Nation building: Nigeria needs dreamers- By Azemobor Gregory

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Read Time:6 Minute, 8 Second

Dr. Martin Luther King Said, “I have a dream.” Those words have been repeated around the world again and again- in print, on radio and TV. Because he dared to both live for and die for that dream, his life made a difference. Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream was not only for himself but for others. He had a dream for an American society devoid of racial discrimination and social prejudice. Today, Black Americans live freely with their white brothers.

Dr. Nelson Mandela had a dream for his country, South Africa. He dreamt of a country where the political subjugation and inhuman apartheid policy would be truncated. He was imprisoned because of his dream for his people. He spent 27 lonely years in incarceration. But at the end of the day, his dream prevailed, and apartheid was dismantled.

Our forefathers had a dream for an independent Nigeria. They fought colonization with so much nationalistic zest. Many of them were prepared to pay the supreme price. Eventually, on October 1st, 1960, their dream gave birth to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I can go on and on with a catalogue of great men that had great dreams that changed their generation and impacted their world.

The world is ruled by dreamers. Every advancement in human history was orchestrated and championed by a dream in the heart of one man. Dreamers foresee a better future for themselves and for society; they create the picture of a glorious destiny for their generation. Every dreamer in history changed their world

"Many of the greatest accomplishment in history have been done against impossible odds,  because somebody dared to dream"

The urgent need to raise and nurture dreamers with a passion to change our nation gave birth to Voice of Change Network International, a non-governmental organization established to promote collective responsibility for national development, inspire individual passion, civic patriotism and commitment towards building the Nigeria of our dreams.

THE PICTURE OF A BETTER FUTURE.
I have a dream of a new Nigeria, a nation where there would be freedom, equity and the spirit of enterprise; a nation that would be ranked amongst the top 20 developed economies in the world by the year 2030. I can see a society that will evolve selfless leadership with patriotic passion to re-invent this nation.

I have a dream of a country where there would be adequate provision of infrastructure and power supply for rapid industrial development. I have a dream that one day, Nigeria will be a corrupt-free society where her people will be law abiding and exhibit high sense of discipline in every facet of their lives. Then it would be a taboo to give or accept bribe. Our policemen and civil servants would no longer request for gratification  before they discharge their duties. The time is coming when people will no longer dispose refuse indiscriminately, urinate and defecate anywhere. Our streets and cities would be clean.

I have a dream of a Nation where social miscreants “Area boys” will no longer infest our streets constituting nuisance; our youths would no longer use the internet to send scam (419) business proposal.
 I have a dream that, every Nigerian, both home and abroad would be proud of our National colors. Nigerians in the diaspora would be glad to return home to rebuild our Nation. I see a future where our green National Passport would have respect and value. I can see Americans and Europeans applying for the Nigerian lottery Visa.” Asian and other African nationals would queue up in our embassies other to obtain our visa.

I have a dream that made-in Nigeria products would be exported to America, Europe and Asian countries.

I have a dream that one day, the problem of unemployment would be a thing of the past, because there would be enough industries to absorb our young graduates. Even then, our youth would take pride in becoming entrepreneurs, starting their small businesses. Poverty would be eradicated. There would be sufficiency of food for all Nigerians, because agriculture would be completely revamped.

Nigeria is going to evolve a political culture where elections will no longer be a do-or-die affair. Money bags would no longer dominate our political firmament, then true leaders will emerge with the heart to serve the people. This is my dream for my beloved country.

 I believe this dream can be realized in this generation. We can make them happen. Remember, Nigeria is our only country, we don’t have another one. We can’t fold our hands and allow this decay in our nation to continue. We must rise up for a change in this country. Enough of pointing accusing fingers at our leaders; enough of criticism and attack on our political leaders. Though they have their faults, we equally have to accept some measure of responsibility in  taking this nation out of the rot we have found ourselves.

NIGERIA’S NATION BUILDING REQUIRES COLLECTIVE EFFORT

Nigeria’s nation-building and development requires collective effort.The development of this nation does not lie in the hands of one single individual. It is our collective effort that will make Nigeria great. I am a firm believer that there is hope for this country; there is a greater tomorrow for Nigeria.

So, whatever corner God has put you in whether big or small position, please give it your best shot, be the best and if each one of us is the best in our little corner, then we will see the Nigeria of our dream come to light.

Let us join hands together as Nigerians to build a nation where peace and justice reign, for that is the only way that the labor of our heroes past would not have been in vain. It is my prayer that we will all see the Nigeria of our dreams come to pass.

I will strongly advised against bulk passing and losing faith in the nation owing to some of our developmental and political challenges. In spite of our challenges in this country, I want to encourage every Nigerian not  to begin apportioning blames. We must realize that distractions come from looking around, discouragement comes from looking down, defeat comes from looking  backwards, but deliverance comes when we lift up our eyes to the hills from whence comes our help, because our help comes from the lord the maker of the heavens and the earth.

A CLARION CALL

The time has come for every one of us to rise up to begin to contribute our own quota to building the Nigeria of our dreams.

What is your dream for this Nation? What are you prepared to give or sacrifice to make Nigeria a better place? Nigeria needs you. You are an agent of change. There is something you carry that will impact this nation! Wake up! The time to do something is now!

We of the Voice of Change Network International, will not relent until, the dream for a new nation is realized, join this chariot now to champion the birth of a new Nigeria.

God bless you.

God bless Nigeria.

