Month: May 2014
THE FIFTEENTH ALP OF CRAZINESS
“Crazy demonstration, demonstration of craze, dem all dey craze, demo-crazy” – Fela Anikulapo Kuti (RIP).
The hope that a government of the people, by the people and for the people held out for Nigerians exactly 15years ago have been TRANSFORMED by successive regimes to despair.
In the place of Military despotism we have inherited thieving and unbridled corruption. Government at all levels and across Political Parties have treated the nation to a Bazaar of the absurd. Yes, demon-crazy is let loose on our land.
GEJ is not to blame, he is part of the blame. Obasanjo who became the first beneficiary of our decade long struggle against the Military bungled the hope that a new epoch was here. Rather than making the people the summum-bonum of our politics he created demi-gods and foisted a Cabal over us.
Rather than creating strong institutions he made strong men. Rather than getting a worthy successor he gave us a sick President with the imprimantor of INEC our never improving electoral umpire. Rather than working at remedying the error he gave us a sleeping regime now overwhelmed by terror. Sad.
The cost of governance and the opulence of the political class is a manifestation of craziness and defines the bent of this demon-crazy. Do we have anything to celebrate? Is the mere fact that mufti wearing ‘politricktians’ have replaced their Khaki wearing cohorts and collaborators sufficient to celebrate? I am not sure.
Countrymen, the times are worrisome and the moment horrifying. My prayers are that out of this cesspool of the absurd good may come. My prayers are that this craziness may make us crazy enough to upturn this anomie and berth a new paradigm of responsible and responsive leadership in this chequered and beleaguered space.
We must rise to the challenge and make Nigeria truly democratic. Yes We Can.
God Bless Nigeria.
Prof. Chris Nwaokobia Jnr.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of securenigeria365.
Fellow Nigerians: I greet and felicitate with you all, today, as we mark 15 years of uninterrupted democratic governance in our beloved country.
2. Our dear nation, Nigeria, has certainly come a long way and made notable progress since our first Democracy Day on May 29, 1999 when the military finally relinquished power and handed over to a democratically-elected government, marking the true beginning of a government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
3. Although I have ordered a low-key commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day in deference to the current mood of the nation, there can be no doubt that the past 15 years, the longest period of sustained democratic governance in our country, have been a blessing to us, as a people.
4. As we commemorate 15 years of our Fourth Republic today therefore, I believe that it is fitting that we pay tribute once again to all those who played a part in restoring our nation to the true path of democratic governance, built on the foundations of rule of law and freedom of expression.
5. As a result of our collective efforts since 1999, democratic governance is now entrenched in our nation and institutions. I wholeheartedly believe that our people are the better for it. The scope of fundamental rights and liberties enjoyed by our people overthe past 15 years has been expanded beyond measure.
6. On my watch, we have witnessed high national economic growth rates, steady improvements and expansion of national infrastructure including airports and roads, the restoration of rail transportation, the efficient implementation of a roadmap for improved power supply, a revolutionary approach to agricultural production, as well as advances in education, sports, youth development, healthcare delivery, housing, water supply and other social services.
7. In the oil and gas sector, our promotion of a sustainable local content policy, continues to guarantee equity and better opportunities for Nigerian entrepreneurs and skilled personnel.
8. Significant increase in mobile telephoneand national broadband penetration, making Information and Communications Technology (ICT) one of the fastest growing sectors of the Nigerian economy. We have also developed strong financial markets and regulatory institutions. Our banks now have regional and global footprints.
9. Nigeria has also gained recognition as the largest economy in Africa, the most preferred investment destination in the continent and in terms of returns on investment, the fourth in the world. We are pleased that the world has noticed, as global leaders converged in Abuja early this month for the World Economic Forum in Africa.
10.The event not only witnessed a record attendance, it brought the prospect of an additional flow of investment into the Nigerian economy estimated at over $68 billion over the next few years.
11. In foreign relations, our country has equally done well within this period, by establishing and strengthening strong partnerships with all ECOWAS countries and the rest of the world. This has helped to deepen Nigeria’s leadership role in multilateral institutions including the United Nations.
12.Furthermore, under this administration, we have made consistent progress in improving the standard of elections in our country to ensure that they are ever more credible and truly representative of the people’s free choice. The National Conference we initiated to deliberate and make recommendations on the best ways of resolving our current political and socio-economic challenges is ongoing. It is our expectation that its outcomes will help to further consolidate the gains we have made from democracy in the past 15 years, and place our dear nation even more firmly on the path to greatness.
