There’s a yet to be explained dimension to the current wave of political reawakening in Nigeria, where youths of the country are agitating to take charge of the affairs of the nation.
Recent protests leading to the dissolution of a police unit may not have come with the intended verve for positive action, but it signals one thing; that the youths are tired of occupying the back seat of national politics and now want to be at the forefront.
Since 2018, youths clamour for increased participation in politics gained currency with the signing into law of the Not Too Young To Run bill, which statutorily enhanced the scope of youth participation in politics by extending the age for running for political offices downward.
Before then, former military president, Ibrahim Babangida had tried to create a window for the youths in Nigeria to once again take charge of the affairs of the nation as it was in the 1st Republic, through banning of old breed politicians from contesting political offices. His efforts however became lost in the mire of intricacies that accompanied his transition programme and attainment of a particular age took centre stage in qualifying for political office.
Fortunately in Benue State, the agitation for the youths to have a say in the way they are governed preceded the Not Too Young To Run Act, as young people began to ask questions and to indicate they have what it takes to move the state forward as was obtainable in the 1st Republic but which was lost over the years in the national malaise of recycling old hands.
The moment Benue youths had been waiting for to prove this nearly came in 2016, a court ordered rerun in the contest for the Benue South Senatorial seat and Daniel Onjeh of the APC again challenged former Senate President, David Mark.
Surprisingly, Onjeh’s loss in the rerun rather than suppress the agitation for youth participation in politics, increased it.
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Just last week, the posters of Chief Philip Agbese, who holds the traditional title of the Okanga Agila, announcing his intention to run for the Benue South Senatorial seat,
The colourful posters which had the picture of the young man doning a chieftacy hat was striking in both its aesthetic appeal and the potency of its message and drew lots of reactions across board.
The reactions as expected were electrifying as the entire Idomaland and beyond vibrated with the news of the entry of the Okanga into the 2023 Senate race in nano seconds, like a wave spiraled by a drop of an object in water.
Hitherto in the entire Zone C, it was thought that to aspire for Senate, one has to either be a grand father or be retired due to old age or had to spot grey hairs covering the head and visage to qualify.
But the sudden entry of the renowned philantrophist into the race has reinforced the quest for redefining political aspiration in the zone where only a circle see themselves as eligible for the seat.
But beyond that, it was the background and character of the Chief Agbese, that had served notice that something serious is about to happen in Zone ‘C’ as far as who will represent the zone in the next dispensation is concerned.
It is known in the entire Idomaland, that Chief Agbese does not talk where he does not intend walk neither does he walk away from something he had set his mind to do.
It is also known that the Okanga is a youth who had washed his hands and can therefore eat with elders and that he holds the key to unravelling political mysteries having been the brain behind the success of many politicians in the zone.
Little wonder that less than 24 hours after his posters flooded cyberspace, political office holders in Zone ‘C’ began to call for meetings with the people they have ignored since they won elections all in the bid to win back peoples’ confidence.
Political meetings were called late into the night to work out ways of confronting the new possibilities of the youths taking over political leadership in Idomaland.
Though many of the older generation pretended not to be perturbed, it was obvious that they were rattled and that voters in Idomaland would no longer be taken for granted.
The question many are asking is why these group of persons who have served in various capacities on behalf of Idomaland but largely wasted the opportunities are jittery about the Okanga joining the race for the Senate.
From the opinion of people sampled in the zone, it is obvious that the Okanga Movement comprising beneficiaries of his philanthropic acts cutting across age and geographical boundaries, if converted into a political force would be unstoppable!
People of the zone believe that between 2015 and 2019, no politician in Zone ‘C’ has affected the lives of the people like Chief Agbese has.
They say he has provided many indigent youths in the zone with scholarship to further their education, paid hospital Bill’s for many, provided employment for many in both the public and private sectors, and equally employed many in his private firms.
It was gathered that it was the youths he has helped in this regard that recently approached him and asked him to run for the Senate given his vibrancy, fearlessness and readiness to help others.
People also appreciate him for his constant contribution to security in the zone and recall with delight, how during the Covid-19 lockdown, he provided palliative for people by distributing trailer loads of food items in communities.
He has also provided capitals for many youths to start their businesses and helped the elderly with funds and vehicles.
The Okanga is seen a an inspiration to youths in Idomaland many of whom had hitherto become despondent and lost hope about making it in life.
The Chief Agbese story, where he rose to grace from a humble background excites the youths and gives them the hope to believe in themselves and aspire for greatness.
