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  • Nigerian- Igbo ManThat Composed Hymns From A Leprosy Colony-Harcourt Whytte

    Harcourt Whyte and his second wife, Roseline Echeziaku Harcourt.Ikoli Harcourt Whyte often tried to conceal his deformed fingers

    In our series of letters from African journalists, novelist and writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani writes about the Nigerian man who composed some 200 hymns, despite having leprosy.

    Nigeria’s most famous victim of leprosy was fatally injured in a motor accident 40 years ago, and a ceremony is being held to mark the anniversary of the music composer’s death.

    Born in 1905, Ikoli Harcourt Whyte was diagnosed with leprosy as a teenager, at a time when there was no effective cure for the dreaded disease which usually leads to deformity of the hands and feet.

    People suffering from leprosy were often isolated or driven away from their communities. Whyte channelled his experience of suffering and stigmatisation into music, and went on to compose more than 200 inspirational hymns.

    “He wrote with the stubs of his thumb and index finger,” said 77-year-old Achinivu Kanu Achinivu, a professor of music who was a friend and protégé of Whyte.

    “He wrote very slowly. It took him a whole day or more to write one page of music.”

    Presentational grey line

    Who was Ikoli Harcourt Whyte?

    Ikoli Harcourt WhyteSOMIARI HARCOURT
    • Born in Abonnema, Rivers State of Nigeria in 1905
    • Diagnosed with leprosy in 1919
    • Inmate at the Uzuakoli Leprosy Colony in south-eastern Nigeria from 1932, despite being cured in 1945
    • Composed over 200 hymns, mostly in the Igbo language
    • Set up a choir made up of people living with leprosy, who toured Nigeria
    • His choir sang for British dignitaries who visited colonial Nigeria
    • Included Ikoli (a traditional name) in his birth name, so as to not be mistaken for a foreigner
    • Died in a motor accident in 1977

    Listen to his hymn Atula Egwu:

    Presentational grey line

    Whyte’s talent for music was developed at the Uzuakoli Leprosy Centre in what is now Abia State in south-eastern Nigeria, where he spent the last 45 years of his life.

    Before then, he had been receiving treatment at a hospital in Port Harcourt, capital city of his home state of Rivers in the Niger Delta, which had a thriving leprosy ward.

    When residents of Port Harcourt, known as the Garden City, agitated for the removal of people with leprosy in their midst, Whyte led the other patients to resist attempts by local authorities to evacuate them forcefully, insisting that they be provided with an alternative location instead.

    Cured, but still in the colony

    His persistent activism partly led to the intervention of Methodist missionaries, who then established the Uzuakoli Leprosy Centre in 1932, with Whyte and his fellow patients as some of the first set of inmates.

    “The work at Uzuakoli was hugely significant,” said John Manton, Irish historian and anthropologist of medicine.

    Cover of Ikoli Harcourt Whyte CDIkoli Harcourt Whyte’s CDs are on sale in Nigeria

    “It was the place where the dosage of dapsone for treating of leprosy was standardised in the early 1950s, and the first clinical trials of clofazimine took place there in the early 1960s – these are two of the drugs that are used as part of multi-drug therapy for leprosy today.”

    It was also in Uzuakoli that Whyte met British missionary and medical doctor, Thomas Frank Davey, a music lover and a pianist – an association that became the catalyst for his music career.

    “Dr Davey taught him everything he knew about music, that he acquired by studying the Methodist hymn book,” said Mr Achinivu.

    During trips to surrounding and remote villages to treat leprosy patients, Dr Davey recorded the traditional music of the people.

    He then encouraged Whyte to develop his own personal style by listening to and composing songs that sounded more like those tunes, rather than the ones in the Methodist hymn book.

    Even after Whyte was eventually declared cured of leprosy in 1949, he chose to remain at the Uzuakoli centre, where he formed a choir made up of other patients.

    His first wife, who also had leprosy, had abandoned him there a few years earlier after she was cured, leaving him with their two children.

    Aura of hope

    Soon, books of Whyte’s hymns were being sold in different churches across the region, and choirs from around Nigeria were visiting the leprosy centre to listen to and learn from him.

    Tales abound of the reach and impact of his music, most of which was written in his local Igbo language and focused on hope in spite of trials and tribulations.

    “In the evenings, people from all walks of life came and he would teach them the music which God had shown him in dreams,” said Enyeama Okoroafor. Now in his 70s, Mr Okoroafor is currently the oldest resident at the Uzuakoli centre, having been diagnosed with leprosy as a child and abandoned by his family.

    Whyte's grave, at the Uzuakoli Chapel of HopeWhyte’s grave lies at the Uzuakoli Chapel of Hope

    “At the time, because of his fame, we regarded him as the most senior person here and gave him that honour and respect. Because of what he was doing, he moved with many important men.”

    The decision to change the name of the chapel at the leprosy centre from Colony Chapel to Chapel of Hope was inspired by the aura that pervaded the hall whenever Whyte and the choir rendered his music.

    “He didn’t want instruments with his music so that they wouldn’t overshadow the message,” said 85-year-old Godwin Harcourt, Whyte’s oldest child.

    “From his songs, you could get solace, advice, things that would awaken your hope in God.”

    Godwin grew up in the leprosy colony with his father, although living in separate quarters, and became a school teacher.

    “Every school I was sent to, I made sure I formed a choir there so I could teach his songs,” he said.

    Apart from church services, Whyte’s choir sang for various dignitaries from Britain who visited colonial Nigeria.

    Some say that the Queen of England also became aware of his music, and once requested his hymns to be played by the BBC on Christmas Day.

    And, during the Nigerian civil war when leaders of the Igbo ethnic group attempted to secede and form a different country called Biafra, Whyte’s songs were popular as a source of courage and hope.

    Singing with lepers

    “Each time we gathered, the chances were that we would end up with some recording of his,” said Ejike Ago, 73, who fought in the Biafran army.

    “It is not only the Biafran soldiers alone. The Christians, each time we gathered had his recordings playing.”

