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Plateau Paid Mourners And Matters Arising

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BY GABRIEL ONOJA

I wish I could avoid certain negative thoughts about Nigeria. It is my country and place I cherish so much. Until my aged mother passed on, she kept reminding me that there is no place like home. I have grown up to cherish her counsel. No peace anywhere is comparable to the peace in your house or home.

But negative thoughts about my country keep troubling my senses. I look at the actions and evil machinations of our people and feel its self- delusion not to reflect about the odd characters and attitudes of people in this country. The harder I try to keep off; my sub-conscious is invaded and bombarded with such patriotic thoughts.

Unfortunately, the impression I have of our people is that of a bloodthirsty, directionless, unfocused and debased citizens who delight in everything odious, but shun the positive attributes of existence. We often say, two wrongs cannot make a right. But those who promote this axiom still go out to correct a wrong with the commission of another wrong.

Another confusion has erupted in the country, as manifest in the recent killings on the Plateau. We can conveniently link the latest violence to the perennial herders/farmers conflict, which have accentuated since the beginning of 2018 in the Middle Belt region or Benue valley.

We cannot doubt that these crises have facilitators and masterminds, whose only mindset is to reverse the gains Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong has made in peace and security in the state. They don’t want him to earn this positive point in leadership.

And to actualize their devilish plots, all they needed was a spark and it came through the latest dastardly attacks and killings. Whilst the drama lasted, the same sponsors of the killings quickly mobilized their errant boys to another dance of shame in the guise of protests or mourning to further kill and destroy Government House to complete the planed circle of violence.

And all manner of people and organizations’, with grandeur names were prodded and possibly, financed to cause more violence. They dusted their toga of decency and became vulnerable tools in the hands of enemies of the state, as they gladly staged out to amplify the fire to earn the peanuts.

We heard revered and kingly names such as the Christian Association of Nigeria (Northern Zone of Plateau State), the Youth Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (Plateau State) and Bazata Gospel Team which were rendered prostrate by the power of naira in the guise of mourning .

The groups led protests, which ended up in fresh deaths, threats to lives of government officials and the destruction of public properties had religious labels. I was forced to ask myself, what wisdom could inform such a nauseating action. How can we reconcile the position that we have embarked on killings to justify killings?

So, I noticed the smoldering fire of paid agents and minions at optimal performance. I saw the flames of absurdity and the inclination to destructions by these groups, which defeated the spirit of mourning as defined by any Christian doctrine.

If we subject wisdom to test, how would anyone agree that true Christians should prefer violent public protests in the guise of mourning , than quiet, peaceful, silent prayers and supplications to God Almighty in churches and homes? It conveyed a mindset quite different from the public badge of the protest/mourning staged by the groups.

I clearly understood and empathized with Gov. Lalong, when he decried the glaring demonic content of the protests with the words; “the very clear and obvious unpatriotic self-serving interest of a few who have chosen to make a mockery of the grief of the victims of the attack in Gashish District and other areas of the Northern Senatorial District.”

The protesters further betrayed themselves in a manner that mocked the sacred virtues of godliness. In crisis situations, I could not discern how the protesters wanted the Governor’s presence at a venue and time they dictated. When they stormed Government House, Gov. Lalong was on a hospital visit to the Jos University Teaching Hospital, where about 50 victims of the attacks were hospitalized.

Between mourning and saving the lives of survivors, I don’t know which event the mourners considered more serious and hearty. So, the protesters almost lynched the chairman, Plateau State Peace Building Agency, Mr. Joseph Lengmang, who was delegated by the Governor to address them. They chased and violently attacked every government official at sight and freely hurled stones at buildings and vehicles, thus donating to us another level of destructions. Deaths also came from these resentful actions.

From that moment, It became clear to me that the agenda was indisputably at variance with the dummy sold to the public. The collective resolve of Plateau people to unite and rise above the evil machinations of their enemies was shattered through these groups, lending credence to the suspicion that some of their members may be part of the enemies terrorizing the state.