The Okanga is also known to embrace all in dealings with people and does not discriminate and is therefore seen as the bridge between the old and young, poor and the rich and as a unifying force for all communities.
His impact in national politics through youth activism and subsequent foray into business and the wide contacts he has both nationally and internationally is seen as the tonic that would be used to finally liberate the people of the zone and expose them to their entitlements as free citizens of the country.
Unfortunately, that is particularly what the old breed in Zone ‘C’ fear about him as they wouldn’t want the eyes of the electorate to be open so that they’ll continue to oppress and suppress hem.
The Okanga is also coming into politics with the pure intention of assisting people and to develop Idomaland.
Many know that God has blessed him as an Entrepreneur and his intention for joining politics is not to come and make money for himself and his family.
This is the Chief Agbese edge that has made many of the old masters to be jittery over his intention to run for Senate, but as good will always triumph over the contrary, arriving the destination in this particular journey is certain.
Isaac Ikpa writes from Asa-Ehicho, Otukpo.
Jalingo City Flyover: The Lies Imported By Hungry Social Media Influencers – By A. A. Mshelia
It has become obviously clear that the politics played in Taraba State by the said opposition and the enemies of State has reached it highest peak.
Those familiar with the trends of polity being played in the State should by now come to the know, the intensity and how determined certain folks are in ensuring they pull down everything good happening in the State.
It is true that fake news trends faster than those said to be the facts, but, it amazes me and those that have common sense how some people are falling for the said collapsed picture of the flyer over in Taraba State, which is under construction by the Darius’ administration.
As much as Governor Darius appreciates creative critism, and most times swallows the trash pushed on him by certain folks,it is becoming expedient that some people needs to be dealt with, so it can serve as an example that the government have the powers to protect the good of the land.
Below is the laughable, yet stupid and foolish pictures spread around on social media. Not only is it circulated by some hungry opposition, but also by some sponsored peanuts-seekers called online TV stations, and social media influencers.
Since common sense is never common, let’s make some analysis and show some facts about the said collapsed bridge.
- The said bridge is an old bridge, looking at the texture of it surface..
- The people working on the bridge, to those standing around it to take a look and passer by are Indians
- The present bridges under construction in Taraba are within the City centre, in the State capital Jalingo, while the said picture is one that’s completely in a bush in a village in India.
- The bridge in Jalingo is thicker, wider, longer and Stronger than the one making rounds in the picture.
- The current stage of the bridge in Jalingo has not yet reached the level of the top layer as it is seen on the said picture.
Though it seems the work in Jalingo is taking longer than other States that copied such from Governor Darius, one needs to know the bridge in Jalingo is thrice in size, length, strength etc. Compared to anyone seen in the Northeast.
Governor Darius is an Architect, thus, at no cost will he allow quality to be compromised.
According to the report captured by The times of India, it States:
“KAITHAL: An under-construction flyover near Dulyani village of Pundri town in Haryana’s Kaithal district collapsed on Saturday evening minutes after it was laid. However, no one was injured in the accident.”
“According to the villagers, the structure came crashing down about 30 minutes after concrete material was laid atop pillars. As two pillars supporting the flyover collapsed, the newlylaid structure also came tumbling down, they said.”
“Sources said that soon after the incident, the project officials attempted a coverup and covered the broken pillars with cement mixture from the top and spoil at the base.”
“National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) project director K M Sharma said, “Prima facie, it appears to be an outcome of mechanical fault. I have initiated a probe into the matter to fix responsibility.”
The flyover was coming up on National Highway 152D, known as Trans Haryana Greenfield Expressway and Ambala-Narnaul Expressway, on the stretch between Gangheri in Pehowa town of Kurukshetra district and Narnaul. Foundation stone. The foundation stone of the flyover stretching 227km was laid last year by Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari. The structure is slated to have 122 bridges and underpasses.”
“Kaithal deputy commissioner Sujan Singh said, “The project director has been called to explain the reasons of the collapse of the structure.”
For further research and prove to every well meaning Taraban, click on the link to read the total storyline and watch videos. Click on this link: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/under-construction-flyover-on-e-way-collapses-near-kaithal/articleshow/81266207.cms
I call on all Tarabans to understand that it’s high time we stand with the facts and realities on ground, we must also fight such fake news and those that propagate them through propagandas. One thing is obvious, God, and even nature will deal with such inventors of evil against Taraba State and it Leader.
For Governor Darius Ishakus, he remains focused to delivering the Rescue Mandate against all odds.