    Reporting- Pamela. O.


  • Nollywood Actor Writes Open Letter To Kenneth Okonkwo

    kenneth-okonkwo
    Kenneth Okonkwo

    Dear Ken. I had just read from the Daily Post online Newspaper, your response to the backlash that followed that infamous pro Buhari speech and I became genuinely troubled in my spirit. No offense intended, but I am sincerely worried about your cognitive disposition at this time. Could something more damaging have happened to your brain or did you suffer from severe shock or is it that you unconsciously slid into a state of illusory phantasmagoria? Like I said, offense or insult is not intended at all. You’re my big brother, both in age and in career and I’m careful to respect that, but I’m deeply worried.

    In your response, you referred to those who are casting aspersions on you as “ignorant”, “wicked”, etc. I guess I’m about the first person who put out a video to correct the downright misleading impression you gave at that event – where you inaccurately praised your new “hero”, Muhammadu Buhari, ascribing “good governance” to his disaster of a regime. And for the records, I’m neither “ignorant” nor “wicked”. I guess you’d say you meant people who were or are outrightly cursing you. Well, whoever in particular that was meant for, we’re all in it together.

    But here’s what got me worried about your response, Ken. In a bid to further buttress your facts, you started mentioning how Boko Haram bombed everywhere then but not anymore now. You also mentioned how that security of lives and properties have improved tremendously under Buhari, as opposed to the previous regime, and so on. Everyone reading that piece will immediately conclude something has gone fundamentally wrong with you, my brother. And that’s why I’m not necessarily writing to attack you but to correct yet another crazy impression and as well plead with our people to cease fire and rather pray for you. And I mean this.

    Like you, I am from Enugu State. In your own village of Nsukka, Herdsmen repeatedly maimed and massacred innocent women, children and men. Repeatedly! For the people of Benue and much of the Middle Belt, it has been a tale of horror and bloodshed. A situation so bad General Theophilus Danjuma called out a regime he helped enthrone; So bad the middle belt of Nigeria now seeks self determination in their recent quest for Referendum; So bad the Benue State Governor had to decamp to PDP – Benue Youths walked him out of the APC on account of the party’s insensitivity to the killings on their land. International agencies and organizations have unanimously slammed our government for its lackadaisical attitude in handling the herdsmen killings. They wondered why a government that was so quick to proscribe a non violent organization like IPOB has vehemently refused to proscribe the herdsmen. You have no thoughts on this!

    Should I also ask if you haven’t been reading the news lately on the resurgence of Boko Haram and how their unrelenting assault on the Nigerian soldiers have gotten the Chief of Army staff so furious and frustrated as currently published on Premium Times? Is that the sign of defeat for Boko Haram that you were referring to? So, as far as you’re concerned, both security and economy has faired much better under this regime? Ken, to be honest, I actually feel very ashamed right now, that I’m having to point these things out to you.

    The suffering of Igbos under Muhammadu Buhari’s regime has gotten so bad that even some of his own kinsmen are genuinely showing pity and saying sorry to us. All we have gotten out of this regime so far has been Total Economic black out (emasculation) of the Eastern Region – flagrantly displayed in the selective witch hunting of notable billionaire businessmen of Igbo extraction (Ibeto, Seahorse Oil, IFEANYI UBA, Emzor, Innoson, etc.), Zero Federal presence in the Eastern Region, wanton loss of human lives and capacity, intimidation, harassment, etc.

    Which one of these evils done to your people are you unaware of, Ken? Have you ever raised your voice, even if not against these acts of wickedness, but at least in solidarity with your people? I have, repeatedly and the records are there. Now you want to rule over us by kissing the man who hates us so much? You don’t sound normal, Ken. It’s either you’ve been cloned or you’ve been thoroughly brainwashed in a real life mind control situation. And I’m not one to hate on people for having divergent views. I’m truly truly concerned.

    You are just one man. You are not greater than your own people. I expected a sober response to the spontaneous vituperations that you’ve had to deal with. You should’ve seen those coming, Ken. If I were you, even if i still wanted to be seen as defiant, I would’ve adopted a much more conciliatory tone in my response. So, now that you have clinched your fists and challenged much of the wounded Igbo nation to a fight, how many more punches would you have to throw before you realize it’s a dead end? Ife a agbaro aka (this isn’t normal).

    From now on, I will appeal to every one of us to please pray for Ken. Cursing and casting aspersions are expected but let’s also remember that this man, if redeemed, can also become an asset(hopefully). We shouldn’t celebrate the loss of one another. We should glory more in their redemption. What is happening to our brother is not normal, whether he agrees or not. Let us all pray for him, please. Hopefully, he will soon come back to his senses and reunite with his family. Family is everything. May I be cursed if ever intentionally betray the land of my birth!

  • APC MEMBERS KICK AGAINST UKPABI DEFECTION…

    Members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Akwa Ibom state, under the aegis of Akwa Ibom Progressives Watch, have petitioned the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, protesting the defection of Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, to the party.

    In a letter dated August 3, 2018, and addressed to the APC national chairman, the group said it had noted with deep concern the broad chorus of disapproval and complete despondency amongst different strata of members of the APC in Akwa Ibom state over the defection of Akpabio to the party.

    The letter endorsed by Innocent Sylvanus, Chairman and Ubong Victor, Secretary, read in part: “Our group is an integrity watch team whose support for the APC is driven by the party’s change agenda, the fight against corruption as well as the near immaculate personality of the leader of the Party, President Muhammadu Buhari.

    “We metamorphosed from Ibom Transparency Watch under the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), working assiduously in the last seven years to entrench in the party sterling values, such as integrity, justice, accountability and transparency, which are lacking in our political system.

    “Hence, we have been on the watch so that such persons with tendencies which violate these values are not found tip-toeing around our party.

    “For this reason, we feel sad, so are most members of the APC in Akwa Ibom State who looked up to our party as institution that will evict moral pervers as Senator Godswill Akpabio from position of authority, by the admission of Senator Godswill Akpabio into our party.

