Sunday, February 11, 2018

Why IBADAN CITY Is So Special

How I wish I'm from Ibadan.
Ibadan the  Political Capital of Yorubaland is a city built on Seven Hills.

The Seven Hills are:
1. Oke Padre
2. Oke Ado
3. Oke Bola
4. Oke Mapo
5. Oke Are
6. Oke Sapati
7. Oke Mokola.

But Ibadan is not just a City of Hills.
It is also a City of 'Bottoms'.
Loosely translated, 'idi' means bottom or the backside.
Several people have attached sexual innuendoes to the names.
However, the actual translation indicates that some of the 'idis' were connected with how the settlers converged at a point, thereby leading to how they arrived at the names given.

Go around the city and you can locate the various ‘idis’
1. Idi-Arere,
2. Idi-Ose,
3. Idi-Ishin,
4. Idi-Ape,
5. Idi-Ayunre,
6. Idi-Obi
7. Idi-Ito
8. Idi Ogungun

For instance, Idi-Arere is a location where the early settlers converged and held meetings under an 'Arere' tree.
The actual full name is Idi- Igi Arere under the Arere (Obeche) tree.
Idi- Arere is located between Oja-Oba and Molete.

Idi-Ose, which should actually be Idi-Igi Ose (under the Ose [baobab] tree), is located around Ojoo/Moniya Road.

Idi-Ishin is located around Jericho GRA area and was named after the Ishin (Ake Apple) tree.

Idi-Ape is located at the intersection of Iwo road and Bashorun and was named after the Ape tree.

Idi-Ayunre, which is located at the outskirts of the city, on the way to Ijebu-Ode, was named after the Ayunre (Albizia Zygia) tree.

Idi-Obi was named after the kolanut tree.

Ditto for Idi-Ikan and Idi-Ito.

Ibadan is also a city with several junctions popularly called 'Orita'.
In Yoruba mythology, these 'oritas' or junctions are places where sacrifices are offered.

Popular Oritas in Ibadan are:
1. Oritamefa - a junction that leads to six roads [around UCH]
2. Oritamerin - [a junction that leads to four roads].
3. Orita Aperin.
4. Orita Bashorun. Some of the names have been shortened nowadays with Orita Bashorun now simply referred to as Bashorun,
5. Orita Challenge now Challenge
6. Orita Aperin simply Aperin.

And still talking about names, several names in Ibadan have their origin in the inability of the residents to pronounce the original names correctly.

For example, the place popularly called Oke-Sapati was originally called Shepherd's Hill [Oke Sheperd] but the illiterate residents couldn't pronounce 'Shepherd's Hill' and it was corrupted to Sapati.
That was how it sounded to the ears of the residents at that time.

The story behind Kudeti is quite interesting.
A river runs around that area and the British District Officer during the colonial era was quite shocked at how dirty the river was.
The river served the residents as they washed, had their bath, defecated and drank the water.
The DO therefore exclaimed, "This water is TOO DIRTY".
The illiterate residents now corrupted the words 'too dirty' to Kudeti.
Ibadan is still steep in its traditional beliefs, though modernity is fast catching on.

One of such is the still very popular Egungun (Masquerade) Festival, which usually takes place around June and July.
This period was a period of fear mixed with excitement.
Everyone wants to catch a glimpse of the Oloolu Masquerade - except women who are forbidden to see it.
Oloolu is the most popular and the most feared.
He usually carry what looked like a flat tray with several items on it.
Several years ago, there was a clash between a very popular Muslim cleric now late, called Ajagbemokeferi, and Oloolu.
It was rumoured then that Ajagbemokeferi derobed and unveiled Oloolu.
Then, there is Alapansapa,  the second most feared masquerade after Oloolu.
Alapansapa dresses very smartly in bright colours.
Even though most Masquerades are associated with canes and whips, it is more so with Alapansapa.
There is also Atipako and Abidielege.

In spite of the traditional background of the city and the practices/beliefs of its residents, Ibadan has been rightly acknowledged as the INTELLECTUAL capital of the YORUBAS, and indeed Nigeria at large, and this is not just because the first University in Nigeria is located in the city.

