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y ou know what? For the umpteenth time, I'm super excited. And the reason for my excitement is not farfetched. I've just publis...

Nigerian schools on yet another date with history

Image source: Daily Post

The announcement by the Buhari's administration that the study of history will return to our schools starting from next term, I must confess, is one of the most heartwarming news I've heard in recent time.

This may not be unconnected with the fact that I'm an avid student of history.

It was, however, a seed planted by my late dad who did not only taught me in the foundational class but took out time to educate me about the history of the Yoruba, and the Egba in particular.

History like tradition and culture was dear to him. And according to the Yoruba, ‘if a child should out miss out on history, he would by no means miss out on myths’. It is instructive that they also believe the myth is the father of history.

Tradition, on the other hand, they believe is a proverbial rope that drawn from the beginning of time that must not be allowed to snap.

Whichever way, the two meets somewhere and serves the purpose. Like the popular saying that, ‘if you don't know where you are going, at least, you know where you are coming from’.

The significance of that traditional Corpus mentioned above will be re-echoed later in the prelude to and during the coronation of the current Alake of Egba land, Oba Michael Aremu Adedotun Gbadebo, Okukenu IV on 2 August, 2005 as one of the kingmakers proclaimed the line with pride.

Before and after that event particularly, it became clearer to me that the place of history in the life of a people cannot be overemphasized.

And for a very long time, the book 'History of the Yoruba by Rev. Johnson was one of my most prized inheritance until I lost it in the many unpredictable change of environment which is inevitable in the life of a man.

I believe the same deep satisfaction I get from the news applies to every Nigerian at home and in the diaspora.

And this can be deduced from the outpouring of enthusiasm and the shared varied perspective in terms of inputs as to what this is capable of doing to the country in the ongoing conversations around the topic since the news broke.

I think the government of the day deserves a swing of the Shekere for such a laudable but long overdue policy reinstatement or reversal if you like.

The instructive part for me also is that it would be taught as a stand-alone subject unlike what was obtained in the past.

I recall that before history was yanked off the subjects list available to the Nigerian students in 2007, and more so afterward, it was taught inexplicably and regrettably too as an embedded topic in social studies.

Though, it was a disservice to Nigeria and Nigerians in the first place for any government to have taken off history from the academic menu of Nigerian students which is something that has endured for donkey years now, the action may also be put in perspective.

Yes, the action may be categorized as a policy somersault but it was long in coming.

While I'm not holding brief for the government which committed the policy Hara-kiri, in retrospect, I think in addition to whatever was on their mind, the subject suffered from its elective status, even as an art subject, at some point in time when it should have been made compulsory.

I think like literature, many students also avoided it because they assume it entails the reading of voluminous titles, remembering of dates and the writing of long essays during an examination.

Some even confused government with history. It was that bad.

To illustrate the above scenarios, I remember when I went to retake my O-level papers back then in the 90s that I was the only student in the center who wrote history. To say the least, I was alarmed.

However, now that it is back, one can only say a reasoned choice, at last, has prevailed over a decision that on the face of it could be described as idiotic and misplaced.

I also believe that it is coming at a time it is perhaps mostly needed because Nigeria is currently going through a lot of challenges which can be possibly attributed to the lack of in-depth knowledge of the country's historical heritage by the mass of our people who are mostly youths.

Their ignorance was as recently displayed when on May 29, 2012 the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan wanted to rename The University of Lagos after the stand out Martyr of our current democracy, Bashorun MKO Abiola.

The students who mostly were in their 20s or thereabout had trooped to the streets threatening violence in objection because they could hardly comprehend the fuzz about the man in question and what he has done.

Lest we missed it, another point is many of them ignorantly believed that the name Unilag on their certificate would give them as graduates of the school an edge in the marketplace.

If I may ask, where on earth is the name of your Alma Mata a guarantee for job placement? Your guessed answer is as good as mine.

Meanwhile, the same University of Lagos also benefitted from the uncommon and unequaled philanthropic gesture of the late acclaimed winner of the annulled June 12, Presidential election who once doled out several millions of naira to all higher institutions in Nigeria on an individual basis.

This is perfectly in line with one of the things that define him which is intellectualism or education if you like.

The second one is music. Yes, music. I know many people are not aware that Abiola as a youngster did sing in addition to hewing the firewoods to support himself through elementary and high school.
Finally, others are business, religion, sports, and politics.

Though some people may disagree, I think being referred to as the pillar of sports in Africa when alive, it is comforting, fitting, and compensatory, therefore, to see President Muhammadu Buhari rename the national stadium, Abuja, after him, to commemorate the celebration of June 12 as Nigeria's official democracy day.

Back to the topic at hand, it couldn't have been the fault of the youthful Unilag’s students but that of the educational and political authorities who failed to render this relevant aspect of our history to them when it matters.

But at the same time, the outcry of rejection of that move could also be as a result of the belief it was politically motivated and not borne out of genuine drive to immortalize the principal actor on June 12, 1993, Presidential election.

Because in truth Jonathan’s administration was desperately trying to make an inroad into the South-West, politically, and could’ve been a strategic move to curry political favor or sympathy from Yoruba. And it was ill-timed in the opinion of many political observers.

In the final analysis, the return of history as a stand-alone subject in our schools is certainly more than a welcome development.

If properly done, it is one that's duty bound to help refreshingly brings back into focus some of the lost narrations as far as documentation of events is concerned in Nigeria.

