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COVID-19: Runsewe Urges Safety, Watchfulness Among Culture, Tourism Stakeholders

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Director General National Council for Arts and Culture( NCAC) Otunba Segun Runsewe has called on culture and tourism stakeholders not lose faith about the uncertainty that has engulfed humanity as a result of the COVID-19.

Though the industry is highly affected and bleeding, the NCAC boss believes the industry and practioners will survive the scrouge if the medical and hygiene culture protocol is strictly adhered to by everyone.

“Our industry, at times like this, had survived many socio-economic and medical visitations in the past because we are very close to the people and will be the first to experience negative impact of any local or global restiveness on all fronts,” he stated.

“This experience must count now. Yes, we have lost money from bookings for our various cultural tourism events, running our hotels on low occupancy and generally witnessed a lockdown never seen before but i’m confident, once it is over, our industry will respond positively beyond expectation. So I urge all of us to be careful and prayerful,” he added.

The DG who just came back last week from Jos, Plateau State, to visit the government and people of the state in preparation and activation of various activities towards hosting Nigeria’s biggest cultural festival, the National Festival of Art and Culture (NAFEST) later in the year, commended the leadership of all private sector players in culture and tourism for the proactive actions taken to educate customers and owners of leisure businesses on COVID-19 protocols.

“Apart from medical professionals, our industry practitioners are also in the frontline of falling victims to this homongous pestilence, hence the commendation of all levels of leadership in the sector for keeping all concerned well informed about the impact of the disease.” Runsewe further explained.

He noted that the closure of our land borders and restrictions of air travel, will mitigate the spread the dreaded infirmity, praising Federal and states governments’ response to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

“This is not a period to fear and panic but to watch, pray and follow all sanctioned protocols. It shall be with us and very soon if we take to regulations, our culture and tourism engagements will bounce back, better and bigger,” he concluded.

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Twitter: Trump Is Doing the Right Thing for Wrong Reasons

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By Joel Popoola

When Donald Trump suggested you could cure COVID-19 by drinking bleach, Nigerians could be forgiven for thinking his public statements should come with a health warning.

But a row has broken out in America after Twitter labelled two of the President’s posts with a truth warning, describing them as “potentially misleading”.

In response, the president used executive powers to attempt to limit liability protections for social-media companies –making them legally responsible for the content that gets posted on them for the first time.

As a Nigerian tech entrepreneur and digital democracy campaigner, I believe this is an example of the wrong person doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. It is overdue that social media companies take responsibility for the content that is posted on them, but not because one politician resents being shamed for using that platform irresponsibly and inaccurately.

Ironically, the controversial tweets; not even that controversial by this President’s standards, accused postal voting of being “substantially fraudulent” with ballot papers “forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed”, concerns some Nigerians will probably share!

But Nigerians are all-too familiar with our own fake news crisis. Fake wars, fake terrorist attacks, fake cloned Presidents – we’ve had the lot. One state governor has even spoken of reading about how at that exact moment he was apparently in a coma, following a magic tortoise attack!

Social media allows these stories to be spread across Nigeria before the truth has even put its shoes on. And part of this problem is social media companies have historically refused to accept that the things that get posted on their platforms are anything to do with them.
To social media companies, their platforms are just blank canvases. If anyone writes something dangerous or misleading on those blank canvases, it’s has nothing to do with them – even if what is written is dangerous or misleading.

Social media companies have historically refused to admit that they are not blank billboards. They are media providers. And imagine if any other media providers behaved this way.

Imagine the newspapers were just blank pieces of paper that whoever got to the shop first could write whatever news they wanted on, even if that “news” was politically-motivated misinformation.

Imagine the nightly television news was people taking turns to read out their conspiracy theories, daydreams, and fantasies. Dangerous nonsense, masquerading as credible information.
As Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has himself said, social media platforms must do more to tackle the “fake news or provocative information” he believes “can cause chaos, civil unrest, war, and even death”.

On the other hand, whilst social media companies should not be punished for belatedly taking steps to ensure that their users have access to the truth, who decides what the truth is? With three of the largest social media organisations owned by the same people, doesn’t that concentrate enormous power in the hands of very few (completely unelected and unaccountable) people?

Politicians need to ask themselves why social media provides such fertile soil for dangerous rumours to take root, and in Nigeria in particular, one of the main reasons is the lack of trust electors have for the elected.

Fighting the fake news which has become all too prevalent in Nigeria in recent years necessitates the public having reliable sources of information they can go to online – and where better than going direct to their local representatives?

It is for these reasons that the Digital Democracy campaign created the free Rate Your Leader app – a direct (and abuse-proof) line straight to elected officials from the people who they serve.

Ask them anything, person to person, direct from your phone. And with that contact comes accountability. If you don’t like the answer you get or you don’t get an answer at all, Rate Your Leader lets you rate your local politician appropriately for everyone to see.
Voters aren’t the only ones to benefit. The app helps politicians understand what matters most to the people who elected them, build relationships of trust with the electorate, and get important messages straight to them.

