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#EndSARS: Where do we go from here?

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By Tommy U. Okochi

THE avalanche of commentaries and opinions on the #EndSARS protests has offered various premises and narratives on the cause/causes and or motive behind the mayhem. The obvious and proximate grievance of the protesters is police brutality by SARS personnel visited on citizens by the outlawed outfit, but the underlying and remote motive is the bad and inhuman governance structure and the oppressive inclination of the political elite who have hijacked the hard-won democracy to live in their comfort zone of arrogant and scandalous opulence while condemning the mass majority to the low estate of poverty, hunger, disease, squalor and despair.


Olatunji Dare captured the terrible existential and sociological condition of the polity as the propelling force behind the spontaneous show of discontent, frustration and anger which characterized the chaos that transpired in many Nigerian cities and towns in those two weeks of mayhem. Dare in his back page column At Home Abroad of The Nation of October 27 interrogated the conduct of the political elite in the inequitable and wicked distribution and management of national resources when he succinctly stated: “The protesters see monumental waste in every corner; they see serious fraud and misconduct go unpunished, if not actually rewarded; they see public officers flaunting their illicit wealth and the totems thereof without fear of the taxman or the magistrate, and without qualms. It is as if they are taunting the public, daring it to do its worst.”


Dare warned thus; “These are some of the festering issues that exploded into anarchic violence… They will be back, bigger, better organized, more resourceful and more resolute, unless the issues of which #EndSARS is but a rubric are addressed forthrightly.”

The Nigerian youth made a clear and unequivocal statement on the sordid state of the nation. A critical, objective and unbiased interrogation, introspection and socio-political analysis of the state of our nation depicts a gloomy and frightful picture of a failing, nay failed state. Look at the optics, matrix, metrics, stats and ethics. They tell and paint a gloomy and frightening story and picture of the state of anomie and dystopia. Massive and systemic corruption has over the decades inflicted crippling poverty on 80 percent of the population with the attendant rise in insecurity and escalation of violent crimes and mass killings. Critical infrastructures have completely broken down and remain primitive; roads are in decrepit condition and there is no electric power to drive the economy. Despite the questionable privatization exercise and the huge resources poured into this critical sector over the years, we are operating a ‘dark’ economy in a global economy driven by hi-tech. The core social services in the education and health sectors are virtually nonexistent. A huge army of out-of-school children and unemployed youths roam about our cities and villages, an ever-ready recruitment resource pool for criminals and insurgents. Health care services are unavailable and unaffordable with ill-equipped facilities and ill-motivated medical staff. On virtually every human development index, we are in the red. If these are not symptomatic of a failed state, what is?

Nigeria’s democracy has been bastardised. The political elite who are appointed or elected to serve the masses have constituted themselves into a ‘deep state’, forming networks and structures of consorts and cronies from sub-national levels to the centre. In the midst of scary insecurity, abject mass poverty and squalor, they corner and appropriate the nation’s resources, living in lustful, scandalous and unconscionable opulence. They are secured by the state’s security agencies, each with a retinue of armed security operatives. They fill their garages with exotic limousines and SUVs and a fleet of backup vehicles all at the taxpayers’ expense. They appoint scores of Special Advisers, Personal Assistants, Liaison Officers and many more, all cronies and political jobbers who earn from public till without any productive output. They recycle and rotate political positions. Former governors retire to the senate with illicit and immoral pensions from their states’ coffers while earning their salaries and allowances in the legislature, a criminal act of avarice.

The National Assembly flouts its independence to fix humongous salaries and allowances to her members which are opaque and not in the public domain. Their finances are not subject to audits. Yet they assert their constitutional powers to oversight the other branches. What hypocrisy! The over-bloated workforce in both the executive and legislative arms gulps over 70 percent of the annual budgets in personnel costs and overhead leaving a paltry 30 percent for critical capital projects that drive development.  Politics in Nigeria is toxic and governance criminally devoid of empathy, producing a hegemonic class of feudal overlords who dominate the political space in a ‘do-or-die’ code. APC and PDP are identical twins exhibiting the same traits of corruption, greed and impunity. Members of both parties swap membership like sex-starved maniacs jumping from one prostitute to another.

