‘British colonial leaders don’t tell lies like our own leaders today’
80 year old Christopher Usman Attah reminiscent of his school days in 1960 would like the hand of the clock to be drawn back not for himself but for his great grand children to have a taste of the colonial days when leaders were accountable.
At about 20 years of age in form three he was one of the lucky ones who attended the first ever Independence Day celebration at Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos
He could not describe the feeling of fulfilment while in Government commercial College Onitsha in the midst of his mates who were moved to Lagos with all expenses paid by the Government.
Other students from other parts of the country enjoyed the same benefits as they all converged at the popular Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos with the green white green flag in their hands to usher in a new dawn in the history of Nigeria where Nigerians could be ruled by their own kit and kin.
Hence he said they had very high expectations from the new indigenous leaders as the Union Jack was lowered and the Nigerian flag ‘The Green white green’ hoisted.
“The independence day was the day we stopped the celebration of the commemoration of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, if not we continued to celebrate it every year. We call it empire day which was celebrated in every school. All the schools used to come together to play games like football, we sing for queen Elizabeth and do match past.”
“But 1960 marked the end of the celebration of Empire day, I was in form three at Government Commercial College Onitsha. All the schools were sponsored to attend the first independence day celebration in Lagos.”
With his experience of the two leaderships he was soon to realise that the independence which was greeted with joy was soon to be seen as the Nigerian greatest undoing as the Nigerian leaders were unable to meet up hence the woes that has become the lots of the people after 56 years.
He said the British overlords were sincere in their leadership style because there was truth in their word. ‘Whatever they said they meant it. But the Nigerian leaders have no truth in their word and it has affected us adversely.’
He recalled that unlike nowadays, In those days schools were rear to come by as in the entire northern region the only secondary schools were in Okene and Barewa College in Keffi. It was later Jesus College came in Oturkpo.”
He pointed out that his parents never paid any school fees or bought uniforms for him as everything was taken care of by Government including the transport for their return at the end of the term.
Attah who went to a Catholic school for his standard six said they were given free food and every other thing like books and fees were free just like in the Native Authority School. When the system was that of standard 1 to standard 6.
“We had Quaiboe Standard school in Idah, the Native Authority school in Anyigba and another Native Authority school in Bassa. What we had in Dekina was the middle school. Which prepared students for Okene and Keffi where we had the complete secondary school.”
He explained that Dekina Middle School had Form 1 to 4 and then they go to Okene and Keffi to complete the secondary education and others will go to Gombe teachers college. In all of these he pointed out that education was free.
“When we go to school when coming back for break they used to give us transport money. As for the University we don’t even know about when the fees were paid for our children.”
For the University education Using his son Adejo as an example who went to the university ‘I did not know if they paid any school fees, they will just go to get certificate and come back.
“That was what we experienced concerning education. Schools were not common as they are today.”
His experience in the area of agriculture was particularly the ground nut pyramids days in the North when there was nothing like oil boom but agriculture, when Nigerians work with all their strength.
“In Kogi State we specialised in cotton and ground nut and palm produce cultivation mostly from the east.
“In the West it was cocoa and coffee, these were the bedrock of the economy of Nigerian not what we have today.
He said in Idah, because of the River Niger the Ships will come and stay for about one week until they are loaded with palm kernel.
The river Niger was dredged with ships coming adding that it created job opportunities for the locals who loaded the ships.
However he pointed out that when the oil boom started around 1974,everything collapsed when people forgot about agriculture and Nigerians became lazy leading to the present economic doldrums.
‘It became quest for oil money and so people no longer want to work as they settled for easy money and because people left agriculture, corruption set in. People want to get rich quick, somebody that started today wants catch up with a businessman and who started about six years ago.
“That is why we have a lot of sudden deaths, they want to reap where they did not sow and yet they would not like to work.’
However he said with the approach of President Muhammadu Buhari everything will to take shape.
