AIT To Return To Covering Buhari

The President elect Buhari has just issued a statement through his spokesperson basically allowing AIT and other media houses to cover his activities. In a statement, the APC said that all accredited media houses including the AIT were free to cover the President elect’s activities. The party confirmed that the incoming administration would not discriminate against any party. Please find the statement below.

”There is a Code of Ethics guiding the practice of journalism in Nigeria, and this demands every journalist to ensure a strict adherence to the highest levels of ethics and professionalism in carrying out their duties. ”There must be repercussions, within the realms of the law, for media organizations which have wantonly breached the Code of Ethics of the journalism profession and turned themselves to partisans instead of professionals. But such repercussions will not include barring any accredited media organization from covering the activities of the President-elect,”

Alhaji Lai Mohammed

National Publicity Secretary

All Progressives Congress (APC) Abuja,

April 28th 2015

Buhari’s AIT Ban: Is the Dictator Back?

The President elect of Nigeria in a move that critics say has just given Nigerians a glimpse of his old dictator self, banned the media house African Independent Television (AIT) from covering his activities. AIT reporters were escorted off the premises of Defence House where Buhari presently lives pending the transition. He was due to meet with the Cuban and Swiss Ambassadors when the incident took place. This move by the retired General and president elect Muhammad Buhari (GMB) has stunned even his most ardent supporters. His spokesperson said this was as a result of some security and family matters.

“You can quote me that I said that we have asked them to step aside and that we are resolving the the issues of ethics and standards with them.” GMB confirmed

GEJ and GMB: Outgoing president and president elect, respectively. Source:www.nairaland.com
GEJ and GMB: Outgoing president and president elect, respectively. Source:www.nairaland.com

Ethics and standards, security and family matters, these seem like censorship. Freedom of press is an incredibly essential ingredient for Nigeria’s democracy, indeed any democracy. Censorship and any kind of heavy handedness are equally bad for our democracy. For all the criticism leveraged against it, GEJ’s government was the most criticised and it took it on the chin, sometimes responding on social media platforms through the presidential spokespersons. Are we then off to a bad start with GMB?

World Press Freedom Day arrives in a week. Nigeria cannot go back to the time when its press was unable to investigate stories and criticise the polity. At last year’s world press day May 3, 2014, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, released a statement.

“Journalism provides a platform for informed discussion across a wide range of development issues – from environmental challenges and scientific progress to gender equality, youth engagement and peacebuilding. Only when journalists are at liberty to monitor, investigate and criticize policies and actions can good governance exist.”What exactly does Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”

Source:www.wire2014.eu
Source:www.wire2014.eu

In 1991, when Nigeria and many other African countries were going through some of its worst times with dictatorships and human rights abuses, the UN declaration of Windhoek was adopted and included the following regarding the press:

Recalling General Assembly resolution 59(I) of 14 December 1946 stating that freedom of information is a fundamental human right, and General Assembly resolution 45/76 A of 11 December 1990 on information in the service of humanity,

Recalling resolution 25C/104 of the General Conference of UNESCO of 1989 in which the main focus is the promotion of “the free flow of ideas by word and image at international as well as national levels”,

Declare that:

1. Consistent with article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the establishment, maintenance and fostering of an independent, pluralistic and free press is essential to the development and maintenance of democracy in a nation, and for economic development.

2. By an independent press, we mean a press independent from governmental, political or economic control or from control of materials and infrastructure essential for the production and dissemination of newspapers, magazines and periodicals.

3. By a pluralistic press, we mean the end of monopolies of any kind and the existence of the greatest possible number of newspapers, magazines and periodicals reflecting the widest possible range of opinion within the community.

4. The welcome changes that an increasing number of African States are now undergoing towards multi-party democracies provide the climate in which an independent and pluralistic press can emerge.
The world-wide trend towards democracy and freedom of information and expression is a fundamental contribution to the fulfilment of human aspirations.

5. In Africa today, despite the positive developments in some countries, in many countries journalists, editors and publishers are victims of repression-they are murdered, arrested, detained and censored, and are restricted by economic and political pressures such as restrictions on newsprint, licensing systems which restrict the opportunity to publish, visa restrictions which prevent the free movement of journalists, restrictions on the exchange of news and information, and limitations on the circulation of newspapers within countries and across national borders. In some countries, one-party States control the totality of information.