    “Senator Akpabio who is now seeking asylum in the APC called our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, very unprintable names during the 2015 electioneering.

    “He ordered the immediate closure of the Ibom Airport on the day Buhari, who was then the presidential flag – bearer of our party visited Akwa Ibom State.

    “After our President won the 2015 election despite all their antics, Akpabio encouraged former President Goodluck Jonathan to challenge Buhari’s election victory in court.”

    The group also informed Oshiomhole that Akpabio polarised ethnicity to its zenith in his bid to annihilate the Ibibio majority, and destroy the Oro ethnic nationality, when he was governor of Akwa Ibom State.

  • Buhari Decieved Nigeria 2015 And Now Travels…

    Kabiru Turaki, a presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has highlighted how President Muhammadu Buhari deceived Nigerians.

    Turaki recalled that Buhari in 2015 promised that he won’t travel abroad to seek medical attention but since he assumed power, he had travelled severally for treatment.

    Speaking with PDP stakeholders in Lokoja, the state capital, the presidential aspirant lamented that the country was stagnant despite the many promises made by Buhari in the build-up to the 2015 general election.

    He insisted that Buhari failed in three major areas of security, economy and the fight against corruption with which it “deceived” the people to get votes.

    According to Turaki, “President Buhari said if he wins he will not go abroad for medical treatment, but he became president, what do we have? If he has an ordinary headache, he heads to London, if he has a fever, it is London, even when he has an ordinary ear problem, he was flown to London.

    “He said he would scrap the office of the first lady but what do we have today, billions of Naira is being allocated to that office. He said if he became president, he will make the value of naira and dollar to be same, has he done that? There are a lot of failed promises by this present APC government and that is the reason Nigerians have resolved to kick them out.”

  • Wole Soyinka Attacks Buhari Calls For New Leader 2019

    Soyinka attacks Buhari govt, calls for new leaders in 2019/
    Soyinka with Buhari

    Nobel  laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has lamented that the lives of Nigerians have become so cheap under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, and called for the election of new generation of leaders to overhaul the system.

    He spoke yesterday at the official launch of his Interventions VIII series, entitled: “Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? (Who keeps watch over the watchmen?), Gani’s Unfinished Business,” at Freedom Park, Lagos.

    Soyinka said there were serious acts of mis-governance under the current administration, as there were lots of unforced errors being committed by Buhari.

    He agreed that scathing letter by former president Olusegun Obasanjo rubbishing President Muhammadu Buhari was not in bad taste, pointing out that most of the facts contained in the letter released earlier in the year were genuine, and issues which Nigerians were already aware of.

    “There are acts of mis-governance under this administration. There are unforced errors and acts that are considered being stupid; failure to secure lives; languages of self-excusing, which were condemned in the past but resurfacing all over the place,” he said.

    The playwright decried that the Buhari administration glossed over intolerable degrees of bloodshed as if in a casual event or happening by accident, adding that there was “also, failure to exact authority when and as at when due which led to the killings.”

    ‘’There is cheapening of lives. The value of lives in the last year or so on is on a level we haven’t witnessed in the country for long time,” he said.

    Soyinka maintained that this was one of the reasons it had become essential that “we all embark on ground clearing for new generation of leaders and to make sure that in the process, we don’t bring back what we are just getting out from. That is one of the stupid acts that we could be held responsible by the coming generation.”

    The Nobel laureate pointed out that an opportunity still existed between now and 2019, as there should be reforms and total overturn, saying whatever it would take to secure the country to give the people new sense of dignity and humanity, should be done.”

    Soyinka described Obasanjo as cunning, rather than clever ‘as he thinks’. He said the former president had formed the habit of reading the mood of the country and aligning himself with the yearnings of the masses, in keeping with his messianic fixation. He said he was incensed by the attempt by Obasanjo to hijack the struggle to reform Nigeria, which, according to him, the ex-president did in 2015 as well.

    But on his part, a senior advocate, Femi Falana SAN, who was one of the panelists, was cautious in embracing Obasanjo and his coalition for Nigeria movement, saying, “I think we do not celebrate opportunism; reading the mood of the nation and trying to hijack the movement”.

  • Ekiti 2018: One Costly Mistake And a Million. ..

    For the All Progressives Congress, (APC), the July 14 gubernatorial election in Ekiti is like the epic battle of two bitter, ancient football rivals. In the first finals, the prejudiced referee acted like a striker, midfielder and linesman for one side.  In this new battle, the once defeated side now has another chance for a rematch without the hindrance of a partisan referee. This time around, the incumbent, Mr Ayodele Fayose and his crony, Mr Olusola Elenka will no longer have free kick of the ball. The Federal might, which has always been Fayose’s spring, now hosts his imminent pitfall. But one big mistake is for the once defeated side to field the same team, use the same strategy without tactical alteration. Figuratively, the defeated team is currently choosing its line-up.  On May 5, its captain will be picked.

    Four years after the defeat of the All Progressives Congress, (APC), the party is desperate to reclaim a battered image. However, even with the assumed backing of the Federal authorities, the defeat of Mr Fayose and his crony is not given. The possibility of APC dodging another devastating downfall depends on who wins the primary election slated for this Saturday. While Fayose has given a clear direction on his path, the APC is enmeshed on a riotous, trampling race that may produce a candidate who may be another Fayose’s piecemeal. This is the grave error that APC leadership might commit. This is the dangerous path they might take to the party’s peril. To win the election, the APC has the historic responsibility to organize a primary that is not driven by cash nor motivated by the short-sightedness of a few cabal in the core-North who has been rumoured to be hell-bent on influencing the primary with enormous resources to the detriment of long term stability and prosperity of the commonwealth.