I really don't know how many cities in Nigeria that has as many research institutes as Ibadan.
Ibadan has:

[International Institute of Tropical Agriculture]

2. IAR&T
[Institute of Agricultural Research and Training]

[Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria]

[Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria]

[National Horticultural Research Institute]

[Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research]

[National Cereals Research Institute].

All in one single city!
I don't know which other town or city can boast of these.

Ibadan is truly a mixture of the ancient and the modern.

Permit me to also add these as some of the feats Ibadan has made in the history of Nigeria.

1. The first television station in Africa.
[Now NTA, Ibadan]
2. The first sport stadium in Nigeria.
[Liberty Stadium]
3. The first University Teaching Hospital in Nigeria. [UCH]
4. The first skyscraper building in Nigeria
[Cocoa House].

And Ibadan also entered the book of history as probably the first city with over 25 traditional rulers, all coronated same day!


God bless those who grow up in Ibadan!
God bless those living in Ibadan!!
God bless Ibadan!!!

Test Your Registration Status with INEC Nigeria

I love this. One step forward!

If you are a registered voter, check your  status via link below. It is seamless, innovative and reliable. Simply Select your:

1.) State

2.) Surname and

3.) Date of Birth 

If your details are not in the database please go and register. Please, help circulate widely👍

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Obasanjo, the letter writer



Obasanjo, the letter writer


JANUARY 25, 2018

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo came down hard on President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in a press statement in which he asked the latter to perish the thought of running for election in 2019 as his performance since his assumption of office was a betrayal of the confidence of the Nigerian people which made them vote for him in 2015.
According to Obasanjo in the statement, being Nigeria’s president required being active 25/7, not even 24/7, suggesting that the incumbent’s state of health made him unfit for the hard demands of the office.
But publicly going against sitting presidents who fail to live up to his expectations is characteristic of Obasanjo. While many Nigerians will still remember the scathing letter he wrote to former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2013, it was not the first of such letters written by the Army General-turned politician who had had the unprecedented privilege of leading Nigeria for 11 and a half years. Usually, Obasanjo’s public condemnation of presidents or head of states signals the beginning of the end of such administrations.
The first victim of Obasanjo’s public attack was Alhaji Sheu Shagari, who was President from October 1, 1979, to December 31, 1983. Shortly after his inauguration for a second term as President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces on October 1, 1983, Obasanjo publicly criticized Alhaji Shagari, who succeeded him in 1979, for poor management of the economy, which had subjected millions of Nigerians to untold hardship. He also complained about the level of corruption in the country. The condemnation was like a fillip to the military as they struck and sacked the Shagari administration a few weeks later.
Obasanjo also went after General Ibrahim Babangida when he was Military President. Babangida had introduced the Structural Adjustment Programme, which had escalated the suffering of the poor. Obasanjo took up the role of the public defender when he called on the administration to ensure that the SAP had “a human face and the milk of human kindness.”
Obasanjo did not stop his tackling of the administration with that as he ceaselessly took the administration to task over its seemingly endless transition programme. Even after the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election which Chief Moshood Abiola won, Obasanjo did not relent on his attack of the administration until Babangida was forced to step aside on August 27, 1993, after eight years as Military President.
