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President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, from a psychological point of view, this is not the time to hastily send out Reuben Abati, your special adviser on Media and Publicity Affairs, or anyone else directly or indirectly, to comment on the holy words, righteous and predictive expressions of Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, the first President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), a body that you naturally believe in, given your life position as a man of Christian background and faith.

The Cardinal is a priest who gave almost forty years of his life as a holy representative of godly work in Nigeria.

 Mr. Jonathan, by your own awareness, this Chief Priest of God is one who stands in defense of the poor and the oppressed, and stands for equal dignity of every human being. In his current status he remains a devoted servant of the people and of humanity. The larger arm of Nigerians all over the universe continues to look up to him. As you now know, this man of God, going from his own notations from the Old Testament, appears to have placed a curse on your direct or indirect quest for the presidency in next year's general elections.

Why this holy agent of God in Nigeria would speak out on the state of progress and future of Nigeria at this time, and spiritually caution against your chances for a second term, and remind Nigerians of it at this critical time in your life, is beyond my imagination as a psychologist and as one who is always about human observations and prediction but only from the point of science and non-spirituality.

On a therapeutic level, you and your family, especially your mother, should meet privately with the Holy One, Archbishop Okogie.

You, Sir, as a human being first  and a politician second, should find out how his spiritually explosive words, before the eyes, ears and minds of Nigerians, could weigh tortuously, twistingly or expansively on your soul, body and your way.

Mr. President, you have said, in your own words, "We are extremely religious people,” referring to Nigerians. This man of God, a known prudent cleric, is about foreseeing or predicting danger, wishing goodness, and always cautious in all matters.  As a close friend of God, what does his spirit sense about your future that makes him declare in the air of the country and into the minds of Nigerians about your undeserving status for the second term presidency?

 Mr. Jonathan, instead of trying to fault the points being made about your future by the Priest and God’s anointed, you should meet with Archbishop Okogie. You, as a man of politics, know about the way politicians are generally and publicly judged—power hungry, greedy, wicked, cowardly, insensitive, untruthful, and disastrous.

This is the more reason you ought to be very concerned and have a rethink about the weight of the faithful, fateful and spiritually allergic words of the High cleric regarding your political life and future. Sir, in my position as a psychologist,  I urgently advise you to have a private audience with him,  not for the purpose of answering to him, as he is not God, but to at least clear your  conscience for the sake of your personal, political and national future.

Mr. President, remember the election of 2015 is almost here. The electorate in their state of hopefulness or helplessness, as it relates to the coming presidential election, knows that this is a man of God.  While he might not have a direct telephone line to God, in his own words he has proclaimed that God is watching you and other politicians with the potential for being judged in any and every way possible.

So Mr. President, I am telling you--Go and shake his hand and have a short or long talk, now!

Dr John Egbeazien Oshodi is a Forensic and Clinical Psychologist and a former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

When it comes to providing work for idle minds, the devil seems to have a particular fondness for Nigerian youths, especially around election times.

Most elections conducted in Nigeria over the past decades have been characterised by thuggery.

Politicians turn to the country's pool of unemployed millions to recruit young people who will aid their democratic ambitions.

These youths are then trained and empowered to manipulate the electoral climate.

Their job description includes anything from intimidating political opponents to seizing ballot boxes and clobbering uncooperative electoral officers.

But times are definitely changing.

Rather than supplying them with machetes, missiles and matches, Nigerian politicians are now arming their hirelings with laptops, smart phones and internet connections.

Political thuggery has gone digital.

As Nigeria gears up for the 2015 General Election, squads of young people are being recruited across the nation to storm cyberspace: To harass, intimidate and persecute their employer's opponents or those with views that oppose his ambitions.

For many Nigerian youths, being an "internet warrior" is a full-time job.

Some work from home; others work from an office - many work round the clock.

I spoke to a 28-year-old chemistry graduate who patrols the online war front for one of Nigeria's popular politicians.

Burst of laughter

Every morning, he gets dressed and embarks on a 20-minute drive to work, where he sits in an office with dozens of other young people on the same mission as himself.

With a burst of laughter, he summarised his job description in three words: "Distort public opinion".

He and his colleagues have about 10 different pseudonyms each for news websites and blogs, but fewer for Facebook and Twitter.

They bombard articles about their politician with positive comments, and blast those of his opponents with negative posts.

"I usually use corruption and ethnicity to attack," he said.

Some months ago, he was engaged in the exact opposite: Maligning his current employer.

At the time, he was working in an enemy camp, but the pay and conditions were not as favourable as those offered him now.

"They had promised us jobs," he said, "but when the time came, they offered all the positions to people from their constituency."

Another young man told me that certain online platforms, especially newspapers, block any comments his team members post in support of their candidate.

Others allow support for his principal, and disallow negativity from enemy camps.

It all depends on whose payroll the newspaper's online editor has been signed.

These internet warriors, while not stealing ballot boxes or bullying electoral officers, are manipulating the electoral climate.

Public opinion is being rigged.

Hurling stones

At this rate, the forthcoming elections will be full of many surprises, especially for those who depend on online forums to gauge Nigerians' sentiments on any issue.

Meanwhile, the multitude of Nigerians who actually go out to stand in the rain or sun for hours to vote on election day, often do not have internet connections in their shacks.

