Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tobacoo: My Friend ,Our Media

As I settled down with a friend inside a dark corner at Big Brother Café opposite the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Ogba Lagos, South west Nigeria, what was going through my mind was the many workshops I have attended on tobacco at the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN). My friend is a chain smoker. If allowed he will smoke out his life… as he puffed into the air, I changed our topic ‘Ore’ (meaning friend in Yoruba our local dialect) why do you smoke? Daddy and Mum never smoked? Where do you learn how to stick your mouth? “The Media did this to me” how? I wanted to hear more but he wasn’t willing to talk about his smoking habit all he added was “Movies, I watched movies alot when I was young and the ‘best guy’ smokes so I …” my friend puffed away to another table, visibly not interested in my topic. The mass media have a major role to play in rebuilding our societal values, like my friend- who learnt smoking from the media obviously needs help from the same media. What we see has a great influence on our thinking and behaviours but what are we seeing through the media- corruption, prostitution, smoking like my friend many other bad habits. Yes! Children picked them from the media -that movie we watched, that advert we saw coupled with what our ‘broda adugbo’ area uncle did, formed our orientation, we all wants to belong, we want to be ‘happening’. Tobacco is killing a lot of Nigerians, The Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals (NATT) Africa spokesperson, Philip Jakpor, lamented that the activities of the tobacco industry was particularly noticeable in low and middle income countries like Nigeria which accounts for 80 percent of the annual six million tobacco-related deaths in the world. He said journalists have crucial roles to play in exposing the tobacco industry's efforts at undermining the implementation of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and public education on the dangers of smoking. But Nigeria Independent Tobacco Association  (NITA)  on its part says about 10,000 jobs will be at risk in Nigeria if the World Health Organisation (WHO) goes ahead with its proposal at the World Tobacco Growers’ Day. http://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/10/nita-members-may-loose-10000-jobs-if/ "There is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry's interests and public health policy" Jakpor said. The Media majorly movie producers, Ad directors should wake up from their damaging slumber. Portraying people with bad habits as ‘great men’ should stop, our society is losing out its morals- young people believe so much in the media, their daily activities are built around these ‘media mentors’. We need to start building a sane society through sane media content.

Friday, December 7, 2012

In Jalingo: safe water is scarce like petrol, and expensive as gold

"Water, they say is life", and according to science, the human body constitute of 70% of this liquid substance, as such water tops the priority list of the demand of mankind.  The World Health Organization (WHO)  said 80% of diseases plaguing humanity are due to use or consumption of unsafe water.

"Over 1 billion people globally lack access to safe drinking-water supplies, while 2.6 billion lack adequate sanitation; diseases related to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene result in an estimated 1.7 million deaths every year," WHO report says.

It is generally believed that the accessibility of sufficient quantities of  portable water and safe sanitation facilities to a household determines the quality of life of the people and potential for poverty alleviation. This leads to the welfare improvement and is generally linked to a decrease in infant and maternal mortality, increase nutritional values and environmental hygiene.

In Jalingo, accessing portable water by residents remains a major battle forcing residents of the city to rely on local vendor popularly id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5819394726337101682" />

called Mai ruwa and few streams for water, while public water supply remained exclusive for the rich in the state.

Wurom Musa, is a one of the slum communities in Jalingo, and is inhabited mainly by farmers and traders. Here the only source of water for domestic consumption is a local stream about 7 killometers  away. away. What would have served as a safer source of water supply- a two  hand-pump boreholes donated to the community 5 years ago,  had collapsed

In another slum community, Barade ward, there are tales of woes and anguish  whenever the Lamorde River, the only source of water in the area,  dries up, typically  during dry season. When this occurs, residents of the  community are left with no other option than to buy from 'Mai Ruwa' water vendors, whose source of water is unknown.

In another community, Agangagwasa, a resident, ,  Julian Bala narrated that getting water for domestic use is a major challenge.

"because here is a new area with plenty people, water is our problem, when the wells in the area  are dried up, it's a difficult  to get water because, we trek long distance searching for water as if you are looking for petrol, its saddening because water board is not here"

Another resident, Mrs. Franca Osita told me that  she starts her day by searching for water, "I  have to wake up early and walk to   the stream to get water, or else buy from the water vendors and then prepare the children for school before resuming business, this is usually difficult for me"

She called on the government to show more concern to the untold suffering water scarcity has brought upon the people, by making provision for more boreholes and making sure that the taps are running again.

The Ward head of Mayo-Gwoi Village, in peri urban Jalingo, Mr. Aliyu Jassa, said the lack of access to portable water in the city is harming their health.

" Due to lack of water from the taps, some of us depend largely on  Mai ruwa, and those who cannot afford to buy, have to depend on the river. Unfortunately we've had cases of cholera that have resulted to the loss of lives, especially pregnant women and children, I almost lost my children too, but thank God for quick intervention"

Hamman Yakubu a retired bank official, on his part lamented the hike in price of water by local vendors.  "Me and my family consume not less than three trucks a day at N200 per a truck of ten jerry-cans each, but we are at the mercy of the water vendors, who sometimes hike the price of the water at will," adding that  it's  too expensive for an average citizen in the state who earns less than N18, 000 per month, considering  other family expenses like sending the children to school.

Mr. Yakubu also noted that though there are pipes laid down for distribution to homes, but too expensive to embark upon, as it will cost N60,000 for the installation per home; adding  that the pipes have rusted due to non-usage resulting to  health hazard for the few consumers.

Other residents across the city bemoan the recurrent shortage of water and overdependence for water supply on Mai ruwa whom sources of water is not known to the consumer.

Chairman of Taraba state water vendors, Mr. Muhamadu Ahmed said "there are over 20,000 members of the association scattered in various location of Jalingo"

Danlami Musa a water vendor said, he  sells as much as fifteen trucks a day and due to the high demand of the product he often have to go in search of water from the stream, stating that sometimes the water from the borehole is not sufficient to go round.

Secretary of the Association of water vendors in Jalingo, Mr. Iliya Jacob who had been in the business for more than 14 years said his service is an alternative to government.

" I have been providing water for this entire area for 13 years, people troop in from distances to come here for water, sometimes we have to give them for free, as a humanitarian service, we see the untold hardship on our people, we regard our services as an alternative to the government, because most people cannot afford to buy trucks of water per day, there is no other option for getting portable water"  he added.

He identify causes of water scarcity in city as "dryness of well and stream majorly during dry season and well water  changing color during raining seasons, and sometimes due to the activity of the pumping machine, it drains water from the ground which often cause some temporal water shortage from the ground, and leads to dry wells."

The Area Manager of Taraba Water Supply Board, Jalingo district,  Mr. Bitrus Rimanshon  admitted to ravaging  water shortage in the city:

"the product don't seems to be available, however the government is doing its best to meet up with the challenges." The Government is doing its best, the Taraba water supply board is operational on a daily basis, but coverage is not much, due to the growing population of the city, the coverage area is presently at 32%,"

Some of the challenges facing the State Water Board according to investigation includes obsolete machines that needs renovation and replacements,  inadequate funding , deficiency in human resource development, and manpower that has reduced from 600 to 324 since the creation of the state.

Other challenges according to Mr. Rimanshon  , is the need to upgrade the facilities  for water distribution, stating that  only six out of the fourteen boreholes  in the Board are functional. Calling on the  the government to subsidize water supply, in the state  rather than putting  more money  in providing drugs, Mr Rimanshon  said the proper funding of the Board and efficient supply of safe water will help prevent diseases.

A government official who does not want his name in print confirmed that that the State Government recently  accessed a loan from the African Development Bank, to enable it upgrade the water supply  coverage in the state from 32% to 75% .