The dreaded General Sani Abacha was not spared from Obasanjo’s vitriolic. While delivering a keynote address at The Arewa House during the reign of Abacha, Obasanjo took the administration to the cleaners, describing it as a visionless regime. He did not stop at that point, he also granted an interview to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) where he alleged that the Abacha administration was squandering the nation’s resources like a drunken sailor. However, unlike Babangida, who ignored Obasanjo’s attacks, the dark-goggled General did not spare his former Commander in Chief as he implicated Obasanjo in a coup attempt. The military panel that was set up by Abacha found Obasanjo guilty and condemned him to prison. He remained in prison till the end came to the administration when General Abacha died.
Obasanjo was released by General Abdulsalami Abubakar who became the Head of State after the demise of Abacha. He later joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), contested the presidential election and became the second executive president of the country. He was in office from May 29, 1999, till May 28, 2007.
Obasanjo was succeeded by Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. The amity between Yar’Adua and Obasanjo soon evanesced because of the latter’s dissatisfaction with Yar’Adua’s performance. To make his displeasure known, Obasanjo wrote Yar’Adua early in his administration with the intention of making it clear to him the necessity for him to scale up his performance.
In the letter, Obasanjo wrote, “As you know, for the next few months, perhaps years, your government will be regarded as being in the penumbra of the Obasanjo regime given the situation that brought you into office. Against this background, you must toil to carve out a unique identity for yourself and administration. To do this, you must choose wisely your vision and the folks in your cabinet to drive the vision.”
However, the letter brought a wedge between Obasanjo and his successor.
Yar’Adua did not enjoy the best of health. He had issues with his kidney which made him bedridden in Saudi Arabia for quite a while. As a result of his state of health, while leaving Nigeria, he could not properly hand over to his deputy which put the nation in a state of flux. Obasanjo and other leaders visited the former president in the Saudi hospital where he was receiving treatment. On his return to the country after his visit to the ailing president, Obasanjo relayed to the press the poor state of the Yar’Adua’s health and the need to look beyond him. This kick-started a series of activities which culminated in the Doctrine of Necessity which provided the platform for the emergence of the then Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan, as the Acting President.
When Yar’Adua died in 2010, Jonathan was inaugurated as President. In 2011, he was presented by the PDP as its presidential candidate, with Obasanjo emerging as one of his major supporters. But within the first two years of Jonathan’s presidency, Obasanjo had become piqued with him. Initially, this was concealed from the public until Obasanjo went public in a letter to Jonathan on December 2, 2013.
In the letter titled “Before It Is Too Late,” Obasanjo wrote that he chose to write a public letter to Jonathan because he had earlier written four private ones which were neither acknowledged nor responded to.
He further stated that he made his letter public due to a number of reasons, among which he said were, “One, the current situation and consequent possible outcome dictate that I should, before the door closes on reason and promotion of national interest, alert you to the danger that may be lurking in the corner.
“Two, none of the four or more letters that I have written to you in the past two years or so has elicited an acknowledgement nor any response. Three, people close to you, if not yourself, have been asking, what does Obasanjo want?
“Four, I could sense a semblance of the situation that we are gradually getting into and the situation we fell into as a nation during the Abacha era. Five, everything must be done to guard, protect and defend our fledgeling democracy, nourish it and prevent bloodshed.
“Six, we must move away from advertently or inadvertently dividing the country along weak seams of North-South and Christian-Moslem. Seven, nothing should be done to allow the country to degenerate into economic dormancy, stagnation or retrogression.
“Eight, some of our international friends and development partners are genuinely worried about signs and signals that are coming out of Nigeria. Nine, Nigeria should be in a position to take advantage of the present favourable international interest to invest in Africa – an opportunity that will not be open for too long. Ten, I am concerned about your legacy and your climb-down which you alone can best be the manager of, whenever you so decide.”
