People

Solomon's Column

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This category  is all about the Nigerian government and its people. It takes a look at the economy, politics and all spheres of human endeavour in the country.

  • Laminated Papers As National Identity Cards

    On Wednesday, 28 September 2011, the Federal Executive Council approved N30.066 billion for the accelerated implementation of the ‘back-end’ component of the National Identity Management System(NIMS).

    The delivery date of the NIMS was December, 2013.

    It should be noted that the National Identity Management Commission(NIMC) was to receive a sum of N23.074 billion, in the last quarter of 2011, for the procurement of the redesigned multi-application National Identity Card.

    Before this time, the National Identity Card Scheme executed by SAGEM was a failure.

    NigeriaThe NIMC Act №23 of 2007 mandated the NIMC to establish a reliable, secure and ‘scalable’ identity management system that makes use of advance Bio-metrics technologies to identify every individual in Nigeria in unique ways.

    Despite the colossal amount government has expended on the project, most Nigerians, who have registered have only laminated papers to present where necessary.

    Although choice brand of papers serve the same purpose, on a condition that negotiated payments are made to the relevant officials.

    The insinuation is that the laminated papers are just open cover ups for the failed project.

    The expectations of Nigerians were that , upon completion of registration, physical cards would be issued. This is not the case.

    Nigeria 1At the NIMC registration center at the University College Hospital(UCH)Ibadan, Nigerians are made to pay N100.00 for the registration form, while N500.00 is the amount for the change of name after registration and other unspecified fees for the lamination of the registration slip. There are other hidden fees.

    The NIMC officials also instruct people to write their Bank Verification Numbers(BVN) on the form. Nigerians want to know the reason why this is so ?

    Of worry, is the rude behavior exhibited by the NIMC officials in a sizable number of centers, which over time has discouraged several Nigerians from having faith in the project.

    Indeed, NIMC proudly insists that over the years, it has issued out millions of the National Identification Numbers(NIN), even though it has continuously avoided making categorical statements on the Identity Cards.

    Nigerians have the impression that the project is one among several white elephant projects of government.

  • Governing the States of Nigeria in Filth

    Most state Governments in Nigeria have over the years failed to ensure that the environment is habitable .

    Even though the state governments introduced task forces to enforce environmental regulations and expended large sums of money on sanitation, the environment in most states still remain dirty.

    Interestingly, Waste Management Boards in the states have done little or nothing to improve the worrisome situation.

    Ogunpa riverHowever, the boards have been up beat in seemingly generating revenue for government, despite the poor state of the environment.

    Of worry, is the recycling of quack ideas, which has resulted in the conversion of the multi-billion Naira Ogunpa River Channelization scheme in Ibadan, Oyo state to a major refuse dump.

    No doubt the negative habits of the people have for long been a major factor that has contributed to the poor state of the environment, just as government seeks solace in its feeble efforts to reverse the ugly trend.

    Heaps of refuse at every available space constitute a major feature in most cities.

    RefuseIndeed, the irregular payment of salaries by state Governments, has further encouraged public servants to compromise environmental laws for monetary gains.

    Sadly, environmental mismanagement in all its ramification has resulted in unreported cases of bad health conditions, with origins from identified environmental nuisances.

    It should be noted that most state governments have displayed the lack of political will to decisively enforce policies on the environment.

    Political considerations have, not surprisingly, overwhelmed the governance abilities of a sizable number of political office holders, to the extent that the absurd is now the order of the day.

    For instance, in the Olorunsogo, Molete area of Ibadan a landlady of a two storey building, Mrs. Ajayi and her tenants of №5 Kehinde Aderibigbe street, have for several years converted the building beside theirs(№3) to a refuse dump, where they also deposit excreta.

    Even though the Environmental Health Officers in charge of the community are aware of the ugly development, monetary considerations have beclouded their quest for professionalism.

    Without doubt, governance cannot go on smoothly in a dirty environment, especially when lawlessness and criminality are the trend. This is the situation in most states of the federation.

  • Nigeria and Its Health Challenges

    Health 1The Federal Government has lost grip of the health sector.

    Nigerians now seek God’s intervention in issues pertaining to health care delivery.