By: Azemobor Gregory

International Co-ordinator, Voice of Change Network

follow me on twitter @gazemobor
 

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Senator Abe Warns Gov. Wike on False Accusation on Corruption

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Read Time:4 Minute, 41 Second

… Cautions that mudslinging will backfire on him
Senator Magnus Abe, All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for Rivers South East Senatorial District in the legislative re-run election, has warned Governor Nyesome Wike not to link him with anything about corruption as everybody in the state knows the antecedents of the governor before mounting the office.
Speaking to scores of APC supporters in Ataba town in Andoni Local Government Area, while on a visit for the burial ceremony of late elder Caleb Simon Benjamin Ogbologugo, Abe said that his name is not associated with corruption but of service,idea generation and sound intellect.
He told the supporters in Pidgin English that people should not forget their past easily.

Today, I no come Ataba for campaign.I no go stay for Ataba reply all the whole nonesense wey una dey hear people talk because no bi wetin bring me come here. Wetin bring me come here na to come honour our father. But let me say this. I think all of us wey dey here know the cream wey dem dey call 'Nku' cream. Na elders nai know wetin bi 'Nku'cream. Anybody wey know Governor Nyesome Wike make dem go tell am say when him dey talk about Senator Abe, make him no talk about corruption because plenty people for Nigeria still remember 'Nku' cream and we know the smell of 'Nku'cream and the bottle is white. Anybody wey no know the smell of something, him go dey talk the thing to people wey no know am. We  know people wey fit talk about corruption and people wey no fit talk about corruption. Make Wike talk 'melebem' 'melebem'. You know, he is a governor and I am not a governor. But Rivers people know him and they know me. Me and am bin follow enter EFCC,I pass for door comot but him na  court comot am. We no fit sidon here begin talk like say people no remember yesterday. We remember yesterday.”
At the palace of the Okaan Ama and clan head of Ataba kingdom, HRM Dr. Benson Hebron Mgbo-Awaji Egwenre-Uruk (xvii), while on a courtesy visit, Abe said that he would forge stronger relationship between the Ogoni and the Andoni as started by Engr. Sampson Ngerebara.
The former Secretary to Rivers State Government narrated how the Andoni people supported him during his first tenure as a Senator and that was why the first employment opportunity he had to give was given to an Andoni man whom today is a senior staff of NNPC.
He said before the 2015 elections that the politics of Rivers State had been politics of being at the centre and Governor Wike campaigned that Rivers people cannot afford not to be at the centre.
He said today,Rivers South East and indeed Rivers State should be at the centre to get their largesse as the treasure base of the nation, pointing out that any attempt to take away Rivers people from the centre is unacceptable and meant to deny them opportunities.
“Gov. Wike, former Gov.Amaechi and all of us as political leaders in Rivers state agreed that Rivers State must be with the centre. The argument was where will the centre be? Today, we are no longer arguing,we know where the centre is. We don't want anybody to deceive the Andoni people and pull them behind. The challenges of Andoni are beyond the powers and resources of Rivers state government.”
Abe urged the Andoni people to vote for him and all the APC candidates in the re-run elections to enable them work together to put Andoni at the centre.

Responding to the speech of Senator Abe,the clan head commended Senator Abe and the APC for attending the burial of their colleague.
He said that Andoni people will do everything within their powers to send him to the Senate and reminded him of myriads of NDDC projects in the area.
He appealed that he (Abe) should help the Andoni to persuade the NDDC to complete the projects now that a son of the district is the Executive Director designate Finance and Accounts.

“While coming down here I am sure you saw the work going on on the bridge linking Ataba to Kaa. That job has been on for quite sometime. By the contract specification by now we should be using that road.”
He further stated that Ataba people had been lucky to be at the centre in the past and would be at the centre at present.
“We are very grateful that today APC is controlling the centre and somehow in Ataba here we have a little bit advantage of being favoured by the centre in one way or the other.”
He commended Senator Abe for his role in the clean-up of Ogoni land and appealed to him to extend it to Andoni and other communities of the Niger Delta.

“We also have SHELL that is trying to clean up Bodo and Ataba communities. We don't know how the two will work. But whichever way it goes, we call for your assistance. We are here in Ataba and we have heard your message. We are people who look ahead and know the direction where we should go that will be okay for us. Like I told you before we will do all in our power to ensure that all the candidates of APC win,” he said.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Rivers Re-Run: Formation of Polling Unit Security Guards by Gov. Wike Is an Invitation to Chaos – Abe

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Read Time:5 Minute, 25 Second

…As He Takes Campaign to Ogoni Communities in Port Harcourt, Ikwerre LGAs

All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for Rivers South East Senatorial District in the Legislative re-run election, Senator Magnus Abe has condemned the plan of Governor Nyesom Wike to set up a band of thugs called Polling Unit Security Guards.

Speaking at a rally organized by the Rivers East APC, at Isiokpo in Ikwerre Local Government Area, Abe said the formation of the security outfit was nothing but an invitation for violence and chaos in the State.

He called on the Inspector-General of Police and Director of State Security Services to intervene to save Rivers State from degenerating into anarchy, should the governor go ahead to set it for the forthcoming re-run elections.

“As we have complained about the Arrest Resistance Committee, they have gone to form Polling Unit Security Guards. Whether you call it Arrest Resistance Committee or Polling Unit Security Guards, it is the same wine in a different bottle. It is nothing but sponsorship of violence and I want to call on the IG and Director of State Services. They are the ones who told us that this time; nobody will be allowed to do that. Polling unit should be open to all voters and should be guarded by the Nigerian police force.”

Abe said APC would adhere to the rule of law as well as free and fair election and urged PDP to do so in the interest of Rivers State.

He noted that the APC has members who are patriotic, responsible and law abiding, pointing out that there had been cases of election malpractices by PDP, were APC violent, could have precipitated anarchy in the state.