That said, the next important question would be what and what should be included in the curriculum by the developer.

Clearly, there is no shortage of agreement on the fact that Nigeria is brimming with jewels of events and personalities that will forever compete to feature in the evolutionary narratives of Nigeria. 

However, I strongly expect that a little bit of Nigeria's pre-independence history should be conveyed.

More importantly, events and people who shaped Nigeria from the post-independence era must be carefully detailed and fed on incremental ration to the Nigerian child as he or she progresses through the stages of their academic ladder.

But to fully heal the wounds of the past injustices, individuals who were actors in the Nigerian project would have to own up, and confess their guilt that they have wronged the system viz-a-viz the tasked committed to their hands instead of continuing to act in manners that suggest they have been right at all time and in all situations.

At the end of the day, I hope and pray that this new date with history by our schools will be fruitful and continuous. And one that Nigeria and Nigeria will remember for good.

So that we will never go back to the same policy somersault of obliterating our history as a people from robustly interfacing with us no matter what.

Along with other watershed events like it, it would, however, amount to an Aberration, if the account of what transpired before, during, and after June 12, 1993, Presidential election is not included in the history books that would eventually be taught in our schools and to the Nigerian youths.


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An appointment and the vociferous party loyalists' triumphant objection



When Festus Adedayo, who is an avowed critic of the government of president Muhammadu Buhari was appointed as the chief spokesperson to the newly elected Senate president Ahmed Lawan, many saw it as a victory of merit over demerit, of competence over incompetence, and above all of pragmatic objectivism  over expedient subjectivism.

But in the space of a week or thereabout, there was a surprise reversal of the appointment owing to pressure from opposers within the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) who saw it instead as a wrong appointive call.

They had pointed out that it was improper for an appointment like that to have been given to someone who has never seen anything good in this government.

They argue further that government appointment should be given to people who share the values of the political office holders appointing them and not the other way round.
 
Meanwhile, another group you may call the neutrals see the reversal as an indication of lack of independent-mindedness on the part of the Senate president who has allowed the social media hirelings of the executive arm of government to dictate who gets what appointments around him.

It is also a symptomatic indication, they continued, of what is to come in terms of the independence of the Senate itself which he leads if at this stage, he can buckle under pressure from party loyalists to reverse his decision.

In the end, such pattern, if continued unchecked, may not augur well for the ninth Senate from which so much is expected in terms of robust debates on bills and many of its other developmentally oversight functions which it should carry out independently.

In fact, the ninth Senate in the opinion of the ultras may end up becoming a rubber stamp one to the desires of the executive arm even if they may prove counterproductive to the nation’s aspirations.

Meanwhile, the man in the middle of the cross-fire Festus Adebayo has come out to insist that it doesn’t matter if the job was taken away from him or not.  That he will continue to speak to the inadequacies of the government no matter whose Ox is gored. And that he didn’t apply or lobby for the job which to me can be nothing but false.

Nobody gets appointed into an office they don't signify their interest in. He might have applied, possibly by proxy, but then he definitely must have participated in the screening processes from which he emerged as the most qualified.

Be that as it may, personally I don’t think somebody like Festus should have applied for such a job in the first place. And my reasons are as follow.

It is on record that when known critics of a government cross to the other side they normally lose their voice and their character because it is always very difficult if not impossible to criticize from within.

And again it is very likely that when such people become a part of the establishment they have always criticized they begins to see things in a different light and so temper or, repent of their previous critical views and substituting it with a complicit understanding.

As such, the lowering of professional standards which they have been known for over the years would be the consequence of their decision to take up such appointments in the government, though they may mean well.

In our recent political history, a good number of people have fallen victim in a manner of speaking to this kind of tricky situation. Femi Adeshina, one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s media aides comes to mind. Clearly, he has lost his previous trademark editorial sting, and now he defends even the indefensible.

The most memorable, however, would be the cerebral Dr. Reuben Abati who until his appointment as the chief media aide to the then President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, he was not only a fierce critic of the government, he, equally, would be remembered to have been one of many people who provide alternative economic, social, and political views to that of the government, especially on the TV show' The Patito's Gang.

This is in addition to being a respected member of the Guardian newspaper’s editorial board. He has overwhelming followership.

But as soon as he joined the government, his tone did not only become softer, he became annoyingly conciliatory and apologetic of some of the mediocrity that was prevalent with the government.

Sooner, he began to get the long end of the stick from people in his constituency and the members of the public who quickly pointed out that criticizing the government from outside is one of the easiest things to do but maintaining it when you're on the inside is an impossibility.

The same scenario, I strongly believed, would have played out if Dr. Festus Adedayo's appointment as the Chief spokesperson to the Senate President had stayed. In fact, to me, I think he has been saved from getting himself embarrassed because at the end of the day he would found himself defending decisions and actions of government he wouldn't have condoned ordinarily if he was to be outside.

Therefore, I think it is a high time people who are critics should stop deluding themselves that they can change things when they are appointed into government in whatever capacities.

I would've preferred a situation whereby they are card-carrying members of these political parties before they are appointed than parading themselves as the all-knowing brain-boxes who can’t afford to allow the proverbial white garment of their noble objective at seeing to it that government delivered get soiled.




  


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Check out my eBooks and grab yourself a copy NOW!

you know what? For the umpteenth time, I'm super excited.

And the reason for my excitement is not farfetched. I've just published my first eBooks on Amazon

Are you a poetry aficionado? If the answer is yes, you can grab a paperback copy or eCopy of these books of poetries through the following links: 'Thankful to be back from the dead and The Barbershop and Other poems' respectively.

