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Op-Ed. WORLD IGBO STRUGGLE FOR A JUST FREE WORLD.

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Prof Chidi Osuagwu writes– The Igbo Village in Staunton, Virginia, is endowed to African people and their civilization, with Igbo acting as representative and custodian. This spirit implies imperative need for broad involvement and ownership by All African peoples, including, particularly, African-Americans. The Village, in spirit, is indeed designed to be an African Renascence Centre, in the United States and should be viewed, promoted and built-up as such. 

African-Americans of Igbo extraction should realize that this is a special tribute to them. They are indeed ‘the core Igbo-in-question’ with respect to the Igbo Village in America Project. It is their very presence in America and their distinguished role that is being recognized. 

As a student in America, who interacted very closely with African-Americans, I noted that some wondered why Africans were involved with the enslavement of their own people to Europeans. I have news for them! The Great Igbo Nation; as other Africans acknowledged them in the Americas by calling them Ibo Granmoun (Haiti etc.), Gran Ibo (Louisiana, etc.), never in an organized form approved or promoted enslavement of their people. They rather fought, characteristically determinedly, against slavery.

Slave-empires and slave-kingdoms rose here and there in Africa, but not in Igboland. A synthetic clan; whose synthesis from many neighboring tribes (Efik, Ejegham, Igbo, Ibibio, Akpa, etc) was inspired by the Europeans themselves, after more than a hundred years of the slave-trade and fruitless attempt to access the densely populated Igboland for enslavement by Europeans, where the chief agency of slavery in Igboland. The Aro Slaving Clan that emerged from this amalgam of peoples are still called ‘Aro-okeigbo’ (Aro-of-the-Igbo-boundary) and begrudged their role till this day. 

So, African-Americans, who we know from the works of Professor Douglass Chambers and others to be significantly Igbo in origin, should read up the facts. They should be prouder of their homeland Igbo kinsmen who, as history shows, fought very hard against slavery and colonialism, both in the African homeland and the Americas, than many realize. 

Igbo Men getting ready to dance

Odogwu Nat Turner did not turn up from thin air to fight against slavery in the United States. He himself said that he fought against slavery because he was told, by his Igbo kinsmen in America, that those who bore the kind of birth-mark; Ahumarachi, as he did, were marked, pre-ordained, to fight for their people in their ancestral Igbo homeland. And once he gained some success in his anti-slavery insurrection, he proudly had himself invested with the Igbo Warrior Odogwu title.

“Mgbe mmiri n’ama ohu k’onama onye kpo ya”; “Onye ji mmadu n’ala, ji onwe ya!”; “Onye woda wu onye mkporo!” The Igbo, as principle, hold that “A slaver is a slave!”; “An oppressor is oppressed!” and “A jailor is a prisoner!” So, the intellectual or psychological incentive for a normal, self-respecting, Igbo to be involved in slavery was not there. Follow the slave route, and it would not lead to the Igbo nobility or any indigenous community. Usually, indeed across Africa, such routes would, ultimately, lead to settlers from the Middle-east hundreds of years earlier or came with the slave trade to war and promote it. But, then, the Igbo have been so liberally free over historical times, that a thousand years of Igbo enslavement would still leave them the freest people Earth ever knew. We harm ourselves when we imbibe the self-serving narratives of adversaries, who create the impression that human enslavement started and will end with the African race. Yet to be enslaved is to be made to become like a Slavic person…like Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Serbian, etc., who other peoples; Greeks, Romans, etc., enslaved over many hundreds of years. We now know these are freedom-loving great peoples! Nobody messes with Russia in the world today, for instance. 

Jews were enslaved by many empires in the middle-east; Babylon, Egypt, Assyria, etc. But Pound-to-pound, they are the world’s greatest people today. The Irish, Scots, Welsh, Basques, etc. are marginal remnants of the original Celtic owners of Europe, who were violently displaced. All these peoples will now make jests of Igbo African-Americans, and slavery, and we waste time listening to them? These peoples whose major powers (Spain, Britain, France, etc.) Ibo Granmoun led African freedom fighters to militarily crush in Haiti, between 1791 and 1803, have nothing to tell us about freedom and valour.