On Buhari’s effort he said some are in support while some are not in support
Girl-child education key to nation building – Kikelomo Akande
Girl-child education key to nation building – Kikelomo Akande
Kikelomo Akande is a woman of many parts. Besides being a hardworking woman of substance, she is a businesswoman and philanthropist. Armed with a degree in Anatomy, today her focus is on girl-child education, bridging the gender gap as regards access to educational opportunities in the state. In this interview with Aisha Audu, she gives more insight into her NGO, challenges and her campaign on girl child education to
enable them contribute their quota to nation building.
By Aisha Audu
Can we meet you ma?
I am Kikelomo Akande, a graduate of University of Ilorin; with a BSC in Anatomy and an MBA, both from the University of Ilorin. I am married to Dr. Femi Akande and we are blessed with 3 children. I am the General Manager of Treasures Bakery and confectionaries in Lokoja, Kogi State.
What inspired you to venture into charity work?
I got the inspiration when I looked around me and identified several needs that I can proffer solution to. I got motivated to make a difference when I see children that can be great having no vision and direction. I get inspired when I see intelligent women with great talents wasting away.
The feeling of every action you take making a difference to another person’s life is truly incredible. There is no other feeling like it. The memories and feelings resulting from working for charity last a life time. When you come to the realization that a little here and a little there can make a great change then you become resolute in making positive impacts in people’s life.
You can choose between paying school fees of 2,000 for a child in public school rather than spending the money on something worthless. Like Barack Obama said change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change we seek. It is wonderful to know that, nobody needs to wait for a single moment before starting to improve the world.
What informed the idea of your NGO and what is it all about?
Our NGO is named ‘’SEND A CHILD TO SCHOOL’’ with great emphasis on GIRL CHILD- our vision at ‘’SACTSO’’ is to see children enroll at school and to finish, that is not to drop out of school due to lack of finance. With the help of God we have been able to make a significant difference in this area.
The NGO came about when I discovered that children drop out of school because of an amount as low as N1, 500. The school fee in most of our public school is between N 1, 000 to N2, 000 for most school and you discover that some parents can still not afford to pay, thereby making the children to drop out of school. This is what we should not allow to be happening. This is why I always say N1, 000 can change and mould a destiny.
We not only pay school fees, we are also concerned about the emotional welfare of the child, and we also encourage children to start reading as from their young age. This we did by buying books which includes educational, motivational and fictions for schools so as to create a mini library. We donated books to Bishop Delisle College, Muslim Community Secondary School, UBE Lokongoma. We hope to be able to do more and extend to other schools. We gave talks on drug abuse, sexual behavior and how to choose a career.
What is the core vision of the NGO?
Our core vision is promoting educational opportunities for less privileged children in our community because with education we believe you can become anything you want to be. An investment in knowledge pays the best dividends the profound words of Benjamin Franklin.
We at ‘’ SEND A CHILD TO SCHOOL’’ organization strongly believe and embrace this astute ideology and we are committed to do our very best in promoting the right of every Nigerian Child to quality education, disbursing our limited resources to support the less privileged, ensuring they are not totally marginalized.
We are aware of the enormous challenges inherited in our immediate environment, but we believe in moving forward and resources as sacrificial investment into the education of the less privileged children.
Education opens up the mind to new doors and doing new things, it makes the mind becomes curious and curiosity leads us down new paths, New solutions that will drive the nation of our dreams. Ensuring our world becomes a better place by liberating the minds through access to quality education, this is our mission at ‘’SACTSO’’ and we are staunchly committed to its achievements’’.
Can you shed light on some major activities you have carried out since it was founded?
We have provided uniforms, socks, school bags, books etc, because we believe in the dignity of every child, we go public schools at the beginning of every school session to pay school fees for the complete year. Over 250 pupils are beneficiaries till date.