And how do you do that?

Hit Amazon.com on your smartphone or your PC and search the titles above in the literary/African category.

And you're done.

After reading it, don't forget to give me feedback as regards your experience. And I'll appreciate that a lot.

I'm so sure you will love the experience.

Have a nice day as usual!

Yours truly,
Deji Olaluwe.
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Opinion: Mikel Obi, Jealous tantrums, and other stories

Image AFP
Let me make it clear that if it is about winning the argument, I don't think it is going to be possible to have a fruitful conversation around the topic at hand.

But if it is about educating, interrogating the issues, and objectively sharing of our perspective, I think we can make headway.

As a background to this article, an interview was recently granted by Super Eagles of Nigeria's Captain Mikel Obi. And it has been trending because it threw up some Opata.

In the said interview, Mikel addressed a number of questions surrounding his career.

He also talked about the chances of the Super Eagles in Egypt which he described as bright.

Comparing this team to the team that won the same cup in 2013 which he was a part of, the Middleborough of England’s defender said the 2013 team has a lot of experience whereas this present team is a mix of experience and youth. 

He also hinted about an imminent retirement from international football, and his plans to become a businessman rather than take to coaching.

He admits, however, that his Russian wife has been encouraging him towards getting a coaching license. But he doubts strongly if he would be a good coach.

However, the flash-point for most people during the interview was when he hit out at critics who are largely ex-internationals/coaches, and pundits who had criticized him at different times in the past of being jealous of his achievement.

As expected, it has become a subject of intense conversation around the country.

Specifically, Mikel was criticized by ex-international J.J Okocha for not doing enough as Nigeria's creative midfielder at the global football showpiece in Russia last year.

And it would also be recalled that even his Coach at the under 20-level Samson Siasia once hinted that anybody who makes an attempt as to criticize Mikel must be prepared for a fight.

Obviously, these comments have not gone down well with Mikel who was making a return to the Super Eagles as the team continues their preparation towards the nation’s cup coming up in Egypt after a year lacunae.

Before I continue, let me quickly take a look at the word criticism. Criticism is the art of carefully breaking down of concept, model, product, performance, ideas, names it with a view to extracting or, distilling their qualities, their different part or, features advantages, and disadvantages.

Therefore, it can be safely said that criticism is not a bad thing in itself especially if done objectively and with a deep sense of responsibility.

But criticism sometimes can be hard to stomach if it only highlights the flaws in the something or, somebody without balancing it with praises where it is deserving.

Who and what is open to criticism?

A thing or person is open to criticism provided they are in the public domain in terms of representation, service, and the likes. Clearly, politicians, musicians, actors, sportsmen, and women to name a few falls into this category.

Sources of criticism?

Criticism can be self-generated or, from the third party who are consumers of what is on offer. However, criticism when it is self-generated can either be deceptive or, grossly inadequate because objectivity may be lacking.

Therefore, it is best when it comes from outsiders who are professional assessors who want you to be the best you can possibly be.

So, the opinions of the likes of Mikel Obi do not count concerning who gets to criticize them because they are more less a public property.

As a footballer which Mikel is, fans and analysts alike are bound to make critical comments on their performance, especially if it falls below par, and shower them accolades if its top notch.

The interesting thing is these fans and analysts can be drawn from among your fellow countrymen and foreigners alike.

Criticisms in most cases are made to get the best out things so that those who design them will know which areas to improve upon.

Criticism is the tonic professionals need to excel and to go beyond mediocrity, and only in few instances are they made to make others feel bad.

But the moment professionals begin to select who should and shouldn't criticize them then, there must be a character problem somewhere.

Mikel seems to have forgotten that those whom he’s accusing of criticizing him now were once in his shoes and were not spared.

In fact, they played times without number right before the Lagos fans which today remains the most critical football fans in Nigeria.

And they excelled, unlike the present crops that have buckled under vociferously demanding Lagos football supporters. Is that not the reason why Super Eagles' matches were moved elsewhere?

Okocha for instances was severely criticized during his playing days for either being too selfish with the ball or, playing to the gallery even by teammates.

These are fact and not made up accusations from the imagination of ardent football fans and critics alike because they were jealous of him.

This was given more prominence by Oliseh when he spoke at the recognition accorded the 90s generation by the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) a few months back.

So, if Okocha criticizes him for not doing enough as a creative midfielder, I believe he simply wants him to give his best and not the contrary.
Besides, there has been unending debates about whether Mikel is better as a defensive midfielder than as a creative midfielder or. Vice versa.

But like almost everything characteristically Nigerian, the conversation has somehow veered off issue and substance.

From Mikel's outburst, he certainly didn't know that before you go out fighting, one thing that must be strongly considered is what the defenses available to you are.

And I think it was for a lack of good defenses against the barrage of criticisms from some of these ex-internationals that makes him to take solace in his achievement as his most dependable self-defense mechanism.

But if I may ask, what has he achieved that some of these ex-internationals have not achieved?

What also has he achieved that should be sufficient to shield him from a fair criticism?

Is he the first to win the UEFA Champions cup, the premiership, and the FA cup? You can see those are not even a dependable line of defense. They fall flat on their faces.

Perhaps, he’s referring to his net worth, after all, he is said to be richest Nigerian footballer. But where does that fits in on the subject of criticism as a footballer? 

