NOW THAT THE PROTESTS ARE OVER WHAT NEXT?

We have warned elsewhere that boxing people to adopt the culture of silence may not be in the overall interest of the nation in the long ran, it may explode. Silence does not always mean capitulation, it requires just a simple trigger to implode and become something big.

When the very few good men in society can no longer speak the truth. When voices of reason choose not to “ask or tell” then something is fundamentally wrong with that society. If every opinion is attacked with vigour and venom. When elders in the society are attacked, bruised and called all sorts of names for speaking the truth or telling the leadership there are some concerns in the society. They say so not because they just want to speak. They speak because they were once there or have over time acquired the intellect or wisdom to perceive situations much earlier then many of us could perceive.

When those in power are not easily reachable or have become impervious to dialogue or genuine discourse because they find every piece of advice detestable or at variance in the way they do things. When the leadership becomes enmeshed in power and corrupted by it.
When they only listen to the sweet songs of their praise singers, who are prepared to tell them what they want hear and ready to defend them at any cost because they want to maintain the in inflow of the largesse to their bank accounts regardless of how honorable and good intention the advises were.

The outcome of such contempt to our elders and the disregard to our common cultures, ethos and morass, will only bring chaos, confusion, civil disobedience and break of the peace.

When lawlessness breaks the same voices that were rejected are now sought after to calm nerves, unfortunately by then the damage must have been done.
We must as a people before the next circle breaks tell ourselves the home truth and begin to listen to voices of reason no matter where it is coming from

The reasons that brought about the protest that compelled government to disband SARs did not start just yesterday, it has been their with us for sometime. People of good conscience have warned the authorities but they decided to look the other way. What happened, happened because we failed to read the red alerts.

SARs, was just one of the few frustrations in the society our few good men have been talking about but were ignored. I did not believe most of the atrocities labelled against SARS, until when I heard Fulani Kwajafa, the person who created SARS regretting that if he knew the outfit would stoop so low, he wouldn’t have contemplated forming the command.

Compol. Kwajafa (rtd) was a respected and a real professional policeman during his time, to hear him say what he said about SARS was amazing.

Be it what it may, we must use whatever experiences acquired from SARS protest and the breaking of government ware houses where palliatives meant for the citizens during the COVID 19 lockdown and reflect. The protest exposed the underbelly of those who are suppose to be our rulers for who they are. The bottom line is it brought to bare the deep hunger and anger in the society.

The government must as a matter priority dig deep to uncover those frustrations in society and deal with it.
The lessons learnt from the two incidents must be the basis upon which the government must use to rebuild public confidence. Amazingly however the body language of those in power and their surrogates are not giving anyone hope that lessons have been learnt.

The discordant voices going round in dealing with the aftermath of the protest suggest otherwise. The blame game will not take the country anywhere but to the dark alley. We must be prepared to allow opposing voices to be after all that is the beauty of democracy. May wisdom prevail.

THE DUAL MANDATE – CRY NOT YOBEANS.


Ordinarily, I don’t write about people in power unless compelled by certain exigencies that outweigh my resolve.


Recently I had reason to visit my home state and stayed there for forty days as a journalist and public affairs commentator, I have through my interaction with the community been confronted with hues and cries of the people on the absence of the governor in the state. This gross misunderstanding of the roles of His Excellency Governor Mai Mala Buni as the Chief Executive of the state and acting chieftain of his political party may be worrisome but in a real sense, the state may be better for it.

When the National working Committee of the APC announced his appointment as the interim National Chairman, of APC, the fear the assignment may take the attention of the governor away from pressing state affairs became a matter of serious concern.

Dual mandates are well-established part of the political culture though in others it may be prohibited by law. When Buni was appointed by NWC to serve as the interim Chairman APC, the opposition political party challenged the idea. In response to this, the APC defended its action that the NWC has the right under the parties constitution to appoint any member of the party to carry out some special assignments. The matter was settled as quickly as it was raised as all the political parties are complicit in assigning party responsibilities to their governors to handle.

The groundswell of dissatisfaction and disinformation regarding His Excellency’s absence from the state grew out of ignorance, partisanship, greed or unnecessary fears.

Though people of Yobe may have every reason to be worried and fearful, Buni cannot be blamed for the situation he found himself.

Before, Buni became the governor of Yobe state he was the National Secretary of the APC, it was the position he held up to the end of the 2019 elections. With the party coming out from a general election and he being number two in the party hierarchy, the responsibilities on him were awesome. He couldn’t have just walked away and leave some vacuum in the party secretariat.

The period after the election was a crucial moment for him, especially in face of the looming crisis developing in the leadership of Adam Oshomole that consumed the entire membership of the National Executive Committee.

There was also the gubernatorial elections in Edo and Osun a project very dear to both the two major political parties

As the immediate National Secretary of the APC for six years, the National Working Committee could find no better person who could come on board quickly to lead the party in an interim capacity to reconcile the warring party members and prepare the party for the next national convention and the elections in Edo and Osun just like the PDP appointed Wike and Makinde to prosecute the two elections. This is scenario Buni found himself. To blame him for dividing his time to carry out these onerous dual mandate may be self-serving.

Having heard the cries going around I decided to dig deep to identify the reasons for the restiveness. Some of the salient reasons I was able to uncover we’re, when Buni took over the mantle of leadership from his predecessor who had been there for ten years people expected governor Buni to take some drastic and dramatic changes in the machinery of government. But Buni being a real party Man knew the disadvantage of grandstanding on such issues, that was why his administration trod on the path of caution.

In trying to placate both sides of the party membership. The government adopted the policy of Continuity, Consolidation and Innovation.

Continuity, because of the deep relationship between him and his predecessor, they share similar aspirations for him therefore the most honourable thing to do is continue with programmes of his predecessor. While doing so the government would be able to consolidate on the actions started by the past administration.

To make the difference and put his footprints in the anal of history, he decided to introduce some innovation in the affairs of government that would improve the quality of governance and possibly inject some new blood in the system to reflect his aspirations for the state without rocking the boat.

This did not go down well with some segments of the parties members who were looking forward to post-election gratifications. when this did not happen as they expected frustration, despondency and petty bickering took over.

The second reason may be as a result of fears, the dual mandate could be impacting on the ability of HE in carrying out the state responsibilities. Here again, the fears may be unfounded in the light of the technological development available to our generation.
The Federal Executive today conducts virtual FEC meetings. Major companies of world because of Covid 19 now run their businesses through Zoom Meetings, Tele and Video Conferencing and other opportunities made possible by the new information technologies.

Information can now be assessed with a touch of a button. Doing business is now made a lot easier. We do agree empathy may be required in moving things forward but certainly with the technology on our side things move even faster than before. The idea of a globalized world is no longer a wish but a reality.

Thirdly, I do understand why the people are worried, Buni won his election as a populist candidate, he could have been elected without soliciting for anyone’s vote. He was generally accepted more or less as consensus candidate even before the votes were cast. So he is everyone’s governor a lot is therefore expected from him. This is how difficult things are for Buni and how lucky the gentleman is.