Being an internet warrior certainly comes across as a more acceptable form of thuggery than ripping shirts and hurling stones in the streets.

The pseudonymous adversaries may even be best friends.

At the close of business, they shut their laptops and meet at the pepper-soup joint down the road for a stout, the day's vicious tasks safely behind their screens.

But what will become of all these recruits when the 2015 battles have been lost or won?

Despite the promises that may have been made to them, not all will be given better jobs or government appointments.

The Niger Delta oil militants who terrorised southern Nigeria a few years ago were reported to be thugs used during election campaigning who suddenly found themselves jobless - but adequately armed after the ballots had been cast.

Some of the Boko Haram insurgents currently terrorising the north were also born out of a similarly expired campaign contract.

Increased armed robberies, kidnappings and assassinations in different parts of Nigeria after elections have also been linked to youths with weapons who find an alternative use for them.

I wonder what these armies of young Nigerians will do with their laptops, smart phones and internet connections after the 2015 electoral battle - which many politicians view as Armageddon - is over.

This writer is one of those against Home Healthcare for Ebola patients until a Liberian student nurse proved us wrong. As hospitals rejected her four relatives, her home treatment of deadly Ebola accomplished three survivals. Even more important was her homemade plastic garbage bags turned into Tyvek suits, regular local food, bleach and clean water with sugar and little salt.  

Reality in the field demonstrated that hospital beds are full and care givers are so overwhelmed that patients are being turned away in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Many families have no place to take those struck by Ebola virus. Some have been abandoned on the streets and places where their bodies posed greater risk and might likely infect others. This is why cremation of dead bodies is a public health issue in the interest all. A lady defied odds  See Fatu Kekula Story.

Usually nobody wants to take chances with infectious diseases and in cases of those as serious as Ebola, just like tuberculosis, it is better treated in sanatorium. As we learn more about Ebola and fear of exponential spread materializes, there are just not enough doctors, hospitals and no reliable and HIV drugs or immunization guaranteed cure yet. In the midst of all these is terrible news that some health workers are being attacked by a few local folks or blamed for Ebola.

- The World Health Organization  claimed Liberia had 315 bed spaces for Ebola patients and aid agencies have promised to set up 440 more, but the country needs a further 1,550 beds that nobody has yet offered to provide. In Sierra Leone, 297 planned new beds would almost double existing capacity, but a further 532 were needed - See Ebola spread.   

As a result of the pressing and immediate needs, home health care and halfway centers, though not ideal, are gaining temporary acceptance until more beds are available. Rooms are shared in most African homes by more than one person making home care difficult but probable in face of the wild spread, where rooms can be temporarily obliged for treatment of sick Ebola patients.

Liberia Médecins Sans Frontières distributed kits contain bucket, chlorine, gloves, gowns, masks, garbage bags soap and a spray bottle to families that cannot gain immediate access to hospital.

Some Africans are afraid of going into hospitals for Ebola or any illness. They simply do not trust nurses, physicians and aides thinking they may come back home infected by other diseases. Authorities may have to go out and introduce home healthcare in the training of the children of traditional Babalawo, crash train more community health officers and aides in schools of health technology. African countries like Nigeria must deploy them to those countries in need.

Africans like the rest of the world mourned and feel attached to their dead. Actually, there are people in the western and eastern world still seeking the bones of their dead from World War I and II. Some Korean and Vietnam wars families that lost loved ones still seek reburial of their own at home. They force their governments to seek and retrieve those that have perished in different places. So it is not only Africans that are attached to their dead, we all are.

Another disadvantage of home health care is the visits paid by relatives and friends. By now we all know, Ebola is one of the exceptions. The room the Ebola patients are kept must be isolated and properly ventilated to the outside. All the precaution taken at the hospitals must be strictly adhered to at home to prevent cross contamination and the plastics used must be carefully disposed of. This can be cheaper if local plastic garbage bags are converted to suits as our sister.

Bodies of Ebola dead must not be washed, hugged or seen in open caskets to be blessed with holy sprinkle water in Church. The Muslim buried their dead immediately or as soon as possible. That is why you cannot fool around with Lemomu and play dead. You will find yourself under, in the burial ground. So as far as Ebola dead bodies are concern, cremation is the best way to go. We do not have to worry about the survival or mutation of the virus in the dead bodies.

The lessons we learn from Nigeria is that old fashioned medical management, enough food and clean water with pain killer drugs worked in Lagos where most Ebola patients were quarantined and treated. The Governor also credited existing law that made it possible to detain people that became risky and contagious while another law made cremation possible. The infrastructure existing in Lagos saved most patients that were sought and admitted for medical management.

Consequently, treatment of Ebola patients at home must be under strict supervision with at least one professional around to supervise pain drugs, food and water. The nursing student that accomplished the task must be congratulated for her ingenuity when she had nowhere else to turn to, after rejections from hospitals. But for her unique abilities, other people could have been infected, losing all her four Ebola infected relatives and more, including herself.

We already know that nursing care is very important in the hospitals. Unfortunately, in the case of Ebola, the close proximity of doctors, nurses and aids to patients also exposes them to risk. The Liberian student nurse was able to show love and empathy to her relatives while at the same time protecting herself with homemade Tyvek suits from plastic garbage bags, cloves and bleach she bought from the corner stores and markets.