We provide 2 sewing machines at Bishop Delishe to enhance the idea of the students getting involved in one vocational Skills or the other. We organized summer school (lesson) for students from JSS 1 to JSS3. This was started in the years 2017 till date. We were unable to do for the years because of the covid-19. It will interest you to know that 5 of our students were given scholarship by effective group of schools due to our activities that was seen by the proprietor of the school on our face book handle. Our face book address is ‘’send a child to school organization’’. You can check some of our activities on the page.
Bishop Delishe is our Pilot project for the Skill acquisition. We hope to be able to extend ton other schools with time and make it an ‘’ after school program’’. In summary this is what we do school tour (a motivational talk series), operation say no to DRUG ABUSE, provision of uniforms, text books and school material support, school fees and examination fee payment support, free holiday coaching classes, mobile library, vocational training with emphasis on fashion designs for schools. SACTSO is not for words alone, we believe in doing the needful. We believe in taking ‘’STEPS’’.
How are you coping with the challenge of funding?
Funding is a lifetime of any programme. For now a larger percentage of what we do is funded by my husband, Dr. Femi Akande Treasures Bakery and my humble self. We get support from a few individuals as well.
How would you describe the condition of the Girl Child in Nigeria?
The condition of the Girl Child is pathetic. So much is expected from a girl child and it could be overwhelming sometimes. A girl is exposed to so many abuses more than a boy child, but I think it is getting better by the day due to so many organizations creating awareness about the plight of a girl and various steps being taken to bring about change.
How would you want issues of rape tackled?
Issues of rape can be tackled when we as parents are deliberate about having honest conversation with our children both male and female, educating them about the consequences of their actions. Government should also prosecute rapists; this will go along to send warning to other rapists out there.
Also an idle hand is the devils workshop; our children must be kept busy positively at all times. We must engage them mentally, spiritually and physically and to teach them on how to work hard and be smart.
How do you spend your leisure time ma?
I read a lot. I can not over emphasise the importance of reading. I travel when there is an opportunity for me. There is really no time to relax, I am always doing one thing or the other but in the midst of it all, I try to put my legs up once in a while and pamper myself with good food.
Any last words for mothers and parents in general?
Engage your children positively. Let them learn a thing or two. It does not mean that is what they will become e.g taking bribe etc but the knowledge acquired can be useful in their chosen field later in the future. Ben Curson learnt how to play a musical instrument while in school which helped him in the mastering PRECISION which was later useful for him in neuro surgery.
Expose your children to books. It enlarges their vision. The popular saying that ‘’Readers are leaders is very true.
Bill for good life for Bokoharam repentants is weakness to tackle insecurity -senator Alex Kadiri
Bill for good life for Bokoharam repentants is weakness to tackle insecurity -senator Alex Kadiri
Senator Alex Usman Kadiri an APC stalwart, was a senator who represented Kogi East from 1999 to 2003, he expressed sadness over the level of insecurity, blaming security agencies for their failure.
What is your view of the bill seeking for repentant Bokoharam to be rehabilitated, sponsored for further studies abroad, after the destruction they have caused?
Well there are two ways of looking at this subject. I feel sad that my country cannot control the activities of this insurgency, whether Bokoharam, pure straightforward, terrorists, cattle rustlers, kidnappers, thugs and so on. It shows the weakness of Government. Giving them amnesty and scholarship to travel abroad for studies is bribery. It shows that the Government methods have failed they are looking for scapegoats but who tells you that after they return and there is no job waiting for them, they will not resume their act of terrorism? We went into amnesty in the south south because 95% of our income was coming from oil and these fellows were busy blowing up pipelines. Why is it impossible for the Nigerian Army, Nigerian police and the Nigerian Airforce to control insecurity. Every State is now affected, you cannot drive from Lokoja to Ayangba now before 10am or After 4pm, you can not go from here to Kaduna at any hour of the day. Most of the incidences are unreported.
Can we say the FG is overwhelmed?
