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Generational Responsibility To Salvage The Nigerian Civil Service



Generational Responsibility To Salvage The Nigerian Civil Service

By Tunji Olaopa

The African Public Service Day (APSD) is an annual programme already entrenched within the calendar of the African Union (AU), to be celebrated every June 23 of every year. It emerged in 1994 at the Conference for African Ministers for Public or Civil Service in Tangier, Morocco. Its objective is very simple: to outline the fundamental significance of the public service in the transformation of governance on the continent. Every year therefore, each country is supposed to domesticate the essence of the celebration to beam a critical light on how to raise the bar of the civil and public service professionalism and the capacity readiness to deliver on the promises of good governance on the continent. Indeed, the African Public Service Day celebration is a befitting reminder of the administrative axiom that the public service is the institutional bulwark that ensures the efficient delivery of democratic dividends to the citizens. The fundamental implication of this is that once the public administration fails, the entire democratic experiment fails.

The reform and transformation of the public service system in Nigeria is essentially unfinished. Consequently, the urgency of the reform of the system is caught between two imperatives. The first is the unfolding dynamics of the Fourth Industrial Revolution around which the good governance of any state is securely tied. All good governance frameworks require the operational capacity generated by new technologies to become efficient. The public service is not least in this regard. The second imperative is democratic. One significance of democracy is to empower the citizens. Indeed, democratic governance demands the efficiency of a capacitated public service to deliver the dividends that will transform the lives of the citizens.

READ ALSO: Nigeran Civil Service Bureaucratic Corps From A Generational Lens

One aspect of the elements of public service reform that I want to stress in this contribution has to do with relationship between the public administration professional community and the reform of the civil service system. The argument is that the community of service and practice has a fundamental role to play—indeed carries a burden of generational responsibility—in resuscitating the public service as a professional calling. Let me elaborate. After many years of consistent reform efforts, bad implementations and lack of constant political will to carry reform implementation through to its logical conclusion, the public service system still remains in a near comatose state of dysfunction. Its thriving bureaucratic culture has denied the profession of its vocational reputation. In the Nigerian public service, practically anything goes! The sense in which the system has been invaded by mediocre and charlatans with a strange and confounding mission and work culture which keep running down the vocational capital of the system. The system has unfortunately traded its professionalism for rent-seeking in the context of the politics that Nigeria plays with the destiny of her citizens to be discerning enough to see the extent of degeneracy and rot.

If we do a reality check, the overwhelming and incontestable evidence that conditions public perception of public administration is that neither can government get the work of development done, nor are public institutions working. And the proliferation of private educational institutions, private security service providers, electricity distribution companies, etc. affirm this pervasive theory. Apart from the fact that government has gotten used to delivering on its policies and programs through a task force approach, and at that with the technical support of policy experts and consultants, governments, and indeed the public service, tend to look at implementation and service delivery as an afterthought, rather than as policy priority. This whole coping mechanism, and dependence by government on management consultants, think tanks and policy experts who deploy predominantly industry-tested techniques and diverse concepts-rooted management tools to drive implementation dynamics and change management has certainly become an issue which requires the public service to deepen institutional capacity for learning and skills transfer.

The point here is that whereas there is no lack of ideas and expertise, most of those inputs provided by consultants, without insider-experts collaboration, do hardly translate into deep enough contents and solutions to address first-hand, the issues and problems which governments in Nigeria are seeking for solution. Sadly, MDAs, in turn, lack appropriate skills to use these universal frameworks nor do they have overarching theory of change to guide the functional integration of the new tools, techniques and shared experiences and learning in the dynamics of MDAs’ programme and project management. Thus, making alignment between plans, strategies and implementation to be at best ad hoc, fragmented and incoherent

READ ALSO: Civil Service Commission As Catalyst In Repositioning Nigerian Public Service

The bureau-pathology of the system has been deepened by the substitution of instant or immediate reward, deriving from the undermining of public service principles and rules, for deferred gratification. The virtue of public service has been eroded by the need to make ends meet through corrupt means. This inevitably created the deep-seated moral deficit in work culture that supports the dysfunctional cultural fixation at the root of bureaucratic corruption. And it inevitably increases the degeneration of the value framework that upholds a selfless profession. Existential concerns to make ends meet instigate public servants to undermine the legacy potential of a system that ought to be the bulwark of democratic governance. It is therefore so easy to see how the public service, through government and politicians’ reductionist thinking, could be politicized so much to the point of being mere lines and graphs in organizational and governance charts. In other words, no matter the earnest efforts of the government to reform the system, its dysfunction keeps solidifying.

