Connect with us


President Tinubu And The Emerging Nigerian Ideal



Prof. Tunji Olaopa

By Tunji Olaopa

 I think that right from the very first and May 29 inaugural speech, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has set the ball rolling on reflections around what we can call the Tinubu Agenda for transforming the Nigerian state and society. Of course, most Nigerians are struggling with the ripple effects of the announcement, in the same speech, of the end to the fuel subsidy regime—something that the outgone Buhari administration had brokered before leaving. However, I believe the speech does more in outlining a preliminary set of thinking points than the microeconomics of fuel subsidy.

Inaugural speeches are often difficult to write. And this is because the one who is setting out the vision—in this case, the new president of the federal republic of Nigeria—is as yet sufficiently acquainted with the structural and institutional dynamics of the new office or status. And such a person does not really want to set a bad precedent in terms of what is not clearly seen yet. But then, an inaugural speech must be written and the tone must set out specifics that others, the readers and citizens, can take seriously as outlining the intentions of the one giving the speech.

However, Bola Ahmed Tinubu is no stranger to politics, and Nigerian administrative trajectory. He has been a student of Nigerian politics for as long as anyone could remember. He was there at some of the most turbulent periods in Nigerian history, especially the tough and dangerous times when democratic governance was struggling to be born. He was singular in the defining of good governance in Lagos State, and in the consolidation of the state’s infrastructural development and mega-city superstructure that other governors would later build on. Bola Ahmed Tinubu knows Nigeria.

And so, the speech touched on some of the most significant issues that we expect are critical to handling some of the major predicaments that the Nigerian state has been facing since independence. Unemployment and taxation are critical to the infrastructural and economic development of Nigeria, and the transformation of the well-being of Nigerians. And security is key to any progress a country might wish to make since it is within the ambit of law and order that a state could put all the variables of growth and development together. By touching on agriculture, the president hints at the fundamental issue of diversifying the Nigerian economy away from its monocultural dependence on crude oil in a global world that is fast moving away from such dependence. 

From the opposition parties to many Nigerians, the traumatic experiences of protracted bad governance, in the last decades, demand extreme skepticism about what to expect from the new administration. And no one can beat one’s experience, especially for the past sixty-three years that the Nigerian state has been trying to make sense of Nigeria’s plural experience and underdevelopment. Or even for the last twenty-four years since we began the experiment with democratic governance. The last eight years of the last administration provide a layer of relative fresh failure, especially with the security architecture of the Nigerian state and how the security apparatuses failed to protect Nigerians. 

And yet, we cannot succumb to hopelessness or cynicism despite the horrors of our underdevelopment and leadership failure. Hopelessness is existential death. It means that there is nothing to still live for. And Tinubu’s call for renewed hope should be seen as a call to stave off such hopelessness and death. Vaclav Havel, the former president of the Czech Republic, provides a profound statement: “Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” Hope does not mean you have to stop questioning the realities of your existence. But it definitely means that you have to focus your belief on something that makes sense. By calling for renewed hope, President Tinubu is asking that Nigerians focus on Nigeria as a phenomenon that makes sense; something worth hoping in; something worth fighting for. 

And that is what democracy preaches—insistent hope that something good can still come out of the Nigerian state under a leadership that knows the right things to do and how to do them right. Every new administration speaks to the possibility of hope; the possibility of renewing hope around Nigeria and her greatness that has remained latent for sixty-three years. President Tinubu, in that inaugural speech, however, goes beyond just selling hope to Nigerians. He sells us also an ideal around which we can hang our collective hope; the ideal around which the Tinubu Agenda can be framed. He sells to us what he calls the “Nigerian Ideal.” This is a bold offering; almost like wanting to close the chapter on our pains and suffering—or even the governance failure of the past eight years, while opening up before us the circumference of a new vista of freshness, and what makes sense. An ideal always makes sense, something for us to believe in and yearn for and work to achieve. 

“The human soul”, says Victor Hugo, the French Romantic writer and politicians, “has still greater need of the ideal than of the real. It is by the real that we exist; it is by the ideal that we live.” The distinction between existing and living is crucial to existentialism. Existing is just being there—like a stone or a tree; passively allowing several things to happen without participating in the happening. It would seem that our postcolonial experiences as Nigerians have put us in a place of merely existing and bearing the burden of our collective existence outside of any vision of a good life, like Aristotle outlined for all governments. Living, on the other hand, is doing more than just allowing the traumatic realities to happen to us. Living implies allowing the imagination to propose a framework of goodness, or the good life or good governance that we can vigorously work towards. 