The security situation has overpowered the Nigerian Government, we cannot pretend. That is why they are talking about amnesty, promoting a bill in the national assembly to make sure you give them blanket amnesty, send them for studies. All these things will not work on the long run. Let me ask this question, the people they sent for studies in Europe, how many of them completed the programs. A good number of them refused to come back and they did not enroll for any study and they are stranded there causing havoc. Those that returned did they come back to meet any work. Has insurgency or banditry ceased in Niger Delta because of the amnesty? No. We just need a good Government with good policies that will affect the majority of Nigerians. If the chaps in Bokoharam which we don’t even know whether they are Al-Qaeda, or ISIS or whatever, nobody knows who they are, we don’t even know who we are fighting, we don’t know who and who enter this country every hour from our northern borders or from the or from the West through Cotonou, we don’t know how many we are in this country our borders are porous, they are not guarded, not manned and those that are there manning them close the other eye collect bribe and allow them in. They come in with their arms and ammunitions, nobody is checking anybody.
What would say about Dr. Obadaih Mailafia’s disclosure?
When I listened to Dr. Obadaih Mailafia former deputy Governor of Tue CBN yesterday I shed tears for my country because he is a man who has a stake in this country, he was deputy Governor of CBN so he is a stakeholder in the Nigerian project and for him to say some of the things he said I feel sad for my country
How comes our service chiefs, Inspector general of police, director of DSS, director NIA, director Military intelligence, all of them are from the Northern part of the country where this problem is high, some of them are don’t have any idea as to his the problem can be solved. May be the president has more information than you and I have, that if he removes these persons the people he is likely to appear will not even measure up to the present people but at least it is better to try somebody else. It is a shame what we are passing through
Restructuring: Doctrine of necessity not applicable, says senator Alex Kadiri
Restructuring: Doctrine of necessity not applicable, says senator Alex Kadiri
Senator Alex Usman Kadiri an APC stalwart was a senator who represented Kogi East from 1999 to 2003, in this interview with the NationalUpdate in Abuja said the Doctrine of necessity can only be invoked when there is a serious issue like the death of Yaradua and the near death experienced by APC recently
The recent adoption of Doctrine of Necessity by the leadership of All Progressives Congress (APC) to address the intractable crisis within the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) has opened up discussions about the possibility that the nation could use such intervention to solve the problems of constitutional impediments, do you agree with that?
What the President did in sending the Adams Oshiomhole National Working Committee packing was the only option left for the party that was dying in Oshimhole’s we have cried, people like me have written, we have spoken, I have led delegations of Kogi people to meet with everybody that matters except the President, we met the Vice President twice. The party set up a reconciliation committee, the first was headed by Tony Momoh and the second one headed by General Garba, with Etteh, Etiebet as members, we cried, Adams Oshiomhole felt too powerful, too big, too insensitive and he was running the party as his personal property. No regular meetings were called and the few that were called when he speaks that would be the end. He was sending people to States as individuals to conduct primaries for the party, crooks, people who are known to be devils, criminals. They are sent to Kogi, Edo, Ondo and so in to go and conduct primary to elect Governor for the State on the platform of the party and people were wandering what that could mean, has the party gone to the dogs. The chairman and his deputy were not in talking terms that is Lawal Shaibu the deputy National chairman North, the secretary has gone to become Governor of Yobe State. When you go to the party office people would be waiting for whoever enters that office to give them money. That is why a man Like Governor Yahaya Bello is a king in that place. You can commit any blunder and come to the national secretariat to distribute cash, that is all they were waiting for. There is no structure, the staff were not catered for, no payment of salary everybody was grumbling so whoever enters there, no matter who he is even if he a a devil in human skin provided he is able to give them something to survive, the chairman of the party was feeding fat on the party. The President I am sure heard all these reports and he must have been fed up. Something had to give way, the other deputy national chairman Adebayo became minister, so the party was bereft of leadership. Oshiomhole was running the party from his house. If he says Alex Kadiri should go and be chairman of the panel to pick a candidate for us in Edo or Ondo, that is it, he makes criminals richer by that process. The public was watching us and the party was going down the drain. The party was at the point of death when the President intervened. So it was the doctrine of necessity that brought out the president into taking the action that he took and that has been able to save the party. The party is now moving ahead to stand on its own feet. So it was almost lying comatose.