Nigerian voters need to know what information they can trust, and also that they can trust their local representatives. Digital engagement is the most effective and efficient way of delivering that.

To put it another way, politicians, do you want your local residents to be getting their information from you, or the man telling them to drink bleach?

Joel Popoola is a Nigerian tech entrepreneur and digital democracy campaigner and is the creator of the free Rate Your Leader mobile app. Contact us via Joel@rateyourleader.com

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Food for Living: Distance Yourself from Negativity

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By Henry Ukazu

Greetings Destiny Friends,

It is a well established fact that in life, there’s time for everything. A time to sow, and a time to reap; a time to cry and a time to be joyful; a time to be born and a time to die; and a time to succeed and a time to fail. The list is literally endless. Amongst all these, the gateway of overcoming this challenge is having a positive mindset. When you diffuse your mind from negative thoughts, you give yourself the positive energy to live again.

In the journey of life, sometimes we are too complacent. We sometimes hold onto sentimental attachment with our fellow human beings due to vested interest. Most of us kind of play along or flow when it comes to who we surround ourselves with.

Having a positive mindset is priceless. A positive mindset tells you that despite all the bullets that is thrown at you, it shall fade away if it’s definitely not for you. A positive energy tells you that regardless of what is said about you, they don’t decide your fate. A positive mindset tells you that when they go low, you go high. A positive attitude empowers you to raise the price so that detractors will find it hard to rent a space from your mind.

You cannot underestimate the power of positive mindset. However, before you are able to appreciate the strength of positivity in your life, you must keep negative people out of your life. The question now becomes, how do I kick off negativity from my life? Kicking out negativity does not only involve distancing yourself from friends and associations, it also entails distancing yourself from negative thoughts. This is because that is where all negative thoughts arise.

Just like how success and failure arise first from the mind, distancing yourself from the world starts from the mind as well. You’ll have to conceive the idea first before acting on it. It should be noted that if you don’t weed out negative thoughts and people from your mind, they’ll hunt you. Let’s take a case study of a farmer who plants a crop. He has to constantly weed the farm in order to allow the crop grow and mature very well before he/she can harvest. In the same way, we need to separate our self from the chaff.

As human beings, we all have one form of chaff living in us. It’s up to us to weed out all the chaff in our life. This chaff can be friends, family, insecurity, associations, habits or even blind spots which you are not aware of. It’s high time you shook off any chaff of disappointments preventing you from possessing your passion. You are in charge of your life. Has it ever occurred to you that you are the landlord of your life? If yes, then it’s imperative for you to raise the bar so that cheap people can’t rent a spot in your mind. Don’t allow people with no value to occupy a space in your brain which you can use to create ideas and solutions.

As human beings, sometimes, we always think human beings are the cause of our failures, but in reality, the reason is simply because we are still hanging out with negativity, free yourself by separating yourself from the crowd.

How to distance yourself from negativity

There are several ways to distance yourself from negativity:  Avoid negative people because they literally have no value except envy and doubt. Set boundaries from strangers and people you are not comfortable with in order to keep your sanity of mind. Look out for solutions and not problems; and finally, don’t take things personally and always practice self-love.

When you distance yourself from negative people, your thoughts become positive. When you’re surrounded by other people’s negativity, you may find it harder to regulate your own positive and negative reactions and emotions. When you are surrounded by negativity, it will hard to find reasons to feel happy or positive. However, once you distance yourself from negativity, your positive emotions will start to show themselves again.

According to a Life coach and author, Tandee A. Victor, “Complaining can completely ruin your life by taking all the happiness out of it. When you constantly complain, you develop a negative mentality about everything. That leads to discontent and inner turmoil.” This is simply what negative thought brings to the mind. It’s easier to think, feel and stay positive when you’re surrounded by such happy, good and positive energy. You’ll be surrounded by good people and good things, rather than an endless feedback loop of negative energy.

Sometimes, a lot of people don’t notice that they’re surrounded by negativity until they start to distance themselves from it.  Therefore, in order to separate or distance yourself, you must detach yourself from the crowd. And finally, ask yourself why? Ask yourself why now? Ask yourself what?  Ask yourself how? Ask yourself when? You can do this by finding the root cause and start looking at how it affects you, the people around you. Look around you, look at yourself. Food for thought: The one thing that happens immediately after distancing yourself from negativity is a shift in the way that you’re thinking.

Release

You can distance yourself from the crowd by releasing yourself and your mind from any distraction. You need to let it out whatever has been disturbing you. It would greatly help if you release feelings. The longer you keep it in, the harder it will get.

