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Asiwaju Is Here! Let’s Just Do It!



By Debo Adesina

The times are tough.

It is therefore just appropriate that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has shunned all forms of celebration of his 72nd birthday.
He has great dreams. And a proverb says a man who wants his dream to come true does not sleep. That is a proverb Asiwaju has lived all his life and is living even more, now! That is one man who, literally, never sleeps!

The least we can do as Nigerians is to join hands with him by staying awake to our duties and responsibilities as citizens. An appropriate birthday gift we can give him, everyday!

Nigerians must deploy their long-held values of hard work, resilience in battles, love of one another and unity of purpose as a people to overcome the challenges the nation currently faces.

Nigeria needs the best energies of all Nigerians, talented, patriotic, young and old, men and women, across all divides in order for the dreams we all nurse to come true. No one wants to harness all these more than President Tinubu.

When we are conscious of the fact that we are enriched by our diversity as a nation, blessed by our resources and united in our pursuit of the goal of being the African lodestar, Nigeria’s journey to a great future, which has begun anew with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in charge, will be quickened in pace. The banner of Renewed Hope he waves is comforting not only in its symbolisms but in the substantive actions he is taking to make Nigerians look forward to a greater tomorrow.

By jettisoning short-term conveniences and taking the necessary tough path towards life-long prosperity, Nigerians have only one thing to say in tribute to the President and to themselves: tough as the times are, we get you! How might we help?

With a President Tinubu, who intrinsically believes in and genuinely works for prosperity for all, the flight may be a bit rough now but the landing, in good time, will be smooth. And the journey will be worth the turbulence we may be facing now.

I once wrote that the laws of economics have never been truer than they are now. Nigerians’ needs are unlimited but the means of satisfying those needs are extremely limited, much more so than was envisaged when he took over power some months ago. So, sacrifice is not something we have the luxury of weighing, it is a choice already made for us by history and our quest for a good place in it.

The great luck our nation has is: President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is nothing if not courage personified and compassion embodied! A man of ideas and action, no one wants the best for all Nigerians more than he does and no one is willing to burn the midnight oil in the quest for solutions more than him. These, no doubt, are very tough times for Nigeria. But these are also times calling for the best and boldest in all of us as we have a country to build and a dream to fulfill.

President Tinubu is asking us, all Nigerians, to get out of wringing our hands over Nigeria’s challenges but, with individual commitment and a high sense of responsibility on the part of all, setting those hands on the plough, in the belief that no one ever commits fully to hope anew, takes the tough but right actions, and fails!

All Nigerians, as much as we can positively affect our spheres of influence, should be committed to renewing the hope of all, in the words we speak, the deeds we do and in the faces we show the world!

There are many things for which Nigeria needs monetary resources. But beyond that, to renew our hope and build a prosperous nation for all Nigerians, the President has found the appropriate currency: the courage, the will to act and his signature compassion to do the best in the interest of the greatest number.

As he turns 72, President Bola Ahmed Akanbi Tinubu’s commitment to building a rainbow nation in which all find shelter and all prosper is crystal clear!
Let every Nigerian ask for his or her part in the job at hand. And just do it!

-Adesina, former Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of Guardian Newspaper served as Ambassador of Nigeria to the Republic of Togo


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Bobrisky And Jesus, The Tax Collector



In the 19th century and even before, Bobriskys were lynched like common criminals. Their sin was their considered unusual sexuality. Until then, homosexual activities were classified as “unnatural crime against nature” while sodomy got punished with, sometimes death. In comparison, Okuneye Idris Olanrewaju, famously known as Bobrisky, has suffered one of the mildest fates. Between 1877 and 1950, over 4000 of such lynching occurred. As recent as April 2017, Kenne McFadden, a black transgender woman who didn’t have experience of swimming, got drowned when she was pushed into the San Antonio River in Texas on account of her “nauseating” sexuality. That much was said in 2020 by Emily Lenning, Sara Brightman and Carrie Buist in their “The Trifecta of Violence: A Socio‑Historical Comparison of Lynching and Violence Against Transgender Women.” Writing for Critical Criminology, they said five months after the McFadden case, specifically in September, 2017, Ally Lee Steinfeld, a white 17-year-old transgender teen, also got brutally murdered. Her cruel fate was brought about by three teenagers. She was stabbed in the genitals, her eyes gouged out, her body set alight and her remains dumped “in a chicken coop near a mobile home park in Missouri.”