Obasanjo, in the letter, warned Jonathan against contesting the 2015 presidential election on the premise that, “Up till two months ago, Mr President, you told me that you have not told anybody that you would contest in 2015.
Though eventually defeated in the 2015 elections, former President Jonathan didn’t take the vibes from Obasanjo lying low as he responded in a letter on December 20, 2013, stating that his failure to respond to the four previous letters was not because he wanted to deride Obasanjo, but that he felt it was not necessary to acknowledge the letters, having discussed them verbally.
Jonathan in the letter tried to counter every point raised by Obasanjo in his earlier letter but the deed was done. His greatest supporter had become his greatest antagonist. Obasanjo went all out against Jonathan and he could not survive the onslaught.
In his letter to Buhari, Obasanjo did not hide his intention to go all out against the incumbent to work against his return to office in 2019.
The question now is will Obasanjo be as successful in this self-assigned task of getting Buhari out as he was with the Jonathan project?
Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, then in his capacity as the media aide of former Vice President Abubakar Atiku, wrote in his then back page column with the Nigerian Tribune that “Governments are known to rise and fall with Obasanjo’s letters”.
In the article, titled “What are the options for Dr Jonathan” and published on December 18, 2013, Shehu alleged that Obasanjo, since the release of his letter to former President Jonathan, has come under intense scrutiny relating to his motives, rather than the message and this is for a good reason.
Among others, he wrote: “Over the last three or so decades since he left office as military Head of State, the former president is known to have written letters to each and all of the governments that followed his own, with such letter coming at crises points in the lives of those administrations or, where non-existed fomenting trouble of the sitting government. Governments are known to rise and fall with Obasanjo’s letters.
“When they criticize President Obasanjo for his letter, many say the former leader is merely shedding crocodile tears because he, as the architect of successive transitions since he left office, is solely responsible for bringing the country to this sorry pass.
“They say that he, in consort with his cronies such as Nuhu Ribadu, and Nasir el-Rufai, and without the least consideration for national interest, chose a sick man, Umar Yar’ Adua and Dr Jonathan Goodluck, a man they thought was an idiot, and imposed them on the population in order to retain power and exercise it from his farmhouse in Ota. If Yar’ Adua as governor could not govern well a state like Kaduna, it is better imagined how he could deal with a complex setting that is the Nigerian federation.
“It is clear from all of these things that Obasanjo and his gang have mortally harmed the country and morally speaking, there is no basis on which they can pontificate to anyone.
“This obvious hypocrisy notwithstanding, there are many national interest issues in that letter which ought not to be swept under the carpet. As a senior lawyer said in the press last week, take the message and cut the hand (of the giver). So far, the president and his people have only been personalizing the issues. We have only heard the reflexive response from Rueben Abati, the president’s spokesman, charging the former president with insincerity and bad faith.
“The president has no option but to give a reflective response. He needs to show a full contextual understanding; have a correct reading of the mood of the nation and come clean before the citizens on all charges contained in that letter. That is the only way he can redeem the government he leads. A good and honest government will lend ears to good advice wherever it is coming from. If not, this government is doomed to fail. The latter ought not to become true of the Jonathan government…
“The letter issue is big, big issue. It calls for a response beyond the reflexes and rash abuse coming from the president’s camp. What the nation expects is a reflective, blow-by-blow, point-by-point account of why the government should not be held guilty as charged.”
Copyright © 2018 African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) PLC, publishers of Tribune titles. All Rights Reserved