“Tony Okocha is here, his seat was declared for PDP; we did not make trouble or burn down the state. In the last election, where the people who have not voted were more than the margin of win, INEC declared those seats for PDP; did we burn down the state? We went to court because that is what the constitution says. I want to appeal to our governor if he sees something that is wrong, he should follow the rule of law.”

The former Secretary to Rivers State Government said that Wike style of politics is to intimidate voters and rig the election, assuring that this time around Rivers people will not be cowed.”

“I keep telling people that we have not voted. Every time we want to vote, he brings guns, machetes and begins to chase innocent citizens up and down and then when he finishes, he goes and tell people he is on ground and that Rivers state is PDP state. What makes Rivers State a PDP state? What election made us a PDP state? Was Nigeria not a PDP country? Today, is it not an APC country? It is the vote of the people that determine the political affiliation of a state. Anybody who wants to know the political affiliation of Rivers people should allow our people to vote.”

Abe commended the organizers of the rally and assured that he would attend any rally in Ikwerre land if he was invited.

He told the people to pass the information to Governor Wike that he would win his election in Rivers South East Senatorial District, not minding the governor's regular visits and campaign in the district.

“I know him very well. As minority leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, I screened him to be chairman. As Secretary to the Government of Rivers State, I signed his appointment letter to become Chief of Staff to the governor. As Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I screened him to become the minister. So, if he is a governor, that is very good but if he is flying and he has developed wings, when he sees some of us, it is sensible that he should come down and also walk on the ground like a normal human being. Let me say here so that everybody will hear that the election in Rivers South East Senatorial District will be won by the All Progressives Congress. The election in Rivers East that is the one I am standing now will be won by the APC.”

Speaking further, Abe accused the governor to be insincere by alleging that he defalcated the Kpopie-Bodo road project, which had been completed up to 90 per cent, of which the governor had not completed the payment for the little remaining part of the road.

Abe wondered why Governor Wike could forget that he awarded to himself over 27 primary school contracts in the state that were not completed only to call kettle black.

“A road that is almost 90% complete. He has become governor for more than a year, if he loves the Bodo people so much and the money remaining on the road is a paltry sum and he has borrowed over N140 billion, he could not bring out small money to go and complete the road. Is he a good governor? Former Governor Amaechi became governor of Rivers State, Celestine Omehia, whom he removed as governor awarded a contract for mile one market, the contractor was nominated by Celestine's government, Amaechi came and paid him. But Wike who was part of the government, who awarded over 27 primary school contract to himself, he will not pay the contractors.”

Meanwhile, Senator Abe has told the Ogoni community in Port Harcourt to be united and vote for him as he had worked very hard to pursue the interest of Ogoni, pointing out that what was remaining was for his voice to be taken to the Senate to speak for them in order to fully actualize their interest.

Addressing them at Ogunabali community in Port Harcourt, Abe urged them not to be swayed by the N9 billion Wike borrowed for the election as the Ogoni are very intelligent people who know what they want.

Abe said in Pidgin English, “If any person come give una money make una pull me down, destroy Senator Abe. The man think say una no get sense. Make him take the money wey him don borrow take help the poor people of Rivers state. Make him no take am come fight Ogoni people because any money wey him dey carry come Ogoni to come fight Ogoni people is a waste of money.”

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Women will play a central role in our Government – Obaseki

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Read Time:2 Minute, 0 Second

Benin, August 9, 2016 – The Candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), in the September 10 Edo Gubernatorial Elections, Godwin Obaseki, has said that women will be given a more prominent role in his administration when elected Governor.

Obaseki made the disclosure when women leaders of the party, from both the national and state levels, paid him a courtesy visit in his campaign office in Benin on Tuesday.

According to him, “The time when our women were relegated to the back seat in governance is over. Edo State – and, indeed, the entire country – is blessed with many great women of strong character and intelligence with a track record of excellence in both private enterprise and public service.”

“Our government will support and encourage the women to bring all their knowledge and experience into governance for the betterment of our people. We have women who have made a mark in different facets of our public life, and we will empower them as an integral part of our government to drive our prosperity agenda not only in the area of education and health but across all sectors, including the agri-business revolution that we are engendering.”

Commenting further on his women empowerment programmes, the APC flagbearer said, “We will launch development projects under the leadership of women, and improve access to low interest rate financing for Women-in-Business, including developing credit enhancement support schemes to improve credit ratings for our women empowerment programs. We also plan to develop over 20,000 affordable modern shops across the state by renovating existing markets and developing new markets under Public-Private Partnerships across the state.”

Earlier, the APC Woman Leader in the Federal Capital Territory, Mrs. Hailmary Aipoh – speaking on behalf of the wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari – said that they are in Edo State in solidarity with Godwin Obaseki, as well as to donate educational materials to children in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in the state.

The Woman Leader commended Obaseki for his well thought-out plans and programmes for women, saying that this is not an era where women clap hands in politics but an era where women must actively participate in politics. She also assured that the APC women will mobilize and work hard to ensure his victory at the September 10 polls.

Source: Benjamin Atu

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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The Maritime Industry is the next big thing to happen to Nigeria – NIMASA DG

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Read Time:2 Minute, 11 Second

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has observed that the maritime industry is the next big thing that will happen to Nigeria.

Dr. Peterside who said this while hosting the President and members of the Womens’ International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria who paid him a familiarization visit at the Maritime House in Lagos also expressed happiness that the women in the industry have united under a common umbrella.

The DG commended the contribution of women to the development of the Nigerian maritime industry noting that there could be no real growth for the sector if critical segments of the population like the women are excluded.

