Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nigeria Relapsing Into A One-Party State?

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The recent development in Nigeria where elected leaders or representatives of the people cross over to another party, with the people’s mandate, is both alarming and unhealthy. Most of the political leaders – Governors, Ministers, members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, local government chairmen, councillors, etc were voted based on their party manifestos. Defecting with their votes to other parties therefore, should be seen as a rape of their mandate.

The beauty of democracy is in checks and balances which is provided by the opposition parties. Where there are no checks and balances, there is the tendency for the ruling party to become dictatorial. And when there is dictatorship the people suffer unjustly. This is what PDP is driving the country into – becoming a one-party state, where there would be no one to oppose her.

Our politicians are indirectly telling us through their conduct that either they do not understand their party manifestos or they lack integrity. Whichever the case, they cannot be trusted with the people’s mandate since they are not honest enough to protect the people’s votes.

They have also shown that they are in politics simply for their selfish gains and not because they want to represent us. They only see politics as business and so they jump to any political party that offers the best bargain. The last gubernatorial election in Anambra state exposed some of these avaricious politicians; notable amongst them was this particular woman who contested on the platform of one of the parties she thought could easily secure the people’s mandate for her. As soon as it was announced that Peter Obi had won the election, the next week she ran back to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).

Politics in our country has become exploitative: people now use the smaller parties to secure a mandate and then run to PDP where they think they stand the chance to personally gain more. They use the people’s mandate to negotiate for their Ambassadorial, ministerial and other appointments. If we allow this ugly trend to continue in our national polity, sooner or later our nascent democracy would be destroyed by these selfish, dishonest, shameless and greedy politicians.

Recently the former governor of Abia state, Mr. Orji Uzor Kalu went back to PDP (after ruling under the platform of PPA). He was accepted at the national level, but the state refused to accept him back because they understood he was coming back for selfish reasons. If other states would emulate Abia state, the political harlotry in our nation would be checked.

The declaration by the national house of assembly that everyone has the right to cross over to another party irrespective of whether he is carrying the mandate of the people on another political party platform is not helping matters. The house of assembly should realize that this declaration is moving the country in the wrong direction where our national political boat would soon capsize. They are elected to make laws that would suit the nation and not their political party. The country belongs to all Nigerians and not to PDP alone; they should therefore make laws that posterity would applaud and not condemn. Everyone should stand up to condemn this development that is threatening to destroy our nascent democracy and take us back to the military era.

Terrorism; Is The World Losing The War?

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The war against terrorism seems not be achieving its objective and it also seems as if the terrorists are gaining more grounds and unleashing more terror on the world. Different tactics are employed by the people involved, even as the various nations are also trying their hands on different tools of curbing this act of violence and intimidation.

Several countries have suffered one form of terrorist attack or the other. The Lockerbie attack of 1988 is still fresh in our memories; the Saudi attack, the American embassy attack in Nairobi, the Indian attack by Pakistani terrorists, the attack on Egypt, the Madrid attack, the London attack, the Ugandan attack, and the September 11 attack on the United States of America, etc all indicate that the end to these acts does not seem to be near at sight.

The attackers seem to be shifting their well coordinated activities from one continent to the other. And when everyone is about to heave a sigh of relief, a new act of terror is unleashed. The developed countries of the world have employed their sophisticated technology to try to curb this trend but to no avail. They have even made some mistakes in the process of diagnosing the existence of terrorism in certain parts of the world.

Recent revelations that Iraq did not pose any threat before 2003 are instructive; it therefore means that adequate investigations should be conducted before raising an alarm as to the existence of terrorism. Wrong diagnosis is bound to worsen the situation rather than bringing it under control, since some of the people involved have always complained of oppression, intimidation and marginalization. There is therefore need to apply caution in handling this menace that is threatening the corporate existence of the world.

Since the use of force has not helped in bringing the situation under control, there is therefore the need to try other methods such as:

