AFRAID OF COMMON FEAR


We’re afraid so much of necessary failure,
Of what others think of us and of the future
And the past gone and now; just afraid.

We seldom show our consuming phobia,
They’re pushed to sub-consciousness, left there.
There they swell up and fester; being afraid.

Our hidden fears create a climate of anxiety;
Scarcely knowing why we’re afraid, it is insanity.
But still we live on like this, basically afraid.

IMMORALITY

Time is a precious commodity,


one we cannot create but waste.

How we use every opportunity,

determines our enduring taste.

The fabric of every community,

makes up it’s content and state.

When a people lose their sanity,

old men rule like boys in haste.

January 15, 1966

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

The last official public function of Nigeria’s first and only elected Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was the commissioning of the River Niger Bridge linking Asaba with Onitsha. After which;
“On December 19, 1965 he (Balewa) went to the small village of Arondizuogu in Orlu for the commissioning of Dr. Ozumba Mbadiwe’s “Palace of the People” Built by Italian contractors, it was a three-storey affair resplendent with blue terrazzo walls, swimming pool and a fountain, grand conference halls and event rooms, red carpet and gilt chairs. All these in a village where most houses were still born of mud and thatched roofs. Since the first tarred roads were constructed in 1890s in Lagos, and the first dual carriage way in Nigeria – Queen Elizabeth Road – appeared in 1956 in Ibadan, no road in Arondizuogu or in Orlu had ever been graced with bitumen before.

Yet Mbadiwe situated the grand palace there as a source of pride for his people. At the commissioning ceremony, the Eastern Premier, Dr Okpara never saw the project as a white elephant planted by megalomania and watered by corruption, rather he hailed the project as “a great achievement for pragmatic African socialism.” The press placed the value of the house at least half a million pounds. Mbadiwe said it was “at most £40,000.” After the commissioning, Abubakar then proceeded to his farm in Bauchi for his annual leave.”

The Prime Minister was briefly in Kaduna on Tuesday, January 4, 1966 before returning to Lagos.Despite the fact that Sir Balewa was a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire and member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, he was a modest person who had throughout his life led a Spartan and ascetic lifestyle. He owned only 2 private residences in Bauchi and Kaduna and a 50 acre farm near his hometown of Tafawa Balewa.

His personal integrity was unassailable, yet in Lagos as Prime Minister he headed a government that glossed over the proven corrupt practices of its apparatchiks for the sake of political expediency;
“The NCNC parliamentary leader and Minister of Trade, Dr. Ozumba Mbadiwe was caught using his office to divert a government land at Ijora Causeway to his private company Afro Properties and Investment Company since 1961. He then assigned the land lease to Nigerpool in return for a hefty annual profit. The discovery generated another media-exposed corruption scandal.

The Prime Minister met privately with Babatunde Jose, the editor of the powerful Daily Times spearheading the intense campaign to remove the corruption extremist if he declined to resign. Mbadiwe never bothered. Sir Balewa told the editor: “You want me to remove this man? What he did fell below what is proper. Under British standards, he would go, but the NCNC who put him in my original coalition are solidly for him. Its central working committee had just passed a unanimous vote of confidence in him. If they withdraw, since Awolowo can’t join, the [coalition] government will collapse.’”No doubt during the First Republic there were numerous signs and symptoms of rapid democratic decay against the background of massive political corruption.

The bloody events of January 15, 1966 did not just happen in some vacuum. By January 15, 1966 our nation was a disaster waiting to happen as there was a noticeable buildup towards chaos as noted by declassified US diplomatic cables which clearly stated how our nation had got to a level of; “Very complicated African politics, in which tribes, religions and economics all play a part, are involved in the situation. The Northern Premier is at odds with the Eastern Premier in whose region large oil deposits have been discovered. In the heat of the election campaign, there have been threats of secession by the East; threats of violence that would make Congo look like child’s play.”The American cables were about the intense political rivalry at the highest echelons of government;
“Following the controversial Federal Election of December 1964, ceremonial President Azikiwe of the NCNC, refused to invite Prime Minister Balewa of the NPC to form a government and issued orders mobilizing the Army to enforce his authority to suspend the government, annul the elections and appoint a temporary interim administrator to conduct elections.

However, the oath of allegiance of the officer corps was not only to the Commander in Chief but also to the government of Nigeria. The Army Act (#26 of 1960) and the Navy Act (#9 of 1960) were also clear on lines of authority and control.While the Army and Navy were “under the general authority” of the Defence Minister in matters of “command, discipline and administration”, the authority for operational use and control was vested in the Council of Ministers and the Prime Minister. President Azikiwe and the service chiefs were so advised by the Chief Justice and Attorney General of the Federation.

Thus the Navy Commander, Commodore Wey politely told the President that the Navy (under him), the Army (under Major General Welby-Everard) and the Police (under Louis Edet) had decided to refuse his orders. After a week of cliff hanging tension, in which the military stood aside, a political compromise was eventually reached and a government of “national unity” formed under Prime Minister Balewa.” Was Dr. Azikiwe privy to the January 15, 1966 coup?There was also the political collateral damage of;
“Operation Banker’, a joint Army-Police operation in the Western region, led by then CO, 4th battalion, Lt. Col. Maimalari, allegedly at the behest of the pro-NPC regional Premier (Akintola) culminating in the declaration of a state of emergency in May 1962 after a fracas in the House of Assembly and the appointment of an administrator.