Finally the major overriding concern, Yobe being an agrarian state the government is the only industries everyone depends on it for their livelihood, the fear that the governor’s attention may be divided is palpable that is why people are talking about it.
This gross misunderstanding of the dual mandate compelled me to write and share my feelings about the circumstances the governor found himself.

The assignment may be temporary, but Yobe and Yobeans will benefit more from the burgeoning status governor Mai Mala is building in national politics. We need the experiences and the opportunities in it. We have for long been short-changed in the national scheme of things. For the short period, the state has one of its own in the leadership of the Senate the dividend of democracy is now cascading to us.

So cry not Yobeans with Mala who is considered as a bridge-builder an astute administrator a loyal party man, the future is yours to behold. Let us not pull him down with pettiness. We must pray and support them. Politics is all about how you change and improve your community and so far so good.

Good luck to all our sons and daughters that are carrying the flag for the state.

IS IT THE END OF FREE PRESS AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION?

Torn into shred between my Id, Ego and Super Ego, these three Freudian constructs are weighing heavily on my psyche, greatly inhibiting my desire to comment on public affairs issues. But since journalism is my calling my choices are limited.

The uncertainty in the environment, the toxicity from both the ruled and the rulers does not give any journalist or public affairs commentator the confidence to speak for the good of all.

The leadership and their agents have become so impervious to criticism even if they are constructive and in good taste.

Annoyingly, the general public have acquiesced to the culture of silence ‘’sit don and look” and abdicated on their rights as citizens to hold their leaders accountable for their actions and inactions.
The docility and the I don’t care attitude adopted by general public to issues that it ought to speak out and make its opinions known has reduced us as a people who do not know their rights or wrongs.

We have elected as a people to accept the scare and fear campaigns popularized by the leadership to borrow from the late music Icon, Fela’s, Zombies, follow-follow lyrics.

We have chicken in thereby mortgaging the future of this country and that of our children for immediate gratification, driven by a selfish interest to protect our nuances above that of the nation.

Our knack for blind following conditioned by tribal, religious, subtrenain, and geopolitical idiosyncrasies impacts negatively in our journey towards building a great nation anchored on fairness, unity, equity and the rule of law.

The harassment and the arrest of journalists for expressing opinions on public issues have become so alarming, it is no longer safe to speak out on matters that affect the general well being of the society.

The fear of whether is safe to write and comment on public affairs issues has robbed the public opportunity to engage and have their say in governance.

The once vibrant political space known for its tolerance for all shades of opinions has turned Gestapo. Labelling has become the order of the day. All that is required to silence counter views is to give ‘’the dog a bad name’’ so that it’s irritations to those in position power could be silenced.

The press which is referred unofficially as the fourth estate of the realm essentially exists in a Liberal democracy to checkmate the excesses of leaders so that they do not slide into dictatorship.

If every opinion expressed by the media or public affairs commentators is labelled as toxic and considered an attack on the leadership and the coercive agents of the state must deal with the sources of irritations, there will be no free press and freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution.
In it’s country report covering the period January to September 2019 Amnesty International, reported that 19 journalist, bloggers and media practitioners were subjected to attacks, these ranges from physical attacks, verbal assaults, death threats, surveillance, indiscriminate detention, to pressure to reveal sources. Many were charged under cybercrime Act and terrorism (prevention) (Amendment) Act 2013 and other laws

As if this is not enough the national assembly an institution which is suppose to be vanguard for the protection of democratic ethos came up with a bill that calls for death penalty all in the name of protection against ‘’fake news” and ‘’hate speech”.

Have we really reached the end game of commenting on public affairs issues? Is it the end of freedom of expression and free press?

In a democracy, the roles of harbingers of news, naturally brings them to a collision course with people in authority, however, when such infractions happen tolerance, civility and the rule of law takes the upper hand.

We must not allow some few individuals in the society who for their selfish interest destroy one of the remaining institution that gives us hope as a people. We must say no to those who want to kill free press and freedom of expression. Long live the federal republic Nigeria. Long live free press and freedom of expression.

WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER

When the center can no longer hold the society together. When the rule of law is debased because those who make the laws break it at will without consequences. When they arrogate to themselves the right to decide what is good for the society based on their own standards. Their arrogance and insensitivity to the plight of the people they govern has risen to the point of absurdity.
Are they really the people we voted into power? Has power corrupted them? or are they acting some kind of scripts we are not aware of? Has the dictum that “power corrupts, power corrupts absolutely” caught up with them? Be it what it may, they must not forget “we the people” every four years have the power to change those who rule us. Lest I forget if they allow our votes to count. INEC for once should in 2023 allow the process to work. The consequences of their failure are what is giving the politicians the guts to treat us the way they do. The politicians have come to believe they don’t need the ballot boxes to win elections, this must change.
When every power centre assumes it has become the law on to itself, operating in complete disregard of the laws that bound us together as a people and as a union, the predictable outcome would be a disaster.

A house divided can not hold but these are the realities of our times today. The servant has become the master.
They treat the citizens with disdain, contempt and disrespect, some even have the temerity of using the state cohesive agencies to intimidate, cajole and arrest innocent citizens, simply because they voiced their opinions or advised on critical national issues, forgetting that power is transient and rotational.

One of the basic tenants of democracy is the participation of citizens in governance where such rights are denied dictatorship flourishes.
Unfortunately, leaders whom we would have voted to higher positions come the next circle of elections have been exposed in their handling of the COVID 19 pandemic. Their undemocratic tendencies came to fore. They seem to have forgotten the people they are treating with contempt are the same people they rode on their backs to get to positions they found themselves today.

We warn however there is a limit to how far the society can be pushed. When despondency, utter confusion and hopelessness engulfs the society it is likely to react. History is replete with such examples and we have witnessed how societies have gone to the precipice on the account of leadership failures.
We have seen how demagogues and autocratic leaders destroyed their societies. The attitude playing out in our power centers does not give us any comfort the Union can hold us together.

The states are operating at cross path with the central government. Is this a deliberate policy or an indication the center and federating units are overwhelmed by issues? Is it a sign of weakness or failure? Can we allow this disunity to consume us? This is the reality facing us as a nation.

The attitude of some of the prodigal sons we collectively voted to power to run the affairs of the constituent part of the state is becoming disturbing, they operate as if we running multiple countries, they have become power-drunk that they longer listen to anyone.
We are first Nigerians before any other considerations. The way victims of the COVID 19 are being treated is dividing us more than any other thing. States close borders and lockdown societies without consideration of our interdependent existence.

Some dangerously engage in the segregation of the society by moving patients to their home states on the account they have the virus, this negates the concept of citizenship granted to all Nigerian by the constitution. It is also against the concept of exclusivity and concurrence of duties granted to the three tiers of government. Nigerians have the right to enjoy all facilities in any part of the country regardless of which state they come from, especially during this trying times.

The success of containing the spread of COVID19 in a society like ours where mass poverty and high level of illiteracy exists depends on several factors.
Firstly we must appreciate the fact our economy can not sustain the demand loaded on us by the developed economies and the World Health Organization, no matter how desirable their prescriptions are.

