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Food for Living: #EndSARS Movement: The Way Forward

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By Henry Ukazu

Dear Destiny Friends,

It is no longer news that Nigeria has been trending for the wrong reasons. Almost all major news platforms in the world and world leaders have aired their views with respect to the ongoing protests in Nigeria. For the record, CNN, BBC, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal as well as world leaders like Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Members of UK Parliament just to mention a few have raised their voices in different capacities, advising the Federal Government of Nigeria and precisely the President Muhammadu Buhari, to arrest the situation by adhering to the legitimate demands of the #EndSARS protesters.

For the benefit of my readers who are not aware of the origin of this article, please take time to read my last week article,  #ENDSARS in Nigeria, for a better understanding.  It is important to mention that nothing brings a nation down more than insecurity and instability. When there is a total breakdown of law and order, it will be difficult for any nation to move forward, and also, it will be difficult for investors to invest therein. This is the true state of Nigeria at the moment. Globally, the number one responsibility of any President or leader of a country is the protection of lives and property of its citizens. As it stands now, the protection of lives and properties of the citizens of Nigerians is no longer a priority of the government. It is no longer news that the lives and properties of Nigerians have been destroyed and one begins to wonder if we have a functional government. This is because human lives seem to be of no value if we look at the way thugs and security agents killed peaceful protesters.

It’s important to mention that October 20, 2020 will remain indelible in the minds of Nigerians and the world globally because it was on this date, the military unleashed live bullets on unarmed peaceful protesters who were protesting at the Lekki Tollgate. The shootings were sadistic, draconian and insensitive. In saner climes, the President, Vice President, Governor of Lagos State, Chief of Army Staff and other key officials of the cabinet ought to have resigned, but the reverse is the case in Nigeria.

The level of impunity in Nigeria is at an alarming rate. It is disheartening to note that security officials in Nigeria can kill a citizen they are meant to protect and say with impunity nothing will happen, and mostly likely that’s the honest truth.  It’s so sad and unfortunate to note that human lives has little or no value again in Nigerian

Due to the pressure from the international community and well-meaning citizens of Nigeria, the President Muhammadu Buhari was compelled to address the citizens after the bloody massacre, but the most heartbreaking and disheartening news the President gave to Nigerian was not being able to commensurate with the families of those who lost their loved ones, but he was quick condemn the killings of security officials.  One begins to wonder if the president has empathy, even if the President doesn’t have empathy what happens to this sympathy? He didn’t speak like a leader who has blood flowing through his veins.

One begins to wonder what’s the way forward for the protesters. The youths have shown that they have what it takes to lead if you look at the way and manner they have conducted themselves during these protests. The organization was well coordinated. They had provision for Legal Aid, medical personnel, relief for victim’s brutality, mental health support, food and relief for fallen heroes. That said, many people are still wondering what’s the way forward? Many youths and concerned Nigerians are worried about the future of the protesters because they see hope in the energy and spirit of the youths.

It’s important to note that the youths have achieve some monumental progress namely: they made the government to disband ENDSARS police officers, the government accepted their five for five demands, the government has made effort to persecute erring officers who weren’t diligent in performing their duties and most importantly, they made the President to address the Nation even though the speech was nothing to write home about.

Again, I ask what’s the way forward for the #endSARS protesters?  Many youths are worried about how to proceed. Here are my humble thoughts. Let’s be clear, every protest must have a leader(s)and every movement or protest must be structured. Even though some schools of thought are against having clear leaders so it won’t be hijacked and to the extent he/she is no longer alive or available, the movement can still proceed, however it’s pertinent to mention that without a clear cut leadership of the protest, it will he hard to coordinate the movement, the advantages of having a leadership is much better than not having a leadership structure. Here are my humble thoughts on why a leadership structure is needed.

1.      A good leadership will help to direct and inform the protesters on the way forward

2.     A good leadership structure will be in a better position to negotiate when need arises

3.     A good leadership will give credibility to the movement in addition to ensuring it’s not hijacked

4.     A good leadership will elaborate in detailed format what we stand for, our missions and visions

5.     A good leadership will provide authentic information as opposed to fake news been peddled by rumor mongers

The list is literally endless. The question now becomes how can this work?

1.     Structure:

 We need a good structure that will articulate the direction of the protest, the guidelines of the protest and modus operandi of the movement. Without a good structure, the movement will look like a ship without a captain or a moving car without a direction.

2.     Administration

We need a good administration that will run the internal affairs of the movement. A good administration can be likened to the parts of the body working for the well being of the body. As you may know, if any part of the body is not working well, other parts will be affected. A good administration is a like a blind spot which sees and hears what other people can’t see or hear and then report to the appropriate quarters for action

3.     Resources

No doubt, we need resources to make the movement work. Without resources, it will be hard to get anything done. We are not fighting with ordinary mortals; we are fighting against forces in government uniforms. Resources are like blood and fuel in human beings and cars. Without blood and fuel, it will be hard for a human being and car to function very well. Again, if the agents of the government shut down any part of the campaign to raise money in Nigeria, those in diaspora  and well-meaning people who are interested in developing and bringing change to the system can actually contribute meaningfully.

