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Author Name: Omotayo, J. A.
Number of articles: 211
During my time too, there were scholaships, grants and busary awards to students. Some of my friends... (0) Comment


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Nigerians Must Wake Up - 1
Author: Omotayo, J. A. | March 24, 2010



A people should be happy that the cream of the society, the elites, is out brainstorming on her problems and proffering solutions to them. Of course, they should be happier if the group of elites takes a step further to prevail on governments and institutions to make life better for the teeming masses. Between 1850s and 1950s, there were the Pan-German, Pan-Slavs, Pan-Negro, Pan-African movements around the globe, all aimed at the betterment of their various races. The aims and objectives of such movements speak for themselves. For instance, the first Pan-African Congress that took place in London from 24-26 July 1900 noted that the “interest and welfare of the native (black) races” should be of prime importance (See: Imanuel Giess – The Pan African Movement, Methuen & Co. Ltd, London, 1974, pg 372). The second Pan African Congress of 27-29 August 1921 in Westminster noted in her “Declaration To The World” or “The London Manifesto” that (i) educated blacks should be recognized by the whites, (ii) self government should be granted to African countries, (iii) both technical and non-technical education should be at public expense, and (iv) blacks should have freedom of worship, opinion and custom (For further details, see: J. Ayodele Langley – Pan Africanism and Nationalism in West Africa, Oxford Clarendon Press, Britain, 1973, pg 71-76). Even when such international movements ultimately dovetailed to both national and sectional movements in Nigeria, the focus was not lost. For instance, the “Afenifere” movement of the Yoruba west had in her 1951 programme (i) Freedom from British Rule (need for self government), (ii) Freedom from ignorance (need for education), (iii) Freedom from disease (need for clinics and hospitals), and (iv) Freedom from want (need for integrated socio-economic empowerment and job creation) (See: Seni Ajao – Egbe Omo Yoruba, National Association of Yoruba Descendants In North America, http://www.yorubanation.org/President/President1.htm). There are many more of such worth associations that one could point at but time and space would not permit that now. As if acting in reverse gear to the associations briefly highly above, we now have all sorts of remarks being made on how to save Nigeria by some so-called human right activists, mostly Lagos State based, called Save Nigeria Group (SNG). They have carried out mass rallies and protests in major capitals, most especially Abuja, Kano and Lagos. Their demands: (i) Mr. Yar’Adua should become visible by addressing the nation, (ii) Election reform should be made to ensure universal suffrage, (iii) New government advisers’ Committee should be inaugurated, (iv) New transition Cabinet should replace the existing one, and (v) Public Procurement Act should be implemented. To the association, those five issues listed above would solve most of, if not all, our current national problems. What a delusion and poor diagnoses of our collective national problems! I have had course to comment briefly on the issues on this NigeriaExchange, www.ngex.com, on March 9, 2010 (See: Full text of press release by Save Nigeria Group on political situation in Nigeria. See also: Save Nigeria Group plans mass rally to protest political situation in Nigeria, on March 10 in Abuja). As a reminder, I commented that seeing a president on television, listening to him on radio, and reading his speech on the pages of newspapers have never solved the problems of the ordinary Nigerian. I like to take off from where I stopped. Nigerians have watched helplessly various leaderships who have assumed the office of head of state through democratic elections and or military intervention. Yet their lifestyles have deteriorated from government to government, and today they are worst off. An average Nigerian today is the one who lives on less than a $1.00 a day. The import is that he (not gender sensitive) is less fed today compared with his forefathers who had food in abundance. Education is now for the children of the rich because it is very expensive for the average Nigerian parent. An average kindergarten school in Abuja charges between N120,000.00 to N150,000.00 per child per term in the central areas. Thus the demands for public funding of education put forward by the Pan African Congress organizers almost a century ago as well as its practical application by Afenifere otherwise known as the Action Group in the 1950s to 1960s have been reversed. Yet there are many parents who receive less than N20,000.00 per month and still intend to send their children to school. How does seeing Mr. Yar’Adua on television solve their problems? The rich fly in the air, at times in chartered flights, while the roads that the ordinary Nigerians travel on everyday have collapsed thus sending some of them to their early graves in road accidents! The affordable rail system for the common man is in paralysis! The rich and the elites would not find anything wrong in that too to demand for rallies. The poor man does not contest any election, because election is for the rich. Even intellectuals cannot contest elections in Nigeria without the support of the rich. Otherwise, they would fail. Not only that. There is no distinguishable practical political programme between any two political parties in Nigeria. For instance, the programmes being executed by PDP controlled states are similar to those being executed by Action Congress and or the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) controlled states. Such programmes include road dualisation in state capitals and planting of flowers tagged “Beautification Project” with the attendant demolition of the ordinary Nigerians’ workshops, market shops and stores on the ground that they are unbefitting of state capitals! In no case has any state government paid any compensation to the affected victims!! In no case has any state government properly relocated the affected victims!!! Ask any one of the victims if he voted for any executive governor knowing full well that his (not gender sensitive) shop, store or workshop would be demolished for flower projects, road expansions, etc the answer would be negative. How then does universal suffrage help the poor through election reforms? The average Nigerian has become a tool of manipulation for individuals seeking personal gains directly or indirectly from the government. Those seeking the creation of new adversary board or committee failed to tell Nigerians what the problem(s) was (were) with the existing one. The same applies to the establishment of transition cabinet. The group failed to tell Nigerians the extent to which Section 148 Subsection 2 of the Constitution has been breached by Mr. Yar’Adua before recommending the various changes to Mr. Jonathan. For those who could not lay their hands on the Constitution, I reproduce below verbatim the provisions of the cited Section. I quote: “(2) The President shall hold regular meetings with the Vice-President and all the Ministers of the Government of the Federation for the purposes of- (a) Determining the general direction of domestic and foreign policies of the Government of the Federation; (b) Coordinating the activities of the President, Vice-President and the Ministers of the Government of the Federation in the discharge of their executive responsibilities; and (c) Advising the President generally in the discharge of his executive functions other than those functions with respect to which he is required by this Constitution to seek the advice or act on the recommendation of any other person or body.”, unquote. The questions that reasonable Nigerians should ask are: (i) Has Mr. Yar’Adua failed to hold regular meetings with his Vice President and the Ministers when he was healthy?; (ii) Has Mr. Yar’Adua single-handedly or with his cronies in government but to the disadvantage of his Vice President and other sidelined Ministers determined the general direction of government policies both internally and externally while he was healthy?; (iii) Has Mr. Yar’Adua deliberately turned down the various pieces of advice of Mr. Jonathan, his Vice President, while he was healthy?; (iv) Has Mr. Jonathan ever advised Mr. Yar’Adua at any point in time while the latter was healthy on the reconstitution of the existing advisory boards or committee?; (v) Has Mr. Jonathan ever advised Mr. Yar’Adua at any point in time while the latter was healthy on the reconstitution of existing federal cabinet?; and (vi) Has Mr. Yar’Adua failed to coordinate the his own activities, those of his Vice President and those of his Ministers when in good health? I belief that the Group should be able to provide explanations to the few questions that I have raised above before confusing Nigerians on how to save the nation. Continue to::- Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3

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