Forgive

Pride can make you do things you’ll regret. Pride will make you say words that can leave wounds deeper than any blade can ever do. Forgive them and forgive yourself. This will help you have peace of mind. And wouldn’t it be calming to think that nothing else is holding you back from moving on, from detaching yourself from the things that aren’t good for you. Forgive. One word, six letters, and a lifetime worth of work, forgiveness takes time..

Be grateful.

Be grateful for the pain and sorrow. Be grateful for the joy and hope. Be grateful for the memories. Be grateful for the smiles and scars, and the wounds and tears. Be grateful for realizing the reason you’re detaching. There are so much other things, and many other people that you can be grateful for.

Amazing things happen when you distance yourself from negativity

The simple question I have for you today is what’s your own chaff?

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success and President of gloemi.com. He can be reached via henrous@gmail.com

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PCP Writes Buhari, Demands INEC Obeys Court Order

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The People’s Coalition Party (PCP) has written to President Muhammadu Buhari, asking him to intervene and restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from deregistering the party and 33 others.

In the letter, signed by the party’s chairman, Chief Don Anthony Harmattan, the party reminded the president of the court judgment, which exempted the party and others from the deregistration process.

Below is the letter in details:

OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI

MY ESTEEMED PRESIDENT SIR,
A CALL FOR INEC TO RESPECT COURT ORDER

After several attempts to reach you without success, I am compelled to write you this open letter, hoping no one will sweep it under the carpet without bringing it to your knowledge as was the case in the past.

During my school days when you became the Head of State of Nigeria, you were known as a man who respects rule of law to the extent you swiftly implement the law irrespective of who is involved.

Your excellency Sir, I remember vividly that you went through various political platforms and formations such as the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) a newly formed political party, and now the All Progressives Congress (APC) before your election as President. On one occasion, you even had to wept when you felt that you were robbed of your mandate.

Today, my esteemed president, I can strongly assert that a man of your stature, whose integrity and honour, prompted your overwhelming acceptance by Nigerians, might not be aware that so much has gone wrong in a country you cried for and desired so much to be its president.

Mr President Sir, as the party National Chairman of the Peoples Coalition Party (PCP) which placed third in the 2019 Presidential election, I still don’t understand how the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under Mr. Yakubu Mahmoud, woke on the morning of February 6, 2020 to de-register our party and 74 others even while the case was still in court and with INEC consistently served.

That despite a court decision of February 17 2020, granting the Prayers of 33 Parties in an interlocutory injunction against INEC, that INEC has continued to behave like a cowboy on a killing spree that is above the law, saying it cannot undo that which it has already done. INEC is just one among many institutions of government under your watch that has considered itself a parallel government and above the law.

I wish to remind you, my esteemed President Muhammadu Buhari that it was these acts of lawlessness that prompted your public weeping when you lost the 2011, and I still can’t fathom why you have allowed heads of these parastatals or institutions to continue to act with impunity. I want to believe that all these misconducts are not brought to your knowledge hence this open letter.

Your Excellency Sir, there’s no gainsaying the fact that 100 political parties in Nigeria is even so little. It is on record that Nigeria has not been funding any of these political parties in comparison to efforts made by previous government so what’s the rationale for the deregistration.

That in my lifetime, I have not seen any mother who gave birth to 10 children and decided to kill five of them because she believes they are too much for her upkeep or she loves some and hate the others, even when she does not feed and support them without getting a reprimand from the law.

Multi-party democracy is one that have been enshrined in our constitution. It does not limit the political landscape to a particular number. The enemies of multi-party democracy have contested this fact before and failed. Democracy is a continuous political education, training and enlightenment and not just winning elections alone. Limiting the political landscape is like limiting the spread of schools and colleges. It’s a fact that it is not every school that enters a football competition that wins it. And does that mean the Ministry of Education will just wake up one day and close the schools that did not win in a sports competition?

INEC, under Yakubu Mahmoud has become not just the greatest enemy of our democracy, but also to multi party democracy in Nigeria. How come our country has degenerated so much to the extent that the INEC Chairman has decided to play to the gallery by refusing to obey a Federal court order on the grounds that he cannot undo that which has already been done!

The question remains that If CPC and APC had been de-registered by the Attahiru Jega-led INEC prior to 2015 elections, how could you have been elected president. The child you kill today may become the president of Nigeria tomorrow. Little did anyone know that PCP, a newly born party that was issued registration certificate in August 2018, contested election in February 2019 could come third in the presidential election. Now, the party is de-registered just one year and half later by Yakubu Mahmoud.

My Esteemed President Buhari, our party the Peoples Coalition Party and 33 other political parties have been exempted by a Federal High Court from being de-registered through an order. We need the full protect of your government. It is my hope that your Excellency will call on INEC to respect without further delay the decision of the court. INEC did not create the law but the law created INEC and that law that created INEC must be respected by INEC.

Chief Don Anthony Chukwuma Harmattan
PCP National Chairman

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