Interestingly, the General Staff Officer at the Army HQ in charge of Intelligence was none other than Captain Patrick Chukwuma Nzeogwu who, as a Major, was later to play a key role in the coup of January 1966 in which Maimalari lost his life.”This politicization of the military led to; “The arrest on September 22, 1962 and subsequent imprisonment of the opposition leader, Chief Awolowo, on suspicion of planning a civilian overthrow of the government. It was alleged that 300 volunteers were sent to Ghana for 3 weeks militia training.”
Interestingly; “The last interview granted to the magazine ‘West Africa’, by the late Prime Minister Balewa on January 14, a few hours to his death, went like this:
Question: Do you see the solution as taking the form of a coalition government in the West?

Balewa: Yes, it would have to be that …The Action Group has accepted my mediation, but the NNDP has asked for more time. If I use real force in the West – and make no mistake about it, I haven’t yet – then I could bring the people to their knees. But I don’t want to use force like that. Force can’ t bring peace to people’s hearts.
Question: Would you consider the release of Chief Awolowo as part of a political solution of the West’s troubles?

Balewa: I think that might be part of it; yes, obviously we would have to see.
This interview was not published until January 29, 1966.”
Little did Sir Balewa know that the political end game of the January 15, 1966 mutineers was to release then opposition leader, Chief Awolowo from Calabar prison and install him as head of a national unity government. Chief Awolowo has never confessed to being privy of the coup attempt though the official documents containing the details of what actually happened and how 54 years ago are still classified.May the souls of Sir Balewa and that of all those that lost their lives on January 15, 1966 continue to rest in peace.

FUTURE SOLDIERS ON

We walk in steps, fits and starts,
Come and go like beatin’ hearts,
Pacing back, forth, yet onwards;
Winning battles, losing all wars.

Life drills all as an erring soldier,
Demands as needs never older,
For the future soldiers on bolder.

SOLDIER’S WISH

Waiting patiently for the nights
when we sit, raise our glasses,
toast trigger fingers’ heights,
gun powder and saves asses;
over our chilled whiskey shots,
brag about our notable shots.
We won’t lock horns with evil;
for not forever reigns the devil.

We might clatter like pawns
across their Chess boards,
as their domination quests runs.
But at some point it surely burns
and we won’t fall or die off.
For angels far away from here,
wait to shine feathers enough,
to spread wings with all of us;
Once this is over for ours & us.

Picture from @hify_2

THERE ARE COWS & THERE ARE COWS

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

These are Wagyu cattle from which the most expensive beef in world comes from in Japan.

They are arguably the most pampered of domesticated animals, because their daily routine consists of regular massages, beer drinking, baths and listening to relaxing music.

It is believed by herdsmen over there, such delicate care helps to keep the highly priced beef known as “Kobe” so tender.

Meanwhile, other cattle, in you know where, are raised against the backdrop of Rat-ta-ta music of AK 47 gunfire.

With more civilized herdsmen, Denmark is not left out as
a group of students of the Scandinavian School of Cello dropped by to perform Tchaikovsky’s “Pezzo Capriccioso” to the delight of a herd of classical music loving cows.

Do not ask me if the following day milk production reached all time high. It did!

Meanwhile, over here the Rat-ta-ta…..Kwantinues.

Simply put –

Garbage in, Garbage out!

GENERATIONAL APPRENTICESHIP

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

Don’t hate, observe and understudy instead

Devoid of sentiments, without sanctimonious grandstanding and negative profiling apart, tell me how the Indomie generation of Thank you Daddy can withstand this kid in future?

If truth be told, any kid that can command this kind of thunderous herd is way ahead in strategic thinking and tactical response of his peers. Shoes? He doesn’t need any. His stick is his keyboard and mouse for now.

Let us face it, dominating any environment is a mindset that must be cultivated early. This kid is not chauffeured to school. He is not on Social Media neither does he flip through DSTV channels. By the time he goes to school he doesn’t have to drop his CV anywhere.

Many Nigerians have so much modernized that we have abandoned the ethnic rites of passage for our young. The Fulani naturalis have not. They don’t abandon culture.

This kid doesn’t speak English but can effectively communicate with his herd. He can read their mind and decode their mood. He is already taking charge. His mates are still crying Mummy.

This kid might not be able to read and write but he is a natural GPS that can navigate without map reading. He can sniff rain days ahead and sense danger miles away. He doesn’t have to Google pasture. He is an ecological encyclopedia.

This kid’s swagger is earned.
Insult, deride and abuse his older ones. But you can never deny the potential, natural aptitude and work in progress in this kid.
How many conventional schools can package the unfinished greatness that is already apparent in him?

The Fulani. The Shuwa of the Lake Chad region. The Dinka of Sudan. The Masai of Kenya and Tanzania. The Tutsis of Rwanda and Burundi. Even the Bedouins of the Arab world and Cowboys of America. Including the Hebrews of old. Keenly observe and carefully understudy them. They have always dominated their environment because of their understanding of the umbilical link between animal husbandry and human psychology – He who knows you most masters you more – by any means necessary.