Two months later, in the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, Sherrell Faulkner, a forty-five-year-old Black transgender woman, got cruelly beaten and then dumped behind a dumpster. Days after, the injuries she suffered led to her death in the hospital. Till today, Faulkner’s murderers have not been identified. The three cases, according to Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRCF) 2018, represented a tiny strand of at least 29 murders of transgenders that the United States recorded in 2017, ranked as the deadliest year for the Bobriskys in recent history. HRCF also reported that between 2013 and 2019, it tracked 157 cases of fatal anti-transgender incidents.

Perhaps this was what weird but hugely talented Nigerian singer, rapper and songwriter, Habeeb Okikiola, a.k.a. Portable, was referencing in Brotherhood, a short musical he did attacking Bobrisky recently? In the song, Portable condemned Bobrisky for morphing from “brotherhood to sisterhood.” While body-shaming the embattled cross-dresser as “a disgrace to brotherhood” and having ameoeba-shaped buttocks that looked like a clay pot worth only a pound – e wo idi e bi koko ponun kan – Portable asked that Bobrisky be stoned to death – “e le l’oko pa!”

Like Portable, from ancient times, the world has never hidden its hostility against people who profess sexual orientation different from its. Like, it says, can only be compared to likes – ohun t’o ba jo’hun l’a fi nwe’hun. The world even gave its anger towards homosexuality religious validation. Following this route, Italian priest, philosopher and theologian, Thomas Aquinas, condemned homosexuality as “unnatural.” The biblical book of Leviticus 18: 22; 20:13 is often cited: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination,” as well as Romans 1: 26 where biblical Paul hoisted up lesbianism for condemnation: “For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.”

The Bobriskys come in various names and appellations. They are either bisexual, in which case, they are attracted to persons of both sexes; Butch, male and female who dress in stereotyped male ways; “In the closet,” because they do not disclose their gender identity; Femme, due to their acting and dressing in feminine ways; gays, for their attraction to persons of same sex and as LGBTQ, a sweeping categorization of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgenders and Questionings. Bobrisky is Nigeria’s own daughter of the historical Greek woman, Sappho, an Archaic Greek poet, who hailed from Eresos on the Island of Lesbos. Sappho was the first known woman “accused by some of being irregular in her ways and a woman-lover.” She is venerated by lesbians as the foremother, the near mythical prototype of people with queer sexual cravings. Lesbianism, the community of same sex women, was forged from Lesbos, the name of the island Sappho lived. Bobrisky patterns her life towards Sappho and has become a controversial self-confessed transgender, LGBTQ personality and campaigner.

According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (2015, 47), the umbrella term used to describe the Bobriskys of this world, called transgender, refers to “… people whose gender identity and expression does not conform to the norms and expectations traditionally associated with their sex at birth. Transgender people include individuals who have received gender reassignment surgery, individuals who have received gender-related medical interventions other than surgery (e.g. hormone therapy) and individuals who identify as having no gender, multiple genders or alternative genders. Transgender individuals may self-identify as transgender, female, male, transwoman or transman, transsexual, hijra, kathoey, waria or one of many other transgender identities, and they may express their genders in a variety of masculine, feminine and/or androgynous ways.”

Homosexuality, cross-dressing or lesbianism is as old as humanity. The holy writs seem to abet the cruelty and violence that humanity has inflicted on these creations of God. While some antiquities tolerated their sexual fates, others visited their wraths on the offspring of Sappho. Well-known lesbian Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at San Diego State University, Christine Downing, in her Lesbian Mythology, suggests that lesbianism is a grueling life of isolation, confusion and terror. This was her conclusion while re-casting Roman poet, Publius Ovidius Naso’s myth. Naso, simply known as Ovid, had told a story which has almost become a global lesbian epistemology. Heroine of the story, Iphis, born female, desired to be male. Her mother had hidden her gender from her father, a poor Cretan peasant who badly wanted a male child. Iphis’ mother was in despair in her pregnancy until the goddess, Isis advised her to deceive her husband about the child’s gender. At age 13, Iphis fell in love with the most beautiful girl on the island called lanthe. Raised as a male, there was confusion, making her mother to cry to the god, Isis. As Iphis and Ianthe walk home one day, Iphis’ features suddenly change to a man’s and “the boy Iphis gained his own Ianthe.” Downing apparently retold this story to reduce the tension of horrific encounters of the children of Sappho.