6. Today, at least 17 journalists, editors or publishers are in African prisons, and 48 African journalists were killed in the exercise of their profession between 1969 and 1990.

7. The General Assembly of the United Nations should include in the agenda of its next session an item on the declaration of censorship as a grave violation of human rights falling within the purview of the Commission on Human Rights.

8. African States should be encouraged to provide constitutional guarantees of freedom of the press and freedom of association.

9. To encourage and consolidate the positive changes taking place in Africa, and to counter the negative ones, the international community-specifically, international organizations (governmental as well as non-governmental), development agencies and professional associations-should as a matter of priority direct funding support towards the development and establishment of non-governmental newspapers, magazines and periodicals that reflect the society as a whole and the different points of view within the communities they serve.

There have been reports from AIT which many argue are one-sided and target the opposition. If this is the case, isn’t that what the courts of law are made for? Is GMB out of touch with the times? Does a president in a 21st century democracy arbitrarily send off the press or play pick and choose? Or does the president sue for defamation or you prosecute for whatever grievance it may have? How about some finesse then; write AIT a letter and have the security agencies investigate whatever this is?

This move is certainly ill-advised and the world will be watching keenly to see if this is extended to corruption and all who plundered the nation’s treasury. The world will be watching to see if the soon to be president of Africa’s largest economy and the world’s most populous black nation will have respect for the rule of law in the first democracy won by the opposition.

Lagos to Abuja Trekker Suleiman Hashimu Finally Meets Buhari

The man who trekked from trekked from Lagos to Abuja in honour of Buhari’s victory at the 2015 presidential election, Suleiman Hashimu, finally met with Buhari on April 24th. He e night there.I spent 18 days from Lagos to Abuja.

He said he made this promise and decided to keep it. He trekked from 6am to 6pm daily and spent the night in the nearest village he could find. Apparently, people were very kind and welcoming. He said from Kwara state, he had company for almost every five kilometres that he trekked.

Suleiman Hashimu meets President elect Buhari. Source:nigeriamonitor.com
Suleiman Hashimu meets President elect Buhari. Source:nigeriamonitor.com

Let us see how this unfolds, hopefully the Lucozade and other energy drinks endorsements work out. This is quite heartwarming. He will make a great poster for energy and fitness.

Should Men Pay All The Bills? (Part II)

This is a tough one that goes way back. I wrote about it over a year ago here. The traditional perception of family and relationships are evolving and changing. There are more divorces in the world now that there were 50 years ago, and these numbers apply everywhere; in North America, Europe and Africa. Look at Nigeria for example, the nuclear family unit or the “mono-polygamous” families as we knew them are fast disappearing. That is evolution though, things are changing and will continue to change. Only progressive people who embrace change, understand it, open up to its good sides, face it headlong, and emerge stronger for it.

Couple getting married. source:annechia.com
Couple getting married. source:annechia.com

There is divorce, single parenthood, civil partnerships and so forth. The world is changing. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing, it all depends on how you approach it. Are we better off for the changes or not? I say we are; look at the miracle of technology and the internet, social media, family so far yet so close, transactions made easy, and so forth. Look at the 2015 elections and how effective the media updates and live streaming were. Look at the strides made in medicine for example. There are treatments for cancer, vaccines against polio, advancements raising the numbers of safe childbirths, people are also living longer. Some people may argue that all these advancements have come with a cost. But one must weigh the pros and cons, do a cost comparative analysis and see how much time you save by conducting your business online. Does anyone remember those dreadful NITEL days? The dynamics of relationships have changed forever, thanks to these advancements.

Photo source: www.clipartof.com
Photo source: http://www.clipartof.com

When our grandparents were in their 20s and 30s, the population was lower, the pace of life slower, women were essentially marginalised with lower pay and fewer opportunities, and men were seen as superior. Thus the women kept the home, raised the children while the men were the breadwinners who paid all the bills.  The mid-19th century arrived with its major advancements and economic boom, the landscape of human rights began to change. The world required an increase in the number of skilled workers. This came with a clear evidence that men and women had the same intellectual capacity. The days of hunting and protecting the hearth, of superiority based on physical strength, were gone. Thus boys and girls became educated for the same opportunities and vied for the same jobs. There is still a lot of growth required in the area of equal opportunities and equal pay, but that is a post for another day.