Igbo Traditional dance

China did not build the Great Wall as sign of global power, but to protect her weak people from violent ‘Northmen’, as there has always been in the history of this world. India didn’t build a wall to wall-off aggressive Northmen, like China did, and Aryan ‘Northmen’ invaded and have enslaved or dominated the autochthonous owners of India for 3000 years.  Lesson: Igbo, her diaspora and other Africans, should note the slave trade and not personalize it as an African inheritance. We learn the lesson that weak angels are enslaved in this world, unless they can self-defend. We must avoid alien ideologies-induced ‘holy’ weakness! For guidance, we must read-up history and live for the future as worthy Igbo, by definition, would.

  1.  The main danger the Igbo and her diaspora should concern themselves with at this time is the brazen refusal of some chronic slavers and colonialists to renounce their propensity to enslave or colonize the African peoples. The greatest of these dangers is the ongoing threats of the Anglo-Fulani co-imperialists Alliance. The Fulani, based on their claim, through their leader Othman dan Fodio, that Mohammed, the Prophet of Islam, promised them ownership of West Africa provided they ‘Islamized’ it or “devote to the sword” any indigenous peoples who refuse to be Islamized.

And the British are laying claims to Africa, whose peoples they see as disposable interlopers sitting, needlessly, on natural resources needed by more worthy peoples. The British Defense Minister, Gavin Williamson, has just been dismissed for plotting the invasion of Africa. These, in early 21st century, sound like fiction, except they are taking place in the open…in this information age. Britain, as part of her Brexit ambition, is maneuvering to start another scramble for Africa, with China and renascent Asia. 

History shows that these two anti-African peoples (British and Fulani) see the Igbo; because of their extra-ordinary world struggles against injustice and unfreedom, as default enemy to be destroyed. Overcoming these formidable adversaries, to survive, is the great mountain right in front of us; blocking the Igbo journey into the Future that is life. Now that the Northmen scourge is upon us, and as we pushback as true Igbo would, we pray to our God that disallows evil and demands good, like the ancient aggressed did before us, “From the fury of the Northmen, good Lord deliver us!”  Igbo and their diaspora have climbed higher mountains in their historic and heroic quest for a just free world. But whatever we do, now is time for GRAND ORGANIZING and GRAND LEADERSHIP. We must urgently distinguish between Ndindu; Leaders we need, who are now scarce among Igbo and Ndiochichi; rulers, who are now surplus with some serving anti-Igbo external interests. We need a materialism-detached leadership that lives in celebration of ancestors that earned the Igbo the Igbo Village in America and descendants who we wish to celebrate us, in the far future, as we celebrate our ancestors today.

We, Igbo worldwide, demand nothing of the world, except right to return to the paradisiacal Erima society our ancestors designed and built, guided by our universalist Uwaizu worldview. A world system, and society, so enchanting that Olaudah Equiano; enslaved by the evil trade in his childhood, could still reminisce, nostalgically in his adulthood, as I summarize in the poem below.

Equiano’s Indigo Igbo World!

Equiano was of ancient, mgbasara-clad, indigo lgbo World.

Equiano saw slavery-embattled, but gutsy lgbo World: 

A land of Truth-loving and religious people;

A land of strong, well-proportioned, people;

A land of freemen and empowered women!

A land without ennobled crooks;

A land without unemployment;

A land without the homeless;

A land without prostitution;

A land without drunkards;

A land without beggars; 

A land without prisons;

A land of clean, happy Igbo! 

Indigo has fled raped, unhappy, Igbo World; 

Benighted, we dream Equiano’s indigo Igbo World.

 (Chidi G Osuagwu; Poem in Ojukwu’s 70th Birthday Lecture, 2003. Revised May, 2017).