Social distancing, partial and complete lockdown of our cities and border closer between States though desirable may not succeed in a poverty-ridden society like ours. where interstate infrastructure needed for the movement of goods and services are almost absent.

Secondly, the literacy level and our religious interpretations of issues do not help matters when it comes to adoption of new ways of living. Ours is primitive society that hardly believe in science. We tend to accept all matters whether good or bad to predestination and move on, unlike in the developed world that everything happens has reason for it’s occurrence.

Thirdly our fragile economies can not withstand the kind of palliatives other economies of the world are providing for their citizens our people are yearning for. Our is a society where people go to bed without having their suffer, worst still people wake up the following morning without resources to have a decent breakfast, they live day by day. If you lock them for a long period of time without any tangible options, is like living between the devil and deep blue sea. In the absence of any support from the government, the options available to them would to stay home and die of hunger or go out and contract the virus either to live or die. Naturally, people will take the most easier option that appeals to them.

The politicization of the process by the state governments also hindered the success of the lockdown and social distancing. Many believed the whole campaign is political palliative meant to cushion the effect of lockdown are distributed as if we heading for elections.

when the whole thing started the PTF did a good job in advocacy and sensitization until when the states took control of the process.
There is also lack visible attempt by the government to convince the citizens on the way forward rather emphasis we’re more on enforcement and curtailing the mobility of the citizens through arbitrary contorted laws.

Isolation centers were also bereft of adequate facilities, testing equipment were not there or grossly inadequate. People are not idiots they soon came to realize the inadequacies of government. The process instead of giving people hope created fear, hopelessness and despondency took over.

Another major failure of the handling of COVID 19 was the public announcement of the names of those who contracted and died of the disease. We live in a traditional society people became sacred of stigmatization, as a result they refused go in for testing or contacting the CDC, even if they had the symptoms of the virus thereby facilitating family and community spread of the Virus. This is where we are today and perhaps unexplained rise of mortality in some communities.

If what the scientist are saying is correct one positive carrier has the potential of infecting at least 37 persons. As an airborne disease the threat is phenomenal.

We must therefore as a nation come together in respective of our political affiliations to fight the disease. The enemy we are fighting is invisible and does not respect space we are all in this together. The discordant approaches we are applying to deal with pandemic will not take us anywhere. Those in power must swallow their pride mere exhibition of arrogance and power will not help the situation.

Only last Saturday 30th of May 2020 the CDC reported over five hundred people tested positive the highest in a single day since the Pandemic started. We are not out of the wood yet more especially the cure or vaccine for COVID 19 is still in the realms of imagination.

We must therefore as nation rethink and learn from the mistakes of other countries. United we shall succeed divided we fail.

WHEN SHALL WE BEGIN TO TAKE THE PATH OF HONOUR?

I am starting my discourse with a quotation that is popular in the Military High Command. The term “ An Officer and a Gentleman “is a concept and phrase widely used in British armed services since the 18th century.

It was also codified in Article 133 of the US Uniform Code of Military Justice which allows “Conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman” to be punished by a court-martial.

The Nigerian Army a has colonial legacy and it must have adopted the concept in its rules and code of practice.
The term provoke some kind of role expectations and moral conduct of behavior expected from commissioned military officers.

Morals are the prevailing standards of behaviour that enable people to live cooperatively in groups. It also refers to what societies sanction as right and acceptable.

Historically, morality has been closely connected to religious traditions, but today its significance is equally important to the secular world, businesses and government agencies have codes of ethics that employees are expected to follow.

This government came to power on the bedrock of integrity and morality and we expect no less from them in conduct and actions.

C.S. Lewis, in talking about integrity and morality, said, “ doing the right thing, even when no one is looking” Integrity as a foundational moral virtue and the bedrock upon which good character is built. It presupposes understanding, accepting, and choosing to live in accordance with one’s principles, which includes honesty, fairness, and decency.

A person of integrity will consistently demonstrate good character by being free of corruption and hypocrisy.
When integrity and morality combine, it often requires that people sacrifice their own short-term interests for the benefit of society.

People or entities that are indifferent to right and wrong are considered amoral, while those who do evil acts are considered immoral.

Integrity is revealed when people act virtuously regardless of circumstance or consequences. This often requires moral courage. Indeed, integrity is the critical connection between ethics and moral action.

The hues and cries of the society calling the government to do something about the insecurity situation of the country, which is often neglected or treated with levity is causing a lot of frustrations in the society. If care is not taken it will snowball disastrously in our faces.

The President for whatever reason has ignored the call from the low and high in the society to tinker with the high command of the security leadership in spite of the fact that some of them have outlived their period in service what are therefore the justifications for keeping them?

What the people are saying, the leadership of security high command have ran out of ideas to deal with the ever changing sophistications of the insurgents and the bandits, fresh hands or tactics are needed to carry on with whatever good work the current leadership had achieved.

Correct if I am wrong, even during wars military command strictures are tinkered with, if apparent dislocations are observed in the prosecution of the war. To cling to a particular set of leadership in the face of failure or whatever, simply means something is wrong in the way we are do things. No one has a birth right to a particular position.

Just recently when the joint chief of staff of the American Army appeared in a photo shot with the US President amidst the controversy of the killings of George Floyd by the police that sparked nationwide protest, several retired army generals, the media and the general public condemned his presence at the photo shot. They advised the general was overtly breaching the apolitical stand of the army.

The top general had to come before the media and apologise to the American people for his indiscretions. But here we are after several killings of our innocent citizens the military top leadership still feel they are doing a good job worthy of our praise. The claim they have liberated the Nigerian space from the grip of the insurgents is contestable.

For how long, will it take our public officers to admit their mistakes and failures and do the needful.

I started this discourse by quoting the phrase “An officer and a gentleman” because this is a country, where the top leadership is headed by a retired military general, at same time the commanding leadership of the security outfits are in one way or the other are led by retired or serving general.

From the National Security Adviser, the Minister of defence and joint leadership of the Army who are involved in the fight against the bandits and Boko Haram insurgency are all generals, to me therefore they are better placed to understand the dictum more than anyone else.

t must be understood no one is being accused of committing treasonable felony, rather emphasis here is a realization of the fact that the military are morally upright and gentle both in their conduct and actions. The expectation therefore is they will do right thing by gracefully accepting their mistakes or incapacities and apologise to the Nigeria public.

When will our public officers begin to say thank you and resign their appointments honourably for good of the nation without the prodding or dismissal from their employers?

To accept failure or one’s mistake and do the needful is the hallmark of a principled person. Do we really need to tell the generals spearheading the security outfits fighting the Boko Haram insurgency they have lost the public confidence? Can’t they accept the fact they have run out of ideas to tackle the problems. Are they waiting for the president to disgrace them out the office?

Lest I forget, we have been told that attached to appointment letters of the Ministers, are letters of resignations of appointment, the President can invoke to provide a graceful soft exit for any member of the executive found unable or wanting in the discharge of the functions of their offices.

Mr President must know that Nigerians are frustrated and tired with the leadership of security agencies. His continued shielding of those involved in fight against the insurgency is not in tandem with moral high ground his government promised Nigerians.