The story is contributed by Ayodele Samuel, and published under the pro poor WASH stories project implemented by the Water and Sanitation Media Network Nigeria, with the support of West Africa WASH Media Network, WaterAid, and Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.

EXCLUSIVE : Bakare parts way with Buhari, CPC

Ayodele Samuel, Lagos Strong indication emerged yesterday that Congress for Progress Change (CPC), Vice Presidential candidate Pastor Tunde Bakare has parted ways with his presidential candidate General Muhammud Buhari and his party CPC . This followed the ongoing merger process with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and other opposition parties ahead of 2015 election which Bakare was said to be staunchly against. Peoples Daily exclusively gathered that Bakare had before now made his stand known to Buhari that he cannot work with the Tinubu controlled ACN, insisting that the CPC should reorganize itself and go into the next election. A close source to Bakare said since the issue of merger with ACN was not supported by tBakare, his relationship with Buhari caucus led by Buba Galadima , Sule Haman and the party leadership had gone sour . “very highly placed CPC members had been worried about refusal of Pastor Bakare to fall in line with the ongoing merger process which they believe is the only way of kicking PDP government out in the next general election and they are showing him the way out” The source quoted Bakare saying has never been a member of the CPC but was only invited as a running mate in the last election and would not bow to former Lagos state Governor Bola Tinubu for political powers. The source said “he (Bakare) was begged to accept to contest the 2011 election with Buhari, he has never for once been a member, he’s the only running mate that stood behind Buhari after election, during tribunal and after tribunal, but the agreement is over, the coming together was for the purpose of election, which he played his part loyally to the party, Buhari and his conscience. Now he has decided to chart a new course in the country , he now faces his Save Nigeria Group” Peoples Daily gathered that efforts were made by former FCT Minister Mallam Nasir El-Rufia to persuade Bakare not to dump the party but proved abortive. The source said one of such was a closed door meeting between El-Rufia and Bakare last week Sunday in Lagos. Another source in the Party however revealed that Bakare had taken the decision after he had counselled the Ondo State chapter of the CPC not to file any candidate in the state gubernatorial election last October. “he wanted the party in the state to support Governor Mimiko in the October election but the party filed his candidate, when our National Leader (Buhari) was in Ondo to campaign for the candidates, Bakare was not there, he insisted that we should work for Mimiko which he later declared his support for openly.” Efforts to speak to Bakare proved abortive as his media contact said, “the issue is not ripe to be commented on”

Karim: where 5 people die of water diseases weekly

Ayodele Samuel +2348074420617, gtms06@yahoo.com In Karim, 5-10 persons are estimated to be daily diagnosed of water related diseases, while 2- 5 people die weekly of same diseases, Ayodele Samuel Ayokunle, Journalist and blogger at www.ayodelenews.blogspot.com writes.......... My encounter on the road to Karim Village wasn’t a palatable experience for me, the Village had just been ravaged by the deadly flood that swept across the country, bad roads, fear of transportation on water coupled with visible angry flooded villagers. At last I landed in ‘Snake Island’. Karim Village, headquarters of Karim- Lamido Local Government in Taraba state, North East Nigeria. it takes about seven hours by road from Jalingo the state capital, due to bad roads and the vastness of the land, but I took less than 3hours taking waterways using local boat from River Lau, to River Benue to Jen and motorcycle to Karim town. Thou the people of karim Lamido are still battling the effects of flood that ravaged the rustic community, Typhoid and other water related diseases remains another nightmare. Karim village known among visitors mostly Corps Members (a Nigeria government youth scheme for fresh graduates) as Snake Inland due to heavy presence of reptiles. The town is surrounded by water and thick grasses, which makes snakes a common sight , about four different tribes (Karim jo , Jenjo, Bachama, Bambur) made up of the undeveloped Agrarian land with people majorly dealing in rice farming and fishing as source of livelihood. Faced with lack of safe water despite surrounded by River Benue and Lau River, lack of toilets, the people of Karim despite their many problems, has its own uniqueness of peace and harmony among its more than 195,844(2006 census) Christians and Muslims who co-exist peacefully. Water related disease affects the young and the old in Karim because of their nomadic nature, they tend to move from place to place in search of greener pastures for their immediate family, leaving behind available water source .
Major sources of water include rivers, ponds, and open wells which the inhabitants use for their domestic activities and every other water related activity. Available boreholes are: a private owned borehole operated by RABI waters,that sells water especially to water vendors(mai-ruwa) and one at the emirs palace are the only source of water to the people Most Government sunk boreholes and the recently sunk ones under the Millennium Development Goals MDGs are no longer functioning due to what residents describe as “poor execution of the projects.” A resident , Alhaji Abdullahi Umar said that sources of portable water were all blocked and most government boreholes are all dried, “we find it very difficult to have clean water for consumption and domestic use because most government water has dried up, so we drink from the ponds ” However little or no assistance is available on the issue of healthcare, the community is armed with an unequipped primary health care center to abate the water crisis facing the community. According to, the Principal Community Health Officer(PCHO) of only Primary Health Centre, Karim Dr. Isa Nayin , typhoid and other gastro intestinal diseases like dysentery and diarrhea are prevalent in the locality. He said that these diseases is commonly reported from remote areas which includes Karim- Mondi, Ruwan Fulani, Kwanchi and Mutum Daya, the villages about two hours motorcycle ride from the center. Sighting the disease of the F's (Faeces-Flies-Food-Finger) as the major vector of the disease, Dr Isa stressed that these diseases occur because there is no reliable source of water within the locality. He estimated that 5-10 persons are daily diagnosis of water related cases in the hospital, while 2-5 died weekly of same illness, “ because the people still believe in traditional medicine so they usually don't like visiting the hospital because of the cost and distance.” Another problem facing the community is ‘Color change in water’ mostly especially in the rural areas where different activities take place within the village ponds or rivers, pigs are allowed to go play in drinking ponds thereby causing a dramatic change in the color of water changing to red. While a health worker Bumanda Andrew express fear considering the increasing casualties of water related diseases appealed to both local and state Government authorities to come to the aid of the community residents. “Government need to compliment efforts of United Nations in providing social amenities to the less privileged, people here needs help on water and many other social problems”
Commenting on the water problem, Government official, the vice- chairman of Karim Lamido Local Government, Alhaji Ahmad Umar Karim admitted that Government is aware of the peoples plights but assures that efforts are made to reduce their hardship. “The government has done their best in terms of provision of portable water, citing example of a tap water pipe which were laid by the present Government across the local Government headquarters but which were suddenly vandalized by hoodlums without anybody reporting to the relevant authorities.” He said the people should complement Government efforts by protecting Government properties sited in their domain The people of Karim are still hopeless on safe water, basic healthcare among other social amenities, where will respite come their way?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ondo Election: ……is Mimiko coasting to victory?

Ondo Election: ……is Mimiko coasting to victory?


Ayodele Samuel, Akure


If the forth coming Ondo gubernatorial is to be judge by crowds  witness at various political rallies by political parties in the state, Labour Party (LP) Candidate and incumbent Governor Olusegun Mimiko might few steps away from victory.

 Mimiko endorsement for another term cut across political boundaries and ideologies , from chieftain of the  Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Community  Based organization  and several Civil Societies had openly declared their support for Iroko, as he's fondly call.

Mimiko recently while expressing confidence that the people will vote for him in the October 20 governorship election based on his track record of performance and longstanding relationship with them.

Mimiko who spoke at his hometown in Ondo during one of its overcrowded mega  campaign tour of the ancient city said that he was the most qualified amongst all the contenders for the position having identified with the people, worked for them and above all having brought the State on the path to sustainable development as Governor.