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Iyabo Obasanjo Berates Buhari, Supporters •Support Father’s Letter's to the Presidenth

Iyabo Obasanjo Berates Buhari, Supporters •Support Father’s Letter's to the President

 •Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello
•Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello
Senator Iyabo Obasanjo, the daughter of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to address the issues raised by her father in a special statement on the leadership and stop using her past relationship, which has been overturned by events, to score cheap popularity.

In a statement late Saturday, the former Senator expressed surprise over a trending online publication, which published her letter written in 2013.

According to her, “I am surprised that agents of the current administration who should benefit from the advice and admonishment of one of the most brilliant leaders to ever emerge in modern Africa have resorted to a cheap tactic that further reiterates the message that they found abhorrent enough to start looking for unconnected issues to put together to make their point.”

In her four-paragraph statement, Obasanjo-Bello further pointed out that “those who published the old letter should have spent time to respond to the content of the said statement which, among other things, called on President Buhari to join the rank of retired elder statesmen in 2019.”

•Courtesy of Daily Trust on Sunday

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Special Press Statement
President Olusegun Obasanjo
Since we are still in the month of January, it is appropriate to wish all Nigerians Happy 2018. I am constrained to issue this special statement at this time considering the situation of the country. Some of you may be asking, “What has brought about this special occasion of Obasanjo issuing a Special Statement?” You will be right to ask such a question. But there is a Yoruba saying that ‘when lice abound in your clothes, your fingernails will never be dried of blood’. When I was in the village, to make sure that lice die, you put them between two fingernails and press hard to ensure they die and they always leave blood stains on the fingernails. To ensure you do not have blood on your fingernails, you have to ensure that lice are not harboured anywhere within your vicinity.
The lice of poor performance in government – poverty, insecurity, poor economic management, nepotism, gross dereliction of duty, condonation of misdeed – if not outright encouragement of it, lack of progress and hope for the future, lack of national cohesion and poor management of internal political dynamics and widening inequality – are very much with us today. With such lice of general and specific poor performance and crying poverty with us, our fingers will not be dry of ‘blood’.
Four years ago when my PDP card was torn, I made it abundantly clear that I quit partisan politics for aye but my concern and interest in Nigeria, Africa and indeed in humanity would not wane. Ever since, I have adhered strictly to that position. Since that time, I have devoted quality time to the issue of zero hunger as contained in Goal No. 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. We have set the target that Nigeria with the participating States in the Zero Hunger Forum should reach Zero Hunger goal by 2025 – five years earlier than the UN target date. I am involved in the issue of education in some States and generally in the issue of youth empowerment and employment. I am involved in all these domestically and altruistically to give hope and future to the seemingly hopeless and those in despair. I believe strongly that God has endowed Nigeria so adequately that no Nigerian should be either in want or in despair.
I believe in team work and collaborative efforts. At the international level, we have worked with other world leaders to domicile the apparatus for monitoring and encouraging socio-economic progress in Africa in our Presidential Library. The purpose of Africa Progress Group, which is the new name assumed by Africa Progress Panel (APP), is to point out where, when and what works need to be done for the progress of Africa separately and collectively by African leaders and their development partners. I have also gladly accepted the invitation of the UN Secretary-General to be a member of his eighteen-member High-Level Board of Advisers on Mediation. There are other assignments I take up in other fora for Africa and for the international community. For Africa to move forward, Nigeria must be one of the anchor countries, if not the leading anchor country. It means that Nigeria must be good at home to be good outside. No doubt, our situation in the last decade or so had shown that we are not good enough at home; hence we are invariably absent at the table that we should be abroad.
All these led me to take the unusual step of going against my own political Party, PDP, in the last general election to support the opposite side. I saw that action as the best option for Nigeria. As it has been revealed in the last three years or so, that decision and the subsequent collective decision of Nigerians to vote for a change was the right decision for the nation. For me, there was nothing personal, it was all in the best interest of Nigeria and, indeed, in the best interest of Africa and humanity at large. Even the horse rider then, with whom I maintain very cordial, happy and social relationship today has come to realise his mistakes and regretted it publicly and I admire his courage and forthrightness in this regard. He has a role to play on the side line for the good of Nigeria, Africa and humanity and I will see him as a partner in playing such a role nationally and internationally, but not as a horse rider in Nigeria again.