“Hate is the reaction that we feel towards something that is threatening us. Fear is what happens when we can’t do anything about it.”

Life is historically a game of chess. We are mere players and the environment is our ultimate chessboard; “where a man must have a temper of iron”

It is either you stay ahead of the game or keep on complaining.

Hiding in plain sight

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

There is nothing any smartphone phone user can do about what goes on in this disc shaped building located at the United Arab Emirates (UAE) It is the corporate headquarters of DarkMatter. UAE is an Arab Gulf country with a population of 9.2 million made of 7 emirates including Dubai – a favorite destination for loaded Nigerians. However, only 1.4 are Emiratis. The 7.8 majority are foreigners.
DarkMatter is a cyber security firm and proxy for NSO Group Technologies (NSO stands for Niv, Shalev and Omri) the names of the company’s founders to market the world’s most advanced phone surveillance technology known simply as Pegasus which is classified as a weapon by Israel and any export of the technology must be approved by the government. UAE is therefore an offshore trading post.

Due to its existential realities hightech security is not only a national necessity but a major business for Israel being the only Middle East country with neither crude oil nor Natural gas. Niv, Shalev and Omri are retired military intelligence officers that served under Unit 8200 of Signal Intelligence of the Israeli Defence Force;
“Unit 8200 is composed primarily of 18–21 year olds. As a result of the youth of the soldiers in the unit, and the shortness of their service period, the unit relies on selecting recruits with the ability for rapid adaptation and speedy learning. After school programs for 16–18 year olds, teaching computer coding and hacking skills, also serve as a feeder programs for the unit.” Many phone Apps and Antivirus software in use around the world are created by companies set up by former officers of Unit 8200. The Israelis are reportedly the first nation to hack into any android phone any where in the world by remote access and use it as a listening device even if is not on!

What is happening to WhatsApp?

In October 2019, WhatsApp and its parent sued NSO Group Technologies under the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) for using the Pegasus spyware to violate the privacy of of over 1 billion WhatsApp users worldwide. Have you recently been asked to update your “privacy agreement” with WhatsApp recently? It is a fallout of that case.
Many WhatsApp users have started migrating to other platforms like Telegram and Signal that guarantee better “end to end encryption” for users. But truth is there has never been privacy in telecommunications. The internet was invented by the US Department of Defense; “If you have something that you don’t want anybody to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place”
WhatsApp was established in 2009 by two digital nomads previously working with Yahoo with a seed capital of $250,000, by 2014 Facebook acquired it for $19 billion. Meanwhile we all use it for free; so where do the profits come from? As they say; “The most expensive things are free”

One World Government is now inevitable

What do the Israelis and Arabs have in common? The oil shiekhs abhor democracy but want to retain power and control over their masses without causing another Arab Spring. The Israelis have the technological means to aid the aristocrats while maintaining their democratic survival and national security in the world’s most hostile region. This arrangement is sweet music to the proponents of Globalization in maintaining world order.
According to an Al Jazeera report dated December 8, 2020;
“Nigeria’s Defence Intelligence Agency has acquired equipment that it can use to spy on its citizens’ calls and text messages, according to a report by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, which researches digital surveillance, security, privacy and accountability. The report, titled Running in Circles: Uncovering the Clients of Cyber-espionage Firm Circles, said a telecom surveillance company by the name of Circles has been helping state security apparatuses across 25 countries, including Nigeria, to spy on the communications of opposition figures, journalists, and protesters…..The Citizen Lab report also said Circles was affiliated with Tel Aviv-based NSO Group, an Israeli hacker-for-hire company, whose software, Pegasus, has allegedly been used by several governments to spy on dissidents by taking control of their smartphone, its cameras and microphones, and mining the user’s personal data.”

Big Brother is watching you

Femi Adesina recently released a statement entitled; “Criticise us fairly, President Buhari appeals to Nigerian elite.” What the presidential aide has simply done is to stratify Nigeria in line with privileged information hidden in plain sight.
“Big Brother” is the fictional leader of a country called Oceania in George Orwell’s novel “1984” that was published in 1949; “Oceania’s society as divided into three distinct classes: the Inner Party, the Outer Party and the Proles.
The Proles made up almost 85% of the population in Oceania; they receive little education, work at manual labor, live in poverty although in privacy and anonymity………Party members (the Inner Party and Outer Party) are under surveillance via telescreens in both private and public; by contrast, Proles’ quarters are generally free of telescreens as the Big Brother does not care to observe them. Their functions are simple: work and breed. Proles are described as “caring little about anything but home and family, neighbor quarrels, films, football, beer, lottery tickets, and other such bread and circuses.”
In case you missed the optics, Mr. Adesina has issued a serious warning to the members of the Inner and Outer Party in Nigeria by implying the Proles are still loyal. Information is power!

ONCE UPON A TIME WHEN BAIL WAS FREE

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

Nigeria’s collective national security and military establishment started in 1863. It was well financed by the Royal Niger Company. The gradual separation came with the Niger River Constabulary in 1888 at Lokoja. Then came the Niger Coast Constabulary in 1894 at Calabar and eventually the Lagos Police in 1896.