According to him, “we cannot talk about growth in the maritime industry if we exclude over 50% of those who should drive growth. By the latest statistics, women constitute over 50% of the world population. Even if you extrapolate it to Nigeria, women constitute close to 60%, I think 55% of the population in Nigeria. And so if we exclude 55% and have 44% or so compete for the available spaces, we have excluded the majority of Nigerians from the maritime industry, you cannot expect growth in the maritime industry if you exclude women.”

The DG also thanked the women for organising themselves into a strong voice and charged them to continue to contribute their quota to the development of the Nigerian maritime industry.

While pledging the Agency’s commitment to partner with WISTA Nigeria for the growth and development of the industry, Dr. Peterside observed that the Nigerian maritime industry is set for a historic growth that will be globally acknowledged.

In his words, “the maritime industry is the next big thing that will happen to Nigeria. We are a littoral state and we have all the trappings to excel in the industry and if we have our women on board we can sail to the top of the mountain.”

Earlier in her address, the President of WISTA Nigeria, Mrs. Mary Hamman acknowledged the efforts of the DG in repositioning NIMASA and the maritime industry and pledged their support for his administration.

Mrs. Hamman sought the cooperation of the Agency for some of the association’s empowerment programmes for women and children impacted by the activities of shipping and related businesses.

WISTA Nigeria is an international association of women professionals involved in the maritime industry and the logistics chain whose main aim is to foster unity amongst members and act as an advocacy group for the sustainable development of the maritime industry.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Education Is the Sustainable Way of Eradicating Poverty among the Young Population – Mrs. Ibim

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Read Time:2 Minute, 39 Second

Being a press statement by Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, Ag. MD/CEO, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, on the occasion of the International Youth Day 2016 on Friday, August 12, 2016

Today is International Youth day, a day chosen by the United Nations to celebrate the vitality of youth through a strong awareness and advocacy. This occasion draws global attention to the plight, prospects and socio-economic challenges young people face.

The theme for this year’s celebration, “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Production and Consumption” comes handy as the search for sustainable goals and development intensifies. In this theme, the youth are reminded of a significant target.

Fighting poverty among young people has been brought again to the front burner with a 2030 target, but with the caveat that production and consumption must be carried out sustainably. This is to avoid building with one hand and destroying with the other.

I must say that education remains one of the most sustainable ways of eradicating poverty among the young population. This understanding drives our education and other pro-youth policies as a Commission. To achieve that, the NDDC has maintained a scholarship line that has continued to build manpower. In 2016, we upped that stride by striking the gender parity cord through instituting the Girls in Engineering, Mathematics and Science Competition, GEMS, Competition. This competition invites girls of the Niger Delta region to greater involvement in STEM-related courses. So, ahead of time, NDDC is working to position our youths in the competitive edge. We believe that our young people must occupy their slots in labour and economic markets through intense academic engagement. Here our module is that which accommodates healthy competition among the youths and challenges their potential creativity. The NDDC is raising a community of young people sharpened and horned to achieve greatness through education and mentorship. We are building a culture that redefines dignity among the youths through hard work.

As we particularly celebrate the youth and draw attention to their place in building a world of sufficiency and growth, I enjoin Niger Delta youths to queue in the re-orientation that abhors rent culture and embrace industry which NDDC is building; to emulate worthy patriots whose commitment to collective good of the region defined the shape and rhythm of the region’s geography and history. I task our youths to use this year’s celebration to engage in self-appraisal, to do a self-audit as to how they have participated in the current negatives pestering our region. We have always been proud stock whose progenitors were familiar with mutual respect and civility.

I consider this occasion critical to a rebirth to the approach our youths have adopted, especially lately, in seeking broader national inclusion. I challenge the youths in the region to use dialogue in their quest for development. Let us not destroy our future for sake of today’s agitation as that would amount to cutting the nose to spite the face

Happy International Youth Day!

Bekee Anyalewechi

SA(Media & Communication) to the Ag. Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer,

Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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TO LIVE IS TO PARTICIPATE -A Message To Youths On International Youth Day

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Read Time:5 Minute, 19 Second

Its 490 B.C. Athens is at war with Persia. Athens dispatches its fastest runner, 25-year old Pheidippidies to Sparta, to summon military help. Pheidippidies ran the 150 miles from Marathon to Sparta on foot in two days, ran back and dropped dead! The modern Marathon is run in remembrance of Pheidippidis, to honour the supreme sacrifice this youth made to save history’s first democracy. Let the Africa youth get involved and make every sacrifice necessary to save democracy in Africa.

If you are 18-35 years old, you belong to my generation. A generation of Africans and Nigerians that was birthed at the height of the military rule… we grew up amidst the sound of bugle, the punctuations of newsflashes of coup de tat and the eternal presence of soldiers on our streets. We were living witnesses to the gagging of the press, the flagrant abuse of human rights, asphyxiation of the judiciary and the rise of civil society groups. And just when we were coming to political age, when this military rule was becoming a way of life, democracy as a burst of long awaited fresh air swept across Africa. This welcomed phenomenon happened in Nigeria in 1999.

15 years after the first elections, in our generation, was held in this country one still wonders whether democracy is the answer to Africa’s perennial problems of poverty, infrastructural decay and waste of natural and human resources. Did anything really change with the advent of democracy on our shores? Did we really have a change of governance or just a change in the complexion of governance? My generation has attained adulthood and thrust into a quagmire of questions, caught up in a bloody game of thrones and initiated into the cult of blame allocation. Those who drove us into a ditch many years ago are still on the driver’s seat telling us to trust them to help us find the way. They told us we were leaders of tomorrow and when tomorrow came, we still found them there… firmly in charge,

But something must be done. We cannot sit back and wish, or curse or just pray. This generation cannot afford this. We must live… we must participate… “In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility… I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it. And the glow from that fire can truly light the world. And so, my fellow (Nigerians/Africans), ask not what your country can do for you;  ask what you can do for your country.” Let’s get involved, let’s participate.