God bless Governor Darius, God bless Taraba State, and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Alkali’s Answers To The North -East Humanitarian Question – By Raphael Odoh
Apparently, Boko Haram insurgents and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) have gravely injured and shackled the North East Development Commission (NEDC), a baby created out of necessity to cater for humanitarian crisis incited by Boko Haram. The NEDC’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, (MD-CEO), Alhaji Mohammed Goni Alkali experiences grippingly retells the story of managing the near post-insurgency gores with a nauseating taste.
In his heart of hearts, Alkali wishes to relinquish the job to someone else because the burden is damn too much. But what are the real alternatives at his disposal? Virtually none! Those affected are directly his kith and kin. Someday, questions would be asked from the countryside on why he shirked from coming to their assistance in the hour of need. So, Alkali grudgingly trudges on.
Established in 2017 by the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari, the NEDC has had a tortuous path attending to the multifaceted infrastructural and humanitarian crises created by the over 10 years Boko Haram insurgency in the region. In his solemn moments, he seats and reflects on how the NEDC’s efforts in rebuilding the devastated region are again sabotaged by same Boko Haram and its local conspirators. It pierces the heart with pain. But he is determined never to give up.
NEDC’s main responsibilities includes, to receive and administer funds from the federation account, international donors and other humanitarian organizations for the settlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads, houses and destroyed business premises of victims of insurgency. NEDC also has the mandate to intervene in ameliorating pervasive poverty, mass illiteracy, ecological problems and any other such linked social problems that would make life more meaningful to the suffering populations living in insurgency ravaged Northeast states of Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba.
At the inauguration of the NEDC Board, President Muhammadu Buhari gave it a limitless gamut of operations. Mr. President was emphatic that the commission should superintend on the development activities and structures at all levels of government-funded agencies legitimized to work in the region.
NEDC daily sees an internally displaced or deprived population of over 2.6 million Nigerians or more in dire need of rehabilitation and succor under its responsibility. It’s a frightening statistic. It’s precisely the cause of Alkali’s nightmare.
Whether the MD/CEO accepts its or not, the NEDC appears bowed under the weight of sheer destructions by these terrorists’ gangs in the Northeast region of Nigeria. The job is very tasking, strenuous and energy-sapping.
The NEDC’s Managing Director, Alhaji Mohammed Goni Alkali is clearly dazzled by the magnitude of work on his hands. His admirers and acolytes are asking everyday whether he has enough capacity to solve the humanitarian crises of varying proportions exacerbated by subsisting and continuing destructions of public infrastructures perpetrated by Boko Haram insurgency. And his fever is understandable because the NEDC is the fulcrum of the peace-building, reconciliation and de-radicalization agenda of the Buhari Presidency.
Encouragingly enough, Alhaji Mohammed Alkali is a uniquely talented administrator, widely acclaimed for his defiant battles with obstinate challenges. His consociates’ mouth that the MD/CEO does not shudder or contemplate surrender on any challenge until he conquers the obstacle and snatches success.
Ab initio, Alkali knew that a savior in the neighborhood would not be noticed until he announces his presence. Therefore, the NEDC -MD’s first area of concentration was the engagement of the various communities in the Northeast on sensitization of indigenes on the prevalence of fleeing remnants of Boko Haram insurgents in their midst and how to dismantle unexploded landmines in their communities after the Military’s complete subjugation of the cursed jihadist campaigners’.
Selected persons across communities in the Northeast region in the Boko Haram worse hit states were selected and trained to lead the battle of disabling unexploded landmines. The idea captured the mindset of an administrator perfectly conversant with the preliminary rudiments of his job
The NEDC boss has launched and progressively pursued the agenda of Education Endowment Fund , which has engaged over 20,000 beneficiaries annually to enable them access academic and professional capacity training and development in diverse fields of human endeavors. It has further sparked the anger of Boko Haramists, a sect stridently opposed to western education. Alkali has courageously dared their gods!
Therefore, the commission disburses N6 billion yearly on scholarship for students in the region, which is more than the annual education budgets of most states in the federation. The drag net of the scholarship scheme covers over thousands of students from bachelor’s degree to doctor of philosophy degrees.
Added to it, the NEDC has implemented the rehabilitation of drinking water and sanitation facilities in states of the Northeast Nigeria pinned down by insurgency. It is part of NEDC’s Multisectoral Crisis Recovery Project (MCRP) with the support of the World Bank. The MD/CEO, Alkali is steadily surmounting these challenges because for every kobo into the commission’s coffers, there are human upliftment projects to justify it.
