Musings

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Ebonyi Governor, Dave Umahi

Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State on Monday ordered that 16 top government functionaries in the state should forfeit their September and October salaries and overheads for coming late to a state event.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the functionaries came late to a debate competition organised by the government as part of activities to mark the nation’s 55th anniversary and 19th year of the state’s creation.

The functionaries included commissioners, special advisers, assistants, members of boards, local government areas caretaker committee chairmen, among others.

Others included the Principal Secretary to the Governor, Commissioner for Environment, and Commissioner for Economic Empowerment and Poverty Alleviation among others.

Umahi, who expressed dismay over the lateness of the officials, noted that the government intended to restore sanity to governance in the state.

He commended the organisers and participants at the debate with the theme, ‘Anti-Corruption and Internally Generated Revenue Drive: the only Panacea for Economic Development in Ebonyi’.

“It is pertinent to state that not all public office holders are corrupt; the malaise is a matter of the individual’s conscience.

“The government will recover all funds paid by the people to Enugu Electricity Distribution Company for pre-paid metres as the company always offers excuses for non-provision of the facilities,” he said.

Senior Special Adviser on Religious Affairs and Welfare to the Governor, Rev. Father Abraham Nwali, said the masses suffered most from the effects of corruption.

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Mutiny is one of the cardinal sins that members of the military, or any regimented institution, for that matter; needs not commit. This, methinks, is to ensure the preservation of an enduring command and control structure in the military, being an institution that thrives on the giving of orders, and the obedience of same. In its most liberal sense of usage, mutiny involves a conspiracy among a group of soldiers to oppose, change, or overthrow an authority to which they are ordinarily subject.

The caveat in the foregoing paragraph that needs be stated, is that such an authority or law, must be lawful. Thus, would it be mutinous to disobey an unlawful order? Your guess is as good as mine.

In the case of the recent sentencing of twelve soldiers to die by firing squad, by a court-marshal of the Nigerian Army, there has been a groundswell of public opinion calling for leniency for the convicted soldiers. This is surely not unconnected with the circumstances that led to the so-called mutinous acts. It was reported that prior to the said mutiny which allegedly involved the firing of shots at the motorcade of their GOC, the soldiers had protested their deployment on a mission along a route that was succeptible to Boko Haram ambush without adequate preparation to counter the terrorists. They were reportedly compelled to obey their others, which they did, resulting in the killing of several of their colleagues. They were reported to have gone berserk when the lifeless bodies of their comrades were brought in to their barracks.

Without going into the knotty details of the incidents and circumstances surrounding the mutiny, several questions beg for answers.

Is it acceptable for superiors to allow their incompetence or outright complicity in corruption-induced sabotage of operations, to lead to the deaths of soldiers? Are soldiers disposable pawns in a chessboard of possible sellout by those who should ensure the soundness of operations? Is it lawful to send soldiers into battle without the requisite arms, ammunition, equipment, and other supplies, needed to boost their morale and give them operational advantage over the terrorists? Since when did justice begin to receive such an accelerated dispensation in Nigeria? What has become of the sundry allegations bordering on insider-collaboration with terrorists? Are there no punishments for manifest failure of commanding officers to competently lead their soldiers to operational victories?

Whereas we must advocate strict discipline, reflected in obedience of lawful orders in the military, we must not condone the needless and avoidable butcher of Nigerian soldiers because their superiors failed, through commission or omission, to provide the enabling environment for soldiers to effectively discharge their duties. This is supposedly a democratic dispensation, and as such, military authorities must be subject to civil rule. The President should order a holistic review of the circumstances that led to “that” mutiny. The generality of the soldiers need their morale to be boosted as much as can be. They need to know that all is being done to give them advantage over the enemies of Nigeria. They need to understand that justice in Nigeria is equally served on the high and on the low, on the governing authorities as well as on the people being governed.

Further, while deciding the fate of the convicted soldiers, we must ask ourselves whether the soldiers actually wanted to kill their commanding officers. Is it possible for that number of soldiers to conspire to kill their superiors and ended up killing no one, or even causing the injury of the target? Or, is it that the military is now turning out soldiers that cannot kill who they set out to kill?

While insisting that justice ought to be served on errant public servants, it is important to factor-in the nature of justice, and the implications of that justice for the overall good of the land. The military high command should temper justice with mercy. This is not a time for the Army to turn the guns on its own fighters, whose major offence is wanting a better deal, albeit going about it wrongly. If a review proves that the soldiers had no provocation to act mutinous, then, all well and good. But should it be found that they had a bad deal, that they were programmed to be killed by default by the Boko Haram savages; then justice must be served on those whose action and inaction led to that mutiny.

Remember, that rebellion to tyranny (read, mutiny against incompetence and criminally complicit authority), is obedience to God.

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Our society, the Nigerian society; the society of our birth and childhood; is in search of Father-figures. There is a dearth of icons who consciously and unconsciously inspire the younger generation to aspire to Olympian heights by dint of hard-work and self-discipline. The people I see in my mind’s eye in the not-too-distant past, are those who taught us, while we were yet impressionable lads, that there was no way to attain dignity via indignity. They were those who urged us to see the nexus between the means to an end, and the end itself. These men and women are an endangered species today.

It has been stated severally, and I do not hold a dissenting opinion, that to correctly predict the fortunes of a society; you only have to find out the quality of people idolised by the young. People get influenced by others around them, rightly or wrongly. Whether at home, at school, at work, or in the wider society; there are persons whose conduct, by virtue of their status in society, serve as a benchmark or reference point on which personal choices of many, are based. For most young people, if a parent or teacher says something is cool; then it is cool; irrespective of the deluge of contradictory positions held by others.

When one looks around our sociopolitical milieu with a little more than a passing glance, one is sure to find that many of those whose opinions should matter, have themselves been ensconced in an atmosphere where the line between what is a societal norm and what is abhorrent, has been increasingly blurred. There are a plethora of justification for all manner of ills in the land. Nothing seems abominable any longer. What propels the young these days, at the risk of making an inductive generalisation, is a desire to, in the lexicon of the streets, hammer big-time. By hammer, I refer to the experience of coming to sudden affluence, anchored on some chance occurrence based on largely, but not necessarily, illicit activity.

