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Dear Friends… KANO CELEBRATES ITS ILLUSTRIOUS SON, GENERAL MURTALA RAMAT MUHAMMED, WITH A COMMEMORATIVE EVENT, 40 YEARS AFTER.

The Hurricane: In memory of the Late General Murtala Muhammed
In this season of focusing on the centenary of the country’s birth, it is pertinent to also to highlight the personalities who played significant roles, some of them heroic, in shaping the destiny of the nation till date.
The late General Murtala Muhammed is one of the few personalities, living or dead, widely regarded as real Nigerian heroes. He made a tremendous impression upon the minds of his countrymen. His life and activities in public office affected many lives and altered the course of history.
His untimely death drew unprecedented outpouring of grief and bestirred national outrage against those who brutally terminated his life. There was great anger against the act that sought to truncate a reinvigorated vision of a new Nigeria, which Murtala was generally believed to be pursuing with vigour and conviction.
Like any human being, Murtala may have had his weaknesses. As a young military officer, he got embroiled in the cauldron that was Nigerian politics, in the fiery battle for sectional dominance. The resultant abortion of the republican democracy and the eventual outbreak of the civil war saw Murtala playing a leading role as a dogged warlord, with some of his actions being regarded as tactless and costly.
After the war, Murtala did not just settle down into a quiet and routine military life, he made himself the conscience of the nation by constantly speaking out against societal ills and inept leadership. Even when he became a member of the ruling cabinet, he was relentless in his outspokenness against what he saw as the purposeless leadership.
And when eventually the mantle of leadership was thrust on him as Head of State, he infused a new spirit of dynamism and patriotic fervour into governance. One commentator wrote about his tenure: “It will be remembered as the period of which Nigeria received a new lease of life. They were six months that gave a new orientation to national goals which revitalized public life and then set the nation on the path of true greatness.”
His tragic assassination on the morning of February 13th, 1976 made his era a painfully brief one. Like a fleeting hurricane, it nonetheless left a sweeping impact on the psyche of the nation. His death was mourned far and wide and it generated copious media attention. And year after year afterwards, whenever Murtala’s assassination was commemorated, the media, especially the newspapers and magazines, usually devoted generous attention to this memory.
In recent years, however, the attention seems to have declined considerably. The story of Murtala is increasingly appearing to be like a footnote in the annals of Nigeria’s history. The annual Murtala Muhammed lecture organised by a major newspaper house in the country is now a thing of the past.
It seems that before long, if care is not taken, the annual commemoration of Murtala’s life and death will be reduced to a mere affair for his immediate family members. This now seems to be happening. And he does not deserve this.
The late General can be cast in the same mould as President John F. Kennedy of the United States of America and the human rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr., both of whom suffered the same fate as Murtala by being cut down at their prime by assassins’ bullets.
The mesmerising lives and the tragic death of these two icons have generated not only numerous books and biographies, but also scores of movies. The endless literary fairs highlight different aspects of the lives of these prominent personalities. The story of General Muhammed’s life deserves no less.
To date, most of the books that have been written by some of the major participant–observers on the military’s involvement in Nigeria’s governance have only made passing references to Murtala. The other ones that have been specifically written on his tenure focus largely on his administrative policies and pronouncements. None gave detailed human angle accounts of his life and death, until The Hurricane written by Taiwo Ogundipe, a journalist, came on the scene 13 years ago.
The Hurricane, which received raved reviews, traces the roots of the General and his progenitors. It also focuses on his birth, his growing-up years, his schooling days, his life as a young man as well as his military training and career. The book also highlights his marriage and family life, his performance as a soldier; his involvement in the post-independence crisis that engulfed the nation, his emergence as a national leader, his role as head of state, his tragic death and finally the after-effects.
A product of extensive research and interviews, the book paints a very intimate picture of General Muhammed. And because he is not alive to tell his own story, the author took the poetic license of living in the soul of the General and seeing most of the events through his eyes and those of the other major actors that are also dead.
Murtala’s successor, General Olusegun wrote the foreword to the book and describes it as “a good research work on the person of the late General Murtala Muhammed. It is a well outlined piece of writing on the life and times of the late Head of State who was indeed a personal friend and a professional colleague in the Nigerian Army.”
Obasanjo wrote further: “The Hurricane has effectively captured the historical perspectives of the work of the General, depicting his effort to bring about discipline and sanitization of the military and the Nigerian civil society.”
The late Major General J. J. Oluleye, a major participant during the military regime of Murtala, and the author of the book, Military Leadership in Nigeria: 1966 – 1979, wrote about The Hurricane thus: “I looked through the draft and concluded that you are dead on course.”
A revised edition of The Hurricane is now about to be released worldwide through the Amazon publishing platform.