  It is a return to that World; ‘retourne au pais natale’, as the self-identified Martiniquais Igbo, Aimee Caesaire, put it that Igbo and her diaspora aspire to for themselves and for All humanity. We shall realize it! And that to the glory of ancestors and gratitude of descendants! When that happens, as Equiano proposed long ago, we shall pour a libation of virgin palm-wine to satisfied ancestors and glorified Chukwuokike Abiama; ‘the God that disallows evil and demands good’ of all Humanity.

Ya gazie!!

Chidi G Osuagwu, PhD
c/o Department of Biomedical Technology
Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State.
and
Visiting Professor
Department of Biochemistry,
Gregory University, Uturu, Abia State.
Nigeria.
(Chairman, African Future Earth Committee)

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Op-Ed

Op-ed: Is the Niger Delta Still Part Of Nigeria?

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Is the Niger Delta Still Part Of Nigeria

The dance of the absurd taking place in the media space in recent times couldn’t have been had President Buhari not ordered for a Forensic Audit of the Books of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.

The National Assembly under Senator Ahmed Lawan and Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila seems to be unconcerned about the imminent dangers of a resurgence of youth restiveness in the oil and gas rich area of the country as some Lawmakers with obvious insidious interest have continued to challenge the authority of the President on the all-inclusive probe of the Commission which has been wobbling, twenty years after its creation. The excessive freedom enjoyed by those who have been publicly accused by the supervising Committee of the NDDC has been overstretched as the leadership of the 9th Assembly has either chosen to look the other way or become complicit in the macabre dance.

Since the decision by the President to look into the way billions of Naira have been frittered away through the Commission, the discordant tunes from a few, powerful Lawmakers from the Niger Delta region has become worrisome that the reading public is now suspicious of their involvement in the pathological sleaze that has characterized the Commission while leaving the region underdeveloped and gasping for air, in a manner akin to the African-American, George Floyd who died while begging to breathe.

It is worrisome that in spite of the fact that the National Assembly is led by the ruling party, APC, yet, the synergy expected between the Executive and the Legislature is far from being in existence as it concerns the Niger Delta region, which has consistently sustained the economy since 1956, when oil was discovered in commercial quantities.

Is it not beyond surprising and an effrontrey for a group of Lawmakers to challenge the decision of the President in approving an intervention for the people of the region for the purpose of the pandemic? The impudence displayed by these Lawmakers who definitely have something sinister to frustrate the efforts of the Interim Management Committee, IMC, of the Commission and the supervising Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio is a pointer that all is not well, particularly, when the supposed leader of the recalcitrant Lawmakers is from the opposition party, PDP. Could it be that the Senate President has conceded his powers to his Deputy, who recently, walked into the Headquarters of the EFCC with a letter written by the Clerk of the Senate, albeit on his instruction and requested for the probe and arrest of Buhari’s Minister, even when other Senators were kept in the dark of such an offensive? With the denial of Omo-Agege of his involvement in the scandal, will the Senate President set up a Committee to investigate him alongside the Clerk or simply sack the latter? That is up to him to stand for the truth or let his exalted office be ridiculed by his Deputy and his quest for power!

The desperation to have Akpabio removed and the Pondei-led IMC sacked is purely an effort to ensure that Buhari leaves no legacies in the Niger Delta region. The cry over the mismanagement of funds at the NDDC has been on, over time and was enunciated by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, sometime in 2019 at Delta State. There was a follow up visit to the President by the Governors of the States under the NDDC which compelled the President to give Akpabio the mandate to appoint Forensic Auditors to look into the books, with an Interim Management Committee to oversee the running of the Commission while the audit lasts.

Sadly, those who seem to have been squandering the funds meant to build high grade Schools, Hospitals, Roads and Bridges amongst other infrastructures, are desperate to have Akpabio’s head on the slaughter slab, as millions of Naira have been deployed to different youth groups and a section of the media to further plant negative stories in other to discredit those saddled with this responsibility.

