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Issues For APC 2023 Presidential Campaign

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Issues For APC 2023 Presidential Campaign

In his acceptance speech, on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, having won the presidential primary election of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu emphasised that we ‘must work to ensure PDP does not return to power after 16 years of colossal failure.’ Given the way the contest for the presidential primary went, the challenge of uniting APC leaders to work for the victory of the party in the 2023 general elections and defeat all opposition parties, including PDP is certainly an important precondition for winning the 2023 elections. Without doubt, the emergence of Asiwaju Tinubu as the presidential candidate of the APC, once more proves that APC is a party that is committed to addressing all the political challenges of the country. Given the cheap and reactionary campaign in APC aimed at pushing delegates at the National Convention to copy the PDP by electing a presidential candidate from among Northern leaders, the emergence of Asiwaju Tinubu demonstrates the superiority of the APC to other parties in the country in terms of providing a level playing field to party members to compete and win internal party contests.

Against very strong sentiments and dominant ethnic and religious politics, which weighed heavily against Asiwaju, both within the APC, but perhaps more promoted by a very sectarian and conservative strategy of winning cheap votes of Nigerians by the PDP and their sympathisers, which led to the emergence of Alh. Atiku Abubakar as the PDP presidential candidate for the 2023 elections, Asiwaju Tinubu emerged as the presidential candidate of the APC. Being a Muslim from the Southern part of the country, the belief among many Nigerians, is that he may not attract the votes of citizens from the dominant Christian Southern parts of the country. And given contemporary challenges of producing a presidential ticket, which should balance both ethnic and religious factors in the country, an Asiwaju Tinubu candidature is more likely to be lopsided to win the votes of dominant Muslim North.

This perception dominated internal debates in APC leading to the National Convention for the presidential primary. Some party leaders attempted to manipulate the convention in favour of the Senate President, Sen. Ahmed Lawan as the so-called consensus candidate. The process of producing the consensus was reduced to some manipulative strategy of invoking the name of President Buhari as the singular source of decision. Thanks to the commitment of President Buhari to ensure that all party leaders are consulted, the undemocratic approach of imposing a consensus candidate was defeated, and the primary election involving 23 aspirants held on June 7, 2022. Eventually, fourteen (14) aspirants contested the primary election as nine aspirants withdrew.

Asiwaju Tinubu won the contest indisputably. With his victory, the debate has now shifted to the choice of a running mate. As usual, conservative and reactionary ethno-religious consideration are colouring the debate. There is the question of a Muslim-Muslim ticket, implying that another Muslim from the North will most likely be Asiwaju’s running mate. Leading party members are already becoming strong advocates for or against a so-called Muslim-Muslim ticket. This debate is reproducing the old pre-convention reactionary and conservative campaign. If choices of leaders are dictated by ethno-religious factors, Nigerian politics will continue to be disadvantageous to many sections of the country. For instance, only Christian Southerners and Muslim Northerners will continue to have advantages. Most of those trying to use religious arguments to influence the choice of a running mate for Asiwaju Tinubu are impliedly arguing that a Christian Northerner can only win a presidential election if his/her running mate is a Muslim from Southern Nigeria. In the same way, this will be politically disadvantageous, if not impossible for any Christian from the North or Muslim from the South to win a presidential election. Such a backward national mindset must be changed.

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The challenge facing Nigerian politics is about opening the democratic space. It is not going to be easy, but Nigerians must be challenged to make hard choices. Important as ethnic and religious identities are, addressing challenges facing the country, requires that political leaders are not allowed to ride on cheap sentiments of religion and ethnicity to opportunistically win elections. If Nigeria is to move forward, 2023 presidential campaigns must not reduce important debates of moving Nigeria forward to sentimental considerations of ethnicity and religion. If the truth is to be told, both Islam and Christianity, as well as all our ethnic factors have been used in equal measure to hold Nigeria at a standstill. Many so-called religious and ethnic leaders have used and are still using religion and ethnicity to pollute the minds of Nigerians against one another. If Nigerian politics is to overcome the adversities of these so-called religious and ethnic leaders, religious and ethnic backgrounds of leaders must be subordinated to experiential attributes of persons being considered for leadership.