We must in respective of the heightened spate of killings of innocent citizens by the Bandits and Boko Haram, commend the military for degrading their capabilities. Their success in containing the cycle of indiscriminate bombing of public areas and places of worships should not be forgotten.

The President should as a matter of urgency thank them for whatever good work they have done and bring in some fresh hands.

A country with a population of over two hundred million people cannot be short of capable hands to bring in some new ideas.

We don’t need the public to go on the streets in order to drive their message home.

THE IN CONVINIENT TRUTH IV: ALMAJIRI SYSTEM MATTERS ARISING

Some 59 years after colonialism here we are still blaming it for our collective failure to deal with some national, regional and sub regional issues like the Almajiri system of education.

We have not only failed but have finally shot ourselves in the foot by killing some of our legacies as nation out of sentiments and lack of forward thinking and strategic planning.

Recently, the Northern Governors forum an umbrella body formed to nurture, articulate, sell and defend the interest of the North in the common wealth recklessly killed the Almajiri system of education without alternative approach but the usual thinking we shall merge them and that is it.

When the blame game started various hypothesis were formulated to find those responsible for the woes of the almajiri system.
Firstly, colonialism was accused for deliberately refusing to recognize the Almajir education as a form of education arguing it was more of religion than education. The British were accused for not adopting the Almajiri system in the curriculum of the conventional school system.

The second hypothesis is the attempt to blame the oligarchy for the collapse of the system even in the light of the fact their roles under the system was reduced ceremonial duties. They too are now calling the alamajiri un Islamic.

Thirdly, the parents were blamed for abdicating in their responsibilities of providing proper upbringing of their children. They were accused of transferring their burden of parenting to the Malams of the Tsangaya school schools.

The Malams of the tsangaya school were also accused of taking advantage of the children under their care by subjecting them dehumanizing conditions and enslavement.

Harsh economic realities, mass poverty and lack of gainful employment opportunities in the local communities that led to rural-urban migration contributed to the migration of the almajiri to the cities.

But the major systemic issues arising from inconsistent policy changes in our national and local educational system were glossed over even though they are the real problems.

This how the teachers colleges were killed, today we have classroom teachers who do not know how to draw lesson plans talk less of impacting real knowledge to the pupils.

Similarly, this is how the Arabic teacher’s colleges that could have provided buffer to the Islamic Tertiary institutions were destroyed.

This contributed massively in the falling standard of education in the country.
It may be argued by other sections of the society Nigeria is not a secular state the almajiri education should not be accorded special preferences. This could be true, but nothing stops the regional governments from dealing with the matter more especially when education is on the concurrent list.

The northern governors forum an organization responsible for articulating policies for north ought to have used the privileges provided by the law to improve or change the fortunes of the tsangaya schools. But disappointingly they fell in to the trap of the conspiracy theorist.

To deal with issues of the almajiri system requires forward-thinking and visionary leadership not like the one displayed by the northern governors forum.

Anyone who undermine the significance of the Almajiri system of education and it’s contributions in the spread of Islam and Islamic education in Northern Nigeria is either a hypocrite or delusional.

The positions expressed by the most vociferous members of the Northern governor’s forum, one accused of thievery, the other a rabble-rouser, a foot-soldier, gradually becoming an irritant is no longer surprising to many as their antecedents in the recent past has been belittling to the North.

The Northern Governors knew very well how Usman Danfodio fought to spread Islam across the North and the reasons the colonial administration adopted an in direct rule in the administration of the northern protectorate region. The main aim was not to distort the already established administrative machinery in place.

It is no wonder our brothers in the south are sarcastically reminding us of the good work President Jonathan did to reform the Almajiri system, rejected by the same northern governors.
Their concern was not out of love for the North or Islam, but they see the Almajiri system as a threat to their wealth scattered across the country.

Another reason for their support of the reform introduced by their “SON”, they know how dilapidated the schools systems in the north are, aware the northern governors may not keep up the reform. They supported the reform a situation not in tandem with their sectional attitudes to issues of development in Nigeria.

For those of us that went to primary and secondary schools in the 60s and 70s, we took some of our religious lessons in the conventional schools system before the Islamic education was de-emphasized and made optional in the schools curriculum.

Another lesson that one can learn from the stupid and un thought out action of the northern governors is their in ability to go back to history at least they should have learnt the reasons behind the agitations by the missionaries for the return of their schools taken over by the Federal and State Governments during the national education reform. They have since gotten their schools back and continued with their missionary work, while we have killed the system we ought to have improved and formalized.

The northern governors also blindly fell into the trap popularized by those who wanted the Almajiri system destroyed as they are aware of its contributions in protecting the sanctity of the text of the Quran and spread of Islamic education in spite of its informal nature.

But let’s agree even for the sake of argument and give it to the antagonist of the Almajiri system that it encourages the enslavement of children, it breeds armies of beggars and miscreants, whose fault is it? Is the forum of northern governors not meant to articulate and deal with the common underdevelopment issues drawing region back?

Some hundreds of years since the Almajiri system entered Nigeria, what has the forum done to formalize the system so that it is accorded the same recognition as the conventional schools.

Our hallucinations, how to deal with the system is what brought us to where we today. Talk without ‘walking the talk’ only blame game and camera talk.

Lately in advancing reasons for why he outlawed the Almajiri system in Kaduna state, governor Nasir el-Rufai, was quoted to have said, “We’ve been looking for ways and means to end this system because it has not worked for the children. It has not worked for Northern Nigeria and it has not worked for Nigeria so, it has to end and this is the time” What a bizarre thing to say, is he really a Muslim?

Let us remind el-rufai, the Quran was kept undiluted in spite of the evil onslaught by western imperialist conspiracy to distort it’s content because of the “Hafiz” most of them products of the Almajiri and similar Islamic schools across the globe, who committed to memory the whole verses of the glorious Quran a tradition, kept since it was first revealed to the Prophet. (may peace and blessing of Allah be upon him).

Today in Nigeria the top most influential scholars in Islam, all started their Islamic education either as resident students of the “Tsangaya school “ or those who take lessons from the Malams of the Tsangaya schools and return home.

El-Rufai a Fulani born in “Daudawa” a village in Katsina state, considering his age I can safely speculate he must have been a product of the Tsangaya school either as resident pupil or go and come.
Today that he is a Muslim, he owes his ability to read the Quran if he can, and practice his religion through the same system he has condemned and destroyed.

When we were growing in the mid fifties our parents ensured that we attended both the western conventional school and the Tsangaya. The aim was to ensure we do not lose our identities as Muslims, while the latter was to keep with modernity and prepare us for white collar job.

Another sad outcome from the saga was how governor Ganduje repatriated the Almajiris back to their states of origin against all medical advice in dealing with movement of people during a pandemic. His actions were not only callous, foolish but absurd.

Kano like Lagos is one of the most cosmopolitan city we have in the North, that other tribes in the country freely adopt as their state of origin. This is how Kano developed as a commercial and learning centre for Islamic education in the North. To overlook this is not only self-serving but dangerous to the unity of the north.

