Human Interest Stories
Former Mayor of Adelanto Arrested on Wire Fraud and Bribery Charges Alleging Illicit Payments for Support of Commercial Marijuana Activity
Press Release Friday, August 13, 2021RIVERSIDE, California – The former mayor of Adelanto was arrested today by special agents of the FBI on a federal grand jury indictment alleging he accepted more than $57,000 in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for approving ordinances authorizing various types of commercial marijuana activity within the city, and ensuring his co-schemers obtained city licenses or permits authorizing certain commercial marijuana activities.
Richard Allen Kerr, 64, of Adelanto, was taken into federal custody without incident this morning. He is charged with seven counts of honest services wire fraud and two counts of bribery.
Kerr, who served as Adelanto’s mayor from 2014 to 2018, is expected to make his initial appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Riverside.
According to the indictment returned on August 11, as part of his official duties, Kerr voted on ordinances governing zoning regulations in the city and served on Adelanto’s Cannabis Dispensary Permit Committee, which determined the number of dispensary permits that would be issued and which applicants would receive them.
As mayor, Kerr supported marijuana legalization, voted in favor of an ordinance authorizing marijuana cultivation in the city, voted in favor of an ordinance authorizing the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries, and voted to authorize the distribution, transportation, and testing of medical marijuana, among other commercial marijuana activities. At the same time, Kerr secretly used his official position to enrich himself and his co-schemers bypassing these same ordinances, according to the indictment.
Kerr allegedly also drafted zones for commercial marijuana activities to include locations used by his co-schemers, and he ensured they obtained the licenses and permits they sought – in exchange for bribes, kickbacks, and gifts.
Kerr’s alleged co-schemers were a lawyer who specialized in plaintiffs’ tort litigation – identified in the indictment as “Person A” – and two individuals – labeled “Person C and “Person D” – who had business interests in the city, including those involving marijuana cultivation.
The bribes and kickbacks were disguised by Kerr and his co-schemers as gifts, donations to a charitable fund, donations to Kerr’s election campaign, or advance payments for the proceeds of planned litigation associated with a motorcycle accident.
In exchange for the bribes and kickbacks, Kerr provided favorable official action on behalf of the city to Person A, Person C, and other co-schemers with business interests in the city by authorizing various types of commercial marijuana activities, ensuring his supporters obtained the licenses or permits they sought and interfering with enforcement activities by city officials.
For example, on November 29, 2016, the Adelanto City Council held a public discussion related to an ordinance, including a discussion of “overlay zones” within which medical marijuana dispensaries would be located. The initial proposal included two zones, neither of which included a former restaurant – purchased two months earlier by Person A and his spouse.
During the discussion, Kerr requested a change in the boundaries of the second overlay zone, which expanded the zone to include Person A’s business. The plans for the business initially called for the building to be an attorney’s office, although they included items such as “elongated sales counters,” a “dispensing room,” “cashier,” and “security room,” the indictment alleges.
On December 5, 2016, Kerr deposited a $5,000 check – dated November 29, 2016 – from Person A’s real estate trust account into his bank account, and the check’s memorandum line read, “ADV XMAS FUND.”
In May 2017, Kerr voted twice in favor of a city ordinance that included Person A’s business in the marijuana dispensary overlay zone. In February, June, and August of 2017, Kerr deposited three $10,000 checks from Person A’s law firm, with the memorandum lines of each check stating, “ADVANCE.”
In total, Kerr accepted at least $57,500 in bribes and kickbacks from Person A, Person C, and other co-schemers.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted of all charges, Kerr would face a statutory maximum sentence of 160 years in federal prison.
The FBI investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Sean D. Peterson of the Riverside Branch Office is prosecuting this case
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – An Illinois man was sentenced today to 10 months in federal prison for sending a threatening message through social media to a West Virginia law enforcement officer.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Rodney Hanson, 37, sent a threatening Facebook message on January 8, 2019, to a law enforcement officer in Putnam County after a police involved shooting. Hanson pleaded guilty in May 2021 to transmitting an interstate threatening communication.
Acting United States Attorney Lisa G. Johnston made the announcement and commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers imposed the sentenced. Assistant United States Attorney Ryan A. Keefe handled the prosecution.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:20-cr-00169.
Source : FBI
Life is but a double-edged sword, where the truth is bitter because people are not ready to sacrifice pleasure so that others live comfortably due to the poisonous syndrome of metaphoric bile in the sack of ego-centeredness.
When you see people accepting their faults to make corrections for positive change it is because they love to take the bitter capsule of the truth even when it is not sugar-coated because they love to live exemplary lifestyles without any stain on their white cloth.
However, the other edge of the sword is that of work without pleasure which must be taken hook, line, and sinker in order to live well.
This is a part of taking due process in rising to stardom, but when people find it difficult to achieve, they seek fora shortcut to engage in sharp practices through taking to the path of falsehood and other diabolical means.
Human beings, generally have to realize the need to acknowledge and take to the golden rules of the law-penal code or sharia to meet up with the vision of God on the creation of which each of us is infinitesimal in size and number for us to be considered important or been above the law driven by the design of God, the almighty Allah.
The Holy Quran 2: 201-202 refers,'' And there are men who say: Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and save us from the torment of the fire to these will be allotted what they have earned and Allah is quick in account.''
To strike a balance, therefore, it is necessary to go the way of God in our pursuit of acquiring wealth to keep the body and soul together, otherwise may end up in sins and crimes to lose heaven which is more important not only to the soul but to the entire reasons for existence.
The Holy Bible Matthew 5: 13-14harpsonthe issue of the way to heaven and the way to hell, '' 13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.''
