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Thursday, 15 May 2014

Donald Sterling Blasts Magic Johnson for Having 'AIDS'

Disgraced Clippers owner maliciously disparages NBA legend during interview.

It was supposed to be an apology interview where disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterlingsaid sorry for making racist remarks against African-Americans.
However, the banned owner also dedicated a large portion of his interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper to maliciously disparaging NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.
"I think [Johnson] should be ashamed of himself," Sterling told Cooper during the interview, which aired Monday night. “I think he should go into the background. But what does he do for the black people? He doesn't do anything.” 
"He's got AIDS," Sterling added. "What has he done, big Magic Johnson, what has he done?”
When Cooper countered by saying Johnson is a successful businessman and clarified that the basketball legend is HIV-positive but does not have “full-blown AIDS,” Sterling retorted:
“He acts so holy. He made love to every girl in every city in America, and he had AIDS, and when he had those AIDS, I went to my synagogue and I prayed for him, I hope he could live and be well. I didn't criticize him. I could have. Is he an example for children?"
Sterling also used the interview to allege that Johnson had reached out to Sterling and advised him to “be patient” and “we’ll work it out.”
To that allegation, Johnson told TMZ that it was Sterling who called him, requesting that they sit down together in an interview with Barbara Walters. Johnson scoffed at Sterling's request, according to the celebrity news website. Johnson will surely provide more of a response Tuesday night, when his interview with Cooper airs on CNN.
Sterling’s lambasting of Johnson even drew a reaction from NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
"I just read a transcript of Donald Sterling's interview with Anderson Cooper and, while Magic Johnson doesn't need me to, I feel compelled on behalf of the NBA family to apologize to him that he continues to be dragged into this situation and be degraded by such a malicious and personal attack,” Silver said in a statement. "The NBA Board of Governors is continuing with its process to remove Mr. Sterling as expeditiously as possible."
If three-fourths of NBA owners vote against Sterling, he will be forced to sell the Clippers.
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Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso yesterday made a minor cabinet reshuffle to further strengthen government machinery for better result.
The two new commissioners who were sworn in yesterday are Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna for the Ministry of Agriculture, and Alhaji Ali Ahmed Yako for the Ministry of Higher Education.
Speaking on the new commissioners, Kwankwaso said that the commissioner for commerce and industry, Dr. Nuhu Abubakar Danburam is now the commissioner for information, while that of information, Dr Farouk Jibril Umar will take charge of commerce ministry.Also, the commissioner for land and physical planning, Alhaji Muhammad Nadu Yahaya will take charge of the Ministry of Budget and Planning, while the commissioner of Budget and Planning, Yusuf Bello Danbatta was transferred to Ministry of Land, Physical Planning.

'Jonathan Is Overwhelmed By Boko Haram' - Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said President Goodluck Jonathan is overwhelmed by Boko Haram and needs a new approach in handling the insurgents.
Olusegun Obasanjo
Speaking on a BBC programme, Focus on Africa, which aired a special edition on Nigeria’s insecurity yesterday night, Obasanjo said there's nothing wrong in trying a new approach to end the Boko Haram menace.
"If you had tried stick and stick alone and it has not worked, is there anything wrong to try something along with the stick," he said.
According to Obasanjo, in 2011, he took upon himself to investigate Boko Haram when they were getting out of hand in order to be a mediator and also find out if it was an organisation with aims and objectives and if they have foreign backing.
He said he met with people who knew the sect and he found out that Boko Haram has leaders and they had somebody acting as their lawyer.
"The lawyer, who was acting in proxy told me: ‘Mr President if you want to meet their leaders give me three hours. I will gather their leaders, not in Nigeria but outside Nigeria. Obviously, they have leaders," Obasanjo said.
Meanwhile, human rights activist Shehu Sani said Obasanjo has a list of the leaders of Boko Haram sect which has a theocratic agenda.
He warned the Federal government against using force to fight Boko Haram as it has not been able to yield any results.
He added that the federal government should first get the girls back home safely before using force on the Boko Haram insurgents.
Obasanjo had some days back condemned the President Goodluck Jonathan administration on how they handled the issue of the abducted Chibok School girls, saying they couldn't have acted immediately the news broke to save the girls but they didn't.