So, what is this “Nigerian Ideal”? It is a vision of what we want this Nigeria of multiple ethnicities and religions to be in a collective framework of national unity. The Nigerian Ideal is what we want, through political will and national zeal, to deploy Nigeria’s ethnic capital to achieving in terms of translating the diversity into a development performance. It is the vision of one Nigeria that is not reducible to the five principles highlighted by President Tinubu—rule of law, stability, economic growth, youth and women development, and anti-corruption—but is impossible without them. The Nigerian Ideal translates into the conscious efforts by the political class and Nigerians to recognize the ethnic differences that characterize us, and to harness these differences into a diversity management framework for moving Nigeria forward. This is why, even in linguistic terms, President Tinubu speaks more within the context of the collective “we” than in the solitariness of the “I”. 

In sociological terms, rebuilding the broken walls of the Nigerian society is a joint and collective effort that transcends the negotiability of the Nigerian nation. And the first step in that regard is the willingness of the political class, represented by the President himself, to gamble on the development and nationhood of the Nigerian state. National integration, that is, the political realization of the Nigerian Ideal, comes at a cost: the cost is the elite suicide of the political class. Committing elite suicide simply translates into the political class deliberately refraining from playing bad politics with Nigeria’s future. Put graphically, the Nigerian Ideal emerges when we deliberately and systematically undermine the Nigerian Factor. The latter is our own ways of destroying our nation-building visions and strategies through corrupt living, impunity, bureau-pathologies, and many of the ways we live and transact in the Nigerian socioeconomic and sociopolitical spaces. Within the context of the Nigerian factor, our predicament is the result of a leadership and followership problem. 

The irrefutable condition for achieving the Nigerian Ideal—and the President grounds it poetically—is living and working together in the trenches of our collective destiny. According to him, despite the trauma of what had happened to us in the past, “…we have shouldered the heavy burden to arrive at this sublime moment where the prospect of a better future merges with our improved capacity to create that future…. For me, political coloration has faded away. All I see are Nigerians.” And yet, the Nigerian Ideal, like the rise of civilizations and the progress of nations are driven by a few—those who can translate national visions into strategic governance that locks the citizens into a collective resolve to live and toil together under a national banner. Arnold Toynbee, in A Study of History, calls them the “creative minorities”—those who drive the engine of growth in ways that prevent stagnation and inspire the citizens to follow their lead and their policy innovation. This is the very core of the leadership challenge that many scholars, philosophers and political scientists in Nigeria have spoken about. 

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has outlined what we all consciously hope for. May the coming years see him give institutional and developmental teeth to the ideal by which we need to live and transform our lives.     

 . Olaopa, a retired Federal Permanent Secretary, and  Professor of Public Administration.



Continue Reading
Click to comment


Moral Values In A Changing World



Prof. Hope Eghagha

By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha

JUSTICE: This world has degenerated into abysmal filth, immoral ungodly concupiscence, infantile greed, atavistic, primitive acquisition of property, and satanic hopelessness! The judiciary, the political class, the church, our royal fathers, and most other socio-cultural institutions have fallen into the cesspit of indiscipline and lack of respect for ethics! The Labour movement that used to be in the forefront of discipline cannot be trusted anymore!

MARIAM: Hehehehehehe! Okpoyibo! Big grammar is talking. I must invite Hon Patrick Obahiagbon to compete with you on explosive vocabulary.

PROFESSOR: That’s an old song. Our parents said the same thing some forty odd years ago.

UMUKORO: You are right; it is the way of the old to berate the world and say the past was better!

JUSTICE: Kindly don’t reduce the profundity of my introspective submission to the jejune level of the banal as has been the hallmark of pseudo-intellectuals in the polity!

MARIAM: I am going to get a new and bigger dictionary. I can’t find Michael West anymore!

JUSTICE: If you still restrict yourself to the archaic confines of Michael West, then you are a victim of historical detention, arrested development, and exploration of the brave new world!

MARIAM: I give up!

UMUKORO: Who still uses a dictionary in the 21st century? Ask Google my dear, ask Google!

JUSTICE: Your infantile and rudimentary knowledge of homonyms limits your capacity to process thoughts of the new century. Away with you, thou physically beautiful body without an intellectual soul. I take exception to people denigrating my exceptionally brilliant exegesis on the state of Homo sapiens!

PASTOR: ‘And in the last days, iniquity shall abound and the love of many shall wax cold’, so said the Master. The time is here!

PROFESSOR: A broken record! A broken record waxed hundreds of years ago!

PASTOR: But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved!

PROFESSOR: Saved from what? Another holocaust? Another atomic bomb dumped on humanity?