Albert Einstein once remarked that “the world as we created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” To recuperate the vocational essence of the public service, as essentially a spiritual calling—a professional space where only those with the training, orientation and discipline to create public value alone should be found—then, there is the need for out-of-the-box reflection that targets the communities of service and practice, and tasks them on how we got to where we are as a profession, and what we need to do to renegotiate the future.

The public service is founded on a deep understanding of public-spiritedness. This is a virtue that differentiates the profession from a mere career trajectory. It renders the public service as a calling devoid of instrumental thinking or the vagaries of market dynamics. Public-spiritedness situates the responsibility of the public servant within the ambit of public accountability, and instigates her to an efficient, effective and equitable management of the civil service system. As an ethical frame, the public spirit ensures that the civil servant is not so preoccupied with the technical details of her responsibilities to the exclusion of their human concerns and the public trust. It is this deep-seated professional and vocational virtue that has been badly eroded. Most Nigerians now believe that the civil servants are the most corrupt professionals in the country. The profession therefore requires a fundamental rebranding and reprofiling through significant reform to increase its IQ, restore the public service cherished values and ethics, meritocracy-propelled professionalism and its stewardship relationship with the public—the very reason for its existence as a profession and management—if it would ever regain its prestige as the guardian of the democratic governance codes, institutional memory and continuity in governance.

READ ALSO: Reformed Civil Service Commission: Comparative Lessons for Nigeria

What are we doing to harness our collective strengths as bureaucrats, academics, researchers, development workers to give our profession the future it deserves? This question becomes important given the near-absence of any gatekeeping capacity for public administration and the public service in Nigeria. As one of the professions in Nigeria without a professional body charged with the responsibility of setting standards, maintaining codes of practice and keeping the intellectual contents of its knowledge pack at the cutting-edge of global administrative and governance developments, the public service is abjectly left without any institutional integrity that protects its sacred calling from infiltrators. The profession that the administrative pioneers built with so much candour, sacrifice, foresights and energy has thus been transformed into what will make them turn in their grave.

This is the challenge, precisely. At independence, the public service was handed to Nigeria as a colonial legacy that could assist in the task of nation-building. The generations of pioneers and forebears who laid the foundation for this profession—Simeon Adebo, Jerome Udoji, Sule Katagum, Allison Ayida, Joseph Imoukhuede, Samuel Manuwa, Augustus Adebayo, and many more, struggled not only to retain the ethical and professional codes of the vocation, they handed over to us a formidable instrument for good governance (think about the great infrastructural transformation of the old Western Region, for instance), what excuse will this generation of public servants have for resting on our oars? What would we count as our institutional and administrative legacies? What, in other words, will be the civil service that we will be able to trumpet as the embodiment of our collective professional oversight for the coming generation to assess? What, with all the advantages of intellectual and professional education, creative and disruptive technologies, and the competences necessitated by the knowledge age we operated, will our generation be remembered for as our significant contribution to a profession with an undeniable future, relevance and possibilities?

The first pioneering generation of public administrators and public servants had a sense of the enormity of the task ahead of them, and saw the significance of communities of service and practice as the context within which they could channel their collective efforts. This was the reason for the emergence of the National Association for Public Administration and Management (NAPAM) as a gatekeeping structure. It was clear to them that without a body that guards the cherished values and virtues of the professional, the task ahead would be daunting, if not impossible. NAPAM is meant to be the backbone for a community of practice that allows practitioners, students and scholars of public administration to share experience on the nature, challenges and future of administration in Nigeria. But with NAPAM dead and buried, vast and formidable body of public administration practitioners, scholars, researchers and development workers are left without a structural collective to channel their thoughts and action plans on the reform of the system and the profession. At a critical level, the gatekeeping responsibility of NAPAM involves a deep reflection on the image of public administration in Nigeria. This is defined by the need for a fundamental cultural change that will transform attitudinal and behavioral of public servants, which is the first step towards reinfusing the public service with the sense of public-spiritedness and professionalism that could deliver efficiency and productivity.