Only a few people find that road(while living in the material world of temptations and survival).
The wide road of sins and crimes is aptly described in 1Corinthians 6: 9-10, Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
The best references to this will be found in Matthew 5: 17-19,'' 17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
19 Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
From the classical example of how the holy Prophet Mohammed was able to make it become a perfect example for mankind, we can equally source our strength to overcome the temptations in the world
of materialism in which we live.
The best of our reference is in the Holy Quran 6: 162-163, Say(and follow): Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life, and my death, are all for Allah, the Cherisher of the world. No partner hath
He: This am I commanded and I am the first of those who submit to His will(through body preservation from sins and crimes by following the rule of law or sharia and soul purification from devilish thought processes upholding truth even against all odds in acts, deeds, words, and thoughts to be wholesome always).''
Let us all follow the noble path of honor rather than the disgraceful path of perdition.
Heaven must be preferred to the bottomless pit which is hell.
Without education, the whole world would have remained static in terms of civilization and development.
Unfortunately for human beings, we fail most of the time to act within the limits of the positive values for knowledge application. This is the reason for the destruction of what has been built over time.
Education, therefore, must be seen within the perspective of knowledge acquisition, wisdom for experience, and the power of a discerning mind to be able to be all-encompassing in taking the right decisions that would be accurate and precise at all times.
In the area of teaching education, the emphasis must be on the positive mindset to be able to bring out the best in the learners so that they would be positive change agents, on the issues of affecting or operating the system on the basis of justice and equity to meet up with the demands of human needs as an essential value of education if and only if we want peace, development alongside safety and security valves for the regulation and control at a sustainable level.
Education must be perceived as the process of facilitating learning or the acquisition of knowledge through skills on values, morals, beliefs, and habits.
Educational methods must include teaching, preaching, sermon, training, storytelling, discussion, critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, and directed research to manage today for a better tomorrow against all odds.
The educational domains must be explored to be able to achieve a functional education in the graduates.
Graduates must also possess the confidence, self-esteem, and positive mental attitude to be able to carry responsibilities independently to the point of engaging in the critical evaluation of issues to arrive at accurate decisions.
Furthermore, education must be adequately funded to achieve satisfactory results at all levels.
Above all, education is systematic development or training of the mind, capabilities, or character through a systematic instructional process. It is an essential tool to make every sub-system to be functional for the dynamics of the system.
Parental responsibility is in good child-rearing nature nurturing of the youth in their adolescent stage of life as well as all-encompassing empowerment for the young adults in been well educated into professional achievement and happy marriage.
However, the Holy Bible is specific in Proverbs 31 : 3-5, ''3 Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
5 Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.''
In the same vein, parental responsibility in showing role model virtue for children to be rightly empowered into good citizenry-social and spiritual.
The Holy Quran 31: 17-19 is a good point of reference for a universal guide.
''O my son! Establish regular prayer, enjoy what is just and forbid what is wrong: And bear with patient constancy whatever betide thee; for this is the firmness of purpose in the conduct of affairs and swells not thy cheek for pride at men, nor walk in insolence through the earth: For Allah loveth not any arrogant boaster and be moderate in thy pace and lower thy voice, for the harshest of sands, without doubt, is the gain of the ass.''
The behavioral aspects of our lives, with body language inclusive, must not comply with the quality standard of the culture in which we are born and live, it must equally be in alignment and conformity with our chosen religious creed. The overall goal is for the child to develop into a reliable and dependable status of maturity, hence, the Holy Bible Proverbs 31: 8-9 includes as part of the responsibility as parents the following wise sayings which we must work on to live a fulfilled life.
''8 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously and plead the cause of the poor and needy.''
Let us remember that the man would die in that person who keeps mute in the face of tyranny. Several rulers in the world play Nero the Emperor who ruled during his time through oppressive means to impoverish the land and the people while using the resources of the land to build personal castles around himself with blatant impunity.
Only children who are thoroughly bred and well reared can play significant roles in the scheme of community service and nation-building. Let this be the challenge and focus on which we need to walk the talk.
Also read-Legalizing Crime and Criminality
The word respect is an attribute that usually manifests in mankind and animals as an attitudinal outburst that has direct bearing with humility.
Between man and God, obedience to the rule of law as dictated by the almighty is a perfect condition under which man's prayer request can be granted. This implies that respect is better appreciated by a superior person when his will is followed.
In all spheres of human endeavor, respect is a common denomination through which we can realize cordial interpersonal relationships which by extension would lead to the realization of one's desire and the creation of peace for the environment to be conducive for all in our day to day activities.
A child carries out the will of its parents to attract their love and readiness to carry out their responsibilities on such children without looking back.
In the traditional setting, age is regarded as topmost for parents and the elderly ones including siblings.
When this is violated, a situation of bad blood is created to generate hatred.
In other of our lifestyles, respect is either commanded or forced through such privileges of wealth, influence, and affluence that make one become a star or superstar or personality worthy of focus in the society.
Respect for the positions of influence such as that of the Kings, parents, Chiefs, and business persons is established naturally when the environment of ethical revolution or practices is identified in such a person's struggle or rising profile to stardom.
Hard work, self-esteem, and other attributes of good conduct always attract respect.
However, when the end cannot justify the means such as in the case of politics with deceit, wealth through foul play, positions of influence through diabolical means, certification through fraudulent means, respect is easily lost because the end must justify the means.
Today, several societies have lost the culture of commanding respect even from the people they serve because of the various diabolical ways through which they achieve their aims.
Rich people are taunted and despised and people are afraid of seeking help from them not to become a perishable material for ritual purposes.