You know decadence is upon your society when a teenage music sensation commands more influence than parents, teachers, the clergy, and what have you; not because of the quality of virtues he personifies, but because he has an array of obscenely expensive automobiles and other material possessions. I remember, when as students in High School, we were concerned about our performance viz-a-viz the performance of the brightest students in class, and we were naturally taught to explore only legitimate means – ie study – to address our shortcomings in academics. Our parents and guardians need not induce teachers to give us undeserving grades. They didn’t have to comb the nooks and crannies of the town in search of “special centres” for us.

Other than the larger than life tales of the nationalists: Nnamdi Azikiwe’s oratorical eloquence and love for a united Nigeria; Obafemi Awolowo’s political sagacity and populist leanings; and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa’s gentlemanliness and uncommon command of the Queen’s English; we had the literary prowess of Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka, the mathematical feats of Chike Obi, the philanthropy and business acumen of Moshood Abiola, the legal esotericism of F.R.A. Williams, and the many travails of the Senior Advocate of the Masses, Gani Fawenhinmi, to name a few iconic figures; we were motivated by our contemporaries who shone brightly with distinction in academics.

We weren’t just interested in passing with as many “A”s as possible in internal and external examinations; we were interested in having earned the grades, so much so that, there were no iota of doubts as to our pedigree and credibility. I remember having a school Principal, Chief A.E. Egobueze, who would ensure the the best student in a promotion examination for a given year, was awarded a scholarship in which the Principal personally paid the tuition fees for the ensuing year for that student. We were taught that there was dignity in labour, and that integrity surpassed the possession of material wealth. We were taught that the society prided a good name as more honourable than the possession of worldly goods. We were taught that politics was about governance and that the words of a man, should be his bond.

But what do we see today? Our leaders are in an internecine quest for primitive acquisition of illicit wealth, while the society suffers. They have constituted themselves into ethnic champions. Five decades after political, or flag independence, if you like; and Nigeria is still in search of that Nigerian who is not reduced to being a regional fief, who masks his personal interests as the interests of a part of the country. We have politicians who belong to one political party in the morning, and another in the evening. We have a government that rewards terrorism in the guise of amnesty programmes, while responsible and law-abiding young men and women are neglected.

In a previous piece in this column, entitled “The De-Materialisation of Success, we sought to retool the minds of our readers to the proper meaning of success. What we consider a success, and who we consider successful, and the indices that account for our estimation, are key elements in charting the course of a nation. We have to determine who our leaders are. Is leadership merely synonymous with holding office, irrespective of the process of ascension of office, and or without regard to an individual’s conduct while in office? Is every officeholder qualified to be termed a leader? Does one have to hold office to show leadership?

Who are our leaders and icons today? Are they objects of our admiration and emulation because they pride the virtues of honesty, integrity, and accountability, over and above rank and the grandeur that comes with it; or are they our role models because we have been conditioned to esteem possession of wealth and power, as indications of success?

We must began by calling a spade by its proper name. One who criminally assumes office, or corruptly enriches himself or herself, from the resources of the commonwealth, is no other than a thief, and should be treated as such. We cannot have a society where a cow thief has his limbs amputated, while those who plunder our collective till to the tune of billions of Naira, are accorded State and National honours. The task before each of us, is the reevaluation of the persons we hold in high esteem as leaders. Are they worthy objects of our respect?

I am @efewanogho, on Twitter.

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It was Professor Pat Utomi that, not too long ago, suggested that following the defective nature of the Structure of the Nigerian State, it would be most apposite to, in his words, crash this system, for a proper rebuilding process to commence. The reason for the Professor’s position was clearly evident to the discerning. You cannot build something on nothing and expect it to stand.

Present day Nigeria reeks of a nauseating stench of malfeasance and debilitating mediocrity. A sense of order, justice, and accountability, is undoubtedly alien to our collective psyche. We are not unawares of the series of scandals that emanate from the public sector by politically exposed persons. The frequency of such irregularities ought to normally offend our sensibilities; but it is said that, tell a lie a lot of times, and it may begin to sound like the truth. The truth, unfortunately, is that it is now a norm to have all sectors of our sociopolitical life mired in what should ordinarily be scandalous occurrences.

What we have on our hands is a case of the politicisation and ethnicization of graft and criminality. The warped logic that seems to hold sway in our society today, is that every public officer is free to plunder the resources of the commonwealth without suffering the legal and natural consequences of criminality; provided that there are previous examples of persons from other ethnic groups and religions who had perpetrated worse or similar crimes, but had been let off the hook. The unwritten code these days is, why prosecute Minister Oduah for authorising the deployment of unappropriated funds for the purchase of luxury goods, whereas you failed to prosecute, at least conclusively so, a certain (dis)Honourable Farouk Lawan who was reportedly caught on video, stuffing bribe money in his pockets, and even in his cap?! The argument is that while Nigerians continue to be exposed to monumental insecurity as they are left at the mercy of daredevil armed robbers and kidnappers – while the police and their military colleagues are converted to private militias of politicians – Nigerian public officeholders are free to expend public resources to procure armoured vehicles at a cost that is several times over and above the actual cost for such vehicles, for no altruistic reason but for the protection of their selfish behinds.

And rather than insist on holding the affected public officers to account, Nigerians of different sociopolitical leanings are wont to give you a plethora of examples of other public officeholders who have literally, done worse. So, while you argue that it is insane for the Aviation Minister to cause a parastatal in her Ministry to enter into a deal that – as the Senate Hearings are revealing – involves the frittering away of about a billion Naira for the purchase of luxury goods; you are told that Governor Fashola has several armoured vehicles procured at much higher costs than those of the Minister. Next, as though the perpetration of a crime by another person is reasonable justification for one to resort to criminality, you hear that the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has about seven of such vehicles, and that practically almost all State Governors and most of the federal Ministers, have a number of armoured vehicles. So, your criticism of Oduah’s conduct, is called to question and termed selective and political. While we engage in such accusations and counter accusations, Nigeria is the worse for it.

This same logic affects all spheres of society.

While the nation’s tertiary education is placed in jeopardy on account of the lingering strike by university lecturers over issues that pertain to the proper funding of schools; the political leadership of the country is carrying on as though all was well. Before you know it, the university lecturers, under the auspices of ASUU, are being vilified for proceeding on strike. Their motives are called to question. And the entire nation is in a hurry to pressure ASUU to reopen the universities. The question that seeks an answer is, to what end?

