By Aliyu Abubakar
This past week has been full of fire, fury and despair for most Nigerians, no thanks to the unfortunate ENDSARS protests and the many catastrophic, unsavoury scenes that characterised its chaotic aftermath.
This past week, violence reigned supreme in the land. From arson and thuggery, to burglary and nationwide looting spree, it was just (one hell of) a week to forget.
Amidst all the anger, the mayhem and the pandemonium though, there lie some absolutely ridiculous and comical images, incidents, scenes and scenarios.
And please don’t get me wrong, I am not endorsing criminality in any form. No! I am a law-abiding citizen who abhors lawlessness of any kind. But no matter how serious they seem or look, some things are just too hilarious you just can’t help but laugh.
Therefore, here are my top fifteen ridiculous moments of Nigeria’s unwanted theatre of the absurd, these goddamned and forsaken past few days of fire and brimstone…
1. A thug running away with the ‘Opa Ase’, the traditional staff of office of the Oba of Lagos, HRM Alh. Rilwan Akiolu. Where is the boy going with the sacred staff? Only the young man can tell! What a sacrilege!
2. Another hoodlum wearing a ruby-coloured royal footwear, also belonging to the Oba of Lagos, and admiring his foot while posing for the cameras. How despicable!
3. An arsonist wearing a judge’s wig and robe, shortly after playing a part in setting a court building ablaze in Obalende, Lagos. Even more ridiculous is the chap walking freely in his new judicial attire with a naked matchete in his hands! Is that his new gavel?!
4. A thug who, obviously had just helped burnt down a Police station in Edo State, donning a Police uniform and mimicking a cockish walk and a salute with the khaki on, while his fellow thugs repeatedly cheered him on with loud choruses of “DPO!…DPO!!…DPO!!! DPO indeed!
5. Some hoodlums in Agbor, Delta State brazenly looting a truck-load of helpless goats and live chickens and jumping onto motorbikes. Even more absurd is the sight of some commercial motorcyclists lining up to pick up the looters to their various destinations. For them all, Christmas has arrived already.
6. A young man looting away a whole State capital! Amidst the ensuing melee which threw wide open the gates of COVID19 palliative warehouses and stores in Jalingo, the capital of Taraba State, a young man uprooted the town’s signpost and proudly walked away, later displaying his spoil of war for sale. Jalingo people, you can’t say anything again, for you have been conquered and on the verge of being sold!
7. A young man walking away with a hospital bed from a Psychiatric Hospital in Calabar, Cross River State, after the hospital was vandalised and the entire patient’s reportedly set free! I am still confused as to who really is the lunatic here between the insane inmates and their rescuers, sincerely.
8. A man coming out from a looted shop, along side his son, while firmly clutching a box of king-size Indomie Noodles! Haba Oga, you don’t need to take that innocent boy along. Why destroy that kid?
9. Two young men looting a water closet from a Senator’s house in Calabar! What were they thinking here? Probably, they have never used such a luxurious item to answer the call of nature. These ones should be competing with two other Ilorin able-bodied youth, who bolted away with boarding house mattresses on their heads. These four have surely found their own “Next Level”!
10. Securitymen telling Nigerians to loot peacefully! What is peaceful in looting again? In my fourty-plus years of existence in this world, I have never seen this frighteningly bizarre moment from our security personnel. Guys, we are all in soup!
11. Rival group of looters putting their differences aside and uniting to dislodge an ATM Machine in Lagos. We haven’t seen how the loot was shared though, but amidst this incredible partnership in crime, you can not beat their unity of purpose.
12. Some Nigerians – majority of whom can’t even communicate to themselves – turning into seasoned speechwriters and communication experts overnight! This came shortly after Mr. President had delivered his long-awaited speech. Depending on where you stand in the entire ENDSARS hullabaloo, the consensus remains that not everyone can be a Speechwriter – especially a Presidential one.
13. State Governors putting up an unnecessary volte face of defending their questionable decisions to lock up COVID19 Palliatives in the midst of hunger and poverty. Come on, even if you have one million reasons as to why those items could not be distributed, wisdom should tell you that any attempt to defend that action will fall on deaf ears.
14. Edo Governor Godwin Obaseki giving inmates an ultimatum of one week – and adding another week – for them to return to their Oko Medium Security Correctional Centre. As at Wednesday, 21st October 2020, about 1,818 inmates were still at large, while 163 have been re-arrested and six have returned voluntarily. It will be interesting to see how many more will turn up again.