How can, that model of the doctrine of necessity be brought to bare in other constitutional crises in the country?
I will not want to encourage it to be used anyhow. Let me take the tangential to another problem, look at the American President, Donald Trump, because he is not sure of winning the election he is now thinking of tinkering with the American election which has never been done, coming back home, if we think that we can solve all our problems through the doctrine of necessity, then we will end up killing the country. Supposed Buhari tomorrow feels that he wants to continue and have a third term just like Obasanjo tried and he gets people to start singing the chorus of the doctrine of necessity that is necessary for him to do another three years or fours to complete whatever he must have started then we are not practicing democracy. The doctrine of necessity can only be applied to very daring situations like the death of somebody like Yaradua, like the death of APC like Oshiomhole. Those are extreme circumstances under which this doctrine can be applied it shouldn’t be used anyhow.
The doctrine of necessity is like setting aside the constitution, what of the implication legally speaking, after the election in Edo if an aggrieved member decides to go to court?
That was what those of us leaders of this party are afraid of. Would you allow the party to die with Adams Oshiomhole sitting on the rot or we remove him and his cohorts from the leadership of the party so that the party can grow.
The elections in Edo and Ondo happen to have come at a period that these events were taking place. Any good party man, any honest party man who wants APC to grow, anybody who means well for this country would not go to court because of what has happened to this national working committee of the party because the decision of the President to dissolve the working committee hard wide acclamation, I sat down in my room here and I was very happy that the President cane out boldly to take that decision but you see he was very careful also. The primaries in Edo had been conducted just before he took that decision and he did not tamper with it. In his right senses he would have tampered with it, because here is Oshiomhole bringing a man as candidate of APC, unless you put Edo people at gun point, it is almost impossible or difficult for them to vote for him. Spoken words can not be swallowed after you have vomited it out. What Oshiomhole said about Eze Iyamu in 2016 they were so bad that EzeIyamu himself who never took Oshiomhole to court should be ashamed of coming out to ask for votes not to talk of the party whose chairman said so much about Ezeiyamu in 2016 now going around campaigning for him. We are just naked in this country, we play naked politics.
Can this doctrine of necessity, be applied in terms of the constitutional hurdle of restructuring and evolution of powers?
No, those are long drawn issues. Restructuring cannot be done on the table, you are not sharing food. These are issues that come out of discussions and if you continue to restructure because the situation is bad now, any time the situation goes bad the way it is today, then we restructure, then we keep restructuring that is not how to go. All we need are competent hands handling the affairs of our country. Competent and honest hands to run the affairs of this country. If we have honesty and competence at the helm of affairs at all levels from Local Government to state and Federal level nobody will complain.
Again I will go back to America since we are copying them, Nobody cares where Donald Trump actually came from or Hillary Clinton or the Husband, or Obama. They saw competence in them at the time they were elected.
Somebody can come from the smallest State in the US, Rhode Island and run for President, somebody can also come from the largest State California and run for election and lose. Nobody is looking at the size of where you come from, they are looking for somebody who can pull the country together, who can gather competent hands to run the country. Nigeria needs competent hands to run this country not friends. Honesty and competence is what we need. So I don’t believe that we can apply the doctrine of necessity to restructuring or to any other thing, no. When specific issues arise like the APC was dying or was almost dead under Oshiomhole or when Yaradua died as President of Nigeria, we evoked these doctrines because they were necessary at that point in time. We cannot apply to restructuring or anything like that, No.
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