The Example of Kala-Balge Village in Borno State, By Choice Ekpekurede

locals fight bokoharam
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By Choice Ekpekurede

“Almost 200 suspected members of the Boko Haram were killed today by residents of Rann, the headquarters of Kala-Balge local government area in north eastern part of Borno State, officials and locals from the area said..” - Daily Trust, May 13, 2014
First of all, congratulations to the people of Rann in Kala-Balge LGA, Borno State! The latest report from Borno State has shown what difference ordinary civilians can make in the armed struggle to crush Boko Haram and other forces of insecurity in Nigeria.
I can easily understand the dangers associated with the call by ENDS for the government to give permission for the various civilian Joint Task Forces (JTFs) and vigilante groups in the Northeast to be armed with guns and other lethal weapons to enable them engage Boko Haram effectively. How do we eventually control these weapons and prevent use of these weapons for criminal activities? How do we ensure that these groups do not engage in gross human rights abuses and oppressive activities that have been characteristic of such groups as the defunct Bakassi Boys, MEND, Egbesu, OPC, and Ombatse. Our everyday experience and multiple studies, such as the research carried out by Arthur L. Kellermann et al, indicate, beyond reasonable doubt, that gun violence increases in a community with increase in the number of guns available to the civilian population. These are legitimate concerns and they are indeed very serious ones.
As serious as those concerns are, we cannot brush aside calls for civilian groups to defend their communities and their people with guns and other lethal weapons. What should ordinary Nigerians and our various communities do in light of the unacceptable level of insecurity in the country and the inability of our security forces to get it under control – to protect life and property? Should the people just fold their arms and wait to be slaughtered by criminals and terrorists?
Providing phone numbers and communication gadgets to the people in order for them to contact our security forces in case of an imminent or ongoing attack has undeniable merits in theory, but it has been shown to be almost useless in practical terms in Nigeria. Residents of Chibok and Amnesty International continue to insist that the military was warned of the recent Chibok attack, that has given rise to the #BringBackOurGirls global campaign, at least four hours before it happened. Testimonies from the Shehu of Bama, Alh. Kyari Ibrahim Ibn Elkanemi, and other residents of Bama indicated that it took eight hours for the military to respond to a cry for help from the people of Bama in Borno State. Eight long hours! And when the military arrived, it was already too late. Of this incident, Al Jazeera reported, “At least 115 people have been killed in Nigeria’s northeast, more than 1,500 buildings razed and some 400 vehicles destroyed.”
Narrating the ordeal to Premium Times, the Shehu lamented, “For now the morale of the people is down on the trust they have for the president, the governors, the local government chairmen, and even us, the traditional rulers, because a system that was designed to protect them failed them. I repeat, the confidence our people are having on the President down to the local council officers is nil!” He later added, “The government has failed; it is not protecting anything, and I have no reservation in saying this. It is constitutional responsibility of government to protect lives, but here lives are not protected at all. And the irony of the whole thing is that what is happening and being condoned by the government of Nigeria can bring down the entire country.” Other similar, heartbreaking examples abound.
The fact today is that Nigeria has become a state whose security lies primarily in the hands of ethnic militiamen and civilian vigilante groups. While Nigeria’s military must be commended for whatever successes it has recorded against Boko Haram and other marauding militant groups, it remains a reality that we cannot depend on the military alone. The military is either grossly incapable or unwilling to do what is necessary to protect ordinary citizens. Either way, our people and communities remain vulnerable. With what happened at Gamboru-Ngala a few days ago, just to give a very recent example, it seems foolish for us not to take steps to defend ourselves. We cannot afford to fold our arms and wait for the Nigerian military or the Nigerian Police Force. To do so, it appears, amounts to doing a dance macabre.
The risk posed by encouraging the formation and the arming of civilian vigilante groups can be dealt with with appropriate intervention and engagement by the government and the nation’s security forces.
To this end, the Federal Government should step up and step in to train and equip and give permission for duly registered nongovernmental organizations, following some due process, to equip our civilian JTFs and vigilante groups in order for our communities to engage Boko Haram and other security threats, including armed robbers, marauding Fulani herdsmen, kidnappers, and ritual killers. It is in the interest of the government and of orderliness in the country for the government to do this. This will give the government good control of the arming process and of the mode of operation of the various civil defense groups already in existence in the country. The government should also encourage the formation of such groups across the country in communities where they do not already exist.
Failure or refusal of the government to do this will not prevent the people from defending themselves. Failure or refusal of the government to do this will only heighten the chances that these JTFs and vigilante groups will spin out of control and the weapons they use deployed for criminal activities. Whatever the government decides to do, let us be rest assured that Nigeria is now a country whose security depends on the effectiveness of civil defense groups. Various armed militias already exist in the country, from the north to south, and they will be around for a long time. Until our military and security forces are willing and able to handle our security challenges, I believe this is the surest way of self-defense for our communities and for ordinary citizens.
Come to think of it, the Boko Haram insurgents, the marauding Fulani herdsmen, the armed robbers troubling our communities, kidnappers, ritual killers, and other sources of insecurity in our communities are not trained military men for the most part. We have had report of instances where trained soldiers or policemen were noted to be among these criminals, but generally, the bad guys are mere civilians who took up arms to commit crime and havoc. So why cannot ordinary citizens with basic, relevant training tackle these criminals to defend their people and their communities?