Perhaps, it is important to stress the point that whatever is the final choice of Asiwaju Tinubu and APC leaders with respect to who emerges as the running mate, the 2023 presidential election will be keenly contested, irrespective of religious and ethnic identity of both Asiwaju Tinubu and whoever the running mate may be. APC leaders must acknowledge the fact that the 2023 elections present another golden opportunity for the APC to re-invent itself. With the landmark initiatives of President Buhari’s government in the last seven years, challenges of insecurity are being used by opposition parties, especially PDP, to falsely allege that APC has failed. The claim is that the APC government has mismanaged the economy, divided Nigerians and created insecurity. Part of the arguments is that Nigeria is now the ‘poverty capital of the world’, alleging also that the so-called poor performance of the APC-led government of President Buhari contrasts with the so-called ‘achievements’ of sixteen years of PDP between 1999 and 2015. Many PDP leaders and their supporters have even claimed that if PDP failed to win the 2023 election, Nigeria will collapse.

APC must, as a party, use the 2023 presidential campaign to effectively counter all these false narratives. Part of what must be done to achieve that is about developing an effective communication strategy, which has been one of the strong weaknesses of both the APC as a party and as a governing party at the federal level. APC’s 2023 presidential campaign must effectively correct all these false narratives and convincingly confirm to Nigerians that the President Buhari’s APC government has put Nigeria back on the roadmap to national development. APC’s 2023 presidential campaign must use evidence-based politics to showcase the initiatives of President Buhari-led Federal Government.

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A major objective of the APC 2023 presidential campaign should be to correct all the false narratives being propagated by opposition parties that the APC government has failed. The campaign should instead focus more on showcasing the achievements of the APC-led Federal Government, which is about rebuilding the country. For instance, achievements in the areas of social investment, infrastructure and agriculture can effectively provide APC’s contrasting scorecard. Since emerging as the governing party in 2015, the APC Federal Government has implemented National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), which is far more than what any government in the past has done. Founded on four pillars of N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), Home Grown School Feeding and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), millions of poor Nigerians are benefiting from these initiatives. For instance, GEEP has disbursed N36.9 billion in interest-free loans of between N50,000 and N350,000 to more than 2.3 million Nigerians. Under the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, 9.9 million primary 1 – 3 pupils in 54,952 public primary schools in 35 states are benefiting. Additional 107,000 cooks have been engaged. In the case of Conditional Cash Transfer, more than 3 million poor and vulnerable households have been registered on the National Social Register, out of which more than one million families are currently being paid N5,000 monthly.

In the area of infrastructure, when President Buhari’s administration assumed office in 2015, the total budget for federal roads by the outgoing PDP government of former President Goodluck Jonathan was 18 billion Naira, which is only about 25% of the Lagos State roads budget for that year. The persistent skeletal funding translated to abandoned or slow-moving road projects across the country. APC administration increased allocation to the roads budget to more than 200 billion Naira per annum. In addition, more resources were devoted to the construction of road and transport infrastructure than any other administration since 1999, and the results are roads, bridges, highways, rail lines and stations, and air and seaport upgrades. Currently, there are around 900 active road contracts covering the construction, reconstruction or rehabilitation of more than 13,000km of federal roads and highways across the country, out of a total of 35,000km of federal roads in existence.