It is true that at some point, Ebola patients are too sick to eat but they must be urged to drink from one liter of clean water with half tea spoon salt and six tea spoons sugar to replenish lost element during frequent stooling and urine output. Many home health cares may not be able to administer intravenous care. So it is very important to feed them well while they can still eat. Indeed, the food we eat before we are sick is more beneficial than when we have lost appetite.

We cannot wait until all that is needed are provided; we must improvise to stop Ebola spread.  

Mr. Suleiman Abba, the new Inspector General of Police, along with other Chiefs of Nigerian security agencies, need to jointly put an immediate stop to the barbaric act and practice of publicly parading criminal suspects allegedly involved in crimes. In recent years, calls by decent-minded individuals and institutions to put a stop to this inhumane, cruel and brutal practice have wholly been ignored by various law enforcement agencies.

The recently retired Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, sometime ago ordered police units across the federation to stop the practice of parading suspects while they are under investigation as required by the rule of law. Yet, across the 36 states’ police commands and the FCT, suspects day in and day out, to the delight of the media, are being paraded by the police, including the State Security Service (SSS) officials, when it is obvious that these suspects have not yet had their day in court, and as such, cannot conceivably have been convicted by a court of law.

Mr. Abba, in his capacity as a lawyer and chief of police, ought to know that the barbarous act of parading suspects in public even before their appearance in prosecution courts gravely undermine police investigations of the alleged crimes. In addition to the fact that the parading of suspects is unconstitutional and unlawful, it is known in social science research that the parading of suspects is meaningless in terms of serving as a form of deterrence to future criminal acts. It appears that this backward practice is nothing more than a sensationalized circus side show by state command heads in their drive for personal popularity.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke, and Chief Justice  Aloma Mariam should take up this issue of illegal parading of alleged criminal suspects by issuing some form of stop order or official ban which all public security agencies across the nation must comply with or face huge fines or prosecution themselves.

Along this line, true administration of criminal justice in Nigeria requires collaborative engagement of professional associations in terms of human rights protection, the rule of law and respectable use of power by law enforcement and security forces.

Most essential in this regard is the call for Austin Alegeh, President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Garba Mohammed, President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), and Andrea Zamani, President of the Nigerian Psychological Association, to help reduce or stop this form of human rights abuse by educating law enforcement bodies and the public.

On a psychological level, the parading of suspects in criminal or civil matters in front of the public or the media is not only a flagrant sign of instant humiliation, direct indictment, unswerving forfeiture of one’s human rights, but a clear message that the paraded individual does not have any constitutional rights at all.

Clearly, there are times when the identification of suspects is warranted, which is known as a police lineup or identity parade, but it is supposed to be a highly supervised, private and confidential process by which a crime victim or witness is asked to identify a suspect. Even this type of lineup, known generally as eyewitness identification, is itself marked with a long controversial history to this very day.

In our country, public identification is indiscriminately done. What if that same suspect is bailed out from the police custody?  What happens to him or her, especially if the case he or she is allegedly involved in has other criminal defendants yet to be arrested or paraded? His or her life could clearly be in danger, either through murder or even suicide due to fear or shame.

This type of public shame and media trial of suspects could affect judicial authorities consciously and/or unconsciously, as they might have seen the paraded suspect on TV or in the newspapers with a face marked with “guilt and embarrassment” as a result of the undue pressure and guard of the police.

Ordinarily, our system calls for a suspect upon arrest to appear in court and enter a plea as in guilty and not guilty. He or she could be subjected to a period of temporary custody prior to trial or bail. And should the suspect go through trial and be adjudicated as guilty by a magistrate, a judge or a Grand Qadi, or through a plea bargain, if there is any, a criminal conviction would then follow. This could then be the right time to parade the offender, as the person is no longer a suspect but a defined criminal!

But, if at the beginning of the case, the charges are dropped; or, at the end of the trial, the accused is entitled to acquittal and freed, and is, therefore, not  sentenced to prison, what then becomes of the stigma of the initial public disgrace or parade by law enforcement officials? As most psychologists will tell you, feelings of shame could be far worse than emotions of guilt. Shame, in itself, is a potent, painful and, generally, a dangerous emotion—especially for those who have been paraded knowing they are completely innocent of the accusation(s), or acquitted of the charge(s).

This barbaric practice is not only a cruel and unusual form of castigation, but on an emotional level, brings pain not just to the suspect, but to his or her family and children, who could equally feel the public shame.

As individuals, we all have feelings in terms of self-image, self-esteem or self-worth, and various destructive consequences of this type of public shame could lead to self-seclusion, domestic violence, substance abuse, road rage, workplace misbehaviors, as well as becoming overly sensitive, and possibly cause him or her to experience other personal and social complications. Also, this type of public shame could lead the person to develop an internalized view of himself or herself that he or she will be mistreated by friends and family, and that he or she no longer ‘fit’ in the society, especially when they are innocent of the crime. This way of thinking and feeling could lead to a well-constructed violent psyche, as in the idiom “I don’t care” behavior in the individual now or in the future. Therefore, it is time for us to end this madness and these unconstitutional acts by Nigerian law enforcement and security forces.