The one and only solution to this existential state of paralysis is to restructure the federation. Nigeria hungers and thirsts for a truly peoples constitution. We must jettison the present unworkable document contrived and imposed by the military on the nation by martial decree. The American type presidential system is too costly for a miserably poor country such as ours; too sophisticated to be practiced by a predominantly cynical, illiterate and ignorant polity; and is most susceptible to corruption as we have seen here in Nigeria and in the present American Trump era.

Let us have a new constitution with two federating levels – federal and regional. The federal government is so over-laden and overburdened with too many elements of governance that it is hamstrung and cannot even perform optimally on any of the items on the so called exclusive list. It has failed in providing security for lives and property, a fundamental responsibility of any government; cannot maintain 36,000 kilometres of its commandeered roads nationwide; cannot crack the intractable and perennial problem of electric power supply; cannot provide quality and technology-driven education and does not have the capacity to provide affordable and efficient healthcare for the teeming citizens.

A new constitution will unbundle and upload these huge burdens and transfer them to the regions. Security is fundamental and paramount. Let us not deceive ourselves about state police. The states are too cash-strapped and indigent to own, train and equip any efficient police formation when many are struggling to pay salaries and pensions. We are now observing the states gravitating towards regionalism with the southwest states launching the regional security outfit – Amotekun.  Other regions – the Northeast, North-central and Southeast are embracing regional association with the formation of Development Commissions. Let the federal roads revert to regional roads for sustainable maintenance.

The National Assembly cannot give us a truly peoples’ constitution as they have lost touch with their constituents. They live in their comfort zones.  Since 1999, their attempts have ended in futility with millions of naira going down the drain. Erudite lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN remarked recently; “The news is everywhere and the propaganda has gone haywire that the National Assembly is amending the Constitution, as if what the constitution needs is an amendment rather than a total overhaul starting from the preamble to the definition schedule.” They cannot amend a severely flawed document imposed through treasonable adventures of military dictators.

Let us hearken to the voices of our patriots and elder statesmen who keep hammering on restructuring to embrace true federalism – eminent men such as Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Chief Edwin Clark, Aare Afe Babalola SAN, Chief Segun Osoba, Chief Ayo Opadokun, Late Senator Ayo Fasanmi. Ethnic nationalities namely Afenifere, Ohaneze, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) have persistently called for restructuring to entrench true federalism and take governance to the people at the grassroots. They cannot amend a seriously flawed document imposed through treasonable adventures of military dictatorship.

This hard-fought democracy for which many sacrificed their lives and limbs have been broken, rigged and hijacked by those who sat on the fence during the titanic struggle. May the sacrifices of our democracy heroes never be in vain. Iconic patriots who paid the supreme price such as Chief MKO Abiola, his beloved wife Kudirat, Chief Anthony Enahoro and many others, martyred in the cause of democracy should not die in vain.

  • Elder Okochi writes from Agbani, Nkanu West LGA, Enugu State.

The Nation

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Funmi Iyanda Discusses Child Molestation And Sex Slavery

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“Children are dying. Children are being molested.  People need to spend their lives in jail, and you’ll see, this culture will disappear.”- Mr. James Ibor on Public Eye.


Public Eye


On Sunday, November 29, 2020, Funmi Iyanda had a conversation about sex slavery in the Keyi community of Cross River State with The Project Director Vision Spring Initiatives, Mrs. Ngozi Nwosu -Juba, The Principal Council Basic Rights Council Initiative (BRCI), Mr. James Ibor Esq. and the Former Lagos (now Kano) Zonal Commander of NAPTIP, Mr Daniel Atokolo.

The show began with a brief documentary which shed light on “Money Wives”. Girls, some younger than 8, some from birth, are betrothed to men old enough to father them as surety for debts. The girls spend their lives as slaves. They are molested and stripped of their rights. If their “husbands” die, they are passed on to the next male in the family.