We can no longer pretend it doesn’t matter “Those who control political power not only shape economic policies, but also own and control the levers of the economy and consequently also, the wealth of the nation”. So to survive, to live, we must participate.

Dare Babarinsa, in Newswatch Magazine of October, 1985, aptly capture the impact ZIK’s return had on politics and the anti-colonial struggles:
“Before Zik came back to Nigeria in 1934, Nigeria politics was a mere Lagos affair, with the frequent brickbats between Herbert Macaulay and his contemporaries. But Zik was to take the nation by storm. He was then only 30, heartbreakingly handsome, and with his tongue he could rouse an army into battle. The old brigade cowered before this enfant terrible, and the British Authorities fled before his very shadow.”

I think the above quote aptly describes how youth participation in politics can change the political landscape.
But today where are the young people involved in democratic governance? The average age of parliamentarians in Africa is 63 (50 years old for women parliamentarians). The pertinent question to answer is what is responsible for the low level of youth participation in democracy in Africa? Let’s examine some of these barriers:

GERONTOCRATIC CULTURE
In Africa, wisdom is usually associated with grey hairs or old age; and since leadership is something normally left for the wise, it is concluded, culturally that only the old should lead.

THE FOCUS AND QUALITY OF EDUCATION
The focus and quality of education we have in Africa doesn’t prepare the African youth to participate in democracy, thus systematically preventing young Africans from understanding and participating in democratic processes.

APATHY OF THE CHURCH
The church in Africa is not doing enough to get the youth involved in governance. Her stance most times make young people view political involvement as sinful; thus the resultant apathy from most Christian youths in Africa.

But there have to be a way forward… and we must be the ones to beat this path. There should be a value reorientation. Africa should realize that the youth can perform as a leader and that some grey hairs lack gray matter. This can be achieved through sensitization and through exemplary conduct by our young people already involved in the democratic processes of their countries.

There should be a deliberate collaboration between churches, faith based organizations and civil society and youth organizations. Churches should create programs that will enlighten young people to participate in the democratic process.

The African youth should seek for “extra education” after leaving formal school; education that is focused on bringing out the leader in him. Education and programs that deepen knowledge in democracy should be encouraged and attended by all African youths. And as the legendary Nelson Mandela said on the 15th of May 2008 in his message for “Schools for Africa Campaign”: “Education more than anything else, improves our chances of building better lives”. We must get relevant education to understand the dynamics of democracy, to get equipped with the relevant political tools to engage the political ecosystem. “For my people perish for lack of knowledge.”

To Live Is To Participate. Happy International Youth Day!

Firsts Baba Isa is a Legal Practitioner and writes from Abuja.
@firstbabaisa; 07037162029

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Stop wasting Rivers money on your party’s ill-fated National Convention – APC Tells Gov Wike

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Read Time:3 Minute, 36 Second

Following the stoppage of the forthcoming National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the Federal High Court in Abuja, the Rivers State chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC said the party is not interested in the sordid and hilarious happenings within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by it’s numerous factions and leaders, adding that the APC is deeply worried that, once again, the coffers of Rivers State will be emptied by the governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike to host a national convention that is bound to be declared a ‘no show’ just like the one the PDP held on Saturday, 21st May, 2016 in Port Harcourt that came to nothing.

“The APC is further worried that, as a lawyer, Gov. Nyesom Wike and other lawyers in the PDP are the ones shopping for all manner of conflicting court orders regarding their national convention. The sum total of their actions point to unfettered reign of impunity on August 17 and this is familiar territory for Gov. Nyesom Wike and his co-travellers. However, whenever the dust of the convention settles, the likelihood of the convention being declared a nullity looms” the Publicity Secretary of the APC Senibo Chris Finebone said in a statement made available to journalists in Port Harcourt today.

The statement reads: “However, the utmost concern to the APC is that the Rivers taxpayer is now made to bear the brunt of reviving the dying behemoth called PDP now lying in comatose in hospital and gasping for breath (apologies to former President Obasanjo).

“Our worry heightens when we consider that PDP medical bills are humongous and Gov. Nyesom Wike has elected himself to offset the bills with the funds of Rivers people running into billions of Naira. Sadly, states like Akwa Ibom, Delta, Bayelsa, Cross River and others have always acted the wise boys because their governors know that their peoples’ money should not be wasted on frivolities of ill-fated jamborees while Gov. Wike of Rivers State believes that it is obligatory for the Rivers taxpayer to bear the brunt of his inordinate lust for power. But sadly, events within and around the PDP are not providing him the expected returns even as he fritters away scarce resources of the State. Signals coming from the PDP camps only point to a number of new denigrating lines one of which is ‘The Profligate Emperor of Port Harcourt who has turned courts in Rivers State into supermarkets where he simply walks in and obtains any court order he desires,’ (apologies to Ali Modu Sheriff).

"Nero Fiddled While Rome Burned"

“The tragedy of it all is that while Gov. Nyesom Wike is busy masturbating his ego as the new PDP strongman set to take commanding control of his party, Rivers State is bleeding. While our governor is playing the PDP most wasteful spending governor, civil servants, RSHA legislative aides, medical workers, teachers and other workers in different sectors in the State are groaning and protesting several months of unpaid salaries and wages.