The Governor also described the two opposition candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and that of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Olusola Oke and Rotimi Akeredolu respectively as not only political neophytes but strangers and stooges of political godfathers only out to milk the state of its resources.

"The people of Ondo State will vote for me because they know me and I live with them. In the last three and a half years, we have been working for the people and we have delivered on our electioneering promises. If you vote for me again, I will continue to work for you. You all know me, I am not a stranger in your midst; I have been your commissioner and when I was your commissioner, I did well for you; I was your Secretary to State Government (SSG); when I was SSG, I did well for you. I was a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and when I was there, I did well for you so you all know my antecedents unlike some people who want to now govern you out of the blues," Mimiko said.

 "Let me ask the people of Ondo State: Is it a governor you want or a district officer? If the answer is yes, that you want a real governor as I can hear say; then cast your votes for me on October 20 because I am one of you.

"Because you know me; because I have always worked for you; because my heart is with you, I won't take your money abroad. Rather, I will use your money to work for you so that hunger, want, deprivation will be banished from our land. "

While Residents of about100 coastal communities, mainly oil-producing areas in the State, joined by artisans and local traders  has vowed to work assiduously for the re-election of Mimiko.

The state representative on the governing council of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Dele Omogbemi  said the entire oil-producing communities in the state would work for the victory of the governor in the forthcoming election so that the laudable programmes designed for the people in the area would not be abandoned

The former NDDC chief hinged  the support on  the role played by the governor when he was secretary to state government in ensuring that oil companies operating in the area paid compensation to their host communities was a major reason why the people endorsed his re-election.

While Action Congress of Nigeria Governor, Edo State Comrade Adams Oshiomole  had said "Unlike other Governors, Governor Mimiko and myself, giving the circumstances of our assumption of office, the whole of the people of Nigeria look up to us for a change and I am happy that here in Ondo State, Governor Mimiko is making a difference. He is showing that there are Governors and there are Governors. I think Mimiko has more than justify the sacrifices made by your people in defense of the popular mandate. In Ondo State, we have seen Governance in action. This is Governance working according to the wishes of the people. He has shown that in democracy, only the people matters."

The Convener of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG), and CPC chieftain Pastor Tunde Bakare on his part said "Mimiko has taken care of the needs of the Ondo grassroots people as Mimiko and the Labour Party have demonstrated that they have the capacity to give dividends of democracy to the people in the grassroots.The governor has discharged his responsibilities well and deserved a second tenure. I do not speak for any political party. It is time people know that leadership is not by might or inheritance but by living right as Mimiko has done. This is not about political party but performance. If every state in Nigeria works like Mimiko and Fashola of Lagos, the nation will change. I only met Mimiko for 10 minutes during the presidential election campaign in 2011, saying the endorsement was a support to good governance. Members of the Save Nigeria Group that are on ground assessing the performance of governors in all the states have attested to Mimiko's performance." I therefore advise the Ondo electorates to be vigilant and to defend their votes against rigging or any form of electoral manipulations"

While an Abuja based opinion and survey agency, Pollstar, however predicted that the candidate for the PDP, Chief Olusola Oke, maintained his leading position over the other candidates, Pollstar Executive Director (Special Projects), Mr. Obi Benedict Ekene said  "Oke for the third consecutive week, topped the chart with 29.5 per cent with the Labour Party candidate, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, in the second position with 21 per cent while the Action Congress of Nigeria candidate, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu,  came third with 19 per cent.

The scores of other candidates as released by Pollstar are: Oluseyi Ehinlanwo of Congress for Political Change five per cent; Adeyemi Bolarinwa of All Nigeria Political Party, four percent; Oladipo Bolanle Lawrence of National Conscience Party, three per cent; Omoreghe Olatunji of Progressive Party Alliance, 1.6 per cent and Abikanlu James Olusola of Nigeria Social Democratic Party one per cent

The results of the POP however sparked outrage  as the LP  and ACN rejected it. They described the result as unscientifically conducted because it does not represent the reality on the  ground. If all this praise singing will determine Mimiko Fate at the poll Octobers 20 is just few days away.

 

 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Suntai ‘pocketing’ Taraba House of Assembly (politics features)

As  Suntai  'pocketing' Taraba House of Assembly

In this report AYODELE SAMUEL in Lagos, takes a look at intrigue and politics behind the impeachment process against Taraba State Deputy Governor Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi by the State House of Assembly

Recently Former Minister for Defense and Elder statesman General Theophilus Danjuma  at a pubic function lamented the pocketing of State Houses of Assembly , Judiciary at the state level   by the governors .

"The most stifling concentration of power is not in the central but at the state level, The governors almost all the governors are sole administrators. The first thing they do when they get to power is to pocket the state Houses of Assembly, neutralize the judiciary and abolish the local government" these are words from the  retired General.

By  providence , little did the 'wise' T Y Danjuma knew that his home state House of Assembly his suffering from the same virus from its Chief Executive.

Danjuma is from Taraba State, where its Governor Danbaba Suntai has mandated its House of Assembly to commence impeachment of its Deputy , Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi .

it  began early last year when   Suntai allegedly declared at one of the State Executive Council meetings in Government House that he had lost confidence in most of his principal officers, including his deputy governor.

Since then, Governor Suntai was said to have severally accused his deputy of holding clandestine meetings with his political opponents in the state , Abuja and of lately Saudi Arabia where he performed lesser Hajj.

Suntai  was allegedly to have told his  deputy that he will personally supervise his impeachment after accusing him that  he Abubakar, the PDP national chairman,   Bamanga Tukur, Senator Jummai Aisha Alhassan, Senator Abubakar Tutare and   Abdulmumini Vaki, past state chairman of PDP, held another meeting in Abuja and resolved to kill him [Suntai] so that his deputy could succeed him.   

Few days after the allegation, the Taraba State House of Assembly initiated impeachment process against Danlandi was moved in the assembly by deputy speaker Abel Peter Diah. The motion was signed by 21 out of 23 members in the state legislative body.

The lawmakers, who accused the deputy governor of using his office to acquire a business venture worth billions of naira, resolved to give him a two-week ultimatum to respond to allegations or face removal from office.

In the motion, Danladi was accused of diverting a Millennium Development Goals project to his private school, Yagai Academy, which houses his other business ventures like Yagai Water, Yagai Printing Press and Yagai Restaurant.

The legislators said locating the MDG ICT Centre and the sinking of motorised boreholes in Yagai Academy are gross misconduct as the school is a private venture of the deputy governor and the facilities sited there cannot be accessed by the public.

They also alleged that Danladi used his influence to acquire "a large expanse of land in Jalingo on which he built Yagai Academy (together with all other multi million naira business ventures sited therein like Yagai Water, Yagai Printing Press and Yagai Restaurant) an institution which is worth about a billion naira which your total emolument as a deputy governor cannot justify and in doing this you have not only breached the code of conduct for public office holders which requires you to show transparency in the act of governance."

Danladi is also accused of undue interference in the postings and transfers of indigenes of his local government area, Karim Lamido, and has been working against the interests of other stakeholders of the local government area.

Danladi in his response to the House of Assembly on the allegation says the Yagai Cybercafe was an initiative of Ishaka Bawa, Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Constituency and Member Repesenting Wukari and Ibi Constituency.

 He said the project was carried out by MDG projects for Yagai Academy and that the Yagai Academy did not request or solicit for either in writing or orally.

According to him, the projects have MDG Logo to indicate that it is the contribution of the MDG to the development of the school, saying Yagai as a profit making body could sink a borehole from its profits.