15. How about this last one: some Governors pleading with looters not to consume looted grains because they are seeds sprayed with insecticides and other dangerous substances; or begging the looters not to take some drugs because they have expired? Who cares about chemicals and date of expiry when people are hungry and poor? Now that is the mother of all absurdities.
By the way, in the wake of this unfortunate circumstances of looting and laughter, and of suffering and smiling, let us all not forget to say a prayer for Nigeria. May Allah, the Ultimate Healer, heal our fatherland.
How To Help President Buhari Overcome Post Protests Adversities BY Umar Ardo, Ph.D
BY Umar Ardo, Ph.D
For President Mohammed Buhari to have any hope of substantially overcoming the gathering political storms of the post-youths protests and stabilize the country once again, he urgently needs a better and more sophisticated line of strategy for the implementation of his government; not just simply making appeals, relying on understanding and, when all fails, resorting to brute force. Things have obviously changed and such inutile methods can no longer work. What is needed now is strategic thinking.
In modern day politics of governance, strategic thinking stands out as the most critical skill for success in the management of human societies. It is all about understanding and distilling constituency politics; about being able to see, predict, and plan ahead of all and sundry, and by taking a broad, long-range approach to problem-solving and decision-making that involve objective analyses. That means being able to think in multiple time frames, deciphering the real material problems and their protagonists, identifying what can be accomplished over time, and what has to happen now, in six months, in a year, etc. It also means thinking systemically, and stimulating certain impacts of certain inputs on certain segments of the society. Some call this as SWAT Analyses. It may well be, but whatever it is for us to succeed as a nation, our leadership must at all times possible, try to promote insight, foresight and long-term thinking. Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that most times intelligence trumps experience. An intelligent candidate can quickly learn a job and frequently ends up doing it better than someone (less intelligent) who has been doing a similar job elsewhere. Experience is certainly valuable, but brains are the horsepower that drives strategy, good leadership and success.
In fact, the president has started on the protests episode on a good note. To the credit of the C-in-C, security forces were not initially unleashed on the peacefully protesting youths. In truth, the government at the beginning took a conciliatory stance and had demonstrated its readiness to make concessions. I want to commend the stance of the government in its initial response to these national protests. I earnestly urge the government to continue on this line and withdraw all forces later deployed. While we all regret the unfortunate incidents of deaths when hoodlums hijacked the process, we must also be gladden by the show of solidarity to the protesting youths displayed by our gallant troops. Against the questionable narrative of ‘security forces mowing down children they were supposed to protect’, I saw several videoclips of officers and troops of our military in accord and unity with the protesters, to the exhilaration of the latter. All citizens of good standing should feel encouraged by this.
What the president also needs to do now is to join millions of good Nigerian citizens to commend our indefatigable youth for taking the initiative of organizing the mass peaceful protests against police brutality and other ills of society in our country. He should take pride particularly in the ability of our youth to have leveraged on the advantages of technology and globalization to make the protests not only go viral globally but also generally very sophisticated. The president must recognize that sophistry in organizing the peaceful protests as an unmistakable dawn of a new era in Nigeria’s democracy, explaining why Nigerian citizens readily lent their support and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the youths.
But it is both unfortunate and regrettable that such well organised and supported peaceful protests have festered, degenerated, deteriorated and even spiraled out of hand into almost a state of anarchy. All of a sudden, the peaceful non-violent protests have turned violent with terrible news reports and video clips of rioting, breaking prison and releasing criminals, fighting, killings, stampede, arson, looting, destruction, etc. across the length and breadth of this country. This is unacceptable, and is what government is working hard to contain.
While we stand for and submit to peaceful protest as basic element of liberal democracy, we must also object and condemn all acts of lawlessness, violence, arson, looting and destruction. We must all therefore not just call on all our youth to uphold, entrench and engender peace and orderliness in all their actions, but also support government to bring this looming anarchy to a complete halt in line with government’s fundamental duty of protecting and securing lives and property of Nigerians.