All these were happening when the other regions are busy creating their volunteer forces to protect their people against the influx of the Hausa- Fulani herdsmen, but here we are on a pandemic ravaging the whole world infecting the low and high in the society, yet the forum used the COVID 19 to execute their diabolical agenda. A situation they know has the potential of further widening the divisions between us as a people.

Available statistics of the Almajiri repatriated between the four states involved during the early stage of pandemic stood at 423 out of which 177 tested positive, a far cry from the number of those who imported the disease into the country.

If the transfer of the Almajiris to their states of origin is the only blueprint adopted by the governors to deal with the phenomenon, without hesitation it will fail just like other efforts before it aimed at ridding our streets of beggars (not the Almajiris)

Going by what is happening in some of the states, the whole exercise will remain a mirage as the policy was not thought out properly. It will only take sometime before we see the resurgence of the system.

I agree we do need some reforms in the Almajiri system, to do this we must consult widely, it is a shared responsibility between the stakeholders, but not in the manner it was carried out by the northern governors forum.

The only outcome achieved by the forum’s action is the division it created. The so-called concept of the “monolithic north” eroded and thrown out through the window.

If this is how the Northern Governors articulate policies for the North, they have woefully failed, paraphrasing el-rufai’s words in another form, the north also does not need the forum, it has failed the North, Northerners and Nigeria. The North needs Visionary Leaders and Strategic Thinkers. If the forum can’t provide that, it MUST as well also disband.

THE IN CONVINIENT TRUTH IV: ALMAJIRI SYSTEM MATTERS ARISINGSome 59 years after colonialism here we are still blaming it for our collective failure to deal with some national, regional and sub regional issues like the Almajiri system of education.We have not only failed but have finally shot ourselves in the foot by killing some of our legacies as nation out of sentiments and lack of forward thinking and strategic planning.Recently, the Northern Governors forum an umbrella body formed to nurture, articulate, sell and defend the interest of the North in the common wealth recklessly killed the Almajiri system of education without alternative approach but the usual thinking we shall merge them and that is it.When the blame game started various hypothesis were formulated to find those responsible for the woes of the almajiri system.Firstly, colonialism was accused for deliberately refusing to recognize the Almajir education as a form of education arguing it was more of religion than education. The British were accused for not adopting the Almajiri system in the curriculum of the conventional school system.The second hypothesis is the attempt to blame the oligarchy for the collapse of the system even in the light of the fact their roles under the system was reduced ceremonial duties. They too are now calling the alamajiri un Islamic.Thirdly, the parents were blamed for abdicating in their responsibilities of providing proper upbringing of their children. They were accused of transferring their burden of parenting to the Malams of the Tsangaya school schools.The Malams of the tsangaya school were also accused of taking advantage of the children under their care by subjecting them dehumanizing conditions and enslavement.Harsh economic realities, mass poverty and lack of gainful employment opportunities in the local communities that led to rural-urban migration contributed to the migration of the almajiri to the cities.But the major systemic issues arising from inconsistent policy changes in our national and local educational system were glossed over even though they are the real problems.This how the teachers colleges were killed, today we have classroom teachers who do not know how to draw lesson plans talk less of impacting real knowledge to the pupils.Similarly, this is how the Arabic teacher’s colleges that could have provided buffer to the Islamic Tertiary institutions were destroyed.This contributed massively in the falling standard of education in the country.It may be argued by other sections of the society Nigeria is not a secular state the almajiri education should not be accorded special preferences. This could be true, but nothing stops the regional governments from dealing with the matter more especially when education is on the concurrent list.The northern governors forum an organization responsible for articulating policies for north ought to have used the privileges provided by the law to improve or change the fortunes of the tsangaya schools. But disappointingly they fell in to the trap of the conspiracy theorist.To deal with issues of the almajiri system requires forward-thinking and visionary leadership not like the one displayed by the northern governors forum.Anyone who undermine the significance of the Almajiri system of education and it’s contributions in the spread of Islam and Islamic education in Northern Nigeria is either a hypocrite or delusional.The positions expressed by the most vociferous members of the Northern governor’s forum, one accused of thievery, the other a rabble-rouser, a foot-soldier, gradually becoming an irritant is no longer surprising to many as their antecedents in the recent past has been belittling to the North.The Northern Governors knew very well how Usman Danfodio fought to spread Islam across the North and the reasons the colonial administration adopted an in direct rule in the administration of the northern protectorate region. The main aim was not to distort the already established administrative machinery in place.It is no wonder our brothers in the south are sarcastically reminding us of the good work President Jonathan did to reform the Almajiri system, rejected by the same northern governors.Their concern was not out of love for the North or Islam, but they see the Almajiri system as a threat to their wealth scattered across the country.Another reason for their support of the reform introduced by their “SON”, they know how dilapidated the schools systems in the north are, aware the northern governors may not keep up the reform. They supported the reform a situation not in tandem with their sectional attitudes to issues of development in Nigeria.For those of us that went to primary and secondary schools in the 60s and 70s, we took some of our religious lessons in the conventional schools system before the Islamic education was de-emphasized and made optional in the schools curriculum.Another lesson that one can learn from the stupid and un thought out action of the northern governors is their in ability to go back to history at least they should have learnt the reasons behind the agitations by the missionaries for the return of their schools taken over by the Federal and State Governments during the national education reform. They have since gotten their schools back and continued with their missionary work, while we have killed the system we ought to have improved and formalized.The northern governors also blindly fell into the trap popularized by those who wanted the Almajiri system destroyed as they are aware of its contributions in protecting the sanctity of the text of the Quran and spread of Islamic education in spite of its informal nature.But let’s agree even for the sake of argument and give it to the antagonist of the Almajiri system that it encourages the enslavement of children, it breeds armies of beggars and miscreants, whose fault is it? Is the forum of northern governors not meant to articulate and deal with the common underdevelopment issues drawing region back?Some hundreds of years since the Almajiri system entered Nigeria, what has the forum done to formalize the system so that it is accorded the same recognition as the conventional schools.Our hallucinations, how to deal with the system is what brought us to where we today. Talk without ‘walking the talk’ only blame game and camera talk.Lately in advancing reasons for why he outlawed the Almajiri system in Kaduna state, governor Nasir el-Rufai, was quoted to have said, “We’ve been looking for ways and means to end this system because it has not worked for the children. It has not worked for Northern Nigeria and it has not worked for Nigeria so, it has to end and this is the time” What a bizarre thing to say, is he really a Muslim?Let us remind el-rufai, the Quran was kept undiluted in spite of the evil onslaught by western imperialist conspiracy to distort it’s content because of the “Hafiz” most of them products of the Almajiri and similar Islamic schools across the globe, who committed to memory the whole verses of the glorious Quran a tradition, kept since it was first revealed to the Prophet. (may peace and blessing of Allah be upon him).Today in Nigeria the top most influential scholars in Islam, all started their Islamic education either as resident students of the “Tsangaya school “ or those who take lessons from the Malams of the Tsangaya schools and return home.El-Rufai a Fulani born in “Daudawa” a village in Katsina state, considering his age I can safely speculate he must have been a product of the Tsangaya school either as resident pupil or go and come.Today that he is a Muslim, he owes his ability to read the Quran if he can, and practice his religion through the same system he has condemned and destroyed.When we were growing in the mid fifties our parents ensured that we attended both the western conventional school and the Tsangaya. The aim was to ensure we do not lose our identities as Muslims, while the latter was to keep with modernity and prepare us for white collar job.Another sad outcome from the saga was how governor Ganduje repatriated the Almajiris back to their states of origin against all medical advice in dealing with movement of people during a pandemic. His actions were not only callous, foolish but absurd.Kano like Lagos is one of the most cosmopolitan city we have in the North, that other tribes in the country freely adopt as their state of origin. This is how Kano developed as a commercial and learning centre for Islamic education in the North. To overlook this is not only self-serving but dangerous to the unity of the north.All these were happening when the other regions are busy creating their volunteer forces to protect their people against the influx of the Hausa- Fulani herdsmen, but here we are on a pandemic ravaging the whole world infecting the low and high in the society, yet the forum used the COVID 19 to execute their diabolical agenda. A situation they know has the potential of further widening the divisions between us as a people.Available statistics of the Almajiri repatriated between the four states involved during the early stage of pandemic stood at 423 out of which 177 tested positive, a far cry from the number of those who imported the disease into the country.If the transfer of the Almajiris to their states of origin is the only blueprint adopted by the governors to deal with the phenomenon, without hesitation it will fail just like other efforts before it aimed at ridding our streets of beggars (not the Almajiris)Going by what is happening in some of the states, the whole exercise will remain a mirage as the policy was not thought out properly. It will only take sometime before we see the resurgence of the system.I agree we do need some reforms in the Almajiri system, to do this we must consult widely, it is a shared responsibility between the stakeholders, but not in the manner it was carried out by the northern governors forum.The only outcome achieved by the forum’s action is the division it created. The so-called concept of the “monolithic north” eroded and thrown out through the window.If this is how the Northern Governors articulate policies for the North, they have woefully failed, paraphrasing el-rufai’s words in another form, the north also does not need the forum, it has failed the North, Northerners and Nigeria. The North needs Visionary Leaders and Strategic Thinkers. If the forum can’t provide that, it MUST as well also disband.