Sir John Hawley Glover was an officer under the command of Dr. William Balfour Baikie both of the Royal Navy. Glover was the Lagos governor from 1863 to 1874 and Baikie the British consul of what became the colonial contours of what eventually became Nigeria under Lord Lugard from 1857 to 1859;
“Glover formed the nucleus of present-day Nigerian Army and Police with 10 Hausa runaway slaves on 1 June 1863. The group was known as Glover’s Hausas or ‘Glover’s Forty Thieves’. Glover went to great lengths to develop bonds of personal loyalty with the Armed Hausas. He personally trained, commanded, and chose his successors, ensuring their loyalty. In return for their loyalty, Glover rewarded his troops with land and dwellings. He raised their pay and provided them with smart uniforms that broadcast their status of free men and agents of the British colonial government.”

Dr. Baikie introduced the use of Quinine for the treatment of Malaria in our clime, authored; Observations on the Hausa and Fuifuide Languages printed in 1861 and previously in 1856; Narrative of an Exploring Voyage up the Rivers Kwora and Binue. He collected vocabularies of nearly fifty languages, and translated portions of the Holy Bible and prayer-book into Hausa and Arabic. His translation of the Psalms into Hausa was published by the Bible Society in 1881. More importantly he established Lokoja;
“After purchasing the site, and concluding a treaty with the Fula emir of Nupe, he proceeded to clear the ground, build houses, form enclosures and pave the way for a future city. In less than five years he had opened up the navigation of the Niger, made roads, and established a market to which the native produce was brought for sale and barter. His settlement grew to include representatives of almost all the tribes of West-Central Africa, and more than 2,000 traders visited the town in its first three years.”

Lest we forget as Ghanaian authorities harass and intimidate Nigerian traders;
“Glover was employed to repel incursions of the Ashantis. When the Third Anglo-Ashanti War broke out in September 1873 he landed at Cape Coast, and, after forming a small trustworthy force of Hausa, marched to Accra. His influence sufficed to gather a numerous native force.
In January 1874 Captain Glover was able to render some assistance in the taking of Kumasi, but it was at the head of a Hausa force.”

The Nigerian Police Force has always been segmented along regional lines each headed by a Commissioner reporting to an Inspector-General in Lagos. Chief Louis Orok Edet (1914-1979) became the first Nigerian IGP between 1964 and 1966. Back then every Commissioner had a network of Native Authority Police formations. The Nigerian Immigration Service, Correctional Services, Federal Road Safety Corps and Civil Defense were all carved out of police duties.

By 1966, onwards the Police became more centralized at the federal level. Under IBB it became Nigerian Police when Force was removed. The reason was obvious. If IGP Sunday Adewusi had had his way under President Shehu Shagari the military coup of December 31, 1983 would not have taken place. The rest as they say is now history as the Nigeria Police became systematically underfunded. During the era of President Shagari the monthly pay of a Constable was increased to N400 and personnel strength reached 152, 000. Now it is 375,000 with a huge chunk outsourced to VIPs, financial institutions, government assets, private company premises, traditional rulers and even celebrities.

The Glover’s Hausas were at the vanguard of dismantling slavery and the notorious slave trade across Nigeria particularly in defeating the Sokoto caliphate. It consisted of martial oriented tribes from all nooks and crannies of what later became Nigeria including from parts of present day Niger, Tchad, Cameroon to as far as the Darfur region of Sudan. Hausa therefore in Glover’s context was not an ethnicity but a Lingua Franca that is why an Ibadan Signals officer like Raji Rasaki would more than a hundred years later with ease ask in Lagos; “Who build dis gada?”

For the Nigerian Police to become more effective it has to be more decentralized and modernized. With a population of over 200 million our police apparatus has to be increasingly technological based. Crime prevention and solving value added with forensic and IT capacities. Patrols have to include drones. Increased CCTV coverage is also imperative. All these are capital intensive. This means the cost of governance must drastically reduce in Nigeria. The Nigerian political class have become a major burden on the rest of the polity at expense of our collective security.

Warts and all, the police is your friend. If not call a thug when next you are in trouble! Every society gets the kind of police it deserves. If we want better policing we must better ourselves first!

General Gowon: Too Humbled to be Bundled

Does General Gowon look like somebody who moved to London with half of Nigeria’s Central Bank?

We, the undersigned call upon Hon. Member of Parliament representing Tonbridge and Malling of the United Kingdom, Ted Tugendhat to withdraw his recent statement at Westminster;

“Some people would remember when General Gowon left Nigeria with half of the central bank, or so it was said, and moved to London,”

Mr. Tugendhat, had spoken when E-petition 554150 was being considered at the British Parliament on Monday, November 23, 2020 over a petition seeking sanction against the Nigerian government for alleged human rights abuses during the #EndSARS protests.

We are not unmindful that the MP had added “so it was said” to his presumptuous claim. That notwithstanding, Mr. Tugendhat would have availed himself with some basic historical overview on the exact circumstances of how General Gowon ended up dining at the student cafeteria at Warwick University after his overthrow on July 29, 1975 while in Kampala attending a summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU now African Union)
Even after 45 years, General Gowon’s statement thereafter remains instructive;

“From all indications a new government had been established in Nigeria. I wish to state that I, on my part, have also accepted the change and pledged my full loyalty to my nation, my country and the new government. Therefore, in the overall interest of the nation and our beloved country, I appeal to all concerned to cooperate fully with the new government and ensure the preservation of peace, unity and stability of our dear motherland.