More worrisome is the involvement of high profile and principal officers at the National Assembly in this distracting dance, that one begins to wonder if truly they mean well for the region. What really do they intend to achieve in ensuring that Buhari does not add a stone to projects in the Niger Delta. Is there a fifth columnist working against the President but are pretending to be partners in progress with him?

The effort made by the NDDC to source for international grant of $126 million from the International Fund for  Agricultural Development, IFAD, has been aborted at the point of delivery by this same Lawmakers who wickedly slashed the budgetary provision for the counterpart funding from N1.3 billion to a paltry N100 million in the 2019 Budget of the NDDC! Funds from IFAD meant to massively engage in Agriculture in the region was wished away with the stroke of the pen. Not done with the plot to keep the region perpetually underdeveloped and totally dependent on crumbs from. Federal Allocation, these agents of darkness ensured that the budget of N10 billion for the construction of three Specialist Hospitals in the region was slashed to another paltry N100m! Yet, they prefer that billions of Naira are allocated for non-existent Training programs, Desilting of the Waterways and Medical Tourism overseas that yield nothing.

The 2020 Budget which has since been submitted in 2019 is yet to be attended to. Those who have gathered irrespective of party affiliations, to keep the region in agony at the risk of illegal activities of oil bunkering, environmental degradation and deprivation, and massive pollution of the air and water resulting in the cancerous black smooth and death of aquatic life are not done with their offensive as they question the rationale behind the payment of contractors owed by successive Boards of the Commission.

The recent probe of N40 billion by the two Houses of the National Assembly is only a disguise of their real intents. Why is this probe more important to the supposed watchdogs of the Commission rather than allow for a thorough Forensic Audit? What is the real purpose of the Adhoc Committees of the two Houses in writing the Bureau of Public Procurement to deny the Forensic Auditors access to the nine states to verify the records of the Commission? This is not only suspicious but scandalous by those who claim to be in support of the Presidential Order of the Forensic Audit!

One begins to wonder who is actually ruling the country when a few Lawmakers have effortlessly challenged the powers of the President to seek to know what has been of the monies poured into the NDDC for over 19 years.

For the second highest ranking Senator who flaunts the title of “Leader of the South South” to resort to a petition against a Minister to the EFCC, in order to frustrate the President and leader of his political party, leaves much to be desired! It is clear that the 9th Assembly is not interested in the development of the Niger Delta region.

No wonder the same Lawmakers who claim to have an oversight function on the Niger Delta have failed to query the Presidential Infrastructural Development Fund, PIDF, on the deliberate neglect of the East-West Road which is one of the five critical projects under the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, NSIA. While they are at war with the managers of NDDC, they have left the people of the region to suffer as they navigate from one state to the other through the East-West Road. In spite of a Presidential approval of N100bn in 2018 for the completion of sections 1 to 4 of the road and a release of N19.5bn by the Minister for Finance, three years ago, for the payment of legacy debts, the PIDF under Mr Uche Orji has failed to pay the Contractors, thereby delaying their return to the site and allowing the road to deteriorate. 

Without a recent intervention by the NDDC to repair the failed sections of the road, the people of the region would have completely been cut off from the West.

It is clear that there is an orchestrated plot to make sure that the APC controlled Federal Government fails in the Niger Delta region. And who are those responsible for this mess? Obviously, they are not far from us as the fate of the Niger Delta region now depends on them!

Obiaruko Ndukwe

President, Citizens Quest for Truth Initiative

The Newscap, part of NYMEWSNET addresses a range of topical subjects and openly invites your views.
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Op-ed: NDDC, When Strange Bedfellows Unite To Rape a Region

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NDDC: When Strange Bedfellows Unite To Rape a Region

If the news of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, on Wednesday 3rd June 2020, denying ever writing any letter for an extension of the tenure of the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sani Ataba Omolori and other Staff is anything to go by, then one wonders why till date the Clerk still retains his office when he is supposed to have been retired since February, 2020, according to the National Assembly Service Commission rules.