13. It is a sad fact that as I address you today, all the gains of the past 15 years of democratic governance in our country are threatened by the presence of international terrorism on our shores. Our dear country, Nigeria is facing a new challenge. A war has been unleashed on us. Extremist foreign elements, collaborating with some of our misguided citizens, are focused on an attempt to bring down our country and the democracy and freedomwe cherish and celebrate today.
14. The despicable abduction of school girls from Chibok in Borno State has brought to the awareness of the entire world, the heartless brutality of these terrorists who want to instigate a descent into anarchy and balkanize our nation.
15. In recent years, terrorist attacks have claimed the lives of several of our compatriots, many have been injured or maimed, whole villages and communities have been destroyed and the economy of some of our states is in jeopardy.
16. There can be no doubt that what we are witnessing in Nigeria today is a manifestation of the same warped and ferocious world view that brought down the Twin Towers in New York, killed innocent persons in Boston and led to the murder of defenceless people in the Southern Russian city of Volgograd. Terrorist activities have brought war and pains to Mali, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. These agents of evil continue to brainwash and incite ignorant young men and women to attack the innocent. We cannot allow this to continue.
17. I welcome the statements of solidarity from patriotic citizens and the global community in support of our efforts to stamp out terrorism. I applaud the understanding that in a democracy, such as we are building, people can have differences while sharing worthy values and standing together in opposition to the scourge of terrorism. Nigeria is the only country we have and we must all work to preserve it for present and future generations.
18. Despite the challenges we face, we must commend our security forces. We must not forget their gallantry and successes in liberating nations and in peacekeeping, from Liberia to Sierra Leone, Congo, Sudan, Mali, Guinea-Bissau and many places in Africa and beyond. Our forces have paid the supreme price in several places at several times.
19. Today, they face a different challenge, an unconventional war by terrorists. They are adjusting and are being equipped to tackle the new menace of terrorism. We must show confidence in their ability. I have no doubt that, with the support of Nigerians, our neighbours and the international community, we will reinforce our defence, free our girls and rid Nigeria of terrorists.
20. It is now 45 days since the horrifying abduction of the college girls of Chibok. I share the deep pain and anxiety of their parents and guardians and I assure them once again that government will continue to do everything possible to bring our daughters home.
21. I am determined to protect our democracy, our national unity and our political stability, by waging a total war against terrorism. The unity and stability of our country, and the protection of lives and property are non-negotiable. I have instructed our security forces to launch a full-scale operation to put an end to the impunity of terrorists on our soil.
22. I have also authorized the security forces to use any means necessary under the law to ensure that this is done. I assure you that Nigeria will be safe again, and that these thugs will be driven away – it will not happen overnight, but we will spare no effort to achieve this goal.
23. For our citizens who have joined hands with Al Qaeda and international terrorists in the misguided belief that violence can possibly solve their problems, our doors remain open to them for dialogue and reconciliation, if they renounce terrorism and embrace peace.
24. My government, while pursuing security measures, will explore all options, including readiness to accept unconditional renunciation of violence by insurgents, and to ensure their de-radicalization, rehabilitation and re-integration into the broader society.
25. We must remain united to win the war against terrorism. Christians, Moslems, farmers, fishermen, herdsmen, teachers, lawyers, clergy or clerics, the rich, the poor and Nigerians from all sections of the country must work together with our security agencies and armed forces to overcome the terrorists who now threaten all that we hold dear.
26. The war against terror may be difficult, but the days of peace will come again. Terror is evil; nowhere in history has evil endured forever. The menace of Boko Haram will surely come to an end. I believe that because of your prayers, your courage, hardwork, faith and sacrifice, we will ultimately prevail over the terrorists and all other evil forces.
27. We are a strong, resilient and courageous people. We will continue to partner with the civilized world, to confront international terrorism and every other challenge that comes our way with patriotic zeal and determination.
28. Yes, we have challenges but we will surely overcome. Nigeria is our country. Nigeria is blessed. We will all collectively protect, defend and develop this country for ourselves, and our children.
29. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
30. Thank you and God bless Nigeria
LETTER TO MY PROTEGE 6
Number 6 hits close to home as I am at a loss for what to write. No structured lesson on style to give you today. I guess this is just one of those moments shaped by the grinding realities of the hustle for daily bread in our peculiar clime. But I believe that as I write on, and try to give expression to the incoherent ideas playing in my mind – it will happen! The writing will take over and my readings from the past week will have a say.