The situation that made Nigerians to vote massively to get my brother Jonathan off the horse is playing itself out again. First, I thought I knew the point where President Buhari is weak and I spoke and wrote about it even before Nigerians voted for him and I also did vote for him because at that time it was a matter of “any option but Jonathan” (aobj). But my letter to President Jonathan titled: “Before It Is Too Late” was meant for him to act before it was too late. He ignored it and it was too late for him and those who goaded him into ignoring the voice of caution. I know that praise-singers and hired attackers may be raised up against me for verbal or even physical attack but if I can withstand undeserved imprisonment and was ready to shed my blood by standing for Nigeria, I will consider no sacrifice too great to make for the good of Nigeria at any time. No human leader is expected to be personally strong or self-sufficient in all aspects of governance.
I knew President Buhari before he became President and said that he is weak in the knowledge and understanding of the economy but I thought that he could make use of good Nigerians in that area that could help. Although, I know that you cannot give what you don’t have and that economy does not obey military order. You have to give it what it takes in the short-, medium- and long-term. Then, it would move. I know his weakness in understanding and playing in the foreign affairs sector and again, there are many Nigerians that could be used in that area as well. They have knowledge and experience that could be deployed for the good of Nigeria. There were serious allegations of round-tripping against some inner caucus of the Presidency which would seem to have been condoned. I wonder if such actions do not amount to corruption and financial crime, then what is it? Culture of condonation and turning blind eye will cover up rather than clean up. And going to justice must be with clean hands.
I thought President Buhari would fight corruption and insurgency and he must be given some credit for his achievement so far in these two areas although it is not yet uhuru!
The herdsmen/crop farmers issue is being wittingly or unwittingly allowed to turn sour and messy. It is no credit to the Federal Government that the herdsmen rampage continues with careless abandon and without finding an effective solution to it. And it is a sad symptom of insensitivity and callousness that some Governors, a day after 73 victims were being buried in a mass grave in Benue State without condolence, were jubilantly endorsing President Buhari for a second term! The timing was most unfortunate. The issue of herdsmen/crop farmers dichotomy should not be left on the political platform of blame game; the Federal Government must take the lead in bringing about solution that protects life and properties of herdsmen and crop farmers alike and for them to live amicably in the same community.
But there are three other areas where President Buhari has come out more glaringly than most of us thought we knew about him. One is nepotic deployment bordering on clannishness and inability to bring discipline to bear on errant members of his nepotic court. This has grave consequences on performance of his government to the detriment of the nation. It would appear that national interest was being sacrificed on the altar of nepotic interest. What does one make of a case like that of Maina: collusion, condonation, ineptitude, incompetence, dereliction of responsibility or kinship and friendship on the part of those who should have taken visible and deterrent disciplinary action? How many similar cases are buried, ignored or covered up and not yet in the glare of the media and the public? The second is his poor understanding of the dynamics of internal politics. This has led to wittingly or unwittingly making the nation more divided and inequality has widened and become more pronounced. It also has effect on general national security. The third is passing the buck. For instance, blaming the Governor of the Central Bank for devaluation of the naira by 70% or so and blaming past governments for it, is to say the least, not accepting one’s own responsibility. Let nobody deceive us, economy feeds on politics and because our politics is depressing, our economy is even more depressing today. If things were good, President Buhari would not need to come in. He was voted to fix things that were bad and not engage in the blame game. Our Constitution is very clear, one of the cardinal responsibilities of the President is the management of the economy of which the value of the naira forms an integral part. Kinship and friendship that place responsibility for governance in the hands of the unelected can only be deleterious to good government and to the nation.
President Buhari’s illness called for the sympathy, understanding, prayer and patience from every sane Nigerian. It is part of our culture. Most Nigerians prayed for him while he was away sick in London for over hundred days and he gave his Deputy sufficient leeway to carry on in his absence. We all thanked God for President Buhari for coming back reasonably hale and hearty and progressing well in his recovery. But whatever may be the state of President Buhari’s health today, he should neither over-push his luck nor over-tax the patience and tolerance of Nigerians for him, no matter what his self-serving, so-called advisers, who would claim that they love him more than God loves him and that without him, there would be no Nigeria say. President Buhari needs a dignified and honourable dismount from the horse. He needs to have time to reflect, refurbish physically and recoup and after appropriate rest, once again, join the stock of Nigerian leaders whose experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the side line for the good of the country. His place in history is already assured. Without impaired health and strain of age, running the affairs of Nigeria is a 25/7 affair, not 24/7.