Bobrisky leapt into the news again recently. He/she had been named winner in the ‘Best Dressed’ Female Category of popular Yoruba actress, during the premiere of Eniola Ajao’s Beast of Two Worlds, Ajakaju movie premiere. Scalding criticisms erupted on the social media. Bobrisky’s choice sparked uncomplimentary reactions. Not even Eniola’s immediate apologies on her social media handles and reversal of what she declared was a stunt gone sour were enough appeasements. A few days after, the EFCC arrested Bobrisky, charging her to court for mutilation of Nigeria’s currency totaling N490,000. He/she was immediately convicted, ranking it as one of the Concorde supersonic airliner -speed convictions ever given by the Nigerian judiciary. We hope the Nigerian judiciary and the EFCC will give the Kano State government-filed criminal charges against the immediate past governor and APC chairman, Abdullahi Ganduje, same expeditious trial. Kano had resorted to try Ganduje over alleged $413,000, N1.38bn bribery during his governorship and has assembled 15 witnesses to testify against Ganduje.

In a country where mutilation of the national currency is an off-the-cuff weekend pastime of the elite and the political class in Nigeria, it was obvious that a deeply religious, conservative, African-centric animosity against unusual sexuality was fighting back. When stunned about how odd events fit into one another to form a mesmerizing wonder, Yoruba will say Ó jọ gáté, kò jọ gàté, ó fi ẹsẹ̀ méjèèjì tiro. It is similar to the case of a limping masquerade (atiro) who enters the “Igbale”, where masquerades remove their mask regalia –ago. If an agbada-clad, limping person now walks out of the Igbale immediately, it shouldn’t be difficult to situate who the atiro was. No one needed to be told that the masquerader, like the nightingale – the beautiful Awoko bird – had shed its quills. Such is the wonderment and clinical precision of Bobrisky’s lynching. A highly religious Nigeria was obviously taking vengeance for Bobrisky’s sexuality audacity.

Some scholars have said that, until about half a century ago, lesbianism or gay relationship was a nonexistent phenomenon in Africa. According to them, per adventure it even ever did exist, it was an aberration imported from the West. Anthropological researches have however proved that the existence of same-sex sexual practices predates the now in Africa into before, during, and after colonialism. The practice was however disparaged. Dobrota Pucherova said this much in her “What Is African Woman? Transgressive Sexuality in 21st-Century African Anglophone Lesbian Fiction as a Redefinition of African Feminism.” Africans saw lesbianism as an example of a woman’s corruption, moral depravity and even madness. Pucherova uses the Kenyan Rebeka Njau’s novel, Ripples in the Pool (1975) and Ghanaian Ama Ata Aidoo’s Our Sister Killjoy (1977) as affirmation of this thesis. In Njau’s novel, the protagonist, Selina, gets infatuated with her husband’s younger sister. She was cast as exhibiting “predatory sexual desire” toward the two siblings. The book consigns Selina’s behavior into the trash basket of egomania and a damaged personality. It also suggests that Selina makes use of witchcraft to control her victims. No wonder she ends up murdering the young girl and her male lover. Aidoo’s Our Sister Killjoy sees same-sex as less predatory. In it, a German housewife becomes obsessed with Sissie, the Ghanaian protagonist. Marija’s obsession is painted as a measure of moral degeneration reminiscent of post-Holocaust German society. All these and other African literature openly thematized lesbian desire, showing however that black women are victimized through patriarchal control of their sexuality. An example is Monica Arac de Nyeko’s short story, Jambula Tree, which is the first East African text to so do.

Last week was Easter, a sacred day in the annals of world Christianity. Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service’s (FIRS) communication agency would not allow the day go by without marketing its tax portfolio. So it put out the brilliant, catchy and arresting phrase “Jesus paid your debts, not your taxes.” This brilliance and mental ingenuity should earn any student of PR a Distinction. Not Nigeria’s churchpreneurs. They saw it as a reckless audacity operating on same dangerous Fahrenheit as Bobrisky’s. I haven’t heard the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) lament the danger in the current obnoxious hike in electricity tariff. That won’t make Bola Tinubu know that CAN is a combine of Christian principalities. On FIRS, CAN reached for its ancient pouch immediately. It brought out those archaic, boring refrains of “offensive” “derogatory” and “religious harmony.” I have been struggling to find a difference between CAN’s obvious intolerance and a similar one that happened in Kaduna in November, 2002. Twenty one year old Isioma Daniel, who worked for the Thisday, had written on a Miss World contest Nigeria was to host. She off-handedly and harmlessly suggested that Prophet Mohammed might have approved of the contest and probably wished to marry one of the beauty queens. Hell was let loose. The newspaper’s Kaduna office was burned down. Hundreds of people were reportedly killed. The ensuing riots lasted for several days, prompting the organizers of the Miss World contest to relocate it to London to protect further lives from being lost.