In the area of agriculture, the APC-led government of President Buhari established the National Food Security Council (NFSC), Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP), National Livestock Transformation Plan, Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) and Creation of an Enabling Environment. Specifically, ABP for instance, implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria since 2015, provided more than 300 billion Naira to more than 3.1 million smallholder farmers of 21 different commodities (including Rice, Wheat, Maize, Cotton, Cassava, Poultry, Soy Beans, Groundnut, Fish), across Nigeria, successfully cultivating over 3.8 million hectares of farmland. PFI has produced and delivered to the Nigerian market over 30 million 50kg bags equivalent of fertilizer, at reduced prices; and resulted in the revival or construction of no fewer than 40 moribund fertilizer blending plants across the country. Nigeria today has 44 functioning blending plants, with more on the way as a result of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI).

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Apart from achievements in the areas of social investment, infrastructure and agriculture, there are other initiatives in other sectors. Initiatives in these three sectors substantiate the point that based on records of performance in government, APC remarkably moved Nigeria forward from the era of waste and large-scale diversion of public resources under sixteen years of PDP government between 1999 and 2015. For instance, recall the numerous cases of diversions of huge sums of financial resources in the guise of petroleum subsidy contained in many reports of investigation panels under PDP governments. There was also the case of corruption under the Police Pension Task Force. The case of $180 million Halliburton; $1.1 billion Malabo Oil; Princess Stella Oduah N255 million Aviation Ministry bulletproof cars; N10 billion jet scam involving the petroleum minister (2011 – 2015) Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke; and House of Representatives Capital Market probe; and N360 billion service-wide scam are also there. There was also the case of $2.1 billion arms deal involving retired Col. Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser under President Jonathan’s PDP administration.

APC must use the opportunity of the 2023 presidential campaigns to remind Nigerians about these hard facts. Nigerians must be guided to make choices based on evidence and not just sentiment. In many respects, when Asiwaju Tinubu, in his acceptance speech enjoined fellow APC leaders to ‘ensure PDP does not return to power after 16 years of colossal failure’, he certainly must be referring to these issues. Notwithstanding all the achievements of APC-led government of President Buhari, it is however important to recognise the issues of insecurity, which has remained a major national challenge. It is important that assessment of performance of APC government is not reduced to opinions of opposition politicians. The reality is that both President Buhari and all APC leaders acknowledged the enormity of the challenges of insecurity in the country.

Noting that the APC administration is taking steps to equip the security agencies and build morale, promote community-led solutions, develop new security infrastructure and operations across land and maritime environments, and address the underlying drivers of insecurity (poverty and youth unemployment), the need to rebuild the confidence of Nigerians that post-2023 APC federal government can effectively respond to all our national challenges, with Asiwaju Tinubu as the President is very necessary. For instance, the need to mobilise large-scale funding to undertake massive recruitment of security personnel – police, military, air force, navy, etc. must be given priority. Recognising that although serious challenges still exist, and there is still a long way to go in restoring a robust sense of security in the country, it is also very important that APC’s 2023 presidential campaign is able to develop far-reaching proposals of re-organising and strengthening Nigerian security services to restore peace across every part of the country. The next APC government, under Asiwaju Tinubu should begin to orient itself to outline specific governance reforms that should end dastardly activity of terrorists and criminal elements in every part of the country, in whatever forms.

 

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Enforcing Traffic Rules In Lagos

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Enforcing Traffic Rules In Lagos

By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha
Last week, officials of Lagos State government auctioned 134 vehicles that had been impounded from traffic offenders. It was a tough measure, indeed, insensitive considering the harsh economic climate that we live in. Some of those vehicles were bought on hire purchase. There was the example of a 49-year-old widow Dorothy Dike whose bus was auctioned. The tears in her eyes and the painful expression on her face broke the hearts of many. It was reported that her driver Osinachi Ndukwe, had spent three months in prison for the offence. Yet they were compelled to look on as their only source of livelihood ‘bought at the rate of N1.8million on hire purchase was auctioned for N450,000’. Law enforcement should carry a human face. What kind of law prescribes a jail term of 3 months and forfeiture of vehicle for driving against traffic? Inhuman and insensitive. Bad law. Wicked law. Callous.