As a Nigerian, I am prepared to serve my country in any capacity, which my country may consider appropriate. I am a professional soldier and I can do any duty that I am called upon to do.
May I take this opportunity to thank all the people of Nigeria and friends of Nigeria for the support and cooperation that you all gave me during my tenure of office and call upon all of you to give the new government of our nation the same support and cooperation in the interest of our beloved country.
Long live one united, happy and prosperous Nigeria. Long live the Organisation of African Unity.”

The attached images are of General Gowon after he had enrolled as a student at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom. Where eventually his Ph.D Thesis focused on The Economic Community of West African States: A study in Political and Economic integration.

It would be recalled after his overthrow from government several investigations were made into corrupt enrichment. The General was neither found complicit nor indicted in any. More ever;

“Many offers of residence came to him in Kampala from various African countries. He notified the new regime in Lagos that he would leave Kampala for Lome in Togo. Since he was financially broke, teary-eyed members of the Nigerian delegation along with staffers at the Nigerian High Commission in Kampala donated 3000 pounds sterling to enable him begin a new life. He was flown to Lome – via Garoua in Cameroon – aboard President Idi Amin’s executive jet.

Part of the flight passed through Nigerian airspace and Gowon took the opportunity to transmit a radio message reaffirming loyalty to and support for Brigadier Muhammed’s new regime. Although offered permanent domicile in Togo he chose to join his family in the United Kingdom. He received an additional 10,000 pounds sterling donation from General Eyadema. Following a telephone call to Brigadier Muhammed, during which he made requests for elementary federal assistance, he left for London.”

Furthermore;
“When he got to London, he was offered official accommodation by the Nigerian government which he, however, turned down for a variety of reasons. After some weeks at the Portman Hotel, he moved into the house of an old friend – Mr. Emmanuel Otti – at 472 Finchley Road, London. The delay was to enable the house to be redecorated by Mr. and Mrs. Otti and Brigadier Sam Ogbemudia (who had been in the UK when the coup took place in Nigeria). Other friends came to the assistance of the family. It was not until September 1975 that he began to get his pension and gratuities as a retired Four-Star General. In the nine years he had been Nigeria’s ruler he had not built himself a single house, inside or outside the country, nor did he expropriate one kobo of government money.

Unlike some of those who served under him, his TOTAL savings throughout his service years as well as his years as Nigeria’s leader was N75,000 – all of which was inside Nigeria. In time to come this would stand in stark contrast to the conduct of and personal fortunes of most of those who conspired to remove him from office – or benefited from it.

Once settled in with his family, the General, who was offered several Masters Degree programs, signed up for undergraduate studies in Political Science at Warwick University. Newspapers in Nigeria later carried news items and photographs depicting the former Nigerian leader carrying trays in a student cafeteria in the UK.
The Muhammed regime was embarrassed and therefore dispatched Brigadier TY Danjuma (who, took Kano born Col. Wali along) to ask Gowon adopt a supposedly more dignified stance. Gowon rejected the overture and reassured his “embarrassed sympathizers” that he was comfortable with his situation. (Conceivably nothing could have been more embarrassing than to be overthrown while attending an OAU summit). He made friends among the Nigerian students at Warwick, including a family friend of mine, Desmond Guobadia, now a legal practitioner in Lagos. Meanwhile his spouse, the former First Lady, Mrs. Victoria Gowon (who was a nurse) registered as a catering student at a University College in London.”
See details in; Military Rebellion of July 29, 1975 – Epilogue: From Kampala to Lome to London and back to Nigeria by Nowa Omoigui

Therefore, we the undersigned call upon all Nigerians of goodwill and indeed the members of the international community at large to ignore the insinuations of Mr. Tugendhat. In turn, by this signed clarification we call upon the MP to be appropriately corrected and to do the needful by withdrawing his statement on General Gowon.

Signed;

Abdallah Baikie.

Ahmed Yahaya Joe.

#EndSARS: THE FALLEN UNARMED PEACEFUL NIGERIAN PROTESTER

By Taiwo Sanni

Tell my mother I was unarmed.

Tell my father I had the flag in my hands when I was shot.

Tell the unborn Generation that I died singing the national anthem.

Tell the cowards who shot me that my spirit lives on in the life of every good Nigerian youth.

Tell the government that they shot my body but not my spirit.

Tell the world I died for freedom like many good people before me.

I regret nothing, for I have done what my father’s, mother’s, uncle’s and aunt’s couldn’t do out of fear. Let God judge me, I am only sorry for the pain of leaving you this early.

My prints will forever remain in the sands of history for I have done my time based on the path I chose freely & willingly.

Now that my torment in Nigeria is over, please lay me to rest on mother earth where you all will join me in due time, take my voice and hand it over to the next good youth whom I hope by Gods Almighty grace will benefit a better Nation.

For I know that freedom is coming, yes freedom will come tomorrow.

Good bye…

BUHARISM: Economic Theory and Political Economy

By Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
LAGOS: July 22, 2002
(All views are strictly personal)
lamidos@hotmail.com

“Do I support Buhari’s decision to contest for the presidency of Nigeria? My answer is no. And I will explain.