PASTOR: Do you spurn sacred and biblical prophecies?

PROFESSOR: General prophecies mean nothing to me. Look here Mr Pastor. For all the false prophecies which members of your infernal gang of profiteering pastors gave before the last general elections, you should be behind the bars of God!

JUSTICE: It is not late, not too late at all. The hounds of heaven are waiting for all the false pastors, especially those who have commercialized the Lord’s work! A wonderful and abominable thing is happening in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the people love it so!

PROFESSOR: One preacher I knew used to say that one false prophet was more dangerous than 100 armed robbers. Now I understand why!

UMUKORO: Armed robbery is no longer fashionable. Pen robbery fetches millions of naira with one stroke. Just add two zeros to the figure or transfer public funds to a private account.

PROFESSOR: I spoke metaphorically!

PASTOR: When it is becoming fashionable for persons of the same gender to marry and be recognized by the state, then the world is coming to an end.

UMUKORO: Sodom and Gomorrah incurred God’s wrath with that abomination!


MARIAM: When Supreme Court judges dispense political justice, then the end of the state as we knew it, has come.

UMUKORO: Even in America! Democratic judges give judgment guided by the so-called liberal values of the democrats while republican judges give conservative verdicts like abolishing the right to having an abortion!

JUSTICE: What then is justice?

MARIAM: Self solution! Your name is justice!

PROFESSOR: Aren’t we mixing oranges and apples in the same basket?

PASTOR: Let the tares and the wheat grow. At the harvest the Lord shall do the separation of sheep from goats!

JUSTICE: Eschatological metaphors can be used to rationalize and explain currents and undercurrents of contemporary events. It is very convenient to do so!

PROFESSOR: I am disappointed that our Nobel laureate could make such a one-sided pronouncement on the 2023 general elections. Unlike him, he didn’t speak like a man who comprehends the totality of our traumatic experience in February 2023!

MARIAM: But he spoke his mind. The Constitution guarantees freedom of expression!

JUSTICE: He spoke with the finality of a judge. I respect him for that. But he should also like an elder have acknowledged the level of rigging and violence which marred the exercise. The general thinking is that he is silent on that aspect because a friend of his now occupies Aso Rock!

MARIAM: That is a most uncharitable thing to say about a man of such intellectual distinction and moral probity!

JUSTICE: Excuse me! Has he occupied any public office in the country to enable you to arrive at that conclusion? Has he been tested?

MARIAM: His name is a shield. His name travels before him.

JUSTICE: Why did he wait for the PEPT to make a pronouncement before proclaiming his tigritude?

PROFESSOR: Let’s leave that old man alone jor! I’m more interested in the shuffling feet at the CBN. What exactly is going on? Was there no due diligence before Shonubi was asked to act as Governor of the Central bank of Nigeria? Didn’t they know, couldn’t they have suspected that he was part of the rot that ran that institution aground in the dying days of the former president?

PASTOR: Alas, it has given the president the opportunity to appoint his own man as governor. The new man by all account is competent and exposed in the financial world!

PROFESSOR: My only worry is whether he will have the gumption to say no if he receives obnoxious directives from his boss.

JUSTICE: How many appointees in our country have the liver to say no to the indiscretion of their bosses? It is not in our DNA!

MARIAM: In Lagos state, the Speaker of House said no to the governor on the appointment of some commissioners! The heavens did not fall.

PROFESSOR: The heavens almost fell. But that speaker is arrogant. No big man can trust him. Or was he dancing to music being played in higher quarters to spite the governor?

MARIAM: Who knows! It is possible. The ways of politicians are not straightforward. How could he say that he and the governor are colleagues! He has no respect for the office!

UMUKORO: I felt sorry for the governor! This attempt to humiliate him all in the name of politics.

JUSTICE: I hear it is all about 2024. If he is thinking of becoming governor, that statement will return to haunt him in future!

PASTOR: Now! Now! Now! Is the Dubai visa ban still hanging over us or Mr. President got the desert kings to lift the embargo?

JUSTICE: Is there any ‘gbajue’ going on?

PROFESSOR: Hahahahahaha! The more you look, the less you see. Proverbs to bones and silence!

UMUKORO: I don’t think it is ‘gbajue! It is possible that there was an agreement in principle which would require Nigeria to finetune certain details before going public. A federal government cannot tell lies about such public matters!

PASTOR: When the saviour comes, let him that be on the rooftop not come down to be saved. You will run to the mountain and the mountain will be melting!

MARIAM: And the sea will be boiling!

PROFESSOR: Who will save us? Who can take the nation back to factory reset? Shall we invite Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi, and Ahmadu Bello to rescue us?