Parents do not want to see their children idling away at home, when they ought to be in school having an education, and the society would certainly be the better if university students are in the university. But the question to be asked is, what manner of education are the students getting in their various universities? Is the university environment conducive enough for the successful conduct of teaching-learning experience and research? Do our schools meet the minimum acceptable standards for university education as far as infrastructure is concerned? Do we have the right specifications of teaching staff in terms of quality and quantity? Are our schools devoid of cash/sex for grades from lecturers? Are those offered university admission, necessarily the brightest of the candidates for admission, or are they those whose names are on some nocturnal list from one godfather somewhere? While we ruminate on the foregoing posers, we must take cognisance of the implications of running a school for the mere sake of it, on national development. What is worth doing, is worth doing well. We either have schools that meet the highest standards possible, or we don’t.

Recall that only recently, it was revealed that an uncomfortably large percentage of graduands from our tertiary institutions in the National Youth Service Corps scheme, cannot string together, a simple correct sentence in English, the language of instruction. What about the psyche of our students upon graduation? Do we have graduates who are primed to impact on the development of the society by looking to deploy initiative and entrepreneurial skills in exploring new grounds for wealth creation through satisfying the needs of the people, or do we have graduates who are programmed to be perpetual seekers of paid employment? What about the area of fashioning the requisite value system for Nigeria? Are our graduates, from the subsisting scheme of things, imbued with the proper mindset that places value on deriving satisfaction from service to society, or do we have graduates, conditioned by default, to estimate success only in terms of personal material acquisition and accumulation?

I remember years ago, while still in school, and it was reported that one of the porters for our halls of residence, died in the course of a failed surgery. Being a surgery that was supposed to be without complications, we were shocked to learn of his death. The ailment was not only, not life-threatening, the procedure for surgery was supposed to be anything but complicated. While sharing ideas on the possible cause of the failed surgery, a student suggested the possibility of the surgeon attempting to copy from a manual while in the theatre. According to this student, the surgeon may have cut the lower abdomen and torn some vital organs, rather than make his opening in the upper abdomen. In other words, the surgeon could have copied wrongly. This may seem as a joke, but not when you fathom the reality of our examination halls, where majority pass exams by copying from some material criminally brought in to the hall. and yes, the medical schools are not exempt from the malaise. Such is the sorry case on our hands. Any unthinkable scenario is possible in these shores.

What about asking what happens to the funds generated by universities internally, as we put pressure on the government at all levels to live up to their funding responsibilities? What about the supervisory functions of the National Universities Commission? Is the NUC living up to its billing? Shouldn’t it’s leadership be made to feel the heat more?

As a nation, we cannot continue getting-by, and making do with the myriad of shortcomings that are prevalent in the land. If the input is not right, the output cannot be right. In computer lexicon, we hear of garbage in, garbage out. In lay man’s terms, you cannot plant yam and reap maize. If we agree that what we have is substandard, then we must upgrade to the required standard for things to work. The Nigerian system is characterized by sleaze and criminality. It is built on faulty foundations. We have to pull it down, and rebuild anew. But the core issue is, who would envision the elusive Eldorado, and who would lead the rebuilding process?

If you are not part of the solution, you’re certainly a part of the problem.

I am @efewanogho, on Twitter.

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When President Jonathan sought to become a democratically elected President in 2011, and some Nigerians wrote him off, insisting that he had nohing to offer, having held office as Acting President, and later, President, with full executive powers, following the death of President Yar’Adua; his most vocal supporters argued that he needed his own mandate to serve the nation a fitting dosage of his transformation medication. This group of people posited that Jonathan’s pedigree can best be known when he assumes office on his own mandate, freely given to him by the electorate after an election. And so, team Jonathan mounted a campaign based on the twin mantras of transformation and fresh air.

They insisted that Jonathan was a clean break from the past, as he was, in the opinion of his supporters, not one from the midst of the ubiquitous and plenteous assembly of yesterday’s men – apologies to Reuben Abati – who cling onto power until they cease to be. Some, particularly from the South-South and South-East geopolitical zones, saw the ascendance of Jonathan to the country’s Presidency, as an indication of the presence of the Divine in his life. It was argued, that even if Goodluck Jonathan was not evidently ahead of the pack of contenders for the Presidency, in terms of aptitude, antecedents, and competency; many were going to cast their votes for him to prove a point to those with a supposed born-to-rule mentality from the North, that the Presidency was not an exclusive preserve of theirs. Thus, proceding from that bigoted premise, many a seemingly enlightened individual; drummed up support for the man whose meteoric rise in the political life of Nigeria is largely attributed to divinity; notwithstanding whether he had done sufficient justice to previously held positions for the furtherance of the common good.

After about 29 months into the freely and consciously secured term of the transformation and fresh air President, not a few Nigerians are wondering how they got themselves into a rudderless boat in the perilous waves of the sea. They wonder why a President that should be concerned with exorcising the spirit of corruption from our corporate body polity would hasten to lavishly and thoughtlessly grant a Presidential Pardon to his predecessor in Bayelsa State, and why as the head of the executive arm, and by extension, the chief enforcer of rules, Mr. Jonathan, would prove unable to see to the successful conclusion of prosecution of persons suspected to have fraudulently derailed the fuel subsidy scheme of the government, and criminally enriched themselves therefrom. They wonder why individuals with questionable credibility would be among the closest associates of the President.

Hapless Nigerians who, against all entreaties to reason, decided to cast their votes for President Jonathan, have since transformed themselves from being in a perpetual state of wonder, to one of surrender and resignation to the subsisting scheme of things in which, mediocrity is the order of the day. Under the watch of Goodluck Jonathan, terrorism has – as he indicated – come to stay. Kidnapping for ransoms and armed robbery are at an all time high. The carnage on our roads, waterways, and from the airspace, are harsh reminders that Nigerians are living in subhuman circumstances. If anything, some cosmetic beautification of the airports, that is taking forever to conclude, is all there to see. The roads remain progressively impassable. The tertiary institutions have been closed owing to unresolved labour rifts between the government and the lecturers. The health sector is still very much comatose. There remains to be seen, any impactful actions by the government to increase access to qualitative healthcare delivery.