“First, I believe Buhari played a creditable role in a particular historical epoch but like Tolstoy and Marx I do not believe he can re-enact that role at will. Men do not make history exactly as they please but, as Marx wrote in the 18th Brumaire, “in circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past.” Muhammadu Buhari as a military general had more room for manoevre than he can ever hope for in Nigerian Politics.

“Second, I am convinced that the situation of Nigeria and its elite today is worse than it was in 1983.Compared to the politicians who populate the PDP, ANPP and AD today, second republic politicians were angels. Buhari waged a battle against second republic politicians, but he is joining this generation. Anyone who rides a tiger ends up in its belly and one man cannot change the system from within.

“A number of those Buhari jailed for theft later became ministers and many of those who hold key offices in all tiers of government and the legislature were made by the very system he sought to destroy. My view is that Nigeria needs people like Buhari in politics but not to contest elections. Buhari should be in politics to develop Civil Society and strengthen the conscience of the nation. He should try to develop many Buharis who will continue to challenge the elements that have hijacked the nation.

“Third, I do not think Nigerians today are ready for Buhari. Everywhere you turn you see thieves who have amassed wealth in the last four years, be they legislators, Local Government chairmen and councilors, or governors and ministers. But these are the heroes in their societies. They are the religious leaders and ethnic champions and Nigerians, especially northerners, will castigate and discredit anyone who challenges them. Unless we start by educating our people and changing their value system, people like Buhari will remain the victims of their own love for Nigeria.

“Fourth, and on a lighter note, I am opposed to recycled material. In a nation of 120million people we can do better than restrict our leadership to a small group. I think Buhari, Babangida and yes Obasanjo should simply allow others try their hand instead of believing they have the monopoly of wisdom.

“Having said all this let me conclude by saying that if Buhari gets a nomination he will have my vote (for what it is worth).

“I will vote for him not, like some have averred, because he is a northerner and a Muslim or because I think his candidacy is good for the north and Islam; I will vote for him not because I think he will make a good democrat or that he was not a dictator.

“I will vote for Buhari as a Nigerian for a leader who restored my pride and dignity and my belief in the motherland. I will vote for the man who made it undesirable for the “Andrews” to “check out” instead of staying to change Nigeria. I will vote for Buhari to say thank you for the world view of Buharism, a truly nationalist ideology for all Nigerians. I do not know if Buhari is still a nationalist or a closet bigot and fanatic, or if he was the spirit and not just the face of Buharism.

“My vote for him is not based on a divination of what he is or may be, but a celebration of what his government was and what it gave to the nation.”

*Copied from Ahmed Yahaya Joe’s Facebook page

Nigeria@60

“The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership………..

“One of the commonest manifestations of under-development is a tendency among the ruling elite to live in a world of make-believe and unrealistic expectations. This is the cargo cult mentality that anthropologists sometimes speak about – a belief by backward people that someday, without any exertion whatsoever on their own part, a fairy ship will dock in their harbour laden with every goody they have always dreamed of possessing………

“In spite of conventional opinion Nigeria has been less than fortunate in its leadership. A basic element of this misfortune is the seminal absence of intellectual rigour in the political thought of our founding fathers – a tendency to pious materialistic woolliness and self-centred pedestrianism…………..

“But whereas tribalism might win enough votes to install a reactionary jingoist in a tribal ghetto, the cult of mediocrity will bring the wheels of modernization grinding to a halt throughout the land.
Unlucky is the country where indiscipline is seen by ordinary people as the prerogative of the high and might. For, by the same token, discipline will be seen as a penalty which the rank and file must pay for their powerlessness………

“My frank and honest opinion is that anybody who can say that corruption in Nigeria has not yet become alarming is either a fool, a crook or else does not live in this country”

– Chinua Acbebe (1983)

Culled from Ahmed Yahaya Joe on Facebook

Tale of Two Nigerians

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

Nigeria: A Nation of 75% Idiots, 20% Tribespeople and only 5% Citizens?

Against the backdrop of the trial of Hushpuppi on multiple counts of internet fraud and other related charges on various aspects of criminality in the United States another Nigerian “Lieutenant Victor Agunbiade was awarded the Navy and Marine Corp Development Medal for his exemplary accountability. According to the US Navy, Agunbiade effectively managed its largest cash disbursing office handling $45 million which is approximately N17 billion.

The money accounted for approximately 70% of its overseas disbursing volume.
According to the award citation, Agunbiade earned the honor while serving as cash disbursing Officer at the navy’s Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, between October, 2019 to July this year.
“Additionally, he managed 100 per cent accountability of 23 million dollars (N8.7 billion) across six rigorous inspections and independent audits with zero discrepancies. By his unswerving determination, wise judgment and complete dedication to duty, Agunbiade reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States naval service” the citation read.
Agunbiade enlisted in the US Navy as a storekeeper in 2008 and was commissioned as a supply corps officer in 2013.

He has always displayed a high level of professionalism while discharging his duties. In 2018, Agunbiade was named the Navy’s 2018 Officer Recruiter of the Year, alongside 17 others and honored at the annual Recruiter of the Year ceremony in Washington D.C.”
The same Naija but different persons: what is the explanation?