In addition, President Buhari as a matter of urgency needs to also immediately constitute a committee of inquiry to investigate the unfortunate incidents of peaceful protests hijacked by hoodlums to cause destruction and murder and bring those responsible to book. The president should also urgently summon meetings of constitutionally established consultative bodies such as the National Council of State, National Defence Council, National Security Council, etc. for consultations and advise. This is with a view to establishing a wide and all encompassing by-partisan national committee of academics, youths representatives, business community, civil society, the labour, credible politicians of key political parties, etc. to deliberate and proffer concrete and durable solutions to government on the contentious issues in the country raised by our youths. To be given 3 months to submit its report, the committee should serve as an institutional network and channel of communication for engagement, consultations and dialogue among the apparatuses and leaderships of all the key strata of the Nigerian society including eminent Nigerians, stakeholders, civil society organizations, intelligencia, opposition organs, community, traditional and religious leaders, etc.
It is my sincere belief that if government can act decisively on this, we shall be able to succeed as a nation in overcoming the adverse social and political consequences imbedded in the current situation. Let President Buhari see this protest phase as a window of opportunity to act in stabilizing our great country. I appeal to the president not to fail to seize the opportunity. I also appeal to our elites, not withstanding their political leanings, to give government support to resolve the current national adversity like is done in all civilized democracies. In the meantime, let the protests halt and let government act now. An informed and elaborate engagement at this point, I am confident, will secure, save and preserve our government, our democracy, our country and our future.
Attack On ADSUBEB Boss: The Finder- Face of an incorrigible yellow journalism By Tizhe Moses
By Tizhe Moses
I really cry for the noble profession of journalism whose sanctity has come under serious and consistent attacks by predatory journalists who do not care a hoot about the creed and ethos of the profession as far as the price is right.
To them journalism provides a gaping opportunity to make “easy cash” through blackmail, spread of fake news and dishing malicious and outright falsehoods against men with unblemished records of service.
While the world over, conscientious journalists with a bias for development are recording exploits and mileage by trailing the blaze and setting agenda for governments, some unscrupulous ones are busy destroying the illustrious profession through a new strand of “cash and carry journalism.”
The reason why these type of journalists are in the profession in the first place is to make quick and fast cash damning the inherent consequences.
To this group of journalists, one can situate an irresponsible blog called the finder; an inconsequential, measly and backward platform which has over time carved a niche for itself in the field of blackmail, half-truths, spreading of fake and malicious information and dishing outright lies with the intent to impugn or destroy the hard earned reputation of governments and personalities.
Such journalists without mincing words, portray everything that is wrong with journalism and have constituted themselves as malignant excrescences that must be ruthlessly dealt with for the eminent profession to regain its lost glory.
Leaving those yellow journalists to operate, is archetypal to giving life to terrorism. Indeed those class of journalists are worst than Boko Haram, bandits, Janjaweed and ISWAP combined together because while terrorists can only harm a section of the populace, those bankrupt journalists can destroy a nation and even the world because the destruction that can be wrought by a pen used wrongly, is better imagined than witnessed.
Indeed, I and other peace-loving youths of Michika we never wanted to join issues with such a crassly and lowly medium so as not to glorify its irresponsible and dreary tales but in view of the series of mischievous disinformation and intent to besmirch the personality of the executive chairman of Adamawa State Universal Basic Education (ADSUBEB) Dr. Salihu Ibrahim Ateequ, we would like to set the records clear in other to disabuse the minds of those who may be misled by the sordid online platform.
Suffice it to say that in its initial salvo aimed at destroying the hard earned record of excellence which Ateequ has earned over the years, finder stuck its neck by falsely reporting that pressure was being mounted on governor Fintiri to sack ADSUBEB chairman “over sacrilege committed against the district head of Michika, Ngidda Zakawa.”
The paper without the resort to the basic principle of self censorship, said the call was made by one amorphous group under the auspices of Good Governance Initiative.
One does not have to go deep to unearth that crass lie, as a click of the botton revealed that such group of faceless charlatans and scallywags only existed in the subconscious realm of finder as no such group is registered.
Secondly, it was curious to note that a group which prides itself to promote good governance will shamelessly engage in reporting conjectures about what transpired between two people even though there was nothing of such nature.
It is pertinent to school the so called finder to note that a group which promotes good governance should be business minded and a serious group of people that wish to checkmate maladministration through research based approach.
Such group of people will never waste time pushing frivolities and inanities such as what the so called Good Governance Initiative intended to achieve by trying to create a friction between two personalities where there was none.
But when their crass blackmail scattered like the badly arranged pack of cards that it was, as it couldn’t get the attention of our responsive and responsible governor who could not be swayed by sentiments, they resorted to the use of another technique, let’s we forget that His Excellency was at the ADSUBEB headquarters to flag off distributions of instructional materials to schools during which he applauded the giant strides of Dr Ateequ and his team as these pictures speak!