Maybe the rule will change tomorrow. But as at today, being rich doesn’t exempt him or, anybody else from been hold up to the analysts’ microscope.

Even if his trophy cabinet is unrivaled, it still doesn't remove him from criticism because even those who were better than him get criticized every now and then.

So, if he doesn't want to get criticized, the best he can do is excuse himself from activities that expressly expose him to one. Unfortunately, as things stand he is stuck.

Above all, I think his case is like that of an industrious child who because he is the one supplying the needs of the family thinks his parents should look the other way even if he does something wrong. To me, he's been just a spoilt brat. I rest my case.

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A True Story: Jumping From Frying-pan into the fire

"Every time I ponder over the story I'm about to share, the more it reminds me of the famous saying that: Once the purpose of something is not known, abuse is inevitable. 

Or alternatively that you sometimes don't know what you have until it's gone."

Gbenga (not his real name) is an Abuja based middle-aged man. He actually migrated to Abuja in the year 2008. It must be acknowledged that things have not been easy for him since his arrival.

He was huffing and puffing like forever to make meaning out of his life. But things have not really gone his way like he had expected. Away from his specialized field as an Aluminum technician, he has done virtually every odd job thinkable.


*This is not Gbenga. I got this from Shuttlestock

A brief luck, however, smile on him and he was able to raise some money with which he rented his first one-room apartment in a remote part of the FCT. 

He met his wife along the line and they wedded in 2010. It was a low budget wedding. They had two boys together when the going was good. Things took a downturn for him, the moment Nigeria's economy slide into a recession that he couldn't pay his rent, feed, cloth, and the school fees of his children.

At the peak of his misery, he asked his wife to temporarily move in with her parents, who luckily lived in their own home in Abuja so he could figure out things. And she obliges.

Desperate problem calls for desperate solution.

On his part, he desperately scouted around and was chance to meet an old friend who was a security guard at a building site. It has been a long while they last saw each other.

After narrating his ordeals to him, the friend agreed to take him in. He offered him one of the several rooms in the building which is at an advanced stage of completion at least to lay his head until he is able to sort himself.

Meanwhile, he refused to reveal to the wife who by then has become genuinely anxious to know what has become of him since they parted ways that he has found a place to stay.

Yes, the building is one to which finishing touches are been put to, but does that warrants the non-disclosure. Your guess is as good as mine.

In no time, he started getting menial jobs at the construction sites around. But as soon as money began to enter his hands, his orientation changed dramatically.

He started to keep a late night brings ladies to pass the night, his smoking and drinking habits spiked at the same time. Above all, he stopped calling his wife and neither picks her calls.

On top of that, he realized all of a sudden that the family of his wife was the one to blame for his existential ordeals. So, he equally concluded never to have anything to do with any of them and their daughter.  He also wouldn't send money to his children whose education has halted.

The wife also by that time was been pressured by her parents to go and reunite with her husband. It’s been two years of their separation, and long enough a time for him to have gotten something doing, the parents opined.

And for that reason, she actually did successfully trace her husband to his temporary abode with the help of a family friend who had met him during one of their numerous hustling engagements. Afterward, she would come around and even passed the night there on a number of occasions.

This certainly, for obvious reasons of his new lifestyles, did not go down well with him. As such, he picked a fight with her on anything, and a time at the dead of the night and even threatened her with eviction.

Finally, he would tell anybody who cares to listen that he is not going back to the mother of his children because doing so is like returning to Egypt.

Eventually, he was able to save some money enough to get an apartment in one of the many satellite towns in the FCT.  And he immediately relocated.

However, on the eve of his departure the friend who had helped him with accommodation actually counseled him to do everything humanly possible to bring his wife and kids back as that is the wisest thing to do. But it felled on deaf ears.

As soon as he got to his newly rented apartment, he started hunting for another woman to marry. In the process, he met and fell in love with a woman whose marriage looks set for the rocks. She had postured herself as an irresistible utility cougar. But it was all a ploy, a bait to trap him.

Along the line, he was able to convince himself of his preparedness to take a chance and cash in.  Unknown to him, she was a mother of four but has only been seeing her with a baby.

Their love blossomed and everything appears to be going according to plan. Convinced he had gotten his teeth deep enough on the bait, she pulled the liner and that was it.  She became pregnant.

The twist to the whole story, however, came when the woman's husband began to weigh his options. All the while, he had pretended not to know about the unholy affair his wife was into.

He didn't pick a fight with either of the paramours like some men who find themselves in his shoes would have. But he certainly had an ace up his sleeves.

A carefully executed disappearance act.

Sooner than later, tongues started to wag.  Concerned members of the small community started to ask questions. Possibly out of shame or something, he took off when nobody could tell to an unknown destination.

By that time, the wife's pregnancy for her concubinage-half had become conspicuous. That was how he left her with three other kids surprisingly.

With this turn of event, the kids were left with no other option than to seek out their mother and moved in with her.  That is how Gbenga became a stepfather of four kids in addition to the one on the way which, obviously, he wasn't prepared for.

He has been running from the pillar to post, ever since, all in the bid to fend for his new family. Is he not now in a greater Egypt compared to the one he was running away from?

And it is an understatement that it has really got to him. He is now a shadow of his old self because peace of mind had eluded him. Indeed, like the Yoruba would say, the trouser has fallen terribly short of his waistline.

Now, that for me is nothing but ‘jumping from frying-pan into fire’. A situation all sincerely men should never be in. I think poor appraisal was the cause of my character’s predicament. What do you think?     

