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NIGERIA AT 60: LET’S BLAME THE PRESIDENT

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By Bala Ibrahim.

By next week, precisely Thursday, 1st October 2020, Nigeria will be celebrating it’s diamond jubilee, having turned 60 as an independent nation. The Government, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved an inclusive National Independence Celebration program, that will see that the thematic and creative aspects of the event are designed by Nigerians quickly for Nigeria.

According to the Government, the intention is to use this opportunity to harness the power of Nigeria’s creative minds to create a new brand identity around the anniversary theme, which will be celebrated in the public space for one year. Good, very good.

But while the organizers are busy looking for a Nigerian solution to the thematic and creative aspects of the event and other challenges facing our country, as directed by the President, methinks Nigerians should also challenge the President more, on why he chose to tackle the challenges of the country with the “accepted” theme and title of “Go slow”.

Sometimes in 2015, shortly after emerging as the President, while having audience with Nigerians in the United States, and pursuant to a question on how he would reconcile the massive goodwill given to him by the people, and the high expectations of the public on him, PMB humourously admitted to being referred to as, Baba Go slow, instead of Baba Buhari. He implied that he is not bothered by that nomenclature, because he believes the end would justify the means. Good, very good.

Also sometimes in 1994, shortly after the late General Sani Abacha, invited him to serve as the head of the newly created Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund (PTF), by which time I was a reporter with the BBC, I put a call to him on the telephone, where I asked General Buhari, whether he was bothered by the insinuation from his die-hard supporters, who felt he has sold out by accepting that appointment?. The General said he was not bothered, because he would work to the best of his ability, for the best of the country, and the end would justify the means. I felt Good, very good.

PTF started sluggishly, because it spent alot of time on the drawing board, which, inspite of the relative restriction on freedom of speech, because the regime was a military one, saw alot of criticism and pressure from the civil society groups. Although in the end, after getting it’s balance, PTF turned out to be the most impactful parastatal ever established in the history of Nigeria, that Go slow aspect, nearly hampered it’s performance.

If we go by reminisce, when he came the first time as military Head of state, the famous and popular quote of Buhari then was, “This generation of Nigerians and indeed future generations, have no other country than Nigeria. We shall remain here and salvage it together”. He spent alot of time going through the books, setting up tribunals to try suspects, and before the bulldozers could start pulling and packing the rubbles, another set of cowboys came to change the course. Since then, the journey was turned from Good to Bad, with the ugly beckoning at the speed of light.

Taking a cue from these antecedents, and going by the constrants of tenure under the termed arangement of democracy, vis a vis the myriad of problems facing Nigeria at 60, I think Mr. President is wrong, by continuing to use the Go slow phylosophy in the digital race to the stars. Yes, like late Professor Ali Mazrui said, while other continents have been to the moon and back, and even the sun is getting closer, we in Africa, are still trying to get to the village. He added that, even if we get to the village, we may not be able to get back, because the roads are decayed, while the rails have crumbled.

Jauxtapose the saying of late Mazrui with the precarious situation of Nigeria today, particularly the issue of insurgency, which is growing in strength and sophistication, and gradually becoming ominous for the country, one can not but ask, why is the President being soft on some issues?

Particularly appalling is the slow speed in implementing some of the policy options for addressing the causes of the insurgency. The situation is turning ominous because everytime a deadline is given, something bad comes on the timeline, and the country goes to grief.

It may be recalled that around the middle of June this year, about 4 months to the 60th anniversary, sequel to the deterioration of security in the country, with more than two attempts on the life of the Governor of Borno state, Professor Baba Gana Zullum, the President said, the service chiefs, whose tenure he is continiously extending without convincing reasons, need to do more, because they were not doing enough. Instead of going down, the atacks and tactics changed exponentially upwards.

Again early in August, disturbed by the outcry of the public, the President, through the National Security Adviser, ordered an immediate re-engineering of the entire security apparatus of the country, which he said would be done within a short time, imploring Nigerians to patiently await the result.