I must admit that traffic in Lagos is a nightmare. For a first timer in the city driving in Lagos is hazardous. Often on the expressways within the city, the impression is that there are no rules. Mile Two to Oshodi. Mile to Badagry. Yaba to Ikorodu. Lekki Toll Gate to Epe. People just drive ‘anyhow’! A visiting American friend once said that driving on Ikorodu road was like ‘science fiction! Not a compliment. The average driver in Lagos is short-tempered, rude, aggressive, and hostile. The commercial bus drivers carry the trophy among drivers. They are filthy, uncouth, law breakers, and Lords of the Roads. Traffic officials often look the other way when most of them break the rules. They do not obey traffic lights. They stop sometimes in the middle of the road to pick up passengers. In fact, traffic control measures offend their sensibilities. They would rather there were no rules, that is, if they are conscious of existing rules! By the way, when does LASG plan to get rid of those yellow buses as it did the notorious ‘Molue?

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Of late, that is, since Okada drivers were wisely kicked off the major roads, Keke drivers have entered the space of mad drivers. Like the okada riders, they are death traps for both passengers and other drivers. Obviously, they do not know the rules. They are not regulated. They do not pass a driving test. I wonder if anyone issues driving licences to them. Perhaps they do. But are they required to pass the rigorous test that ought to guide drivers in Lagos? The impression is that anybody who knows how to press on the throttle and control the wheels can drive those dangerous toys in the country. I know they pay daily ‘tributes’ to officials of NURTW. In some areas, they are in cahoots with traffic managers and controllers- they get away with anything! I recall an experience in 1999 when a bike rider riding against traffic near Rutam House in Oshodi was accosted by traffic controllers and he declared that this was democracy and that he could ride his bike the way he liked!

Some drivers of private vehicles are like their commercial vehicle drivers’ counterparts. They respect no rules. They are ready to pour invectives on the next person an account of a minor brush while jostling for space across lanes! Indeed, it seems that to drive in Lagos, one must learn all the swear and insulting words in Yoruba! ‘Ori o da! ‘We re niyen’, ‘ode buruku, ‘omo ale’ ‘ori buruku’ are some routinely used. A senior colleague once declared that it was driving in Lagos that gave him hypertension. I got to know this in my early days in Lagos when I rode in his car from University of Lagos Campus in Akoka to Gbagada through Bariga! I can vividly remember how he got worked up as the yellow buses dominated the road with reckless abandon for the rules of engagement! Sadly, it still happens along that route and most other inner roads within the metropolis. I don’t envy the LASTMA officials in the city of Lagos. They deserve a good pay and ought to be on one-day-on-one-day off duty arrangements! Anyone who works every day on traffic control in Lagos will either lose their sanity should they decide to do the job effectively or die early!

Another downside to the traffic menace in Lagos is the number of deaths recorded in accidents. For example, the FRSC reported that ‘between January and August 2021, 101 persons died while 625 sustained different degrees of injuries in road crashes. The figures for 2022 are not available yet. I suspect it will be higher than the 2021 figures. I also believe that not all accidents are reported.

Against this background therefore, we understand why the Lagos State government has gone tough on driving infractions within the megacity by rolling out some harsh and inhuman rules. Anyone who drives without a licence would have their car impounded and possibly auctioned off later. If a person under 18 years is caught driving, they would pay a fine of N30,000 and go to jail for 3 years. If you drive without road worthiness, the vehicle will be impounded. The following offences attract impounding the vehicle – doing ‘kabu kabu’ without permit, disobeying LASTMA officer, smoking while driving, no car hire service permit, and driving on walkway or kerb!