    Most public hospitals are now designated mortuaries, where Nigerians are left to die, rather than recover from aliments.

    Interestingly the citizenry now resort to self-medication and traditional healing therapy as a result of their poor economic status.

    Sadly, most health workers lack the requisite skills needed to be proactive on their jobs.

    All these put together has resulted in high infant and maternal mortality and the prevalence of several diseases.

    In some hospitals, patients are required to buy sachets of water for medical tests.

    Government at all levels ought to set goals for a better health care, but this is yet to occur.

    Nigerians hope to experience an increase in life expectancy, while also coming to terms with high and substantial levels of immunization against all vaccine preventable diseases and attaining national self sufficiency in vaccine production.

    Health 3Up till this moment, government at all levels are yet to ensure that universal access to primary health care becomes a reality, in terms of support, community engagement and participation.

    Government has not performed commendably in the eradication, control and prevention of epidemic diseases. Why ? The corruption and rot in the system. Perhaps.

    Indeed, it is possible for the three tires of government to achieve adequate supply of essential drugs to all health facilities, but activities of government officials have become the major impediment.

    It is only in an enabling environment, that the government would be able to resuscitate a viable secondary health care system.

    Unfortunately, several uncompleted projects characterize health facilities across the country.

    Of disturbing worry, is the fact that commercialization of some hospitals’ functions, is strangulating the already impoverished population, just as it is doubtful if existing health policies can take care of exigencies of this present time.

  • Nigerians and Their Quest for Affordable Education

    Vital literacy indicators reveal a deplorable condition in the Nigerian educational system.

    Indeed, adult literacy rate is embarrassing, while the number of out-of-school children has reached an all time high rate.

    Trailing the fallen standard of education at all levels, is the ever increasing rate of drop-outs today.

    With particular reference to the Secondary and Tertiary levels of education, cultism, gangster ism and prostitution have become the popular choice for undergraduates and students in educational institutions across the states of the federation.

    Shortage of qualified teachers, lack of teaching aids,recreational facilities in schools and basic infrastructure are just a few among the sore points of schools in Nigeria.Nigeria 9

    Of serious worry are the poor sanitation, overcrowding in class rooms, poor conditions of service for teachers, which has resulted in the poor quality of teaching and poor quality of products, all put together, have become negative signposts of the school environment. 

    Sadly, poor educational management, a reflection of the poor inter-sectoral allocation, multiplicity of agencies with duplicated functions and inadequate coordination, have all made education administration in most states questionable and fraudulent.

    The weak support for education by government at all levels, is a manifestation of the ineptitude of government officials.

    Nigeria 10Government’s deliberate neglect in the management of the education sector may eventually result in the total collapse of the public education system.

    The shortcomings of government has heightened the stakes for private investors and made the education sector very lucrative.

    With the profit motive as the major emphasis and driving force, educational institutions are now germinating like pure water factories in very nook and cranny of Nigeria, while at the same time, such institutions are turning out educationally unacceptable products.

    With all these in mind, Nigerians are urgently asking :

    1. Can government at all levels make education available, relevant, accessible and affordable to all Nigerians ?
    2. Can government at all levels ensure immediate and long term social and economic returns from education ?
    3. Are public educational institutions, considering their present state, competent to produce skilled manpower ?

    Answers to these questions are in the public domain for everyone to draw conclusions.

  • Is One Week Enough for INEC To Address The Glaring Lapses ?

    There is widespread discontentment across Nigeria, against the postponement of the Presidential, National Assembly, Governorship and the  State Houses of Assembly elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) .

    Nigerians are fully convinced that there is a lot of foul play, regardless of the reasons put forward by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.

    Interestingly, the Minister of State for Aviation,  Sirika Hadi insisted that the INEC Chairman's claim that bad weather contributed to the postponement of the general elections, was a lie, while stressing that airports across the country were directed to remain open round the clock.

    Before the eventual postponement, Nigerians were subjected to funny treatment by INEC staff, in their bid to register and  collect their Permanent Voters Cards(PVC) in several parts of the country.