While the reprisal madness on the Plateau raged, the former Minister of Education, and leader of #BBOG group, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili extended this loathsome appreciation of the Jos crisis to the Presidential Villa in a lone protest. It is like Oby Ezekwesili is becoming too used to “Kpamurogo” dance steps on every issue.

It’s incredible the reality that with Ezekwesili’s status and experience, she believes every matter is resolved through protests. Where she cannot find apostates to back her mission, she embarks on a lonely drive like in this instance.

For a long time now, I have noticed her abuse the right to protest and freedom of assembly using the banner of #BBOG. Even in this instance, the kernel of what Ezekwesili said in her 18-point demand to the Presidency made little sense.

I could not understand what she meant by the President failing to show empathy for the victims of the bloodshed. Yet, she knows security has been drafted to the areas and normalcy restored. The victims of the unfortunate violence are also receiving medicare.

I can infer that some people derive pleasure in the misfortune of others. And Nigeria has become a nation where there are both executive and area boys career protesters. While the forces behind the crisis pushed for its escalation in the aftermath, their pawns competed for space and attention. But none bothered to reflect on what caused the crisis or how it started, to see how the warring parties can be genuinely assisted to overcome their foibles to live in harmony.

We do not wish to know that some six herdsmen who had gone to a local market were innocently murdered by some criminals. It was the reprisals that ended in the mayhem, which again was consolidated by the protesting mourners, leading to the death of many innocent travelers plying the Jos- Bauchi road and Riyom. Its madness at its peak.

Instead of exploring avenues to restore or even impose peace, some
paid mourners went on the offensive, dancing “Azonto” on the graves of the unfortunate brethren who lost their lives in all these unfortunate incidents.

Certainly, these are bad times for our country. And we must be careful, if not, we can easily drag ourselves into a consuming inferno. With all the nobility identified in the groups of the paid mourners, they were least bothered about reputation. That’s what makes us a strange people.

They presented themselves in the worse manner, indulging in shameful and abominable acts. That’s the wrong way to mourn the dead by any Christian. It portrayed them as worse than the killers they sought to expose and denigrate.

Onoja wrote from Rayfield, Jos.

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Lalong as God’s plan for Plateau

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Gov. Lalong

Gov. Lalong


By Victor Pam

As the campaigns continue to heat the polity, we must be careful about the choices we make because our options can be our albatross, as well as our Messiah. I say this for two reasons, one is because of the empty promises flying around like promissory notes and the other is the attempt to put a veil on the eyes of the electorates by politicians who are advancing causes they know too well they cannot deliver on. I am from Plateau State, and as they say, charity must begin from home.

I recall I asked myself a couple of questions when Simon Lalong came on-board as governor of the state, questions like, is this going to be different from others? Would Plateau experience peace and tranquillity, would workers have a reason to smile? Would Plateau experience any form of infrastructural upliftment? Would pensioners have a reason to smile? And many more that I can’t recollect.

I also promised to keep a tab on the workings of government regarding the delivery of the dividends of democracy to the people of Plateau State that have seen and experienced the worst of governments since 1999. Indeed, Plateau had been unfortunate; my friends used to taunt me. But today, I am not sure anyone of them can tease me as regards governance in Plateau. And I say this with all sense of humility and sincerity of heart.

To say Plateau has experienced a change would be an understatement. And to also say Governor Simon Lalong remains one of the best things that happened to Plateau would also be uncharitable. What would be charitable and most appropriate is to say Simon Lalong was God’s plan for Plateau state because of the remarkable improvements experienced in all aspects of life on the Plateau. From the prompt payment of salaries to clearing the backlog of pensions. Generally, governance was delivered at the doorsteps of the people.

Anyone conversant with the happenings in Plateau under governor Simon Lalong would agree with me that God indeed heard the cries of the people when he delivered Simon Lalong to us as governor. It is incredible to state that despite the cash crunch that hit the country and the inability of most states to pay salaries, it was only Plateau state that was paying wages even before the end of the month. It felt like magic to many other governors on how Governor Simon Lalong was able to achieve such feat.