Dr Oshodi is a Forensic and Clinical Psychologist and a former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

It was a tragedy of building collapse one too many on that balmy Friday, September 12, in the premises of the Synagogue Church, Ikotun, Lagos when the foundations of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) Guest House could no longer hold as it came down crashing like a pack of cards. 80 people lost their lives, 131 people survived albeit with varying degree of injuries, and miraculously, a 45-year-old woman walked out of the rubble alive after 4 days of the building failure. Some persons thought to be South African nationals are still declared missing. The total number of people present at the building before the structural failure was about 200, including foreign believers, local church members and canteen workers. It is a tragedy of monumental proportion when worshippers who had come to seek the face of God end up seeing the face of death. For Founder and General Overseer, Prophet T.B Joshua and his teeming church members of SCOAN across the globe, this was one tragedy that they didn’t foresee or foretell.

The Synagogue guest house we learnt was originally designed from the foundation to hold a three storey building, but it ended up a sprawling 6 storey edifice! This is almost twice the load the foundation, steel rods and concrete structure was designed to carry. It is appalling that the Synagogue building had no approved plan in a state like Lagos. There is no evidence whatsoever that SCOAN secured regulatory approval for professional advice to increase the number of floors neither did they ask the appropriate questions, nor did the contractors adhere to strict standards, according to Lagos state Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development. Safety of the members who thronged the Synagogue for spiritual solace was relegated to the background. This failure gives an ample opportunity for government at all levels, particularly in Lagos state, to put an end to structural failures leading to collapse of buildings. The church authority must therefore be sued by the government for criminal negligence and flouting government’s building regulations to serve as deterrent to others and the contractor charged to court.

Prophet T.B Joshua, labeled the collapse as a Boko Haram attack, claiming he was the target. That’s the way to go in Nigeria after an avoidable tragedy. Cases have been recorded where Lagos state residents were forewarned by relevant authorities to evacuate buildings with tell-tale signs of structural failures and danger of imminent collapse but chose instead to cover such building with the ‘blood of Jesus.’

Lagos in particular, has recorded several building collapses more than any other city in Nigeria. In 2006 alone, up to 3 major building collapses were recorded. On March 22, the top nine stories of a 21-storey Nigerian Industrial Development Bank building collapsed. July 18, a four-storey block of apartments composed of 36 flats, collapsed. In November, an uncompleted three-storey building under construction collapsed. In these three structural failures, at least 28 persons were killed while over 86 others were pulled out of the rubble alive but sustained varying degree of injuries.

It is also on record that a four-storey residential building under construction near Ojuelegba in Lagos collapsed leading to loss of lives of construction workers and those taking shelter from the rain. Remember the collapse of a multi-million naira building in Ajah Area. The collapse of a mosque in Mushin killing some Arabic Scholars. The collapse of a storey building in Kano accommodating some Islamic students, similar in scenario to the Oworonshoki building collapse a few days after which eight people were feared dead. There was the collapse of a storey building behind Federal Capital Territory Police Command in Abuja, reportedly killing 14 people working. The collapse of a 3-storey building awaiting finishing works at Ikeja behind Juli Pharmacy, where over 40 people were trapped in the building. The Abuja building collapse killing over 40 people. There was also the collapse of a Hotel in Akure, Ondo state. All these collapses happened in the last decade.

The Synagogue building collapse has underscored the failure of relevant government agencies on one hand and greed on the part of contractors and building owners who use substandard materials for building or change building plans midway through construction - design for a residential(family) building can turn to a church overnight or the likelihood that bungalow, midway into construction, will turn to a storey building which often lead to structural deficiency like the case of Synagogue guest house. Unfortunately, there are still a number of buildings of similar circumstances dotting the skyline of many Nigerian cities.

The time has come for us to desist from passing the buck or putting the blame squarely on poor-quality cement, fake iron rods, greed of foremen to maximize profit and utter disregard for building and construction laws with intentional neglect for the safety of the occupants of such building to putting in place punitive measures to ensure engineers or architects who supervise the erection of such substandard buildings are made to face the full wrath of the law.  It is time government does more than revocation of Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of the land – which is a rarity nowadays – where such substandard buildings are erected.

Some remote factors of building collapse include; absence of soil test report, inability to carry out proper land survey, failure by foremen to understand and interpret building codes, lack of coordination between professional bodies like SON, COREN, CORBON, NIA, NSE etc and government and local town planning authority. Miserliness on the part of the owners (they shun professionals and use substandard materials to cut building costs), poor structural design, non-compliance with approved building design are some of the major reasons for building collapse in Nigeria. We can stop looking for supernatural causes of structural failures and look within. They are human factors. If not for the lack of will to enforce the appropriate building regulations and the need to unnecessarily "manage" building cost, the probability of sudden collapse of building is relatively low even in the event of an earthquake or hurricane, according to geographers.

Every building contractor should be duly registered for easy tracking and punishment should there be a reoccurrence. It is as tragic as the structural failure in itself that the issues of building collapses in Nigeria are hardly ever taken seriously by the government or the relevant law enforcement agents.

Contrary to what many think, building collapses are not natural disasters except in cases of earthquake, hurricane or tornadoes. The incidents in Nigeria are manmade and therefore avoidable.

 

You can follow the writer on twitter, @tilevbare.