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Nigerian Police in search of excellence and redemption: the Tech option

File photo. Source: Toryng

The Nigerian Police has long been perceived as one of the most corrupt public institutions in Nigeria if not the most corrupt.

Battling poor funding, indiscipline, and over-stretched workforce, it has grossly underperformed in its statutory responsibility for decades now.

Currently, Nigeria is under-policed as a result of inadequate and inefficient manpower in the force. And many of its citizens have become perennial victims of the unprofessional attitudes of police rank and file.

As we speak, a lot of allegations have been leveled against many of its officers and men. They include extra-judicial killings, slow response to distress calls, bribery, unlawful detention of innocents, and criminals alike beyond the stipulated timeline, blowing the lead on their informants, illegal roadblock, and outright extortion of law-abiding members of the public.

In fact, police stations across the length and breadth of the country, just as the late Afro-beat musician Fela Anikulapo rightly predicted have become something akin to banking halls because a lot of their routine professional activities have been transactionalized and commercialized.

Bail you are told is free, even with a sticker to that effect on the walls of the police post, but the contrary is what obtained at every visit by family and friends of the detained who are forced to part with tens of thousands of naira to secure the release of their loved ones.

It is commonplace also that the police sometimes demand mobilization fees from the complainants to activate their responsibility of carrying out the arrest of persons alleged to have acted in breach of relevant laws of the land.

And because these monies are not receipted, they can only end up in the bank accounts of officers and men connected with the case for which money has been paid.


Also as Nigerians, you certainly must have heard times and again the slogan: 'police is your friend' on your favorite media channels.


But more often than not, many people have ironically discovered over the years that with a friend like the police, you actually don't need an enemy. Now, unfortunately, the majority are no longer fooled.

The police authority, on the other hand, has often not helped matters. It has been criticized for its lack of willpower to draw up a roadmap to put an end to these sharp practices that have completely eroded the trust people have in the police.

With this attitude, it becomes so convenient to conclude that the top echelons of the police are a direct beneficiary of these illicit funds. And that cannot be far from the truth.

It then came as no surprise to both security experts, and members of the public, who especially have long been at the receiving end of their unethical practices when Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) listed it as number one in its latest ranking of the corrupt public institutions in Nigeria.  

However, with the coming of the new IGP, Adamu Muhammed, there has been some new response to these and other mounting security challenges presently facing the nation.

The new IGP immediately on assumption of duty has thrown up a couple of innovative ideas on how to effectively combat the rising spate of insecurity in the country and also to check cases of unprofessional conducts of police personnel, and units of which the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) readily come to mind.

The SARS un-abating notorieties have continued to generate resenting conversations among Nigerians. Even to this end, the end SARS campaign on social media is still very fresh in our minds.

The IGP has indeed hit the ground running. It is little wonder, therefore, that the Mr. President had recently joked that the IGP is lean which is as a result of his high work rate since assuming office.

One of the measures that have been suggested by the IGP is the Constabulary Force which if I’m not mistaken was widely used with great successes during the colonial era. I remembered reading in my history textbook that it was deployed during the Oba Overamwen Nogbaisi incident of 1897.

While the IGP has been commended for being proactive and thoroughgoing, the presidential Human Right Commission that has looked into allegations of abuses leveled against the Nigerian Police personnel and other security-related issues submitted its report to the president.

And the report contained a lot of recommendations. According to the various news sources, it recommended in part state and local government policing which is what many people have been clamoring for, and the president appears in the interim to align with.

The commission also recommended for dismissal 37 officers of the force and additional 24 for prosecution for various forms of professional misconducts. It recommends also that the IGP should fish out 22 other officers accused of violating the rights of citizens.

Just as we were chewing those, the Nigerian Police also simultaneously hinted on the plan to launch a security App, tagged VGS security App. According to the force information outlet, the App will among others assist the force in the effective discharge of its security functions. 

The App, when finally launched the police claimed will enable it to respond swiftly to security emergencies which members of the public must have put through on the App.     
  
A section of the public has been so impressed by the news that they excitedly went online looking to download the app. They were, however, disappointed because no app meets the description given by the police could be found on Google play store.

Others can only be amused because it amounted to playing to the gallery or embarking on a wild goose chase. And I’m one of them.

While I concur that the Nigerian Police are in dire need of an urgent search of excellence in its modus operandi; the launch of a security App is clearly a step that smacks of a misplaced priority.

Though, I’m not unaware of the fact that artificial intelligence is increasingly playing strategic roles in the operations of private and public institutions around the world and Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind; it is, however, the least and the last the Nigerian Police needed at this point in time.

Ordinarily, it would’ve led to an enhanced capacity for the Nigerian Police, but I doubt this would be the case because the Nigerian Police has not been able to cover itself in glory looking back at how poorly it has often managed the information regularly and directly provided it by members of the various communities where they have an outpost.

If officers and men of the Nigerian Police can excuse themselves from their statutory responsibility when people alert them of incidents of crime on various flimsy grounds, what then do you think will happen if an App is all they will rely on to professionally discharged their official duty?   

I think more than ever before, the Nigerian Police must work hard to, first of all, regain the lost confidence and trust of the people and focus more on effectively interfacing with the people and their various communities to whom they owed the task of effective policing.   

After that, the tech option can then come on stream for complementary purposes. Anything outside of this, for now, is diversionary and will be counterproductive.