I only appeal to brother Buhari to consider a deserved rest at this point in time and at this age. I continue to wish him robust health to enjoy his retirement from active public service. President Buhari does not necessarily need to heed my advice. But whether or not he heeds it, Nigeria needs to move on and move forward.
I have had occasion in the past to say that the two main political parties – APC and PDP – were wobbling. I must reiterate that nothing has happened to convince me otherwise. If anything, I am reinforced in my conviction. The recent show of PDP must give grave and great concern to lovers of Nigeria. To claim, as has been credited to the chief kingmaker of PDP, that for procuring the Supreme Court judgement for his faction of the Party, he must dictate the tune all the way and this is indeed fraught with danger. If neither APC nor PDP is a worthy horse to ride to lead Nigeria at this crucial and critical time, what then do we do? Remember Farooq Kperogi, an Associate Professor at the Kennesaw State University, Georgia, United States, calls it “a cruel Hobson’s choice; it’s like a choice between six and half a dozen, between evil and evil. Any selection or deflection would be a distinction without a difference.” We cannot just sit down lamenting and wringing our hands desperately and hopelessly.
I believe the situation we are in today is akin to what and where we were in at the beginning of this democratic dispensation in 1999. The nation was tottering. People became hopeless and saw no bright future in the horizon. It was all a dark cloud politically, economically and socially. The price of oil at that time was nine dollars per barrel and we had a debt overhang of about $35 billion. Most people were confused with lack of direction in the country. One of the factors that saved the situation was a near government of national unity that was put in place to navigate us through the dark cloud. We had almost all hands on deck. We used people at home and from the diaspora and we navigated through the dark cloud of those days. At that time, most people were hopelessly groping in the dark. They saw no choice, neither in the left nor in the right, and yet we were not bereft of people at home and from the diaspora that could come together to make Nigeria truly a land flowing with milk and honey. Where we are is a matter of choice but we can choose differently to make a necessary and desirable change, once again.
Wherever I go, I hear Nigerians complaining, murmuring in anguish and anger. But our anger should not be like the anger of the cripple. We can collectively save ourselves from the position we find ourselves. It will not come through self-pity, fruitless complaint or protest but through constructive and positive engagement and collective action for the good of our nation and ourselves and our children and their children. We need moral re-armament and engaging togetherness of people of like-mind and goodwill to come solidly together to lift Nigeria up. This is no time for trading blames or embarking on futile argument and neither should we accept untenable excuses for non-performance. Let us accept that the present administration has done what it can do to the limit of its ability, aptitude and understanding. Let the administration and its political party platform agree with the rest of us that what they have done and what they are capable of doing is not good enough for us. They have given as best as they have and as best as they can give. Nigeria deserves and urgently needs better than what they have given or what we know they are capable of giving. To ask them to give more will be unrealistic and will only sentence Nigeria to a prison term of four years if not destroy it beyond the possibility of an early recovery and substantial growth. Einstein made it clear to us that doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the height of folly. Already, Nigerians are committing suicide for the unbearable socio-economic situation they find themselves in. And yet Nigerians love life. We must not continue to reinforce failure and hope that all will be well. It is self-deceit and self-defeat and another aspect of folly.
What has emerged from the opposition has shown no better promise from their antecedents. As the leader of that Party for eight years as President of Nigeria, I can categorically say there is nothing to write home about in their new team. We have only one choice left to take us out of Egypt to the promised land. And that is the coalition of the concerned and the willing – ready for positive and drastic change, progress and involvement. Change that will give hope and future to all our youth and dignity and full participation to all our women. Our youth should be empowered to deploy their ability to learn, innovate and work energetically at ideas and concepts in which they can make their own original inputs. Youth must be part of the action today and not relegated to leadership of tomorrow which may never come. Change that will mean enhancement of living standard and progress for all. A situation where the elected will accountably govern and every Nigerian will have equal opportunity not based on kinship and friendship but based on free citizenship.