PASTOR: Perish such thoughts please! Those men have not been able to save themselves. How can they save anybody? Jesus Christ is the answer!

Continue Reading


A Response To Toyin Falola’s Obasanjo, Obadide And Obajoko



Former President Olusegun Obasanjo

By Yinka Agbetuyi

Toyin Falola’s “Obasanjo, Obadide and Obajoko” is a timely article that captures the complexities and contradictions of a Yoruba (even Nigerian) in transition. It reframes the questions: ‘transition to where?’ How will this transition be better managed? Until these two questions are adequately resolved Yorubaland (and Nigeria) will always be in constant crises.

    It is very important that the essay brings out the fact of extant kingships alongside modern polities in Europe like the UK and Belgium, (there are still twelve extant monarchies in Europe) where the monarchs are not subordinated to modern politicians and humiliated thereby. So which West are the Yoruba (and Nigerians) copying?  Newfound lands, mainly the US – as well as Australia and Canada- stolen from the aborigines.

    Yoruba people and fellow Nigerians must constantly be reminded that the success of the anticolonial struggles was about stopping such occurrence in Africa.  Perhaps Yoruba Nation advocacy was geared toward the same goal, but lacked effective strategies. At the last stop before Tinubu’s unexpected victory, the groundswell was for Yoruba Nation advocates to go into partnership with other Nigerian ethnic nationalities and evolve a workable blueprint that takes into consideration each group’s preference and the rate of and speed of integration into the totality – the North’s preference at independence, and Awo’s true federalism- supplanted unfortunately by the adoption of an American presidential federalist model, hook line and sinker!  My reaction over the decades is that Nigeria is not necessarily vying with others for the position of the 51st state of the US.

    In my own summation in diverse forums, as it exists now in Europe, the royal houses should be clearly delimited and given definite CONSTITUTIONAL roles and worthy remuneration. First Class traditional rulers should earn the same salaries as sitting governors (Nigeria can afford this option many times over from a mere fraction of its stolen wealth if recovered). Monarchs will in turn underwrite the integrity of the polity by being constitutionally tasked with the appointment of auditors who will scrutinise State spending (states and federal) and projects in their domains and report directly back to such MONARCHS for onward transmission to state chief executives and the presidency.

    Traditional rulers should be elected and appointed only by traditional councils and their appointment signed into law (but not subject to nor subordinated to) the state governors.  After all the days of crass illiterate caricature of traditional rulers is long gone.  Traditional rulers should therefore be structured as parallel instruments of and facilitators of governance in a check and balance structuration of governance, in a carefully integrated whole to achieve total governance – the transient and the permanent. Lesser traditional rulers should be administered by the First-Class rulers (in council) who will recommend their emoluments, (and functions) subject to rankings to state governments.

    Only First-Class rulers (in council) should be able to recommend the creation and elevation of lower ranked rulers to the states according to the existing norms of such communities, (they did this well enough in the precolonial days) and the state government should only administratively approve or reject such recommendations based on financial contingencies. This formulation should neutralise party politicking in the creation and maintenance of traditional rulership.

    Yes, traditional rulers must be constitutionally barred from seeking and accepting contracts from their states of origin and from the federal government, the same way a governor is not notionally entitled to be awarded a contract by their own government.  In the British system, this is called declaration of interests by parliamentarians (whether in government or not) in the register of interest book.  This is to prevent conflict of interests of the person in government (and their associates) and their official duties.  This provision demonstrates that greed is a universal phenomenon unless and until checked by relevant laws (witness the UK Parliament’s expenses claim scandal in 2010.)

    Now that the Tinubu struggle has been fought and won, the Yoruba Nation advocates, must in continuation of their activities not rest their oars on the ship of State, but intensify such by taking the lead in the quest for this new reality, by reaching out to like minded nationalities across the country to achieve the constitutional change for a better, stable and prosperous tomorrow for Nigerians.

Prince Agbetuyi is a Professor of Comparative Arts & World History at the Edutronix Institute, London.


Continue Reading


Use Your Penis: Hopes, Expectations And Realities Of African Migrants In Europe



The panelists at the event.

By Leo Igwe

The issue of migration to Europe has been in the news. There has been intense discussion on how to tackle the flow of migrants to, not from, Europe. There have been reports of boats carrying migrants capsizing or missing on the Mediterranean Sea. Many Africans have died trying to enter Europe via the Sahara desert. North African and European countries have taken measures to curb illegal migration and human trafficking. Still, the migration flow out of Africa continues and shows no signs of abating. Why has the migration of Africans or migration from Africa become such a huge problem? What are the hopes, experiences and realities of these migrants?