    Sadly, a large population of Nigerians are yet to collect their PVCs , just as INEC  has refused to make public the total number of PVCs that have been collected by prospective voters nationwide.

    Of note, is the fact that Prof. Yakubu has admitted that the Senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC) for the Niger East Senatorial District of Niger state,  Mohammed  Sani Musa, was a registered contractor with the commission.

    Musa's company, Activate Technologies, is responsible for the supply of the machines that INEC used to print the PVCs.

    Even though Prof. Yakubu asserted that all is well, this is far from the truth, considering unfolding events that has made it very glaring that the electoral process has been compromised.

    Of great worry, is that fact that the INEC headquarters has recalled all the Smart Card Readers(SCR) from all its state offices in the country. Why ?

      This is the reality of the present time.

    The electoral process had long been designed to suit the wishes of the ''POWERS THAT BE''  and the postponement was just a face saving strategy.

    Inec 7Most members of the National Youth Service Corps(NYSC) recruited as Ad hoc staff by the electoral umpire, had earlier on influenced their NYSC postings to choice states, while a negligible number of those who were lucky to be recruited by INEC, were stranded on the day of the postponed elections.

    They had no accommodation, the commission did not release their allowances and most of them were unable to locate the polling units they were posted to.

    In the Oyo state office of INEC, a day before the postponed  general elections, Journalists and Observers were sighted  in business centres making frantic efforts to laminate their passport photographs on the  papers, officials of INEC gave  to them as accreditation.

    Sadly, these papers might have got into the hands of individuals who have perfected same for an unknown agenda, although the commission received adequate funds to  facilitate a convincing accreditation exercise for Journalists and Observers.

    A Lagos Lawyer argued that it was illegal for the Acting Inspector General to restrict the movement of people and vehicles during elections.

    The action of the Acting Inspector General might have made the electorate to lose confidence in the system.

    Also disturbing, is the issue of the head of the electoral body donning the face cap with the logo and colours of the ruling party in a Television documentary.

    Top politicians, speaking incognito, argue that the letter the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami wrote to the commission, requesting for the postponement of elections  in Zamafara state and the lingering crisis in the ruling party's Rivers state chapter, contributed to the sudden decision of the umpire to shift the date of the general elections.

    Indeed, the decision of the commission to resort to postponement is a demonstration of the high level of incompetence of those who call the shots in the commission.

    With several lapses still waiting in the wings to pop up and the pretense of the commission that it would correct  the situation within one week , it is doubtful if one week would be enough for the commission to address the several shortcomings, man-made or designed, to enable Nigerians elect a new generation of leaders that would steer the troubled ship of governance for the next four years.

  • The Nigerian Economy and Governance

    Nigerians are proud to live in a country with a land area of923,773km 2, with varied vegetation and types of soil, suitable for various agricultural purposes.

    In 1960 and the years following, up till the early 1970s, Nigeria's economy was between the agricultural friendly ''grassroots'' and the ''white collar'' city oriented centre. All that had to do with the production of goods were concentrated in the city, while a large percentage of Nigerians resided in the villages, with farming as  their major occupation. The villages, then, lacked major amenities of life.

    Governance during this period, was with a chain of challenges. Then, most of the earnings from export were from agriculture, while 65 % of Gross Domestic Product(GDP) also came from the sector. Nearly 50 % of Government revenue in 1960 could be traced to agriculture.

    Today, as in the 60s, the provision of quantitative and qualitative education, quality health care delivery and the absence of social and economic infrastructure, are just a few in the long list of challenges that confronts Government.

    In 1973, when crude oil emerged as the mainstay of the economy, government took a ''nap'', having noticed the 'light at the end of the tunnel '.

    That 'nap', was at great cost, as can be seen in the unfolding events of the present time. In 1980, crude oil constituted 81.1% of Government revenue and 96.1% of export earnings.

    Indeed, the  growth of the economy was tied to projected earnings from crude oil exports, this was despite the fact that signs had began to manifest on the imminent collapse of crude oil prices in the international market.

    With fiscal and current account deficits, occasioned by falling crude oil prices, resulting in internal and external imbalance, the only option open to Government is to borrow from international financial institutions.