Failure of Leadership: Nigeria’s President Blames Everyone But Himself for Terrorism

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ABUJA, Nigeria — Regardless of what President Goodluck Jonathan’s government would have us believe, Nigeria is losing the war against Boko Haram.
Days after the chief of defense staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, took over in January, he vowed to end the Boko Haram onslaught by April. He had barely finished speaking when gunmen struck, killing more than 70 people in separate attacks in the northeastern states of Borno and Adamawa — two of the three states that have become the hotbed of recent violence. The defense chief ate the humble pie and promptly disavowed setting any deadline to end the killings.
Since then, Boko Haram has carried out a slew of other attacks, including two high-profile ones in the country’s capital, Abuja. The most outrageous attack yet, however, was the mass abduction of 276 schoolgirls who were taking their final high school exams in Chibok, Borno state, on April 14, hours after a bus station was attacked in Abuja, killing 75 people. At least 200 of those girls are still missing, and eight more were abducted in the same town last Tuesday. On Wednesday, Boko Haram insurgents attacked another Borno town, killing hundreds and displacing even more. Full-scale war doesn’t get much worse.
It’s no use asking what Jonathan is doing about it. It took him three weeks simply to speak up about the abducted girls. Jonathan has blamed everyone and everything for the escalating violence in the northeast except his own government. At a political rally in one of the northeastern states in March, he said governors in the region who were investing poorly in education were feeding the monster. His aides have accused influential northern politicians of stoking the violence to get even with Jonathan for betraying “a gentleman’s agreement” that would have permitted him only one term in office after the sudden 2010 death of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, the immediate past president from the north.
But it’s nonsense to suggest that these politicians, whoever they are, would kill their kith and kin — and abduct their daughters on a mass scale — to prevent Jonathan from returning to power. The country has yet to recover from the shock that, while a distraught public was still trying to figure out the whereabouts of the abducted girls, the president was on the hustings, crowing for a second term.

Boko Haram leader an 'obscenity'

Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka has described Boko Haram's leader as an "obscenity" who is likely to be incapable of dialogue, as the government considers opening talks with the Islamists over the more than 200 abducted schoolgirls.
The winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize for Literature said by phone from Los Angeles that Boko Haram chief Abubakar Shekau was "high on religion and drugs".
"For me, we are dealing with a sub-human species," Soyinka said. "How do you dialogue with that kind of obscenity?"
Debate over the prospects of negotiating with Boko Haram and even Shekau himself has been a controversial issue in Nigeria throughout the extremist group's uprising which has killed thousands.
The issue resurfaced on Monday after Shekau released a video suggesting the girls kidnapped from a secondary school in the northeastern town of Chibok could be released in exchange for Islamist prisoners held by the government.
"It is a bind for the nation because the girls must be secured," Soyinka said, voicing sympathy for the officials who must assess the pros and cons of talking to Shekau.
The shocking mass abduction has drawn worldwide condemnation, partly thanks to a social media campaign supported by major world leaders and celebrities.
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan has accepted military assistance from the United States, Britain, France, Israel and China to help with the rescue effort.
Some commentators have suggested that welcoming help from foreign militaries was an embarrassment for Nigeria, Africa's most populous country and top economy.
But Soyinka said such critics were showing a lack of compassion for the teenaged hostages.
"I don't know what they are talking about," he said. "This is a global crisis."
"In this situation, where we have these kind of killers, homicidal maniacs who can go into schools and kidnap hundreds of girls... all help is welcome," Soyinka said.
For the international community, given such horrifying violence, intervening is 'not a favour'," he added. "It is a duty."
Activists have organised daily protests in the capital Abuja demanding the girls' release and demonstrations have also been held in other cities across the country.
Civil activism is rare in Nigeria, with the prominent exception of massive demonstrations over the scrapping of a popular petrol subsidy that shut down the country in January 2012.
Nigeria has a track record of cracking down on protests and Soyinka warned Jonathan against suppressing public anger over the plight of the girls and the escalating Boko Haram violence.
Jonathan's administration "had better be very, very careful, because people are in pain and they have been in pain for a very, very long time" he cautioned.
A few protests have been disbanded by the police and there were disputed reports that Jonathan's wife, Patience, had ordered the arrest of one protest leader for falsely identifying herself as the mother of one of the hostages.
If the protests continue, Soyinka said, the government "had better get out of the way".