Source: http://www.legrc.org
Source: http://www.legrc.org

Enter, a different kind of dynamics in the world with my focus being Nigeria. Women began to undergo the exact same pressures as men, working the same long hours and in some cases, earning the same pay. But their roles had not evolved and men refused to change. Women still cooked and cleaned and looked after the children, and when the men helped to change the baby’s diaper, the woman would say “thank you” as though he was doing her a favour. Men in turn carried on watching their football, coming home late and playing “tennis” on Saturdays.

It remains a society which has stubbornly refused to evolve despite a clear evolution happening with the world. Whether you are on social media or not, whether you are anti-equality or not, we all need to wake up and smell the coffee, the world has changed. Only people who study this change, can adapt and survive. Closing oneself off to the change and Facebook, will not save your marriage. In some way, it is this denial, this refusal to change, that is wreaking havoc on family institutions and ruining relationships.

You see, there is a certain entitlement that comes with being a breadwinner, a certain power if you will, which acts as an enabler and makes that breadwinner feel that as though he/she is not accountable to their partner/spouse. Just as long as the bills are paid. It is a human thing particularly in an unbalanced society like ours. When someone doles out money for every expense in a society that is patriarchal, he will feel a certain entitlement to do as he pleases. Men do this. The same actually applies to women, it is a human thing. If she solely pays the bills, she will act as she pleases. I must issue a caveat; this does not apply to everyone. Theories do have exceptions after all.

Most women with whom I have discussed this have said that they preferred men who were responsible and ready to step up and provide for them. Some said they were happy to be a good partner, helping out with the finances. But they argued that men were cunning and the minute you gave an inch, he would shirk his responsibility. Others have said that they were happy to support, as long as he pulled his weight. A minority said they were happy to lay the cards on the table and divide up bills based on the income, but expected the man to treat them as an equal, that means ringing to say where he was going, coming home early just as the woman would, and doing his fair share of the housework.

What did the men say? A mix of different things. Most said they thought the woman should keep her money,if you allowed them to contribute, they start wearing the pants in the relationship. Others were resentful and complained about the women in their lives never contributing, yet they had jobs. What did they do with their money, one asked me? Some said they would not never be involved in “domestic anything” around the house.

Tailor Zaki Baushe Source: cartercentre.org
Tailor Zaki Baushe
Source: cartercentre.org

It seems like relationships in the 21st century are a badly coordinated dance. Women are resentful because they work as hard as the men, yet when they go home, they work twice as hard, and the men are nowhere to be found, after all Chelsea and Utd are playing. So what do they do? They keep their money and make the man pay for everything. Have you seen those types who punish their men for coming home at 3am by making demands for more material things? Men in turn are either resentful or taking the mickey; I pay the bills, this is my house, I can come and go as I please. And then in moments of anger, they ask her “by the way, what do you do with all the money you earn?”

All these pressures and falsehood lead to divorces and break-up. My solution? Change with the times. Adapt or find a like minded person. If a woman and a man work just as hard, why not put all the cards on the table and upgrade your lives with your double income? Why does one party have to carry on bearing the costs and another the labour of keeping house? It just breeds resentment and inequality. Look at your income (s) and whoever earns more can pay more.

Photo ©: niakc10 - Fotolia.com
Photo ©: niakc10 – Fotolia.com

The biggest destroyers of relationships are a) a lack of understanding and agreement of roles, b)unmet expectations c) finance problems. If you are traditional and believe in the “man pays bills, woman keeps home” arrangement, find someone like you. If you have evolved and are in a partnership of dual careers, find someone who thinks alike.  It is really a business partnership founded on love, approach it as such and survive.

NB: If you would like to write a response to this, please send me an email at iamannechia@gmail.com

Endorsement Deals For Man Who Treks From Lagos to Abuja To Celebrate Buhari?

The man who promised to trek from Lagos to Abuja in celebration if Muhammadu Buhari won the presidential elections, has now arrived Abuja. Immediately after the election results were announced, 33 yr old Ibadan based Hasheem Suleiman embarked on his long trek from the South West to Abuja’s capital where he was greeted by scores of supporters. The journey is said to have taken 13 days and 5 pairs of sneakers.

There is a lot of sketchy information regarding this trek. What were his logistics arrangements? Where did he lay his head at night? What challenges did he encounter? There are pieces of sketchy details about meeting traditional rulers and paying them courtesy visits along the way. There is a story of armed robbers along the way, who instead of robbing him, gave him money. I am following this story. I find it fresh, and it rings of integrity (recall that he made this promise 2 years ago). As someone who thinks fitness is absolutely important, I am also linking this to active lifestyle. I must trek more often myself.