One thread links our Bobrisky demonization, CAN’s hypocritical anger and Islam’s pesky religiosity. It is called intolerance. I referred to the witch-hunting of same sex people as “our” because, if today, Bobrisky offers his/her hand to me for a handshake, I will shudder. I am almost too sure I will refuse it. My refusal will not be strictly me in action. Rather, it will be centuries of culture, religion and our collective aversion to change which have bored deep roots in me. These three hate change. Their mantra is, as it was in the beginning, so shall it be. Static as statue.

Take for instance our cultural and religious perception of child-bearing and polygamy. For centuries now, Africa venerated procreation almost to a point of deity. Whoever brings forth a child owns this world – “Olomo l’o l’aye” – our mothers proudly sang. In Africa, barren women were stigmatized because women were seen as procreation vehicles called motherhood. In the bible, Peninnah scorned Hannah’s barrenness. Our mothers, who, due to no fault of theirs, couldn’t bring forth children, were witches. In earlier centuries, some cultures abetted barren women being stoned to death by scorners. Today, the world has re-interrogated the whole corpus of child-bearing. Couples willingly decide they don’t want to be encumbered by it. Is it really true that Olomo l’o l’aye? Great men and women have traversed this world without bearing children. Their corpses were not fed to the swine. Nor are we told that child-bearing is a passport to the hereafter. We have had parents who gave birth to children but died miserably, due to their abandonment by their children.

Today, there is a huge traffic back to where we were before the advent of colonialism. Soon after Britain and its Middle East allies came with their Bible, Quran and guns, we abandoned our centuries-old medicine, dressing and culture. Now, Africans are going back to those same abandoned roots, apologies to Lucky Dube. One of such is polygamy. Last week, Bassirou Diomaye Faye was inaugurated as the fifth Senegalese President, flaunting his two wives – Marie Khone and Absa. I could see the west squeeze its face like excreta beaten by rain. The hypocritical west flushes monogamy and homosexuality down the throat of the world while abhorring our ancient practice of polygamy. Reproached in high places as Faye just did, monogamy and its icing of hypocrisy are getting perforated. The truth is that, the stringent rules of monogamy have destroyed more homes than they built.

We must interrogate every teaching and dogma of religion, culture and society and hold on to those that will assist us live quality lives. That is what existentialist philosophy teaches. Today, churchgoers are asking questions about the stupendous wealth of the Daddy G.Os and the poverty of the congregants. We must not be slaves to them, nor be their mannequins. While upholding values that will strengthen humanity, we must also show respect for otherness and recognize individual human rights. What is Jesus’ business with FIRS’ quest to bring more people into its tax net? Parodying Isioma, if Jesus were here today, He would recommend a national honour for the fellow whose brilliant idea birthed that FIRS line. Why drag Jesus and Mohammed into this needless pettiness? What should infuriate a sensible human being about Mohammed enjoying Miss World? Why should we be captives of dogmas? Why should we allow the bigotry of CAN and zealotry of Islamic fundamentalists drive our thinking? Religious charlatans and their naïve accomplices merely make their enemies the enemies of God. If CAN has been slumbering and needed to talk by all means, couldn’t it dig a hole like that old Yoruba fable of Alade’s friend, who couldn’t stomach the confided secret of Alade growing a horn on his head, who then dug a hole, inside which he shouted, “Alade has horn on his head!” – Alade hu’wo? From that same hole grew a tree and whenever anyone brought a flute beside it, the rhythm sprouting off the flute was, “Alade hu’wo.”