Given the critical nature of the gatekeeping imperative towards reprofiling the public service brand, it becomes urgent for the convening of a public service reform conference. Let us take this as the first leg in not only the jumpstarting of the communities of service and practice to their urgent responsibility to public administration, but also opening up the space of administrative reform of the public service system beyond the public servants themselves. The conference will be broad-based not only in its composition but also objectives, ranging from a panoramic survey of past reform efforts, to a deep diagnosis of the dysfunctional dynamics of the public service and public administration in Nigeria, to multifaceted discourses on the directions for transformation. One critical objective of the conference is an animated discussion on the role of a national integrity system (NIS) as the framework within which to solidify institutional integrity, not just of the civil service, but all public services. The NIS constitutes a strategic structural framework for safeguarding important institutional reform and values, especially against the scourge of bureaucratic and political corruption. It facilitates a wide-ranging transformation of the work culture, grounded in a national value dynamic, which will check the tradition of immediate gratification which leads public servants to undermine public service efficiency and growth capabilities.

READ ALSO: Olaopa Meets With Top Lagos Civil Servants, Speaks On How To Reposition State Public Service

The conference should serve as the marching order for the resuscitation and functional imperative of NAPAM and other communities of service and practice. This should include other platforms like the Conference of Retired Permanent Secretaries, states’ equivalent associations for heads of service, the academics and public administration scholars, researchers and department worker to initiate required conversation that will help us to regain the soul of the Nigerian civil service and reshape the future of the profession. This is the urgent imperative if the labor of our national and administrative heroes and heroines will not be in vain.

The vision and strategy for where we want the civil service to be in the foreseeable future are not hard to craft. What is difficult is the will to push the vision to its logical conclusion by implementing its roughest details. Indeed, most visions have died because they had no good soil in reality to aid their survival. Going forward therefore, a key feature of new direction to transform the public service’s business model is applying corporate governance principles and structural changes to align operations to the growing frontiers of technology and e-governance, while at once mainstreaming new tools and techniques to reprofile MDAs’ standard operating systems as whole-of-government transformation initiatives.

As part of instituting a new productivity paradigm in Nigeria therefore, there is the compelling need to take more seriously the whole issues of policy implementation i.e., MDAs’ institutional capability readiness and result-orientation towards overall progress in the achievement of outcomes – financial and performance reporting, better annual reports, bottom-line reporting, quality of services reporting, outcome reporting, state of the public service reporting – much more than ever before. Besides, governments should no more be satisfied with mere reporting of efforts – motion without movement – to reform the public service and to transform it as pronounced at publicized events and through press statements. Rather, it should seek a cultural renewal in the public service and a rekindling of a sense of serving the public that is rooted in social compact-enhanced stewardship that is measurable and evidence-based. Capacity of public servants must be built to better understand and manage transaction costs, manage the different forms of risks in policy implementation; deploy capacity to better evaluate outcomes and to be savvy in managing collaborative partnerships and synergies like PPPs, and for better relationship management. They also need to be more skilled in tracking and managing projects when they drift from the intentions of government and objectives of policy.

The emergence of the twenty-first century public service manager involves arming public managers with new competences that allow them to manage old and the news skills required to manage the new workplace and workforce. Beyond instituting a new performance management culture, the public service must develop a corporate governance policy in managing the expanding frontiers of public sector contractual relationships – grants to non-profit organizations, social impact bonds, PPPs. Making it urgent for the administrative leadership in the civil service to build required commercial, legal and regulatory skills to design and manage complex projects, skills for knowledge management and sharing, the incubation of social innovation around open government partnerships, training issues around results, citizens engagement through social media, crowdsourcing, ethnography, opinion research, branding and user data analytics. Essential to this new strategic intelligence central to the transformation in the nature of government which subscribing to Open Government Partnership enables. The public service should deepen institutional capability to utilize the fundamental benefits of the public-private partnership framework to strengthen its capability readiness to take on governance and policy challenges.