Trekker arrives Abuja. Source: Information Nigeria
Trekker arrives Abuja. Source: Information Nigeria

Interestingly, there are a lot of naysayers criticizing him and calling the whole journey a scam. These critics are saying that it is one huge scam that gullible Nigerians and APC (the party under which the president elect Buhari won his election) have bought. I have to say that details of this are sketchy, thus the critics do have a point. Although to the people who are wondering about navigation, phone charging, change of clothes, food and such, I say surely it can’t be rocket science? People embark upon treks all over the world. You rest your head where the sunsets; in a tent or a pre-arranged place, sometimes you hitch a ride to the nearest town where you can find shelter, you eat in the villages and motor parks, good Samaritans open their doors as you go along and tell your story. Surely this is how it must work? I do not expect that he walked every single kilometre or sleep in the bushes. However, he did trek for great distances, the media caught some of it.

Trekker occasionally accompanied on his journey from Lagos to Abuja. Source: Information Nigeria
Trekker occasionally accompanied on his journey from Lagos to Abuja. Source: Information Nigeria

However, I am hopeful that Hasheem will grant a detailed interview to the media and give Nigerians a clear view of his journey. In the interim, the word on the street is that companies like Lucozade and other energy drinks are after him. There may be endorsements! In addition, there are claims that he has been hosted to a welcome meeting by the wife of the president elect; Aisha Buhari and there may still be a chance to meet the president-elect himself.

Suleiman’s arrival in Abuja caused quite a stir. There was a lot of traffic congestion as thousands of fans gathered to greet him. I think it’s exciting. I think that Nigeria needs the occasional stories that are heartwarming and refreshing. This staff of an Ibadan based construction company may well be on his way to some endorsements and a more luxurious lifestyle.

Buhari’s “Surgical” Treatment of Nigeria

When a man succeeds in winning an election after four times, the expectations are quite high; and rightfully so. Add the fact that he was once a military head of state, add the recent happenings in Nigeria including the episodes of vanishing treasures; millions of dollars and hundreds of children, then what you have is a system in dire need of revamping and reforms.

Buhari needs to treat Nigeria like a a project. Now he has a project mandate. He must develop a viable business case with the main aim being sustainable growth and a state with functioning infrastructure and essential services. In some countries, these are really basic, in Nigeria, it is not. Everyone is a government unto himself in Nigeria. People who can afford it generate their electricity, provide their water supply, provide their security. In terms of Justice, well God is the police and the court. Forget the quest for a second term Mr. President-elect, treat these four years as though they were the only ones you had.

GEJ and GMB: Outgoing president and president elect, respectively. Source:www.nairaland.com
GEJ and GMB: Outgoing president and president elect, respectively. Source:www.nairaland.com

The advantages of running Nigeria like a project is that it cuts out delays, focuses on value delivery and stays on budget. The stakeholders are Nigerians and these are a high interest high power group, we need to see his quality plans, risk plans, budgets, and schedules particularly for the areas which need massive reforms. I am a big fan of the Iron Triangle; governance on time, on budget and on quality. We have seen that the business of government can be handled with dispatch and impact, as many projects went live in the final days running up to the just concluded elections; in the states and at the federal level.

GMB’s government will require an excellent communication plan, spokespersons and social media experts who understand stakeholder management and political correctness. A government is as good as its messages and its messengers. Corruption has literally ruined the country, to be fair, I do not understand how we are the largest and fastest growing economy in Africa. Forget the MINT predictions by economist Jim O’Neil, when share prices are falling courtesy of the impact of terrorism, unbalanced books, and corruption.

There is still a shocking 68.1% of the population living on under $1.25 per day (United Nations Millennium Development Goals report). People are often shocked by these numbers. That is probably because if you have a smart phone or a nice laptop and internet connectivity, and you are reading this article, then you are quite clearly in the minority. You are one of the lucky ones. Why else do you think that you are paying the fees of 20 closet cousins and people are always hassling you for handouts? I am still investigating how this is Africa’s largest economy, I suppose something has to be said for having a population such as ours, and a Havard trained economist who rose to management levels at the World Bank, as Nigeria’s Finance Minster. But I digress.