“According to the ancient Greeks, the founders of modern civilization, there are three kinds of people in any society; The first kind of people in any society are the idiots, not necessarily mentally deficient, but rather one who is a totally private person; totally selfish and totally self-centered (sometimes donning expensive suits, uniform or agbada).

The idiot is always out for his personal gain and his personal interest. He does not have a public philosophy, he has no character, no knowledge and no skills to live by and to be able to contribute in a flourishing society or community. He is all out for his personal pleasures and his personal treasures. The Greeks said the idiot is just an upgraded barbarian – you see them every day in society. They are the ones who form tadpole queues and drive against traffic. They toss litter freely out of their cars and appropriate our commonwealth for their personal use; The Greeks refer to these are the IDIOTS.

The Greek also said there is a second kind of person in any society called the tribespeople. Tribespeople does not necessarily mean belonging to a certain tribe; which is not bad in itself, but when the Greeks used the word tribespeople, they meant a tribal and a tribalistic mentality. The Greeks said the tribespeople are those not able to think beyond their small tribes and their small social groups.
For the tribespeople, the primary, only and ultimate allegiance is to their tribe. Their tribe is their god and their religion is tribalism. Tribespeople are always afraid of things that are different or are a little alien to them. They are always suspicious and fearful, and they always deal with different people and difficult situations with intimidation, force and with violence. The Greeks also said the ideal person for tribespeople is the warrior, because tribespeople are a war making people.

But it was not so for the Greeks, for them, there was another kind of person, and that for them was the ideal person, and they called this ideal person the citizen. When we use the word citizen we are not talking about legal status or political status or the accident of birth; those are outcomes. We are talking about the idea and ideal of citizenship – which is a choice.
Who then is the citizen you might wonder? the citizen according to the Greeks is someone who has the skills and the knowledge to live a public life, and able to live a life of civility. The citizen recognizes that he or she is a member of a commonwealth and thus strives for the common good.
The citizen knows his right in a society but also knows his responsibility to society. The citizen can fight for his right but always with an awareness of, and with the respect for the rights and interest of others; of their neighbors, of the smallest minority and of their worst enemies.

It is citizens, the Greeks said that make up a civilized society, because citizens settle their differences with civility, they produce a civilized society, a society that truly lives up to the meaning of the name society. Society literally means friendship and friendliness.
This is the threefold distinction that the Greeks have given of people in a society. That is the choice that each and every individual, whoever he or she may be, has to make in a society.
Indeed, no sovereign can make any significant advancement when the number idiots and tribesmen far outnumber the number of citizens. When we conducted random surveys on the various cohorts of Delegates at the Ausso Leadership Academy, the perception is that; about 75% of Nigerians behave as idiots, 20% as tribespeople and only 5% as citizens. Do the results shock you enough to want to do something about it?
Nigeria is her people; If we want to see change, we have to start by being citizens of our country. According to Maria Robinson “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

The foregoing was nailed by Austin Okere, the Founder of CWG Plc, the largest ICT Company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange & Entrepreneur in Residence at CBS, New York. Austin also serves on the Advisory Board of the Global Business School Network, and on the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Austin now runs the Ausso Leadership Academy focused on Business and Entrepreneurial Mentorship.

The Awesome Power of Forgiveness

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

I have just finished watching a BBC documentary that featured the attached family (L-R) Rizqy Setiawan, Iwan Setiawan and Sarah Setiawan flanking Ahmad Hassan (2nd from L) Iwan is the father of Rizqy and Sarah.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Hassan is on death row. He was one of the conspirators of a bomb attack that killed Iwan’s wife, the mother of Rizqy and Sarah. The program put together by the maverick BBC reporter Rebecca Henschke was such a profound experience for me. It is a poignant reminder that the best way to fight against evil is through forgiveness. As Abraham Lincoln famously asked;

“Do I not destroy my enemies by making them my friends?”

“Setiawan was on his motorbike, speeding past the Australian embassy in Jakarta. His mind was on his wife, whose arms were around his chest and whose pregnant belly he could feel pressing against his back. Their second child was due within weeks and they were on their way to hospital for a check-up. Suddenly there was this incredibly loud sound and we were thrown into the air,” he remembers. Iwan didn’t know till much later that it was a suicide bomb, planted by a militant group a responsible for a series of attacks in Indonesia, including the Bali bombing in 2002 that killed 202 people from around the world. “I saw blood. Lots of blood. Metal went flying into one of my eyes, destroying it. His wife was thrown from the bike, landing metres away. Both were rushed to hospital and, in a state of shock, a badly injured Halila Seroja Daulay went into labour.

She was rushed into the operating room after getting contractions. But praise be to Allah, somehow she was still able to give birth naturally,” Iwan says. That night Rizqy was born. His name means “blessing”
According to Setiawan “I lost my best friend, my soul mate, the person who completed me. It’s so painful to talk about it,”. At first, he was filled with a desire for revenge. “I wanted the arrested conspirators to die, but I didn’t want them to die quickly,” he says. “I wanted them to be tortured first. I wanted their skin to be cut and salt put in the wounds so that they had some idea of the pain their bombing caused, both physically and mentally. My children and I have struggled so incredibly hard just to keep living.”