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Raw Emotions and Intellectual Engagement at MTN Foundation 10th Anniversary

MTN Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of the telecom provider, hosted dignitaries and “proletariat like himself”, as the Chairman of the foundation, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi (OFR)’ described the audience, to a Networking/Exhibition event to mark its 10 years of operation.

Tagged 10 Years of Transforming Lives, A Decade of Impact … New Hopes, New Possibilities, the event saw emotions welled up as the guests were treated to a heart-rending and heart-warming documentary highlighting its charitable interventions in the lives of numerous individuals in the areas of education, health and economic empowerment.

Nonny Ugboma, Executive Secretary of the foundation, warmly welcomed the guests to the programme.

In his Chairman’s remarks, Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi went down memory lane, regaling the guests about the methodical birthing of the foundation in the year 2005 and its steady growth over the years. He also got the audience to honour the memory of two members of the Board of Directors who had passed on.

A comprehensive documentary was then featured on the growth and the activities of the foundation over the years, parading an array of its beneficiaries, most notable among whom was a teenage boy, Great Nkpor, who was a serious burnt victim as a toddler. But for the lifeline offered to him by the foundation, as confirmed by his parents in the moving narrative they rendered, his life would have been a total wreck or even stunted.

Following the documentary, a Perception Audit was then presented by a polling firm, indicating a relatively low awareness level by the general public regarding the existence and the activities of the foundation.

The Keynote Speaker at the event, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), the immediate past governor of Lagos State, aka Governor of Example, triggered a lively debate among an array of erudite panelists and members of the audience with his thought-provoking address on Corporate Social Responsibility and the society.

More reports later.

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Confabulation, Jonathan’s Angels, absolution, Fayose’s comeback, Ibadan Soka’s slaughter land and other matters arising.

As anticipated, President Goodluck Jonathan’s spawned National Confab has so far been attended by one high drama after another as well as good fortunes that have always characterised his administration.
At the beginning when the list of Jonathan’s choices of delegates was made public, some myopic critics carpeted it as being loaded with spent and expired bunch who may have nothing new to offer and would be hard put to withstand the rigorous sessions.
These critics were quick to express vindication when the mass media distilled for posterity the somnolent image of one of the delegates, AIG Hamma Misau (rtd.) The 67 year-old man, bald and spotting Snow White beard was in a deep peaceful slumber while the session lasted. Some delegates had questioned the impudence of the media in publishing the picture of the sleeping delegate. One of them had asked the Chairman of the confab to caution journalist against reports on sleeping delegates.
One of the delegates, the relatively youthful Yinka Odumakin (who with his wife has the record of being the only couple at the confab and both of whom have the reputation to have succeeded in making social activism a very lucrative venture over time) was reported to have retorted: “If instead of doing what we are supposed to do, we come here to sleep, then it is not a bad thing if journalists report that.”
Days later amidst the controversy, the extremely shocking news came that Misau kicked the bucket at the National Hospital, Abuja, apparently in shock after seeing his sleeping photograph splashed all over.
Of course, Misau was not the only one caught napping. No less a person than the rotund, ebullient and efficient Secretary to the Federal Government, Pius Anyim also succumbed to the slumberous bind throughout President Jonathan’s 22 minutes conference inaugural speech. However, before any mischievous person accuses our pious and political savvy former Senator Anyim of gerontocracy or suffering from a bout of sleeping sickness, we dare say the enormity of his responsibility as the mastermind and executioner of the confab should held accountable.
Another picture that caught wide public attention was that of the vivacious and plucky former helmswoman at the anti fake drugs agency, NAFDAC, who is now a shell of her old self literally. She appeared so emaciated and frail that many could not believe their eyes on seeing her. It is being insinuated that she is suffering from a strange disease. However, the never- say-die woman had put up a very spirited defence of her wellbeing through her Facebook account.
And to those who have been insinuating that most of the delegates agreed to be part of the confab because of the attractive monetary allowances that Jonathan offered them, we are advising them to seek an antidote for envy. Would they have declined if they were the ones such offers were extended to?

