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[Opinion] Nigerians And MTN; A Parable For The ‘Mumudous’ By Adekoya Boladale

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On 16th August 2013, over sixty million Nigerians were literally cut off from civilization, without prior notice or warning. Mobile Telecom Network (MTN) subscribers woke up to discover they were alone in this cold and lonely world. However that wasn’t the only offence; MTN did not deem it fit to tender any form of apology to its subscribers not until 12hours into the oblivion with a very short message less than twenty words. It is important to state that the numeric figure of these subscribers outnumbers the population of South Africa; three times that of Ghana, and twenty percent of the population of the United States (US).

 

MTN a South African mobile telecom company came into Nigeria at a time when the country needed a stable and consistent mobile brand. It was dubbed the ‘Telecommunication Saviour’ then selling its SIM at $400 and top up cards at 1,500 naira minimum. The telecom company enjoyed the monopoly to such an extent that it found the exploitation in Nigeria so rewarding and quickly moved its headquarters from South Africa to Nigeria. For quite some time, Nigerians were at the mercy of this sole mobile telecom service provider added with a lot of unreasonable terms and conditions until the likes of Glo, Zain, Visafone, Etisalat among others came in and made the market competitive. Surprisingly, despite the various juicy packages offered by these other companies, Nigerians saw no need to make a switch. The excuse then was logical and reasonable at least one out of the lots; ‘I can’t change my number; this is the line everybody knows me with’. In a bid to address this market inequality and create a level playing ground the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) moved in.

 

After long years of rigmarole, the NCC introduced the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) on April 22nd 2013, a service which enables subscribers to switch network providers while still retaining their number all at no cost. It is however alarming that with a service such as this; some Nigerians still find it hard to make proper choice.

 

The story above can only be likened to our current political and leadership problem. Our nation dilemmatic state is our own doing. MTN here represents the crop of emergency leaders that emerge at a time when we desperately desire democratic rule, we threw caution to the wind and gave power to rogues and criminals disguise as gents and saints. Yes they came to us with the best of roadmaps on papers but deep in their heart they nurse a villainous plan greater than that of Lucifer, but did we ever take time to ask them the right questions other than dance around them with drums and ‘bata’?

 

The now corruption-ridden National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) which in the past causes fear, panic and bring jittering to the soul of public office holders as become pawn in the hands of politicians and so bastardised that it’s now been paid to go on live television defending absurdity and felony (felony in this context means a crime against education), yet these are our youths and acclaimed future of our great country.

Over the years we have been milked, skinned, humiliated, deceived, tortured and played but any time better individuals who neither posess fat bank account nor enjoy the endorsement of the ‘powerful’ comes forth to take charge of our nation’s affair we take turn to label such person with volumes of unprintable names.

 

Nigerians in their usual lackadaisical attitude feel there is no need for a change or rather as they put it ‘Let’s play with the devil we know’. It is only a sign of gross foolishness for one to feel comfortable with darkness when there is a possibility of light in the next room; in fact it contradicts neuroplasticity- the natural ability to seek for change in discomfort fused in the human brain. We have come to find faith only in God and make no move to ensure we get the change our heart long for.

 

In some instances I have had to listen to some Nigerians in defense of the presidency. The arguments always start with phrase such as this; ‘…after all what did he do? Is he the one that created the problems?’ In most cases I have been forced to point out to them few out of the many sins of Goodluck Jonathan; the removal of subsidy, failed power supply (not generation), skyrocketing unemployment rate, perpetual insecurity and unimaginable geometric growth in corruption.

 

Yes, President Goodluck Jonathan in all righteousness never created Nigeria’s problems, but in 2011 when we were clamouring for a president I don’t remember we asking for a clueless one who lacks knowledge on how to solve these long age ailments. We never asked for a siddon look who knows nothing other than to sign Cheques and roll out pardons to criminals. Defense like this continues to show how gullible we are in a nation so blessed yet so poor.

 

A friend on twitter retweeted a post from one of his followers in Somalia who has been in the war torn country for three days, this fella acknowledged the woeful sights and dilapidated nature of the country but he shocked me when he said he was yet to experience a second of power outage, this is in a country that has been in perpetual state of war for so long.

 

Nigerians won’t learn just as the MTN subscriber’s won’t port. The people of Abia state whose Governor has failed to cleanse the potential world class industrial area off the ridiculous dirt trademark, would rather create crops of jobless praise singers and fire dancers who follows him around dancing and shouting to make ends meet than provide sound entrepreneur skills acquisition programme but deliver to them repainted and dusted projects as dividends of democracy won’t see the need for change. The people of Akwa-Ibom state whose Governor continue to use state resources to acquire fleets of bulletproof and military grade luxurious cars and jets at the expense of the masses while quoting ghost executed projects won’t see the need for change. The people of Ogun state whose megalomaniac Governor continue to construct roads at a whooping sum of 1.3billion naira per kilometer while accumulating huge debts and loans that would require the 10th generation to make full repayment, fails to create employment but rather promote thuggery, won’t see the need for change.