All through the day, I have struggled to find the words to share some lessons gleaned from my own long walk along Writer’s Boulevard. This is because it has been a very hectic week for me at work – so hectic, I doubt that I have managed 40hours sleep all week. No exaggeration. However, my unvoiced pledge to stay true to our weekly rendezvous made certain that my self-enforced insomnia was a welcome and palatable guest.
Ever since I committed to this weekly date of ours, it became my self-imposed burden of responsibility to deliver – always – on what I and I alone, consider a divine debt, a solemn promise and a sacred responsibility. Since you thought it needful, in your compelling desire to write, to confer upon me the very high office of midwife to your lofty literary ambitions, I also think it needful not to take this responsibility lightly. I hold it dearly with every sense of duty and obligation.
Accepting to be your mentor, being a studious protege to some amazing writers myself, was the easy part. The tough part – the hard work – lies in embracing the immense responsibility cloaked in this relationship we share and my role in it. It is convenient to hash a raft of rules on writing and to shove them down your throat every week, demanding with an air of pedantic pride, that you embrace the ineluctable exertions that precede the mastery of our craft, all the while, concealing my own crippling failure in oft-futile attempts at subjecting myself to the same rigours.
I say this because I find myself occasionally struggling with the same shortcomings you say you struggle with. I will not paint a picture of false perfection for you; it has in fact never been my attempt to. The things I write to you, I write to myself as well. You should derive encouragement from my failings as much as you do from my strengths and successes. You should however, never excuse your failings as I never, mine. The fire that will ignite your sustained yearning, discipline and devotion to writing and doing so successfully, cannot be feigned. I can only give you of what I have. I cannot promise to adorn you with royal robes when I myself am clothed in rags.
It was for this sole purpose of avoiding the ironical situation of being a blind guide of the blind that I, in spite of the exasperations of the past week, devoted no less than two to three hours of what would otherwise have been sleep time after work, to reading. The fear of falling miserably short of my own expectations, as well as of yours, provided sufficient drive. Truth be told, the experience was hardly palatable at times. It was in fact, a continent apart from easy; but when I recalled that you, as well as others who have voiced their admiration and anticipation for my letters, are lodged almost endlessly in this weekly waiting room where together, you yearn earnestly for my little contribution to your literary development, I exorcised sleep out of my eyes like a priest would, demons from a possessed human body, and I set about the work. I thought about the future I have always sought and instantly thought sleep an enemy of progress in that moment.
I live in a world of words. I relate with them everyday. Almost every moment of the day, I am attaching words and meanings to people, events, places, experiences et al. As opposed to gangsters, I roll with wordsters, kindred spirits who are fascinated by the power of words and language like I am and for whom the art of writing is a like passion.
At work, one of my wordsters, Dejino (you know how mafiosi names end with vowels and this is my wordster name for him), triggered (or was it added coal to my inner fire) me when he showed me a highlighted response by American crime fiction writer and essayist, James Ellroy, in a 2010 TIME interview in which the “L.A. Confidential” author was responding to questions from fans around the world. Stephen Seome Ntsoane from Pretoria, South Africa had asked, “Are people born good writers?” This was Ellroy’s brutal response: “No. You have to read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read and read. As you read, unconsciously you assimilate the rudiments of style and technique. And when it comes time for a person to begin to seriously write, they either have it, or they don’t.”
Blunt, frank and precise! I couldn’t agree more. The reason why I have gone through the pain of reliving the rigours of the past week in this letter is so you see – in perhaps the clearest and most practical of terms – that writing, as anything at all that you will excel in, will involve and require a lot of hard work and commitment. There will be sleepless nights spent reading…and writing. It won’t be easy but there’s no alternative path to it. There will never be time you see. You will always think you have to sleep or have to do some other legitimate thing. In the end, if you will make an accomplished writer, there would have to be sacrifices of legitimate needs to really get into the business of reading and writing. Look, I could give you the most assured suggestions and instructions on swimming but in the end, the only way to learn to swim would be to actually get into the water and swim.
I can give you a thousand and one rules and tips to it; in the end, you will have to pick up those books, sit down and read. You will read long, read hard and read wide and then write as much as well. In fact, he has no business writing who has not made a business of reading. It is as you read, read, read and read good works, like Ellroy rightly stated, that an appreciable and promising style is harvested. And I cannot even begin to show you the pertinency of the night season to this exercise. While the world is sleeping and dreaming, you are reading in the quiet, solitude and serenity that the period provides – carving your dreams into reality. Teju Cole alluded to this fact in his “Letters to a Young Writer” when he said, “…if you’re ready to stay up late at night to do the work” You will be required to explore the power of the night season my friend.