This occurs mainly in such societies where the dignity of labor is lost and acclaimed successes are achieved and recorded through smart practices that lack merit. In this circumstance, armed robbers, ritualists, and other categories of criminals may become Obas, Obis, or Emirs and will be surrounded by charlatans who will be installed and paraded as Chiefs with an overwhelming power of control over the wealth and resources of the society.
Such personalities may be hailed by the people who would ever believe that the material wealth of the personalities is being forced on them, not necessarily as the right choice for the positions they occupy. Proverbially, the Yorubas will say that the world would continue to be in disarray when the elders are not given the accorded respect.
Parents do serve their children, teachers serve their pupils and students to give them the fundamentals of life so that in return after becoming senior citizens, the children when they grow up, would be able to take over the reins of power as regards parenting, teaching, and governance.
For every responsible parent to now have a bequeathable legacy, the children and the youth must learn correctly, to imbibe the value of respect for siblings, peer group, identified and distinguished talents, elders, and constituted authority.
We must not forget that the beauty of teaching and learning lies in our products having respect for all the above mentioned.
Let us all learn to respect ourselves by doing things accordingly based on due process and let us respect the views of others and the talents in them including age and other worthy values for us to be able to create a well-ordered society with accelerated development that is free of corruption to be able to enjoin and promote a bequeathable legacy. Respect and acknowledge others.
Every human being needs to realize that all nations or societies are created by God the almighty Allah with the specific purpose of worshipping Him. (Holy Quran 51: 56).
The consciousness of every human being to realize and observe this accordingly is the import of the Ramadan fast exercise in this sacred month.
Every nation or society is constituted by God the almighty Allah.
This is to be cultivated and managed by humans for our right habitation.
The need for divine intervention to make the work easy and orderly is through our realization of how best to worship Him for a perfect God/man relationship. The Ramadan fast is, therefore, meant for human spiritual rejuvenation, if rightly observed with the fear of God. (Holy Quran 2:21). Ramadan Kareem.
The clarion call of the almighty Allah for every human to get closer to Him to enjoy the benefit of life on earth with a great reward of Janat or paradise is yet to be heeded by many. The Ramadan exercise offers us the opportunity to do things according to the wish of God and to realize a safe sojourn on earth and the blessings of the hereafter.
Ensure you imbibe the lessons from various Sermons, Lectures, and Tafsir for the right guidance. (Holy Quran 2: 201-202). Ramadan Kareem.
Be reminded of the fact that Ramadan fast is made compulsory for the living ones who are Muslims just like education is compulsory for all to be wholesome in decision making and taking. Ramadan fast should be for 29 or 30 days, according to the injunctions of God for the training exercises in getting closer to God to be through. Be reasonable, therefore, not to abuse the privileges and the opportunities of been alive. (Holy Quran 3: 102). Ramadan Kareem.
The whole world is in a state of turmoil, longing to recapture the lost peace among its people. For example, insecurity is the order of the day as the greatest challenge of Nigerians. Let us all embrace the opportunity to gain the mercy of the first 10 days of the Ramadan fast, to be able to use the potential power of the fast for every heart to be touched by God into the keeping of good neighborliness, whereby love replaces hatred. Ramadan Kareem.
The design of God about creation in all spheres-celestial, terrestrial and subterranean is based on a hierarchical order. This is the basis upon which leadership and followership essence is built for system orderliness to be maintained and sustained.
However, among human beings, several factors define the due process for the realization.
Age differences within and outside the home is the primary determining factor whereby respect is naturally commanded by the elderly ones by their younger ones. This style of respect allows the elderly ones to give instructions to the younger ones to carry out certain assignments for them.
In this case, the elderly ones must pay the price for being socially responsible to the younger ones, if the line of respect manifesting in the form of obedience is to be maintained or sustained.
The husband will continue to be obeyed by his wife, primarily because of the age difference and the responsibilities of protecting and making provisions for the home.
Among the siblings, the age factor plays a crucial role in maintaining the order of obedience with the characteristic normal line of downflow current of command and upward flow charges of obedience.
Obedience, therefore, has a divine base that starts with God, the creator, demanding mankind and other creatures to swim in the ocean of obedience to His divine command.
This is, generally, followed in all systems of human administration whereby all subordinates are expected to carry out the command of instructions from their bosses or leaders.
Using the perspective of culture, the line of rulership usually follows the hierarchical order of the chiefs been respect by the people while the traditional rulers usually live by the laws of the land for the chiefs and the people to be in obeisance to his instructions.
Where the line of administration meets with the natural challenges of heterogeneous group components, the system order is always under the threat of disruptions to peaceful co-existence.
This is why all leaders must be well empowered with the paraphernalia of authority through the right capacity and capability building. to be able to weather the storm of possible rebellious acts from any of the chiefs or people of the underworld, who may hide under the guise of fighting for their rights.
There is, therefore, the need fr anybody aspiring to ascend to power or positions of authority to follow the path of due process to be able to use power wisely and enjoy the support of the subordinates.
In any organization or association, there are three major types of challenges for the leader.
Firstly, the leader must be able to identify the nature and the type of people under his leadership.
The prime movers, who easily identify with the policies of the leader to walk the talk must not be taken for granted, but with timely attention given the necessary motivation.
The second group may become a liability because of their lackadaisical attitude which may become a special hindrance factor to the system development because of their attitude of inactivity and passivity.
This is why the train the trainers' programs are usually needed periodically when such people are noticed in the system for them to be upgraded so that the fold of the prime movers is increased by better and manageable elements.
The third group is always very few, but usually catalytic to a destructive ned to the system, if not timely identified and rightly cultured through the leaders' sense of maturity and wisdom to resolve conflicts and manage a crisis.