Transiting the public service to the next level in its change agenda demands serious work where all hands—political and bureaucratic—must be on deck. Whatever stage a public service system gets to in its administrative transformation, there is always more reform to be done to get the system always ready for more challenges, and the tasking demands of democratic governance.

. Being excerpt from the 2022 African Public Service Day Lecture Delivered at the Commemorative Event Organized by the Ekiti State Government and to celebrate the retiring Head of Service, Mrs. Peju Babafemi, on Thursday, 23rd of June, 2022 in Ado Ekiti.

.Olaopa is a retired Federal Permanent Secretary, and Professor, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies
(NIPSS), Kuru, Jos .


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Tussle For Supremacy: A Catastrophic Phenomenon Of Power Failure In A Lawless Society



Tussle For Supremacy: A Catastrophic Phenomenon Of Power Failure In A Lawless Society

By Grace Ego Omoni
In the literary world appreciation of the works of art such as the novel and the play is used to explain the author or playwright writing style. One major feature is the plot. Sometimes, a novel or play might have only one plot but is not uncommon to see or identify a plot or plots within a major plot in the narration or drama. The essence is to make the work more interesting and exciting. The subplots hang on the main plot tenaciously. In other words, there is harmony between the subplots and the main plot. The subplots act as support to the main story.

The writer sees the happenings in this nation from the perspective of the above literary style used by authors and playwrights. The events and occurrences in such a time as this in Nigeria can be labelled as a dilemma of a collapsing nation. How do you fathom a situation where some areas in this country especially in the northern geopolitical zones where they now have illegal and unscrupulous individuals governing, making obnoxious policies or laws and imposing them on the citizens of a democratically elected government with impunity ? How do you describe a nation where this new breed of lawless bandits impose taxes of various kinds and degrees on helpless rightful inhabitants? How do you explain a situation where people are restricted from the freedom to live, to work, to worship, to express themselves and of movement? Are we being made to conclude that there is another “government” within a GOVERNMENT legally and democratically elected to govern the people?

On the 27th of June in Channels Television, two Honourables from Kaduna State and specifically in Birin- Gwari Local Government area were interviewed about the state of security there. The responses are very worrisome.

According to the Honourables, their people are being taxed unabated three times a year for the past three years. It was also revealed by one of them that about 300 to 400 million naira has been paid to these imposers to allow the people plant, grow and harvest their crops. Apart from the above, the farmers are forced without any choice to give these men two bags of grain from every ten bags produced at the end of the harvest season! The farmers cows are rustled indiscriminately.

Moreover, this new breed of unconstitutional governance has a team of soldiers with their own outfits parading and harassing the inhabitants. It was also stated that movement from one village to the other or the farms is now highly restricted because of the the insurmountable insecurity saga in this local government where there is a chairman with his elected leaders and a state government with a sitting governor.

When Channels Television interviewers asked whether the government in power was aware of the situation and the predicament of the people, he cleverly dodged the question by asserting that everybody knows about it! Incredible!

READ ALSO: Recycling Political Appointees And National Development

Why are the State and Federal Governments not saying or doing anything? Would they say that they are ignorant or oblivious of the fact that there are people exercising power and authority in this Local Government and probably other constituencies in and around the country? Why the silence knowing very well that silence means consent? Do they not have security agents and CIDs who from time to time give pieces of information and security reports to the government? How do these men communicate with one another? Is the government no longer in control of the communication networks in this country? Is this illegal “government” making policies and laws and imposing them on the helpless inhabitants being recognized and authorized to carry on like this? This unconstitutional independence seems to have come to stay.