4.      Strategy

The last but not the least is a strategy. Without a good strategy, it might be difficult to achieve any meaningful progress. You cannot underestimate the importance of strategy. In politics, strategy is very important for the success of any political campaign. Campaign can be likened to a Business Model Canvas (B.M.C). Our strategy must only be known by the internal agents who will then direct the people on where the next step. For example, we can decide when to go online and when to go on the street, we can decide on a particular dress code etc. Strategy involves reaching out to those in diaspora, learning from the elders who have been there before us in the fight for self-actualization, negotiating where need be and planning for the future.

In conclusion, I will strongly advise every patriotic citizen and lover of Nigeria not to give up because we have come a long way. The protest is not a sprint, but a marathon.  I strongly believe, if we can brainstorm and articulate ideas on how to re-strategize the protest, I believe we will have a good chance of achieving our aim.

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 info@gloemi.com

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Yobe Governor, Buni Marries Abacha’s Divorced Daughter, Gumsu

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Yobe Governor Mai Mala Buni on Wednesday married Gumsu Sani Abacha in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The marriage was held at the Abuja residence of the new wife’s brother, Mohammed Abacha.

Buni is the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker National Chairman; Gumsu is a daughter of former Head of State, Sani Abacha.

Notable personalities and government officials, including the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Hameed Ali attended.

In 2019, shortly after he assumed office, Buni tied the knot with Ummy, a daughter of his predecessor and incumbent Yobe East Senator Ibrahim Gaidam.

Gumsu, 45, is the governor’s fourth wife. Her marriage to Cameroonian multi-billionaire, Bayero Mohamadou crashed in 2020.

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Wike Locks Down Rivers for LGA Elections

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has ordered restriction of movement ahead of the local government election in the state.

The election is slated for Saturday, April 17 across 4,442 polling units, 319 wards and 23 local government areas.

In a broadcast on Thursday, Wike said the restriction from Friday night to Saturday is needed to ensure the smooth conduct of the election by the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RVSIEC).

The governor assured residents that security agencies will provide adequate protection at all the polling units and collation centres.

“Consequently, vehicular and human movements, within and out of the state and the local government areas is hereby totally restricted from the midnight of Friday, 16th April, 2021, until the end of polling at 5pm on Saturday, 17th April, 2021, except for persons and vehicles strictly on essential duties with genuine and valid identifications,” Wike said.

“The security agencies have been directed to strictly enforce the restriction on human and vehicular movements and arrest and prosecute any person who dares to violate this ban. I have been briefed and received assurances from the RVSIEC that it is fully prepared and ready not only to conduct, but also to ensure that polling is hitch-free, fair and credible.

“Furthermore, the security agencies have clear directives to arrest and deal decisively with any person or group of persons, no matter how highly placed, who attempts to prevent the peaceful and orderly conduct of the election or compromise its integrity in any way.

“We call on community leaders and the general public to be vigilant and promptly report every suspicious movement and or illegal activity around polling units and collation centres in their localities to the security agencies for immediate action.”

Wike added that his administration will always ensure the promotion of democratic principles, including the election of officials at local government levels across the state.

“As a government that believes in the practice and consolidation of democracy, and in fulfilment of our constitutional duty to ensure the sustenance of democratically-elected local government councils in the state, we have since decided never to run our local government system with caretaker committees, except in inevitably justifiable circumstances,” he said.

“It is against this background that this election has been fixed to once again give our people the opportunity to effectively participate in the process of electing and constituting the next set of chairmen and councillors to administer the 23 local government councils.”

The governor urged voters to conduct themselves peacefully and refrain from any act of violence, adding that the election is not a do-or-die affair.

TheCable

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EFCC Frees Okorocha after Two Days Detention

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Rochas Okorocha, former governor of Imo state, has been released from the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), two days after he was invited for questioning.

Okorocha, who is currently representing Imo west at the senate, was grilled at the EFCC office in Abuja on Tuesday, over issues bothering on alleged corruption.

The former governor, who was in charge of Imo from 2011 to 2019, had been accused by the state government of various corrupt practices including diversion of public funds — although Okorocha has denied any wrongdoing.

Documents obtained by TheCable showed how the former governor awarded 12 contracts worth N20 billion in violation of the public procurement act.

TheCable had also reported how a government committee uncovered N112.8 billion “dubious debts”, which various banks owed the state during Okorocha’s tenure.

Sam Onwuemeodo, Okorocha’s media adviser, confirmed that Okorocha left the custody of the anti-graft agency on Thursday.

“With gratitude to God Almighty, we are delighted to inform the general public that the former governor of lmo state, and by the grace of God, the Senator representing lmo west senatorial district, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, is out of the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and he is now in his house,” the statement reads.

“He left the Commission’s office on the afternoon of Thursday, April 15, 2021.”

Onwuemeodo, who described Okorocha’s invitation to the EFCC’s office as a “trip” said the former governor had earlier given the assurance that he will cooperate fully with the agency.

“We didn’t bother about whether he spent 24 hours or 48 hours at the Commission’s office. We were only keen in his having the needed opportunity to address the allegations contained in the avalanche of petitions written by the lmo State Government, against the former governor,” the spokesman said.

“Remember also that we had alluded that EFCC was not a slaughter house, but a responsible institution, established for the good of the nation and her people. And Okorocha being in his house today, only confirmed our hypothesis that, indeed, the Commission’s office is not an abattoir.”

TheCable

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