It was little wonder that American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow asserted, “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” It was he also who mused ever so delightfully, “The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, and all the sweet serenity of books.” You must cultivate a love for books and a love for reading generally.
Meanwhile, you should read up more on James Ellroy. He’s one character who fascinates me as much as – and perhaps, more than – the characters in his crime fictions. He once wrote that he read at least two books a week growing up – even admitting to shoplifting books to satisfy his love for reading. Amazing! Today, he’s a globally acclaimed author with several of his books adapted to mega-buck spinning films and screenplays. One which I love and which I saw as a high school kid was the double-Oscar winning L.A. Confidential with eight Oscar nominations. Rising out of the ashes of depression, drug abuse and different lows, Ellroy continued and still continues to churn out classics that thrill our sensibilities.
His story, words and works should provide you with a more than sufficient dosage of inspiration.
As I retire my pen, I should share this with you. Journalist and New York Times Op-Ed Columnist, David Brooks, was one of those who really spoke to me in the past week through his article “Really Good Books.” It came in two parts. You’d do yourself a world of good by adding them to your checklist for the weekend. Kick me out of your life if you’re disappointed with them. In the two-part article, he gives us a peek into his bookshelf and we see some of the titles that have shaped the man over the years. He rounded off with a profound remark that helps put book-learning in proper perspective:
“I suppose at the end of these bookish columns, I should tell you what I think books can’t do. They can’t carve your convictions about the world. Only life can do that — only relationships, struggle, love, play and work. Books can give you vocabularies and frameworks to help you understand and decide, but life provides exactly the education you need.” A fact Longfellow attested to when he said, “A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books.”
Yes, I have been angling for books and reading: while they are in themselves awesome and you must read, you and your work will be shaped into the finished article you envision by more than reading. Your relationships, your work, your observations, your interactions, your hobbies, and so forth, will have a big say. It’s a total package. Learn to pay attention. Please read David Brooks’ articles and never forget to…keep writing..
Your fellow traveller
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By Yusuf Omotoso
The Nigerian based British America Tobacco (BAT) company has recently reaffirmed its commitment to beneficial practice and cultivation of its product around the world, including Nigeria.
The commitment goal is pursued as the organization is indulged in several initiatives with other government agencies, organized private sector and NGOs which includes; the pricing negotiation process where government agencies, the organized private sector and assurance firms who provide assurance on the process, are all involved.
Mrs. Oluwasoromidayo George, British America Tobacco spokesperson-Nigeria revealed to SecureNigeria365 that the principle of good corporate conduct is the basis of the organization’s operations and as such, the organization in its dealings, conform to high standardbehaviour. Thereby, does not compromise these standards for the sake of profit-making.
In ensuring this, George buttressed that the Tobacco company neither employs children in its operations nor encourages tobacco farmers in the country to use child labour. She stated that the company’s relationship with the farmers is transparent and voluntary, while the interest-free loans given to the farmers, is entirely optional and is geared toward assisting them.
In conclusion, she noted that British America Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) will continue to work with relevant agencies and non-governmental organisations to ensure that best practices are adhered to in the tobacco farms.
Therefore, with this desire towards achieving a better Nigeria, the BATN has been working with non-governmental organisations, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, to carry out assessments and monitoring, as well as engaging in workshops with the farmers on child labour. Hence, the company’s commitment to working with tobacco farmers toward eradicating child labour has been demonstrated overtime and will continue to be demonstrated.
By Edward Emmanuel
One of the leading service providers of DSTV, MultiChoice held a forum on Saturday, May 17, for hundreds of its customers in Ikorodu area of Lagos. The initiative was put to fore in order to sustain the existing relationship between both parties.
It was also an avenue for the brand to showcase its increasing avalanche of services to subscribers, such as; DStv Explora, DStv Catch-Up, and Box Office offerings. The forum enjoyed the presence of DSTV’s high-ranking officials who thoroughly engaged the customers in a friendly rapport. Amongst those present at the event were; DSTV’s Operation Manager, Lanre Oluwole; Regional Operation Manager, Faud Kadiku and Taiwo Oshikoya.
Meanwhile, MultiChoice Public Relations Manager, Caroline Oghumareiterated the essence of the event and subscribers of their agenda on the continued positive services and strategies mapped out to improve and provide better services as well.While reassuring the customers of unrestrained access to all the World Cup matches live, come June 12. 2014.
In her words”The innovation-drivenorganization appreciates customers’ constructive suggestions, advice and complaints, which enables the company to provide better and effective services for its customers,” she added.