The seeming conspiratorial silence of the leadership and members of the 9th Assembly should worry any right thinking Nigerian, especially when it is an institution that inspires hope in our democracy.

According to a highly placed source in the National assembly, It has become worrisome the twist in the face-off between the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and some members of the National Assembly as the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege mandated the Clerk to write a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes and Commission, EFCC, against Akpabio, bothering on alleged malfeasance and money laundering. In what looks like a desperate launch of a vendetta against Akpabio, the petition refers to a  $4.9bn Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contract award to Osmoserve for supply of relief materials for the Covid-19 pandemic across the nine Niger Delta States. This is most likely because the Minister chose to courageously take the right course of action by backing the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of NDDC to plug all loop holes from which scarce funds were surging  out of the Commission over the years.

There are strong indications also that the duo of Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege and Sen. Nwaoboshi, the Chairman, Senate Committee on NDDC, both from Delta State are in active connivance with the Clerk of the National Assembly to ensure they frustrate the work of the Forensic Auditors currently perusing meticulously through the accounts of the NDDC.

Nothing else explains coherently the reason the EFCC currently working with other renown financial institutions in auditing the books of NDDC will welcome an isolated case bothering on same concerns as the ongoing Forensic Audit.

It all reeks of vindictive intent on the part of the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, who, very obviously, is still disenchanted by the way the Bernard Okumagba-led Board ended in a still birth. Omo-Agege had nominated his former contemporary, Bernard Okumagba with whom he served as Commissioners under Ex Governor James Ibori’s Government in Delta State. Unknown to many, Peter Nwaoboshi and the duo of Omo-Agege and Okumagba all served at the same time in that Government, from where they got the appellation, “the Ibori Boys.”

The decision of President Buhari to jettison the already screened members of the Board has not gone down well with Omo-Agege and co, who believe that Akpabio opted for an IMC in a bid to upstage the nominees and their sponsors.

The President’s action is considered an advise from the Minister and that has pitched some members of the National Assembly against Akpabio and by extension, the Interim Management Committee saddled with the responsibility of running the affairs of the Commission during the period of the Forensic Audit.

It is sad to realize that the Clerk of the National Assembly,  Sani Ataba Omolori’s desperation to keep his job for another 5years, albeit illegally can make him resort to anything, including joining an unholy union with Principal Officers of the Senate and House of Representatives, simply to retain his job. It won’t be out of place, therefore, if I refer to these strange bedfellows as friends with benefit.

That the Deputy Senate President in a letter addressed to the Chairman of EFCC with a reference no. NASS/CS/99/R/21/19, the Clerk of the Senate stated that he was directed by the office of the Deputy Senate President to request the assistance of the EFCC “in an ongoing inquiry into the affairs of the core members of the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC…” According to the letter titled, “SENATE REQUESTS THE INVESTIGATION AND MONITORING OF MINISTER OF NIGER DELTA AFFAIRS HON. GODSWILL AKPABIO AND POSSIBLE CRIMINAL AFFILIATE MR. SCOTT IKOTT TOMMEY”, the Senators are overriding the adhoc-committee already inaugurated to look into the alleged misappropriation of N40 billion by the Minister and the IMC. This also implies that the Senate President may have mandated his Deputy to petition the EFCC or it could be that his powers have been whittled down by his Deputy and his ally, Nwaoboshi.

 Shamefully, it has become a story of one day, one propaganda while another day comes with yet another blackmail, petitions, lies and deceit as the case maybe against the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs and the IMC of NDDC.

 Most shocking is how a notable figure like the  Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-agege can go all out to scuttle a Forensic Audit authorized by the President on the request of the Niger Delta Governors.