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

I’m not sure any child is missing in Borno – Jonathan

The First Lady took the position after it was discovered that the leader of the protest on the abducted child was an impersonator, who is a deputy director in the National Directorate of Employment.
Dame Patience Jonathan
The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, on Monday washed her hands off the reported arrest of the leader of #BringBackOurGirls campaign, Naomi Mutah.
Jonathan, however, insisted that having been identified as an impersonator, Mutah must be arrested and made to face the music.
Mutah, a Deputy Director of the National Directorate of Employment, had posed as one one the mothers of the abducted children in Chibok, Borno State and led a protest to the National Assembly alongside a former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili.
However, the bubble burst when somebody identified her as a civil servant based in Abuja and who had no child in Chibok.
It was also discovered that she registered her name as Mrs. Grace when she attended a meeting with the First Lady at the Presidential Villa.
This infuriated the First Lady who ordered that she be handed over to the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, for coming to the Villa to impersonate.
The First lady had said: “When they said they have come to lay complain to the government and the National Assembly, I asked for the leader of the mothers whose children were abducted.
“This woman was the one that came forward and said that her child was abducted.
“I believed her and I asked the Women Affairs Minister to follow her to the National Assembly.
“This is the woman who went to National Assembly with the women in black and she claimed that her child was missing and that she is the leader of parents that their children are missing in Chibok.
“Senate President believed them, even me believed them.
“God is leading us to the truth.
“Our coming out is not in vain.
“She called people like Oby to follow her as they also believed her.
“Oby is innocent and I don’t blame her because even me as First Lady, I was moved.
“Today, when I sighted her, I said within myself that we will get to the conclusion today because one of those whose child is missing is here.
“But to my greatest surprise, when we asked her, she said she is a representative.
“She wrote down her name as Grace.
“A whole civil servant impersonating.
“She should be arrested for impersonation.”
Turning the Borno State Commissioner of Police, who was also at the meeting, the First Lady said: “You have to take this woman to IG and the President.”
Mutah was said to have admitted that she had no child among the abducted children after being quizzed.
She was said to have also disclosed that she was contacted to represent one of those persons expected to attend the meeting at the First Lady’s Conference Room.
The leader of the #BringBackourGirls said: “It was in the morning that somebody called me from Borno State, one Mrs. Grace.
“She said that she was supposed to come, but that since we are here as Chibok representatives, that we should come and represent her here.
“I have not gone to Chibok in the past one year.”
In the same vein, the Minister of Women Affairs, Zainab Maina, said she was deceived by Mutah, who did not disclose her identity.
According to Maina: “I saw this lady and two others on Tuesday.
“My deputy director came into my office and said you are talking about going to Chibok, mothers of those abducted girls from Chibok are here and they are in Eagles Square.
“When I asked them if they are mothers from Chibok, they said yes.
“I asked them where their destination is and they said National Assembly and Villa.
“I said no, you can’t come to Villa, may be National Assembly.
“I followed them to National Assembly to listen to what they wanted to tell the legislators.
“I sat to the end until they finished and I then asked them for the leader of the delegation.
“She came forward and I asked her where are the girls from Chibok, how many of them and if she could give me the names of the girls and she said that they were not from Chibok and that they are based in Abuja.”
“I shouted oh my God, you have killed me.
“If I know you are from Abuja, I won’t waste my time to come here and talk to you.
“Later on, somebody made enquiries and my Permanent Secretary took her phone number and name and she is a deputy director in NDE.
“I was really angry with them and walked out from the place.
“What surprised me again is the gut she has to come here (Presidential Villa) just by mere phone call from somebody in Borno State to represent her.
“This is not a market place.
“This meeting is a very official meeting aimed at resolving this problem of abduction.
“It is not for everybody to come.
“I don’t know who gave you the invitation.”
At this point, the First Lady wondered if truly the children are missing, saying: “So my sisters you can all see that within them they know what they are doing.
“With what is happening now, will you believe that any children got missing?
“So, we the Nigerian women are saying that no child is missing in Borno State.
“If any child is missing, let the governor go and look for them.
“There is nothing we can do again.
“We will now go spiritual.
“What we women should pray for now is the killings in Borno to stop.
“God will reveal them one by one.
“The blood of the innocent victims will come out and speak.”
A statement by Ayo Adewuyi, the Media Assistant to the First Lady, said she had no hand in the arrest of Mutah.
Adewuyi said: “We wish to state without any iota of equivocation that the First Lady did not order the arrest of any woman or any one for that matter before, during and after the meeting.
“The Naomi Mutah mentioned in one of the reports came to the meeting as part of Borno delegation.
“The women were alarmed when someone who knew her told the meeting that she was impersonating one of the mothers of the allegedly abducted children on the basis for which she attended the meeting.”