I feel honored that Mr Paul C. Nwabuikwu, the media adviser to Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala (NOI), Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, considered my article important enough to merit a rejoinder.  My article can be located here online.  http://ngrguardiannews.com/opinion/columnist/178125-temitope-oshikoya-golden-girl-and-the-icarus-paradox 

However, in his piece “Temitope Oshikoya: The Lies of a Disappointed Man,” Paul conveniently sidetracked the issues raised in my article, and instead went on vicious and vitriolic attacks that would appear to impugn on my integrity and professional standing. Paul’s cheap attempt to wish away the poignant message, and then try to impugn the character of the messenger is a despicable display of his moral bankruptcy. I will address his key points on: ethnic bigot, pseudo-intellectual, NMRC, and ADB.

  The piece written by Paul Nwabuikwu simply confirmed the key theme of my article that our Golden Girl, NOI has been hijacked by sycophants like him, deluding her with flattery and adulation. As I noted, all the media image laundering and gymnastics are happening at a time when energy should be focused in helping the Government and the President to tackle unemployment crisis, especially among the youth of over 50%; reduce Nigeria’s Misery Index of 48, the third rank among 90 countries; and attenuate the deepening socio-economic inequality.

As a professional economist and intellectual, it is my humble conviction that it is far better to let her realize the blinding effects of these sycophants from realties on Nigeria’s weighty economic matters.  First, in his characteristic sycophantic element, Nwabuikwu’s most egregious form of moral turpitude and dishonesty displayed throughout his piece with the words “ethnic bigot.” He insulted my Igbo wife from Abia State, my children with Igbo names, my Igbo in-laws, friends and colleagues.

People know me as somebody who transcends ethnic boundaries, marrying from the South East; I attended a University in the North. With faith in the Nigeria project, I appreciate the sensitivity, sensibility and understanding of the different parts of the country. These traits, at the barest minimum, ought to inform the disposition of all Nigerians: to be broad-minded and to put the Nigeria project and our collective good ahead of individual, regional, and ethnic selfish interest.

Second, Paul Nwabuikwu’s egregious charge of “pseudo-intellectual”, I am afraid, says more about him than about me. Curious to find out what this character is made of as displayed by his warped mind, I explored the Internet to know more about his credentials. To my utter disappointment, I discovered that all search for his intellectual scholarship showed nothing of value. If anyone has the temerity to label me a ‘pseudo-intellectual’ they had better do their homework properly.  For the avoidance of doubt, I am compelled to put to him a summation of my own record.

Like many Nigerians, I grew up from a humble background, with the painful memory of parents who could hardly afford to send me through primary and secondary schools. But thanks to God’s Providence and with dint of hard work, I obtained a bachelor’s degree with first class honours, and best graduating student in Department of Economics and Faculty of Social Sciences at ABU, Zaria. I won a national essay competition and a Commonwealth Scholarship for my Masters and Doctorate degrees in economics at McMaster University in Canada. I am a qualified chartered banker, with FCIB, certified management accountant (CMA), and an MBA holder.

In addition, I have gained leadership, strategic, policy, and operational experience in development finance, central, investment and commercial banking through keen competitive processes. With my economics and banking background, independent analysts had shortlisted my name on the list of potential CBN Governorship candidates. (http://www.myfinancialintelligence.com/banking-and-finance/next-cbn-governor).

I have authored and co-authored refereed articles severally in international scholarly journals, which have been widely cited as part of research and teaching instructions in leading universities world-wide. I have served as an editor and member of editorial boards of Journals published by Oxford University Press and Blackwell. I have also been contributing to public policy discourse on Nigerian economic issues, which appears to irritate sycophantic associates such as Paul Nwabuikwu. As I tell the truth dispassionately about our economy in those articles, these sycophants feel intellectually challenged. They think no Nigerian economist can and should challenge her intellectually on Nigeria’s economy, while thought leadership on our economy has been outsourced to non-Nigerians. 

Third, Paul Nwabuikwu obviously lacks knowledge of how professional search firms work. His allusion to the three professional firms headed by people from the South West was an attempt to cover up the regional selfish agenda. I have the highest respect for the names and search firms mentioned in Nwabuikwu’s rebuttal. But that is beside the point.  Somehow, only sponsored regional candidates always finally emerge. From experience, a search firm sources out candidates and submits a shortlist list to the prospective employer, including names proposed by the latter.

From thereon, the employer is in charge and control of the process going forward, including interviews, while the firm simply now plays a more supportive role, for example, in contacting candidates for the interview and looking after the paper work. In the case of the NMRC CEO, the firm has done its professional part and submitted names of short-listed candidates, and interviews were expected to be completed in January, 2014.

From then on, this is where the selfish agenda sets in! NOI kept delaying the process and finally acceded to a meeting in June 2014, then postponed it again for another three weeks in July. The start of the scheduled interview meeting was further delayed for more than three hours on the scheduled date of Sunday afternoon. I have had opportunities during my career of over two decades to meet with Presidents and Ministers in Nigeria and in some other African countries. Once there is a scheduled appointment, they will never delay you beyond thirty minutes. IFC, DFID, ADB and World Bank will not delay recruitment process by 8 months and scheduled interview appointments by three hours.

This is the crux of the matter: impunity and unprofessional lack of respect to others were displayed. The interview meeting provided me with the platform to challenge this impunity of not putting the collective good ahead of individual and regional selfish interest!   Fourth, it looks like Nwabuikwu does not seem to know the politics of the ADB and did not realize that I was an insider in the campaign for the Nigerian candidate in 2005.