At best, all I see the App does for the people is perhaps eliminate some of the risks involved in providing the police with timely and reliable information necessary for the professional discharge of their duty.

But for App to significantly alter the process of social security is Nigeria when fully operational is incomprehensible and farfetched.

The first thing I want the Police Authorities to do is either ensure that bail is truly free if not, the process should be receipted and documented to help the federal government in shoring up its dwindling revenue.

If the people won’t stop committing crimes then the government shouldn’t wait to widen the process of cashing in on it.


Secondly, SARS and indeed the entire police force should be reformed for efficiency and professionalism with immediate effect as recommended by the Human Right Commission.

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Opinion: Isn’t Our Religiosity As Nigerians A Scam After All?

Just as vultures would feast on putrefying carcasses with loud shrieks, some critics of the re-elected president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari have been having a field day criticizing him yet again just as he was being sworn in for the second term.

His misfortune this time around, in a manner of speaking, was his decision to kick-starts his second term in office by jetting off to Saudi Arabia to participate in a conference of the Organization of Islamic Co-operation (OIC).

Critics see it as an act of presidential irresponsibility which is an offshoot of his already bloated bag of un-presidential antecedents. So, to these people, he hasn’t learned from his past mistakes.

Why would he choose to travel out of the country on the morning of his second term inauguration and to a conference with an Islamic link, when there’re mounting challenges at home begging for his attention, many who are Christians among them have queried?

It is indicative, they further argued, of his secret plans to Islamize the country. Of course, that’s an allegation that refused to go away since the days of his many botched presidential aspirations.

Many also argue it is in furtherance of his Fulanization or Herdernization agenda. And again, what has also helped to fuel these narratives was a recent announcement by the federal government that broadcast license has been obtained for the establishment of a radio station that will broadcast in Fulfulde to the nomadic Fulani all over Nigeria.

*President Muhammadu Buhari pictured at the commissioning of a terminus in Lagos (AFP)

Lending their voice, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), also questioned the rationale behind the president’s trip and the radio license thing likening them to a brazen attempt to portray Nigeria as an Islamic nation and a Fulani colony.

I’m a Christian, you know, but I must confess I always have a problem with this religious association simply because of its penchant to give every action of the Muslims an Islamization twist as if there’s nothing like Christianization too.

The fact is both religions are constantly trying to make proselytize of the people at every opportunity with different modus Operandi. From history, the Muslims can be described as being aggressive about it; while Christians, on the other hand, are subtle and persuasive. 

There’s, however, no denying that the pair are eternal rivals and the fallout at every point has not been good for many countries Nigeria inclusive.

The sectarian crisis here and then is all we get because of such. Today, the country is battling an insurgent group called Boko Haram in the North-east.

And to imagine all these conversations are happening, almost coincidentally, just days after the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo raised an alarm about what he called the Fulanization agenda of the Buhari’s administration.

Then, the question that readily comes to mind is ‘is this not a case of the 'witch crying yesterday and the baby dying the morning after’, like the Yoruba would say? My answer would be a deafening No!

But the more you listen to the raucous conversations around these issues, the more you’re tempted to think the president has just smuggled the country into the OIC through the back door on the morning of his inauguration.

Meanwhile, history tells me that Nigeria became a Bonafide member of the OIC in the 80s precisely during the administration of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. If you remember, it was an acrimonious affair back then too.

Interestingly also, it was widely seen as the Muslims’ response to a similar action by a Christian former president of the country a decade or so earlier. Recall that the government of former head of state Gen. Yakubu Gowon had enlisted Nigeria as a member of the World Christian Association sometimes in the early 70s.

But first, who says Nigeria is a predominantly Muslims country because I’m aware that the OIC is an association of countries with predominantly Muslim population?

In a similar vein, who says Nigeria is a predominantly Christians country because that must have been the criteria for becoming eligible for membership of the WCA?

Or is it a case of Nigeria being a random religious pawn in the hands of its leaders for they have overtime clearly acted in contrary to its constitution which in clear terms designated her as a secular state?    

Obviously, while the wailing was going on, many of those who were vigorously knocking the Buhari’s Islamization and Fulanization agenda didn’t know that the Christian former president Goodluck Jonathan once attended a similar conference in the company of his wife and top government officials at Egypt in 2013.

Is it not instructive that he didn’t become a Muslim for keeping company with Muslims from around the world at the conference?

The next poser for all of us would be how come our leaders have continued to attend the respective conferences of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and not of the World Christian Association (WCA)?

Clearly, one thing is obvious. It is either our membership of the WCA is dormant or the association itself is inactive and of no effect in the affairs of member nations.

And I stand to be corrected if a Nigeria past president dead or alive post-Gowon era did ever attended a conference that was organized by the WCA, that’s if there was any conference by it during this same period.

That being the case, therefore, no one should complain or raise an eyebrow over the continued participation in the OIC conferences by our leaders in view of its relevance and commitment to the developmental challenges facing member nations. 

It is on record that the OIC has always given monies and other supports to countries facing all manners of existential challenges of which insurgency is today tops. I’m aware counter-terrorism measures top the agenda at the recent Saudi meeting.

You know what, I’m not here to hold brief for any of the dominant faiths in Nigeria. Rather, I want to genuinely labor to point out my concerns with faith issues in Nigeria and the mileage we need to go to truly become a nation of Godly and not just religious people.

From the happenings in the country, it won’t be totally out of place to say being religious has been more of a curse than blessing for Nigeria?