Under the watch of President Jonathan, a serving Minister attributes plane crash to acts of God, describing them as inevitable, even when it is obvious that human errors are chiefly to blame; and the President does not think it proper to relieve her of her duties. Of course, how could he? Did he not state that perhaps it was our turn for terrorism? When the dust from the Minister’s gaffe is yet to settle down, in the wake of another avoidable bloodshed from our airspace; Goodluck Jonathan’s Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, is again in the news for unsavoury reasons. Following the revelation by some media houses that she caused the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to extravagantly aquire two bulletproof vehicles for her use, at far more than the actual cost for such vehicles; she is reported to have admitted to authorizing the purchase,citing security concerns. The question is: would such a conduct be condoned in any country that purports to take governance seriously? If the political leadership doesn’t feel compelled to lead the charge against corruption, who would? How could our government condemn the masses to live in austerity, while the ruling class revel in criminal opulence?

The truth is that every Nigerian can smell the air that pervades the entire sociopolitical sphere of the country. It is up to each one to come to terms with the reality that is on the ground. We have to determine whether we would continue to put up with such extravagance and financial recklessness by those who are entrusted with the stewardship of our collective patrimony, while there is abject poverty in the land, accompanied by a crime culture that thrives in the face of leaders who are obviously unperturbed by the conspicuous decay that is affecting whatever is left of our public life; and when our educational institutions are suffering from decades of neglect and instituted mediocrity. We must decide for ourselves whether we would continue to be passive onlookers while a privileged few hold us in perpetual subjugation to their erratic whims and caprices.

We ought to ask ourselves whether what we have in Nigeria as the circumstances for human existence is the best we can get. Are the people saddled with leadership positions in the public sector, the best we can get? Do we have to resign ourselves to fate, praying pointlessly for some elusive messiah of the mould of a biblical Moses or a Ghanaian Rawlings; or are we ready to take our destiny in our own hands by ensuring that only the best of us are allowed to lead the rest of us? Have the scales of ethnoreligious considerations in supporting candidates for office, fallen off our eyes? Have we seen the folly in outsourcing our responsibility of vigilance and active engagement to God?

The task of rebuilding Nigeria is a responsibility for all Nigerians, but we cannot discountenance the impact a dogged, visionary, and incorruptible leadership, would have on the fortunes of a people. The prime task before Nigerians now is to seek out the most worthy among us for various positions of authority and be ready to pay the supreme sacrifice in ensuring that only the truly worthy; only those who are ready to toil for the collective good and subsume their individual interests in the national interest, wield the levers of power. Voting for ones kinsman simply because he shares the same ethnic origins with one, and not because he is the most suited for the job, is an indication of a crudeness akin to living in darkness.

As a parting shot, when you want to fix a broken down vehicle, do you search for your “brothers and sisters” or do you search for the most capable hands irrespective of their ethnicity or religious biases?

I am @efewanogho, on Twitter.

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One fundamental that a growing child, and certainly every student worth his studentship, is expected to quickly comprehend and internalize for the navigation of the waters of life that lies ahead; is the principle of cause and effect. You are taught early on in life that there’s an underlying cause for every effect. You are taught about the intricate web of relationship that phenomena have with each other. Sooner than later, it registers in your subconscious that there’s no freely existing phenomenon. Every thing or condition exists because of another situation that led to it. Except, of course, the concept of God. That is a matter for another day.

You remember being in high school and being required to answer an assessment question on the subject of history that asks you to critically trace and analyse the immediate and remote cause(s) of some incident from the not too distant antiquity. You remember such concepts as “action and reaction are equal and opposite” in the physical sciences, and the oft used saying in the legal parlance that, “you cannot build something on nothing, and expect it to stand”. You remember being taught by your teachers that every phenomenon has a link with innumerable others. Thus, before long, you know as of fact that, not only does every action has a reaction, but also that, even inaction has its consequences. In other words, inaction also leads to a series of outcomes. While ruminating on the issue of causality, the law of use and disuse quietly whispers its presence to you. You remember that when you use something, even if according to prescribed procedure, wear and tear sets in. It depreciates in essence an and quality. When something is not in use, it also hastens to its end, though at a much slower rate than that which is in use. This could be attributable to the extent of exposure to the elements and the concept of perpetual change. No wonder philosophers posit that nothing is; but everything is becoming. It is a common saying that one cannot enter the same stream twice.

Well, let’s not get too entangled in abstract phenomena. In the reality of our daily lives, it is apparent to us that where there are no laid down procedures, systems and processes, if you like; people tend to work in discordant tunes and at cross purposes with each other. So, we find that every organisation, properly so christened, has its operational procedure clearly stated and made available to key actors, to prevent untoward occurrence. Further, seeing that man is imbued with free will, not being some robotic creation that is controlled by some extraneous individual with a remote control device; society evolves penalties for default or non-compliance with established procedure. Now, the Nigerian society, compared to the more advanced societies of the Northern hemisphere, is one that is a haven of baseless superstitious beliefs. Here, a child is born to parents whose genotypes make it logically impractical to raise healthy children, with reasonably assured chances of survival, all other things being equal, and the child meets an early death because of his genetic makeup; you find the family seeking help from some diviner who blames it on some evil spirit, labelling the child as Ogbanje. Thanks to increasing exposure to medical science as it has to do with reproductive health, more Nigerians now know that the Ogbanje concept is utter hogwash and gibberish, concocted as an explanation for the ignorance of our forebears.

A few days ago, following the air mishap of an Associated Airlines aircraft, the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, was reported to have stated that air accidents were inevitable, as they were acts of God. As though such a position by a Federal Minister in charge of a sector as delicate as aviation was not alarming enough; her much loquacious predecessor, Femi Fani-Kayode, in a bid to correct her and call her to order, stated that it wasn’t God who causes planes to crash, but the devil. Haba! It dawned on me that Nigeria was truly on a perilous path, as evidently, the worst of us have been, and are still leading the rest of us.

In an age, where superstitions are being consigned to the dark era of history when man was largely ignorant of natural scientific laws; when every incident is, through painstaking investigation, explained on the basis of cause and effect; when society struggles to avoid all avoidable catastrophes, through the elimination of human errors of either commission or omission; Nigerian leaders have the temerity to attribute their incompetence, their criminal negligence, their debilitating mediocrity, to the supernatural. We are talking about a machine made and assembled by humans, and operated by humans, and someone is attributing its crash to the supernatural. We are in trouble! When I heard the Minister’s comment, what came to mind was the President’s response after one of the terrorist acts in the country; where he stated that terrorism was a universal phenomenon, and that perhaps it was the turn of Nigeria to experience its share.