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Immigration Service Recruitment Tragedy, Nigeria, Oscar Pistorius, President Goodluck Jonathan, Satire, Valdmir Putin

Jonathan’s Winning Strategies

The published photograph of the beloved Nigerian President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, kneeling down to greet the wizened mother of his predecessor in office, Umar Yar’adua, has no doubt caught wide public attention and reactions.
The posture of Jonathan poignantly stands out as this action, framed in the picture, was enacted in the midst of women including those who were reported to be Yar’adua’s sisters.
A number of observers have commented that the noble act was in keeping with the true character of Jonathan as a humble person from humble background who grew up without the privilege of having a pair of shoes to wear.
Some others, of course, the unrepentant detractors, have been reading all sorts of meanings into the gesture. The most virulent is that it was all about 2015 elections. They see it as a calculated gesture to win the hearts of a significant section of the electorate. They recall his similar gesture in the presence of a highly revered man of God during the previous election, which some believe clinched victory for him. They believe that Jonathan would do anything imaginable and unimaginable to win election. Gosh! How vile can a detractor be!
Some other negative school of thought view it as what they brand, we think wickedly, the President’s cluelessness about everything, not the list, official protocol, which his exalted office demands. To us, those who are touting this view are the clueless ones.
Jonathan’s USPs
We want to remind those who are touting the satanic view that Jonathan would do anything, fair or foul, to win election, to take another look at his numerous accomplishments and unique selling propositions which include: Improved electricity, unhindered fuel supply, effective security measures, peace and tranquility, far-reaching fight against corruption, perfect network of roads and a seamless transportation system all over. And above all, a great future for our youth in the face of high employment rate.
If you don’t believe that, just take a look at the photographs of those who attended the recruitment drive by the Nigerian Immigration Service in some states of the federation, during which dozens of lives were reportedly lost. During Jonathan’s tenure so far, the country has witnessed a lot of pleasant surprises, not tales of woes, disasters, deaths, and all kinds of bad luck, as some detractors would have us believe. Nigeria is indeed lucky to have Goodluck Jonathan in the saddle and would do well to have him for another term. Good luck Nigeria.

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Putin’s Pushfulness

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Remorseless and unrelenting, Russia’s strong man, Valdmir Putin is pushing ahead with his resolve to assert the Russian pride by reannexing Crimea. The consummate ex-KGB operative is playing the deft game of having the whole world teetered to his whims and caprices, and in awe as well as trepidation of what his next moves would be. Some believe so far he has beaten his arch rival, Barrack Obama, to a corner and rendered him a wimp, starting with the Syrian debacle. His detractors have branded him a psycho and another Hitler in the making. Well, what does it matter if a few thousands or even millions of lives have to be wasted for an Assad or a Putin to lord it over lesser mortals.

Pistorius Posture

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To project how sensitive and humane he truly is, the South African paraplegic sports icon, Oscar Pistorius, had disgorged in court dams of vomit while he was reacting to the sights and sounds of witnesses’ accounts of the mysterious murder of his ex-girlfriend. No, doubt, more of that emotion-laden posture will sway the hallowed bench in his favour.