While Nigerians are awaiting the result, and anxiously looking forward to the celebration of safety at sixty, the country was thrown into another round of mourning few days ago, over the death of a military commander, Colonel Bako, who was fatally wounded in an ambush by Boko Haram militants in Borno state. Less than two days after, the convoy of Governor Babagana Zulum of the same Borno State, was again attacked by Boko Haram terrorists, around the same axis.

Much as Nigerians want to applaud the president for working tirelessly in order to make the end justify the means, working at such slow speed, in a system that is moving at high speed, is akin to working at cross purpose. Add his reluctance to right the wrongs in the wrongful removal of some of his aides, alongside other adverse decisions taken in his absence against the best interest of the country, you cannot but fault the President.

Yes, for Nigeria at 60, Mr. President is partially guilty.

Opinion

Harvard University Library Has 20 Million Books- Dr. Yushau

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Dr Muhammad Jameel Yushau

 

By Dr. Muhammad Jameel Yushau

The Harvard University experience is incomplete without discussing the abundant #learning opportunity offered by Harvard University library.

Harvard University has the oldest university library system in the United States. The library was established in 1638 and there are 28 libraries currently under the #university library system. It comprises 20 million books, 700 staff, 6 million digitized and publicly available items, 1 million maps and spatial data sets and 400 million rare items that include photographs, letters and manuscripts as stated by the university library page.

Harvard library

Harvard’s library

The Widener library, which is the largest and located at the Harvard Yard is where I enjoy spending part of my weekend. Widener library is an architectural edifice and a tourist attraction. Many visitors to Massachusetts State visit Widener Library as part of their touristic voyage.

A student is allowed to bring at least four guests to study in the library. So myself and my family utilize this opportunity especially during the weekends.

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The Widener library was named after Harry Elkins Widener, a book collector, businessman and 1907 graduate from Harvard University. He died in the titanic accident of April 1912 along with his father. But his mother survived. The surviving mother gave $2 million grant to start the library in the name of her son. In addition to the 6 million digitized items, there are materials in 450 languages in the library.

Students at the site

Students at the site

Takeaway: The backbone of a university is the quality of its library. Contributing to the library is not the exclusive preserve of the university, but a public responsibility.

Dr Yushau is a candidate for the Mid-Career Master Program in Public Administration, and Editor-in-Chief of Africa Policy Journal

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Opinion

Collective action essential on Climate Change Action

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Jibril Salisu Nainna

 

By Jibril Salisu Na’inna.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s article that was recently published by the Washington post was apt and represents a strong voice of reason not only for Nigeria or Africa, but the whole world.

It is easy to rate it appropriately as an article conveying the right massage for humanity at a time the crisis in Ukraine is deflecting attention from the grim climate changes that are causing despair around the world.

The article has exposed the level of imbalance in some global agendas in which some countries and regions do not show sufficient commitment so long those countries or regions feel less affected by the devastating impact of climate change.

It is indeed true that the big economies are unwilling to stop or reduce their emissions that are responsible for global warming and climate change. And they are also shy of making the requisite agreed financial releases necessary to mitigate the impact of climate change,especially in developing countries.

President Muhammadu Buhari was on point when he advised the rich countries not to create the impression that the world cannot invest in its own safety against climate change.

“Don’t tell Africa that the world cannot afford the climate cost of its hydrocarbons — and then fire up coal stations whenever Europe feels an energy pinch. Don’t tell the poorest in the world that their marginal energy use will break the carbon budget — only to sign off on new domestic permits for oil and gas exploration. It gives the impression your citizens have more of a right to energy than Africans,” he said.

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It can be recalled that the rich countries that contributed most to the climate crisis and pledged that to spend $25 billion by 2025 to boost Africa’s efforts to adapt to climate change as the continent continues to struggle with drought, cyclones and extreme heat, as reported by Africanews.

