buhari should be patriotic and save this country from avoidable crisis. For it is said that there are two people that matter in a country namely, the one who turned a forest into a country and the one who turned a country into a forest! Some people have labored to establish Nigeria as it were. Let there be no one who would turn this country into a forest.

Nigerians were shocked over the weekend when news broke that President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, pending the completion of his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. Buhari announced the suspension at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday, January 25, 2019. He said the suspension was as a result of the order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), directing him to suspend Onnoghen, pending the completion of his trial. Legal pundits are analyzing the legality of the order.

Buhari did not stop there; he went ahead to swear-in Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammad from Bauchi as the acting CJN. Onnoghen is from Cross River State in Nigeria’s South-South Niger Delta Zone. The ethnic colouration bolstered the general perception that President Buhari has been filling all strategic arms of government with his own kinsmen. The suspension of Onnoghen, a man whose appointment was not favoured by Buhari in the first place, is seen as the last straw that breaks the camels back in the light of the elections at hand. Why did the President do this now?

Following the suspension, a flood of protests, agitations and outcry have greeted the polity from both within and outside the country. At the swearing in ceremony of the chairmen and members of the Election Petition Tribunals numbering 250, by the new Acting CJN, Tanko Mohahmad, only one Justice out of the 25 Justices of the Supreme Court was reportedly present, the rest boycotted the event in a show of solidarity with Onnoghen. Right now, the entire legal fraternity in the country is outrage at what they call unconstitutional action by Mr. President. Both the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) have called emergency meetings to discuss the anomie.

Also, the National Assembly (NASS), which has been on recess, is reconvening to deliberate on the burning issue. The restive Niger Delta militants that have sheathed their swords for a while are fuming and threatening fire and brimstone on oil industry facilities in the area. And the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) announced the suspension of its electioneering campaigns for 72 hours in protest.

The international community is not keeping mute. The United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) governments have expressed serious concern about the development, which they fear would affect the coming elections. There is fire on the mountain, one would say. Except something is done urgently to douse the tension, we may be in for evil days the end of which no one can fathom.

It needs to be stressed that no one is saying that Onnoghen should not be disciplined if he had run afoul of the law. Not at all. What people are saying is that due process should be followed. Legal luminaries in the country are in agreement that there is a constitutionally laid down procedure for disciplining a legal officer of Onnoghen’s status. Flouting or shortchanging that process, as the President Buhari has done is tantamount to what they call a ‘coup’ against the constitution and the judicial arm of government in a democracy. Whereas, there is national outrage over the President’s action, the presidency, on the other hand, is busy justifying the unprecedented action of Buhari. Can Nigeria wriggle out of this self inflicted problem? The coming days and weeks are indeed uncertain. But can Nigeria survive a political upheaval amid the ravaging Boko Haram war in the North-East and the nationwide insecurity?

It is sad that rather than preach peace in the run up to the polls, some unpatriotic elements are out to cause mayhem. How to tackle the myriad of problems confronting the country should be the focus instead of diverting attention to the destablisation of the judiciary, a critical arm of Nigeria’s democratic government.

What is happening give credence to what those who know Buhari think that he can’t easily be brushed aside as was the case with Jonathan in 2015. Buhari’s exponents think that he will deploy all the forces within his power, including the power of incumbency, to counter the opposition to win the re-election. The unilateral and unconstitutional suspension of Onnoghen is a clear testimony that Buhari is not Jonathan, who patriotically refused to orchestrate crisis and bloodshed in 2015.

Nigerians want peace and not chaos. As things stand now, except Buhari and the APC adopt a “no bloodshed mantra,” adding political crisis to the already degenerate killing fields across Nigeria may spell doom for the country. That way, the prediction that Nigeria could not survive the 2015 elections may only have been postponed to 2019. President Buhari should not let this happen under his watch.

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FEATURES

THE ADVENTURE OF A CULT ACTIVIST TURNED SPEAKER

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By Alhaji Aminu

Once upon a time, there was a cult activist in the campus. His rascality and gross disrespect to constituted authorities easily gave him out to absurd notoriety in the campus. He was thus identified as a student noted for gross indiscipline and moral deficiency , This was evident in his routine misdemeanor and poor performance in academic tasks.

His reckless and careless lifestyle only attracted him to friends and members of his cult kingdom, who appreciated his carefree, unruly corrupt social status, and this crowned him the king of the jungle., a position he fancied but to the detriment of academics. This was contrary to the expectations of his poor parents.

He was later found wanting and lost. He could not pass his test nor exams. His life was grossly darkened because he dropped out of school. His friends rejected him except those who belonged.,..

He went on cult exile and was shamelessly treated as a fugitive. Guy man fell mugu. Things fell apart, only those who knew him deeply could recognize him. His thin structure reduced his ostrich like neck to nothingness .
This
Life was tough and hopeless for the young cultist. Sadly he was driven into drug addiction . People lost confidence in him and could not help him.

Then came a messiah sent to Akwa Abasi Ibom State. A man with a large heart. A father to the needy and fatherless. A husband to widows. A succour to the down trodden. His name was Godswill Obot Akoabio, a man of valour and candour.

He sent for the fugitive cultist, and told him son, from today, thy sins are forgiven. He rebranded him and called him his special assistant SA. He Built a befitting house for his poor sick mother who lived in a one room, He changed his orientation and lifestyle. He spoke to the then VC University of Uyo, professor Akpan Ekpo and pleaded that the fugitive be allowed to complete his law program in the university.
The prof accepted with studied silence

Yes, governor Akpabio then went ahead to clean up the guy, rebranded and completely uplifted the once cult activist from glory to glory in politics.

If he did not like him, he could have as well stopped him from getting into Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. But he further helped him to become a member and the Honourable Speaker , the number three man in the state.

It is sad that today the fugitive turned speaker has the temerity to insult distinguished Senator Akpabio. The speaker neither respect himself nor his office.

This infantile speaker takes passion in spewing blatant lies against the former governor and his dear wife. The rate at which this infantile speaker reduces the exalted office of Mr speaker to a ridiculing epitaph of controversy and scorn is regrettable and unacceptable. We know he is acting on the effect of tramadol .He is no longer constructive and focused. He talks like an ordinary motor park agent. He has thrown reputation and integrity to the gutter. He talks about mbiam like a Bush doctor. Yet he can not substantiate his submissions. Majority of his friends who knew where he was before Akoabio picked him to the present level are not Happy with him.

Reports has it that his uncontrolled youthful exuberance is also responsible for the many cases of sex scandals between him and some members of legislative wives association and his own wife. What a shame ?

His recent vituperations on the former first lady and wife of the immediate past Senate minority leader, Her Excellency Mrs Uloma Akpabio is condemnable. How did this infantile braggart get to his present level is an open truth. He used to refer to the former first lady as his mother and destiny helper. He would not have been accepted back in school due to cult activism but not for the former governor and wife.

Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly financial record is stingy and questionable under his watch. He will be asked to account for the huge financial irregularities that he master minded. By then the tramadol effect in his brain shall let him be. His present boss will not be able to help him as his boss shall also be struggling to rescue himself from the clutches of EFCC. after the expiration of his immunity on May 29th, 2O19.

Need someone advise this infantile speaker to have a deep rethink over his fallacious and spurious rampage. The worst sin is the sin of ingratitude. Those who bite the finger that fed them will leave to regret. This is act 1 of the adventure of a cult activist turned speaker.
Gaskiya !!!
….

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