​DEMONIZING INEC FOR OBEYING THE ORDER IN DINO’S CASE IS WRONG 


I have the press release by INEC signed by Prof. Okey Ibeanu reacting to the insinuations as to why INEC obeyed the Court order that status quo be maintained and the step it has taken. 

I must state that obedience to court order is an act of civility that should be encouraged. Obedience to court orders is one of the hallmarks of democracy while disobedience to court orders is act of rascality and threatens democracy. So, INEC should not be demonized for obeying the said order. There is no doubt, in my mind, that It acted rightly. It cannot pick and choose which court order to obey and the one order to disobey. 
INEC stated that it has caused a petition to the CJN against the Judge. I strongly maintain that the petition is uncalled for. What is the purpose? INEC should have immediately filed a Motion on Notice seeking for an accelerated hearing of the matter stating the reason of constitutional imperativeness which will cause the Court to vacate the September date and give a close date. Lest I forget, I read that INEC has filed the needed application. So, what is the utility of the petition? 
We should remind ourselves that it is not every mistake or slip by a Judge in a matter that is borne out of corruption and politicitization of a case and therefore calls for or requires a petition to the CJN. A Judge is a human being and can err. In this case, what if the Judge has adjourned the case to the date because of the vacation of the Court. Also, he might have interpreted the provision of the constitution in his mind differently from INEC and felt that the adjourned date is safe. That he erred is not such that should warrant an imputation. For me that is what INEC’s letter to the CJN has done. If not, what is it? 
It is tantamount to subtle harassment of the judiciary not to give Judges benefit of doubt in certain cases, instead petitions are caused because slip or mistake in matters like this. The truth is that there are rules of Court that address many of the situations that are made subjects of petitions to the CJN. This new trend of petitioning is becoming inimical to the powers and independence of the judiciary. It will likely cow the judiciary, if care is not taken. 
Good morning all. You may not share my view, politely state your position. Do not insult anyone that expresses a view that is contrary to yours.

MAKING NIGERIA WORLD – MY THOUGHT 


Repeatedly, I have stated that pretence is hurting the country. Many of us pretend as if they are not seeing or feeling the pressure being piled on our coexistence and integration. We should be interested in strengthening the country and not in strengthening any ethnic or religious section. It means that those in power must lead the way in words and actions. I believe that every section of the country has the good, the bad and the ugly. No section or group loves the country more than the others. No section has more saints than the others. We are all together in the project of building Nigeria. 
There is no debate that our Constitution is not perfect. In its imperfection, it has certain provisions meant to address our peculiarities. One of the provisions is the federal character provision. It is most criticised provision of the Constitution. Critically examined, it has its own strength and benefit. 
For us to inculcate the spirit of oneness that provision is needed. There is need to implement it. It is like the footstool for national coexistence and integration. Ironically, many of us argue against it when it conflicts with our parochial or selfish interests and ambitions and turn round to anchor on it when it is being used against us. This is the irony of our country. 
By our realities, there are no justifications to overlook or play down on the provision. Our leaders should be interested in inspiring nation building than patching sectional ambitions. As a country, we should sincerely be more concerned and worried about the future. For now is already with us, we may manipulate or manoeuvre it but the future is uncertain and so fluid. So, we should strenuously strive to shun parochial and selfish interests and build the country. 
Our leaders should endeavour not to feed or energize future advocates of secession by their discriminatory actions and policies. The feeling in certain sections that they are always treated or are being treated like second class citizens ought to be killed by pursuing accountable and humane policies and actions: ensuring equal security for all, treating all equally before the law, providing urgent basic needs of each section, etc. 
I reiterate that in a multi ethnic and religious country like ours, the observance of the constitutional provision on federal character is peace building, nation building and hope giving.