Another form of Nwabuikwu’s dishonesty: NOI was not the Finance Minister when the Nigerian Executive Director of the ADB was initially appointed.   In conclusion, I wish to leave readers with quotes from an article in Africa Watch based on an interview of NOI by Ty McCormick: “As the full scale of Nigeria’s internal woes is laid bare, however, she (Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala) is increasingly at risk of being left with no clothes…In a way, the hype over the Nigerian economy mirrors the hype about Ngozi. Both are based on very little substance.” 

Need I say more?  I do not want to see this type of thing being written by a foreigner on Nigeria and her Golden Girl. We need to save our Golden Girl from sycophants such as Mr Paul C. Nwabuikwu, who will rather attack Nigerians who make efforts to contribute to public discourse on Nigeria’s economy. 

Political calculations are just not mere number ordering as in counting quantum, but empirical studies aim at addressing the need of a political desideratum. With just a few months to the dawn of political electioneering campaigns in Nigeria and the realisation that the ruling People’s Democratic Party, the PDP, has opted for the incumbent President Ebele Jonathan as its flag-bearer in 2015 presidential polls, two things must agitate the mind of the opposition. These are: the right strategies to successfully remove the incumbent President and the ruling PDP democratically through the polls bearing in mind that a typical African sitting president is worse than a bull in a China Shop. The second important index which forms part of the ingredient of the first, is breaking the “na-our-son mentality” of the average South-South person thereby creating the assurance that even with the removal of the Jonathan government, the gains so far mustered in the region during his period, will be consolidated upon and or preserved by the coming administration.

It is widely acknowledged and acclaimed world-wide that the Jonathan government represents an all-time low in Nigeria’s political history. Whether it’s in politics, economic, security or moral re-armament, the worst government Nigeria had before this could possibly with some moral certainty raise a candle of assistance to light up the darkness the Jonathan government is enmeshed! Howbeit, those reasons for which many informed Nigerians would want the government voted out are in the public discourse domain. They are not the thrust of this write-up, so, so much of that!

One of the challenges that face the All Progressive Congress, APC, as at the moment is the vested interest of the major gladiatorial line-up or the heavy weights in the party. It will be recalled that awareness by the opposition that fifteen years of the ruling party has done collateral damage to the nation’s economy resulted in the political regrouping that metamorphosed in birth to the APC; a coalition of three main opposition parties, the ACN led by Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the CPC of General Muhammadu Buhari and the All Nigeria Peoples Party. The formidability of this new platform as a party of the masses soon challenged the estranged members of the PDP who began to dare their party’s status quo. Soon many of them, very heavy weights in the PDP, decided to pitch tent in with the APC camp. The resultant calculation therefore is that all the major actors in this grand coalition of force came to the party with their followers. The Tinubu group, ACN, from all intent and purposes has the sympathy of over 80% of the South-West, the ANPP leg of the party has its support base in Kano, Sokoto and part of the troubled North-East, having lost Adamawa to the PDP via impeachment. The All progressive Grand Alliance APGA has South-East to pull its support from while the PDP entrants like the ANPP draws its support from across the north. Today, this is the framework of the opposition APC which if not properly handle could lead to a crisis of monumental proportion and the total fall of the expected emergence of a viable two-party platform and or a viable opposition party in Nigeria.

As the current opposition party, one contestant to the APC Presidential ticket stands out as the most single individual with the largest followership; Muhammadu Buhari. It will be recalled that barely there months to the last Presidential election, he formed the CPC to challenge the ruling PDP, and despite a lean purse, he pull a whooping 12million votes, beating others parties’ contestants to come up a close runner-up to the incumbent President Jonathan. We must not forget that lack or paucity of campaign funds foreclosed his ability to campaign throughout the country like others. Yet, Nigerians, many who knew him well as a disciplined and the most incorruptible politician today in the country stood by him and are still in the vanguard of agitation for his presidency come 2015!  

Other major actors in the race, Abubakar Atiku who flew the ACN flag and Rabiu Kwankwaso have large electoral followership but these cannot be compared to the mass followership of General Buhari! It follows therefore that the APC can reap a huge electoral fortunes from the Buhari persona in 2015 presidential election if the other contestants are magnanimous enough to team up with the candidacy of General Buhari as APC flag-bearer. This will be complimented with the South-West mass support.

The Buhari candidacy is even more desirable now that the PDP has adopted Jonathan, thus presenting a balance North/South tackles in the race between the two parties. Besides, the affable General still remains the only political gladiator from the North zone whose political foray in the past and now has not crossed the frontiers of fellow actors as to engender enmity or personal political jealousy. On a wider national appeal, the failure of the government to handle terrorism and other security matters, especially the Boko Haram insurgency, recommends the desirability of a president with a good understanding and respect of the Armed forces to reinstate the integrity of the Forces.

It follows therefore that any attempt by the APC to push forward a candidate with lower personal or political integrity will open such a candidate to such critical performance analysis, dug-up vilification charges and massive loss of vote as to provide the PDP candidate an easy open-sesame back to Aso Rock!

In the analysis above, I have deliberately left-out the South-east as it is obvious that mainstream Ndi-Igbo is apparently not interested in fighting for the seat of the President so long as “Azikiwe” is still there! This is where the second part of this proposition-assuaging South-South fear of reverting into the political limbo after Jonathan- takes root.