With such leaders at the helm of affairs, is there any reason why we wouldn’t be the subjects of ridicule in the international arena? You would wonder whether Nigeria is condemned to have the blind lead those who appear to have sight. In a society where the business of governance and accountability is taken seriously, all those whose actions and inactions lead to incidents that result in fatality – or near fatality – would not only resign their appointments, that is if they weren’t fired first, but would surely be investigated and prosecuted if found culpable. The question that should be agitating the minds of Nigerians at this moment, is how did people with such a fatalistic mindset ascend to positions of authority? Why would we let anything, other than merit, aptitude, and antecedents, to influence the choice of someone for an office? And why would those of us who know that life is a function of a series of sequences and consequences of people’s actions, allow people who deign to take responsibility for their failings, and who do not see the need to hold people accountable for their actions; be the ones to man critical positions in our sociopolitical life?

It has been stated by the sages that it is from ignorance, and ignorance only, that man must be freed. We do not have to reinvent the wheel. It was centuries ago that man was wont to blame his inadequacies owing to insufficient knowledge, on forces that were extraneous to him. Just as it is said, that if everyone swept his portion of land, that the whole earth would be clean; if every officer in the relevant sector did what had to be done, there wouldn’t be accidents. That much, should be trite knowledge.

I am @efewanogho, on Twitter.

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Many Nigerians have questioned any claim to a common nationhood by citizens of Nigeria. They posit that Nigeria is an artificial creation arbitrarily put together by the British imperialists to serve their economic expansionist interests, and that there was little basis for the constituent parts to regard themselves as sharing a common heritage. At various times, Nigeria has been described as a mere geographical expression, referring to a geopolitical space occupied by persons of centrifugal originsand inclinations.

Despite the mutual suspicion that characterized the regions following the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates of the Niger Area; the decolonization movement that swept across Africa in the post-Cold War era, saw Nigerians working together to exorcise the spirit of colonialism, and with it, the colonialists, even if it meant momentarily setting aside the differences that held the regions apart. The British constituted the common enemy, and it wasn’t difficult for the leading nationalists to work together to secure political independence; or was it flag independence?

No sooner had the country secured Independence, than the Civil War broke out. It was a bitter period of bloody rivalry that ensued as the then Eastern Region, sought to secede from the rest of the country. Since the end of that war, and in fact, since the coming to being of Nigeria, under the British; Nigerians have not come together freely, and of their own accord, to confer as to the nature of country they want to have for themselves. The presence of the military in power for most of the period of Nigeria’s existence as an independent nation, was certainly contributory to evolving a society in which basic freedoms were absent.

The marking, few days ago, of the 53rd anniversary of the country’s Independence, once again, has brought to the fore, the need for de-emphasizing ethnoreligious differences as far as public discourse was concerned. The highpoint of the President’s address was the constitution of an advisory committee to set out a framework for a National Dialogue or Conference. Prior to this time, there had been a clamour by Nigerians for the convoking of a Sovereign National Conference, sovereign to the extent that decisions reached by the Conference; would be subjected to a popular referendum, after which, it automatically becomes the core of the supreme law of the land. However, the various governments that had held sway before now, both military and civilian alike, had only succeeded in holding teleguided conferences. From the Constitutional Conference set up by Sani Abacha, to the National Political Reforms Conference, set up by Olusegun Obasanjo; it was clear that there were predetermined outcomes expected by those who were in power at the highest levels.

So, for many like me who believe Nigerians deserve more than they are getting from this administration, and practically isn’t expecting much from it; it was a pleasant surprise to hear the President announce the setting up of an advisory committee on a National Conference without attempting to set no-go-areas in its terms of reference. Granted, the President cautiously avoided the term “sovereign”, but it is left for the committee to properly interpret the pulse of the people – realizing that ultimate sovereignty rests with the people – and advise the government appropriately, or to limit itself and create no-go-areas for the yet to be decided conference.

The issue of convoking a National Conference is one of the most controversial subjects that confront Nigerians. There are many who believe that a Sovereign National Conference is the basic prerequisite that must be met, before the country can know genuine peace and development. There are others who believe, rightly or wrongly, that any conference so convened, must not be “sovereign” in nature, else, Nigeria would cease to exist. According to this latter category of Nigerians, the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria, is a settled matter that is not up for discussion; and as such, it constitutes the “No-Go-Area” of any national dialogue. This piece is mainly to address two categories of Nigerians: those whose clamour for a Sovereign National Conference is informed by their desire to bring an end to the so-called forced marriage of strange bed fellows that Nigeria is said to be, on the premise that Nigerians are too different to be a single nation, and or because they have a presumption of self sufficiency of their region on account of the oil deposits available to them, should the country split; and those who have an eternal fear of such a conference, either out of their love for Nigeria, or out of fear of what would happen to the economic fortunes of their region should the region that is presently the source of the mainstay of the national economy, be allowed to go.

For those who want to see an end to the continues existence of Nigeria because of the seeming diversity of the people, or because of the mineral resources they are fortunate to have in their part of Nigeria; the following questions shall suffice: If you had been born in the part of Nigeria that has no apparent claim to some money-spinning natural resource, would you be pushing for a conference that could easily lead to the division of the country? Where is your humanity? Is it not written that you should love your neighbour as yourself? Is altruism an alien concept to your ethnic group and your religion? Talking about diversity and the need to preserve your exclusive culture; are you unawares that all mankind are migrant by nature? That place which you regard as the home of your ancestors and could so readily die for, was it always the home of your ancestors? Didn’t they at some point in their history, migrate from elsewhere? Is it not taught in your religion that all humanity is from a single source, created by one and the same God? Why then would you promote differences that are merely a function of the circumstances of your birth, which you had no control over; to be the basis of wanting to break away from others who happen to find themselves in the same geopolitical space as you? Do you honestly think that the gains which may be available to your region if the country were to be divided; would be over and above the possibilities that a united Nigeria that is properly administered, can afford its citizens?

For those who live in perpetual fear of a conference that could bring about the end of Nigeria, ruminate on these questions: How would you feel knowing you are condemned to live as citizens with people who do not want to live with you? Wouldn’t it be tantamount to having a marriage in which your partner is being made to remain married to you against his or her will? What do you make of the right of people to self-determination? As per your fear of possible economic misfortune should the nation disintegrate; are the most developed and prosperous nations in the world, those that have a prevalence of natural resources? What happened to the most important resources, ie the human resource? Is there absolutely nothing you can do to harness your natural environment, driven by your human environment, to surpass challenges of existence? Should you be in possession of the same resources the other side is fortunate to have; would you still cling to the continued existence of Nigeria?