Nigeria: A Colony Of Terrorists And Perverts, By Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú

Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú
The government has no will power to confront these destroyers because each and everyone in position today has a lot to hide and it has become a dangerous game.
I do not watch Jonathan media chat because I want to be spared the agony of seeing him say nothing meaningful. I usually read the transcripts and I have never been disappointed at my decision that nothing good can come out of this Presidency. Mr. Jonathan has no reassuring presence, in his own words; “He does not give a damn!” We all can “go and die!” 
Under his watch, the country grew confused, we are left to wallow in confusion creating more frustration, more tedium, more fear and more despair. Terrorism escalated during his presidency. In place of concrete action we have disparate information, deliberate manipulation and official distortion of facts which makes every effort to combat Boko Haram and its shoots practically impossible. Nigeria has become a country of anything goes; Boko Haram foot soldiers and their Nigerian sponsors are hiding in plain sight. They are left to roam free because of their position and status in the society. The government has no will power to confront these destroyers because each and everyone in position today has a lot to hide and it has become a dangerous game. The monster they bred as a tool for political intimidation has mutated into something they cannot recognize nor control.
Who would have thought this fate awaits Nigeria? When Jean-Bédel Bokassa was making mincemeat of Central African Republic, we thought it couldn’t happen in Nigeria. Years later, we got Abacha on a platter of ethnic mistrust and greed. When the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and later the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) launched modern day terrorism, we wondered in bewilderment how a people can be willing to blow themselves up just like that! Now we have our own suicide bombers! How did we get here? We got here because of official corruption and total indifference to the needs of the masses by the Nigerian state. We got here because of economic deprivation, despondency, marginalization, frustration, and desperation that faces majority of Nigerians. We got here because religious leaders act in consonant to befuddle the battered psyche of the Nigerian using the religious instrument. 
In his latest media chat, Mr. Jonathan was quoted as saying “stealing is not corruption.” This statement is not only incredible coming from the President of over 170million people, it also means this President is unteachable! He learns nothing and forgets everything ever so conveniently. With him, we have “entered one chance”. Hopefully, there will be something to salvage from Nigeria by 2015. Whether our elites agree or not, this fetid sore of our lives in the name of terror is the latent function of the protracted failure of the Nigerian State to deliver good governance. When all the tiers of government steal the money allocated for hospitals, roads, schools, infrastructure and when its youths are denied good and qualitative education, employment and its elders die for lack of healthcare, welfare and looted pensions; terrorism is what you get. Terrorism is what you get when a country is held sedate by religious merchants, when the youths are battered socially, psychologically and economically. Terrorism is the price we are paying for producing a colony of frustrated, depraved, dejected, deprived and hopeless youths as a consequence of official stealing, graft and general dysfunction.