Earlier, it was society’s view that people like Bobrisky were suffering from psychological disorder. Or that homosexuality was an abnormal condition. Science has since discovered that many atimes, the Bobriskys may be prisoners of their biology and psychology. Researches have shown that you do not choose to be gay, bisexual, or straight. And that homosexuality is a natural and normal sexual orientation, expressions of human sexuality. The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its radius in 1973, and with it the stigma of mental illness that had long been associated with the children of Sappho. Why do we demonize those who, like accidents of birth, have no say in the kind of sexuality they are imposed upon by nature?

Do I agree with Bobrisky’s open flaunt of his/her sexuality? No. I think one’s sexual orientation should be a private affair. I also advocate that children of Sappho deserve pity from society and should be clinically lured out of their natural affliction. I also think that, if dug deeper, Bobrisky’s untapped major infraction against the law may just be that she has turned her cross-dressing into commodity. EFCC should openly admit that it is acting the script of a vindictive, homosexual-hostile Nigerian society in lynching Bobrisky. Singling him/her to face the wrath of the law is akin to the lynching treatment given homosexuals in the early centuries. Currency mutilation is a fad which very few Nigerians are not guilty of as charged, from Bola Tinubu, to the lowest Nigerian. An orgy of celebration on the social media has since followed Bobrisky’s lynching by the law. It reminds me of a hunter who proudly hoists the decapitated head of a buffalo as symbol of his masculinity.

Ondo’s pigeon and dove certificate war
When it was time to play denigrating politics, Chief SLA Akintola, Premier of the Western Region, was not one to shy away from it. The Ondo Province of the Region once came under his lacerating tongue. When it was time to take a swipe at the likes of renowned economist, Professor Sam Aluko, who hailed from Ekiti part of the Province, Akintola had the right innuendo to singe his flesh. The Province was busy producing all manner of birds, in the name of academics, said the Premier; the likes of Aluko, Atiala and Atioro. The three were names of birds in Yorubaland and the economist’s name was similar to one of them. While Aluko bird was the carinal, the Atiala and Atioro were allied hornbill birds. Akintola was deliberately spinning innuendoes.

It goes without saying that the Province, which had Ondo as a major component, was home to intellectuals. Though arguments abound as to which, between current Ekiti and Ondo states, produces the highest harvest of professors and academics, the fact remains that certificates are ten a dime on the streets of both states. So when the possession or non-possession of certificates became the issue in the current race to Alagbaka, seat of the government of Ondo State, it becomes both off-putting and a dispiriting game.

Jimoh Ibrahim, Senator representing Ondo South and one of those vying for the governorship election in the state in November, has been flaunting his nine certificates wherever he goes. Those who should know, know that, like Akintola, Ibrahim is embroiled in a game of innuendoes. What he is doing is reminiscent of an unspoken tango between two birds, the pigeon (Eyele) and the Dove (Adaba). While Adaba chants his incantations, the Eyele pretends that he couldn’t access them. Those who know the brilliance of the Pigeon however know it is mere pretence. Yoruba express this tango as “Àdàbà ńpa ògèdè bí ẹni pé ẹyẹlé ò gbọ́, ẹyẹlé gbọ́, tí tiri ló ńtiri.”

Goveernor of Ondo State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, is the ẹyẹlé to whom Ibrahim, the Àdàbà, is directing his incantations. This ẹyẹlé knows. Allegations are rife that Aiyedatiwa, who is also in the race, does not possess genuine certificates. Ibrahim’s advertisement of his suffusion of certificates is a direct innuendo on the certificate tango. Between Aiyedatiwa and Ibrahim’s certificates, or lack thereof, none should be qualification for Ondo governorship. While Ondo, which is reputed, a la SLA Akintola, as pinnacle of academic certificates, should not have a governor who forges his certificate, the state, hitherto administered by Michael Ajasin, the renowned Principal of famous Imade College; school principal, Adebayo Adefarati; Geologist, Dr. Olusegun Agagu and medical doctor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, shouldn’t relapse to such base level of being administered by a certificate forger. So, Aiyedatiwa’s certificates should be top on his qualification index. In the same vein, Ondo electors shouldn’t base their consideration of Ibrahim’s candidacy on merely his plethora of certificates. We have to look at his person and pedigree. Why have virtually all the businesses Senator Ibrahim laid his hands on been dead, comatose or gasping for breath? Why is his name a serial occurrence on AMCON’s notorious list? Does this point at his spirit?