The single most important problem that Nigeria is faced with, is not its diversity of peoples or an uneven spread of natural resources. The major problem we have is a conspicuous dearth of leadership. We have had leaders who are driven by narrow parochial interests and who do not realize that it is in the service of the common good, that the individual good can best be guaranteed. I believe that a national conference is imperative at this stage of our existence as a country. Nigerians should be free to determine the sort of government they should get. Pertinent issues like the indigeneship versus the settler question, must be addressed and definitively dealt with. No Nigerian must be regarded as a settler or an alien in any part of the country. We must de-emphasize the ethnic origins of citizens but focus on the place of residence when access to public institutions is concerned. What about the contentious issue of State Police? Does it make sense to continue to have a centralized police force in a country as diverse as Nigeria? Is the performance of the police enhanced when a police recruit is posted thousands of miles away from his place of birth and residence to an area where he can hardly operate effectively owing to cultural inhibitions? What about the issue of Federal Character versus merit and competence? Does the quota system unite us or divide us? Does it help us to have a Nigerian child in Zamfara admitted into secondary school for scoring 4 points, while his counterpart in Ekiti is expected to score over 100, before he gets admitted to school? What about the provision in our Constitution that every State in the country must be represented in the Federal Cabinet? Does it not account for the humongous cost of governance that Nigeria is plagued with?

The foregoing is just a scratch on the surface of the myriad of issues that ought to be addressed by such a conference, sovereign or otherwise. Nigerians need to discuss the nature of country they want. People should be allowed to canvass positions and campaign for acceptance of their positions. In all, common sense should guide us. Nigerians should be willing to yield to superior reasoning and argument, and in conferring, the fears and suspicions should be expressed so they can be addressed. Why, for instance should religion be anything but personal? Why can’t we de-emphasize religion when the official public space is the focus?

A national conference is not only imperative, but most expedient at this time. Irrespective of the intentions of the present government in setting up an advisory committee on the modalities for a conference and dialogue, Nigerians must set the agenda and compel the actors to yield to the informed popular will. We cannot realize the full potentials of Nigeria in the comity of States if Nigerians do not freely agree to live together under certain predetermined conditions. Whatever side of the debate you take, advance it in the public space and seek to convince others by reason of the soundness of your position, and not through compulsion. We must note that as humans, we are more than our ethnicity and religion. They are merely circumstantial parameters of the place and time of our birth.

We must pause and ponder.

I am @efewanogho, on Twitter.

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If you carry Nigeria problem for head, you go die put o! No matter wetin you talk, wetin wan happen, go happen. Abeg focus on your business.

Such are the lines that greet most of the effort you make to get fellow Nigerians to show more than a passing interest on critical issues of governance that affect them. When your posts on social media and internet blogs are mostly about one sociopolitical malaise or the other, and how to get the people to take the driver’s seat in holding public officeholders to account; it doesn’t take long before you are seen by associates and acquaintances, even if peripherally so, as a killjoy who is subsumed in some unending bout of paranoia.

You are scorned when you address the Nigerian youth about their downright EXCESSIVE obsession with foreign football, particularly with regards to the English Premiership and UEFA Champions League, at a time when public universities are shut because the government and the lecturers cannot find common grounds to get the schools properly operational; and when, despite the months old emergency rule that continues to subsists in parts of the North, Nigerians continue to get killed in their numbers, be they civilians or members of the armed forces; and when armed robbers and kidnappers have ensured that they remain in business, so much so that, Mike Ozekhome is calling for amnesty for kidnappers, and when no one is spared the agony of abductions; from the aged to the clergy, the young to the middleclass.

You struggle to understand the need for people to seek solace in watching football and spending endless hours analyzing it; but you know that such temporary and momentary solace, sought to supposedly prevent high blood pressure, would not put a definitive end to the bloodshed and sleaze that reigns supreme in the land. You know that no reasonable man would set about chasing rats away from his house, when the house was engulfed by a raging inferno. The more you hear and read the reasons adduced as to why Nigerians must have room for trivialities and distractions in the midst of excruciating poverty, unprecedented carnage, paradoxically matched with extreme extravagance by the political class; you shake your head in indignation. You understand why Nigerians never reach their breaking point. You understand why the elasticity of their endurance has no elastic limits. Then, you ask yourself if Nigerians are a different breed of people with a genetic makeup wired to cause them to crave perpetual subjugation by the political elite and all those who hold public office.

So, in a bid not to continually draw the ire of your Premiership-loving friends – not that it is bad to love it o – and those who would rather take to big-stouting and pepper-souping in the midst of the national sociopolitical crinkum crankum – apologies to Hon. Patrick Obahiagbon – that has overtaken the land; and in a bid to not come across as one who is always serious-minded – as though it’s a bad thing to be serious-minded – you decide to momentarily set down the guiding lines of Chinua Achebe, who posited at some point, that the situation in Nigeria had become too dangerous for silence. You decide, not necessarily to be silent, but not to continue to talk or write about the tendency of Nigerians to bury their heads in the sand, while they play the ostrich.

So, in line with your decision not to EXCESSIVELY dwell on the ills in the land, you keep silent on the reported statement credited to the President, criticizing Nigerians for encouraging corruption. You decide not to talk about his corruption-canonizing act of granting Presidential Pardon to his erstwhile boss who was convicted of fleecing the flock, as though that was how best to discourage corruption. You decide to be quiet about his own admission to knowing those who are corrupt, but deciding not to mention their names, let alone cause their prosecution, so – in his own words – he would not be attacked; and only wonder if he wasn’t being an accessory before and after the fact of crime and criminality in the land. You wonder if that was not enough reason to cause the perniciously selfish National Assembly to institute impeachment proceedings against him. You realize that they dare not. They would only muscle the Presidency to ensure that their record-setting emoluments as the highest-earning legislators, continue to hit their bank accounts.