Boko Haram is difficult to contain because they want to wish it away. It is difficult to fight terror because corruption has eaten deep into the nations security apparatus. Because of corruption, we have a rag tag army who wield inferior weapons compared to the adversaries they are expected to confront. Defense budgets for two decades have gone into private pockets leaving morale at the lowest ever! Soldiers on assignment are not paid their allowances while in the trenches to fight. Nothing is sacred anymore in the country. We seem unaware that corruption as perpetuated by public servants and political office holders creates unemployment, undermines democracy, the rule of law, good governance and security; it also destroys the capacity of institutions to perform well. We are witnessing the early onset of a failed state as the result of the complete metamorphosis of corruption. The country’s elite may not want to draw this parallel so they are not fingered as enablers of terrorism but the variables for the corruption object exists and cannot be erased. Unfortunately the actors do not believe we will all go down with the ship one way or another. The ingredients are complete in the triad of corruption, state neglect and terrorism. No country can have all these three ingredients without brewing massive bloodshed. I cringe at the though of it, but it is true.
For those of us who thinks terrorism is a northern problem I urge a rethink. This is because terror spreads and the fear knows no boundaries. To people of Northern origin; why did Boko Haram emerge from the poorest parts of Northern Nigeria? Why is Boko Haram finding recruitment easier among the lumpen plebeians and in such places where people have not had the opportunity to go to school and have decent source of livelihood? While the influence of religion cannot be downplayed, these colonies of destitutes became major recruiting reservoirs of foot soldiers for Boko Haram due to hopelessness. Otherwise, why is it that the largest chunk of recruits are young adults drawn from the pool of the poor underclass, idle youths with no skills and limited survival options? 
Not knowing where your best meal might come from is a pain and poverty dulls the senses. In generational poverty, life is a series of struggles often marked by anger, despondency, resentment, and despair. Terrorists can easily recruit young people who wants to escape their circumstances, manipulate them to bear arms by promising them a sense of community, acceptance, brotherhood, and commitment to a cause higher than self. The picture of a typical Boko Haram recruit is that of a poor, illiterate and unemployed young man. He wears a profile that lends him to a kind of brainwash that is religious and cultural. He generally lacks the intellectual ability to question established views and beliefs. How do you think the very poor perceive the conspicuous consumption as exhibited by the expensive cars, large and expensive buildings; lavish celebrations of the rich? The youths who lives in generational poverty experience tremendous pressure seeing these everyday.
Let’s not fool ourselves, we must begin to organize more and agonize less. Otherwise, sex perverts will continue to sneak in at odd times to rape our mothers and abduct our girls. Our leaders are busy buying private jets that will help them and their families escape when things get really bad. Those of us who have no private jets and nowhere to run must begin to plan how to defeat terror. The present crop of leaders Nigeria has the tragic misfortune of being blessed with will rather live out their miserable lives in exile in Trinidad and Tobago than build Nigeria. 
Do something on your own to safeguard yourself and start asking questions and hold them to account. The dimensions of our home-grown terror is based on class and gender. Don’t be fooled! The abduction of the Chibok girls confirms the intent to subdue the northern female from getting educated. The patriarchal culture of subduing the female kind in the north must stop. A country that keeps its women subjugated cannot thrive. Osama Bin Laden died surrounded by his choice collection of the best pornographic movies ever made. The bombings are no longer enough, the girl child must be abducted and married off forcefully for N2,000! Islamist terrorists are plain hopeless sex perverts selling hokum to those deluded enough to buy their version of jihadi nonsense and their obsession with female genitalia thinly veiled as safeguarding female purity. 
Is anyone still in doubt over the failure of Mr. Jonathan’s state of emergency? Is anyone still in doubt that this President is a failure? The failure of leadership is glaring here. What use is federal might to this President? Dia ris God ooooo!!!