I have established my familiarity with the insanity in driving Lagos. Yet, any law which goes for the object rather than the subject is inhuman. Make the law breaker pay huge fines or go to jail. But set the vehicle free once the fines are paid. If Lagos State government is serious about regulating traffic in the state, they should start with commercial buses. The general thinking is that party faithful own the buses and so most of these scoundrel drivers get away with murder. Some traffic officials are compromised. Some are arbitrary and overzealous. In some areas, traffic rules are not clear, that is, there are no signs to indicate the status of a road. I had been a victim of this absence of rule regime on Victoria Island. In some cases, yellow buses are allowed to drive against traffic. If a private vehicle driver follows that example, from nowhere state officials appear and arrest the driver. Indeed, some traffic officials mislead drivers into breaking the law and leave colleagues to arrest them while they look the other way.

Laws are meant for the regulation of behaviour in society. They are not meant to destroy lives. Security officials especially policemen and soldiers should desist from breaking traffic offences. They are not above the law. The outcry against impounding of vehicles should elicit an immediate response from the Executive and Legislative arms of government immediately by suspending that provision. The fines for driving or riding against traffic should be raised. There will still be offenders, yet their livelihood will not be tampered with. I urge the Lagos State government to recall the auctioned vehicle of Dorothy Dike. Her vehicle should be given back to her. Her driver broke the law. She did not. She should not suffer economic injury because her driver was foolish. If the world is abolishing the death penalty for homicide in favour of long jail terms, it is indicative of the new thinking. Harsh, inhumane laws are antithetical to societal growth and harmony.

Finally, there is a spirit of ‘hurry-now-else-you-will-miss-it’ that drives everyone in Lagos. Is this why FRSC used to send traffic offenders for mental evaluation? What accounts for this? Fear? Desire to get to one’s destination quickly before ‘wahala’ comes? Whatever it is, if we make all the rules without moderating the frenetic pace of life in Lagos, more people will pay fines and or go to jail.

Professor Eghagha can be reached on 08023220393 or heghagha@yahoo.com

 

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Opinion

Counterterrorism, Technology, And Development In Africa

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Counterterrorism, Technology, And Development In Africa

By Toyin Falola
Undoubtedly, Africa has a persistent issue with insecurity. Terrorist groups like Boko Haram and Al-Shabab have continued to endanger the security of people’s lives and property as well as the survival of democratic governance in Africa. Unsurprisingly, the threat of terrorism has put Africa’s collective development and growth in even greater jeopardy. Due to the fear of investing in countries affected by terrorism, economies have collapsed. As statehood in some of these impacted countries slowly deteriorates, political advancements have also been hampered. Lately, discussions have focused on how crucial it is for African governments to stop this threat and nip terrorism in the bud. Africa is experiencing a rise in terrorism, which in addition to other humanitarian disasters, has caused mass migration and the loss of lives and valuables.

One of the key factors contributing to the domination of insurgency is the frailty of political institutions in most African countries. The blunt truth is that terrorism grows when the government is unwilling to combat it. Take the case of Nigeria as an example, the government’s longstanding unwillingness to engage in tactical warfare with Boko Haram has blown the destructive activities of the terrorist group beyond proportion, creating fertile ground for other insurgents to rise, and daily, it becomes even more complex to eradicate them. Repeatedly, worries have been expressed about the predicament of African countries in the face of internal and international terrorist attacks, as well as concerning potential repercussions for African political states, most of which have been labelled as weak or failed states.

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While different state actions have been carried out against terrorist groups, the lack of robust democratic institutions in Africa is a significant barrier to the success of counterinsurgency efforts across the continent. African nations have been unable to work together to combat insurgency due to acrimonious politics. A close examination of leadership structures in African nations reveals that most of them are unsuccessful. How would this lead to success against the rebels in nations where the state and the people are constantly at odds? Internal conflict hinders African democratization and fosters rebel domination in return. It is sadder that democratic leaders also take advantage of their nations’ security to run for political office. Regrettably, most African leaders now place fighting terrorism at the top of their list of political priorities just because it commands a lot of emotions that can sway elections in their favour and not because they genuinely want to tackle it. Most African states’ security structures are, in fact, relatively flimsy. In many nations, domestic conflict further expands security gaps and creates the conditions for the insurgency to flourish.