How is it that Senator Peter Nwaoboshi is throwing every available spanner into the works, like a drowning man holding unto a straw, ready to pull anyone along with him? How can Sen Peter Nwaoboshi be so knowledgeable about the NDDC, yet, this level of sleaze is being perpetuated under his watch? Is he saying he is unaware of the 50 billion naira payment to NGOs in a single day, on May 15, 2019, and another payment of billions of Naira to 360 NGOs in 2018, and another singular payment of 15 billion Naira to a company based in Akwa Ibom, without any commensurate work done?

It is becoming more difficult convincing Nigerians that government is for them, when news like the clandestine move by NASS leadership to extend the tenure of the Clerk of the National Assembly greeted the news media. For a personality like Sani Ataba Omolori who has served the nation meritoriously, the honour is in retiring from active service with pride, rather than be forcefully evicted going by allegations of illegal extension of his service, a position held by the National Assembly Service Commission.

Following the sudden sequence of allegations against the Minister and the IMC, you will not be living in doubt that they are all geared towards stalling the Forensic Audit, so as  continuing with business as usual in the NDDC; nothing more.

A keen observer of the face-off between the NDDC and NASS will tell you that should this impasse in the region be resolved in objectivity, the Niger Delta people will be the greatest beneficiary, and they will have a better NDDC than they ever before the crisis started.

To some gladiators, it is an ego battle, to some others it is a battle for the soul of the Commission to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people of the Niger Delta region. Whether you lend your voice to the developing debate or not, one thing is sacrosanct; it is the expectation of all well-meaning Niger Deltans that President Buhari will stop at nothing until the final report of the Forensic Audit is presented and is implemented to the letter.

Eghosa Sunday-Salami

Edo State Secretary

Citizens Quest for Truth Initiative

The Newscap, part of NYMEWSNET addresses a range of topical subjects and openly invites your views.
However, independent views expressed in our media presence are those of the author. And are not necessarily those of NYNEWSNET or any of its employees and volunteers

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Op-ed.Osun: Now that we have the 7th Assembly! By abiodun KOMOLAFE

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When we juxtapose the imperatival idealism of the legislative arm of government in Nigeria, vis-à-vis the preponderances of unenforceable pieces of Acts of Parliament, and the needless ambiguity in the literary interpretation of certain provisions of myriads of bills passed into law, one cannot but wonder whether we have not missed the underpinning philosophy behind the concept of state, government, good governance, public accountability and transparency. As it is at the Federal level, so it is with most of the federating states of the Federal Republic. Rather than a serious attempt at critically examining the pros and cons of the legislative functions with a view to finding pragmatic solutions to the menace of ineffective legislatures, it is always the case that, each time a session of an Assembly is about to take-off, the first thing to discuss will be the issue of welfare package for bonafide Honourable members; which also points to the fact that the needs and the desires of the electorate become secondary.

Conventionally, periodic elections and the law of possible outcomes presuppose that some older elected members of the Assemblies might not be returned, while newly-elected members will join the Assembly. Since legislative function is a very serious business, which requires painstaking rigours and adherence to strict and tested systemic procedural rules and regulations, the ‘rule of thumb’ seldom applies! Whereas the parliamentary system gives room for an elected representative to go through some training, the situational reality is that the presidential system in use in Nigeria does not allow for that. At best, it is assumed that, even a greenhorn already knows what he or she is doing! If the aforementioned situation should subsist, then, any hope for the country?

That said, the quality of the leadership of an Assembly determines the quality of its output. This in turn goes a long way to determine the success or otherwise of the government of the day. Whatever may be the weakness of otherwise of this argument, democracy becomes a dangerous gamble when classical political theories are misaligned with the reality on ground. It is like having a crisis and wasting the crisis! Without airs, the myriads of problems of Nigeria, as they are today, are enough to compel all the lawmaking bodies in the country to work assiduously to come up with pragmatic legislative instruments of remedy that can be used to straighten out our Public Administration so that the country can witness advancement, sustainable development and greatness. `