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Idris Malagi: A Refreshing Example In Public Information Management



By Tunde Rahman

Delivering a keynote address at a well-attended National Spokespersons’ Summit and Awards on March 26 in Abuja, former Director-General of the Nigeria Television Authority, Professor Tonnie Iredia, was excellent as he articulated what should constitute the critical success factors in the work of a spokesperson. The summit with the theme “Change Narrative, Change Society” was organised by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and National Orientation. Participants at the summit included communication experts, top journalists, scholars and other dignitaries.

A spokesperson must build trust and credibility through transparent and truthful messaging, Iredia said. Such a person must place premium on facts. “A spokesperson must also employ clarity in his messaging. There should be no ambiguity. Such a person must deploy positive narratives. The spokesperson must be detailed and persuasive and make sure that he or she is first with the information to avoid speculation. Feedback is important and must be prioritized,” he pointed out among other nuggets.

Iredia’s presentation was greeted by a round of applause at the expansive hall of the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

An erudite scholar, lawyer, administrator and communication expert, Prof. Iredia knows his onions and has earned his stripes. He worked with the then Midwest Television in Benin-City (now Nigerian Television Authority) where he rose to become Manager, News and Current Affairs. In the early 1990’s, he was Director of News and Current Affairs of Professor Humphrey Nwosu’s National Electoral Commission. He was the one most of us Political Correspondents of the time (this writer inclusive) related with on the job. In 2002, he was appointed Director-General of the National Orientation Agency and later the Director General of NTA in 2003. As DG of NTA, Iredia was the number one PR person and topmost reporter of that agency.

It would appear the former NTA DG had the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris Malagi, a seasoned communication consultant and media mogul in mind, in his brilliant and lucid diagnosis. This is because in his handling of the Federal Government’s information and public communication machinery, Malagi parades all those essentials of effective communication brilliantly encapsulated by Iredia.

Malagi is humble, cool, calm, not loud, factual, truthful and evinces believability in his appearance, carriage and conduct.

In his speech at the summit, Malagi himself identified the imperatives of some of the earlier mentioned principles behind effective public communication. He said Nigeria is a diversely blessed and vibrant country, grapples with the need to create a cohesive national identity; one that transcends ethnicity, religion, and political affiliations, and as such “crafting a compelling national narrative becomes paramount as we strive to live up to our vast potential.”

According to him, as communication professionals, the spokesperson must be aware he plays a crucial role in shaping perceptions, disseminating accurate information, and fostering trust. “Indeed, the nation’s peace, stability, growth, and development can only be attained by how we communicate. We must recognize the critical role that effective communication plays in shaping narratives, building trust, and fostering understanding.”

Both Iredia and Malagi harped on the significance of trust in public communication or indeed in any communication for that matter. The Minister of Information puts this succinctly: “The future of communication points towards technology, but for technology to make a meaningful impact, it must be anchored on trust. Trust remains a critical element in building relationships; be it at personal, group, and even community levels. As spokespersons, we need to make conscious efforts to build trust and restore hope wherever we are. Building and maintaining trust must be a collective responsibility. For trust to have value, it must be anchored on authenticity, transparency, and consistency.”

Like Iredia who stressed that both external and internal publics are important and that all stakeholders should be carried along because a disgruntled person within the system can endanger the messaging, Malagi also spoke about collaboration and inclusivity at the summit.

“The current trend of communication is driven by technology. While technology allows us to personalize messages like never before, collaboration enables us to build consensus among colleagues, stakeholders, and experts.”

Indeed, Malagi not only believes in his precepts, he practices them. He tries to carry everyone along in an all-inclusive manner. That he acts out his preaching is evident enough in the way and manner he carries on as Information Minister, which is perhaps why he is achieving bounteous positive results. For instance, as he stepped out as minister he constituted a National Communication Team headed by him and comprising the Information, Strategy, Media and Publicity Managers in the Presidency and Director-Generals of Information and Communication agencies under him to build consensus and synergy and promote collaboration on the important task of disseminating the policies and initiatives of the government and its agencies under the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu. The team will also track post-messaging feedback.

Recently, the National Communication Team was on tour of Kano, Jigawa and Kaduna states in the North-West. In Jigawa, the team visited wheat, millet and maize farms, an example of dry season farming, which raised the likelihood of the state meeting the expected national targets for domestic consumption and exports. The team also engaged in an interactive session with the farmers, millers, and other important stakeholders in dry season farming in the state. In Kano, after meeting and exchanging ideas with senior journalists and social media influencers in the North who had converged on the city, the team returned to also interface with the business community in that commercial city on the government’s economic programmes, their impressions, expectations and challenges.