     

     

  • Governance in Nigeria : The Unanswered Question

    Nigerians have for several years embarked on the journey to promote a just and equitable society without encouraging results.

    This is regardless of the countless number of prominent citizens, who belong to the private and public sectors, including the civil society community at home and in diaspora.

    Sadly, most of the innovative ideas and policy options of governance have failed woefully to serve as springboard for the country's social, political and economic emancipation from the vicious circle  of underdevelopment.

    Of note, is the fact that Nigeria is yet to attain the status of a free, dynamic and knowledge based economy, this is just as there are no genuine signs of commitment  to fairness, equity and justice.

    The foregoing stems from bad and improper  governance at all levels of government. 

    Decisions and policies of government are guided by self-centered ideals and obsessive greed.

     Most political office holders lack ideology and principles to recommend a soothing cure for the country's ailments, this is convincingly reflected in the very weak economic and political reforms which are without doubt not the compass for a new world order.

    The myriad of problems confronting the country amplifies the need for transparent and incorruptible institutions to decisively address pressing issues which have taken a political turn.

    Those institutions that were in place from time immemorial, might not have achieved the purpose for which they were established, even though enormous financial resources heralded their establishment.

    The major questions on the lips of most Nigerians, include, Who is saddled with the responsibilities for policy formulation and governance under  the present dispensation?

    Is it the state or does it rest on the exploitative hands of a few private individuals ?

    These questions remain unanswered, definitely not one of the high points of Democracy.

  • The Progressives : Then and Now

    Chief Obafemi Awolowo was a political leader of Yoruba extraction, who lived by example.

    His leadership impacted positively on the Yoruba people, in all spheres of life. However, it is doubtful if those who hold sway in this dispensation followed his footsteps.

    Chief Awolowo had a formidable political structure that outlived him. In his time, politcal meetings were held at his Ikenne home in Ogun state.

    After the passing on to glory of Chief Awolowo, in the days of military rule, Chief Adekunle Ajasin, took over the mantle of leadership and meetings were held at his Owo home, Ondo state.

    During this period, the National Democratic Coalition(NADECO) came into being.

    After Chief Ajasin did his beat, Pa Abraham Adesanya  took over the structure up till the end of the military era.

    In the course of Pa Adesanya's leadership, those who could best be described as pseudo-Awoists and pseudo-democrats, were accepted into the fold, sadly, the true and real progressives were barred, due to the fact that they took up apointments in the military regime of the late despot, Gen. Sani Abacha.

    Now known as Afenifere, the group restricted its membership, while maintaining a closely knit relationship with the Alliance for Democracy(AD).

    At a glance, Afenifere was composed of the first generaton Awoists, the second 11 and the unknown elements.  

    The unknown  elements eventually hijacked the structure through unconventionl means.

    Of the first generation Awoists, only  a one time Governor of Lagos state, Alhaji Lateef Jakande is still alive.

    However, Chiefs Bisi Akande and Segun Osoba belong to the second 11, while others were not yet into reckoning during the functonal period of the group

    At a point in time, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, the Director of organization of  the Unity Party of Nigeria(UPN) then, stated that in 1982, during the last convention of the UPN, Chief Awolowo expressed the hope that  a time will come, when the good elements in the  conservatives  will join the good elements in the progressives to form a synthesis.

    But present happenings in the political sphere has defied this theory, rather polarization and division are tools that have brought about the present scheme of things.

    Of note, is the fact that the progressives of the time past, embarked on laudable programes such as free education, to empower the Yoruba people.

    Sadly, capitalist inclined policies, nocturnal ideals and preferences are the working tools of today's leaders in the South-west geo-political zone of Nigeria, to the chagrin of the disillusioned and impoverished people.

    The new definition of the progresives includes, but is not limited to, the paymnt of school fees in Primary and Secondary schools, introduction of mulitple tax regime and the preference for  mediocrity and people with doubtful educational qualificatons, to carry out government duties. So sad.

  • Restructuring and the Quest for Igbo Presidency

    In 1998, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization,Ohaneze Ndigbo restructured, 12 months after, the structure became a platform to campaign for Igbo presidency.