We urge the group (if it exists) to live up to its name by querying the activities of the institution which Ateequ has been managing with panache, accountability, transparency and fear of God.
When they do that, they will be surprised by the level of good governance embedded into ADSUBEB by its current chairman which is unprecedented in the annals of the board.
After their planned move to cause disaffection between the governor and the ADSUBEB chairman fell on its face, they mixed another odious concoction of lies with the aim of misleading the governor by weaving another mosaic of lies and unconvincing tales.
But as the true and conscientious leader that he is, governor Fintiri again dissed them by refusing to hanker to their selfish motive of causing disaffection between him and one of his most trusted allies in person of Dr. Ateequ.
It is high time to lecture those behind the sordid publication to in their own interest embrace the narrow path of truthful journalism which is the only way out for them as the path of self destruct they took is not yielding the desired premium.
Mr Tizhe Moses is a Michika based social commentator
#EndSARS Protest – Na Joke Joke Labalaba (Grasshopper) De Carry Pikin Enter Bush By Sen. Abdul Aziz Nyako
By Sen. Abdul Aziz Nyako
Today I watched a video of police running from the people that they ought to be protecting because the people had turned against their malpractices. That was a disaster in itself. It should not have been allowed to get to this level but that is a matter for another day.
I have observed how the #EndSARS Protest is gradually spiralling out of control. I have also read and heard many views on the situation. No doubt, the situation is very delicate indeed. It is important therefore that we all calm down and think deeply.
It is important to study even briefly what happened in France in the 1700s that led to the French Revolution and the collapse of the Monarchy and the establishment of the Republic.
[The immediate cause of the revolution was the near collapse of the French budget. Although the economy had been expanding for 50 years, there were periodic crises. Bad harvests in 1787 and 1788 and a slowdown in manufacturing led to food shortages, rising prices for food, and unemployment.] Google.
It was a simple tea tax by the British that ignited the American War of Independence in the late 1700s.
[The initial grievances of the American Revolution were the taxation (tea tax inclusive) and imposition of housing British soldiers on the American colonies by the British Parliament. These measures were taken largely in order to recoup the tremendous price the British Parliament had paid in fighting the French and Indian War.] Google.
It was poor Governance and the loss of a war that led to the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.
[The immediate causes of the revolution were military defeat in the Russo-Japanese War and the well-known massacre, known as Bloody Sunday. These causes led to a continuous amount of discontent and people in Russia began to protest about how they wanted their country to run.]
All this had started as simple protests by the people but the situations were poorly handled by their governments. Consequently, these protests became popular uprisings that overthrew governments and changed world history.
What was common to all those cases was that their governments had responded in a high handed manner particularly by introducing the military into the matter and the situation spiralled out of control.
[When you fight a person with your fist, he is likely to retaliate with a fist, but when you pick a weapon, he is likely to pick up a weapon too thus escalating the situation].
It therefore means that an overall strategy of de-escalation must be adopted by all arms and tiers of Government. This must be heard in words and seen in deeds. It must also be well coordinated.
The military should be kept completely out of this matter. Government must find a way of de-escalating the situation at all cost.
Nobody (no matter how aggrieved, no matter the ethno-religious sentiment, no matter the political bias, no matter how hardline) should advocate in any way for an escalation by the Government especially through the use of the military.
Were the Military to fail, that would be the end of civility and the beginning of anarchy!
There is also a need for the protesters to de-escalate.
One might know how a crisis started but one might not be able to predict its outcome. Anything could happen!
Many a revolutionary was consumed by the very flame that he/she had started. “Ask” Trotsky, a close ally of Lenin and Stalin who fled to Mexico on self exile to protect himself only to be pursued there and assassinated by his close associates. He was ultimately consumed by the very flame of revolution that he had started.
This was also the case of many of the participants in the French Revolution. The process was hijacked and many of the very people that started it as innocent protesters or moral supporters were branded enemies of the state and guillotined! [ Did you know? Over 17,000 people were officially tried and executed during the Reign of Terror, and an unknown number of others died in prison or without trial.] Google.
Same thing in China. Same thing in Cambodia. Many innocent people were killed!
Read Animal Farm by George Orwell for a better perspective!
It is therefore important for all sides to take a step back and de-escalate.
May the Almighty grant us a solution to this mayhem. May we also act rightly! Amin.
Abdulaziz Nyako was the immediate past senator representing Adamawa central