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Guessing Gusau

The veteran martinet and gumshoe, who, some myopic detractors believe, has been over recycled too often, Aliyu Gusau (retd.), new Defence Minister, is being speculated to have thrown in the towel after being miffed by the irreverent conducts of the Service Chiefs who are supposed to defer to him. The Service Chiefs were said to have shunned a meeting summoned by Gusau as freshly installed Defence Tzar.

Some detractors have always held that Gusau should now be archaic in outlook on security and intelligence affairs and cannot have anything new to offer. They believe the septuagenarian should have been left to rest cosy in retirement and fresher blood and minds, who are abreast of modern arsenals of war as well as sharper and more scientific methods of intelligence gathering, should have rather been brought in to deal with the increasingly intractable problem of Boko Haram insurgency and other security challenges.

Well, as we said earlier, all those who hold such archaic views regarding Gusau are myopic. Our savvy President, Goodluck Jonathan (Let those who are always branding him clueless eat their hearts out), made a perfect choice to have brought in Gusau at the nick of time.These detractors were even speculating that Jonathan would rather have Gusau out of reckoning as an unrepentant presidential contender against in 2015 and so the President gave the martinet the sinecure post of Defence Minister.

These detractors, of course, are the clueless ones. Have they not noticed that it is just when the Gusau phenomenon resurfaced that the military started recording some long-waited successes against Boko Haram.

Some mischief makers are running their mouths that that the recently appointed Service Chiefs who were also settling into their jobs and were apparently valiantly taking the battle to the insurgents would not want to be robbed of recognition and credit for the instant impact they are making. Hence they would not be too willing to defer to the new Minister of Defence, though a General of much longer standing than them, not to talk of Gusau’s deputy, the new Minister of State for Defence,the ‘Lagos boy’, Musiliu Obanikoro, considered a mere upstart in military and intelligence affairs,  not minding that he is a distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic, a diplomat and seasoned politician to boot.

Of course, all those thoughts are satanic.

The tale bearers reported that Gusau, apart from resigning, stayed away from the first Federal Executive meeting he would have attended as new minister because of the purported raw deal he got from the Service Chiefs.

Unconfirmed rebuttal by presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati, said Gusau did not play truancy, but rather caught a flu which he had to nurse, not a cold feet, mark you.

We shall continue to put our ears to the ground and keep you posted.

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Nigeria, Satire

Presidential visit, campaigns, Alam’s loot, Sanusi’s unending fiery darts and other matters arising.

For the umpteenth time, President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria is being harangued by the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, for not considering it pertinent to visit Yobe State as a show of empathising with the families and other residents of the state in the wake of the gruesome murder of about 29 school children by the ever deadly Boko Haram.
Asking the President to take a cue from what obtains in other climes, the APC challenged him to tell Nigerians why he has not or why he would not visit the scene of the gruesome murders.
Some observers believe the opposition is just trying to portray the much beloved and intrepid President as a lily-livered or insensitive chief of state.
We, however, believe this is not the case.
The opposition party had also accused the President and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, of embarking on premature electioneering campaigns.
Of course, as expected, Jonathan and his party mavericks as well as army of supporters would not be fazed by these spate of accusations. In any case, the ever impartial electoral umpire, the Independent National Commission (INEC), had promptly lent its voice to the fray by stating that all the political parties are guilty of this malfeasance.
Well, we expect that more than just a presidential visit, the President will be taking his party political campaign trail to the hot spots of the insurgencies in the North-Eastern part of the country to receive Boko Haram defectors whom we know are eager to come under the wide umbrella of the PDP, wide enough to shield all kinds of characters, especially the disaffected ‘decampees’ from the other parties – including, as some detractors have mischievously pointed out, ex-convicts, those who are under the EFCC rader, international fugitives, among others.
Some observers are even of the strong belief that the delegates’ list to the imminent National Conference is incomplete without Boko Haram members. We expect that the delegates will be led by the leader of the group, Shekau.