No, you would not talk! You would not talk about a set of governors who have, to all intents and purposes, relocated to the FCT; to engage in political brinkmanship, horse-trading, the furthering of their fiefdoms and servicing their much inflated egos, as they exhibit signs of being plagued by a pathological case of delusions of grandeur of a debilitating kind; while governance in their States – which ought to be their primary areas of operations – is relegated to the back seat. You would not talk. You decide not to talk about the fact that our higher institutions are allowed to rot away, while children of those who wield political power, and who administer these institutions, are securely flown away to foreign lands to study in schools where governance is taken seriously. You would not talk about the fact that, rather than hold their feet to the fire of accountability, your kind, young men and women alike, constitute themselves into an army of unsolicited supporters of the very people who inflict harm on the dying body of the nation. They have taken their spectocracy to new heights, being no longer content with cheering from the sidelines; they now get paid to appear on national TV to take sides in some meaningless war of national attrition.

Did you say national TV? You don’t want to talk about the mainstream media that have decided to be in business solely for pecuniary gains. They know next to nothing about investigative journalism. They are content with broadcasting screaming headlines that would cause the foot-soldiers of the political gladiators to run to their stations and newspaper houses with fat envelops to buy airtime and skew the news in their favour. Nay, you would not talk.

In fact, you remember that the end of the year is approaching, and fond memories of your childhood make their way to your consciousness. You remember that in the not-too-distant past, children are wont to freely visit the houses of their neighbours during the yuletide, and be sure of some mouthwatering meal. You remember that families exchanged gifts of food and what have you, joyfully, when the year came to an end; but wonder what has happened over the years that families find it difficult to have routine meals, let alone celebrate the yuletide with gifts to neighbours. You juxtapose that reality of a childhood long gone and the very harsh reality of the present, where the nationally accepted dictum seems to be, every man for himself and God for us all; and remember that no sooner than later, the economic management team of the present government, would release glowing statistics of economic improvement and national growth.

Nay, you must not talk about such stuff.

Abeg, una been hear say Nigerian football teams score 67 and 62 – or thereabouts – goals for just 2 games? Ehen, now I have your attention. No wonder you focus on foreign football, abi?!

I am @efewanogho, on Twitter.

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Following the onslaught of the dreaded blood-craving terrorist group known to Nigerians as Boko Haram, and their wanton destruction of life and property, mainly in the Northern fringes of the country, there emerged all sorts of explanation rationalizing or justifying their actions. As expected, many Nigerians condemned the carnage and bloodshed which were the signatures of a visitation by the Boko Haram sect. They felt, and rightfully so, that there was no amount of provocation and ideological leaning that would cause members of the sect to transform Nigeria to a terrorist haven of sorts. Some Nigerians, rather than condemn the acts of violence and its perpetrators, sought to provide justification for the unprecedented desecration of human life.

It was in the midst of this rationalizations of terror by some Nigerians, particularly of the elite stock, that other Nigerians, particularly in the South, and far removed from the epicenter of the bloodshed, accused their Northern compatriots of tacit support for the assailants. Rightly or wrongly, this accusation may have been informed by a conspicuous hesitation on the part of prominent Nigerians from the region to condemn the perpetrators. I had previously held, and continue to hold, that rationalizing terror instead of condemning it, only served to further embolden the terrorists to continue to terrorize hapless Nigerians. As for the commoners in the region, they were clearly helpless in the face of violence being visited on their neighbours perceived to be cooperative with the security agencies. It was only normal to have them condemn the terrorists in hushed tones and whispers, particularly when the government was undecided on the proper course of action to take as it engaged in rigmarole of prevarication between begging killers to accept an unsought and undeserved amnesty, and deploying proportionate force to check the rising terrorism.

Thus, no sooner had the government declared emergency rule in the most affected States of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa – and the security agencies began to record successes – than the extent of citizen cooperation with the Joint Task Force (JTF) of the Military and other security agencies, became as apparent as can be. As the security forces or Official JTF, if you like, made inroads into areas that were hitherto, terrorists’ strongholds, and caused the Boko Haram members to take flight; the young men and women in the affected areas, fired by uncommon patriotism, bounded themselves together in what came to be known as the Civilian JTF. This new outfit, without any military training and the crudest of weapons consisting in machetes, pieces of woods, kobokos, etc. sought and apprehended members of the sect that took cover among the civil populace. The apprehended culprits, after being dealt some measure of mob justice of an organized kind, are handed over to the Official JTF. Nigerians across the nooks and crannies of the country, and even the presidency, lauded the resolve of the ordinary citizens to get actively involved in routing terror from the land.

It didn’t take long before the members of the Civilian JTF became victims of targeted attacks by the Boko Haram terrorists. They have been ambushed and killed in their numbers. They are baited by the Boko Haram members and slaughtered like some disease-infected cattle. Meanwhile, it was recently reported that the Official JTF was calling on more Nigerians in the region to join the Civilian JTF and join the Nigerian version of the war on terror. Just a few days ago, the media was awash with an account of how the supposedly Official JTF, abandoned their Civilian contemporaries to be attacked by Boko Haram, contrary to a pre-arranged joint operation.
Herein lays the crux of this piece.

In a country with the requisite complements of the armed forces, the Police, the State Security Service (SSS), the Civil Defense Corps, and much more; does it make sense to continue to expose ordinary Nigerians to danger in the name of getting them to join the much-hyped Civilian JTF? Do they have the requisite training and aptitude to be engaged in armed confrontation with daredevil terrorists? Are they recipients of any fraction of the humongous security budget available to the agencies, particularly in this era of emergency rule when their access to funds is basically unlimited?

Several months after the declaration of emergency rule in parts of the North, is the military-led Official JTF not yet able to rein in the assailants? With all the resources available to it and the plethora of security agencies that populate our land, should ordinary Nigerians be relied upon to fight terrorists, apart from living responsibly and feeding the public institutions with available information on suspected criminal activity? Would it not be an admission of failure and pernicious incompetence, for the military to continue to encourage Nigerians to join the so-called Civilian JTF and thereby, railroad them to early and mostly unmarked graves?

Apart from the scourge of exposing ordinary Nigerians to danger, the entire concept of Civilian JTF is clearly inimical to national security. We only need to examine the origins and prevalence of insurgent or militant groups across the country, and it would be clear to the discerning mind, that before long, the Civilian JTF would metamorphose into some group(s) with sinister motives that would undoubtedly pose a myriad of threats to a properly ordered society. Let the military high command, in sync with other security agencies, take absolute charge of fighting the terrorists and all manner of criminals. The lives of civilians killed while rising up to the challenge of criminals, must mean something to us. Let us not be party to a process of creating a Frankenstein monster that would destroy its creator.