If one takes an opinion survey of civil servants in the state to ascertain whether there has ever been a time salaries were delayed under Simon Lalong, the response would be an overwhelming no. That has never happened since Simon Lalong assumed leadership of the state. From what I gathered, the governor vowed that never again in the history of Plateau state, would workers be denied their wages given the fact that the state is mostly a civil servant state. And when you have the bulk of the people in the public service what is the rational thing to do? To ensure that salaries are paid as at when due.

In my opinion, doing such would also have a multiplier effect on the economy of the state in the sense that there would be a movement within the ecosystem that would, in turn, generate activities that oil the wheels of progress, which is the case in Plateau state in the past three years of Simon Lalong.

It would be tantamount to questioning God should the people of Plateau make the mistake of casting their votes for those that have been making empty promises. And the curious part is that these people that are making those empty promises were part of the rot experienced in Plateau state. The difference is that they only changed their clothing’s. Would the people of Plateau allow themselves to be so deceived?

I am not sure the people of Plateau would want to trade Simon Lalong for anyone else. I am not sure the workers and pensioners have forgotten how God has used and still using Simon Lalong to better their lives through the numerous interventions in the state. Let me add this for free. It only takes a man that is upright and with the fear of God to do what Governor Simon Lalong is doing in Plateau state. He came on-board at a time that depression had enveloped the cloud and hopelessness was the order of the day. But undeterred he set out for impactful governance that has put the state on the path of glory once again.

Governor Simon Lalong is an upright man with the fear of God, unlike past governors that ruled like they were gods themselves because how could one explain a situation where a governor can go to bed and sleep when the people that elected him are hungry and dying of starvation. These same people also divided the state along ethnic and religious lines. It was so bad in the Plateau that at some point some ethnic groups see themselves as superior to all other ethnic groups in the state. This was how unhealthy the atmosphere was in the Plateau before the coming of Simon Lalong. But all of these have indeed changed for better.

There is now mutual respect amongst the various ethnicity in the state. There are no superior or inferior groups, so much so that it has translated to an improved relationship that has brought about lasting peace in the state. I will say this without fear, if not for the coming of Simon Lalong, I am not sure there would have still been a Plateau state because all the indices for disintegration were in place and it was just only a matter of time before its manifestation. Most of us residing in Plateau had perfected plans to move elsewhere with our families.

Indeed, Plateau state has never had it this good before, there has been lots of infrastructural development across the state, despite the lean resources coming to the state. In my opinion, what people do not understand is that Governor Simon Lalong has been able to do all of these because he placed the interest of the people above his interest. And I am not sure people, including him, could dip their hands in government coffers to embezzle funds meant for the people. I make bold to say that embezzlement of government cannot be associated with the present administration of Simon Lalong, if that was the case, I doubt if he would have been able to pay salaries promptly, settle the backlog of pensions and pensions payment up to date in the state and many more.

Like a messiah, he came to set the captives free. Today, Plateau state under Simon Lalong is an example of how to work for the people. I have assessed his administrative style using different parameters as a development expert, and the result of my assessment is the reason for this piece. Some could say that I am excited, some could also say I am elated. But I would say and I ecstatic with what is happening Plateau state. And I am not sure the good people of Plateau would want to leave the known for the unknown. That would be the height of ingratitude to God. Governor Simon Lalong is indeed Gods plan for Plateau state. This much the people know, and this much they are willing to go with as the elections approach.

Pam is an advocate of the masses writing from Jos.

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PMB as God’s will for Nigeria

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President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari


By Sunday Garuba

The elections are around the corner, and again, the hysteria that usually greets such exercises has rented the air. There has been lots of politicking going on around the country. Political strategists and analysts are at their best-giving situations and scenarios that would shape the outcome of the elections. In all of these, I know for a certain that indeed 2019 is the year of greatness for Nigeria.

As usual, clergies have made all manners of positive predictions as regards the future of the country. And this is coupled with the relative peace that has permeated the nook and cranny of Nigeria indicates that something good is about to happen in Nigeria. So far the few prophecies that have been released suggest that Nigeria’s greatness might be around the corner.

I am happy as well as sad for two reasons; one is the fact that since the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, a lot has changed in the way we do things as a people and as a country. And I am sad for the fact that those that contributed to the downfall of Nigeria have all ganged up against a man that believes so much in Nigeria and they are hell-bent on undermining him and all the efforts he has put in to set Nigeria back on track. Now, this is the irony of life that calls for serious concern from all well-meaning Nigerians.