Suffice it now to say that obedience, from working partners and subordinates, usually moves forward because of advancement to the organization for the aims and objectives including the vision of the leader to be easily accomplished.
When obedience is lacking there would be voices of dissent which would retard the growth of the organization even to a destructive end, if not timely and rightly checked.
Obedience is, therefore a divine substance that is freely given out when leaders can respect the fundamental human rights of the people to have access to any of the good things of life.
For example, when governance does not meet the wellness standard of the people through food insecurity, the issue of general insecurity could be likened to the response to the harshness of the time, in terms of poor governance that cannot meet with the expectation of the people's needs, disobedience to social order and the general rules of law snowballing into various crisis is, therefore, best treated and managed through doing the needful by the people in positions of authority.
Security and law enforcement agents become beasts of burden that are usually overtasked in maintaining law and order in the land when the leaders fail to do the needful on the survival need of the people.
In our various places of work, charges of insubordination may arise when the official duties are not carried out accordingly and without the show of remorse to make amends and it may lead to various unpleasant sanctions or disciplinary actions.
Obedience, therefore, is a function of self-respect, right performance, and a conducive environment for individual operations which are expected to be within the confines or ambits of the law.
Leaders across the board must, therefore, operate on the axis of justice and equity to be able to effect an environment of peace and development to avoid a state of disobedience from the people because it is only in an environment of peace, safe and secured, that we can realize prosperity and development for natural calmness to trigger obedience.
Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide,Wakajaiye, Ibadan, Nigeria
Human activities in our endeavor to live without starvation, keep a safe and secured environment and maintain cleanliness and sound health are always propelled into our seeking for jobs or creating jobs with a conducive environment for ease of achieving in the areas of production processes.
Fortunately, every project to be executed will always demand a test of skill as inherent in every individual. This must be developed to realize maximally good inputs and outputs through cooperative attitude and good teamwork spirit because every project will demand various skills from developed talents for ease of job completion.
A project would demand various expertise to collectively execute it.
Equally, project quality and standards are always demanded by the users who will not like to compromise in the market arena of local and global competitiveness.
Industries or companies, therefore, in their production processes will require for the best in the recruitment of workers, who they will expect to show competence, good work attitude disposition, and responsiveness in attending challenges of emerging situations to be able to break even in their cost-benefit analysis and consciousness.
Work ethics, therefore, will demand that all workers be assessed through SMART analysis by giving out specific jobs that would be measurable and achievable for the set goal to be realistically done within specified time-bound.
The behavioral aspect of every worker, therefore, matters so much to the management in their evaluation of individual contributions to productivity, efficiency, and profitability.
The importance of been diligent at work, therefore, comes up for the workers' scoreboard not to be below the expectations of the company's or industry's goal target.
Lazy or unruly workers may face the threat of future retrenchment or situational layoff when the performances are rated over the periodical assessment of performances by the establishment.
Lazy workers are always associated with idle hours which usually may result in a loss for the company or establishment, such people are regarded as not been diligent.
Workers are expected to be careful, the way they go about their routine duties at work through been diligent always for them to be able to handle their projects and enterprises in the future, most especially after retirement or personal disengagement from government work or the private establishment.
Workers today, must always see themselves as learners on the job by been conscious or been amenable to supervision or monitoring by their superiors whose powers of recommendation can influence management decisions and determine their future endeavors.
Diligence, is, therefore, a work habit that will always attract others to call us to repeat the feat elsewhere for a greater reward.
Diligence has a direct bearing on job satisfaction to attract management motivation for robust certification as a reward for a good job well done.
In the Curriculum vitae or Resume of the diligent worker, the sky is not only the limit for a greater height but universal patronage in the world of competitiveness and global best practices.
Diligent people stand before Kings and interact with successful people in life, but they need to be very painstaking to cross the hurdles of life which are necessary to be used as tools for one's reinforcement and acquisition of higher skills. Be culturally diligent, be able to stoop to conquer the whole world as symbols of success in our voyage of life to make ends meet.
Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide,Wakajaiye, Ibadan, Nigeria
Truth avails the nation the opportunity to grow and develop while falsehood drives the people into madness and wretchedness to force the nation to heads towards the precipice.
Religion stands in teaching and enforcing truth to the people in order that they eschew all forms of falsehood to be able to uphold the culture of the sincerity of purpose. The failure of people to live exemplary lifestyles may be negatively infectious to other people who are yet to be taught from the houses of God, on the essentials of upholding the truth to offer just worship in their different religions.
A good reference is in Matthew 5: 43-48,''43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.''
In the same vein, the almighty Allah confirms the statement to the last letter. The creation of heaven and earth was based on truth.
The Holy Quran 29: 44 asserts, ''Allah created the heavens and the earth in truth: verily in that is a sign for those who believe.''
The almighty God expects all interpersonal relationships and transactions among mankind to be based on the sincerity of purpose amidst the culture of truth.
Only in truth, we can realize good governance, a virile and prosperous nation, zero tolerance to indiscipline and corruption for sustainable wellness of the people, and a hitch-free development in an environment that is safe and secured with peaceful co-existence.
The Holy Quran therefore, expects all Muslims to be the vanguard of truth for them to be good exemplars to people from other faiths such as the Jews, the Christians, and the Serbians, and any who believe in Allah or God and the last day and work righteousness with the non-discriminatory promise of a reward from their creator that they will live with all authority from their Lord of a life without fear or grief as expressly narrated in the Holy Quran 2: 62. From this set of people, we expect people from other faiths to learn and imbibe the culture of truth and non-injurious lifestyles to others, that is, keeping of good neighborliness.