So, within three years, the NEDC has implemented humanitarian reliefs projects totaling 1, 310 under the ambitious scheme of “Rapid Response Intervention” (RRI) in all the 112 local governments of the Northeast region. Humanity survives on food and it is the basic traditional occupation of people of the Northeast. But Boko Haram insurgency pierced it badly resulting in the massive hunger and starvation in the land.
A sensitive Alkali’s focal agenda as NEDC boss has restored it. The commission has funded the implementation of an “Integrated Agriculture Programme,’ (IAP) under the broad umbrella of RRI, which yearly provides agricultural machinery and equipment, seeds, fertilizers, agrochemicals and extension services logistics vehicles from NEDC’s funds.
It has bolstered the production capacity of small-holder farmers in Northeast region, and boosted economies of families, which are currently regaining their lost farming treasures and domestic food sustenance. The NEDC sees it as a sacred obligation of the holistic rebuilding agenda of the Northeast region. Annually, the NEDC funds the IAP scheme in each of the 112 LGAs in the Northeast with N50 million.
NEDC has also has also directed its attention to skills acquisition, training and provision of starter packs to over 5, 000 Information Communication Technology (ICT), knowledge seekers. About 5, 000 women and youths in the region are trained annually on entrepreneurship, and another 2, 000 on vocational skills in each of the 1,028 wards of the region ravaged by Boko Haram. And Alkali deems it a faithful a yearly ritual. For the people of the Northeast, it is a narrative of a steady regaining of lost grounds under NEDC’s boss, Alhaji Mohammad Alkali.
The NEDC has also prominently and actively registered its shadows at the De-radicalization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DRR) Programme of the Nigerian Military otherwise known as “Operation Safe Corridor” (OSC) at Malam-Sidi, in Gombe State in the same region. After the initial work tour to the camp and assessment of intervention areas, the NEDC boss has continued to financially assist the programme with needy facilities.
Alkali’s humanitarian focus on rebuilding the Northeast resounds more in the ambitious housing projects for the IDPs in Borno state, the epicenter of Boko Haram terrorism. Its Mr. President’s consolatory initiative or the FGN to these displaced persons, which is worth N20 billion, but routed through the NEDC.
At the moment, the construction of 10,000 housing units spread across 10 Borno LGAs for the resettlement of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) are aggressively pursued. Through the supervision of Alkali, these housing units have reached advanced stages of completion.
The outbreak of the global coronavirus in early 2020 really shook Alkali’s heart. The NEDC boss was sensitive enough to understand that various Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps were potent vectors of the spread of the epidemic. He personally went round the IDPs camps in the Northeast and supplied essential disinfectant products worth millions of Naira in the collective national struggle to combat the transmission of Coronavirus.
He kick-started the exercise at Bakkassi, Stadium and Muna IDPs camps in Maiduguri. It is reason Nigerians have not heard of COVID-19 related deaths in any of the IDPs camps in the Northeast region.
Hard work is noticed and acknowledged by Nigerians. Alhaji Mohammed Alkali’s leadership of the NEDC is rated high both by the Senate and the civil society. An unpersuaded and uninfluenced body known as the National Accountability Watch Group (NAWG) though its Executive Director, Dr Okpe Joseph Okpe applauded NEDC’s boss for holding the mandate of the Commission evidently sacrosanct by impacting on the economy, social wellbeing and infrastructural development of peoples of the Northeast region.
Under the supervision of another compassionate woman, the Minister of Humanitarian affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk, the NEDC boss has replicated her posture of delivering services to Nigerians with a human face. Alkali is sincerely working for the people on whose back he got the mandate to lead the NEDC.
Alkali has dispensed himself as a selfless gentleman by every detail of his assignment today as always. He is doing all within his powers to ensure that citizens in the Northeast forget the sorrows that Boko Haram insurgents and ISWAP terrorists have wrought on the populations. For conscionably comforting the downtrodden and traumatic peoples of the Northeast through various intervention programs, Alkali looks ripe for a reward in heaven. #
Odoh, a humanitarian worker wrote from Maiduguri.
NPHCDA, COVID -19 And The Fall Of Anti-Vaxxers- By Pine Oralu
The coronavirus pandemic indeed brought the world to its knees, with various countries imposing lockdown in the bid to stop the further spread of the virus. Consequently, efforts were deployed towards developing a vaccine that would halt the further spread of the novel coronavirus.