 He added that the contract for solar light at Yagai and street light were not awarded by his office adding that all the contracts were awarded by the State Government after being subjected to due process.

He also said his office was not assigned the responsibility of monitoring and supervising the contract and he could not be held responsible for the diversion of such projects.

The Deputy Governor also presented a Document to show how he acquired build the Yagai Academy from various individuals and evidence of a bank loan from the Zenith and First Bank where he collected facilities to develop the Yagai Academy.

He pleaded with the members of the House of Assembly to be objective in their deliberations and promised to be more committed to the party and the people of the State.

However political stakeholder believe that there's  political undertone to all the allegations, accusing the lawmakers of doing a hatchet job for Governor Danaba Suntai 

They viewed that how does one perform as deputy governor without the active support and cooperation of the governor? Who approved the sitting of the MDG ICT Centre at Yagai? and Who gave approval and signed the Certificate of Occupancy for the Yagai parcel of land?

 

As the impeachment threat rages, pertinent posers for the lawmakers and the judicial panel expected to be set up over the allegations are: How does one perform as deputy governor without the active support and cooperation of the governor? Who approved the siting of the MDG ICT Centre at Yagai? and Who gave approval and signed the Certificate of Occupancy for the Yagai parcel of land?

The Speaker of Taraba state House of Assembly Istifanus Gbana at a solidarity rally   in support of the impeachment move staged by PDP supporters in the six local government that made up the northern zone with majority of the people from Dalandi hometown Karim Lamido,   restated the house commitment   to impeach embattled Dalandi.

 Gbana denied that house is not working under anybody directive in the process to impeach the deputy Governor, its only carrying out constitutional duty to checkmate excesses of the executive arm.

Also chairman of the House Committee on Information, Mr. Daniel Ishaya Gani, said the impeachment process was not initiated by forces outside legislative chamber, saying members were genuinely concerned about the 'gross misconduct of the deputy governor.

Special Adviser to the Governor on media, Istifanus Giwa however refused to responds to question pose to him by Peoples Daily correspondent on phone insisting that "the matter is purely legislative"

However the state Commissioner of Information Emmanuel Bello argued that  "Governor Suntai doesn't meddle in what legislators are doing. He is a firm believer in the rule of law and separation of powers. This is purely a legislative matter. So count him out of this."

Political watchers and indeed residents of the state are eagerly waiting to see the end of the impeachment process.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Low diesel supply: Hard times ahead for manufacturers

Ayodele Samuel, in this report takes a look at the seeming unending power problem in Nigeria's manufacturing sector, as LPFO (black oil) and AGO (diesel) witness price hike.


Hard times are ahead of Nigeria manufacturing sector following the increase in the price of LPFO (black oil) and AGO (diesel) by the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), as poor electricity supply continue to have devastating effects on manufacturers' operating cost.


Manufacturers holds the poor state of electricity supply as the major factor responsible for factory closures, relocation of production lines and hundreds of thousands of job losses in the last one decade.


The  Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) had argued that the price hike move was capable of crippling many companies  and could have  negative effects on the economy as may firms might closed shops.


According to MAN, the PPMC had in a memo last week, signed by the Depot Manager Kaduna, Shettima Bukar Imam, and copied to marketers among others, said the management of NNPC/PPMC had approved new Ex/Depot prices for AGO N126.30/Litre (old price) to N128.92/litre (new price) and LPFO N68/litre (old price) to N85.91/litre (new price).


According to the memo, the prices took immediate effect adding that ex-depot prices of PMS, DPK as well as other special products remained unchanged.


The manufacturers in a petition addressed to the Presidency Minister of Petroleum, Minister of Finance, Senate President and   Speaker of the House of Representatives and signed by Olushola Olabinri, described the sudden hike as shocking and arbitrary, calling for its reversal.


MAN described the policy as draconian and superfluous, because the brunt would be borne by the masses as the cost of production of various household consumables would increase drastically.


It warned that the high cost of LPFO was making most industries to fold up and therefore appealed to the government to reconsider the situation and return to the status quo.


Also Chief Michael Daramola, MAN Chairman, Oyo/Osun/Ondo/Ekiti states branch, said that inspite of the country's huge and diverse energy resources endowment, electricity was ranked as the most critical infrastructure constraint, adding that it had resultant effects on members operational cost, production stoppages, output losses and destruction of machineries and raw materials.


 "A review of the overall performance of the economy in year 2011 revealed to be reasonably fair despite the plethora of challenges that have continued to render the business environment unfriendly. Outlining them, as usual, is tantamount to reminding us of pitiable state of the manufacturing sector.


 "Notwithstanding, reasonable success and growth were achieved in some areas of the economy. Interestingly, we were able to weather the storm despite the seemingly harsh operating environment. Our efforts at keeping our businesses afloat in the face of multifarious challenges deserve to be commended," Daramola stated.


He stated further that, "We cannot forget in a hurry, the devastation of some of our member-companies facilities, especially in the Oluyole Industrial Estate during the year 2011 flood disaster which occurred precisely in the month of August. The disaster sadly claimed properties and products worth billions of Naira. We sincerely hope that your excellencies will proffer appropriate solutions especially in the area of adequate infrastructure needed to attain greatness in the industrial sector." 


MAN is, however,  projecting a 25 per cent manufacturing sector contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).


MAN National President, Chief Kola Jamodu said if realised it would pave the way for achieving the Vision 20:2020 objectives.


Jamodu said: "We know that the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the  economy is very shallow, that is about four per cent and for Nigeria to realise its Vision 20:20:20 objective, we are thinking of growing from that stage to about 25 per cent GDP contribution to the economy.


"We have articulated programmes that will ensure that over a period of time we will achieve that plan. MAN will continue to adopt appropriate technology and continue to produce a high quality products. We want cars made in Nigeria to equate quality," he said.


He added that the sector will continue to remain steadfast in championing the manufacturers' interest within the country's economy,"he said.

"MAN has come up with a blue print which is intentionally a road map that shows that the economy has brought forth intervention programme with very detailed means of implementation," he stated.

Published in Peoples Daily Newspaper, August 16 2012 Page 20

Ondo 2012: Owo, the battlefield for Mimiko’s return

Ondo 2012: Owo, the battlefield for Mimiko's return


As the October 20th governorship election in Ondo state approaches, our reporter, Ayodele Samuel,

in this report takes a look at the impending political battle, raising the questions on the a

bility of Governor Olusegun Mimiko to break the second term myth in the state just as he underscores the importance of the ancient city on who produces the next governor of the Sunshine state. 

The ancient city of Owo is famous for being the cradle of politics and struggle of liberation in the South West region of Nigeria. The town came under British rule in 1893. After the nation's independence in 1960, it was part of the Western Region until 1967 when it became part of the Western State. 

History of progressive politics in the country would not be complete without making reference to Owo, where the Action Group (AG), believed to be the first political party with progressive ideas and ideology, was formed. Those who propagated the idea of forming the AG, which later contributed to the transformation of the region, were believed to have first gathered at Owo. 

Starting from hosting the meeting of the Action Group led by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo , the city has continued to remain relevant to politics of the region generally and Ondo State in particular. 

Also in the struggle for democracy, the town also became very popular during the darkest days of the military rule in the country when progressive politicians regularly gathered to review the administration of the late Gen. Sani Abacha's military government. Its famous son and first governor of Ondo state, late Pa. Adekunle Ajasin had at that time, assumed the leadership of the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere and as well as the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO). 

Without doubt, the ancient town occupies an important position when it comes to the social, economic and political development of the old western region. 