Alam’s loot.

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The one time Bayelsa State Governor, the feisty Diepreye Alamieyeseigha who went down the road of transvestism to evade the long arm of the law when he was being trailed for massively looting the treasures of the state, is alarmingly in the news lately. Alam, if you recall, graciously received unprecedented presidential pardon from his protege, President Jonathan.
His loot is currently the bone of contention. A private citizen who is a lawyer, purportedly acting on behalf of the state government, instituted a court action to compel the anti-graft agency, EFCC, to remit the forfeited loot to the state’s coffers.
The state government had since disowned the lawyer and his court action. Some mischief makers are, however, suspicious of the positions and reactions of the major players in the unfolding saga, especially the government and the anti-graft agency.
Well, we just want to remind the nosy Parkers that they are just raising false alarm. Whatever has happened, we want them to note that the value of the loot is less compared to one goat stolen by a common criminal or the twenty Naira pilfered by a pickpocket. As usual, everything will be swept under the carpet.

Sanusi’s unending fiery darts.

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The suspended Central Bank boss, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, is remorselessly shooting the breeze. He is still straining to make us believe that 20 billion dollars of the country’s fuel money went missing. He is relentlessly trying to demonise the petroleum behemoth, NNPC, as working with a cabal to generate slush funds for the ruling party to execute the forthcoming elections.
He reportedly told the New York Times in an interview, of his behind the scene jousting with some gnomes of the Nigerian banking world to expose the missing fuel money.
Alarmed by his threat to the bankers to open their books, two of them went straight to the government and reported him to a preeminent cabinet member.
As a result, he knew there and then that his days were numbered at the CBN.
Sanusi’s claims, as expected, had since been debunked by the government’s spokespersons.

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Abuja, Boko Haram, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, Gen. Sanni Abacha, Nigerian Heroes, President Goodluck Jonathan, Satire, The Centenary

The Centenary

The ongoing celebration of Nigeria’s centenary by the government of Nigeria under President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has been generating much controversies. While the government and its ardent supporters see it as an anniversary totally worthy of celebration, the army of detractors have been up in arms pillorying our beloved president and his administration for rolling out the drums and painting the city of Abuja red in conviviality while some other parts of the country are dripping in the precious blood of innocent souls being bombed out of existence or murdered in cold blood through the most heinous methods that can ever be imagined by the invincible and invisible Boko Haram.
The ever implacable critics of our ever lucky chief of state have also denigrated the list of the centenary honourees, maliciously nitpicking about such choices as as that of erstwhile butcher, sorry for the slip, rather lord of Aso Rock, military strongman, Sanni Abacha, whom the government decided to honour for his economic wizardry.
And regarding the case of the scions of a number of post humous honourees rejecting the awards bestowed on their progenitors, we can only advise them to be more patriotic.
And for those who are accusing the government of exhibiting colonial mentality by celebrating a past that is best forgotten and honouring our ancient oppressors, we say they need to think a little smarter. Would they have had a country called Nigeria if not for the ingenuity of our selfless colonial masters?
Some might for ever choose to see it as a contraption based on the whimsical fancy of Lord Lugard and his imperial consort, and rather prefer to have their Benin, Kanem Bornu and Oyo Empires or Sokoto Caliphate still intact. Well, we wish them good luck. That phrase again!
And for those busy bodies who have singled out our venerable Baba Iyabo, the General of Generals and President of Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo for genuflecting most piously to his protege, Goodluck Jonathan, during the assemblage of the country’s still living chiefs of state during the centenary bash, we dare say they are seeing mischief where there is none. These mischief makers are telling Jonathan to be wary of the ides of the centenary, as Baba Iyabo is never to be taken at face value.

While we are still talking about the centenary affairs, we would like to have your comments on these. We would also like to have your own list of Nigerian personalities, living or dead, whom you think deserve to be honoured or dishonoured for their heroism or villainy.

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