 

We all would be living in a fool’s paradise if we continue to believe something good will come out of these darkness, we are no different from the MTN die-hard Nigerian subscribers who get defrauded, short changed, exploited but looks at their reception-less network service bar on their phone smile, look up and say “I just love MTN”

 

 

Adekoya Boladale a political scientist is the Convener, Advocacy for Better Leadership (ABEL) and an alumnus of Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED) wrote via adekoyaboladale@gmail.com. Please follow on twiter @adekoyabee

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. isah suleiman

    August 27, 2013 at 12:10 am

    An A+ geneous!!

  2. Austin-Harvard

    August 27, 2013 at 6:16 am

    Such a superb piece though i dnt knw about the 16 august event-i live @ warri. U gave ncc’s move as d solution to helples nigerians, pls relate ncc’s help to d help nigeria needs.

  3. MAKEI TALK

    August 28, 2013 at 6:53 am

    Records have shown that 49% of mtn’s subscriber have moved ” ported” to other subscribers. I think Nigerians have shown tremendous courage by that alone and should be commended and not term as “mumudous”. You likened this scenerio to d current political scene n you want us to PORT abi? which opposition party can sincerely SOLVE our uncountable challenges? Abi you want try? Make we port to where? APC…or where? No be dem pikin- Pst Tunde Bakere call dem a bunch of looters?

  4. Joseph Ola

    August 28, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    I’m just hearing this and may be it was what had happened to my sim which has been having problem and we thought the sim has been damaged.I now set to retrieve it because each time I inserted it in the Phone it displayed sim error.All our recharges are going to South Africa but we do not like our indigeous one,GLO.

  5. Teekay

    September 2, 2013 at 8:11 am

    I’ve always seen mtn as SA company but was not sure cuz it seems to be combination of two country. I agree with u on some not all, like the subsidy of a thing, i support the move of the Gov. but my probblem is, will the money recoverd from that be use to improve the lifes of ppl or to enriche there already rich pocket. Whic i belive most of us already knw the ans to that. God bless nija

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Opinion

Who Will Explain Coronavirus To Buhari?

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Coronavirus (COVID-19), an exorable doom, threatens life on the planet. It is exorable because it is conquerable. This explains why world leaders are taking the charge to combat this ominous apocalypse. It is a time for leadership from the fore-end; a time when citizens must hear their leaders speak to them; see them take action, making assurances and fulfilling those promises. The counsel, consolation and firm statement of a leader is imperative at this moment.

In Canada, Justin Trudeau, prime minister, despite being in self-isolation and his wife battling the virus after contracting it at a conference in the UK, is leading the fight against this dreaded disease from the fore. He is providing regular updates of the efforts of his government to roll back this scourge, listening and speaking to citizens.

In a popular broadcast on March 13, Justin spoke to citizens of Canada announcing measures to relieve the financial stress brought on by the pandemic on Canadians.

“We do not want any Canadian to have to worry about whether or not they’re going to be able to pay their rent, whether or not they’re going to be able to buy groceries, or care for their kids or elderly family members. We need to make sure that Canadians have the options and the ability to follow the best public health advice and keep themselves safe,” he said.

In the UK, Boris Johnson, prime minister, leads the struggle against coronavirus. He provides updates, alongside health experts, on the measures his government is taking to tackle the spread of the disease. And in the US, Donald Trump is not shying away from speaking to Americans on the virus.

As a matter of fact, President Muhammadu Buhari’s lapses are often easily dismissed by his supporters or by Nigerians who do not know better. Some of them say, ‘’ Why must the president speak when the minister of health and the NCDC DG are already doing that?” This is a contemptible rationalisation of incompetence. Are they suggesting the president lacks the capacitance to understand the issues?’’

Really, I surmise the president has been walled off the ‘’candid cameras’’ over the years by his handlers – not just now – because he lacks the intellectual propensity to understand and discuss incisive issues. The last presidential media chat he held was in 2015 and it was a woeful outing. Also, his non-choreographed media interviews have been abysmal to say the least.

The truth is the unfiltered Buhari is a vacuously gaffing one. On October 14, 2016, standing beside Angela Merkel, German chancellor, Buhari said his wife, Aisha, ‘’belonged in the kitchen and the other room’’, when he was asked to comment on the first lady’s criticism of his government.

On April 18, 2018, at the Commonwealth Business Forum in London, the president said the young citizens of the country he leads are lazy.

“More than 60 per cent of the population is below 30, a lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria is an oil producing country, therefore, they should sit and do nothing, and get housing, healthcare, education free,” he said during a panel appearance with world leaders at the forum.