Also speaking at the event,Assistant Director, Monitoring and Enforcement, National Broadcasting Commission,Mr. Matthew Okoduwa, commended MultiChoice for the customers’ forum initiative, describing it as an important mechanism in customer relations. He said it is the duty of NBC to regulate the broadcast industry in Nigeria and monitor all the channels on direct-to-home (DTH) and terrestrial televisions. As such, customers should not hesitate to complain on poor service, but should also give credit when it is due, as this to him is worth applauding.
Similarly, the hundreds of subscriber who attended the forum utilized ceased the opportunity to table as well as clarify pending issues, complaints, advice, and also, laud the idea with high request that such engagements be sustained subsequently.
By Yusuf Omotosho
In what could have once been described as impossible, The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) on May 21, 2014 signed a memorable music copyright royalty with the Nigerian Broadcasting Industry (NBI) at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos.
The event is aimed at bringing to halt the prolonged disagreement between the music and broadcast industries in Nigeria spanning for over three decades which culminated in a major crisis in the last quarter of 2013,like the highly publicized copyright infringement law suits filed by COSON against some of Nigeria’s topmost broadcasting stations in 2013.And the counter attack from Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON) and Independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria (IBAN) which announced the suspension of the broadcast of the music of nearly all the best known members of COSON on radio and TV stations across Nigeria.
COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji in his address said that for many years, Nigeria had run away from addressing this problem leaving many frustrated and driving important investment away from the industry. There are many who had given up, believing that the problem will never be solved. But finally, He exclaimed that though it may appear like a miracle, it has actually happened. The two parties (COSON and NBI) have sat on the same table with making stringent efforts to find a working agreement on important issues that stood between music and broadcasting industries.
This watershed event was witnessed by dignitaries and representatives of both NBC,COSON,VON, and BON with the likes of; Director-General, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mr. EmekaMba; Director-General, Nigerian Copyright Commission, Mr. Afam Ezekude; Director-General, Voice of Nigeria, Mallam Abubakar Jijiwa who is also Chairman of the 400 member Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria, and several other top government officials who commended the bold steps taken by all the parties to reach a proposed hitch-free agreement as they continue to manage intellectual property in the society.
Guests were well-treated to the sweet rhythms of Lagbaja and Rub-a-dub master, Ras Kimono; soul singer, Azeezat, Daddy Fresh, and KSB to mention, but a few.Showbiz impresarios such asEdi Lawani, Efe Omorogbe and Patrick Doyle,were some of the notable faces at the event.
Conclusively, this agreement held in compromise is an important first step in the journey to end the many bad habits that have held the creative enterprise unprofitable in Nigeria, and as such, the parties have agreed to fight it to both favours.
Therefore, this is also proof to all Nigerians that we can do the right thing if individual interests are put away and national interest takes priority over class struggle, as these two parties have established to the favour of all Nigerians with this engagement.
by Yusuf Omotosho
At the 2014 convocation ceremony of Dillard University, a Nigerian-born student of the school, Merrilyn Akpapuna, became the cynosure of all eyes as she distinguished herself by emerging the overall best graduating student with the honour of Summa Cum Laude, also known as First class.
The 21-year-old Psychology graduate who hails from Delta State in Nigeria received a lot of accolades for her mental prowess during the graduation ceremony held at New Orleans, United States .Her performance was not just by mere stroke of fortune, but a sheer commitment to excellence and hard work. She has been keeping a track record of firsts from her early school days; she was on top of her class at the Reagan Memorial Baptist Girls Secondary School, Yaba, Lagos, and also won a first place for an exceptional work in Algebra Relay at the National Institute of Science, New Orleans.
Akpapuna did not magically find herself in University in the United States. After all, she has proved that she can stand tall even among academic giants. It was a scholarship offer she won for her tuition after taking SAT classes in Management Education Training at Ikeja, Lagos that took her to the Dillard University. In an online interview, the young scholar revealed that she always imbibed diligence in every task she embarks on.
Interestingly, there were other three Nigerians who also made First class in their chosen fields. They are Victor Ogburie, Stephen Igwe, and Emole Anyadimgba.
As the varsity’s valedictorian, Akpapuna was on the same podium with the wife of the US President, Michelle Obama, during the ceremony. The US First lady urged the 226 graduates of the university to show commitment to producing future geniuses. She emphasized that no one has excuses to stand on the sidelines because education is still the key to real and lasting freedom. She concluded that it is left for everyone to encourage future generations to cultivate the hunger for education.