However, Nigerians have not been officially informed that the country now has another “government” within this nation called Nigeria. Is it not a shame and unthinkable that a group of mad infiltrators have overrun some parts of the country just like Russia is doing to Ukraine? Unlike Ukraine, there seems to be no resistance on the part of the leadership of this nation. Are there no strategic synergy and efficient professionals to track down these imposers? Are the security plans being given prominence in the social media just a mirage? Are the Federal and State Governments by their slow actions and silence implying that the tussle for supremacy between them and these bandits or terrorists or rebels or secessionists has overwhelmed them? Can there be any tangible explanation why the government of the day cannot crush and squash this mindless killers but could proscribe IPOB from existing? Why this lopsided mentality? Why this nonchalant attitude from the powers that be? Why this unwritten compromise? Are the State and Federal Government technically waiting for these bandits, terrorists and killer herdsmen to hold the other geopolitical zones to ransom, topple and take authority over a democratically elected government? Has insecurity now become one of the rights of the Nigerian citizens today? Is the government of the day not seeing the impending catastrophe speedily meandering into the nation? Is Humpty- Dumpty the new name for the government that is supposed to be in control of all affairs in this nation? The situation reminds me of a poem titled: “Humpty-Dumpty”
“Humpty-Dumpty sat on the wall;
Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall;
Not all the kinsmen and and not all the horsemen can put Humpty-Dumpty together again”!

Take it or leave it, Nigeria is tearing apart. There is no gainsaying the fact that Nigeria has been overrun by a deadly generation of evil men and are operating an “illegal government system” in various parts of the country. The people are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. Loyalty to the terrorists is now being forced on the inhabitants. The people are under serious pressures! Insecurity is becoming more threatening than ever before. There is defence for them and the government is not forthcoming.

Solutions to this situations are not being wholly accessed by the government of the day. The economy has deteriorated and crippled. Farmers can no longer produce crops to sustain them not to talk of distributing to other consumers near and far. The common man is helpless. School children in these affected areas cannot access quality education due to the vulnerability of the terrain. Travelling as part of life has been terminated. Movement from one place to the other is now restricted for fear of being kidnapped, raped, robbed or killed by these infiltrators.

Traders cannot engage in businesses for fear of being stripped of their goods and money. Worshippers stand the risk of losing their lives in their churches and mosques. In fact, these so-called bandits are by their actions, placing ban on Christianity as a religion. Thus, freedom of worship as the individual’s right is already being wiped out in this nation.

Again the latest according to one of the Honourables is that a law has been imposed by these bandits that there should be no election campaigns in the area for the forthcoming general elections. Politicians cannot go to this area to campaign due to this instruction. Do people abide by it? Do we have a government within a government just like we have a story within a story in literary works? What a disaster!

 READ ALSO: President Thabo Mbeki: On South Africa And The South African Youth

Strategies towards the government restoring and regaining authority and supremacy over those trying to usurp power

*Government should legalize the possession of firearms. After all bandits, terrorists and killer herdsmen are freely moving about with sophisticated guns and weapons without being arrested and prosecuted. This suggestion has become inevitable so that people can defend themselves when attacked. The Zamfara State Government and some others are advocates of this suggestion. If implemented, it will curb the excesses of these bandits. The Judiciary, the legislature and the State Government should as a matter of urgency pass a bill and implement this policy;

*The security system of the country should be beefed up; sophisticated weapons, walkie talkies, good network services and sound vehicles should be made available for the law enforcement agencies to combat insecurity. You do not expect the police or the army to confront terrorists with inferior weapons;

* The police, navy, army and the air force need to facilitate their people with modern tactics and methods for maintaining peace and order;

* The communication networks in this country should be utilized by the government to fight and win this tussle for supremacy;

*Government should come up with a policy or a statement to condemn and crush the activities of these culprits trying to usurp power. Arrest, prosecute punish them accordingly;

*Government should find a way of handling this issue of paying ransom to kidnappers. Imagine paying criminals and authentic government workers do not get good pays or even being paid on time. University lecturers have been on strike for the past five months because of failure of the government to do the needful;

* The security and care of those in the IDP camps should be improved upon;

*Government should create jobs for the teeming youths. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Today, the only jobs available in Nigeria are Yahoo syndrome, Keke and Okada riding, Uber driving and permit me to say, banditry, kidnapping and killing;

*In the meantime, the government should stop pursuing shadow! This madness of election campaigns should stop. Who are these politicians going to govern? The people who have no means of livelihood, dying of hunger, living under fear of insecurity and whose land are being grabbed under their noses?

* Government should in all ramifications rise up and squash and crush the activities of these men now operating as a “governing body of a new nation” within a democratically elected government with immediate effect and alacrity.

Nigerians rise and demand your security, peace and tranquility now instead of selling your votes to those who are out to keep you in perpetual slavery and fear of a bleak future.