In debates about terrorism, technological progress is unavoidable. Terrorists in Africa are developing, thanks to technical advancements. Terrorism and counterterrorism rapidly assume a new shape in their operations and subject engagement due to the expanding global instrumentalization of technology. Although both countries and terrorist organizations are modernizing their operation methods, there is evidence that many terrorist organizations in Africa are rapidly creating technical solutions to enhance their lethal operations. The internet, especially, is one technical tool feared for its potential to significantly impact global security. Policymakers are concerned about how communication networks like the internet may be used to carry out terrorist activities. Internets, specialized websites and social media platforms are frequently used in conjunction with secured networks to set up chat rooms for talks and activity monitoring, produce disinformation that could incite panic and conduct recruitment in Africa. Today, terrorist organizations like Boko Haram, Al-Shabab, and others use untraceable video and audio recordings to broadcast attacks, demand ransom for hostages, and engage in other despicable activities.

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Terrorism in Africa has a detrimental effect on the socioeconomic and political developments of the region. However, it has been demonstrated that successful counterterrorism has benefited, or at the very least can improve, the socioeconomic and political environments on the continent. Like every other continent, Africa has experienced significant terrorist activity. The effects of terrorism, however, have affected Africa far more than other, more developed continents. Terrorism still exists on the continent of Africa despite the efforts of various African nations and regional and international organizations to combat it. The failure of the different counter-terrorist strategies launched to maintain long-lasting peace on the continent has exacerbated the continent’s underdevelopment. Despite security issues, Africa lags behind other continents in scientific, social, and political progress.

These reasons are why it has become paramount for African counterterrorism efforts to keep up with technological advancement. Due to the unique characteristics of each nation, the specific insurgent groups, and the nature of operations, counterterrorism battles in Africa assume diverse forms and employ varied techniques. Departments, institutions, and programs have been established in countries to address the crime afflicted by terrorism. In addition, several laws, regulations, and directives have been passed to guarantee the success of counterterrorism initiatives and tactics. Technology and new technologies are used to acquire additional intelligence and prepare for counter operations.

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Creating powerful political institutions is the first transition stage African nations must go through. A nation’s political structure has a significant role in determining its security architecture. Launching counterterrorism investigations and conflicts between the political class and those in important leadership positions with access to resources and intelligence that could jeopardize government efforts is the second transition stage. As a result, corruption and money laundering are curbed, closing doors to money that may be readily transferred to fund terrorists. Additionally, collaboration with the public is required to create a community policing operation. By acting as informants and providing the necessary information to security personnel, citizens would be involved in the security architecture of African states. African nations must also calm ethnic tensions that could lead to domestic conflict because internal weakness in a nation creates favourable conditions for insurgency growth. Insecurity in Africa stems from internal crises that aim to undermine people’s safety and the African state’s coherence. Therefore, individual African states must organize more effective counterterrorism policies.

For this to be accomplished, effective political leadership and corporate governance must be ingrained at the internal level of the African state. Each African state administration must understand that defeating terrorism requires teamwork and must demonstrate the capacity and willingness to achieve victory. This is because if internal conflicts are permitted to persist and damage the political structure, it will pave the way for external forces to invade. African nations must fortify political institutions in their particular domains to achieve a change in the security architecture. Also, African governments must work together with other nations to implement counterinsurgency strategies. The African Union and regional organizations like the ECOWAS must intervene to maintain Africa’s peace and security. African nations must cooperate on forward-thinking projects to reach a common goal.

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The trajectories of political and economic progress have been significantly impacted by security issues brought on by internal conflict, civil wars, and terrorist acts. In light of the continent’s security issues and other difficulties, and to address the problems that are slowly destroying the continent, African political leaders must use the opportunity to restructure the continent’s democratic system. The promises made by African leaders to develop counterterrorism technology development plans must also be reaffirmed. Establishing strong democratic and political institutions in each African state is crucial to transform Africa into a safe continent free from terrorist attacks and other types of danger. These institutions must be capable of using the military and diplomacy to combat terrorism.