1.Dialogue: Dialogue remains the best way to solve a problem, especially the one that is hydra-headed. It is obvious that when a man realizes he is being forced to do a thing, he hardens his mind to do exactly what he feels pleases him and not what should please the next person. But when all come to the dialogue table, what could not be achieved on the battle front could be achieved. Think of how long America has been in Afghanistan and Iraq: the use of sophisticated weaponry has not stopped the stubbornness of the Afghan or Iraqi people.
2.Racism: Racism has also been one of the issues raised by the people involved in these offensives. There is need to stop racial discrimination or at least reduce it to the barest minimum in order to make those who have hitherto complained of racism to feel wanted by the world. Nobody should be made to exist in isolation on account of regional backwardness, poverty, illiteracy or colour difference.
3.Religious re-orientation: All major religions preach tolerance and the sanctity of the human life. However, some of the religious leaders have twisted the interpretation of their holy books to suit their personal selfish motives. They have brain-washed their followers to believe that there is gain in violence, killing, maiming, religious intolerance, religious wars, arson and suicide bombings. There is need therefore for Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, etc to re-orientate their followers to adhere to the provisions of their holy books and stop wasting their lives and that of other people. They should realize no one goes to heaven by killing another person (in whatever guise) or by committing suicide.
4.Change in curriculum: Government should also play a major role by adding religious tolerance into the curriculum of both primary and post primary schools so that every student should know right from elementary level that God does not in any way support violence. They should be made to respect the religious views of others without coercing anyone into accepting their own views. They should also be made to understand that Christians and Moslems are from the same grand parent – Abraham; as such there would be need to tolerate one another.
5.Cultural exchange: There should be cultural exchange between countries so they could understand the core values of one another, and ensure that the various cultures are respected. Cultural exchanges would foster unity amongst nations and reduce their level of hostility and intolerance toward one another.

The world would be a better place to live in, if we learn to tolerate one another and respect each other’s cultural and religious differences. We would no longer live in fears or sleep with our eyes open; the lives of future leaders, teachers, professors, engineers, nurses, doctors, accountants, pilots, pastors, imams, industrialists, etc would no longer be wasted. When human lives are no longer wasted, the world would develop at a faster pace, and everyone would be happier living together.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dr Nelson mandela; An Epitome Of Good Leadership

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South Africa’s first black president and former leader of the African National Congress (ANC), Dr Nelson Mandela, would be 92 years on Sunday, 17th of July 2010. He has lived 92 years of purposeful leadership, productive and influential life; he has no doubt earned more respect than any other African leader, dead or alive.

Dr Nelson Mandela did not earn his respected position by deceitful leadership, by betraying his people or by looting the treasury of his country: he also did not embark on any image laundering. He achieved this by hard work, honesty, belief in a just course, focus, pursuit of a national dream and determination to live a lasting legacy for his nation and the entire African people.

He had a dream for his people- a dream to see his people walk side by side with the white man; a dream to see everyone enjoy equal and inalienable rights. He had a dream to see the black man treated with some level of respect and dignity: he wished for a state where everyone (black or white) would have the same voting rights, attend the same schools, eat in the same canteen, play on the same pitch, ride in the same public transport, enjoy the same freedom of speech, and live in the same neighbourhood.

He pursued his dream and went to jail for 27 solid years; he never discarded his vision in the midst of threats and intimidations: he remained faithful to a just course. He sacrificed his time, future, marriage and dreams in order to give hope to his people. He was resolute; he knew what he wanted and was not ready to trade his conscience for money. He was not willing to sell the rights of his people for peanuts and then leave them to remain second tier citizens for eternity.

He suffered 27 years of deprivation, hunger, torture, intimidation, separation, oppression and maltreatment in order to ensure apartheid had no more place to stay in South Africa. Thereafter, he became the first Black President of the nation of South Africa. He provided his people with purposeful, accountable, honest and directional leadership. He set the pace for other African leaders to follow.

He ruled for his specified first tenure in office, and when he completed it, instead of towing the path of other African leaders, he decided to take the road of honour by refusing to go for a second tenure. He decided to show other black leaders how to choose the path of honour above material gains. Today, the world celebrates him as the best leader the continent of Africa ever had.

We celebrate with Dr Nelson Mandela as he turns 92 years and join to say he has shown by his leadership style that Africa still has some rays of hope. You have indeed shown that all hope is not lost for our continent. We believe there are those who would one day remember your legacy and decide to build on the solid foundation you have laid for our continent in order to lead us out of the woods.

Your 92 years on earth have not been wasted ones; you have used them to touch lives positively. You have used them to set records worthy of emulation: you have shown that there are still people who value their reputation above materialism in Africa. Your achievements have shown that we still have remnants who we could believe in, to help us put this continent on the path to sustainable development. Posterity would always remember you for your role in destroying the claws of apartheid in your country and for making your country one of the most respectable countries in this part of the world today. Your name has entered the annals of history and children yet unborn would one day see the foot prints you left on the sand of time.

We wish African leaders would take a leaf out of your book and decide to put the interest of their people before their personal interests and become more accountable to the masses. We wish that in less than a decade from now, Africans would be proud to say they do not want to go to other continents to seek for the greener pasture anymore. We pray that things should change for the better – constant power supply, smooth roads, security of lives and property, quality education, justice, rule of law, vibrant leadership and sustainable development.

We wish you a HAPPY BIRTH DAY, and we pray that God would sustain your life and make you see the Africa of your dream before you finally take your exit from this earth to be with the Lord forever. We pop our champagne as we say more happy years to you, Dr Nelson Mandela.