The recently-inaugurated 7th Assembly of Osun House of Assembly most certainly understands that it should work round-the-clock to justify the people’s trust in its character and legislative capabilities. Hence, it chooses not to rely on the ‘rule of thumb’ and crass grandstanding as the Modus Operandi for its legislative engagements. In a classic show of candour and unassailable resolve, it embarked on a 3-Day Retreat, towards ‘enhancing service delivery through legislative engagement.’ With this, the lawmakers are saying that the era of pursuing legislative duties with mere missionary commitment and clockwise precision is gone. That they are conscious of the enormity of the task of strategically repositioning Osun on the path of ‘Continuity and Consolidation’ is a huge political capital that is indicative of their leadership quality, maturity and character-calibre. Thankfully too, the state government has just organized an Economic and Investment Summit, which has now given everybody something to think about. So, the Timothy Owoeye-led Assembly deserves commendation for getting that aspect right!

The popular catchphrase is that you don’t tell the truth to the man in power! Broadly speaking, what are the responsibilities of a knowledge-based Osun legislature to the other arms of government and how can it help, especially, the executive arm in promoting sustainable economic development and growth in the state? How can it choose what it wants to do, set its heart to it and create the advantage so that succeeding generations will inherit a future devoid of political savagery and inevitable traumatization? If representative democracy is about Development Agenda and Service Delivery, will our lawmakers pass laws that are capable of making the aggregation of the people’s aspirations, political agitation and demands the essence of their legislative engagements?

Will the 7th Assembly remember that the representatives are not above the represented – those who surrendered their mandates to give governments legitimate authority to govern?What this translates to, in a nutshell, is that the burden of discharge of relevant, functional and quality legislative laws and informed, pragmatic and enforceable Acts of Parliament rests squarely on the shoulders of these Honourables. Therefore, slothful acts and unrepresentative representation of the masses will show lazy politicians the way out. If they hold the business of governance in high esteem; and are irrevocably committed to the development agenda of the state government, it is, at the minimum, a sure guarantee that the goods of democracy will be delivered to the masses.

From time to time, the executive arm will surely need expedited favours from the state legislature. But, while it is beautiful and desirable for the latter to be in agreeable and collaborative terms with the former, Osun will be better with a House that is impartial, yet critical; a House that understands that a Rubber Stamp legislature runs the risk of being a threat to the fundamental philosophy and essence of participatory democracy. A Rubber stamp parliament devours efforts in justice and deflates new ideas about the thirst for the Rule of Law.

Give it to Osun government for its achievements in the security sector. But then, the fact that religious bodies are now at the forefront of payment of ransoms to bandits in parts of the country is an indication that it is not yet Uhuru! Against this background therefore, the legislature has a critical role to play in the formulation of appropriate legislative frameworks that will engender a radical communication approach and serious industrial strategy for the state. It must help in enacting statute laws that will bring about the transformation that will be appropriate for the people, with the people, and for the people. How I also wish this Retreat would help our lawmakers come up with appropriate legislations that can offer leadership at this time of socioeconomic meltdown and connect us to the values of our common humanity?

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Osun!

*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk)

abiodun KOMOLAFE,
O20, Okenisa Street,
Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State.

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Op-Ed

Inside Nigeria. Leah Sharibu: When hope is deferred-A Guardian Editorial

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leahsharibu

It is quite significant to remind the authorities in Abuja today that the nation is still waiting for freedom for Citizen Leah Sharibu, the only Dapchi schoolgirl and Christian who is still being held in captivity because of her faith. Some aid workers had the other day raised concern about her safety, but the Federal Government said all was well with her, and they were continuing with negotiation to set her free. We feel it is expedient to remind the president that people’s anxiety is beginning to turn to fear of the unknown. And the implication is that when hope is deferred, as the ancient word notes, it makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
While Zainab Aliyu, a Muslim girl who was arrested and detained in Saudi Arabia for alleged drug trafficking and whose release was secured through the intervention of the Federal Government, arrived in the country the other day, families and well-wishers marked the 16th birthday of Leah Sharibu, still held in captivity with several activities in Abuja, Jos and Lagos. As we noted before here, this is not a good contrasting story in nation building at this time.
Essentially, till date, Leah Sharibu, The Guardian’s 2018 ‘‘Person of the Year,’’ is still in the hands of her abductors, the Boko Haram terrorists, who made the renunciation of her faith a precondition for her release, which she declined.