Lastly, the effectiveness of the actions and policies put in place by the individual governments of African countries will significantly impact the future trajectories of counterterrorism and security in the continent. For African nations to effectively battle terrorism and firmly establish peace and security throughout the continent, better political institutions must be built, alliances with militarily stronger states must be formed, and counterterrorism policies and actions must be well coordinated. African nations must build strong political leadership and corporate governance in the battle against terrorism to overcome the insecurity dilemma brought about by terrorists in their continent. Only then can the fight against terrorism in Africa be won.

. Excerpt from a Keynote Address, International Conference on “Counterterrorism, Technology and Development in Africa”
September 22, 2022
Stellenbosch University and Obuda University.

 

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Opinion

‘No Work, No Pay’: Oppressors’ Law

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'No Work, No Pay': Oppressors’ Law

By Tony Afejuku
“No work, no pay” has since gained currency as never before in a kind of obviously puzzling manner that has befuddled me as drink befuddles a drinker it makes stupid but I am not a drinker of drinks that should make me stupid. I am a drinker and eater of ideas, thoughts, notions, concepts, curiosities and more and more remedies, and conditions and desires that make it hard and impossible for me to bow the knee. Nothing befuddles me. Yet I must utter this confession: the “No work, no pay” remark that has protruded from the protruding tongues of the men and officials of protruding stomachs in government and outside government seems to perplex me. The phrase or remark has been particularly popularized in a very, very bastardized manner since ASUU has declared its popular strike of more than seven months now as “total, comprehensive and indefinite.” Of course, some television pundits, newspapers’ reviewers and anchors who have lately made remarks that mark them as our oppressors’ megaphones have reminded us that “No work, no pay” is an “extant law” – whatever they mean or meant by that. ASUU has rightly and correctly countered the oppressors by saying and insisting that “No pay, no work” is its members’ fundamental human right. This countering remark of ASUU’s supreme lords titillates me immeasurably. But this for now is foreign to my declaration here. And my autobiography hopefully anchors here.

What, indeed, I am challenging and will always join ASUU and the Nigerian worker to challenge is the declaration of our oppressors that “No work, no pay” is part of our law – extant or not extant. I don’t need to be a labour law lawyer or labour law expert to descend on the “formulators” or “champions” of “ No work, no pay” which did not emanate from collective bargaining in a formal meeting between ASUU and FGN’s representatives. All the utterers of the remark in the endeavour to threaten and cage ASUU members to submission are nothing but boon-dogglers. But much more seriously they are members of the mediocre, unimaginative, materialistic class exploiting and humiliating the working class. In this country in particular many of them who, as a matter of fact in Marxist terms and thought are bourgeois, prefer to close their eyes and ignore the reality of the circumstances of the Nigerian working class. The “No work, no pay” remark they have uttered and declared as an “extant law” is the “law” of the bourgeoisie which this class enacts or promulgates to make the worker perpetual and forever victim of its onslaught. The bourgeoisie class consists of capitalists, manufacturers, bankers, and other employers of labour within and outside our central and states’ governments. What I am saying or have said is the unholy relationship between the worker and his/her bourgeois exploiter and oppressor is not new.

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What the many bourgeois in our central government in particular find strange is the tough and strange resistance that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has mounted against them. In fact, for a long period of seven months plus ASUU members have defied the oppressors who have deprived them of their salaries of serfs and slaves in their feverishly and wickedly pale wisdom of “No work, no pay.” The bourgeois government is taken aback by ASUU’s rare power, courage and consciousness of resistance. Indeed, this rare power, courage and consciousness of resistance that welds the members of the union together in a manner that suggests that they were prescribed a seasoned doctor’s effective medicine, has inflicted their oppressors, each one of them, with an unusual and spectacular borborygmus. What a constraining rumbling of each one’s stomach of cavalier discomfiture!