NIGERIA AT 60 A CELEBRATION OF “HUNGER AND ANGER”

I was born on the 12th of December 1956, four years before the Nigerian state came into being, by this I am four years older than the Nigerian State. Some sixty four years since this journey began I was fortunate to witness the good, the bad and ugly this nation could offer. But how many generations coming after us would enjoy the privileged my generations benefited from this great nation?

Nostalgically, I still remember the times of the Balewa’s the Ziks, Awolowo’s, Sardauna’s they were good men who brought us out of the shackles of colonialism with dignity and compassion. They were selfless generations of Nigerians who would have built the foundation of a better country we all yearn for today, but they killed them. Those who survived the unnecessary coup were frustrated to their graves in spite of their un diluted patriotism. The sins of our actions still hang on us a nation.

I remember the time when the Nigeria education sector is comparable to any nation of the world. The quality of graduates churned from the Nigerian Universities were excellent, our graduates were sought after by the employers of labor. But today institutions, industries, the banks and high profile government agencies tend to give preferences to Nigerian graduates coming from universities abroad.

The NNPC in a recent recruitment exercise justified this assertions. The underline aparthy though not understood by many is who are those children they employed?
The wonderful health sector bequeathed to us by colonialism where doctors prescribe drugs without fear it wouldn’t be on the shelve is lost public hospital are ghost of themselves.

The roads we inherited from our founding fathers though narrower, they had no pot holes. Today the roads are wider but not motorable, standards are compromised. The most annoying aspect of all this, roads that are suppose to be built in a couple of months now takes a whole generation to be completed, often at three times the initial cost due to cost variation and corruption.

The shylock contractor have perfected a scheme of building the roads in segments knowing fully well the government will not keep to the schedule of payments. They work and stop based on milestone they design for themselves by the time they are through with the first part of the road, potholes begin to surface before the second section is midway through. This vicious cycle of work ethics and price variation continues, it also guarantees the shylock road contractors work to do unending. The contract becomes open ended with no completion period. This is how bad road construction has become in Nigeria.

The privatization of the electricity company aimed at improving the fortunes of the power supply nose dived. Instead of building competition, effectiveness and efficiency of service delivery, it ended in concentrating ownership in the hands of those greedy shylocks who buy our commonwealth cheaply and milk the country dry. That is why the government could not deal with the power distribution companies because the people who govern us are the owners of the companies.

The good days of the Electricity Company of Nigeria (ECN) ended on the birth of NEPA, at least during the time of the ECN constant supply of power was guaranteed. The light was always there even when there were strong storms during a rainy day.

Today in spite of the massive public funds deployed to the power sector, supply is epileptic in some cases none existent. Whenever the clouds begin to form signaling the possibility of rain, people begin to contemplate whether to pray for the rain to come or ask nature to hold the rain as lights would surely go off only to return several hours after the rain has stopped or in most cases until the next day or two.

I still remember when we drive across the length and breath of this country night or day without any fear. The security situation of the country was near perfect there were no such issues like Armed Robbers, Boko Haram, Kidnappers or Bandit you only contend with the policemen on the roads doing their legitimate duties of keeping the peace.

The economy was also booming the Naira was almost a convertible currency. It was close to one to one to the British pound. The Naira was greater in value than the America green buck unlike today when you pay four hundred and seventy three Naira to purchase one American Dollar.

The economy was not suffering from any debt over hang in fact we had plenty of money and the problem was how spend it.

Corruption was alien to our culture, you hardly hear the word because the leaders were upright, selfless and committed nationalists. Nigeria first before any other considerations.

The rule of laws was on the front burner, all were equal before law. Judges were fearless, the law was applied in respective of who was involved. Not like today where justice can be purchased. Borrowing from James Hardly Chase, who said “every head has a price unless if the price is not right”. The judiciary is no longer the last hope of the common Man. what is left of the Nigerian Judicial system today is a mockery of the rule of law.

The civil Service which was driven by committed technocrats anchored on professionalism, rules, regulations and procedures suffered similar fate.
Movement across cadres in the civil service were guided by merit, promotions were carried out as at when due. No favoritism, political, ethical or pecuniary consideration but merit.
I can recall how the treasury system we are shouting about worked well for the Ministries and Extra Ministerial Departments. Access to budgetary allocations were without stress, the process worked seamlessly.

The single treasury system only succeeded in warehousing government funds in one account, but it did not make government spending much easier. Time has revealed it has not succeeded in curbing corruption. It is still business as usual.

The military were feared and respected not like the ones we see on our roads. The soldiers were revered not reviled like today, they were apolitical.

The “Yan Doka” that became the nucleus of the Nigeria Police were really good men, they handle their jobs with diligence. They were respected by the communities and were sought after for inter-community mediation of disputes.