    Again,in 2004, the socio-cultural organization restructured,even though the general elections came up in 2007. Nigerians were of the opinion that  the presidency was for all Nigerians.

    Their arguments were hinged on the fact that no section of the country,was excluded from aspiring to the highest position in the land.

    Indeed,there has never been and there is  still no constitutional provision or clause that allows for the exclusion of any tribe to vie for the presidency.

    Interestingly, Ohaneze, is a South East Geo-Political zone based socio-cultural organization, which projects the interests of Ndigbo in particular, and the rest of Nigeria in general.

    Although, at a particular point in time the organization was accused of been elitist. 

    The objective, according to a cross section of those who are members of the organization, is to ensure that the ordinary  man in the street is a  member.

    However,they  argue that anybody who is Igbo or of Igbo extraction,within Igboland or in Diaspora,is considered a member of Ohaneze. Such individuals, according the organization can attend  meetings without a third party making introduction.

    'You can come to an Ohaneze meeting without anybody introducing you. If there is any need to introduce yourself, you get up and tell them who you are'', they stated.

    Sadly, this is not the situation in the diaspora, including Oyo state.

    In an interview in 2004, the President of the Anambra state chapter of Ohaneze, Dozie Ikedife,had insisted then, that restructuring was on course, irrespective of any presidential election.

    'If it happens that no Igbo man is installed as President this time around, Ohaneze will still play its role to ensure that a President is installed in this country and that things move on peacefully with a sense of equity, fair play,justice and enhancement of the sense of belonging for all'', Ikedife had declared.

    The then President of Ohaneze, Prof. Joe Irukwu was consistent in advocating for Igbo presidency, even though the hidden ambitions of his kith and  kin at home and in diaspora militated against his advocacy.

    However,  a one time Governor of old Anambra state, Chief Christian Onoh,once observed that state Governors of the South-East geo-political zone have always worked at cross purposes, when it involved the Igbo Presidential project.

    'We should tell ourselves the home truth-our Governors are not united',Chief Onoh had noted.

    Sadly, some members of the political class in Igboland, project Igbo Presidency in broad day light, while vigorously facilitating an agenda at variance with the collective interests and aspirations of Ndigbo,under the cover of darkness, 'when NEPA don take light'.

    Since no tribe or ethnic group has been excluded from Nigeria, the debate about who occupy the number one seat in 2019 and beyond,should be for all and sundry. Perhaps

  • National Identity, Ethnic Thoughts and Nation Building

    The financial greed of political exposed persons in Nigeria is a major problem of nation building.

    Indeed, when Chief(Dr.)Olusegun obasanjo was the President, the then Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, his kinsman, was put forward as a model to discourage financial crimes.

    Till date, the Former Inspector General's travails is a talking point.

    Nigerians are laready exhibiting intolerant behaviour,perhaps, in violation of the 1999 amended constitution, to oppose a second term presidency for President Muahammadu Buhari. Why ? The anti-corruption fight in this dispensation has not been impressive among other neglected aspects of governance. The former Secetary to the Government of the Federation  and several other high profile public office holders remain credible reference points.

    As mediocrity becomes the popular choice for political office holders at the Federal, State and Local Government levels, hitherto  vibrant institutions have been weakened to damaging and ridiculous levels.

    The President's constitutional breaches have come under the heavy 'fire power' of moral indignation by milions of Nigerians, with the President's media handlers reacting feebly and unconvincingly.

    Interestingly, Nigerians have interpreted the statement creditied to the Director General of the National Identity Card Management Commission(NIMC) that embarrassment awaits Nigerians who have not registered for the Nationa Identity Number(NIN), as an open threat and subtle intimidation.

    The Commission had earlier in the year, lamented that lack of funds was limiting the commission's plans to produce the National Identity cards for Nigerians. Why the sudden desperation to ensure that Nigerians obtain the NIN ?

    Part of the answer lies in the statement by the then Deputy Speaker of the Delta state House of Assembly, Pius Ewherido in 2005, ''Looking for an ethnic plaform, I think negates the entire concept of Democracy''.