“At this moment, 16 passengers kidnapped after their 16-seater commercial bus was hijacked at Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area (ONELGA) by gunmen and taken to an unknown destination in the forest are still missing. The gunmen were said to have abducted the Hummer bus and set the vehicle ablaze after taking the passengers hostage into a nearby jungle. Last week, as the governor was boasting how Rivers State was secure at the Guild of Editors conference, 3 mobile policemen and 2 others were being gunned down around Choba axis of Port Harcourt with many abducted by kidnappers.

“The APC wishes to draw the attention of Gov. Nyesom Wike to the fact that Rivers State is not rich and there is no reason why the governor should give false impression to his party members and other Nigerians to the contrary. National conventions are very expensive business, the costs run into billions of Naira. The governor of Rivers State has the responsibility to provide effective governance for the people with the resources that belong to them and not to fritter billions of Naira belonging to Rivers people on the affairs of his party, the PDP.”

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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AURAK Programs Earn ABET Accreditation

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Read Time:1 Minute, 24 Second

Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, August 16, 2016: (ME NewsWire) The American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK) has proudly announced that two programs within its School of Engineering were awarded with full ABET accreditation this week.
The prestigious Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, or ABET, is the leading accrediting body for post-secondary academic programs in ‘applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology’.  
The two programs to be granted the accreditation at AURAK, the Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and the Bachelor of Science in Electronics and Communication Engineering, are now internationally recognized as programs of the highest quality in terms of producing graduates prepared to enter a global workforce.
Professor Hassan Hamdan Al Alkim, AURAK president who has resolutely driven the University towards gaining international accreditation, was delighted upon hearing the news.
“Congratulations to all.  This shows that a clear vision and a hard work and commitment always lead to success,” stated Prof. Al Alkim.  “I also reiterate my sincere thanks to the School of Engineering, especially the dean, Professor Mousa Mohsen, the two department chairs, and the faculty.  My thanks and gratitude are also extended to all of those who contributed in one way or another to this wonderful achievement.”
AURAK firmly believe that this is the first success of many.  As students continue to graduate, an increasing amount of academic programs are becoming eligible for the accreditation process.  The University is striving for ABET accreditation for further programs in the School of Engineering, AACSB accreditation for the School of Business, as well as institutional accreditation from SACSCOC.
*Source: ME NewsWire
 

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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The 2016 Rio Olympics and the Perpetual Failure of a Nation

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Read Time:15 Minute, 4 Second

As we ecstatically inch towards the finale of the greatest sports fiesta in the world, the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in Brazil, it is becoming increasingly apparent to many Nigerians that this time, Nigeria is going to end up without a single medal of any colour in any of the sports event. In fact, we may not even be in any of the finals of any sport, except perhaps, football, our current saving grace. But before I go on, let me appreciate  and say Thanks and Kudos to our motley crew of athletes who, despite all the obstacles hurled in their way by insensitive and inept officials, are still competing for their fatherland, and giving it best they could, under the extenuating circumstances.

Watching Rio 2016 Olympics athletics events is a sad reminder and unarguable confirmation of how far backwards Nigerian athletics – and indeed, sports – has gone. While it is very heartening to watch a South African win the 400 meters men in world record time and a Botswanan finishing fifth, it is instructive to note that Nigeria was not represented in that event. Also, the other day an Ivorian lady came fourth in the women's 100 meters; again no Nigerian made it through to the finals. To think that not too long ago, at least in Africa, the 100 meters, 200 meters and 400 meters were the exclusive preserve of Nigeria, male and female. I really do wonder……

So, shaking my head, what is the matter with our track and field athletes, and again, indeed, sports? Our athletes are simply not performing (that is, those few ones we see), and whose fault? Definitely, I will not pass the blame on the athletes; rather, it is the fault of our mediocre, corrupt and unpatriotic sports administrators and the indifferent Nigerian government itself. The people, this time, take my vote; we are as enthusiastic, supportive and patriotic as ever and always.

One thing is clear and salient, Nigeria has got the talents – harnessing these talents and making them world champions will remain so very elusive as long as those in authority continue to be inept, lethargic, unconcerned, self-centred, self-serving, serving sectional interests, practicing nepotism, putting mediocrity before meritocracy and lacking vision and focus.  The lack of cohesion, the lack of adequate preparation for international events, the absence of unity, the overwhelming ethnicity complete the major reasons why we don't do well in sporting activities these days… and I might add, in everything we do.

Oh! The days of Chidi Imoh, Innocent Egbunike, Sunday Bada, Mary Onyali, Falilat Ogunkoya, Francis Obikwelu, Soji Fasuba, Henry Amike, Yusuf Alli, Olapade Adenekan, Osmond and Davidson Ezinwa, Deji Aliu, Glory Alozie, Christy Opara, Beattie Utondu, Chioma Ajunwa, Olabisi Afolabi, Regina George, Charity Opara, Clement Chukwu, Adewale Olukoju, Fatima Yusuf, Moses Ugbisien, Airat Bakare Adejobi, Alimat Sadiat Sowunmi Barnes, Carol Lyn Nwajei, Kehinde Vaughan, Linda Ezemokumo, Linda Ige, etc. They don't make them like these anymore. These may not have won Olympic medals or World Championship medals, but they have won in Africa and made their marks on the international stage too. Most of them were highly globally ranked and respected; gave Nigeria respect and dignity in athletics, and did their best for this country.
Olukayode Thomas (Playthegame.com of 09.08.2007) in his article, The Sorry State of Nigerian Sports, wrote “It is shocking that officials of NSC are not concerned that about a decade ago, for every eight lanes in the women 400m at either the European circuit or the IAAF Grand Prix, it was certain that four of the athlete would be Nigerians. Then we had three consistent 49.00 secs runners in Falilat Ogunkoya-Omotayo, Charity Opara and Fatimah Yusuf. The last of the four, Bisi Afolabi was then a consistent 50.00 secs runner. But officials of NSC are not bothered by any of the above. Nor are they bothered that a few years ago, Nigerian female sprinters like Mary Onyali, Gloria Alozie, Christy Okpara, Beatrice Utondu, Ajunwa, Mary Tombiri etc. rivalled the likes of Gwen Torrence, Gail Devers and others for honours in major games and championships.
 