In a February 2016 interview with UK Telegraph, Buhari dropped another clanger. He said the young citizens of his country have a knack for criminality and should not be granted asylum in the UK.

With the Buhari experience, it is indubitable that Nigerians must place a high premium on education — not just certificate – in choosing their leaders. The cost of electing leaders who do not have the intellectual grit to understand and handle matters is far too high.

The senate has asked the president to speak to citizens on this threat, and Nigerians are also asking the president to speak to them. This is an abnormality. Citizens must not beg to hear from their president. But because it is Buhari involved here, we have to beg and even excuse the crass inefficiency and vacuity.

Perhaps, the president is still trying to get a hang of it. I think he has ‘’capable handlers’’ who can break it down to him in ABC.

Mr President, speak to your citizens. The words of a leader are more resounding and assuring than the blandishment of proxies.

PS: Let’s follow all health protocol as advised by the NCDC.

• Wash your hands regularly with soap under running water.

• Cover your mouth and nose properly with handkerchief or tissue paper when sneezing and/or coughing. You may also cough into your elbow if a handkerchief is not available.

• Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

• Avoid self-medication, report to the nearest health facility when you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms.

Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist.

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Opinion

Sanusi: Once Upon An Emir, By Wole Olaoye

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Dethroned Monarch, Sanusi

We are all potential Ex-es: ex-student, ex-director, ex-lecturer, ex-senator, ex-governor, ex-president, ex-oba, ex-emir…. The inimitable Zik famously reminded us when he had a spat with Ukpabi Asika that Ex was an inevitable prefix for any human being as was evidenced by the fact that a certain young man who would someday become an ex-Administrator, was the son of an ex-postmaster!

So, what’s so apocalyptic about Sanusi Lamido Sanusi joining the ranks of ex-potentates? Nothing? Everything! Don’t ever think that bell you are hearing is tolling for the former Emir of Kano. No. It could be signalling the beginning of a comprehensive demystification of traditional rulership by plebeians holding tenured political power. In centuries past, no plebeian messed with the traditional institution. The halo of nobility, the sheer vastness of a prince’s hereditary powers, rights and privileges, made the subject know his place.

Yesterday’s subjects are today’s political sovereign. They make no pretences to sophistication. They load a gun to kill a spider. When you dethrone a monarch and then deprive him of his liberty, forcefully banishing him to a place without electricity and potable water, you are playing god. If it was all a public relations Olympics, the calm dignity with which Sanusi handled the humiliation made people all over the world admire his chutzpa and hand him the gold medal. A

Life and its many puzzles! Why is it that for some men and women, “their sleep is taken away unless they cause some to fall”? What do you do about an ego that knows no satiation? As the Preacher in the Good Book timelessly says, “All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full… The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear content with hearing… there is nothing new under the sun”.

The Yoruba have a poem that says just that. “The horse struts and frets and then dies. Being a veteran walker is no immunity to getting lost. Nothing new under the sun. I’ve seen kings reduced to slaves; and servants who mounted the throne. Haven’t my eyes beheld both river and sea? Haven’t I seen a hunchback on spindly legs, and a midget climbing a ladder to add condiment to the soup pot? Tell me, has anyone ever started a building from the roof?

The new Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, is a cousin of his predecessor. As royal intrigues go, when the dust is settled the sword will be sheathed and brother will embrace brother. That is the way of princes. Eventually, outsiders will realise that all they can ever be in palace politics is outsiders. Our very own Nobel prize winning Kongi was not amused by the scandalous extra-judicial detention of the former emir.

He put the emir’s travail down to his progressive stance: “Emir Sanusi was a one-man EFCC sanitisation squad in the banking system, taking on the powerful corrupters of that institution…. “Most important of all, and most pertinently for the nation, Sanusi was one of the early warning voices against religious extremism whose bitter fruits the nation is currently reaping….

The doors of enlightened society remain wide open to Muhammad Sanusi. As for his current crowing Nemesis, a different kind of gates remain yawning to receive him when, as must, the days of governorship immunity finally come to an end.” Support for Sanusi is not limited to radical voices.

Veteran technocrat Alhaji Ahmed Joda penned a panegyric in support of the ex-emir: “The purpose of this letter to you is not to commiserate with you, because I know that you must have known the likely consequences  of the principled position you have taken. The reality we must face in Northern Nigeria is that the evil forces of feudalism that have kept us in bondage for so long are still there and fighting. You have been the only voice that has been telling us this truth….”

It is easy to kick a man given a pin-fall by fate, or piss on the grave of a fallen warrior. Dead men don’t bite. Real friends show up when you are in life’s valley. Say what you will, I would rather have a friend like Nasir el Rufai when the chips are down. In the midst of all the turmoil, conspiracy theories have surfaced to the effect that the dethronement is but a political sleight-of-hand to propel Sanusi to Nigeria’s presidency in 2023. Caution! Let’s separate the issues. Political succession is totally different from fundamental human rights. Sanusi is not my next president.