In August I was invited to speak at a seminar on migration. The focus was on the migration of Africans to Europe. The event took place in Bergen, Norway. As a doctoral student, I lived in Germany for six years. I was invited to speak at programs on migration. Governmental and nongovernmental agencies in Denmark and Germany organized the events. I did not find these events interesting because the focus was on human trafficking and the role of African juju and witchcraft. Do not get me wrong. Human trafficking is a huge problem and needs to be addressed. But we have to tackle the problem from the root. These events were by my estimate a complete waste of time and money because organizers and participants were not ready to tell themselves the truth, face the facts and address the real issue. They want to make themselves feel good and privileged while talking about these helpless Africans streaming to their shores. Organizers were more interested in marginal voodoo, and oath-taking issues. They made it seem as if there was something unusual about African migration. But there was not. Migration is as old as human beings. Humans from all races and regions have been migrating from one region to another, from one country or continent to another. Before this recent wave of migration out of Africa, people from Europe, America, and Asia have been migrating to Africa. They are still migrating for business, social, economic, religious, and political reasons.

Contemporary African migration is mainly economic. It is driven by poverty, miserable living conditions, and the devastation of African economies by European, Asian, and American companies. To tackle the problem of migration, African economies must be fixed. The continent must realize an economic leap. Now instead of focusing on the economic roots of the problem and how to address them, many Europeans and Americans expend energy discussing trivialities, such as the role of voodoo and so-called powerful witch doctors in Nigeria. Well, at these events, I told the organizers the bitter truth. I told them to forget this juju or voodoo talk and face the reality: the destruction and revival of African economies. I told the organizers what they did not want to hear. And they never invited me back.

But this time around it was different. The organizers were not Europeans or Americans. A Nigerian student at the University of Bergen staged the event. He contacted me some months ago, drawing my attention to the plight of African migrants in Norway. He explained how many who travel to Norway and other European countries had their hopes and expectations dashed. Many who migrate to this country or other European countries end up entrapped. They are compelled to go into things they did not plan to do. Many migrants end up in a new form of slavery, in a marriage to a European citizen. Left with the option of going back to Africa at the end of their study or marrying to get the documents to stay, many end up contracting a marriage, in many cases a paper or document marriage. These marriages entrap them, they turn these migrants into errand boys and girls. Many of them are mistreated. They suffer silently. If they misbehaved, their partners would threaten to report them to the authorities and get them deported. I was told that many in the African migrant communities were not helping matters. Someone told me that he approached some migrants seeking and wanting to know how he could navigate migration issues. But the person told him: “Use your penis”. I guess for a female it would have been a case of: Use your vagina. While studying in Germany, some African migrants told me how they were sexually exploited, and dehumanized before they could get legal documents to stay in the country. One woman told me that everyman who wanted to help her wanted to sleep with her.

So, the program was cathartic. It provided a space to let out these pains, sufferings, disappointments, and frustrations.

The event brought together ‘free-will’ migrants and Norwegians. The panelists were from Ghana, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Belarus. I was the only international guest on the panel. Other panelists discussed the hurdles that they have faced, and the challenges that they confronted trying to live and integrate in Norway. As one panelist noted, many who come to study were unable to find a job at the end of their program. In many cases, they graduated and found out that there was no job for them, or they were unable to speak the local language, which was a requirement for many jobs. Another panelist from Ghana, married to a Norwegian, discussed her challenges as a migrant parent in Norway. She recounted how her child had suffered racism in the school. She narrated an experience where the child did a group assignment with four other white Norwegian children. And the teacher gave her child four marks for the assignment and other group members five marks.

There was some discussion on illegal migration and the risks involved. Some Norwegians in the audience noted that many African migrants knew about the risks they could face migrating to Europe. And still, they decided to embark on the risky journey. There was a lot of focus on migrants and their experiences traveling from Africa. However, little or no attention was paid to the European connection with the problem, the fact that western foreign economic policies have devastating effects on African economies. Africa is a market for Western goods including Norwegian stockfish. Apparently Europe needs African markets not African migrants. Western multinationals are relentlessly plowing and plundering the resources of Africa in ways that have displaced the local populations. African professionals are leaving in droves. They are migrating to work in the West and the Middle East. So, Western economies profit from the migration flow and the cheap labor it provides. Western countries benefit from the economic status quo that has turned Africans into migrants and refugees in Europe and America. To contain the flow of migrants to Europe, the situation in Africa must change. African economies must begin to grow and improve. Western governments must end the economic exploitation of Africa.

Dr. Igwe directs the Advocacy for Alleged Witches.

Continue Reading

Top Stories