Monday, 5 May 2014

Azonto and presidential dance


Before President Goodluck Jonathan visited Kano at the hour hoodlums whisked away 276 girls, I had not heard of Azonto, a popular dance rooted in African rhythm and domesticated by local maestros. It gives grace to the body, exercises the limbs and inspires ecstasy on stage and at parties. The old and young can execute its bold turns. Legs and torsos tighten on its physical toll.
What bothered me, however, was the gory dance in town, the dance by the so-called randy goons of God who zipped away our girls. Nigerian beauties lost in the bosoms of defilers.
But the president did not understand what he did. He felt for the damsels in his own way. However, he does not know how to feel for them as a Nigerian leader. Psychologists call it emotional intelligence, the ability to translate feeling into words and deeds. With that armoury, he can inspire a people to action to save the 276 girls.
If he did not know how to feel, how could he have known that he erred in storming Kano before the campaign season kicked off?
The president should understand he is a leader in times of crisis. Rather, he is a leader in crisis himself. He nestles in Aso Rock and routinely summons his service chiefs. The girls can be any of our sisters, cousins, nieces, daughters, friends, neighbours and potential in-laws.
He has not shown leadership by symbolism, acts or speech. When Boko Haram boys shoot, bomb and kidnap kids, a leader does not leave the stage to protests on the streets. He walks onto the stage and inspires. He gives them speeches; he rouses with his eyes, words and other gestures. He galvanises the troops and flashes the light at the end of the tunnel. But the president has responded with lethargy and languor, as if those on top are asleep. Even if he is asleep, he can still wake up the way Jesus did in a storm-tossed ship and reassured his disciples. His many pastors ought to tell him.
We have seen leaders rise in times of crisis and their actions jolted their generations. Winston Churchill is a potent example. England lay prostrate when Hitler’s army blitzed its way all over Europe and cowed the proud French. Churchill defied fellow leaders who wanted England to sup with the tyrant. Bombs fell daily, defacing England and killing droves. The great British Empire reduced to living on rations and in shelters. But Churchill inspired the nation with speeches and his personal appearances in public. He gave speeches that made the great journalist Ed Morrow to say that he inspired the English language to battle. He said England would fight in the land, on the seas, in the air, on the beeches and ended by saying “we shall never surrender”.
Even if despair came, he had words for his people. “But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour.”
Whenever he visited rubbles of war in the city, the suffering compatriots eulogised the courage of their hero.
His counterpart on the other side of the continent, Franklin Roosevelt, who sat on a wheelchair because he had polio, roused his nation in times of the Great Depression. Millionaires committed suicide because their wealth evaporated. The poor could not hope for food and bleakness pervaded America. “We have nothing to fear,” he crooned, “but fear itself”. Learning from Mark Twain, he spoke of the four freedoms, including freedom from want. With a sunny face in spite of his personal handicap, he gingered a nation to rebuild an economy and win the Second World War against the greatest tyranny in history.
In the same era, we had Charles de Gaulle, the cocky Frenchman who levitated a defeated country back to its pride. He formed the Free French and gave speeches from outside the country as a tonic of revival to a disconsolate nation. He is mythicised today as the greatest Frenchman, perhaps since the little general.
Mahatma Gandhi, derided as the little brown man in a loincloth, is in the class of all the others. He was not only a nationalist; he was a humanist of the first rank. By self-sacrifice, moral courage and austere dignity, he coalesced a diverse people against the British. He disarmed them by his disdain for violence and as the first practitioner of Henry David Thoreau’s doctrine of non-violence. Without inspiring a shot, he subdued the biggest empire the world had ever known. Once the Hindus and Muslims did not see eye-to-eye and engaged in zero-sum bloodbath. He did not fight with guns or with words, but with a gesture of self-sacrifice. He would fast until the killings ended. Both Muslims and Hindus stopped the butchery so that Ghandi might live.
When Mandela left jail, he met a people on the verge of a civil war. He inspired them not by aloofness, but by engaging each group with empathy. Perhaps hence he said, “Lead from the front – but don’t leave your base behind”.
President Jonathan can also learn from President Bill Clinton. When he confronted a bad economy, he uttered perhaps his best line, “I feel your pain”.
With now 276 girls missing, we need leadership. We need the girls back with their parents and society, to dream and be human again. Images flood the imagination of what might be happening to the girls. Are they wives in bed with hoodlums, washing their dirty clothes, cooking for them? Are some of them being beaten up for resisting or subjected to all forms of bestialities? Are some of them trying to escape, and did some try and were stopped? Have some escaped but are clueless where they are? Are all of them alive? The zealots no longer want their virgins in heaven but here on earth.
In Homer’s The Iliad, the Greeks rescued Helen, a beauty captured by the Trojans. Hector was a great fighter but he fought to keep Helen in the hands of the kidnappers. The Greeks suffered in battle, and they suffered many dead until Achilles came to the rescue and killed Hector. “By trying”, wrote the poet Theocritus about one of the hardest fought battles of all time, “the Greeks got into Troy”.
Those girls are our Helens, and we need Jonathan to play Achilles and save them by providing leadership.
If history remembers his Azonto dance rather than the girls’ rescue, his would be a tragic presidency. He can redeem it with a victory dance when the girls come home.