In the holy Quran 2: 42, it is clearly stated and admonished for all like the people of Nigeria for example, and other nations that are struggling to live by the truth for professional ethics to be the basis of the fabric upon which the mainframe of all institutions, Ministries, Departments and Agencies and the government are to be built, in order to be progressive rather than retrogressive.
''And cover not Truth with falsehood, nor conceal the Truth when ye know what it is.''
The admonition, therefore, continues in the Holy Quran 2: 43-44 which if we can heed will solve our problems of insecurity and underdevelopment. ''And be steadfast in prayer: Give Zakat and bow down your heads with those who bow down in worship(live in humanity). The admonition now continues that we must all query our behavior and question our psyche on the level of heeding the admonition and why things go wrong with our nation. ''Do ye enjoy right conduct of the people and forget to practice it yourselves, and yet ye study the Scriptures?
Will ye not understand.''
All religious leaders need to examine their roles on the issue of been Scripture compliant and being answerable to God on making functional the religious system they uphold to be beneficial to community service and nation-building.
The Holy Quran 2: 119 is for our critical guide, ''Verily we have sent thee in truth as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner: But of thee, no question be asked of the companions of the blazing fire.''
Let us all take heed to be the vanguard of truth.
Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide,Wakajaiye, Ibadan, Nigeria
Self-centeredness ensures that political office holders are observed in their own affairs to the extent of losing communication with the people.
The failure to communicate with the people brings forth challenges in governance, while the desperate bid to protect self-driven interests could pave the way for different forms of insecurity.
In this interview, the Founder, Spiritual Head, and Grand Imam of Shafauden-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke opines that the self-centered nature of elected leaders is the major problem of underdeveloped nations, such as Nigeria.
Self-driven interests are now the major considerations in governance. Why is this so?
Self-centeredness falls into the lowest region of ego-building whereby a child up to the peak of its impressionable age will ever believe that every good thing must belong to him or her including his father's vehicle.
This is an Id region of human growth in which things are desired by mankind without considering the implications and consequences. They may even fight to possess what does not necessarily belong to them when found in the care of other people including their colleagues and parents.
Education is, therefore, expected for any individual to outgrow this region. When they are supposed to be regarded as been matured even though they are just entering the adolescent to puberty stage of their lives.
The exhibition of Id characteristics at this stage will attract a reaction from the society towards suspecting a psychological imbalance in such a person.
The adduced reason may be as a result of been overdependent on parents or guardians for their livelihood and upkeep.
In an unfortunate situation, it may be as a result of inherited traits from parents, such traits include stinginess.
Self-centeredness built into the ego region of any person will not only affect his or her expected contribution to society but equally affects negatively his or her relationship with others including his or her family members who are expected to be taken care of by him or her.
People with ego-based issues will find it difficult to uphold the concept of philanthropy in society for anybody including their kinsmen.
His or her expected age and opportunity of acquired wealth will cause such an individual a set-back and result in not reaching the super-ego region of life.
Such people, when given the opportunity to serve in sensitive positions of power, will easily develop the veins of Timocracy, whereby the individual would not see the essence of been in such positions of power for service, but more as an opportunity for business as usual and treasury looting. This is why the Yorubas believe that any individual acquiring wealth, illegally, to build an empire at the expense of his or her wellness, would eventually forfeit such wealth to other people after passing on to glory.
My belief is that the Scriptures also uphold this Yoruba philosophy.
The Yorubas equally teach us in their Proverbs that an elderly person who refuses to give out, most especially to the ladies and the younger ones, will not be noticed when such an individual is with tangible things on his head from the market place.
The life of charity is recommended for humankind to take care of the need of the world because the grasses are made for the purpose of the survival of the grasscutters.
The major problems of nations classified as underdeveloped or developing like Nigeria are not a result of a lack of natural resources -human and material-but because of the self-centered nature of their chosen leaders at all levels of governance.
It is rather unfortunate for any nation to have such a crop of people at the helm of affairs because under them kleptocracy would be the voice of their democracy, while the voters and the masses would reap the dividends of poverty because of the selfish nature of their leaders. A critical look into the reasons why several African nations suffer in the midst of plenty could be appreciated through the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs vis-a-vis, psychological needs, ensure safety and security needs, social needs of the people, self-esteem into the culture of integrity and actualization realm.
Expectedly, to be able to meet up, the Government must be able to effectively and maximally achieve in the areas of the provision of basic amenities for the purpose of people's wellness as well as the solid establishment of functional infrastructure for people to be dynamically productive through innovations and creativity to be able to go into job creation by people, coupled with government intervention on the issue of employment.
If this is truly achieved there would not be any form of agitations and security threat and the goal of democratic norms based on justice and equity would have produced for people the expected peace and sustainable development.
This is the basis of comparison between the acclaimed developed world and the underdeveloped nations, Nigeria inclusive.
Furthermore, the animal called man grows from Id to the level of the super-ego, is expected to be rational in making policies and decisions that would be beneficial to others.
This is expected to reflect in the way we rear our children from their baby class to that of responsible adults.
Unfortunately, the degree of success rate is crystal clear at the peak of Maslow's hierarchy of need, that is actualization realm which dwells mostly on personal achievements which the ignorant society celebrate overwhelmingly without considering the impact of such achievements on others.
The in-built self-centeredness into the actualization realm manifests most when such people have the opportunity to be in positions of power.
Ego-centeredness characteristics then dominate his management and administrative dispensation.
Such people may end up being richer than the state or nation or the business empire they are saddled to manage in trust for the purpose of building the people they are meant to serve.