The once friendly police force turned into a monster. The stench in the Nigeria police is irreversible no reform no matter how well intentioned will change the Nigeria police, might be we need to try the Georgian approach. When the country lost hope in it’s police force it disbanded the whole police force developed a new strategy and recruited fresh hands. Any attempt to reform Nigeria police will be an exercise in futility and waste of public funds unless something drastic is done.

The transport sector also suffered the same decay. The Nigeria Airways for example known for it safety records, once the envy of all, in the aviation industry, was literally crushed to the ground by the system. The Nigeria Airways with assets spread across the globe which could have taken care of all it’s indebtedness was hurriedly and cheaply sold for pittance all in the effort to pave way for some power group who were bent on taking over the lucrative sector to float their private airlines.

Today Nigeria and Nigerians are the worst for it. No wonder they are still frustrating the efforts of the Minister in floating a national carrier. The high cost of air travels and the humiliating treatment Nigerians receive from foreign airlines who are benefiting from our in competence is worrisome and embarrassing.

This is how the Military, the Politicians and the Technocrats squandered our national wealth

Nigeria will be 60 on the 1st of October 2020, if it were human being, it would be occupying the enviable position of being a senior citizen. But here we are encapsulated in the concentric circle of bad governance. The country suffers from deficit of good leadership, high level corruption, mass poverty, illiteracy, failing infrastructure and insecurity.
The widening gap between the have and have not keeps growing.

We have all been urged by the past and present governments to be patient and for 60years we have done so, yet there seems to be no light at the end of tunnel.
Hunger and frustration arising from high cost of living is making us angry people. Insecurity and bad governance across the three tiers of government give no one any hope that we have reason to celebrate the 60 years independence anniversary.

Some 20 years ago Dubai was just a barren desert. Rwanda a small landlocked African nation that suffered one of the worst ethnic cleansing in Africa is over the position of the big giant of Africa.

I deliberately chose these countries because we share some historical underpinnings. Dubai being an oil-producing country just like Nigeria developed because they have visionary leaders who turned the fortune of their country. It developed its infrastructure and diversified its economy away from oil.

Rwanda, lost almost 1million people through genocide has through a visionary leadership have rebuild their country and made it one place to be in Africa today.

No wonder therefore the drums of Nigeria gliding to or has become failed state is becoming more louder. No matter what some people would want to say about our Nigeria situation the truth is we have a big problem on our hands.
When the former president OBJ said “I do appreciate that you all feel sad and embarrassed as most of us feel as Nigerians with the situation we find ourselves in. Today, Nigeria is fast drifting to (becoming) a failed and badly divided state; economically our country is becoming a basket case and poverty capital of the world, and socially, we are firming up as an unwholesome and insecure country.

And these manifestations are the products of recent mismanagement of diversity and socio-economic development of our country. Old fault lines that were disappearing have opened up in greater fissures and with drums of hatred, disintegration and separation and accompanying choruses being heard loud and clear almost everywhere,,

Be it what may, the former President spoke the truth and the truth is what power does not want us to know. It is therefore not surprising the word of caution did not go down well with the spokesperson of the government.
But before OBJ made that statement, the 2019 Fragile States Index, after scrutinizing 178 countries “across 12 indicators of the risks and vulnerabilities faced by individual nations,” placed Nigeria on the High Alert category as the 14th most fragile state in the world and ninth in Africa. What the former President said is not anything new but a caution so that we watch the way we are doing things.

Nigerians are angry and hungry there is frustration all over the place, so what manner of celebrations are we expecting them to do?

We must tell ourselves the home truth, we must listen to our elder statesmen who speak the truth, mare attacks on them without building hope in the citizenry will lead us to nowhere but a catastrophic end if we are not careful. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

GREEN WITH ENVY

If you are a democrat you must have been mesmerized watching the UK election that produced the conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson. You must have also been green with envy thinking when will Nigeria reach this level of political sophistication in our election.

The other big thing that would be going through your mind is question why did we in the first place abandon the parliamentary to presidential system of government?

The likely reply from the political apologist would be UK have been practicing democracy for several hundred of years, ours is a burgeoning democracy. Be it what it may the UK’s election rekindle the love for democracy in me. It gave me hope that one day we shall get it right.

Another take from what played out was, while I waiting for the electoral commission to come out and declare the winner of the election. What I saw was the BBC Anchor Man speaking to the camera that he can now announce that Mr Boris Johnson of the conservative party has been returned and elected as the UK Prime Minister having crossed the magic 326 number of Members of Parliament required to form the next government, from there on the rest was history.

The House of Commons consist of 650 members each is elected by a geographical constituency of roughly equal population. In each constituency, the candidate with the highest number of votes wins. There is no need to win 50% of the vote, and votes for the other candidates are in effect lost. The idea is anchored on the basis “first-past-the-post voting”.

The commons also chooses the prime minister. By convention the Queen invites the leader of the largest party to form a government.

When Boris resigned as the Foreign Secretary no body gave him a chance to bounce back let alone win the UK election with a landslide.

The fascinating thing about the election is, it was so transparent, losers knew they lost fairly and they accepted the verdict of the people happily.

There were no armies or police presence anywhere. There were no issues of inconclusive elections. The electoral commission was totally in the background. The electoral law spelt out everything in the open. The electoral commission was not over bearing as in INEC. The executive members were virtually known even before the elections. They were referred to as shadow Ministers or Secretary. You must also be an elected member of parliament to become one.

The fight for who becomes what is decided from the on set. There were little left for lawyers to feast on. The mischief makers who overheat the polity for their personal gains were cut off. The system plays out free and fair.

The question to ask who the hell advised us to embrace the American Presidential system of government which is highly corrupting, over bloated too expensive not good for a small economy like ours.

Are we paying for the evil we did to our first republic leaders who ruled this country with decorum, high sense of nationalism and patriotism? History has shown that it was a mistake killing those leaders they lived above board and played by the rule of the game.

Are we also paying for abandoning one of the best legacies of colonial history that could made this country a better place? Is it too late to go back to our roots to make thing work for us?

In Nigeria we have changed our capital, we changed from driving from the right to the left. We have changed our currency from Pound to Naira. Others are still saying the name Nigeria is colonial, we must therefore change it.

No one can deny the fact that some of those changes worked for us. While some were disastrous, must we therefore continue with American presidential system that is highly corrupting, wasteful and unsustainable in the long run.

The Americans are clearly not happy with their system, where the electoral college takes precedence over the popular vote.

Hillary Clinton won the American election with a popular vote of over 3million, yet Trump became the President by winning the electoral college. The Americans knew the process is flawed, but because of its historical legacies and their pride, they still hold on to the system.

Can we as a people having experienced the presidential system for some time now beat a retreat to the Parliamentary system or develop a homegrown system that would take care of our internal dynamics?

The presidential system has failed us. There is no type of reform we can embark upon to refine it that would take us out of the woods.

Your comments, please.

THE BiZARRE HATE SPEECH BILL

Imagine the three-plus billion people half the entire human race on this planet that log in and depend on the social connectivity outlets for news, waking up in the morning to discover they can no longer access their Emails, Tweeter, Facebook, Instagram and all other social connectivity platforms the chaos that would be created by the vacuum is better not imagined.