Aisha Falode: My son was murdered in Dubai


Ace sports broadcaster and Head, media committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Aisha Falode, has said that her late son, Oloruntoba, who died on Saturday February 15, 2014, was actually murdered by one Faisal Aldakmary Al-Nasser, a Saudi national and one Olivia Melaine Richards Evans, a Briton.
Falode, who made the statement through her lawyer, Festus Keyamo, in a petition made available to The Nation, also alleged that there is a plot to cover up the alleged murder by the Dubai Police authority.
The Dubai Marina Police Command handled investigations into the death of the 19-yar-old.
Oloruntoba, popularly called Fray, the only son of the frontline media practitioner and a budding rapper, was a student of Audio Production at the SAE Institute in the United Arab Emirate at the time of his untimely death.
Initial report stated that he died in a car crash but a petition sent to the Presidency by Keyamo on behalf of the Falodes revealed that Oloruntoba might have been pushed to his death by his alleged killers on the night of the sad incident.
In the petition which was also copied to the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Ambassador of Nigeria to the UAE, the grieving mother said written statements and evidences volunteered by eye-witnesses suggest that Al-Nasser pushed Toba off the balcony of the 17th floor of Manchester Towers at Dubai Marina, after a heated argument between the duo.
She said, “Because of the various inconsistencies in the Police Report given to the family after the incident, myself, in company of Mr. Festus Keyamo and another family member, travelled to Dubai in the UAE on Friday, the 18th day of April, 2014 to see and hear things for ourselves. Whilst in the country, we met with the friends of Toba Falode who were present in the apartment on the fateful day.
The friends in question (names withheld) are a South African student, and a Nigerian student, both also studying at the SAE Institute. The summary of the accounts of these friends are totally different from what the Police Report indicated and has revealed a most shameful and disgraceful attempt by the authorities n Dubai to shilled obvious murder suspects from the long arms of the law.
The friends and witnesses in question volunteered written statements to us . That sometimes in December, 2013, the said Faisal Aldakmary Al-Nasser stormed the apartment of the deceased, Oluwadamilola Oloruntoba Falode and ordered Miss Olivia Melaine Richards Evans (his supposed girlfriend) out of Toba’s apartment; accusing her of having an affair with Toba Falode.
That a fight was to have ensued from this confrontation, but for the intervention of other mutual friends. Since then, there was no love lost between Toba and Al-Nasser. That in the evening of 14th of February, 2014, Toba, together with his friends,went to a club in Dubai known as M Deck, Media 1 Hotel, Media City.
That at the club, they again met the said Al-Nasser and Evans who came together to the club. That again, an argument started concerning Evans. Shortly after this, Al-Nasser and Evans left the club. On their return to toba’s apartment, the friends were shocked to find Al-Nasser and Evans waiting. Evans was crying hysterically while Al-Nasser was very calm with a determined look about him.
Toba let them into his apartment. After they all got into the apartment, Toba, Al-Nasser and Evans entered his rom to sort things out. Shortly after, the three of them exited the room and went to the balcony of the apartment on the 17th floor. According to an emphatic witness, a serious argument with raised voices and hands again ensued at the balcony. At some point, the friends opened the curtain and saw this serious confrontation among the three of them going on.
Shortly after, Al-Nasser and Evans came into the apartment and announced that Toba had fallen off the railings. However, Al-Nasser had blood splattered all over his shirt and he had bloody knuckles. There was also a noticeable cut on his finger. It is important to note that when one of the witnesses parted the curtain to see , Toba was not sitting on the railings in the balcony.
The position of Toba’s body was not consistent with someone dropping from the balcony but was consistent with someone that was violently pushed or thrown from the balcony. That the Police arrived thereafter and arrested all of them to the station. That before and during the journey to the station, Al-Nasser kept repeating to the hearing of everyone that the maximum punishment for him would be twenty-five years in jail and that the other boys should not worry.”
Falode argued that given the above account by eye-witnesses, it is shocking that Al-Nasser and Evans were that night released to go home without taking the blood stained T-shirt from Al-Nasser while the other three boys were charged with drinking and other sundry offense and are still facing these charges in court at present.
According to her, it is distressing that Nigerian students living and studying legitimately in so many countries abroad have become subjects of hostilities and murder of late. She therefore urged relevant authorities to wade into the matter and ensure that justice is done in this particular case.
“We call on you to use your good offices to prevail on the authorities in Dubai to re-open the investigation into the murder of Toba Falode and to bring to book Mr. Faisal Aldakmary Al-Nasser and Miss Olivia Melanie Richards Evans both of whom murdered him in cold blood,” she pleaded.