Overwhelmed with emotion from the documentary, Funmi Iyanda asked, “Why does everyone hate women?” Ms. Ngozi echoed Funmi’s sentiment. “How do you describe where a girl child is hated so much? They are slaves! Calling them money wives is painting a beautiful picture.”

It was revealed that Public Eye has a money wife on standby. Unfortunately, the family of her late “husband”, who has refused to release her even after his death, whisked her away shortly before she could join Public Eye via phone.

The conversation moved on to what the Cross River State government has done to abolish this heinous tradition. “Cross River State has not done enough. After their campaigns, they prosecuted no one to serve as a deterrent. These girls are still suffering. The practice is getting more vicious and dangerous.”, said Mr. James Ibor.

Having spent time in this region, in collaboration with the Cross River State government and other agencies, he was frustrated with the little change effected in the area.

Mr Ibor continued, “Children are dying. Children are being molested.  These are felonies, yet not one “Money Husband” has been persecuted. People need to spend their lives in jail, and you’ll see, this culture will disappear.”

As regards what institutions such as NAPTIP can do to solve this problem, Mr Daniel Atokolo had this to say, “ Impunity persists when there are no sanctions. We can not pay off the debts that these girls are suffering because government policies should not perpetrate crime. What we should do is give a counter-narrative to what they believe in and show them examples of people who have come out of this experience and are doing well. They become ambassadors of hope.”

 

 

Public Eye airs every Sunday at 5 pm on TVC News. You can catch them on any of these television channels: DSTV (channel 418), Startimes (channel 307), GOTV (channel 45), or channel 572 on Sky.

 

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VIDEO: Erica Nlewedim Shuns Laycon, Wizkid in Kiss Kill and Marry Game.

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Erica Nlewedim continues to mind the business that pays her, despite all efforts by folks on social media to continually pit her against Laycon.


Recently, the actress appeared on Beats FM show in Lagos, where she talked about her major deals with Nigerian Breweries’ Star Radler and Legend products.


At the end of the show, she was invited to participate in the usual “kiss, kill, and marry” game, and offered the options of three men–Kiddwaya, Laycon, and Wizkid.

Erica calmly sidestepped the options she knew so well would rile toxic conversations on social media, and chose to do everything with her partner, Kiddwaya.

Watch the exciting video below:

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Ayisha Modi blasts industry persons after Alordia promotion exposed her about Sarkodie and Castro

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The die-hard fan of Bhim Nation president Stonebwoy, Ayisha Modi aka She_loves_Stonebwoy has gone on a blasting spree after the manager of missing musician Castro reacted to her allegations on Sarkodie.


Tema-based rapper Sarkodie has been in the bad books of Ayisha Modi since his manager Angel Town issue with Stonebwoy months ago ahead of his Black Love virtual concert.

Ayisha Modi in a recent interview on Okay FM revealed that Sarkodie has never gone out to offer help to the family of Castro ever since he disappeared some years ago.

According to her, not only has Sarkodie failed to take care of the family of Castro but has also kept Castro’s share of the hit song “Adonai” when he knows very well that Castro invested into the music project adding that Sarkodie is a greedy person.

“Has he even given Castro’s mother GH500 before? This is a matter that has been on my heart for a long time and today I am asking him in your studio,” Ayisha quizzed.

The YouTube money, has he even given anyone some? But for me, when Sarkodie started his career, I knew he was greedy”.

Things took turns when UK-based Ghanaian music promoter, Nii Ofori Tackie known as Alordia granted an interview and explained that Sarkodie has been of great help to the family of Castro asking Ghanaians to disregard Ayisha’s comment.

In a new development, Ayisha has bared her teeth at Alordia stating he is telling lies and just defending Sarkodie to make him look good.

She insisted and maintained that Sarkodie has not done anything for the family of Castro while insulting people in the creative arts industry.

Watch the video below:

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The Bhim die-hard fan angrily asked those in the creative arts industry to go out and learn how the music business is done in countries like Nigerian and the USA and stop being satisfied with the chicken change they receive from the government all the time.

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