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Living Under The Shadow Of Emergency Rule By Tersoo TeeCube

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SoENatMirrI have been living in one of the North-Eastern States under the proclamation of a state of emergency,

A region considered by most a precarious place to dwell as it is the strong hold and insurgency base of Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad popularly known by its Hausa name Boko Haram meaning “Western education is sin” the dreaded terror group that has gained world prominence from her notorious,  widespread killings and atrocious attacks on innocent and defenceless citizens.

The militant organization was founded by Mohammed Yusuf in 2002, the organization seeks to establish a “pure” Islamic state ruled by sharia, putting a stop to what it deems Westernization in all ramifications to which since their emergence they have pursued their evil cause in a dreadful and dare devil manner.

The group has never enjoyed much media attention as it has now despite her long on-going war of terror waged against the Nigerian State. Their relatively unknown status of a minor terror organization can be adduced to the fact that an attempt to designate them as an International Terror group by the US former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton  in 2012 was not done.

A development which many observers view if carried out, would have adversely affected their growth and operations.

Today with their abduction of over 200 schools girls after successfully bombing a bus station in a suburb of Nigeria’s capital city Abuja, the name Boko Haram now sends a terrifying signal to all peace loving people of the world about the existence of a blood thirsty and callous group of misguided fanatical religious sociopaths. Their recent acts of carnage and kidnaps has drawn the whole world’s attention to one of Nigeria’s most remote areas in Chibok as all frantic efforts are made to secure the release of the abducted school girls. The group’s inhuman act of tactlessness to the rights of others has generated widespread outrage and condemnation against their criminal and hideous activities.

It is exactly a year now since the declaration of state of emergency in the affected states of Adamawa, Maiduguri and Yobe respectively and currently the president has sent a bill to the national assembly seeking the extension by another six months on the emergency rule as the expiration of the period early declared has elapsed.

As I recount my life experience living under a state of emergency, the early months of the draconian law passed in year 2013 was very discomforting despite the views of many people as a welcome development, it was hoped to bring an enduring peace and security of lives that has for long eluded the zone.

It all began in a televised speech by the President on the 14th day of May 2013, it was on a Tuesday as I vividly recall the president in exercising his constitutional powers stated “We have taken robust steps to unravel and address the root causes of these crises, but it would appear that there is a systematic effort by insurgents and terrorists to destabilize the Nigerian state and test our collective resolve,” an act which he claimed any responsible government will not tolerate. To this present day I am yet to see how the crisis has been effectively managed and stopped with the ongoing trend of events still demanding an extension of the emergency rule.

For most of us resident within the boundaries of the affected states under emergency rule our freedom of movement was curtailed with the pronouncement of a curfew which initially began with a dusk till dawn plan which was subsequently reviewed.

The challenges we began to encounter was with a near crippling means of transportation and easy movement which hitherto had become as source of worry for most residents with the banning of the most commonest means of movement popularly known as Okada” also to add salt to the injury the numerous check points erected on the roads by a combined team of security operatives made our shortest journeys seem like hell. Most of us didn’t complain because we felt sacrifices, accompanied with discomfort has to be made for our collective need for peace and stability to be attained.

About a week after, with the state of emergency in place, I woke up one fateful morning on a Monday with the usual expectation of calling my friends and family via mobile phone to find out their well-being and exchange pleasantries but to my greatest dismay the mobile connection signal on my phone was not displaying without a doubt I felt it was the usual problem of poor services provided by our GSM operators not until I stepped out of my house to find out that most people within my neighbourhood were already complaining of lack of network availability.  Then it gradually dawned on us that we have been caught off from the rest of the world as there was no other efficient means of communication.

Now it felt like we were totally lost given the fact that there was no forewarning about the planned shutdown of communication services which many of us were also exasperated with a subsequent ban on internet facilities and services. It felt like we were thrown back to the stone age as we all braced ourselves with the new challenges of zero communication status except by paying folks visit which was also hampered by the curfew in place and long traffic jams at check points.

The challenges posed by the shutdown of all means of communication can only best be imagined. Most of the people who suffered huge losses within the period were mostly business men whom some could barely operate efficiently due to the blockage of their GSM mobile channel of business transactions. For most of us whose immediate families are not resident in the affected state it became a source of worry for them because they couldn’t reach us whenever there was an attack carried out their hearts were never at peace for not having the means to know about our fate.

As the days of emergency rule progressed with little sketches of information fed to the public about the successes of the Military onslaught against the insurgents trickling in, we continued to live under

The shadows of threats which nearly paralysed all known social activities, most recreational spots and joints became deserted because of fear; many believed social gatherings were easy targets for the insurgents who always seek to cause monumental damage whenever they attacked.

On this particular day within the period of emergency rule, I ran into an old friend who is a serving military personnel, we have been friends for quite a long time we both have each other’s phone contacts but we both have been unable to keep in touch physically due to our demanding nature of work which time does not permit us to see frequently. What really caught my attention about his unusual appearance was his bandaged hand and walk with a limp aided by a stick. As we conversed I tried to ascertain the cause of his wounds which he opened up to me that it was sustained in his line of duty during a routine patrol to disband the militant groups.

He was honest to confide in me that they suffered a great loss from the ambush they ran into which claimed the lives of about four of his comrades. He didn’t hesitate, opening up the already healing parts of his body that got hit by bullets to reveal the severity of the attack they suffered in the hands of the insurgents. He was full of praises to God as he claimed it was a miracle he survived and endured the excruciating pains of undergoing multiple surgeries to extract the bullets lodged in his body. I was terribly shocked about his experience and also thanked God I didn’t lose a friend.

To be Continued…

© Tersoo TeeCube

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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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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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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