Arriving in Kaduna to attend the annual Ramadan Lecture organised by the NTA and Voice of Nigeria and attended by prominent Islamic scholars and Emirs from the North, the team opted to return to Abuja by rail so it could inspect the facilities at the train station in Kaduna and interview some of the operators and passengers using the train.

The Information Minister’s speeches on these visits were also remarkable. The speeches reek of the passion and enthusiasm he takes to the job.

Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano State, he said: “We are here in Kano as representatives of His Excellency, Mr. President, to meet with Nigerians, from various walks of life. The President has tasked us with engaging with various groups of stakeholders, to share and explain what his administration has been doing to make life better for all Nigerians, and to ask for patience and understanding in the face of the economic challenges we are experiencing.”

A day after at a stakeholders’ meeting with the business leaders in Kano, he highlighted the achievements recorded so far by the Tinubu Administration to make Nigeria a better place to live, and do business and investment. He said the President is committed and has shown rare leadership on many fronts.

On why the team decided to return to Abuja by train, the minister said: “The National Communications Team embarked on a train journey back to Abuja from Kaduna after our stakeholders engagement in Jigawa, Kano and Kaduna. We had a fruitful interaction with commuters, welcoming their enthusiasm and noting their feedback. We reiterated the commitment of our administration to securing the lives and properties of travellers, safeguarding our rail infrastructure and improving the quality of service delivery.”

-Rahman is a Senior Presidential Aide


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The Labour Party’s Failure Is Peter Obi’s Failure



By Kassim Afegbua.

Chinua Achebe said “ things fall apart when the center cannot hold.” This is so true as I watch the Labour Party fall apart, and indeed under!! I am still wondering how on Earth Peter Obi would have run this country, if he was allowed to seize it. In 2023, some so-called political experts predicted a Peter Obi victory following very dubious opinion polls that were also fickle. I reasoned then that Peter Obi’s chances were over exaggerated, because the facts on ground did not support the unempirical conclusions drawn by the members of the “Obidients” movement and their psychedelic sponsors. Obi rode on that movement, doused with hypocrisy, and decorated with contradiction, he traveled across the country to rake in votes by sheer divisive tactics that further exposed his parochialism. If unfortunately he made it to President, Obi would not have represented the cutting-edge. Looking back to his reign as Governor of Anambra state, I cannot see any cutting-edge intervention to situate Anambra on the pedestal of an Eldorado. Anambra remains a state ravaged by erosion and flooding, rustic in outlook, poorly entrenched within decayed infrastructure with disgraceful human development statistics. If we made anything of the optics of the “Obidients” movement in 2023 and the razzmatazz of the media blitz, we would have run into a hasty conclusion that Obi ought to have won the election. He couldn’t even argue his case at the tribunal, as he vacilated from here to there clutching at one flotsam or the other, in a seeming fishing expedition, trying to conjure up images and imageries to score cheap political points.

His Labour Party under Julius Abure, is as psychedelic as they all who run it; some unknown quantities who were hustling to grab whatever was donated, to consolidate their grip on crass materialism. Their organisational skills and knowledge are bizarre. Their disorganisation was like an April Fools Day prank; unfortunately, it was real. They had no substance save for some dithering youths making social media noise to up the ante of Obi’s political novo- expedition. They couldn’t even submit their polling units full agents to INEC. They tried to cover up their lapses and latched unto a condemnation of INEC when the iREV facility hit the rock. Stranded even after that, they took INEC to the slaughter slab, still struggling to cover up their inadequacies and deficiencies. For a party that was receiving such volumes of youth endorsement, a little more pluck and proper organisation would have delivered them. Protestations, quarreling, noise, litigations, and broken down communication is the order of the day among their ranks. Its parent body, the NLC reincarnated its prodigy, the Labour Party, run by largely immature political felons. These people quarrel every day and every night; struggling to gain control of the veterbrae of the party’s inner structure. One faction is always after the other: they are usually at each other’s jugular, and at nerve racking gusto, to gain entrance into the party’s fortress; into her vault.