It well known that the South-South is the bastion of support for the Jonathan administration. It is also very true from enlightened opinion that people of this zone are not unaware of the dismal performance of their son, but have remain solidly behind him in the spirit of Rotational Presidency; Nigeria’s stop-gap solution to ethnic domination of the presidency that from all intents and purposes emphasises mediocrity in politics! This fear, has root in the unknown that the region may be relegated back into the pre-Jonathan era! This fear is palpable. You can feel it when you discuss with a typical South-South political activist no matter his education or standing in the society. This fear will govern his choice on the day of election. So how does the opposition assuage this fear and win his vote? You can also say the same for the average Ndi-Igbo person who sees the proverbial “Hausa/Fulani hegemonist” in an “unholy” handshake with the Yoruba man who is an economic wizard. The opposition must not overlook the fear of Ndi-Igbo support for Jonathan’s government. It must work to gain their confidence.

How? A South-East or South-South Vice-presidential ticket is likely the magic wand and three people come to mind here viz; Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, Chief Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state. Yet these political actors have their respective political varying values vis-à-vis the Southern zones which they represent. The Southeast and South-South tend to agree on many national issues and have a shared loyalty as people of the Greater Southern half of Nigeria.

Without too much ado, the Comrade Governor of Edo state could be said to have a larger followership of the three for the following reasons: (1) there is the latent labour movement followership that can be galvanised in times such as presidential elections. This cut across South-South and South-East and is awaiting re-awakening. (2) He is the only one among the three whose political odyssey has not witnessed a movement from one party to the other, hence should engage lesser political squabble from enemies within who may play up and capitalise on public opprobrium from such issues. And finally, deriving from the two above, he may be said to be more independent minded not only as a representative of the South-South in the Presidency but of the whole South as a whole in the post-Jonathan administration.

From the perspective of this analyses, we may deduce that a Muhammadu Buhari- Adams Oshiomhole ticket is one sure frontal attack the All Progressive Congress has for a formidable electoral choice in 2015! The APC must for now appreciate that the present calls for the sacrifice of personal interest for the collective good of all Nigerian whose daily prayer is to ensure that the President Jonathan is removed from government in the coming elections. It’s a time that calls for a collective effort to chase away the hyena before deciding which cock heads the brood and the exigency of such times abhors internal frictions and squabbles.

 

Mallam Oyakhamoh Carl Abu’Bakar

Lagos Bureau Chief of the online newspapers www.xclusivenigeria.com and www.africareporters.com

Tel: 0802-323-7023, 0815-444-5334

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Going by recent cases of wife abuse by “football” players that are lucky enough to break away from the bottom of socioeconomic class in United States, one would think only rich black men abuse their wives. The fact is, it cuts across all classes, race and countries. The Problem: making African Americans the poster boys for all negative images. How soon we forget Deion Saunders with court custody of his children, some like him, that is still abused by ex-wife and her friends.    

If they are not good enough to be the mother or father of your children, they should not be our spouse in the first place: an old advice from an uncle. We treat mothers well to keep children we love and care for very much. So chose women you can love and respect enough to be called the mother of your lovely children not the sexy you despise, take advantage of and abuse.  

The notion that women stay with abusers just for the sake of their children is no more tenable. We have to balance the sanity and well being of the young mother to be strong for the children with the selfish notion of living with an abuser that are good only to his children while abusing his wife. Some mothers claim they would only leave after the children are older or in college.

By the time mothers get to that point, they must have sacrificed everything with a little left to live and depend on, except the same abuser. Indeed, that makes it harder to leave the abusers later. In the words of as an abused mother, she would have been spent and less likely to find another man in her older age. It led to the breakup of the marriage because the man claimed he gave her the chance to meet another man in her late twenties before she got older.

In communities where men dominate and are strong, we find more women willing to tolerate abusive men up to a point. It depends on the social welfare available to the women. Countries that are generous and sensitive to women and their children provide healthcare, food and cash assistant to single women head of households. Other communities indirectly punish women without a man at home, especially in those countries where minority men are powerless.

How do we handle great fathers of their children but abusers to their mothers? The answer to that is to remove either the abusive father from home or get the mother a tolerable place to raise their children. A good father may not be a great daddy or vice versa, whatever that means. While mothers are far more important in children’s life than their fathers, the growing numbers of mothers with multiple men in their lives are detrimental to the future of their children.

They are the children disproportionally represented from single households in the correctional system, those without high school diplomas, higher rate of truancy and usually ending up at the bottom of the social class noted for indirect retribution. The reverse is also true that the more households with two parents at home, the better their chances of completing high school and getting into college. They are more represented among the higher income earners.

The two main reasons for disputes between couples are money and infidelity. The two may also be reasons some women decided to or not stay with abusers. Money and lack of it is no brainer since it is needed for survival. Infidelity depends on who was cheating or cheated a couple of times and got caught. Women are more forgiving than men generally, but there are exceptions.

Once a good father or daddy, we would expect a good husband as well. But what changes a good husband into abuser may be related to the two evils: money and infidelity. These are the two areas where men become jealous and enraged. A man without money in the home is no man as far as most women are concern. A woman that cheats couple of times may be forgiven, not the one that does it for a hobby or as a part-time job; unless the man is complicit as a pimp.