 Ahead of the October 20th gubernatorial election, Ondo state's incumbent governor, and Labour Party candidate Olusegun Mimiko last week took the battle for the control of the state to the ancient city and hometown of the Action Congress of Nigeria ACN candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), when he flagged off his re-election campaign with a pledge to work with renewed vigour towards a better state just as he took a swipe at those who are aspiring to capture the state to perish the thought. 

Storming the city strategically with thousands of people who came from all over the state chanting the praises of Iroko, as he is fondly called, to show his popularity and acceptance by the people, was however described as political miscalculation by oppositions in the state. The opposition in the state based their argument on the town's popular myth that no one ever   brings war of any kind to the city and goes back home victorious.  

"Mimiko has just failed, coming to Owo to declare war is very wrong and time would judge because Owo people hate threats of war" Addressing the supporters, Mimiko said Ondo state will never worship on the altar of any foreign god adding that one million godfathers and their District Officers would meet their match on October 20, when the people shall once again speak loudly with their votes as they did in 2007. 

Mimiko, who lampooned ACN candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu,  whom he accused of being a foreigner in the state; who did not register to vote and never even voted in the state before but suddenly woke up with the idea of governing the state, insisted that the people want a committed Governor, not a District Officer.   "In 2007, we promised to work for you; we promised that your concerns shall be our concern; that in all seasons, we will work for you; that we shall unleash our incredible creative ingenuity to develop the state. In the last three and a half years, there are empirical facts on the ground that we have delivered on our promises and Ondo state is working again, and we are happier. We have in place over 350 projects in all our rural communities dictated by our people themselves. 

"Today, we are here again to solicit for your votes, we want you to vote for us and I sincerely assure you that we shall continue to work for you with renewed vigour. We have been with you; we know your concerns and aspirations and we have been meeting. We know that you want your children to have quality education without you selling your properties. We will continue to work to make Ondo state a real place of pride in Nigeria; we will continue to develop Agriculture, build more roads, build more mega schools for our children, markets for our women, more hospitals, our cities shall be the best cities in Nigeria" 

While noting that the choice of Owo town as the venue of his campaign flag- off was symbolic, Mimiko said that Owo was the de facto home of the progressives in Nigeria because in 1951, the Action Group (AG) was founded in Owo, making it the home of brave progressives when many towns were reluctant to host the group. "And we as inheritors of progressivism in Nigeria, have latched onto this proud heritage and we have taken hook line and sinker the ethos of progressivism in Nigeria and today, Ondo State is a model and the real progressives, as opposed to those who just mouth progressivism by mere words of mouths and not in deeds," Mimiko said. 

The governor   appealed to the leaders of the Afenifere, who have been lampooned by some so called leaders in recent times for daring to identify with him by describing him as following the footsteps of Pa Obafemi Awolowo saying that the whole world salute them for being the proud inheritors of progressivism in Nigeria. 

 In his address, the national Chairman of Labour Party (LP), Dan Nwanyawu, urged the people to vote for Mimiko who he noted had performed beyond even the expectations of the party pointing out that going by his landmark achievements in the state, he deserved to be voted for. While urging the people to be wary of those whom he noted had vowed to capture the state, Nwanyawu stated that they had no plans for the people as they only wanted to share the peoples' common resources for their god fathers. 

"I must warn you not to vote for these people who are very desperate even when they are not on ground but say they will do everything to capture Ondo state. In LP, we did not impose Mimiko unlike some people who sat in their mansion in Lagos state and selected for their party. In fact, one of their leaders openly stated recently that they don't believe in primaries. 

"All they are looking for is to increase their territories; they want to expand and they have not said that Mimiko has not performed but they just want to grab. Please, don't vote for them because they will ferry your wealth to feather their nests outside Ondo state and destroy the good legacies that Mimiko and other governors have done in Ondo state as they are doing in the states that they are now governing," he said. 

But responding to the allegation that its candidate is a foreigner in the state, the ACN said ""For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to assert that Rotimi Akeredolu is a registered voter in his home town, Owo, and this is verifiable. The ACN candidate, with intimidating credentials coupled with his credible pedigree, no doubt, is the candidate to beat in this election, hence all antics to pull him down at all cost." 

Winning Owo remain a key political calculation if Mimiko must return to Alagbaka House as the first governor to serve two tenure in the state

Saturday, August 25, 2012

“Government alone cannot Fight Boko Haram, Youths must join hand’

 

Abdullahi Abdulmajeed is the President Nigerian Youth United Action Coalition NYUAC and Convener of the First Multi-stakeholders dialogue summit, spoke with selected Journalists on why Governmnet alone cannot tackle insecurity among other youths related issues, AYODELE SAMUEL was there for Peoples Daily Weekend.



As a youth what are your major concern about Nigeria?

As a youth of this country, I  continue to feel the pain of seeing fellow citizens suffer untoward distress; physical and psychological torment while the country continues to lose precious lives daily,as a youth of this country, am saddened when i see the outcome of long years of hard work and huge monumental investments being destroyed daily, namely; schools, hospitals, bridges, institutional buildings, private residences, investments and various industries, As a youth of this country i feel aggravated by the sight of colossal and apparent signs of the disintegration of our dear country manifesting in startling proportion daily.

Uncertainty and despair is fast becoming commonplace in most parts of the country and the people are crying out for peace. As a group of youths united in action, we stand amongst a large and growing community of young people who have committed time and resources to the imperative task of re-examining what really are the underlying factors responsible for ethno religious crisis and insurgency in Nigeria. This review has left us appalled at the web of contradictions, the fragile "evidence," the accountability denied and the seeming inability to tackle the menace of violence and terrorism.

I have come to the conclusion that a mass citizens support and participation in the collective quest to rid this country of all factors and elements of under-development will definitely reposition the country and its people firmly on the pathway of sustainable development.

We are aware that development is grossly impossible in the absence of peaceful coexistence and harmony. We are appalled by the seeming willingness of some people in this country to accentuate the status quo (with little more than a whisper of criticism), a deeply troubling indication as to the state of our Republic.

What will you say is the problem of our Nation getting to this alarming state of insecurity?

Under- development and poverty is getting accentuated at an alarming rate. It is instructional to note that Nigeria as a country has gone through difficult moments, characterized by the prevalence of ethno religious violence and of course political destabilization crisis that has resulted in the loss of thousands of precious Nigerian lives, separation of families and the destruction of economic and social infrastructures.

The reoccurring crisis amplified by the emerging trend of insurgency and terrorism has compelled thousands of Nigerians to abandon their places of domiciliation to seek refuge in their towns of origin or in neighboring states. While the country battles perennially with ethno religious and political crisis with the quantum of dismal and far reaching consequences on innocent citizens unabated, a new and more dangerous dimension of hostility and bloodshed has suddenly resurfaced in the annals of Nigeria affairs. Militancy, insurgency and several acts of terrorism are fast becoming the medium adopted by different segments of the country's population to register some form of discontent, reservation, cry of marginalization or alienation of their ethno-religious groups or regions. Our major concern is that young people who are also the most vulnerable to the aftermath effects of these incidents are mostly used to power the uprisings ignorantly. This crisis is gradually destroying our social fabric and threatening to paralyze our economy.

Since the October 1st 2010 bomb blast and the ethno-religious crisis that followed the 2011 general elections in some parts of the country, peace has remained elusive for our country. The rise of militancy (South and West) and insurgency (North) that is threatening to snowball into full-scale terrorism or/ and civil war if unmitigated is alarming and detrimental to our continued coexistence as a country. An ominous cloud of suspicion has increasingly colored our culture of fear, as wide spread and reoccurring violence, misinformation, sharp division and disagreement at all levels have suddenly become the order of the day.