I am of the opinion that one of the best things that happened to Nigeria was the providential coming of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. What many did not understand then was that God indeed heard the cries of Nigerians who had been subjected to all manner of abuse by those saddled with the task of governing us. They took us all for a ride and stole our commonwealth. And they did all of these with so much impunity. The way and manner President Muhammadu Buhari won the elections indicated that God indeed loved Nigeria and would never allow the disintegration of the country.

This was on the heels of the various predictions on how Nigeria would not remain as a country after 2015. But God used President Muhammadu Buhari to thwart the plans of evil ones against Nigeria. And this much can be verified with the way and manner the president has carried on since he assumed leadership of the country. He has put the interest of the country first and above his interest. For him, the wealth of Nigeria belongs to all and not for a select few. And this has been his undoing and why the hawks that have held this country down for years are all gathered to ensure that he is voted out so that business, as usual, can resume. But they will fail. Just like the holy bible says in Psalms 91 vs. 7 “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.” The evil plot against President Muhammadu Buhari shall not come near him if God is on the throne.

I am not one of those that would be blinded by religion or ethnicity and shy away from realities of life. And I would also not hide under the umbrella of faith to deny the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari has impacted positively on the lives of the average Nigerians on the street. Take it or leave, President Muhammadu Buhari was God’s will for Nigeria in 2015 and he remains God’s will for Nigeria in 2019.

If not for anything, let us admit that he has freed our commonwealth from the hands of looters and for this singular act, they have vowed to take him out. But if God is for him who can be against him? No one. Also, but for his intervention, the Boko Haram insurgency would have engulfed North East Nigeria and by extension the whole country. Should we not be grateful to a man that has shown an unalloyed commitment to the Nigerian cause? Should we not appreciate God for this rare gift to humanity? Should we not stand up in unity and defend a man that is clearly on the side of the masses? Do we need a soothsayer to tell us that if not for President Muhammadu Buhari, the entity called Nigeria might have disintegrated?

All of these are questions the intelligent minds should ask if we must be honest with ourselves. We should not be deceived by the narrative bandied around by people with questionable characters. We should not fall for their gimmick that would take us back donkey years. I want to believe that we have gotten to that stage of our existence where we can decipher between good and evil.

President Muhammadu has indeed not failed in the discharge of his duties as president of this great country. This is evident in the numerous people-oriented projects that are ongoing around the country. And what do we owe this great and selfless man? It’s simple. Nigerians must unite with the voice of God to ensure that we defeat the evil ones at the elections. Nigerians must come together with one loud voice to say enough is enough to those that have milked us dry.

Nigerians must vote massively for President Muhammadu Buhari in the coming elections because here is a man that has not failed and his words to the citizens have been a strong bond. I am of the opinion that in the very least if we do not know or remember where we are coming from, we should at least know where we are going to. And with a man like President Muhammadu Buhari, we know he has been destined to take us to the promised land. Let us make no mistakes about this. For Nigeria, it is forward ever, and backward never. Enough is enough.

Bishop Garuba is the President, national inter-faith and religious organization for peace.

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Naja’atu Mohammed: When A Tirade Goes Wrong

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Naja’atu Muhammad

Naja’atu Muhammad


By Princess Ajibola

I struggled to find another word for clueless. As I was struggling, the word ingrate came to my mind. Clueless and ingrate are the best words to describe Naja’atu Mohammed who in her wisdom attempted to cast aspersion on the personality of President Muhammadu Buhari and by extension the Service Chiefs.

When I read her piece titled “All the President’s men on national (in)security” I could not help but burst into a round of laughter for very obvious reasons. Everything she wrote was figments of her imaginations. Even though she attempted to sound like an intellect, and one conversant with the operations of the Nigerian Military, you could quickly notice the deficiency in her plot, choice of words, and execution.