The children are on a dangerous ground if money or sexual problem is systemic in relationships. Abuse by one or both of the couples would eventually affect the children. A poor manager of money would not improve the lives of the children and a sexual ego would allow different men or women into the lives of the children. The least evil must be noted, that a happy single parent household is always better than an abusive marriage because children are indirectly victimized.

Abuse is abuse, no matter what the woman does. Most communities respect a man that lets a woman be where she wants and who she wants to be with. If she had decided she wanted to be with another man and not the abuser, she should be free to do so. She could have been attracted to the abuser for variety of reasons including good behavior before marriage, money or privileges she wanted to hold on to.

If your woman cheated on you, you are either becoming boring, need to introduce more zest into it or she felt like getting back. She was not your child and you could never whip her into submission. Check yourself in case there was something wrong that could be corrected. In cases that could not be handled between couples, a trusted third party agreeable to both couples may be involved. As long as it is not systemic, habitual or an addiction, it could be rectified.

However, sometimes the wish is to get in and get out as soon as he or she could get what is wanted. They call those gold diggers. As long as they got their gold, they were ready to move on with the next person they would rather be with. It might work out with one man or many men.  The unwise choice of women could be questioned but not the excuse for men abusive behavior.

In those cases, men could gain custody of the children as a good provider and as responsible parent meaning the wife must have been at fault. It is also true that in most cases, women are awarded the custody of the children because of their support and dedication to their children. It is a difficult day in hell when a man would be awarded the custody of the children.  

Dr. Ade Abolurin, the Commandant General of Nigeria Security & Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) along with the Nigerian military and paramilitary Christians, held a prayer session recently to pray for Nigeria and the nation’s President, Goodluck Jonathan. The reported unity prayer took place in a public and government setting, the Civil Defense Academy in the nation’s capital, Abuja.

Given that this unity prayer occurred on public property, focused on national unity and the collective peace for all, a display of a face of religious interfaith, in a combined or parallel manner, would have had a more inclusive appearance in regard to seeking lasting intervention to our present security challenges.

The backwardness of this type of one-sided religious togetherness was even more apparent when all the following security agencies were present, namely the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air force, Nigerian Navy, State Security Service (SSS),National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria Security & Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), and the Nigeria Prisons Service, Nigeria Customs, Vehicle Inspection Office, Federal Fire Services and Nigeria Police Force.

On a psychological and a deeper level, what does one think is going through the minds of other members of these agencies, both the trainees and those already serving, meaning the Muslims in particular?  How does this type of one-sided national unity prayer promote understanding among security workers of Christian, Muslim and traditionalist faiths?

How do you win the battle of insecurity and distrust when you are praying for peace in a non-embracing manner?

A prayer like this not only further expands the bitter divide among our people, but it shows a religious conduct that fully hinders President Jonathan’s power to administer the country in a united way. If one really believes in the power of prayer to bring national peace into the country through the coming together of a body of security leaders, officers and rank and file; then a much more stronger prayer in a collective manner could have been  better as it would pour down potential  peace, openly and equally for the purpose of touching the souls of all God’s offspring and all of Allah’s children as well as for the collective good of the people in terms of restoring peace in the country from the current state of insecurity bedeviling our society?

Dr Oshodi is a Forensic and Clinical Psychologist and a former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

The Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah, should publicly offer profound apologies to all women and girls in the nation having recently declared a militarized form of domestic threat against military personnel wives.  Just a few weeks ago, while addressing soldiers of the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army in Enugu, he thoroughly tread on the rights of women to protest any course dear to them, such as the posting of their husbands into deadly areas of the heavily armed  Islamist terror group, Boko Haram.

In a highly  barbaric way, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah reportedly instructed soldiers in the following manner. "If they repeat it, all those wives will leave the barracks. This is not a civil service organization. This is not a Boy Scout organization. Any repeat of such act, I will tell soldiers to use koboko on the wives and bundle them out of the barracks."

The threat of flogging a group of Nigerian wives with a knotted rope whip, generally referred to as a koboko, is not only  a completely  disreputable and inappropriate behavior for an army officer in leadership, but renders the threat tantamount to the violent departure of over 200 school girls now under the abduction of Boko Haram.

For decades, the nation’s females have suffered acts of deadly domestic violence from men in Nigeria.  For a leader in a military system, which is highly regarded worldwide to be an institution of reputation for excellence in terms of human rights, to advocate domestic violence and abuse against women is victimization of the highest order to our young democracy.

Is this man not aware that in 2013, Nigeria passed a federal law to reduce gender- based violence? On a psychological level, the authorization to beat and disable military wives remains not only verbally and emotionally disgusting, but physically sickening, as such order could for decades and decades become a strong practice of soldiers and officers in dealing with certain behaviors of their wives and girlfriends.

The idea that  wives cannot dictate how their husbands should be  employed nor have a role in the Nigerian army is absolutely nonsense, as  wives by nature have a much higher function within the military. They are there to provide emotional support, period.

And even if they act out, get angry and show rage on behalf of their husbands, a profession like the military should always show unequivocal commitment and sensitivity to women’s issues, as they, in every and all cases, remain the emotional lifeblood that sustains the majority of our serving men.

Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah is supposed to command the ethos and values, as well as standards, for true leadership. As such, he should be the guiding center by personal example for his  subordinates and show responsibility of  character and spirit for our children,  especially for the girls and boys now and our nation’s future children.

Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi is a Forensic and Clinical Psychologist and a former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

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