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End Of A Beautiful Debate On Women



End Of A Beautiful Debate On Women

By Tony Afejuku
At the point when I was readily ready to bring to an end a debate with happiness on the subject of women in our polity of politlies of politrickians, my inspiration waned because it lost its enthusiasm. I don’t know why. I didn’t know why. I could not know why. On my writing table there was no wine of inspiration for me to sip from. And the idea I earnestly wanted with excelling quality in its galloping train neither yielded nor illuminated itself to me forthwith. But something else did. It created its peculiar raptures which indicated that what was debated was worth it and that what I am going to express now to sum up the debate is worth saying. Now what is this something that entered me to toss my heart into raptures and to remint my brain with flavours of fragrant sensations which yearn after thirst that is thirst after thirst on behalf of women?

A day before this column appeared last Friday, an event of monumental significance world-wide escaped us all in this land of lands: your country my country our country. Thursday, June 23rd “marked on the United Nations Calendar” the “International Day for Widows.” And the broad theme was “Invisible Women, Invisible Problems.” All the professors who debated what I wish to call the Nigerian women conundrum did not remember the event, and made no ounce of reference to it. Of course, their respective blossoms of ideas reached me before Thursday, 23rd of June, but it is still bewildering that they did not anticipate the event in their submissions. Even yours sincerely the seemingly ingenious columnist did not remember the great day. Why? The answer is simple. A widow is a woman. And no widow in our part of the world is in full fig in our imagination. June 23rd never rang a bell in Nigeria. It was invisible here despite the visible problems they face month by month, week by week, day by day, second by second, minute by minute, and hour by hour. Our governments – central and states – did not galvanize us to mark the day. Our civil societies’ organizations completely ignored or did not remember the day. Our media also unremembered the day. Even Nigerian women themselves in vantage positions by-passed the day without qualms. And surprise, surprise, surprise. Professor Mrs. Razinatu Mohammed, the only female debater mysteriously forgot to give form to the “International Day for Widows” in her lavish debate. How could this sumptuous writer, critic and feminist to the core forget to defend widowhood in her delivery which she did with grace and sweetness in this column? Widowhood has its challenges in our society. It degrades the woman immeasurably. And the younger the woman, the younger widow, the more immeasurable is her degradation and predicament and trauma. Even if she is rich and a woman or widow of substance, nothing is guaranteed in her favour. Her status, whatever it is, has no bearing to her advantage.

READ ALSO: Professors Igho Natufe, Razanatu Mohammed And Ibrahim Bello-Kano On Women

Our men in politics in their Ogbonistic characteristics, sensibilities, temperament and countenances victimize the widow exceedingly without inhibitions. Their ogbonism (as Tony Eluemunor would say) overshadows their concern, regard and sympathy for widows whom they show no kindness as they should. Widowhood is victimhood with a greatly tragic theme in Nigeria. I don’t want to navigate the depressively depressive nuances of widowhood – because widowhood and its tragic theme of victimhood was never really carved or scripted into any shape in my initial delivery and the debate it inspired. But it should have crossed the minds of the debaters starting from the irrepressible columnist Mr. Tony Eluemunor and Professor Agharese Osifo, the eater of books, on to Professors Igho Natufe, Razanatu Mohammed and Ibrahim Bello-Kano. In fact, let me take Professor Ibrahim Bello-Kano to the dock. His rich remarks were rich perplexities which he expressed in terms of ANTINOMIES, contradictions that cancel contradictions and re-introduce contradictions – as his reflections clearly did or seemed to do – as I perceived. And some examples he tendered in his endeavor to lay blame on women in politics sounded as those of the far-gone pessimist and the ultra-conservative male chauvinist who would want us to see or admire him as a “Feminist-Not-Feminist-Enough.” He called the late British female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher “milk-snatcher,” for example, to undermine her political sagacity, combat of light philosophy and intellect. For Ibrahim Bello-Kano, a Professor of Critical Light, a term I am coining for him, Margaret Thatcher was possessed of the treacherous spirits of darkness.