Mass killings in the name of religion resulting in mutual distrust and hatred across ethnic and religious lines is seriously impeding the growth and development of this country thus rapidly pushing it unto the precipice of a full blown civil war and state of anarchy.

Many Nigerians across all divides are beginning to contemplate and even hold firm belief and reliance on the disintegration of our country as the only cure for all the ills presently witnessed in the country. This is a negative proposition that urgently needs to be suppressed with concrete words and action in the interest of all the peoples of this nation.

You're organizing a summit to bring the youths together to talk about peace, what gingered this action?

Basically, first and foremost, Nigeria belongs to all of us. And youths happens to be the most populated sector in the country, if this country works, it works for us and we will benefit even more than those in government and if this country fails, we will lose more than they lose.

This uneasy  calm that will have in some part of the country, it is obvious that there are a whole lot of problems. These are problems that government alone cannot resolve and it is in view of this that we brought together stakeholders who can complement efforts of government and other institutions to secure solutions to the problems of Nigeria.

As a preliminary effort to lay a foundation for the proposed national dialogue to consult widely and integrate the input and opinion of all stakeholders into the summit agenda, the summit group has decided to host a final pre-summit conference after the regional grassroot conferences with leaders of all major youth organisations, civil society organisations and faith based groups in order to ensure that the proposed multi-stakeholders dialogue summit is all inclusive and encompassing of every diverse interest in the country.

What will you describe as the objective of this summit?

The Nigerian Youths Multi-Stakeholders Dialogue Summit Group have convened to unfold the possibility of the power and beauty of united action with mutual understanding; tolerance and trust across every ethno-religious divide in this country as a most fundamental asset and foundation to strive towards the sustainable development and growth of our dear country, Nigeria needs peace.

 

The activities of the Boko Haram and insecurity in general had been causing disunity in the country how do you think the youths can come together to fight insecurity?

I will lend my credence from certain consultations in the cause of the grassroots mobilizations. As I speak, I have visited about 26 states of the country in the course of this programme alone. I have held geo-political zone consultations discussing with real youths. In the course of speaking with the people, we discovered that we have youths who say see if Boko Haram come and recruit me to go and throw bomb somewhere, I will throw bomb if they will pay me good money, I don't have a job and am even useless so what is my life about. We can understand that reason while this problem keeps on in the air aside political undertone is socio-economic inequality. People are not empowered, not engage, they cannot even provide food on their own table. They get enemies of the state recruited easily, that is why we are coming on the government to engage the youths so as to get holistic solution to the problems of the country.

Do you think Jonathan government is doing enough to tackle the insecurity in the state?

The government is spending resource in tackling the challenges of socio-political crisis, insurgencies and militaries but little is being done to attack the underlining constant factors that are responsible for these problems that we have. We do not have appropriate constitutional settlement, the youths are largely unemployed, they unengaged and not empowered, a lot of mutual disgust in the air, we required national reconciliation, integration, social harmony which government have not delegate required resource to. The youths should stop making noise on the streets it will not take us anywhere. The youths cannot ordinarily leave the street, to say we want to engage the government to identity what are our problems, until the government show some sense of sincerity and ensure this people are empowered. Spending so much money on security is done just to contain it temporarily. But at the long if the youths can be well taken care of, obviously, the country will be at the cross road of violence. Yesterday it was NigerDelta, today is Boko Haram, tomorrow may be another sect from the kagi dam, hydro-power producing communities may be agitating to cut off power from the country.

Do you back the call for the National Sovereign Conference?

Yes, I backed, the call for the national conference, but the word Sovereign is the major challenge that as make the conference difficult for the government to convene. What we are saying is that take the sovereign away and call it a national conference that will bring people of the different ethnics call Nigeria together to decide how they want to co-exist and appropriate way to live together as a country.

And the youth say ‘We Are Frustrated’

 

The roundtable started as a newsstand argument between some 'street boys' before retiring to a tree shade at Ogba Bus stop in Lagos, Ayodele Samuel who witness the scenes reports.

 

 

Sunday 12th of August was a day set aside by the United Nations as International Youth Day, to many young people it's just another jamboree but in Ogba it turned out to be revelation of frustration.



While commenting on the news at the free readers stand, Ayokunle Oloye walked into the group of young men and the unplanned debate about corruption and state of the Nation got started amidst noise and counter arguments.




Taking turns to express their frustration at the level of corruption in our country, the meeting became more rowdy as time passed until the vendor suggested a free Taxi Park behind as venue for us to continue our meeting.




The youth, attributed the closure of many manufacturing industries in the country to growing insecurities saying an idle hands will remains the devil workshops.




"if there's no work for us to do we will take up to crime, many of us here are graduates with BSC, HND but we are veteran Okada riders, we are here shouting, nothing will change if this government does not provide jobs," one of the discussant said.



 

Many others expressed sadness over the way the country was being run, saying that their future was being toyed with.




Drawing attention to the theme of the 2012 International Youth Day,, "Building a Better World: Partnering with Youth" Oloye suggested that a movement should be convene from the meeting called "The Frustrated Nigerian Youths".






The spectators appointed Oloye who was trying to coordinate the process as the convener, and Mr. Paul Mbagwu, as Co-ordinator, suggesting that the debate should be taken to social networks (Facbook)  after which the youths said the future of the nation was bleak.

In a declaration issued after the meeting signed by more than 50 youths who register with the newly created movement, said "The youths, the hope and future of the nation, are living a frustrated life which is evident in our day to day activities, the conditions the Nigerian Youths are subjected to in their own country where milk and honey flows unabated to the coffers of their ruling class is degrading, demeaning and appalling!"

The declaration reads in part: We have the resources but our wasteful leaders and government has continue to plundered our future into irreparable states, playing politics at our detriment, We are rejecting this.

Our education system has completely crumbled and has become a disaster, churning our graduates who realize they do not fit into the scheme of national building, and are a shadow of what the classes attended make of them. 

More than 50 million of us remain jobless because our manufacturing industries have closed shop due to bad business environment orchestrated by those whom we regularly entrust our lives and resources to.

Out of frustration our youths have taken to crime in the society; more hopelessly hundreds of our youths are committing suicide on a daily basis, engaging in detrimental ventures in a quest to fill up the gaps created by a system that has refused to attend to their basic needs.

The sad part is that corruption has eaten deep into the very fabric of the society. It is in the homes, the schools, the offices - everywhere. We are thieves in some way best known to each of us. Integrity and honesty are rare commodities in these part of the continent. Several of us already have the predisposition to also enrich ourselves if, by chance, we get into an elective office or some parastatal or agency.

Good roads are not PRIVILEGES, they're our rights! Good education, good health care delivery systems, decent accommodations, pipe borne water - all these are rights! Government is obligated to provide them!"

It would be fair enough to say we don't have a government because, you generate your own electricity, buy your own water, you are your own security, etc. 

A lot of Nigerian Youths have lost every sense of decency. They have become as barbarians, quite unconscionable and in plain terms, wicked! The national psyche has been battered so hard by decades of rapacious leadership, government and deprivation that we have now turned on ourselves, rather than on our oppressors, and are now devouring ourselves like wild beasts.

There's no such thing as free freedom. If we do not pay the price for freedom today, we will all leave the task to our children and God forbid that they do not loathe and curse the memory of very existence when they view places like South-Africa where their  forebears fought and won freedom from repressive elements for the enjoyment of generations yet unborn."
The youths however affirm that, "No matter what is going on in Nigeria, there is hope! We have raised our hope and we are working to build a Nigeria of our own; a government where the people's interest will prevail the interest of our selfish political and economy leaders."