Rescuing the kidnapped Chibok girls, a pressing issue for Buhari. Source:www.ap.com
Rescuing the kidnapped Chibok girls, a pressing issue for Buhari. Source:www.ap.com

When May 29th arrives, Buhari’s hand must be swift, quick and firm. Forget lip service to the rule of law, Nigerians would like to see radical implementers and finishers running this show. The burden of leadership is great and I hope he surrounds himself with excellent and experienced people who have integrity. The amount of reforms required is staggering; where do you start in a country where many policemen do not understand traffic rules? Where citizens have to pay to “open a file” in the police station when they are victims of crime?

Falling price of oil is seeing Nigeria suffer the blow of falling oil revenue. It is time to invest more in Agriculture and a hybrid in rural-urban development. While urbanization aids the pull out of poverty for millions of people, if not managed well, can also lead to growth of slums, pollution, and crime. Opportunities must be created across board and investment in infrastructure encouraged. Isn’t this why we have 36 States? Outgoing president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) invested in Agriculture and youth entrepreneurship through the disbursement of youwin grants. Hopefully Buhari carries on this legacy.

So let me set the scene for you. Nigeria is a 55 year old man who has just had a heart attack. He is overweight, has coronary artery disease and has history of congestive heart failure in his family. Buhari is the Cardiologist on duty. This is a new Nigeria by the way, because in the regular Nigeria, he would be dead. An ambulance rushes him to the hospital. The cardiologist is already there waiting to receive the patient. He has arrived because the paramedics rang the hospital to provide feedback. The hospital team already had news on the patient heading its way. Nigeria will be checked into Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the period right after that heart attack. In the ICU, Buhari will lead the team of healthcare workers assessing the damage to the heart, preventing complications, monitoring and treating the symptoms.

Agriculture: A major area for investment. Kano groundnut pyramid Source: superstock.com
Agriculture: A major area for investment. Kano groundnut pyramid
Source: superstock.com

There will probably be Oxygen to support Nigeria’s heart during this early recovery period. This will come in the form of consequences for the bad eggs in the body; justice through medication given intravenously, as pills, or by other methods (frozen assets put into government coffers, jail sentences, early retirement, public naming and shaming, revoking of so-called amnesty for thieving politicians and civil servants; both existing and suggested).

This will serve as a deterrent to other bad eggs. Buhari will have assigned work packages to other members of his team. Some will carry out constant monitoring of Nigeria’s heart, others will frequently check its vital signs. The laboratory team will draw blood frequently for tests, there will be imaging tests such as X-rays and echocardiograms. There will be electrocardiograms for ongoing assessment of the heart rhythm. The heart otherwise known as budgets will have limited activity and carefully chosen expenditure, alternating with bed rest, as directed by Buhari’s team. After the initial treatment in ICU, the continued length of Buhari’s stay as head would be dependent on Nigeria’s recovery and progress. Otherwise, the care notes are there, another cardiologist will resume.

Urbanization. Source:www.spyghana.com
Urbanization. Source:www.spyghana.com

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Nigeria’s population is set to grow to 440 million by 2050 This number, calculated based on the growth of the last decade, fertility rates, maternal and neo-natal mortality rates, is worrisome. Imagine the state of affairs in Nigeria now with the current population which stands at over 160 million. It is worrisome not just because in Nigeria, people are murdered and the perpetrators are never found. We pray to God for justice, because that’s all we have really. It is worrisome because of continuing state of affairs. Try visiting the Federal Universities or the General hospitals, the stagnation and quality of service will shock you. Try reading through social media to see the venom of ethnic stereotyping and social construct which people genuinely mean, and see why these numbers are worrisome.

So this is Buhari’s “inheritance” at least for the next four years. Here’s wishing him the best of luck, he will be needing it.

Xenophobia Attacks in South Africa: Nigeria Set To Evacuate Its Citizens From South Africa

More attacks continue to occur in South Africa, targeting immigrants from other African countries. According to a report by Reuters, at least seven people have died this week alone.

The Federal Government of Nigeria is set to begin evacuation of its citizens. The High Commission hotlines in Pretoria are +27 12 342 0805, +27 12 342 0688, +27 12 342 0905, +27 12 342 0808. The website of the High Commission is here for further information.

Meanwhile, the South African Government has deployed soldiers to its streets particularly in the township areas where the attacks are happening more.