In Nigeria, it was not any different as the country was also in lockdown. The government introduced measures that would mitigate some of the adverse effects the coronavirus has had on our socio-economic life.
There was also a challenge, which was essentially how to convince the populace of the coronavirus’s existence and why all must observe known safety protocols such as wearing of facemasks, observing social distancing and ensuring proper hygiene through the washing of hands frequently and avoiding crowded places.
By and large, there was some level of compliance when the number of deaths increased, and the reality dawned on us. I think credit must be given to the government in its sensitization efforts, and the rest they say is history.
However, we must all be glad that the vaccines are here. There seems to be some glimmer of hope towards the world returning to normalcy if the vaccination process goes as planned. This is indeed the crux of this piece regarding the various conspiracy theories that have come out since the vaccines’ rollout, especially in Nigeria. I must add that it has been such a daunting task for the National Primary Health Care Development Agency officials to ensure that Nigerians are vaccinated.
The NPHCDA has stated that close to 400,000 Nigerians have been vaccinated so far since the vaccination programme began. This is quite commendable given the various conspiracies across the country that condemned the vaccine, so much so that stakeholders in the health sector doubted if Nigeria’s vaccination programme would be successful. They were wrong.
This is where I would commend the NPHCDA for its sensitization efforts and the orderly manner it has gone about in ensuring that the administration of the vaccines across the country was seamless. The registration portal created before the commencement of the exercise was ingenious because it was a departure from the past where such programmes were marred by poor planning, execution and other logistics impediments.
If truth be told, Nigeria has fared better than most countries in administering the vaccines to the populace. And this further reinforces the role of leadership in our daily lives. The Dr Shaibu Faisal led NPHCDA has once again demonstrated that indeed what is needed in Nigeria is purposeful leadership that is anchored on transparency, accountability and a sense of direction.
The NPCHDA knew what was at stake if the conspiracies against the vaccine thrived. Consequently, their efforts paid off handsomely with the reception the administration of the vaccine has received, even from the most critical individuals and groups across the country. Suffice I add that the vaccine administration’s success in the country didn’t come on a platter of gold. The sensitization was top-notch. The distribution of vaccines across the states was seamless. And the results have been outstanding.
If not for anything, I am particularly joyous that one of the most critical fellows against the vaccine, Femi Fani-Kayode, has taken to the social media to flaunt and inform Nigerians that the vaccines are safe and encouraged Nigerians to go for the jab. This is indeed a great victory for all and a sign to tell that the NPHCDA has done well in ensuring the success of the vaccination campaign in the country.
If this is not victory, I don’t know what else to call it. This is not just victory for the NPHCDA, but a victory for all Nigerians that are desirous of the progress of the country through the demonstration of a burning desire to see to the fact that coronavirus impediment is quickly put behind us so that we can resume our everyday lives in the quest for sustainable growth and development.
It is not yet Uhuru as the journey is just beginning in the vaccination journey. However, if the NPHCDA sustains the current tempo, we should be sure of timely vaccination of the entire population in the country.
For us to achieve this, two things are of utmost importance.
One is for the NPCHDA to continue to sensitize the populace on the vaccines’ safety and effectiveness in line with the position of the World Health Organization. And in the words of the WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus “Every new, safe and effective tool against COVID-19 is another step closer to controlling the pandemic,”
In my opinion, this message must be sustained by the NPHCDA towards ensuring the vaccination programme is not jeopardized by conspiracy theorists who want to capitalize on any given opportunity to cause disaffection in the polity.
Secondly, we must continue to give credit to encourage the leadership of the NPHCDA for their invaluable role it has played so far in ensuring the success story of the vaccination programme in Nigeria, not just for COVID 19, but other immunization and other vaccination programmes in the country.
Dr Shaibu Faisal remains a leader with eyes on the ball and matches words with action since his assumption of office as the head of the critical National Primary Health Care Development Agency in Nigeria. His ideas and thoughts with regards to delivering on the mandate are concise and effective. His leadership acumen is also infectious. And a true definition of what leadership entails and what it should be in the critical point of our existence.
At this point, I would say that indeed those against the success of the coronavirus vaccine in the country have fallen flat on their faces. And like I said earlier, it would be too early to roll out the drums, but we must admit that we are on that steady and desirable path.
And for Dr Shaibu Faisal, your efforts are noble and commendable; I encourage you to continue to devout energy and time to sustain the tempo in service to Nigeria.
Oralu is a public affairs analyst based in Makurdi.
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