    To win the main election, APC needs a sharp break from the past. The party needs a bold, decisive, courageous and iron-cast figure whose sneeze will send Fayose scampering. The party also needs a candidate that will not betray the party. In the context of the realignment on-going in the country, there is the fact that an APC candidate without long standing ideology may be swayed to lead an onslaught against the same APC in the coming years. There are indeed real dangers that Fayose actually has a mole or moles among the aspirants. This is the reason why flirtatious politicians-and some of them are contestants in the APC primary-with a rich history of promiscuity and ambivalence, must be avoided like a plague. It is better to hack them now, despite their pretences, than to have to live with the atrocities they will hatch.

    Apart from these considerations, the APC leadership must be awake to the political realities in Eikiti State without which the party will commit dreadful errors that will make her flounder and be washed away like feeble grains. In the first place, the APC needs to pick the candidate with the highest propensity to win the governorship race. A key consideration is to understand the balance of political forces, voter’s strength, where it is most potent and the history of voting patterns in the state.

    Already, Fayose has scored a key political point by picking his candidate from Ikere, a key city in Ekiti. How does the APC counter this move? There are 2, 195 polling units in Ekiti State. Out of this, Ikere has 86 polling units. The number of registered voters in Ikere is 65,000. The possibility of Ekiti APC producing an Ikere candidate in the next primary has been hampered by the fact that five APC candidates have emerged from this historic town. Though Dr Wole Oluyede was unanimously agreed by a powerful section in the city, the other four have spat defiantly in the sky and captured the sputum, in anger, with a splash on their faces.  The four are going ahead with equal momentum.

    Ikere also has to contend with cultural divisions occasioned by the gulf along her polarized traditional institutions. Ekiti South has the highest aspirants of 11;  Oye council is the next with the highest number of 5; Ekiti central 7; North 7; Gbonyin 3; Ekiti East 2; Ise Orun 2; Irepodun Ifelodun 2; Ijero 2; Ido Osi; Ekiti East 2;  Emure 2. In all, there are 33 aspirants out of which 27 have been cleared by the screening committee. Considering the balance of forces, all the 27 aspirants will have to scramble for delegates in 15 LGs, except Ado which has only one aspirant, Senator Babafemi Ojudu. Ikere for instance will split between 5 candidates. Ido-Osi will be a battle ground between two aspirants. Oye where Dr Kayode Fayemi, Senator Ayo Arise, Bimbo Daramola and others come from will be fiercely contested by 5 aspirants.

    The only LG that stands out is Ado, with 182 delegates, by far the highest in the entire state and the most cohesive.  Ikere has about 56 delegates. Ado Ekiti, where Senator Babafemi Ojudu comes from will be going as one team.  From the prism of logic and common sense, all what Ado needs is to win pockets of support from other LGs to clinch the trophy.  There is no doubt that a candidate from Ado will strengthen the potential of APC winning the July 14 poll.

    Traditionally, Ado has always been the most remarkable electoral determinant of Ekiti voting outlook. At the advent of electoral politics in Ekiti history, it took some time for the Action Group, (AG) to be able to penetrate the entire Ekiti province for no other reason that the initial Ado support for the NCNC. Not until the trend was broken was AG, which came to Ado in the 1940s, able to overwhelm Ekiti area. In 1955, for instance, one of the first major political contests took place between Awodimula from Ode Ekiti, Chief Familoni from Ido Ekiti and JE Babatola from Ado Ekiti. Babatola won in the AG primary and won the main election.

    In 2003 elections, Otunba Niyi Adebayo won in 12 of the 16 LGs.  Fayose turned the table with votes from Ado. No election has been held in Ekiti State without Ado being the major pathfinder. In the last election for instance, Ado had 137,155 out of 733,766 registered voters trailed by Irepodun Ifelodun 54,085; Ijero 49,417 votes, Ikole 49, 390; Ekiti East 47, 288 and Ikere with a distant 45,611.

    Ado had 59,480 votes, Ijero 26, 589; Ikole 26, 252 with Ikere at a distant 25,889. There is the fear that irrespective of the contradictions, if APC picks a candidate from Ikere, the votes will be shared decisively between the APC and the PDP whose candidate is also from Ikere.  Picking a candidate elsewhere apart from Ado will strengthen Fayose who is waiting in the wings to pick his deputy from Ado-Ekiti. The only way to neutralize him is to pick the APC candidate from Ado.

    Primary elections are often determined first by kinsman loyalty of delegates. As it is, Ado presents a strategic posting as the most audacious bride. While Ikere has not produced a governor in Ekiti, it has produced the governor of old Ondo State. Ado has neither produced the Governor of Ekiti nor the governor of old Ondo State. Most of most significant towns have cultural and blood-bound ties with Ado. The cultural institutions in Ado historically has unprecedented network across the towns and villages in Ekiti which has been energized since Ojudu joined the race for overwhelming victory. It must be noted that in the past, Ado often deliberately play the role of the kingmaker by refusing to produce a governorship aspirant, but this time around, the entire city  with a zeal and determination never before seen, has chosen Senator Ojudu as the one and only aspirant on the platform of the APC. Good enough for the APC, Ojudu has a rich history of radical struggle, consistency, bravery, iron-cast nerve and infact, he is the lion that can scare stiff Fayose and his agent.

    He performed this same feat in 2011 when he scored 64,000 plus votes in the Senatorial election dusting Fayose almost thrice. Certainly, the clincher of the APC will be to pick its candidate from Ado-Ekiti. Omission of this calculation will be another costly error that may plunge the APC into another whirlwind of regret and defeat. Fayose is like a vulture, hovering to see if on May 5, APC will bring forth another carcass in the form of a weakling that will give him another cheap victory. A candidate from Ado is one sure way to cut down the PDP like grass and make it wither like a flower without nurture. The APC leadership has the choice to make or mar.

  • Over 10tillion Naira Missing Under APC Govt

    Despite 19 years of return to civilian rule, Nigeria’s democracy is still very fragile and those in position of power should be careful not to truncate it, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has said. Speaking yesterday in Abuja at the 2018 Democracy Day Lecture, Dogara stated that it is consensus and compromise that drive the wheels of democracy and urged those who hold levers of power to resist the temptation of sliding into dictatorship because such leaders often end miserable. “Let me also talk about tyrants, despots, those who threaten democracy, enemies of open society.