Being religious cannot be said to be bad in itself; but what about being Godly which should be the other side of the same spirituality coin.

Yes, Nigerians, as we speak, are arguably the most religious people in the world with a religious facility conspicuously located within a kilometer or less of streets in our major cities. 

One would expect that to affect the totality of who we are and what we do especially in government and in other areas of our life. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

While Nigeria is outrightly not a theocratic state, but the loud signals you get across the length and breadth of the country every now and then is an attempt to make it looked like one.
Both the leaders and followers act it.

And as you go through the roll call of theocratic countries in the world Nigeria happens to be the only one with it humungous human and natural resources that have performed below par.

Even in the northern part of the country which pride itself an Islamic enclave of sort, there is nothing that’s reflective of such progressive realities comparable to what obtained in places like Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Kuwait name it.

The number of out-of-school children is growing. Child marriage is the norm. Ignorance is a way of life. It is not uncommon to hear an average Northern youth declare with pride ‘Ba Turensi’, meaning he or she can’t speak or hear English.

Since education is being subtly de-emphasized ostensibly by the Northern religious oligarchs, teenagers up North can be seen roaming the streets looking for menial jobs instead of staying back in their so-called tuition-free schools despite also the federal government’s recent foodie incentive. Armed Banditry, Kidnapping, Cattle rustling and other act of criminality is on the rise.    

And in the south which proudly prides itself as a Christianity bastion, the narratives are only slightly different in terms of the social impact of religion compared to what was witnessed even during the colonial era.

The proliferation of churches to a large extent is now a matter of economic necessity and not of spiritual enrichment of congregants and the larger society. Ownership of worship centers has often become subject to serious litigation.

Altars are being raised on false calls, and false visions and prophecies are being reeled out with reckless abandon. Deadly fetish competition has become a hobby. Scriptural passages are twisted to suit the comforts of the founders spiritual or material.

Those whom some clergies should have rescued from the roaming foxes; they have instead been pushed to the mouth of hungry roaring lions.

There’re reported cases of clergies impregnating female members of their fold and in their numbers, getting involved in ritual killings, money laundering, and other social vices.

Unlike before, the schools established with the church's monies are now a no go area for not only the poor members of the society but also members of the same church who are joint-contributors to the project becoming a reality.

And people think there is nothing wrong with that forgetting that, once upon a time in this country, children of both the rich and the poor attended the same missionary schools where quality in terms of morals, standard, and spirituality were the watchword.

Now the new slogan, regrettably, is ‘if you think education is expensive, try ignorance’. Even recently, Oby Ezekwesili, a former minister of education and a presidential aspirant in the last general election was reported to have echoed the same noxious sentiments.

Somehow, educationists and critical stakeholders in this sector have come to equate quality education with charging insane fees. 

Put all of these together, you cannot but want to conclude that our religiosity as Nigerians is nothing but a SCAM. It has not significantly rubbed off on our fumbling and wobbling humanity. 

Of course, to every rule, you might say there is an exception, but with Nigeria and Nigerians I dare say they come in insignificant numbers. And that’s the saddest part of all.


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Issue: What is Ungrateful about an entertainer calling it time with social media?


In today's business and career, it is a matter of strategic importance to have a couple of social media accounts in addition to owning a portfolio website or blog.

The purpose is not far fetched or completely out of place.  They give brands a wider reach in the promotion of their products and services.

Through it, they generate traffic which they either turned into a lead or outrightly monetized through ads placement as seen on YouTube, websites, and blogs.

Since emergence, social media have helped nondescript but talented individuals and corporate entities to build a large network of followers on which they leverage for continuous brand relevance.

Not left out of this trend are the entertainers: musicians, dancers, actors, and actresses. We have seen rookies get signed on by big musical brands after posting a short video of their work online.

Somehow, it has become almost unthinkable that a brand no matter how big would consider exiting such a powerful platform.

And so it came as a shock to many when Nigeria's Afro-fusion musician, Burna Boy announced that he was leaving the social media. As for me, I'm indifferent.

One of such people is MC Shakara. According to reports, he was said to have called out Burna Boy on his decision to quit all social media platforms describing him as an ingrate. That to me was way too harsh, uninformed, and unfounded.

All this while I’d relied on what was reported in the news to form my opinion. But recently I was privileged to see the video clip of the interview where MC Shakara attacked the A-list musician as an ingrate.


*Comedian MC Shakara.

In the video, MC Shakara went down the memory lane tracing the trajectory of the musician's rise to fame.

He recalled that the social media was instrumental to the popularity of Burna Boy as a musician and that it amounted to being an ingrate leaving a platform that helps powered him to stardom.

There were times, he said, that Burna Boy craved the attention of social media users for his musical activities. And then suddenly he started getting the needed love, conversations, and comments on the various social media. Now that he has become a force to reckon with musically he now decided to quit.

While MC Shakara has got the liberty to air his displeasure at the artiste's action; I'm, however, of the opinion that there's nothing like being an ingrate leaving any platform no matter how important it appears to be for the professional survival of such person or entity. 

After all, social media have not always been there. It is a new phenomenon. Fine, it helps accelerate brand awareness and bridge boundaries.

In a way, the action of the musician resonates with a conversation we once had around the over reliance of the present day entertainers on the various online platforms to grow their brand a luxury which old entertainers didn't have.

You would recall the desecrating comparison drawn between Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Whizkid when the latter had a sold-out show at the O2 Arena in London the first time.