The car bomb attack that killed Mrs Setiawan went off at 10.30 am Jakarta time on September 9, 2004. It killed the suicide bomber that triggered it, 8 others, injured 150 and destroyed not just the Australian embassy but that of Greece and China shattering glass windows up to half a kilometer away. 6 persons were eventually arrested and sentenced to death. They are currently cooling off their heels in a maximum security prison on a jungle covered island that the surviving Setiawan family members met Ahmad Hassan including the mastermind of the bomb attack Darmawan Munto Rois. Setiawan senior had all previously met them before bringing his children along. Who by way of introduction started;
“I have invited my children to meet you, I want them to understand too why you did the bombing that killed their mother and caused me to lose one of my eyes. They have to know because they lost their mother when they were so young” Ahmad Hassan nods solemnly and replies;
“I never wanted to hurt your father, he just happened to be passing by, and my friend who was carrying the bomb blew it up at that time. I hope that you, the children of Iwan, can forgive me.” His voice starts to break.

“I am a flawed human. I have made many mistakes. My friends and I were given the wrong education and learning. I wish that we hadn’t acted before we had really gained knowledge and understood what we were doing,” he continued.
Sarah summons up courage and says; “I would always ask my dad when I was little, ‘Where is my mum?’ and he told me she was at Allah’s house. I asked where that was, and he said it was the mosque. So I ran away to the mosque. My grandmother was looking for me, and when she found me I told her that I was waiting for my mum. I was waiting for my mum to come home. But she has never come home.”

“Hassan closes his eyes and opens his hands in prayer. Over and over he mumbles a prayer seeking forgiveness from Allah. “Allah wanted me to have to meet you and be forced to try and explain,” he finally manages to say. “But I can’t explain to you my child, I am sorry. “I can’t hold back my tears. I take Sarah as my own child. Please, please forgive me. It’s in your hands.” Everyone in this tiny room is crying – except the mastermind and financier of the bomb attack who on his part stated; “I have a child, too. I haven’t seen my wife or child for years. I really miss them. I am even worse off than you. You’re still with your children. My child doesn’t even know me.” Darmawan continued “I didn’t do what they said I did. Why did I admit to it? Maybe when you are older you will understand” he said directly to the Setiawan children but added

“All humans have made mistakes. If I have wronged you in any way I apologise. I feel pain. I really do”

The entire meeting is part of a De-radicalisation program by the Indonesian government that brings captured terrorists and their victims face to face many of which have found healing and moved on with their lives without bitterness. Quite a number of the terrorists have also recanted because they are kept in isolation. Without their death sentences carried out and group solidarity they break down. Can the same template be applied in Nigeria? Will one day Shekau pose for a photograph holding hands with the Sharibu family? Are terrorists not actually pawns on a chessboard they neither understand nor have real control over? Truth is the real terrorist grandmasters never blow up themselves or get in any harms way.

They always pose as good guys because terrorism is the continuation of politics by other means. That not withstanding there is power in forgiveness.

The various aftermaths of the Nigerian Civil War during the Oil Boom 70s, the emergence of a Rainbow Nation after dismantling of Apartheid in South Africa and the current soaring of Rwanda after the Hutu genocide against Tutsis are all examples of that awesome power.

Why Maps are important

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

The Chadian President; Idriss Derby’ on his official Twitter handle at 8.15pm on April, 5 2020 posted; “In Baga-Sola, I visited soldiers injured this afternoon during the operations launched against the Boko Haram enlightened. They are proud to have accomplished a sacred mission in the service of their dear homeland.”

Meanwhile, a follow up report with various photographs stated; “Chadian troops had on Saturday launched an offensive against the insurgents in the Goje-Chadian area of Sambisa forest, a stronghold of Boko Haram. The operation, led by Chadian President Idriss Déby, lasted for hours with the soldiers clearing the insurgents off the area.” Without the help of cartography we cannot properly contextualize the foregoing reports as all the mentioned areas are well highlighted in the attached map which is very important in 2 main respects.

First, it shows us that the Boko Haram insurgency cannot be defeated without active support and cooperation of our neighbors Chad and Cameroon. This simply means the main solution to the crisis is actually in Paris. Second, the shrinking water body of Lake Chad is a major factor that has negatively affected the agricultural fortunes of that region which in turn provides the steady flow of recruits to the insurgency.
Let us also not be be unmindful that Francophone Africa has always had a frosty relationship with Nigeria as far back as colonial times. The fundamental question is; does France perceive Nigeria as a threat to its interests in the Sahel? Without properly answering this question I doubt if a final solution to the Boko Haram crisis could be found as it implies the insurgency that has caused so much sorrow, tears and blood has always had foreign support despite starting within Nigeria. Because there is no way the massive stockpiles of military hardware attributed to Boko Haram would have arrived in the Sahel region without going through any Francophone territory. That notwithstanding within Nigeria itself there are various interest groups firing the embers of the conflict because how could such a fraction of Nigerian territory be so problematic for so long?

Interestingly, the insurgency was the political Achilles heel of Goodluck Jonathan yet it has refused to abate in the last 5 years. We Nigerians have our issues and agendas but what is truly going on in the North East? Truth is our wall had to crack before the French lizards started taking advantage of our lack of national focus and direction.

“Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first stage it is ridiculed, in the second stage it is opposed, in the third stage it is regarded as self-evident.” — Arthur Schopenhauer in Allgemeine Verkehrsgeographie (1913)