THE COUNTRY’S MILITARY AND LAW BREAKING 


​The Channel’s TV report of clash between the Police on duty and Navy personnel in Calabar is a clear testimony of the weight of impunity that the Military still unleashes on Nigerians though we are under a civil dispensation. The reported incident is akin to vulture eating vulture which in our culture is regarded as an abomination or a taboo. 
The report has it that three Policemen were killed as a result of the cladh and a Police Station burnt. This is serious. It is important to ask: What was the offence of the Police men on duty? Also,  are Navy personnel above the law and therefore not subject to the Police Act and the Constitution that have empowered the Police to discharge their duties of policing? 
It is disheartening that we keep padding the impunity of the military institution in this country. There was this incident of a man who was harassed for spitting from a vehicle on the highway before nearing  a military checkpoint. His conduct could be a bad manner, but definitely not a crime. He was accused by the soldiers of spitting on them. This was just to humiliate him. On the road, you see citizens asked to undergo different punishments at military checkpoints for offences adjudged by them. What of being flogged with ‘koboko’? 
Citizens get embarrassed and humiliated in various ways by the security apparati of the nation. The citizens in dealing with military personnel are like second class citizens. It is an insult to ask a military man or woman on duty what offence a person has committed to be punished. You will likely be embarrassed or threatened with corporal punishment. You may be subjected to a punishment too. The situation is unwelcome and the authorities must start to address it.
The Federal Government must wake to its responsibility of protecting the citizens from military brutality and impunity. The burning of the Police Station in Calabar and killing of three Policemen are clear offences in law: they are arson and murder. The perpetrators and the accomplices should not be shielded. They should be subjected to the due process of law: arrested, investigated and prosecuted. If found liable, they should be convicted and face the wrath of the law. 
I am however worried as my mind keeps saying to me: I bet, nothing will be done to them. It is a dead matter. If my heart beat comes to pass, then what a country?

PENSIONERS AND PENSION IN NIGERIA 


​”PENSIONER COMMITS SUICIDE IN BENUE OUT OF FRUSTRATION 
A retired worker with the Benue State Local Government Service, Mr. Gabriel Nomsha, last week committed suicide following frustration over his inability to get his pension for over three years.
 

This was disclosed by the Chairman of Coalition of Local Government Pensioners,’ Mike Vembe, who led a protest to Government House Makurdi wednesday.
He said one of their members, due to frustration, hanged himself a week ago. ‘One of our members, Gabriel Nomsha, from Gwer West Local Government Area, committed suicide last week as a result of poverty and frustration.”
He explained that after the deceased had been screened, he came with the hope of collecting his pension but was disappointed when he wasn’t paid.
This is even as 2,000 local government pensioners on Tuesday slept at the gate of the Government House in Makurdi to protest the non-payment of their pension to the tune of N1.1 billion.
The pensioners who came from the 23 local government areas of the state, were said to have arrived the seat of government in Makurdi about noon but could not see the governor and decided to pass the night at the gate of government house.
Efforts by security operatives mounting the gate to disperse them were rebuffed as the senior citizens called their bluff until mother luck smiled at them yesterday morning when Governor Samuel Ortom who was travelling to Abuja, came to address them.
Vambe who led the pensioners, said the protest became necessary after the Ministry of Finance stopped giving money to Local Government Pensions Board.
“We slept at the gate of the Government House since yesterday to press home our demands for the payment of our pension. The finance ministry stopped giving money to Local Government Pensions Board and this is causing our hardship.”
Governor Ortom who sympathised with them, said their welfare was of utmost importance to his government and promised to do everything possible to clear their pension arrears.
Ortom immediately directed his Special Adviser on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Titus Zam, to include one of their leaders.”

Culled from http://www.wetndey.com
My take is that State Governors are toying with the constitutional right and welfare of pensioners in the country. Pension is a right under our Constitution.  The present situation calls for an urgent and collective intervention. The Federal Government must lead the pack in redressing the pensioners. There is no doubt that a lot of misappropriation is going on in the States across the country. The Federal Government is more like an accomplice for failing and/or refusing to to get the State Governors to publicly account for the bailout funds given their States. 
The bailout fund was meant to pay off arrears of workers salaries and pensions. It is therefore immoral and criminal to divert it or to short-change the beneficiaries in any manner or form. 
Many pensioners have died in pursuit of their pensions. Some have died for not being able to support their lives after retirement due to the callous and illegal denial of their pensions by State Governors. The pensioner hung himself to cut short the frustration, abuse and pains that were being  inflicted on him by the State Governor. He is a recent case of one of the causalities of the abuse of pensioners in the country. 
The denial of pensioner of their pension and not paying pensioners their pension as at and when is a threat to the anti-corruption fight. It is a discouragement to those in service and the younger ones who aspire for careers in the public service. Many of these public servants being owed pension and are being dribbled by State Governors  worked in honesty. Today, they are being ridiculed and mocked by the same State that they served honestly. What a message do we think is being passed to their children and relations and those in service who worked with or under such pensioners? The message is simply: You have to steal to prepare for your retirement and/or, as in our parlance, ‘don’t kill yourself for Government’ which is one should put less energy in official work because the Government does not cater for pensioners and will not cater for you thereafter. The other effect is that it is helping in lowering productivity in the public service. 
Theris no doubt that the implications of State Governors owing pensioners their pension are numerous. One of the clearest messages is that our country is uncaring and our leaders are mischievous and insensitive. The aged, as vulnerable people,  are supposed to be protected and catered for, and not abused and humiliated. 
Have you asked: How many State Governors in the country are retirees? What do we make out of this in respect of our new calmour for youths in political  leadership? Is the conduct of the State Governors not opposed to this quest? 