The newly created group said talks will been initiated with uneducated, educated, political expose and local traders across the country on the need to stand for good governance.

The group in its demand urge Federal Government  to brace up and bring a lasting solution to the state of insecurity and an end to Boko Haram insurgency .

The group also calls youth involvement in policy and decision making process in  Nigeria.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

YOUTH PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNANCE AND DECISION MAKING; USING THE SOCIAL MEDIA EFFECTIVELY

By National President of The Young Journalists Forum, Ayodele Samuel Ayokunle at the NETAD Youths and Emerging Leaders Summit, in Abeokuta Ogun state . Introduction Youth make up an increasing share of the world population, and constitute a majority of Internet users in many countries and in diverse contexts. Yet the youth are often excluded from national and international decision-making structures that affect them. In Nigeria there are over 45 million young people. 90 percent of this population are not involved in decision-making process while less than 50 percent have access to one form of social media. Nigeria’s liberation struggle from colonialism benefitted immensely from the contributions of Dr. Herbert Macaulay, Ernest Ikoli, Chief H O Davis, J C Vaughan, Oba Samuel Akinsanya, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Tafawa Balawa, Obafemi Awolowo among others at their youthful age. The efforts of these youths led to Nigeria’s independence and again contributed in driving the struggles for democracy in the 80s and 90s. The youth have been in the forefront of good governance and demand for credible leadership in the country since the restoration of democracy. In this connection, efforts by the Nigerian students, over the years cannot be over emphasized. Before now, the youths have always been helpful in steering Nigeria in the right direction at critical moments in the history of the country. The contribution of the youths also featured prominently in the role played by Nigeria’s media in fostering independence and democracy. Notable young Nigerians played key roles during the 2011 general elections; using the innovative social tools that the New and Digital Media provides. It is therefore important that we define a pathway from critical points in history in the journey into the future. It is clear that Nigeria has no choice but to change for good. The time for positive is now! However it’s important to note that youth participation in governance often end at the polls as was the case with periodic elections in Nigeria. It is therefore crucial to state here that good governance’s starts from the poll, after electing our leaders and representative we must follow them up- engage them on policy decisions. The words “governance” and “good governance” appear frequently these days in our everyday discourse, in the developed world, the term does refer to the activities of government, but it is understood to go beyond government and to include the relationships between formal government institutions and its citizenry. The youths are very vulnerable to government policy and corruption in the system. It is important to point out that representative democracy does not necessarily mean that the concerns of the most vulnerable in society would be taken into consideration in decision making expect the decision makers are compelled to do so. Youth participation in governance entails mobilising young people to influence decision-making process and creating positive change in the local communities. It has been asserted that “young people have a right to be involved in the decisions that affect them. This is promoted in law, policy and guidance: the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Every Child Matters, the Children Act 2004, Youth Matters, Children’s Trusts guidance and guidance on inspections” (An Introduction to Involving Children and Young People, NYA, 2009). It is important that youth participation is meaningful - and that it involves a genuine opportunity for young people to influence decision-making process and bring about positive change. Meaningful participation is more than just consultation - where young people are asked their views - but adults retain all decision making power. Young people are getting increasingly informed and becoming a lot more critical about the challenges confronting their communities, many have demonstrated unmistakable clarity on current issues and expressed strong feelings about the way governments are approaching and handling these issues. Youth are equally not too rigid in their ways and are thus ready to embrace change and be at the vanguard of a rebirth in Nigeria. In order for young people to truly experience social justice, we must create societies in which young people are full citizens, empowered to meaningfully and effectively contribute ideas and make decisions. societies where every time decisions are made affecting young people or their communities, youths are there ready to contribute and take part in the decision making process. It is strange that even where the issues to be discussed directly affect youths, many times there are no young people at the table. One need only look at most education and youth development boards across Nigeria to fully grasp the extent to which youth are marginalized even when they are directly affected. The Power of the Social Media Tech-savvy young Nigerians should gear up to use BlackBerries, mobile phones and social networking services such as Twitter and Facebook to contribute to decision making process. As it was in the case during the April 2011 election, new media played an unprecedented role,Nigerian politicians actively utilized social media in their campaigns and sent bulk text and voice messages in unprecedented numbers to the citizens. President Jonathan declared his intention to run on face-book and subsequently became the second most “liked” head of state in the world after US President Barack Obama (fanpagelist.com). Therefore we can also use these platforms to monitor policy makers and influence their decisions. The key question is how do we influence governance at all levels in Nigeria using new media? To increase awareness amongst citizens, civil society actors and policy makers for the potential of new media as a tool for public good, we need to let the people know that a phone call to your local government chairman can bring a great change and influence his decision about your community- you are using a social media tool . Youth should be encouraged to start issue-based discussions on a bill before the parliaments on face-book or through tweeter that connect with the lawmakers and bring change by influencing their decisions. With camera phones, images of that bad road, dilapidated public building in your community could be shared on face-book walls and other social media platforms to attract attention of public office holders. But unfortunately, what we have today is needless celebration of public office holders via many social networks. Government officials are increasingly aware of new media tools that will allow them to communicate government activities and invite feedback from citizens. Thus our pains, concern, opinion could be communicated through this medium provided by social media not celebrating mediocrity. Conclusion The youth who are the users of social media must intensify constructive engagements of government and policy makers to savage this nation and promote the society at every given platforms available on the social networks. Thank you for listen (reading)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Achaba ban: Jalingo residents face hard times