    Also of worry, is the alarm raised by the Independent Natonal Electoral Commssion(INEC) that the  Permanent Voters Cards(PVC) are been cloned, this is coming on the heels of reports that desperate politicians are already purchasing the PVCs from uninformed Nigerians at the grass roots.

    The situation is made more confusing, with the satement of the Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, that there are threats to the country's cyberspace. How ? And why is it coming at a time that elections are coming up in Ekiti and Osun states, while the 2019 general elections is alos around the corner. Perhaps, Government is stll hiding a lot from Nigerians.

  • The Mindset of the the Government Worker in Nigeria

    In the present time, in Nigeria only a handful of civil and public servants take their duties seriously and wholeheartedly.

    Their attitude is directly related to the position of government  in the three tiers on issues of workers' welfare and conditions of service.

    Indeed, the  focus of those on government payroll in any given line of duty  or assignment is what is in it  to gain  and not what is ought to be done. In other words, selfless devotion to duty is no longer there.

    Assigned  tasks in the  Ministries, Departments and Agencies are no longer done properly and promptly. A sizable number of  workers, no longer possess senses of responsibility. Who is to blame ?

    For several years now, the monster of indiscipline has continued to fester. with due process as the major casuality. The struggle for ''power'' among government workers  is the most prominent activity going on in most offices.

    Sharp practices are the order of the day, this is partly as a result of the  sectional Democracy in vogue today.

    At the Federal , State and Local government levels, workers, who are co-opted to generate revenue  for government, make good use  of the opportunity to protect their future .

    The source of inspiration for these category,  of workers include stories of government  workers who retired in 2010 and are yet to be paid their gratuities.

    The popular discussion in most government  offices is the backlog of salary arrears owed workers, even though Comrades Ibrahim Yinsua Olayiwola and Adejare Ahmed of the Oyo state branch of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria(ASCSN) are of the opinion that workers should be devoted and committed to duty, to avoid  negative reports from their superiors.

    The worrisome question everywhere at present  is : has the insensitive attitude of government  ensured workers devotion and commitment  to duty ?

  • The Position of the State and the Killing of its Citizens

    Adolf Hitler labelled the extermination of the Jews in Europe, '' the final solution'', while the military dictatorship in Argentina which embarked on an unprecedented killing of its citizens code named same ''The process of National Integration''.

    The activities of insurgents and armed  herdsmen which have claimed thousands of livers are similar to the above mentioned/

    Between 1976 and 1983 millions of citizens lost their lives in Argentina. Death squads operating under secret circumstance and the cover of the state murdered about 11, 000 people, which are now described as ''The Disappeared''.

    Two million people escaped persecution, while hundreds of babies born to ''The Disappeared'', were either sold, bartered or murdered.

    Indeed, happenings in several states of Nigeria, including Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Kogi, Nasarawa and Kaduna, indicate that government is fully aware of the insecurity, even as the killings continue. This calls for concern.

    On March, 23, 1976, General Jourge Videla, Head of the Argentine Army overthrew the government of Isabelita Peron, a former night club dancer. No civilian government had completed its tenure, excerpt for Juan Peron's first term in office.

    General Videla hinged his action on the chronic inflation and high rate of unemployment that trailed Isabelita's government.

    However, in Nigeria, a retired Army General calls the shots, even though the country still experiences symptoms of economic recession, mass unemployment, corruption and insecurity.

    The Ejecrcito Revolcionario del Pueblo(ERP) and the Montotneros, took to kidnapping and killings. This plunged Argentina into crisis, in Nigeria, kidnapping and killings have gone on unabated. Political pundits put the blame at the door step of the present administration.

    Nigerians are worried that the government has done nothing noticeable to ensure that the country does not slip into anarchy.

    In 2009, the Defense Minister of Madagascar, Cecile Manorantha resigned  her appointment on the grounds that she  would not continue to be a part of a government that kills its people.

    Also, the people of Madagascar vigorously opposed the attempts by President Marc Ravalomanana to lease one million acres of their land in the South of the country to a Korean firm, Daewoo for intensive farming/ The people have deep ties with their land and consequently view the President's action as a betrayal.

    The same scenario is playing out in Nigeria.