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And clearly for ASUU, hunger has turned out to be a tonic that is or that has become more than a curative tonic. It has become milk of resistance. It has imbued each typical member of the union with an anger, a desire, a wish, a joylessness, an un-happiness, an intolerance, in short a longing not to bow the knee. If Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980), the “hugely influential French philosopher, novelist, and playwright” who in 1964 rejected the Nobel Prize in Literature was invoked and requested in his grave to say a word or two on the character of ASUU he would probably have said that “there’s gold not mud in your veins, pride not servitude.” My dear and very dear readers, ASUU, I must say is Nigeria’s King of Resistance. ASUU’s law promotes a supreme act of generosity towards every state and shade of colourful justice. ASUU’s reputation as a resister of fascism and the mind-set of the exploiter and oppressor has spread throughout the world. You better believe me!

It is important to stress time after time that ASUU is in the bad and black book of the ruling bourgeoisie because of the union’s quest for the absolute in terms of its purposes for our public universities. Primarily for this reason the lord-less lords of the manor have denied members of ASUU their richly and rightly deserved due. In fact, the hollow lord-less lords are determined to employ their possessed power of coercion which possesses them to turn our intellectuals into a class of classless workers to be continuously undermined. Through the payment of ASUU members “proletarian” wages regardless of their academic and intellectual worth, standing and solid degrees, the average politician in political power today wants our dons to understand that each one of them is now no more a don but a mere “worker” who is a “wage earner” to whom the ridiculous “law” of “No work, no pay”, must apply. All kinds of laughable excuses and reasons are being tendered to make this impossibility possible. Or am I building castles in Alor-land?

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Even assumed liberal journalists, and newspapers’ reviewers (who clearly are conservatives), especially in the electronic media are seemingly accepting the situation. I can vividly remember and recall two or so in our television houses. This past Tuesday, one of them whom I have nicknamed “Let-us-be-realistic” on account of his repeated use of the phrase to make pointless points about lack of resources to meet ASUU’s legitimate demands, had a field-less field-day because no one was in his almighty studios to counter him. Did ASUU steal Nigeria’s oil which on a daily basis many officials in and outside government steal? And why must we be devoting our sole attention to petroleum-and-gas to generate and re-generate our economy that corruption that is corruption has disabled? Is ASUU responsible for this? And why can we not pay real interest in agriculture to sustain our economic, educational and medical growth and advancement, for instance? And the wastages of the tax-payers’ monies on frivolities, did ASUU cause or inspire them? Journalist-and-newspapers’-reviewer “Let-us-be-realistic” would prefer to ignore the criminal and uneconomic reality that ASUU did not create. Perhaps I should here relate the news to all those who care to know that your country my country our country, the giant of Africa, is not “ranked among the top 10 countries with the best educational system in the Dark Continent,” as Biodun Busari recently reported in Vanguard Online. Are you surprised? You better don’t be – as I deliberately spare you sumptuous details of the report. We have seen nothing yet. The useless “No work, no pay” policy of this government that is killing and crushing the dream and future that are our dream and future will eventually crush the mode of action of the grand-off-springs of this deceitful divide-and-rude and rule-and-divide government’s dramatis personae. They are too dumb to know this fully because they think it won’t happen. How eyeless they are in their pompousness! But why do I speak where no one has my kind of eyes? Why do I speak where no one has my kind of ears? O Thot! O Nietzsche! I invoke you dear, dear, dear Masters as I am losing my cool! May ASUU reject and decline the enemies of the masses and of our tax-payers’ doctrine of coerced submission to a situation and reality of wretchedness! Let this sentence be a reminder that you are the real and authentic King of Resistance in the land. To death you won’t starve – despite your current kingly pain. Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! Thunder!!!

Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.

 

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