Democracy is sustained and measured not by leaders doing extra-ordinary things, (invariably, leaders fail to do ordinary things very well), but by citizens rising up to do ordinary things extra-ordinarily well. Our democracy, development and progress at this juncture require ordinary citizens of Nigeria to do the extra-ordinary things of changing the course and direction of our lackluster performance and development. If leadership fails, citizens must not fail and there lies the beauty and importance of democracy. We are challenged by the current situation; we must neither adopt spirit of cowardice nor timidity let alone impotence but must be sustained by courage, determination and commitment to say and do and to persist until we achieve upliftment for Nigeria. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and we believe that our venturing will not be in vain. God of Nigeria has endowed this country adequately and our non-performance cannot be blamed on God but on leadership. God, who has given us what we need and which is potentially there, will give us leadership enablement to actualize our potentiality.
The development and modernization of our country and society must be anchored and sustained on dynamic Nigerian culture, enduring values and an enchanting Nigerian dream. We must have abiding faith in our country and its role and place within the comity of nations. Today, Nigeria needs all hands on deck. All hands of men and women of goodwill must be on deck. We need all hands to move our country forward.
We need a Coalition for Nigeria, CN. Such a Movement at this juncture needs not be a political party but one to which all well-meaning Nigerians can belong. That Movement must be a coalition for democracy, good governance, social and economic well-being and progress. Coalition to salvage and redeem our country. You can count me with such a Movement. Last time, we asked, prayed and worked for change and God granted our request. This time, we must ask, pray and work for change with unity, security and progress. And God will again grant us. Of course, nothing should stop such a Movement from satisfying conditions for fielding candidates for elections. But if at any stage the Movement wishes to metamorphose into candidate-sponsoring Movement for elections, I will bow out of the Movement because I will continue to maintain my non-partisan position. Coalition for Nigeria must have its headquarters in Abuja.
This Coalition for Nigeria will be a Movement that will drive Nigeria up and forward. It must have a pride of place for all Nigerians, particularly for our youth and our women. It is a coalition of hope for all Nigerians for speedy, quality and equal development, security, unity, prosperity and progress. It is a coalition to banish poverty, insecurity and despair. Our country must not be oblivious to concomitant danger around, outside and ahead. Coalition for Nigeria must be a Movement to break new ground in building a united country, a socially-cohesive and moderately prosperous society with equity, equality of opportunity, justice and a dynamic and progressive economy that is self-reliant and takes active part in global division of labour and international decision-making.
The Movement must work out the path of development and the trajectory of development in speed, quality and equality in the short- medium- and long-term for Nigeria on the basis of sustainability, stability, predictability, credibility, security, cooperation and prosperity with diminishing inequality. What is called for is love, commitment and interest in our country, not in self, friends and kinship alone but particularly love, compassion and interest in the poor, underprivileged and downtrodden. It is our human duty and responsibility so to do. Failure to do this will amount to a sin against God and a crime against humanity.
Some may ask, what does Obasanjo want again? Obasanjo has wanted nothing other than the best for Nigeria and Nigerians and he will continue to want nothing less. And if we have the best, we will be contented whether where we live is described as palaces or huts by others and we will always give thanks to God.
I, therefore, will gladly join such a Movement when one is established as Coalition for Nigeria, CN, taking Nigeria to the height God has created it to be. From now on, the Nigeria eagle must continue to soar and fly high. CN, as a Movement, will be new, green, transparent and must remain clean and always active, selflessly so. Members must be ready to make sacrifice for the nation and pay the price of being pioneers and good Nigerians for our country to play the God-assigned role for itself, for its neighbours, for its sub-region of West Africa, for its continent and for humanity in general. For me, the strength and sustainable success of CN will derive largely from the strong commitment of a population that is constantly mobilized to the rallying platform of the fact that going forward together is our best option for building a nation that will occupy its deserved place in the global community. May God continue to lead, guide and protect us. Amen.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Unsuccessful attempts by the 15-nation Economic Community Of West African States (Ecowas) led Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz to fly into Banjul at the 11th hour for a final round of talks.
Following the discussions he was hopeful of reaching a peaceful solution, he was quoted as saying by Gambian state broadcaster GRTS. Mauritania is not part of Ecowas and diplomats have previously reached out to the conservative desert nation in hopes of brokering an asylum deal with Jammeh.
Shortly before midnight Aziz's plane landed in Dakar, where he was met by Barrow - who is currently sheltering there - and Senegal's President Macky Sall, the private Senegalese radio station RFM reported. - AFP
Senegal has also requested UN backing for regional action against the long-time president. However, a vote on the draft resolution has yet to be scheduled, according to diplomats.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

WATCH: Current situation in Gambia as Dictator President Yahya Jammeh refuses to step down. In further...