Achaba ban: Jalingo residents face hard times The ban of commercial motorcycles in Jalingo, the capital of Taraba state, is biting hard on the socio-economic activities of the residents. Ayodele Samuel reports. Now I can’t feed my family, my children are out of school, my 15- year old boy cannot write his final exams because one man has put me out of work; Governor Danbaba Suntai has banned Achaba”. These were words of lamentation from John Danlanmi, 48, a Jalingo based commercial motorcyclist and father of four. “72 percent of the people in the state capital depend on Achaba (commercial motorcycles) for their commute, with 18 percent of the riders being owners of their vehicles. Only about 10 percent of resident in the state capital own private cars,” records according to the Federal Road Safety Commission FRSC in Taraba State reveals. With motorcycles serving as the most common means of transportation in Jalingo, as is the case in many places in the country, the ban on the operations of both private and commercial motorcycles in the state capital placed by the state Governor Danbaba Suntai following several security threats, has dented the economic viability of many people who in one way or another are dependent on commercial motorcycles. Mr. Joshua said life had been very difficult for him since the ban of Achaba, “I am living a miserable life now. Since the government cannot provide another job for us, why should they take the one we have? The Governor fly with helicopter everywhere in the state, so he does not feel the pains of the people, he does not know the untold hardship he has brought to my life”. Following the ban, Police were drafted to all corners of the state capital where they arrested thousands of motorcyclists, including non commercial ones; those who were out for their legitimate duties. “I.D. card or no I.D. card, the governor said we should arrest anybody who is riding on a bike whether commercial or private”, a police man at MTD checkpoint told a principal staff of Federal Medical Centre who was on duty with his motorbike. The ban has also led to thousands of people trekking on the streets of Jalingo while others wait endlessly on the roadside for the scarce commercial buses to get to their destinations. Residents bemoan the government’s failure to provide visible palliative measures to ease transportation hardship. While many a family bread winner eked out a living from commercial motorcycling, even many more survived on repairing of the motorcycles and selling of spare parts, occupations that had become the refuge of many youths in the city. Most of the roadside mechanics, who survived through the repair of motorcycles, have deserted their work sites. Ditto, the motorcycles spare parts dealers. School children have been trekking long distances to attend classes and return home. The situation is not different with the civil servants, who do not own personal vehicles.0 Alhaji Suleiman Isa, a motorcycle dealer, expressed bitterness over the ban of motorcycles, which has led to the stoppage of his business, saying that he no longer opens his shop because nobody would even look at it. “I am pleading with the government to please find another way of providing security in the state, apart from banning of motorcycle”. Re-echoing Isa’s plea, Chairman of the Taraba state chapter of Motorcycle Mechanics union, better known as the Nigeria Automobile Technicians and Allied Trade Association, NATATA, Mallam Danjuma Mainaira, bemoaned the ban on the use of motorcycle, describing it as a “thoughtless harsh punishment on the people by the government. He said, since the ban took effect, it was his wife that was feeding the family from what she was earning from the petty trading she was doing at home. “My main concern now is the boys working under me; because it is from the little they get here that they use to take care of their schooling and their needs.” Also, the Concerned Taraba Youths Forum condemned the indefinite ban on the use of motorcycles (Achaba) and the unlawful detention of youths in the state capital by the state Government. The forum described the action of the state Government under Governor Danbaba Suntai as illegal and a violation of the fundamental human right of the people. In a press Statement signed by its Coordinators Danjuma Gambo and Talima Grace, the Concerned Taraba Youths Forum alleged that more than 50 innocent and helpless youths are presently languishing in the prison under the order of the state governor. It declared that “the molestation and continued detention of these helpless youths by security agencies amounts to gross violation of our fundamental human rights as guaranteed by the 1999 constitution. “The government has since resolve to unlawfully imprisoning our youths without trial and access to any legal assistance. “We are concern of the security situation in the state and efforts of the government to protect its citizenry which has led to the ban on the use of motorcycles in the state capital for past’s weeks, however this highhandedness of the state government has result to the gross loses of earnings to many families who lived on the business. “We are totally against the ban which has brought untold hardship on the residents and economy of the state since the Motorcycle is the only visible means of transportations in the absence of good roads networks in the state capital”. The group also rejected the surreptitious plan by the government to unlawfully limit the use of motorcycle in the state capital to indigenes of the state. “As a developing state, our land is open to all Nigerians in respective of their tribes, religion and background, the laws of Nigeria provide its citizens the right to reside and work in any part of the country, including Taraba state,” the forum chided the government. The youths also demands “the state government to immediately reverse the unlawful ban on motorcycles since it has failed to provide alternative means of transportation. “If the government fails to yield to our demands within the period of 14 days, we will mobilize youths to peacefully take over the streets and explore every lawful means available to drive home our demands”. However, Peoples Daily gathered that there is more to the Governor’s decision to ban the operation of commercial motorcycles than meets the eye. It was learnt the measure was a preemptive move to frustrate his “number one political enemy”, Senator Asia Al Hassan, who was planning to celebrate her one year anniversary as a Federal legislator with the distribution of motorcycles to her loyalists in Jalingo. A source said the Governor deliberately “ordered the ban to frustrate her plans of donating Achaba to her supporters on May 29th” However, the Special Adviser to Governor Danbaba Suntai on Security Matters, Group Captain Sule Gani (rtd), said the ban on the use of motorcycles in Jalingo was effected because the two bomb attacks carried out in the state were by motorcycle riders, who were also believed to be linked to the killing and dumping of dead bodies in the state capital. “We want our people to be secured; you know the atrocities these motorcycle riders have been committing in Jalingo; the two bombings we have witnessed were by motorcycle people. So, I discovered that if we take Okada off our streets, our people will be safe”, Group Captain Gani said. He added that the government was fully aware that many people might undergo some hardship with the new policy, but assured that government would soon alleviate their hardship. According to him, “government will come in, but it may not be immediately; definitely whatever policy you bring, people will have to undergo some certain difficulties, but definitely the government will do something; we are going to meet and I believe that the governor is going to provide an alternative”. http://www.peoplesdaily-online.com/news/special-report/38581-achaba-ban-jalingo-residents-face-hard-times

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

UNILAG Senate officially rejects new name, Resume June 18


Ayodele Samuel, Lagos

 

The University of Lagos Senate after an  Emergency Meeting of Monday rejected  the renaming of the institute to Mashood Abiola University Lagos.

"the proposed re-naming of the University of Lagos is not acceptable and is rejected in its entirety as it is a mere declaration of intention with no legal effect" the Senate said  .

 

the University of Lagos Senate supports all legal processes being carried out by all stakeholders on the subject".

 

The school announces that          all academic activities should resume on Monday, June 18, 2012, while, the Halls of Residence will be re-opened on Sunday, June 17, 2012 at 4.00 p.m.

June 12 on my Mind

June 12 on my Mind Ayodele Samuel I was barely 4 years old when the June 12 general election was held, but the impact today remains the solid rock on which our ‘democracy’ stands. As young as I was then, I knew something was going on in town, I begin to suspect when my meal that morning was not properly served, My precious mother was in a hurry to cast her vote, leaving her last son meal to secure a better future for the poll. I never knew it was an election but am always happy to hear the name MKO Abiola… is our man oh!, till date MKO remain relevant in our politics 16 years after his death, his bequest still fears his enemies, failing politicians still use his name to disguise for their failure, his name sounds of that of a wise warrior who laid his life for his people, to fight another war. June 12 1993 is that day every Nigerian even the unborn will live to celebrate, the day Nigerians woke up early to conduct themselves in the most orderly manner for an election. As far as elections is concern in Nigeria, that election was one we cannot forget in a hurry even thou I didn’t participated , the electoral commission played by the rule of the game, the elections were properly planned and well conducted. It was all for Chief MKO Abiola, the heaven must have stand still for this man. A day another chapter was open for electoral process in this country, a day Nigeria history got a new topic, the last election that was error free, petition saved and no tribunal sitting, Nigerians indeed make up their minds to choose a leader. Many Nigerians are still traumatized by the June 12 brouhaha, it was indeed a turn around to many Nigerians live, my dad’s bettle windscreen was smashed during a protest to defend his vote and we had to go hungry to get a new one, while some were killed, jobs were lost, many went into exile yet opportunists emerge, they came calling as June 12 disciple and destroy our democracy. But June 12, 1993, was not just about Abiola; it was about so many other things- it was about democratic principles , the rule of law and the common man on the street, who Abiola died for. The fundamental thing about June 12 was that an election held and Abiola won. The crime about it was that some cabal secretly plotted against Abiola and eternally denied him of the mandate that the Nigerian masses gave to him. He was asked by the people to give them hope, but hopeless their get in return, selfish persons, a few of whom unfortunately are still trying to come around the corridors of power decided otherwise. Many who know nothing about true democracy, it tent and principle came and rode on the holy political day to swindle Nigerians. No national honour would be too much for this, man who won an election and was murdered for attempting to claim his mandate, he lost his business empire, his wealth and his wife was assassinated just to bring hope to the masses. However, with our more than a decade of democracy, our leader have successfully undermined the basic tenet of democracy of the right to vote and be counted in the favor of the common man on the street in which Abiola died for . Dividends of democracy is now at the peril of the masses, only the political heavyweight benefits from the government of the day, corruption has racked us, uncontrollable youths unemployment in the land, the common man on the street has no reason to be happy about government insensitivity to mindless killing, all this and more remains dishonor to this hero of our democracy. To honor a great man like MKO, the people must smile not just the change of name of institutions, government must work to eliminate the suffering of the people. June 12 is all about the common man on the street of Nigeria. Ayodele Samuel the National President Young Journalists Forum and a Correspondent with The Peoples Daily Newspaper could be reach at gtms06@yahoo.com