My views on power rotation are well documented. The ex-emir will go down in history as a champion for the rights of the poorest of the poor. He advocated for a new Northern Nigeria where old backward practices such as the almajiri system and irresponsible parenting will be abandoned. His was the voice crying out in the desert, lift my people up from the cesspit of penury. The attempt to demonise him after dethronement through various allegations, including one on religious fundamentalism, is dead on arrival. The same fate will befall the vilification of El Rufai on account of his loyalty to Sanusi. Please quote me: Modern challenges can never be resolved with a resort to medieval solutions.

Christopher Hitchens’ Q&A may someday apply to the ex-Kings College boy who’s now an ex-king.

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Opinion

Sanusi Dethronement: The North Only Beheads The Bearers Of Truth

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Emir Sanusi

By Fredrick Nwabufo

Northern Nigeria is prostrate. It is the axis of uglies – banditry, insurgency, kidnapping, diseases, ignorance, and drug abuse. Alas! The region’s elite are aware of the problems, but look away because the disequilibrious status quo sustains them. What is petrifying, however, is that they maul and clobber at anyone who spits the truth in their faces.

I think, this is the mortal sin of Muhammad Sanusi II, emir of Kano – beyond his politics with Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano.

But wait!

The World Bank says 87 percent of Nigeria’s poor are in the north. And that while poverty is plummeting in the south, it is rocketing in the upper region.

READ: Dethroned Sanusi Will Be Under House Arrest – Ganduje’s Aide

“Poverty in the northern regions of the country has been increasing especially in the north-west zone. Almost half of all poor lived in the north-west and the north accounts for 87 percent of all poor in the country in 2016,’’ the Bretton Woods institution said in its report entitled ‘Advancing social protection in a dynamic Nigeria’ in February 2020.

In August, 2019, the federal government revealed that 1,460 people were killed by bandits in seven months. And that the north-west is the worst-hit by this bloody enterprise. The killings have steadied, expanding in proportion and execution in the region.

In his accustomed manner, Sanusi recently vocalised these depressing figures of retrogression in the north – as regards the World Bank report — earning himself praise from progressive Nigerians and reprimand from the usual suspects — those stuck in the cesspit of bigotry.

Also, the gadfly emir of Kano, whom I regard as the John the Baptist of the north for his vociferous condemnation of this status quo, is alone in his advocacy against irresponsible polygamy, Al-majiri and child marriage – practices the northern elite espouse. He is the face of a progressive north; the northerner of the new age.

As a matter of fact, on different occasions he had complained about the northern elite whom he said wanted to silence him for speaking the truth about the region.

‘’Our colleagues and compatriots among the elite do not like statistics. Numbers are disturbing. I recently gave a speech in which I said the north-east and north-west of Nigeria are the poorest parts of the country. This simple statement of fact has generated so much heat; the noise has yet to die down. The response to this speech has been a barrage of personal attacks and insults aimed at silencing any voices that dare shine the light on the society to which we are saying Bring Back our Girls,’’ he said at a lecture held to commemorate the Chibok girls abduction.

READ: Sanusi Breaks Silence After Dethronement As Emir Of Kano (Video)

And I guess they can only take the throne away from him but cannot take away his royalty in the community of decent humans. Really, I believe the emir would rather give up his throne than be gagged by the shareholders of iniquity.

To say the least, Sanusi’s dethroning was not unexpected. Ganduje had always shown his hand in this plot. Really, the emir of Kano never hid his dislike for him. But what is there to like about a governor who was allegedly caught on camera stuffing wads of dollars into his babariga? In the build-up to the 2019 governorship election in the state, the emir was not shy in expressing his disapproval to Ganduje’s candidature.

So, Ganduje, who considers Sanusi a ‘’loud mouth’’, plotted a bitter revenge after he was re-elected. He had moved to remove the emir in 2018 but for the intervention of some ‘’higher powers’’. However, he whittle-down the power of the emir by creating new emirates from his domain. He was not done though. He rustled-up allegations, set up probe panels – all in the desperation to embarrass Sanusi.

But Sanusi was still talking.

Really, one of the most abrasive places to exist is in the circle of non-progressives. You talk different, think different or act different, they will feel threatened. Even when you try to clown around; the aboriginal clowns will still feel threatened because you do not look the part.

I think, Emir Sanusi is light-years away from the people he is dealing with in Kano government. He is needed more at the top echelon of government where he can contribute more meaningfully to the development of Nigeria.

Northern Nigeria is not ready for an emir like Sanusi. He is ahead of his time.

Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist.

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