    The insecurity in the land has made foreign investment impossible, while  the disenfranchised and poor majority look in the gloomy future for reprieve.

  • Workers Welfare : Michael Imoudu as a Role Model 3

    Discrimination was the order of the day during the colonial era. In November, 1947, Imoudu led others to demonstrate against racial discrimination at the Bristol Hotel, Lagos. 

    In the cause of the demonstration, he was physically assaulted and arrested by the Police.

    However, of worry, is the self-preservation approach of present day labour leaders.

    At different times, he mobilized the conference of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) to protest against colonial rule and also workers and peasants for the independence movement led by Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, during the nationwide tour of the National Council of Nigeria Citizens (NCNC), to raise funds and support for the Nigerian delegation to the constitutional conference in London.

    The Labour wing of the NC-Democratic Grand  Alliance, of which Imoudu was a member, won four seats in the Lagos Town Council elections in 1950.

    In 1964, Imoudu  led the general strike  against the restriction of Democracy, which was  targeted at compelling the Government to implement the report of the Morgan commission. In addition, he was a member of the Marxist Socialist Workers and Farmers Party.

    In the Second Republic, he was Vice President of the Peoples Redemption Party(PRP) led by Mallam Aminu Kano.

    His track record formed the basis for his becoming the founding President of the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) in 1964. The NLC of today possess a different design and ideology.

    Sadly, pragmatic approach to labour issues and concepts remain lacking, even as Labour leaders' sacrifices and tribulations for Nigerian workers are cosmetic, debatable and trailed by controversy.

    Those in the labour struggle, with Imoudu's frame of mind and character are relatively few and extremely difficult to identify, in these days of ''he who pays the piper, dictates the tune''.

     

  • Workers Welfare : Michael Imoudu as a Role Model 2

    The need for an increase in wages and better working conditions prompted Michael Imoudu to lead a demonstration from the locomotive yard in Ebute metta, Lagos to the Government House situated at Marina, Lagos Island, Lagos.

    The Governor General of the Colony of Lagos, Bernard Bourdillon noticed that any form of industrial action at that period, could disrupt railway supplies to the coalition, during the Second World War in 1941. It was on this premise he acceded to a 50 per cent pay rise for the workers.

    This success, further inspired Imoudu to put forward more demands, among which were conversion of daily casual labour to salaried employment, Saturday work with pay, permanence of daily labour, holiday travel grant and payment of arrears to cover 1932 to 1942 of unpaid entitlements.

    This did not go down well with Bourdillon, who facilitated the termination of Imoudu’s appointment on 23 January, 1943 and also ordered his arrest under the Nigeria General Defense Regulations, 1941.

    In quick succession he was relocated and remanded at the Benin prison, while in prison, he influenced inmates to demonstrate against poor feeding and other deplorable prison conditions.

    In response, the British Colonial Government in 1943, restricted Imoudu’s movement to the palace of the paramount Chief of Auchi and made an order for him to report twice a week to the Auchi Police station.

    As a result of a face off with the District Officer of Auchi and his moves to facilitate the establishment of peasants’ cooperatives for the benefit of peasants in Etsako and Ora, he was again remanded in the Auchi prison.

    Some of his comrades, including T.A Bankole openly spoke against Imoudu’s action, to the hearing of the Chief Secretary of Government.

    After spending two and a half years in prison, the labour activist was set free.

    A mass rally was held at Oko-Awo, Lagos to celebrate his release from prison, while nationalists such as Herbert Macaulay were on ground to grace the occasion.

    In June 1945, he successfully led over 30,000 workers to down tools for 44 days.

    The industrial action was hinged on the inability of the colonial Government to actualize the promise of Bourdillon in 1942, to review allowances according to living index.

    Bourdillon’ successor, Arthur Frederick Richards vigorously refused to pay the allowance.

    This resulted in the abrupt end of the unpopular Richards constitution, and set the stage for self government.

  • Workers Welfare : Michael Imoudu As A Role Model 1

    The activities of Labour leaders today is the raging  debate among workers in Nigeria. Workers express sadness and worry over the way their leaders handle issues concerning them.