Sensitization, therefore, needs to be mounted against self-centeredness through Olagoke Attitudinal Hierarchy of Needs, whereby people should be made to realize at the entry point of having the opportunity of admission into the academics and recruitment into establishments, on the need to shun selfishness, indiscipline, and corruption, but focus on the goal of productivity, goodwill, and profit for the establishment and that their main concern should be service to the people without living above their means otherwise the promotion exercises would be meaningless.
The Olagoke Hierarchy of Attitudinal Needs professes that the actualization realm of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs must be the bae value for mentorship essence followed by ethical practices, role modeling role through exemplary lifestyles, altruistic philosophy to enhance the concept of charity and philanthropy among the people who are lucky to be rich to complement the efforts of the government in satisfying the yearnings of the people.
Above all, for true statesmanship to be achieved, experienced senior citizens must struggle to get into the class of total personality when the characteristic value of integrity, forgiveness, love, selfless service, and conflict resolution facilitated by wisdom would create the natural class of distinction for such an elderly person.
Under this condition, selfishness will pave way for the keeping of good neighborliness as well as the culture of philanthropy will emerge to sustain the people and their nation.
Sychophants are present at all levels of Government. Their activities have become a stumbling block to development and economic prosperity.
A one-time president of Nigeria, the late Alhaji Sheu Shagari while commenting on the reason why Nigerian leaders failed in their office of responsibility, had said ''any leader who wants to succeed must check the activities of sycophants...... sycophants within the corridors of power have to a great extent made it difficult for a leader to be aware of the problem facing their people and what to do to alleviate their suffering.''
In this interview, the Founder, Spiritual Head, and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke opines that the negative culture of bastardization, insincerity, and destruction revolving around the activities of sycophants, have already crept into all the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies at all levels of government in Nigeria. Excerpts :
The insinuation among Nigerians is that sycophancy is the foundation for bad governance in the country. Do you agree?
Sycophancy is regarded as obsequious behavior towards someone of importance in order to gain an advantage. It is unfortunate that this is what has characterized the general features of our governance style in Nigeria. This has affected our ability to meet up with the standard of governance as propounded by the United Nations Development Program, that is, people's participation, respect for the rule of law, transparency in governance, responsiveness to people's yearnings and sense of want, equity in the distribution of our commonwealth most especially to the nationalities that constitute Nigeria. Other factors that have been traced to the activities of sycophants include
efficiency in productivity against the general loss of goodwill leading to our inability to pass the test of corporate governance perception index,
accountability as against the present records of treasury looting and corruption and strategic vision as against the present fire brigade approach in managing the affairs of the country and
lack of good governance due to sycophantic behavior of subordinates most especially those put in positions of responsibilities to feed the presidency or the State Governors has always been a grievous setback in achieving sustainable development in Nigeria.
Expectedly, democracy must stand on the two legs of justice and equity to give peace a place in the present state of insecurity claiming lives and property as well as impoverishing the people.
Democracy is expected to make those put in positions of power responsive and responsible in focusing on the wellness of the people.
Governance and democracy must therefore focus on the well being of the citizens to ensure that the eight-point component are intrinsically present in every person been governed through the following assessed wellness indices: sound mind, physically fit individuals, community participation for progress and development, good work attitude for high efficiency and productivity, safe and secured clean environment, emotional balance, high and pious spiritual state as well as finances that can support and sustain an individual and his dependants.
Sycophancy, therefore, has to do with bootlicking, trading in lies, deceit, propaganda for the person in charge of leadership, management, or governance to a misleading state of affairs.
Sycophancy often breeds anti-societal behavior to the amazement of the people in charge of the affairs of the state as could be witnessed in various processes of elections and appointments.
Sycophants in government, also constitute fifth columnists, they either work for the government in power or the opposition, without any consideration for the consequences on the development of the nation and the wellness of the people-the cartel and the cabal.
There is, therefore, the need for a paradigm shift from the culture of sycophancy to that of competence and merit, good work attitude, and appointment for people that would be responsive and responsible, fair and objective. This is because the negative culture of bastardization, insincerity, and destruction revolving around the activities of sycophants, have already crept into all the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies at all levels of government, besides this, it has destroyed the fabric of peaceful co-existence as well as all aspects of the general society, thereby, making sycophancy to be endemic and dangerous enough to pull down the nation.
Failure of leaders in a democracy to ensure good governance, the provision of functional infrastructure, and basic amenities for the wellness of all Nigerians, irrespective of their economic class will ever create a state of anarchy. Stop sycophantic acts.
The Holy Quran 30: 41-42, states that ''Mischief has appeared on land and sea because of the need that the hands of men have earned, that Allah may give them a taste of some of their deeds: in order that they may turn back from evil. Say: Travel through the earth and see what was the end of those before you: Most of them were idolators (hypocrite, liars, infidels, etc.)
From the perspective of the Holy Bible, Mathew 10: 20, then Jesus criticized the cities where he did most of his miracles. Jesus criticized those cities because the people there did not change their lives and stop sinning.''
On a serious note, Nigeria is blessed with several Churches, Mosques, and other faith-based houses of God, but their religious leaders neither fear God nor are Scripture compliant, for them to have the necessary impact on their people, the high and the low.
Although daily, they conduct services with music, funeral services inclusive, yet the people's behavior are yet to change for the better.
If the Holy Prophet Mohammed happened to be alive today, the regret would not spare all the Muslims for not ben able to use the Holy Quran to effect the necessary changes.
For Nigeria to be prevented from heading for the precipice, all the houses of God must be made to be alive to their responsibilities of teaching the Scripture for people's true followership and practice, to be able to live exemplary lifestyles that would be bequeathable as a legacy to the future generation.