    As a matter of fact, we don’t have to dig too deep down moral lanes to be able to fetch some moral lessons to warn them, as history is an open book to them. “It doesn’t matter whether they are dictators who came before Hitler, to dictators like Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, name them, Sadam Hussein, Muomar Ghadhafi, a certain charging has ended their lives. “And it would be wrong for us to think that we can do what they did; and not see what they saw. As a matter of fact, the beauty of democracy is in forbearance.

    Those of us who are true democrats here will exhibit light in the way and manner in which we carry out institutional prerogatives with forbearance and with grace, those are true democrats.” According to Dogara, all over the world, democracies nowadays hardly die at the hands of people with guns, but in the hands of civilian leaders who have dubious allegiance to democratic norms and values.

    He noted that: “Whenever you see a democracy that is working; check it very well, it is consensus and compromise that drives it. Of course, this democracy that we all cherish is very fragile, and as such we can’t take it for granted.

    That is why I thanked the President for making us all come here to remind ourselves of the fragility of our democracy. “Nowadays democracies hardly die at the hands of men with guns, what truncates democracies globally is the election of leaders with dubious allegiance to democratic norms.”

    Speaking further, the speaker submitted that: “Any generation that has gone to sleep would have awaken to the rude shock that the courts and other democratic institutions have been weaponized against them, and as much they have become subjects, instead of citizens, where obeisance to the government is demanded as against the government fearing the people.

    “That must not be the case with our own democracy, and for us to ensure that our democracy survives, we have to be eternally vigilant.” The speaker noted that elections have sometimes produced enemies of democracy and urged the citizens to be eternally vigilant in order to protect and defend the nation’s hardearned democracy.

    He argued that there is every reason for Nigerians to celebrate almost two decades of civilian rule because the beauty of democracy is that it gives hope for a better future to the people and that history shows that the rich and powerful have always interchanged places with the poor and vulnerable.

    1. Dogara said: “For some of our citizens who wonder whether they are in the position to invest their liberty in the pursuit of happiness, I want to say they shouldn’t despair, as there is hope for the living. That fully in the course of history, the rich and powerful have always interchanged places with the poor and vulnerable.
  • More Troubles For Buhari

    In a chat with this medium on Wednesday, the ex-Minister said: “The  ex-parte  order by Justice Maureen Onyetenu is a vindication of sort to those young men who took their time to task federal lawmakers to impeach President Buhari. When the lawmakers failed to act, they turned their attention to the court and their prayer has been granted. What this means for the President is better imagined because as it were, the learned Justice has alluded to instances of constitutional violations in the processes that characterized the candidacy and subsequent election of the President more than three years ago.”

    Although, the Presidency refused to issue a statement on the court order, there is little or no doubt that legal fireworks would again trail Buhari’s quest to continue in office beyond 2019.

    Birth of R -APC

    From the get-go, the signs were there for all to see and not a few predicted an implosion for the APC before the 2019 elections. Before his election in 2015, Buhari had passed through the proverbial valley of death, suffered uncommon humiliation as some friends, allies and associates deserted him on the long walk to the Villa. But there   were some who stood and weathered the storm with him without falling for the filthy lucre that was all for grabs in those ignoble years. One of such men who passed the test of loyalty and friendship is Alhaji Buba Galadima, a veteran politician and grassroots mobiliser per excellence.

    In 2003, Galadima rallied support for Buhari who contested the Presidency on the platform of the defunct All People’s Party (APP); a task he repeated in 2007, 2011 and 2015 when Buhari sought the plum seat on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Progressives Congress, APC, respectively.

    With Buhari’s victory in 2015, Galadima and his likes that stood in rain and shine with the civil war hero were thereafter left in the lurch as new picks found their way to the corridors of power and its associated trappings. So much was the isolation of these men and women that Aisha, the delectable wife of Mr. President took to the media to avail the world of inner happenings at the Villa but came short of accusing her husband for dumping old and trusted allies for new unknown acquaintances.

    Galadima would later join other aggrieved members of the APC to register their displeasure about Buhari’ governorship style but were left in the dark still. Not prepared to be rendered irrelevant ahead of the 2019 polls, the group broke away from the ruling party to find shelter in the Reformed All Progressives Congress, rAPC with Galadima as national chairman.

    Galadima’s jibe

    While addressing a press conference on the decision to form a splinter group on Wednesday, Galadima gave a grave assessment of the Buhari government that left the Presidency in utter   shock.

    “The APC government has been a monumental disaster, even worse than the government it replaced. The political party that was a vehicle for enthroning the government was rendered powerless by manipulations and complete lack of due process in its operations,” he said, noting that “after more than three years of governance, our hopes have been betrayed, our expectations completely dashed.

    He continued, “The APC has run a rudderless, inept and incompetent government that has failed to deliver good governance to the Nigerian people. It has rather imposed dictatorship, impunity, abuse of power, complete abdication of constitutional and statutory responsibilities, infidelity to the rule of law and constitutionalism.

    “It has failed to ensure the security and welfare of our people and elevated nepotism to unacceptable height. The APC has failed to deliver on its key promises to the nation. There is no evidence of any political will to reverse the decline of our party, while leaders who have created these circumstances continue to behave as if Nigerians owe our party votes as a matter of right.”

    PDP game plan

    The major political party in the land, thePeoples Democratic Party (PDP) had in the past few days, intensified its reconciliation moves with APC estranged members, preparatory to their former return to its fold. Apart from members of the newly formedrAPC, the Contact and Integration Committee of the PDP chaired by former governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke has been mandated to reach out finally to Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara following the no-love-lost between them and the ruling party.

    Findings by this medium show that although Oshiomhole has been pleading with aggrieved party members to stay put, many of them have resolved to move elsewhere in what an insider attributed to the uncertainty surrounding the popularity of the APC platform with only about eight months to elections. A female politician and member of the PDP told this medium in confidence that PDP will receive key defectors with open arms in the next few weeks.