In their uncontrolled impudence and profanity, some of his admirers obviously high on the induced excitement of seeing their hero took to one of the biggest vaudeville in the world and hobnobbing with American A-list singers even held that he was the greatest thing to happen to Nigeria music industry.

But people had then pointed out that the social media had indeed helped the new generation of entertainers and gives them a wider reach and so it is really difficult to gauge their true worth as creative geniuses. Even in the western world, there is hardly anyone in their class who has survived up to the age of 70 as a musician.

Legendary musicians like Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, King Sunny Ade, Commander Ebenezer Obey to mention a few didn't have such starting out yet they were relevant for decades. Their songs are evergreen.

While the social media may have become quite handy in broadening the reach of an entertainer; it, however, cannot help sustain their career. It is not a substitute for talent. It is not a replacement for genius. So if you're good; you're good. And if you’re not good; you’re not good.

Not discountenancing the transforming force of the ubiquitous internet but it is definitely not the reason people succeed or fail in some of the industries that we have around.

If King Sunny Ade and the likes can lock it down for decades, nothing stops Burna Boy from locking it down too. By quitting social media, we can then begin to watch out to see if the artiste can survive without the online social communities which we all know many of them do rely on for relevance.

So, I will give big thumbs up for Burna Boy for having the courage to take such step when it appears to be unthinkable and could be counterproductive. Clearly, calling it time with social media cannot be an ungrateful act but a choice that should be respected by all.   




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How I Added Inline Social Media Share To My Blogger Blog


I cannot overstate the importance of social media share for our Blogs and Websites.
For the sake of emphasis, it makes it easier for your blog’s audience to share your content they find valuable with their friends on the social media of their choice.

So, in this post, I’m going to share my success story on how I added inline social media shares to my blog.

But to be honest, it is an improvement on an earlier awesome tutorial by Techno Gadget World on out how to add floating social media share widget to blogger blog. Read the full post here.

After stumbling on it, it happens to be exactly what I’ve been looking to lay my hands on for ages. I was elated and I immediately implemented it on my blog.

However, like an Oliver Twist, I wanted more. And what did I do?

I asked if the same string can be used to achieve inline social media shares. I wasn’t too sure, though, I only said I should give it a try relying on my stammering knowledge of the HTML.

So, I embarked on an ambitious exercise of tweaking the widget code to suit my blog needs and I was pleasantly surprised at the success I was able to achieve.

That was what gave birth to the post you’re reading. Without much ado, let’s quickly go to the details.
And how did I do it? Below is the floating social media share widget supplied by Techno Gadget World:

<!-- AddThis Button BEGIN -->
<div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_floating_style addthis_32x32_style" style="left:50px;top:50px;”>
<a class="addthis_button_facebook"></a>
<a class="addthis_button_twitter"></a>
<a class="addthis_button_pinterest_share"></a>
<a class="addthis_button_linkedin"></a>
<a class="addthis_button_whatsapp"></a>
<a class="addthis_button_email"></a>
</div>
<script type="text/javascript">var addthis_config = {"data_track_addressbar":true};</script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=ra-51f184b5319b19ad"></script>
<!-- AddThis Button END -->

Note: To use, just copy and paste to the HTML field anywhere in the gadgets section of your blog’s layout and you’re done. But make sure you leave the space above the gadget open.

As you can see below, all I did was:

1.     1Change floating to inline in red highlight.
2.     2. Change the style link also in red above to this: style='align: left;’

3.     3. Add the code in the second line (also highlighted in red below) to enforce it on the page. You can remove it if you want the share to display on the homepage alone.

4.      4..And finally, I also add the terminating </b:if> code in red right before the </div> in the string. Actually 3 and 4 go together.  

5.      5.To substitute the default social media share with any of your choice, all you need to do is follow the existing pattern.

<!-- AddThis Button BEGIN -->
<div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_inline_style addthis_32x32_style"  style='align: left;'>
<b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == &quot;item&quot;'>
<a class="addthis_button_facebook"></a>
<a class="addthis_button_twitter"></a>
<a class="addthis_button_pinterest_share"></a>
<a class="addthis_button_linkedin"></a>
<a class="addthis_button_whatsapp"></a>
<a class="addthis_button_email"></a>
</b:if></div>
<script type="text/javascript">var addthis_config = {"data_track_addressbar":true};</script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=ra-51f184b5319b19ad"></script>
<!-- AddThis Button END -->

To simply add inline social media share to blogger blog, just copy the entire code above and apply it where you like in your blog template.

But I can’t guarantee you there won’t be hitches as you embark on implementing it in your blog template.

Therefore, to be on the safer side, you might need to back up your template. To do so, copy, paste, and save the template codes to your notepad.

Secondly, you might also need to switch off the blogger default share for the best result which can be found in the gadget setting of the layout of your blog. Click the edit link in the blog post page and just toggle it off.

To edit your template, Go to Theme > Edit HTML > click Jump to widget > select Blog1.

To achieve the best result, look for and paste below or above this line of code in your template:

<data:post.body/>

Or alternatively below any of these two strings:
<div class='post-footer-line post-footer-line-1'>
<div class='post-footer-line post-footer-line-2'>

Or you just look for this set of codes and add just below the last (div)

<!-- share buttons -->
    <div class='post-share-buttons goog-inline-block'>
        <b:include cond='data:post.sharePostUrl' data='post' name='shareButtons'/>
      </div>

      </div>

Click save and you’re done!


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