They have forgotten that not too long ago Olapade Adeniken, the Ezinwa twin brothers, Davidson and Osmond, Daniel Effiong. Francis Obikwelu, Seun Ogunkoya, Sunday Bada, Clement Chukwu, etc. were among the best sprinters and quarter-milers in the world. They also don't seem to remember that apart from the Americans, Nigeria's relay teams were the most dreaded in the world not too long ago. NSC officials do not realise that unless they go back to organising monthly classics and other developmental programmes and the American school system, we will never get back to where we were before, talk less of surpassing it.
 
It was local developmental programmes that led to the discovery of such phenomenal talents like Ajunwa, Bada, Afolabi, Ogunkoya, Obikwelu, Alozie, Nduka Awazie, Angela Atede, Rosa Collins, Innocent Asonze, Opara, Deji Aliu and others too numerous to mention, while the American school system gave as the likes of Ogunkoya-Omotayo, Onyali, Chidi, Imoh, the Ezinwa Brothers, Pat Itanyi, Fatimah Yusuf, Innocent Egbunike, Adewale Olukoju, Chima Ugwu, Vivian Chukwuemeka and others.
 
NSC top shots have not thought it wise to revive the programmes of the past, which worked so well. What appears paramount to them are promotional events, and obviously the megabucks that goes with them”.

Compatriots please read and digest the above. What has changed? Nothing! Has anything been learnt? No! Isn’t it painful that NOBODY ever listens or learns from mistakes and history? Are we cursed to be saddled by unthinking and mediocre administrators in all areas of our lives in this country? Why are we always applying “fire brigade” approaches to all our preparations? Ours is a classic case of “if you fail to prepare, then be prepared to fail” – and this has been happening since time immemorial. Our inept administrators never fail to prove and confirm their ineptitude.

In my article, “The Death of Nigerian Sports And A Walk Down Memory Lane”, published in 22 Aug 2009, I wrote: “We were on our way then, because in subsequent years, Nigerian sport was improving splendidly, nurtured by disciplined, sincere, honest, focused, dedicated and committed sports administrators such as the late Abraham Ordia, Isaac Akioye, Dan Enajekpo, Dr Awoture Eleyeae etc. They practically lived for athletics, a trait that is hard to come by in present-day managers. Then the roof, or rather the sky, fell on Nigerian sports the moment the likes of Amos Adamu came in with their one main ambition – make as much money as they can. And they did make money”. But the country’s sports have been on a downward spiral since they took over.

In that article, I proffered many solutions, advice and called on the government of Nigeria to please realise the importance of sports in governance. We do not need to win tens of gold medals in any international competition, but to perform well and creditably; for our athletes to be proud they contested, and for upcoming youths to be interested and looking forward to represent their country and for that country to be proud of them too.

Grassroots sports development remains a programme on paper; sports facility development and welfare of athletes are lip service; poor funding and no call for private investments; the decay in sports is a reflection of the decay in Nigeria. Look at our efforts in recent past at sanitising the sports industry and see what obtains today. How do we expect to be victorious without any worthwhile effort, sacrifice and necessary prerequisite to be competitive in the world – little or no funding or adequate preparations were made to compete with world-class competition…..it's a no brainer. ….we cannot reap where we don’t sow. We refuse to invest in our youths, in our sports, in our education; so what do we expect from those youths who are the backbones of sports in any country? Then we install mediocre and corrupt officials to manage our sports.

Rather than make progress, we are retrogressing. This is beyond corruption. We just keep having inept people who know nothing about sports running sports. That's another problem – putting square pegs in round holes, all because of nepotism, political narrow-mindedness and blatant ethnicity.

On the Africa medals table, South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia and Egypt are ruling the roost with medals; these are also more progressive African economic hubs, let us face it. Globally the US, Great Britain, China, Japan, Germany are on top … again these are global economic and industrial giants. If only we understood how a sound economy impacts on so many things positively, we would not trifle with it.

There is a very strong correlation between sports achievement and economic and industrial progress. In a country where people are impoverished, unemployed, unloved and uncared for by their own leaders and government, living day by day in an unjust, unequitable and corrupt society, where in every area of endeavour and governance, there is no level playing field, there is no opportunity to excel, there is no chance to spread your wings, failure is bound to be the outcome of any competition that the government embarks on. It is there for all to see in EVERY area of our lives.

Now comes the question of Nigerian nationals now competing for other countries, notably, Asian and Middle-east countries? Do we blame them? Why are others still competing for Nigeria despite all that Nigeria has NOT done for them, if that is our grouse against our country’s attitude? Why are you still a Nigerian yourself? (and if you say you're not Nigerian anymore, why are you reading this article and interested?) Why are some athletes still doing things for Nigeria when they have seen that Nigeria MAY not do anything for them in return?