I am @efewanogho, on Twitter.

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Rochas Okorocha, Imo State Governor

Owelle Rochas Okorocha, the Governor of Imo State, is a man who is no stranger to the spotlight. The man means different things to different people. He has, at various times, even before he became the Governor of Imo State, strolled into the consciousness of Nigerians at will. If he is not in the news for his reported philanthropy, he would make certain headlines for his many political escapades informed by his quest to hold political office at the highest levels. As Governor, he wasted little or no time to grab the headlines by his grandiose, I dare say, unprecedented actions.

No sooner had Mr. Okorocha assumed the seat of political power in his State of Imo, than he made a courageous and trail-blazing move, which saw him, taking steps to making education freely accessible to his constituents. He broke with the tradition of silence that characterized his predecessors and colleagues alike, as it had to do with speaking up about the hitherto, ultra secret financial war-chest christened Security Vote; deploying over fifty percent of several billions of Naira to the education sector. Note that before Rochas Okorocha, Security Votes was akin to a political chief executive’s exclusive treasury, provided for him by the State, annually, to do with as he deemed necessary, without the tiniest traces of accountability or any moral scruples whatsoever. But this piece is not about Mr. Okorocha’s demystification of the darkened vault that Security Vote has come to symbolize in these shores, nor is it about his philanthropy or unending quest to aspire to political office.

The thoughts I am sharing here are inspired by the hullabaloo and cacophonous rancour that have emanated from Imo State over the passage of a bill into law, in the past few days. Specifically, the Imo State House of Assembly passed a bill titled “Imo State of Nigeria, Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Law Number 12 of 2012”, and the Governor, gave his assent. This law, which has come to be known as the legalization of abortion law, provides in part that “every woman shall have the right to enjoy reproductive rights, including rights to medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest and where the continued pregnancy endangers the life or the physical, mental, psychological or emotional health of the mother.” The law also states that “every woman shall have the right to take decisions about her health needs and requirements”.

Those who are against the law have stated that it runs counter to their religious beliefs on the sacredness of life, describing it as anti-God. The most vocal in this category, are those who are members of the Catholic Church. Members of the Catholic Medical Practitioners Association, in consonance with the official position of the Catholic Church, insist that the Law is unacceptable. Others, mainly men who would not countenance any freedom for their wives to make independent decisions on a matter as serious as termination of pregnancy, posit that the law is an invitation to a regime of indiscriminate abortions by the womenfolk. Still, some others argue that the law, if allowed to stand, is only a precursor to legalizing homosexuality and gay marriage.

The foregoing is not the crux of the matter. Opposition to government actions is normal and an intrinsic part of the democratic enterprise. What is most worrisome is the report making the rounds that the Governor, bowing to pressure from very high quarters, particularly from the hierarchy of the Catholic wing of Christendom, has asked the lawmakers to repeal the law. He is reported to have begged for forgiveness from the churches and asked the legislators to expunge the part of the law that is offensive to Christians.

Whereas Okorocha’s u-turn could be interpreted as an indication of his submission to the will of the people; one would ask, what fraction of the people? Did the government do enough to enlighten the citizenry on the provisions of the law? Was a referendum conducted to determine the degree of acceptance or otherwise of the law by the people? Or is it a case of bowing to an important voting bloc for the reason of political survival? What if adherents of other faiths come up with their own disagreements with the existence of certain laws of the land, on no other premise, than that it offends their spiritual beliefs? Would Owelle Rochas Okorocha tender another apology and ask for the repealing of such laws?

The point here is not whether abortion is sanctioned or forbidden by any religion. The issue for contention is whether on occasions when it is found that the sustenance of a particular pregnancy is a source of imminent danger to the health of the would-be mother; it would be proper to discountenance the termination of such pregnancy, even if it is in the earliest stages. In a society where armed robbers and rapists sexually assault their female victims and get them pregnant, and in which society, the term “bastard” is as offensive as can be, stigmatizing children and their mothers; would it be proper to deny the woman the opportunity to decide whether or not to have the baby, simply because we want to pander to some segment of society? Is it not stated that the health of the sick person shall be paramount at all times to medical practitioners by reason of the Hippocratic Oath which they subscribe to?

A law is passed, stipulating clear instances in which a woman may legally seek the termination of pregnancy, and rather than weigh the law on its merits; people decide to demonize it because they either believe, rightly or wrongly, that it offends their faith, or that it would be prone to abuse. Why not seek safeguards to prevent the abuse of the provisions of the law? In the course of the bill’s metamorphosis into law, did the government, seeing that it is a contentious issue, take steps to enlighten the people on the importance of the bill, and what it sought to address? Were public hearings conducted to gauge the pulse of the populace as it relates to the bill?

Reporting the Governor’s change of stance, Vanguard Newspapers stated that he “bowed to the superior fire power of the fiery Catholic Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace, Dr. Anthony J. V. Obinna, over the obnoxious abortion law”. The newspaper quoted the Governor to have stated that, “I make this appeal because my political opponents are waiting patiently for the outcome of this unfortunate abortion saga. It is no worth the trouble to keep this law longer than necessary”. There you have it. The real reason for Mr. Okorocha’s volte-face, apart from placating the Christian, read Catholic, community; is to avoid standing up to his political opponents, who are wont to latch onto the controversy generated by the law, to undermine the political capital which he must have acquired.

We must separate governance from politics, just as we must separate religion from the State. Political expediency should not be the propelling force of government actions. We recall how, not too long ago, the Senate President, David Mark, accused Senator Ahmed Yerima of whipping up religious sentiments to blackmail the Senate, in the case of the controversial change of citizenship cum child-marriage clause in the amendment of the Constitution. If there is a groundswell of opposition to a public policy on account of misconceptions or preconceived, and often baseless, notions; it is the responsibility of government to extensively and exhaustively showcase the benefits that could accrue to society from the policy and weigh them against the possible harm it could inflict on the society. The common good of the citizenry must at all times be the inspiration behind laws and policies of government. And until it is shown that such policies and laws work at cross purposes with the common good, by reason of their existence; such policies and laws, properly so made, need not be repealed. Remember that popular acquiescence or subscription to a practice, does not necessarily confer virtue upon it.

I am @efewanogho on Twitter.