We must allow God to illuminate all houses of God for worshipers to radiate light into the society and for sanity to reign supreme so that the mechanics of al the machinery of operation are allowed to work without hindrance to promote competence and work attitude that is efficient and for everybody to be responsive and responsible. Citizens on the issue of patriotism for true development, the best solution is to follow a divine path of honor, whereby the religious systems are alive to their responsibilities of educating, admonishing, and processing al adherents onto the path of righteousness to be spiritually charged enough into a state of trust, reliability, and dependability when challenged with the social responsibilities of management and administration, transparency and accountability for the purpose of good governance.
The Holy Quran 30: 43 states, ''But set thou thy face to the right religions before there come from Allah the Day which there is no chance of averting: on that Day shall men be divided in two, those who reject faith(doing things aright) will suffer from that rejection: and those who work righteousness will make provision for themselves(even in heaven).''
Let us avoid underutilization of the potentials in our religions because human failure to tap the anointing will eventually deactivate them into a ruinous end. God forbid.
When it is allowed to be fraught with sins and crimes it lacks the body preservation essence and when the worshipper allows satan to overwhelm and control his or her psyche and mind, divine immunity is lost just as an individual becomes possessed by the evil spirit.This is why the almighty stated that we must totally get committed to the cause of our different religious beliefs as it is in the Holy Quran 2: 208-209, '' Oh ye who believe! enter into Islam wholeheartedly and follow not the footsteps of Satan, for he is to you an avowed enemy. If ye backslide after the clear signs have come to you then know that Allah is exalted in Power, Wise.''For us, therefore, to go about our religious worship, the scripture is the vital curriculum for the maximum guide to be able to have just worship.This is why the Almighty Allah separates the chaff from the wheat by making a clear admonition on the use of the scripture of one's upheld religion, as stated in Quran 16: 98-100,'' When thou dost read the Quran, seek Allah's protection from Satan the rejected one. No authority has him over those who believe and put their trust in the Lord.''His authority is over those only who take Him as patron and who join partners with Allah.Our inability, therefore, to give the Almighty Allah just worship is the source of various travails traumatizing poverty in the religions of various observable sins and crimes: fornication, adultery, kidnapping, pedophilia, incest, armed robbery among other heinous and grievous crimes.This is in line with the promise of satan as expressed in Quran 4: 119-120, ''I will mislead them, and I will order them to slit the ears of cattle and deface the fair nature created by Allah.'', '' Whoever, forsake Allah, takes satan for a friend, hath of a surety suffered a loss that is manifest. Satan makes them promises and creates in them false hopes, but satan's promises are nothing but deception.''The allegory over this is that as a pollutant contaminate the air, making the environment to be hostile to human existence, satanic infiltration into human worship of his creator will ever create an air of destruction on earth.Suffice it now to say that we must be scripture complaint to be godly for our religion to be beneficial to man and his environment.Let us, therefore, take to God's admonition without bias to the source of which may be the Holy Quran, New or Old Testaments of the Holy Bible, provided that the contents are issue-driven as in the case of 1 Corinth: 13-13'' So these three things continue: Faith, Hope and Love and the greatest of this is Love.''Religious worship is an environment of hate or no love that renders useless the faith, just as there is no hope in religious practice that lacks just worship.To save self, the community, and the nation from the deluge of havoc and satanic embarrassment, let us create an environment of love and just worship to reap the dividend of religion in the form of justice, equity, peace, security, prosperity, and sustainable development, most especially for Nigeria.
Prof. Sabitu Olagoke
Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide,Wakajaiye, Ibadan, Nigeria
In the middle of dwindling oil revenue, the Federal and State Governments in Nigeria have resorted to loans and bonds to promote national prosperity, efficient, dynamic, and self-reliant economy. Sadly, the details, repayment plans, terms, and conditions of the loans taken are not in the public domain, as regards accountability. The insinuation is that the government intends to trade off the assets it used to secure the loans. Of worry is the fact that the management and operation of the major sectors of the economy are in bad shape, with most states looking up to the center for their survival. In this interview, the Founder, Spiritual Head, and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke opines the Federal and State Governments should publish the terms and conditions of all loans to allay the Fear of Nigerians on the country's debt status. Excerpts :
Do you think the decision of the Federal and State Governments to resort to loans and bonds to promote national prosperity, efficient, dynamic, and self-reliant economy is in the best interest of Nigerians?
For Nigerians to be dynamically buoyant into prosperity, the structure on ground that is full of loopholes and leakages for corruption and self-enrichment may not be feasible if the crop of people in governance to date continues to be recycled.
Taking loans and bonds in and environment of indiscipline, impunity and corruption may not make the dream to be feasible. The socio-divine principle of transparency and accountability in transaction calls for public knowledge of government finances-domestic or foreign loans-and any aspect of government business activities. If we allow this in governance, it would create an enabling environment to criticize decisions in the offing. In the process, such as the Nigeria/Cina loan conditions, questions like the following would arise to save the next generation of government from possible future embarrassment. 1) Feasibility of the payback period. 2)Payback conditions-stringent or otherwise. 3) Respect for the Nigerian content law. 4) Due process demand on follow up questions must be examined too.
The Federal Government is, therefore, required to go through the protocol of the Debt Management Office(DMO) which represents the position of the Nigerian constitution.