Somebody said Patriotism is reciprocal; No, it is not (my opinion). It is one way. You are either patriotic to your country or you're not. Like the famous JF Kennedy saying goes, “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”. Yes, our rulers are bad, but also our people, the followers, are bad too. It is a societal problem. We have all contributed to the demise of EVERYTHING in Nigeria. I do not believe there is an excuse for abandoning or not representing one’s country of birth when the opportunity arises.

Our country itself, NIGERIA, is not a bad country, God knows; it is the people, rulers and followers alike, in it who are messing it up. Didn't we have the American-born Nigerian professional rower, Chierika Ukogu, who probably paid her own way to the Olympics, rowing for Nigeria? She's probably never been to Nigeria, and probably bought her gear from her savings. The Nigerian Olympic Basketball team consist mostly of American-born Nigerians who came together to represent Nigeria from their base in the US.

We have to change the system; we have to change the leaders; we need to educate our people. It is our country. It belongs to all of us, not greedy, clueless, corrupt charlatans parading themselves as leaders, senators and legislators. Please this is NOT about Politics or Party Politics. It is about a natural desire for us to be a good country, a good people, a progressive people.

How can our athletes and sportsmen/women give good performance with no preparations or trainings? It is the fault of the mediocre people that are everywhere in Nigeria. It’s the fault of the system. Sometimes the best are not picked because those that will go have godfathers and mothers. How can they compete with people who prepare and train year in, year out and have been doing so since their country qualified for the next Olympics. Since 1998, UK Sports has increased its funding to its athletes about 300%, and this paid off when London hosted the Olympics in 2012. Their commitment, efforts, vision, focus, resources, and funding has paid off again at the Rio Olympics. They invested in their athletes; the country reaped the benefits, the fame, and most importantly, the goodwill of their citizens, who are happy and proud every time a medal of any colour is won for Great Britain. Yet, the British Government itself contributes very little to the funding of their athletes. This is left for the independent UK Sport to raise funds, mostly from the National Lottery, to support promising athletes and sports that they feel they will get the most medals and mileage.

In my country, there is no proper diet; no regular training schedule; very little funding (and the little funding, the officials still put into their own pockets); there are no more serious sport programmes to nurture new talents; youth empowerment is zero; the motivation and drive is no more there and I think the system of picking these athletes is seriously biased. They don't pick the best anymore.

Bad leadership begets a bad system ….and when the system is bad, nothing works! Our leaders do not seem to care about sports; this is visible when you see them getting fat and unfit whilst in power; going about in agbada, babariga and feathered caps; and not allocated needed funding for sports. The National Stadium in Lagos; the Abuja Stadium, the Liberty (now Obafemi Awolowo) Stadium and the Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan, all lying almost derelict, rare or no sporting activities, except uses for religious and entertainment activities. The stadia have been converted to “pepper-soup” joints, where even the rent that commercial tenants pay fail to be recorded into the account of the Sports Commissions that own these stadia, and end up in the pockets of the Commission officials.

Our rulers do not know anything; their minds are totally shut out from ideas and knowledge; they are irresponsible, obdurate and tyrannical. They are devoid of any inspiration to do things for their country, only to loot. They don't know sports make the country great and famous. The only 'sports' they know is corruption and oppression of the masses. They do not know the role that sports plays in national development, youth empowerment, employment, health, good governance, acceptability and respect in the comity of nations. They do not know that sports promote unity and people cohesion; promotes security and negates dissent and grumbling from the people. They do not know sports is a tool of governance.

The key is the re-introduction of an autonomous National Sports Commission headed by a technocrat .Their remit will be for development of sports in the country, and to raise funds which will then be matched by the government after due accountability. Coaches and sports administrators should be employed and posted to the geo- political zones and to all the States and the various sports Associations. This will also assist in creating jobs for the youths on the streets. The talent scouts should be all over the country, helping to organise grassroots sports to identify budding talents that they can then groom to world standard. School Sports should be revivified and brought to the fore .The School Sports have always been producing national athletes in the old days. Foreign-based athletes always compete against home-based to pick jersey. Most often the Local based have always been defeating foreign based then. The overseas scholarship should be brought back for budding talents to go to America to gain more – this is how we produce Chidi Imoh, Innocent Egbunike, Mary Onyali, etc

In the days of these athletes mentioned, there was a pride to being a Nigerian, a certain sense of belonging and patriotism; zeal to project Nigeria…. All of these fuelled the very ingredient of representation through TALENT HUNTING!

Every government, past and present, military or democratic, federal, state or local, is to be blamed. Nigerians in the past that did well in sports did it out of sheer determination and a hope that sports issues would improve in the country. But they have realised that every Nigerian government does not care about its citizens, neither do the government keep to its promises. So, those who represent us now are not only ill-prepared but have been emotionally drained. I learnt that those who went to Rio were told to pay for their flights and warned to fly economy. If this is so, how can they perform well when they have a lot of other worries on their minds?

Simply put, our sports are just a reflection of who and what we are – a nation without pride, dignity, credibility, vision, focus; led, ruled and ruined by mediocre people of dubious character and pseudo-patriots.

There are thousands of Niger Delta natural swimmers, but those who run our sports would never look that way as these people do not belong. Archery should be natural to the core north, but the Almajeri system is an entrenched social system that forbids schooling, not to talk of sports participation.

When the wicked ones are in the position of governance, the nation mourns and when the righteous ones are in the position of governance, the nation rejoices. This is a true reflection of the current happenings across every sector in Nigeria. Current happenings beg for proper and ideal solutions. We all have gone to sleep in Nigeria and it is time to wake up to the reality of the current times.

Things have fallen apart. We have failed and are still failing, ourselves. But the hope is that we can still rescue ourselves from these self-inflicted failures.

Will we be saying the same thing in four years’ time?

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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