Peter Obi would not have been a good president. See him now, at the brink of jumping ship; a supposed high level leader. We saw the traits in the morning. He is a bundle of confusion and contradiction, we saw it all even though he tried to live a lifestyle that was alien to him, in a bid to impress the shallow minded. He flies private jets, ride state of the arts bullet-proof SUVs, and opulence and grandeur are his companions. He just punished himself in those months by dressing in the same pair of shoes, wearing one wrist-watch, and so on to deceive people. He wanted to confuse the emasculated and gullible people. We now know also that Obi ran a parallel structure from the Party’s. He came up with what he called a summary of his campaign expenditure; in it, the better part of his income was spent on litigations! His party permanently dogged by in-fighting, is yet to publish its audited account which will reveal more to us. We are waiting for when they will be done with their in-fighting. The party has been a drifting line, erupting volcanoes, trying to properly stabilise its adrenaline. In the process, it has sunk into a deeper abyss, leaving Obi in a frenzy, searching for fresh alliances and affiliations. He now wants to abandon the Labour Party’s ferry to grab the SDP canoe, in trying to stay afloat. I am already seeing the movements that may after all goad him on the path to political perfidy.

A supposed presidential material as Obi ought to show tact and diplomacy now, and rein in his party apparachik and show leadership by example. Allowing his Labour Party members to flock like sheep without a shepherd is the most unconscionable behaviour of anyone who has come out to be president of this great country. Abure, the Labour Party’s combustible and rambuctious chairman, is as reckless as a drunken driver; and the state of the party today shows this. Every new day comes with a new tinge of disagreement and quarrel; and Peter Obi cannot take charge and show leadership grit to consolidate on his gains in the 2023 outing. It is clear now that it was all just a contest for power, not necessarily about any forthright desire to create a New Nigeria that will work. Now the Labour Party is headed for the rocks; her members are behaving like famished baboons let loose into a banana plantation. I pity their followers! Labour Party will soon become an abandoned property, it wil soon be left to rot in the hands of debtor tenants who are unable to render account of its initial solvency.

From my crystal ball, I see Obi jumping out of the Labour Party to build fresh alliances to birth his 2027 daydream. If Obi were properly advised, or better still, if he possessed the cutting-edge, he would have built the Labour Party to become an attractive brand, such that it would be the cynosure of all. With regards to the party’s current crisis, he ought to have deployed his “leadership skills” to mend the fractures and resolve the factions in the party. Unfortunately, all that Obi wanted from the party was for it to make him be called Mr. President. Now, whether the Labour Party survives or capsizes, does not matter to him. It was just a ride he hitched to take him to Aso Rock; now the vehicle has hit the rock, he declares that he has no stake. He’s already abandoning the vehicle to grab another one for 2027. Labour Party’s failure to organize themselves, is Obi’s failure. Peter Obi’s failure to take charge and stir the vehicle to stability at this material time, is the reason why Labour Party members have shown their dereliction to duties. I was just wondering: if this was the ruling party, is this how they would have been scrambling for control of the structure of the party while leading us to Eldorado? Political parties are usually very meticulous in the leadership recruitment process, so to understand that Peter Obi does not care in the least, what obtains in his party, is to understand the selfish import of his leadership in the first place.

Lastly, the statement that Peter Obi made recently, about him coming to reposition and rebuild Nigeria and not Labour Party is disgraceful and unfortunate. If in today’s Nigeria and at this contemporary time, Peter Obi is not aware that political parties are the only platforms for leadership recruitment, then he must have left his boots at home while trying to fight to lead Nigeria, under the disguise that he wanted to fix it. It is laughable for a man of his status to be so loose lipped. In political parties, we uphold internal democracy because it has its strong invariable ripple effect on whatever obtains outside the perimeters of the parties. In any leadership recruitment process, we do not downplay the very important function of the leadership of the political parties, but when the parties are disorganized, and unable to stream together her agenda and objectives to make any meaningful impact on the leadership recruitment process, then very likely the outcome will be the emergence of the likes of Julius Abure, Apapa and their ilks srambling for attention with nothing to offer. I am shocked that Peter Obi does not know or realise that if the Labour Party is well managed, they will then have better chances, and opportunities of attracting more members that will rally round the party to make it even more of a movement that can alter the status quo. Obi’s declaration that trying to build the country and not the Labour Party was the reason he contested election last year, is insubstantial; his naivety is humiliating, his understanding of politics ridiculously stunted, and his conclusion on their latest fisticuffs unfortunately contemptible.


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