    Her words, “We are happy that the lies of the APC have been exposed. Galadima and other patriots now know that all along, the APC was a party of opportunists who never wish the nation well. There is no doubt that they will look up to the PDP as the only vehicle to take us to Aso Rock Villa in 2019. Nigerians are tired of fake promises; promises that have been largely left unfulfilled. Unlike the APC, the PDP will provide them the platform to pursue their dreams because we are the only national party in Nigeria,” she noted.

    SDP, 35 other parties in alliance talks

    The Social Democratic Party (SDP) and 35 other political parties have begun preliminary talks over possible alliance, SDP National Chairman, Chief Olu Falae has said.  The move, according to our findings is to build a formidable platform to wrestle power form the APC in the 2019 general elections.

    “We have identified implementable, relevant and effective solutions to the problems confronting our nation.  To that effect, we are going to set up a committee to work on common blueprint for the survival, growth and progress and unity,” Falae stated.

    Asked if the parties were mooting the possibility of fielding a joint Presidential Candidate, Falae was evasive, saying however that “we cannot pre-empt the outcome of our discussion.

    What is happening is that we are consulting with one another. We are 36 political parties. We will distill our various ideas with common blueprint. At the end of the day, it may be a common alliance or coalition. We don’t rule out any option. Before you start a discussion, you   must not rule out anything or conclude before you start.”

    The SDP is one of the parties currently in talks with the PDP over a possible coalition to prosecute the 2019 elections.

  • 25 Ways Nigeria President Is Destroying The Nation’s Democracy

    Nigeria’s President Buhari for destroying democracy in Nigeria

    25 Reasons why Nigerians should be worries about President Buhari’s disdain for democracy.

    Mr Segun Awonsaya in a statement sent to journalists expressed his sadness for the current condition of Nigeria’s democratic institutions. Mr Awonsaya said that Nigeria’s democracy had never been this abused since the emergence of the 4th Republic in 1999. He stated that the Buhari led APC Presidency has been the most oppressive, repressive and dictatorial government since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999.

    Mr lamented that the Executive’s disrespect for the parliament and judiciary which are equal arms of Government has set a very dangerous precedent for the future as he and many Nigerians have continuously witnessed the harassment of judges and the political witch-hunting of the National Assembly leaders as they emerged against the wishes of the Presidency, something that had never happened in Nigeria’s democratic history.

    Mr Awonsaya described President Buhari’s Nigeria a mockery of democracy, a nation disconnected from the foundations of the rule of law, equality, and federalism on which the nation’s constitution was drafted in 1999.

    In the statement, the Segun Awonsaya described President Buhari’s led Nigeria as a model of “How Democracies Die”, something to be taught in history books.

    The President’s constant attacks on the National Assembly and it’s leadership is Mr Awonsaya’s focal point and he lists them below-

    25 Reasons Why Nigerians should be worried about President Buhari’s disdain for Democracy:

    The President clearly breached Section 80 of the Constitution, which stipulates that all government spending must be appropriated by the legislature, when he gave anticipatory approval for the  withdrawal of $496m from the Excess Crude Account to purchase Tucano Jets that wont be supplied till the year 2020. The Presidency failed to address this breach when accused and claimed that due process would have slowed down the acquisition of the jets, surprisingly, the jets would not be delivered until 2020.

    The President failed to fully investigate and prosecute the invasion of the National Assembly by thugs led and sponsored by a Senator Senator Omo Agege who is supposedly loyal to the ruling party, which led to the theft of the Senate’s mace and the injury of seven National Assembly workers who were brutalized by the thugs.

    The Presidency authorized the siege on the houses of the Senate President and the Deputy Senate President, while coordinating a legislative coup with a minority group of Senators, to avoid the defection of members from the APC. By this singular act, the Presidency exposed themselves to Nigerians the length of desperation it would go to keep power.

    The President withheld his assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill — for selfish reasons — despite the fact that this amendment would have greatly improved our electoral processes through the use of technology in the collation and transmission of results. Instead, the Presidency backed a petition led by INEC against election reordering.

    As the Minister of Petroleum, the President has breached Section 80 of the Constitution by overseeing the unauthorized expenditure of over N216billion by the NNPC for illegal subsidies, under the guise of 2017 “operational costs.’

    The President has disregarded the principle of separation of powers, with his insistence on keeping Ibrahim Magu as the Acting EFCC Chairman, despite the fact that he failed confirmation twice, based on two reports presented by the Directorate of State Security (DSS), an agency of the Executive, that said he was unfit for public office.

    The President has presided over a government that is known for its systematic harassment and humiliation of perceived political opponents and people with contrary opinions including the Legislature and Judiciary by the police and other security agencies.

    The President has failed to hold accountable or sanction the actions of his appointees that choose to continuously endanger and ridicule the nation, despite a Joint National Assembly resolution that called his attention to the fact.

    The President has failed to get Heads of Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to defend their budgetary proposals on time, thereby frustrating efforts of the National Assembly to pass the budgets on time.

    The President has demonstrated a failure to show sincerity in the fight against corruption. He has been selective by not prosecuting his appointees that have pending cases, despite a Joint National Assembly resolution that called his attention to the fact.

    The President has failed to take immediate and consistent steps to contain the growing level of unemployment and poverty in Nigeria especially now that oil prices are high — despite a Joint National Assembly resolution that called his attention to the fact.

    The President has failed to sanction the heads of law enforcement agencies, who appear helpless over the killing of innocent Nigerians but indulge in consistent framing up of perceived political opponents of the President and outright disregard for constitutional authority, both executive and legislative.

    The President has a preference for circumventing the law. First, he demanded to have emergency powers in his first few months in office. Later, he signed and authorized Order 006 to give him powers outside the provisions of the EFCC Act and ICPC Act — as well as the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and the Criminal Code.