She went to town mentioning what is not and what has never been. So much so that I marvelled at the way and manner she churned out half-truths that could cause an earthquake in Sabon Gari in Kano state. She took her tirade too far when she assumed that the Chief of Army Staff does not have the necessary combat experience as he allegedly dodged ECOMOG and all local operations throughout his career in the lower ranks. And I said what nonsense to that. It was arrant nonsense that could only come from a retard. Whoever it was that advise her to pen such an ignoble piece must be senile too. And the chap that wrote on her behalf was also uncharitable to her by using her “hard earned” name as the author of such gibberish.

Who is Naja’atu Mohammed to comment on military exploits or strategy? What is her pedigree? What has been her contributions in the intellectual space? I did a google search, and I got absolutely nothing. The closest I got was that she is a Nigerian politician, which she rightly is, and the “first woman to win a Senate seat in Kano state.” That is all about her asides her usual political rants here and there, like someone who has Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD). For the records, individuals suffering from HPD exhibit excessive emotionality and are attention seekers. People with this disorder are uncomfortable or feel unappreciated when they are not the centre of attention.

I want to assume that was the case with her that she so decided to put her name on an amalgamation of lies titled “All the President’s men on national (in)security.” It is indeed legendary for someone to sit down and concoct stories, incidences, and timelines on things that were never in existence. She also went further to arrogate to herself as a key stakeholder in the Police and the National Security Establishment. And I asked in Nigeria or another country? What has been her contributions to national security in Nigeria? How has she impacted on the National security debate in Nigeria? Excuse me; we are not talking about rendering “escort services.” We are talking about National security madam, and not because she sits on the board of the Police Service Commission.

Looking at it from a rational perspective what credential does she have to have been so appointed as a commissioner in the Police Service Commission in the first place? Aside from being a graduate of History with no known public or private career, there is nothing about her that qualifies her for such an appointment. I think the posturing of Najatu Mohammed is very typical of politicians wanting to increase their market value. She sits as a commissioner in the commission representing women. Now tell me, how does this translate to Naja’atu Mohammed being that expert of security that she is now questioning the operational style and effectiveness of the Nigerian military in the fight against insurgency. If this is not purely mischief, I do not know what else to call it. Needless I remind her that it was the same President Muhammadu Buhari that out of his benevolence so appointed her, and not because she parades an intimidating CV. This is ingratitude. You can’t bite the fingers that fed you. This is very typical of politicians like her.

This is quite an anomaly. It is either for mischief purposes or out of ignorance. But I would instead go with the mischief school of thought. If not for mischief purposes, I wonder how someone would be so daring to spread lies with so much impunity. I won’t be shocked if she also has some proposals not receiving proper attention somewhere and so she decided to resort to ill-mannerism to drive home a selfish point. But in all, what she failed to realize was the fact that she attempted to portray President Muhammadu Buhari in bad light as regards the fight against the insurgency. She is from Kano state and has also forgotten how Kano was once under constant attack from Boko Haram terrorists. She also forgot how the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was also under constant attack. The question I would like to ask her is, has there been a substantial difference in the fight against insurgency from 2015 to date?

To help her out, I think I need to furnish her with intellectual materials on Nigeria’s fight against insurgency from 2015 to date. But this would be dependent on whether she can process intelligent information. I stand to be corrected. If she has such capacity, I am not sure would want to be associated with the nonsense she conjured. This is on the heels of the fact that she is a misfit to criticize the war against insurgency, but it is to help her in the least to supply some oxygen into her occluded brains.

When issues of National security are discussed, Naja’atu Mohammed should not blink an eyelid, because it is not the bedroom matter she is used to from Kano to Kaduna and all the way to Abuja. National security is a different terrain that requires a high level of intellectualism to decipher what constitutes gains and setbacks. It is also definitely not an emotional issue.

I could go nonstop in addressing her tirade, but that would somewhat amount to falling victim to her Histrionic Personality Disorder. But in a bid to help her out though, I challenge her to an open debate on National Security so that she could further expose her crass ignorance and mischief to the same members of the unsuspecting public she wanted to hoodwink. I patiently await her acceptance of the debate challenge — good riddance to bad rubbish.

Ajibola is Vice President, Africans in Diaspora writing from DR Congo.

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