Leah sHaribu
Leah Sharibu: When hope is deferred

While 104 of her colleagues were released on March 21, 2018, five of the hapless girls died in captivity. Although, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed announced then that the 104 girls’ release was unconditional, the refusal of the terrorists group to release Leah since last year, on the condition that she converts to Islam, questions this view and buttresses some perception that the Federal Government’s negotiations through a back-channel led to the release of the girls.
So, it is indeed becoming inexcusable that the Federal Government has not been able to negotiate Leah’s release more than two years on. This may account for the resentments by various individuals and groups within and outside Nigeria; and aptly captured in our earlier question: “Mr. President, where is Leah Sharibu?”
It would be recalled that this Christian girl, Leah, still held by Boko Haram terrorists during the third quarter of 2018, in a clear audio message, begged President Buhari Muhammadu Buhari to come to her rescue. However, the government said the clip would be verified to be sure that it was Leah’s voice. There has been no update on the authenticity of the voice since.

It will be recalled that on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, Buhari consoled Leah Sharibu’s biological family and assured her parents that the Federal Government would do its utmost for the safety and security of Leah. The president was quoted as telling Mrs Sharibu: “I convey my emotion, the strong commitment of my administration and the solidarity of all Nigerians to you and your family as we will do our best to bring your daughter home in peace and safety.”
Despite Buhari’s assurance to Rebecca Sharibu, mother of Leah, the Leah albatross still hangs on the neck of Abuja as the girl is still held in captivity! To date, there is no update on the plight of unlucky girl, and her whereabouts have remained unknown. It is reproachful that Nigeria’s daughter is still held hostage, and the government appears unconcerned about that tragedy.
This ugly reality is a monumental embarrassment because the ‘‘child’’ Leah had even cried out to her ‘‘father’’ of the nation to rescue her. Nigeria’s leader should note again that the story of Leah Sharibu’s capture and her continued detention by Boko Haram insurgents as a result of her refusal to renounce her faith is legendary. That defiance echoes a bright message of love, selflessness, courage, and hope to our nation. The Leah, this newspaper calls, ‘‘goddess of resistance’’ to terror, is now the number one soldier on the frontline in defense of Nigeria’s now fragile unity, peace, and progress. She is a true heroine.
The word of the president on Leah and the remaining Chibok girls should be his bond! It will be recalled that part of Buhari’s campaign promise on which he won the election in 2015 was that he would work for the return of the Chibok school girls. The reamaining113 Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu are still in Boko Haram’s captivity. They are still our missing daughters!
We will continue to appeal to our leader to please use the doggedness with which he handled the case of Zainab Aliyu’s release for Leah Sharibu. This is one of the ways, Nigeria’s leader can show Nigerian citizens that he is a ‘‘father’’ to all; who has value for human lives and can go to any length to save lives.
As we once noted, rescue efforts of help from foreign powers can be requested when necessary. The Nigerian state should stop being territorial. If it requires expertise from other countries, there should not be pride and vanity displayed over that.
To the parents, friends and relatives of Leah, who have been in agony and waiting for the return of their child, we appeal that you continue to keep hope alive. As Nigeria’s leader returns from Russia, he should be reminded that Citizen Leah is still missing and her parents and indeed Christians in the country are still agonising about her fate in the camps of the wicked.
We would like to thank the president sooner than later for keeping his word by rescuing Leah Sharibu and the remaining Chibok schoolgirls alive and for conquering the enemy called Boko Haram.

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