But they have, sadly, failed to make that promise good.”Governments have repeatedly failed to meet their commitments to the $100 billion fund for climate adaptation and mitigation in the developing world — for the mess their own industries caused.”

 

Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt where COP27 is holding has reawaken the consciousness of Africa to demand equal input and enough action with overall sincere commitment to confronting and mitigating the adverse negative effect of climate change facing the world especially the developing and poor countries with very low or no contribution to global carbon emission.

Indeed, Nigeria is not left out of the adverse crisis, the president reminded the world that Nigerian case was not different where he said “Part of my nation is underwater. Seasonal flooding is normal in Nigeria, but not like this. Thirty-four of the country’s 36 states have been affected. More than 1.4 million people have been displaced” it is a verifiable fact, of which Jigawa state of northwestern Nigeria is the most affected state this year.

Nevertheless, for Africa to adopt resolutions of the conference fully enough, countries that made pledges to support developing countries must be committed and any source of survival that must left for the good, must firstly be substituted with an alternative means.

COP 2022 must be a truthful rise to act collectively so as to see more meaning and right actions taken ahead of next conference in 2023.

Jibril Salisu Na’inna is a student and pan Africanist wrote from ABU Zaria.
Jibrilsalisunainna @gmail.com

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Opinion

Intervention Of Elder statesman :Way Out For ASUU- FG Face OFF

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Abdurrahman Joji Adamu

 

Abdurrahman Joji Adamu

The leadership of all University based unions should seek the audience and intervention of General Abdussalami Abubakar regarding the crisis and uncertainty of the Govt to address issues lingering in our Federal Universities, because the Federal government in my opinion, has adopted “competition” as the conflict mechanism tool to defeat ASUU and other University unions, The government is trying to satisfy their own desires at the expense of the other parties.

ASUU had in over the years being going on strikes, whenever they are on strike they table huge demands for the government to look into and addresses them, some of these grievances got considerate hiring by previous regimes and administrations. Part of the successes of ASUU strike overtime gave birth to tertiary intervention fund, which without tetfund intervention our Universities could have been like community public secondary schools.

This time around, the eight month strike had degenerates alot of war of words. looking at the aggressive nature of government ministers on the issue, series of meeting to resolve the strike were proved abortive until the intervention of the speaker of house of representative whom in his capacity and wisdom tried his best, ASUU agrees to back off.

It was apparent that all the striking unions were all tired and some are even ready for a fallback position. But the government in it inhuman nature has refused to give a compassionate attention on the matter by paying backlogs salaries to enable people go back to work, the repercussion had made so many of academic staff having no passion for their jobs anymore.

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Former president Goodluck Jonathan sometimes ago gave a highlight on how he solved the problem of ASUU then, in single day, without doubt we consider the statement of the former President as a challenge posed on President Buhari in order to take clue and expedite measures to resolve the strike issues, but the president gave an absent minded attitude on the lingering issue.

The essence of Government at whatever level is to provide leadership and service to the people. The arrogant nature of both ministers made negotiations deadlocked all times.

Those who think they are too big to serve should not be brought near public offices.

Ministers must not only be suitably qualified for their posts; they must also be willing to serve with all sense of expertise and humility.

With the inability of the ministers to make ASUU- cease fire on these stagnating negotiation and crafty promises, i think the president should re-visit the constitution in order to comprehend his presidential powers and duties accordingly.

 

 

Elder statesmen are seen globally as eminent senior members of a Nation especially : a retired statesman who unofficially advises current leaders. I believe the General can make peace out of these dilemma our Universities are facing. In record we have seen how the General chaired the peace accord committee in 2015 election and without doubt the committee conducted a brilliant work by making the power of incumbency irrelevant and opposition taking over the government.

I think the academics should search for a war veteran like him who has also fulfilled the promise of relinquishing power, perhaps he would advise the government impartially so they would understand.

 

Abdulrahman Joji Adamu
Write from Kano

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