    The President has consistently failed to adhere to Resolutions of the National Assembly and court orders on the unconstitutional incarceration of citizens of the Federal Republic, like Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and Sambo Dasuki.

    The President’s appointment of the Service Chiefs is in violation of the Federal Character Principle that is enshrined in the Constitution that the members of the National Assembly swore to uphold and the Federal Character Commission Act passed by the National Assembly and signed into law —  which seeks to ensure that appointments to public service institutions fairly reflect the linguistic, ethnic, religious, and geographic diversity of the country.

    The President’s failed attempts to harass and intimidate the leadership of the Senate, by bringing up bogus charges against them in the Code of Conduct Tribunal; falsely accusing them of forging the Senate rules without any evidence; and attempting to implicate the Senate President, through the Police, in a serious robbery incident, thereby politicizing the criminal investigation.

     The President has failed to investigate the coordinated affront on parliaments across the nation and has demonstrated complicity, with the use of the Security agencies under his control, to prevent lawmakers from participating in their legislative duties — thereby leading to bogus impeachment of presiding officers.

    The President has presided over the unnecessary and constant defamation and disrespect of the National Assembly by his appointees, thereby deliberately destroying our nation’s democratic institutions.

    The President has presided over the drastic reduction of the security details of the Senate President, the Speaker, the Deputy Senate President, Deputy Speaker and selected Senators all in an effort to coerce these presiding officers to do his bidding.

    The President has been complicit in the outright failure of security agencies to provide security to some serving legislators who have dissenting views. This has led to a situation whereby certain legislators cannot visit their constituencies due to threats of violence.

    During the 2018 budget signing, the oblivious President threw the National Assembly under the bus by highlighting some expenditures that were amended. This is despite the fact that the National Assembly and its committees on appropriation, worked closely with his Ministers of Finance and Budget & National Planning before authorizing these expenditures.

     Nigeria has a potential to raise up to or more than N15trillion in independent revenue through its various revenue generating agencies. Despite this fact, in 2017, the Senate discovered that the President was presiding over the intentional breach of Section 21 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act by not ordering 38 MDAs of the Federal Government to submit their budgets to the National Assembly through their supervising Minister.

     Despite the social and security challenges in the country, the President has failed to assent to the following critical Acts passed by both chambers of the National Assembly: the Corporate Manslaughter Bill, the Dangerous Drugs Bill,  the National Child Protection and Enforcement Agency Bill and the Police Procurement Fund Bill, which was aimed at making the Nigerian Police better equipped to address present day challenges as well as other constitutional amendment bill.

    The President has consistently incited members of the public against the National Assembly through his public statements. There are several examples. One of them was the speech he made during the signing of the 2018 budget. The other was during his last visit to Bauchi State where he made derisive remarks over the call for more engagement with lawmakers in order to reduce areas of disagreement between the two arms of government.

    The President publicly commended — thereby endorsing — the action of an APC Governor who maliciously demolished the house of a Senator from his state just to settle political scores and demonstrate his ability to deal with political opponents.

    Mr Awonsaya finishes by stating that –

    It is clearly evident that Nigeria’s President has no regard for the rule of law, one of the fragile tenets of Nigeria’s democracy. This president must not be allowed to continue to degrade our democratic institutions because of his ambitions.

  • JOHESU, AHCPA write Buhari, reject presidential committee’s report

    The Joint Health Sector Unions and the Assembly of Health Care Professional Associations have written President Muhammadu Buhari, rejecting the report of the Yayale Ahmed Presidential Committee of Experts on Professional Relationships in the Public Health Sector.

    The report had been submitted to former President Goodluck Jonathan since December 2014.

    The union alleged  that the secretariat of the committee was infiltrated by the Nigerian Medical Association, which made medical doctors to be referred to as “leaders of the health team” while other health professionals were dubbed “allied health professionals.”

    The union said that the Yayale Ahmed committee was one-sided and that its report only sought to further marginalise its members and compromise the future generations of its members.

    “We strongly demand this report, which is not in tune with national development and interest, be immediately withdrawn for public good and for the future of the health sector, as it’s certainly not a positive reference point in the quest for international best practices,” the unions said.

    Excerpts from the letter read, “In one of the most nauseating recommendations of the YAPCEPRH, it recommended the establishment of an unnecessary office of the Chief Medical Adviser to Mr. President.

    “A perusal of the functions of this office – including exercising essential responsibilities for issuing reports on such issues as ‘smoking and health’, as well as issuing warning to the public on health hazards, it confirms that this recommendation is only a shortcut to bring back to life the concept of Surgeon-General as demanded by the Nigerian Medical Association.

    “The YAPCEPRPH found it necessary to cite experiences in climes where doctors have a monopoly of some public health initiatives. It conveniently and cleverly avoided the United States’ experience of the Surgeon-General, which is open to all health professionals. As a matter of fact, the incumbent US Surgeon-General is a trained Registered Nurse.”

  • IMO STATE FINALLY OUTGROWS ROCHAS AND DR. IKEDI OHAKIM COMING TO RESCUE

    Dr. Pius Ikedi Ohakim

    The immediate past Governor of Imo State, Dr. Ikedi Ohakim has openly rooted the recent happenings at Imo State. It’s true that people have lost confidence in present administration in the state. The talk of monarchical imposition of Governor Okorocha’s son in law is total abuse of power. Vast people of its citizens are tired of division and bickering and his further fight against the duly elected delegates are becoming too risky for him. It has dashed Okorocha’s long journey to regaining relevance and it died at the venue of APC convention in Abuja. He is just floating on nothing but on cliffhangers and happy ending to dream looks remote.

    Subsequent speech making, deal cutting, vote rustling and budget legerdemain that went into eking the his deputy was just like Nebuchadnezzar on his last days. 

    The hushed operation of secret chambers of the high court verdict, that individual mandated might prove fatal is too rich an irony.

    After all his idea which was originally hatched by him and embraced by his self gratification supporters including speaker of the house assembly, before he spurned into actions. The end motivation is to secure his loots.