He may be right (without my conceding that he really was/is). But was/is he right to employ her to make a blanket statement regarding infamous political leadership and fallible rule of women? Certainly not, I submit. Angela Markel, a Ph.D. in Chemistry, like Margaret Thatcher, until recently was Chancellor of Germany for several years. Until the end of her healthy tenure Germans felt and enjoyed the fortune of happiness. Most of their debatings were preciously in her favour.

READ ALSO: Where Are Our Women?

I can go on and on to deconstruct Professor Ibrahim Bello-Kano. But he is my reader whose response(s) to my essay and column I should applaud whether or not I am in perfect agreement with him. I am glad that he and others read me. But he cannot be criminalizing and decriminalizing women at the same time; he cannot be invalidating and validating at the same time; he cannot be validating and invalidating at the same time, and his intellectual gymnastics and acrobatics in argumentation do not really do credit to his intended point, effect and result. The confusion and contradictions contained in his sumptuous submission put our women-folk in jeopardy. Nigerian women should unite, as Professor Igho Natufe, a foremost Political Scientist of uncommon objectivity and transparent radical engagements, enjoins them to do if they must eject themselves from the clutches of their male oppressors. In the great Warri Kingdom of the Itsekiri centuries ago two enchanting sisters and princesses – Uwala and Iye – did precisely this – what Professors Natufe and Razanatu Mohammed, rainbow writer from the savannah, have enjoined them to preach without a mask that grieves or grins. The men must loose, untie their tyrannical hold on the women. And they must compel themselves to change their attitude to widows in the spirit of nobility that should give us a new society – as Professor Igho Natufe informed me via a post of an ample helping. Professor Rajan Barret of Mahatma Ghandi’s land concurs. Nigerian women are not the property of Nigerian men. I concur and re-concur. Women, unite! Break the yoke of oppression! You must! You have the power! You have the bosom of positive courage! Unite!

Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.


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Poverty, Ignorance As Political Weapons



Poverty, Ignorance As Political Weapons

By Victoria Praise Abraham

The Nigerian people have been reduced to a bowl of rice and Amala, come every election cycle and this time it is no different, but worse. Poverty has been weaponized to the point of no return. We have never had it so bad.

Poverty has been weaponized. Ignorance and illiteracy rule the average Nigerian and we are in dire straits, totally impoverished by the politicians who rule as kings and Lords in Nigeria today. It is a sad day to be a Nigerian

This particular pathetic situation started many decades ago but over the years, it has become magnified and greatly enlarged to a horrific point .

Politicians are ready to kill to win elections, they engage in open vote buying and selling in our political landscape.

The same obviously played out in the Ekiti elections of last weekend. The same happened in the Osun elections and we are in a very perilous time because Nigerians have never been poorer.

Poverty has become weaponized and sadly the average Nigerian is very hungry and has refused to think beyond his belly.

A hungry man or woman is totally desperate and can only answer the call to satisfy his or her stomach nudgings.

The years of political mismanagement have gone on to pulverize the economy and the average Nigerian.We are now in sad times. The Ekiti elections show us that our politics is now for the highest bidder.

Unfortunately, all political parties use this political tool of trade called vote buying.

Where do we go from here? How do we stop this menace? Where did we miss it? Who do we blame for this disease called vote buying in our political landscape?
It seems that we are bedeviled with bad leaders, politicians and bad people who cannot always do right by their conscience.

READ ALSO: Can Peter Obi Win The Presidential Election In 2023?

This whole charade will certainly play out in a bigger version in the 2023 general elections and this means that the entire process will play out in the interest of the highest political vote buyers winning most if not all the elections.

Poverty has been weaponized. The Nigerian people have been pulverized and we have all entered one chance! The word one chance is a Nigeria word for a bad situation…… Entering a kidnapper’s vehicle.

Only God can deliver us from the hands of our politicians, and only God can help the average Nigerian because it is a very pathetic situation that they have to go through every election year that continues to leave them with bad choices of leaders decades after decades.

May God Almighty be the 3rd force that will save the Nigerian nation from further sliding and degeneration come 2023.

Let us all be prayerful as true patriots and lovers of Nigeria so that we can be saved from ourselves because Nigerians are the biggest problem of Nigeria. We must become the solutions to our problems going forward.
2023 beckons!

. Abraham is a writer based in Lagos.


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