    While the workers continue to wallow in the vicious cycle of poverty, hunger and worry, their leaders insist that they should be patient and show understanding with the Government.

    The agility and activeness of labour leaders of the present time, is determined by the political class and not by the deteriorating condition of workers in the country.

    Up till this moment, the name Michael  A thokhamien  Imoudu, represents a good example of a labour leader with a difference within the Nigerian territory and has continued to serve a s a source of inspiration  for the present set of labour leaders. Perhaps.

    Imoudu was born on 7, September, 1902, to a Soldier, who had fought in East Africa. His upbringing resulted into his fearless personality. He did not have fear for witches or wizards, master or servant, black or white.

    At the age of 14, he began his education at the Government school, Ora. In the course of his education, he received double promotion to standard one. After the death of his Father, the forward looking young Imoudu moved on in his quest for education, at various times at Ontisha, Benin, Sapele, Warri and Agbor.

    His adult life revolved on protests against wrong doing by constituted authority. As a student of the Government school, Agbor he staged his first protest.

    He led students of the school to protest against the alleged embezzlement of Empire funds by the school’s teachers. This resulted in the manhandling of the Headmaster.

    At various times, he worked as linesman in the Department of Post and Telegraph (P and T) in 1928 and an apprentice machinist at the Railway Corporation. He worked tirelessly on three shillings and four pence per day. The work conditions depressed those in the railway and it was noticeable, but the grievances of the railway men were uncoordinated. During the industrial action of the sectional foundery men in 1931, Imoudu spearheaded a platform to fight for the rights of workers. This he made possible by opting to work as journey man at a reduced wage of three shillings per day.

    On 20, January, 1940, Imoudu was the only one among his colleagues, who  signed the registration document of the Railway workers union and on 7, October, 1940, Imoudu was elected President of Railway men. 

  • Nigerian Politics and the Peoples' Predicament

     

    President buhari

    In politics, lessons are repeatedly taught and learnt. It is now left for those involved to modify their gains and loses to suit the situation they eventually find themselves.

    Regrettably, the laws of Niccolo Machiavelli have all along been wrongly applied in this clime.

    After the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) convention in 2003, Chief Barnabas Gemade made spirited attempts to be adopted as the Presidential candidate of the United Nigeria Peoples Party(UNPP), but failed. This was Chief Gemade's fall back option, when his future in the PDP became uncertain.

    Indeed, Chief Gemade was the backbone of the UNPP, in his home state, Benue, even though he was a card carrying member of the PDP. Not surprisingly, meetings were held in his home, with Chief Gemade in attendance. Of note, is that is followers held him in high esteem.

    Curiously, it was discovered that the former PDP National Chairman, contested the Presidential primaries, alongside, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, with the intention to use same as a bargaining chip to persuade the then President to compensate him with a 'mouth watering' political appointment. This did not sail through.

    Indeed, double standards, as a means to an end in politics has become a unique brand in Nigerian politics.

    Chief Gemade began losing his followers, after he abandoned Senator Daniel Saror, who he successfully convinced to let go of his senatorial ambition to contest for the Benue governorship seat on the platform of the UNPP.

    To be extra sure that Senator Saror abandoned his ambition, Chief Gemade boosted his morale financially and that was how Senator Saror was able to purchase the UNPP nomination form for a whooping N2 million.

    Interestingly, at the Swange cinema hall, Makurdi venue of the governorship primaries, Chief Gemade, with the financial backing of a political money bag, Usman Abubakar(a.k.a Young Alhaji) influenced the leadership of the UNPP in the state to adopt Mike Mku, instead of Senator Saror as the party's Gubernatorial candidate.

    Already, aspirants for elective positions in future elections are aligning and re aligning, while hinging their intentions on optimism.

    Indeed, a sizable number of these aspirants rely solely on optimism and money(for the money bags), as a strategy to hoodwink their competent opponents to the bargaining table, with hope that rewarding agreements would be made.

    With this in mind, the average Nigerian, contending with insecurity and economic hardships, brought about by bad governance, is of the hope that the same quality of political office holders, presently on display, would not re-emerge to torment and torture all and sundry in a new dispensation.

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