    What the majority of citizens of the state won’t do this time around-is to refight political battles of almost eight years with his son in law, and going back to the ways things are with him. Come 2019 election, the state hope to elect an experienced and able leader that will leads them to path of recovering and install back progress.

    The upcoming next year election, will give the state new reason to get excited as tried and experienced hand is coming on board. That has foreclosed Okorocha’s chance of political imposition of unpopular candidate; son in law, Uche Nwosu.

    It’s not always anybody’s duty to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices but is a duty of patriots to direct them back, and right the wrongs.

    It is not exaggerating to state the fact that majority citizens of Imo state perceived Ohakim as a groundbreaker, a trust born out of the remarkable developmental projects he initiated during his tenure as technocrat who believes on use of education as a tool to build sustainable and participatory future for the youths of the state. He initiated scholarship programs for the less-advantaged.

    For men and women in the state, they benefited from his empowerment initiatives, financial incentives were given even trucks given out. 

    To advance the socioeconomic of the state, he led fourteen -man delegates to Taiwan to see developmental platforms to borrow from their dynamic economy.

    He championed 13%  salary increment to monarchs in the state, Dr. Ohakim is one of the frontier in Delta region fight. 

    During his administration, he brought some sanity to use of public funds in the state, less misappropriation were noted. 

    Dr. Ohakim is the author of series of book that touches marketing and rural industrialization. One can see demonstration of visions in all his projects in the state, which remains as he left it due to lack of continuity from Rochas administration. Ohakim is a man with strong political conviction and all his works are the mirror of his political philosophy, but the regret is, he were not allowed to carry the ball over the finish line. 

    However, if one pause, to analyze the system that brought Rochas into power and his assumed victory over Ohakim in 2011 election, first one has to understand how, Autocracy is only the rules for survival and how it  works both in electoral process and outcomes.

    Autocratic electoral contest, is election dominated by charges of lying and mistruths, from the primaries to the general election. Allegiance to a fact-based reality constantly challenged. The conspiracy theories work on a different level than mere lies. It lodges itself in the mind by showing that something could be true without proving that it is true, therefore impossible to disprove and it cannot be fact-checked because central tenets are conjectures rather than not facts, then debates spawned by conspiracy theories become fruitless arguments about beliefs, and merely by having them, gradually elevate these theories from assertion to assumption. Conspiracy theories do not stem from facts. Instead, they demand facts to buttress them. Okorocha victory over Ohakim, is the fact on which the original theory had relied and had been debunked, but the belief remained. Inasmuch one will look for new facts to support it but the contender always insists that by-gone” should stay gone even before the final judgment by the Supreme Court.

    Therefore, 2019 election is a call for Dr. Pius Ikedi Ohakim continuity. There is no sense in conducting theoretical debates when the Imo state house is on fire. The political impacts of his decision to run, has been rippling at this election season in a way that can even a jostle boat including Okorocha’s corner. Other Aspirants won’t fail to acknowledge with Ohakim on the race, rough seas are ahead. But good news is his mission is always clear and to the point. He is coming to Repair and Progress the state. 

    There is no iota of doubt, with experience and a technocrat for that matter, he already possessed a tool, his past achievements have earned a trust from Imoans, his strong political will and philosophy is a know-how and power, he needs to get things done. He is the only one with broad acceptability for now, to win the Imo state gubernatorial race and running under APGA party a bonus that have endeared him to the first choice status.

    Pamela Ogwata
    Abuja.
  • Alhaji Garba Umar Calls On Nigerians To Support Good Efforts OF FG In War Against Corruption

    The book  Author, Aliyu A.A Butu

    The book: “Corruptionism is a terrorism against all humanity”- Author.

    The former acting governor of Taraba State, His Excellency, Alhaji Garba Umar made this call this on Saturday at the public presentation of the book ” Corruptionionalism: The highest Stage Of Capitalism” organised by the department of Political Science of the University of Abuja in Abuja.

    He called on every Nigerians to put all hands on deck to ensure President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s efforts in stemming corruption out from the system is positively encouraged.

    “May I use this occasion to call on all Nigerians to join in the ongoing efforts of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to fight corruption to a standstill”

    Dignitaries at the group picture taken at the event.

    Alhaji Umar, who is also the Chairman of the ceremony added, “As we can see, substantial progress is being made in this regard. But, the expected victory can only come if all Nigerians rally behind the President,” he said.

    On the same not of condemning and urging the public to shun corruption, the 2019 Presidential Aspirant, Adamu Garba ll urged Nigerian youths to help in fighting corruption by refusing to be bought by politicians during and, be prepared to act decisively in 2019 and vote for a youth who would be ready to stand for their interest and integrity.
    “You, youths should take a decision to shun corruption by refusing to be bought but be ready to vote for a leader with your interest at heart and integrity to lead this nation toward sustainable economic growth” he said.

    At the side interview with the author of the Mallam Aliyu. A. A Butu, he spoke about the concept behind coming out with this thought provoking book. He described corruption as being in the same lane with terrorism.

    “Corruptionism is a terrorism against all humanity, fighting it is necessary, is dragging Nigeria back. Fighting corruption is not enough if we dont bring things that bring about corruption on the discourse. In my book I segemented it into various types of corruption. For example, rigging election is an election- political corruption. Nepotism is a corruption. There are really many types of corruption which I mentioned and explained each, inside this book.

    On a final note, he says, “This is a must read for every patriotic Nigerians who want the issues of corruption to be addressed squarely,” he stated.

    President Muhammadu Buhari award recieved by Muhammad Danjuma on his behalf.

    Apart from unveiling of the book, another high point of the event was the presentation of awards to President Muhammadu Buhari and Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Mustafa Magu, for their dual untiring war against corruption in Nigeria. The two award was recieved on their Behalves by respective representative, present at the end event.

    Representative from EFCC receiving award on behalf the Agency.

    Present at the event were serving and retired top government functionaries from different sectors of the economy. (National Enquirer)

    Pamela Ogwata reporting/Abuja.

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