Recall the panic created by the 2YK buzz that almost brought the whole world to stand still, this may look like a child’s play considering the irritations that would be created by pulling down, regulating or strangulating the connectivity created by the social media networks.

Before the advent of the Internet that gave rise to social media platforms, the State actors, Big businesses and Cooperate organisations control access, content and the production of ideas.

They, through the ownership of capital and various Laws infringed on the rights of the society to free flow of information and freedom of speech, expression and production of ideas.

When the Internet first made its debut on the scene as a global network the state actors, big businesses and cooperate organisations never anticipated the awesome power the new communication technologies could have on our global interactions.

With the increasing importance attributed to digital technologies, questions have arisen about where digital media fit in the dichotomy between alternative and mainstream media.

First blogs, Twitter and other similar platforms not necessarily created to be information media, increasingly are being used to spread news and information, potentially acting as alternative media as they allow ordinary citizens to bypass the gatekeepers of traditional, mainstream media and share the information and perspectives these citizens deem important.

The Internet provides an alternative space for mobilization through the cultivation of interpersonal networks, collective action towards social change, and making information much readily accessible. Internet platforms allow for the creation of new, alternative communities that can provide a voice for those normally marginalized by the mainstream media.

It also provided for an alternative form of programming, which allows both professionals and amateurs to subvert or evade commercial and political restraints on open access to information technologies.

Lastly, it also breeds a new way of creation and dissemination of knowledge that is different from the top-down manner. It seeks out and encourages the participation of multiple users, fostering forms of collaborative knowledge production.
This became a big challenge to owners of traditional media in two folds. Firstly, how to control the operations of the social media and secondly, how to deal with the dwindling revenue from advertising due to the democratization of access facilitated by the Internet.

To clip the wings of the new platforms they began by popularising the buzz word “fake news” and “hate speech” giving the “dog a bad name” in order to hang it.

Leaders of free world particularly the American Donald Tramp hardly conclude any press conference or political rally without blaming the press as fake news purveyors. He could be right, news whether from the mainstream or social media can not value free.

Other world despotic leaders who normally do not believe in free flow of information and free speech quickly took advantage of the new narratives to muzzle the social media platforms in their countries. Consequently, the social media platforms often always became the easy target for the imposition of governmental control by despots and authoritarian leadership.

The truth is news reporting has changed. It is no longer just reporting what the government did or did not. News reporting has become a collaborative affairs where general public now have a say, access and control over the content of news and production of ideas.

The old order of only the reporters of media houses having their ways has changed. The public now freely engage in the determination of what is news and also have opportunities to report the other side of the news usually unreported by government and cooperate media establishments. The definition of what is “fake and hateful” news or ideas should not be let to politicians to decide.

These are the real salient issues behind the clamour for redefining the usage of the social media not the “hate speech” and fake news being popularised.

Gone are days where the traditional media determines what the public see, hear or read. The monopoly over the content, access and the technology to transmit media contents has been eradicated by the emergence of the internet. Every citizen is now a reporter a media house as long as he has his mobile phone with him. And this what the authorities want to control.

That is why whenever there is slight friction in the society today, the first casualty is always the internet.

It must be noted the social media emerged essentially as a deviant alternative channels of communication because the lager society no longer trust information coming out of the traditional media.

As the society becomes more and more sophisticated they realised the opportunity the Internet offered to them to have their say in global and national discourse a situation hitherto denied the society by the billionaire capitalist owners of the press

The right to free speech, press, hold opinion, assemble enshrined in the declaration of human rights adopted by the most nation-state in their constitutions became an albatross, in dealing with the awesome power of the social media.

As governments of the world are now turning their attention to the activities of the social media various paradigms are being contemplated on how to regulate the Internet and the social media platforms.

In the Western and Eastern Europe countries where this concern is increasingly becoming a major narratives no consensus has so far emerged how to deal with phenomenon.

However Several countries have already passed social media regulations, amongst which are, Germany: On January 1, 2018, regulations went into effect that prompt social media companies to quickly remove “illegal content” within 24 hours of it being uploaded online. Illegal content has been defined as content that ranges from insults of public office to threats of violence. Violators of these regulations could face large fines, upward of €50 million.

In Australia, on April 3, 2019, following the Christchurch massacre, Australia passed laws that punish social media companies for violent posts. The posts must be removed expeditiously, or companies could face fines up to 10% of their annual profit.

In U.K.: On April 8, 2019, the U.K. government announced it would create laws that make the U.K. the safest place in the world to use the internet. These laws would require social media firms to protect users, and the firms would face heavy fines if they failed to do so in all these circumstances none of them proscribed death sentence.

The Nigerian Vice President in a statement by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, on Wednesday disclosed at the BBC Conference on Hate Speech held in Abuja, that “the social media was under multi-jurisdictional regulation, necessitating more collaboration among nations to regulate them.
The Vice President Osinbanjo, called for conventions and agreements between nations to regulate the social media and counter the phenomenon of hate speech.

He said we should be looking at some kinds of conventions; some kind of agreements between countries, between nations that help us to regulate the social media much more effectively,’’
He lamented that a lot of disinformation in the public space at present came from the social media, pointing out that the traditional press was obviously more responsible.

He said “The simple reason why they are more responsible is because there is consequence. It is easier to sue the traditional media. They are bound by local laws and it is much easier to hold them to account”.

He, however, expressed concern that it would be difficult to deal with consequence of infractions associated with the social media without infringing on freedom of information and press freedom.
“So, freedom of the press means my freedom to own a blog, my freedom to disseminate information.
“But the question is: How we regulate that without infringing on these fundamental freedoms?
“I think that at the end of the day it would come to some kind of a balance because, really, it would be impossible to regulate social media without substantially infringing on fundamental right, especially freedom of expression.

There is no way that you can leave that power in the hand of government or the hand of the legislature without your finding some level of overbearing activity on the path of the government or the legislature,” he said.

He also said there was need to interrogate some of the information going into the traditional media, which were also seen in the social media.

He urged the media to go beyond getting two sides of a story to carry out independent investigations to ascertain the facts of every issue before publishing their stories.
“I believe that if governments are proactive, if agencies are proactive, if parastatals are proactive in putting out information in the public space, the chances of fake news gaining ascendancy will be reduced.
“But somebody who wants to misinform, somebody who wants to create confusion, somebody who wants to bring the country down will still go ahead with this type of information, ”

This is how honourable and distinguish we think it should be.

The argument for the creation of laws that would protect the citizens against “fake news and hate speech” may be desirable but it must be done in such a way that it does not negate the provisions of the constitution on free speech or deliberately to muzzle free speech simply because some segment of the society are uncomfortable they would be exposed.

The bizarre social media bill before the Nigerian Senate, proscribing death penalty for “hate speech” is not only barbaric but embarrassing to our image as a nation.

Senator Sabi Abdullahi ought to have known his bill is not distinguished. We, therefore, urge the Senate not to give his bill any recognition to save the country from being laughed at by the civilized world.