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Our country needs to undertake a critical evaluation of the attitude of those elected to govern and represent us. We must break the circle of pretence, and come out to say no to all manner of abuses and impunity. Owing the pensioners is an act of impunity 
Good morning all.

THE IRONY OF DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA 


​Peaceful protest and strike action by workers are part of the fundamental human rights of citizens and workers. They are protected under freedom to association and assembly, and freedom to expression. Our experience as a country shows that the right to peacefully protest and the right to strike by workers are not tolerated by State Governors. They use State force to crush them. They threaten the citizens and workers, if they dare so assemble and/or express themselves. 
Nigeria is an interesting country. Our politrickians think that the citizens are foolish. Since the rumour of a coup became public, our politrickians are warning that Nigerians will resist any coup attempt. Yes, Nigerians will resist a coup attempt. Let them that the resistance is not because of them, or because of they are doing well. It is for our love and quest for democracy. We cannot afford to watch our democracy truncated for the third time. However, I sincerely doubt if there is such a thinking in the military now. I take the press statement by the Presidency that it is a hoax as the true position. Who might have generated the hoax? 
For emphasis, Nigerians do not want a coup. Let any change of government come from the ballot box via a free and fair general election. This is where INEC must acquit itself or go to the dungeon of history. 
It is important to state that election rigging is also a coup because it undermines and subverts the popular will of the electorate. It gives control of government to an individual or a political party contrary to the law. The Constitution decries taking over of power or control of government contrary to it. Section 1(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) is clear on the issue. 
If State Governors and political chieftains in the country are calling for civil disobedience to a military coup, which is not likely, what are we taking out of their call? It follows that as a people we must be prepared to rise and massively reject any form of electoral rigging in 2019. We cannot continue to be apathetic to electoral rigging. 
The State Governors constitute one of the huge challenges to democracy and democratic leadership in the country. Many of them are petty and mean. Here are elected leaders who scuttle, violate and threaten harmfully the citizens right to peacefully protest and workers right to strike promoting civil disobedience because they felt that their selfish and arrogant hold on governance is about to be threatened. The same individuals who oppose protest and strike are canvassing for opposition to a coup. The question is: How? The other is that if a coup should be opposed, which I support, if ever such a misadventure is attempted, why can’t the citizens utilize peaceful protest and workers utilizing strike action to oppose inhuman policies and programmes, indeed, bad governance? This is the irony of our democracy . I abhor violent protest. It is not democratic. 
It is so relieving that the Military and the Presidency have dispelled the coup rumour. Rumour mongers can now rest. We need credible general elections, not coup is an aberration to democratic governance. The rumour should cause our politrickians to undertake self evaluation of their leadership. 
Nigeria is destined for greatness; its challenge is corrupt and poor leadership that it has continued to experience over the decades.

FREE SPEECH AND MEMBERS OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN NIGERIA 


The  front page of a reputable newspaper in Imo State published todau that the All Progressives Congress (APC)  may sanction one of its stalwarts,  Uche Onyeagocha for his position on ‘Imo Charter of Equity’ and his reported threat to Quit the party if the Charter is not observed. This short post is not on the said Imo Charter of Equity. Also, my intention is not to provoke any debate on the ‘Imo Charter of Equity’ here. Please, I request that comments on the said Charter are left out for now. 

My concern now is the need for respect for the fundamental rights of members of political parties in the country, especially their right to think and to express themselves. I confess that I advocate party discipline. I also advocate organizational discipline. However, when the issue concerns freedom of speech, I am for its enjoyment by members of political parties. A political party is not a cult group. It is a legal and democratic group and must be tolerant to other voices. 

I strongly believe that a member of a political party should be free to publicly express his or her views on important public issue, especially when the party seems to be on a wrong course and appears unrepentant. On this premise, I think Uche Onyeagocha has the right to think and to freely express himself on the issue of ‘Imo Charter of Equity’ if he has found that his party seems unrepentant on the issue of which zone will produce the Governor of Imo State in 2019 and these rights he activated. It is better to speak out before an injury is done than after the injury is inflicted. I am wondering: Why should APC threaten him with sanction? 

I doubt that the threat of sanction is,  indeed, the official thinking or position of APC. For it will make a mockery of the party, if there is a sanction against him for  expressing himself.