Section 21(1) of the Act(2003) is clear on this: That no external loans shall be approved or obtained by any Minister unless its terms and conditions shall have been laid before the National Assembly and approved by its resolution: Anything different from the above-stated process should be regarded as been fraught with hidden agenda by the organs of process operations that are not playing their roles well. It is unfortunate that Nigerians, generally, to date are facing economic hardships amidst accumulated debts, perhaps because of corruption. For example, our debt profile rose from $12.18 Trillion in 2015 to $27.40 Trillion in 2019. In the year 2020 alone, the total debt incurred as approved by the National Assembly for the President is about a total of $28 billion, but without a commensurate improvement in the quality of lives of the people of Nigeria.
We are yet to have economic liberation and political freedom if we are to go by all the lacks and no access, even of basic needs.
The country is now divided into a democratic process with two extreme dividends-kleptocracy by the few rich and poverty by the majority of the population!
The following considerations are sacrosanct to taking the loans-1) Consider the needs of the people, seek for their consent, and carry them along on the implications of the terms and conditions attached to taking the loans. 2) Respect the local content agreement that some type of jobs that are no too technical and the aspects that do not require the transfer of technology must be handled by Nigerians to solve our unemployment challenges. The need for the Federal Government of Nigeria to publish the status and the terms and conditions of repaying outstanding loans, collected and inherited, including the China/Nigeria loan deal that is currently attracting controversial reactions with clear monitoring mechanism in place to monitor the way and manner it is to be spent on the various projects attached to the loans. Ii would be of interest to Nigerians if this template could be extended to all outstanding loans that have become the country's debts. This will allay the fears or give all Nigerians the reason to reject further borrowing by the present administration or the next, so as to have a bequeathable legacy of sustainable development rather than a game of deceit that would continue to impoverish the masses and the environment.
Peace and development are highly essential in achieving peaceful co-existence among people of diverse opinions, tribal inclinations, ethnic leanings and segregated economic classes. Social justice and regulatory policies are equally vital enabling environment for development and peaceful co-existence. Unfortunately, they hardly exist in many nations where we experience insurgence, war, agitations and violence that not only lead to value erosion and disruption of ethical principles. The summary of it all, is individual attitudinal challenges bothering on moral laxity of institutional indiscipline.
Reviving all agents of socialization on this to help arrest the situation and restore values is a task that must be given attention by every stakeholder, parents, religious houses and the media are inclusive. This will help us have disciplined people with high moral consciousness in all our challenging leadership positions, civil servants and government in particular, to role model organizational and professional ethics into people's psyche for the purpose of achieving and putting in place the culture of ethical practices to be able to live exemplary lifestyles. The Holy Bible, Prov. 25 : 28, emphasizes that without moral discipline one becomes vulnerable to acts of waywardness and frivolities just like Nigeria with porous borders, where foreigners come in with ease to take up sensitive positions of power, in the process looting without conscience and raping with impunity, in addition to maiming and killing defenseless Nigerians.
The Holy Prophet Mohammad from the Islamic perspective emphasizes that the bedrock of any jihad is that of moral discipline. On this submission, Jesus Christ in Matt. 5 :19 asserts that good citizenship reflects in the ability to obey the rules of law and live by its code of conduct; otherwise one would become anti-societal and would be vulnerable to punishment in the hands of the l;aw and that such a person will equally be rejected in the kingdom of God.
The implication of this, is that apart from becoming sinful, the society would perceive the individual as a criminal.
Unfortunately in Nigeria, criminals are celebrated and they mostly preferred to occupy sensitive positions of power, by this, we murder peace and development.
The Holy Prophet Mohammad was admonished by Allah in the Holy Quaran to be scripture compliant as an exemplar and this is attested to in the various verses of the Holy Quaran. For example Quaran 6 : 162-163,''''Truly my prayer and my service, my life and my death, are all for Allah, the Cherisher of the world no partner art He : this am I commanded and I am the first of those who submit to His will to be qualified and regarded as a Muslim. The almighty equally commanded that the whole world must follow the foot steps of the Holy Prophet Mohammad as an exemplar''. In Quaran 33 : 21 and 33 : 46, the almighty Allah identifys himself with im that he is the one who made Mohammad ad one who invites to Allah's grace by His leave, and as a lamb spreading light. For the above reasons the Holy Prophet Mohammad was able to declare the following as parting gift to mankind, '' two things I am leaving behind, the Holy Quaran which a a compendium of the word of God for human affairs to be well regulated (Sunnatallahi). I am equally leaving behind my Toreeq or Sunnat, if you follow the two religiously, that is to the letter, you will never be misguided neither will you go astray. Al these are the challenges before I and you as mortals, to live exemplary lifestyles without impunity but consciously based on moral discipline. We are supposed to be either true Christians or true Muslims as well as adherents of all considered worthy religions whose doctrines or tenets are based on God and Godliness, light and good character that can present us as a race living upon the principle of love they neighbor as thyself. Be morally conscious.
Prof. Sabitu Olagoke
Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide,Wakajaiye, Ibadan, Nigeria
The issue of discipline is divinely recognized to be a significant portion of the ethos of man’s existence. For example from the Islamic perspective, the Holy Prophet Mohammed emphasized that jihad would be empty and satanic if the adherents do not uphold the principle of moral discipline because jihad of self discipline would make the counselor or preacher to be credible and worthy of admonition he or she may want to give his audience or listeners.
From the Christian perspective, Proverbs 25 : 28 asserts that ‘’a person that cannot control himself or herself(that is without self discipline) is like a city without walls to protect it.''
The society equally rests its fabric of harmonious existence on the culture of the core values of integrity starting from self esteem for teachers, clerics and government officials to successfully produce for the society, reliable and dependable goal getters, in terms of successful ventures in the scheme of nation building, the equation of educational goals must be religiously pursued, that is Attitude=Aptitude+Attitude.
Academic credentials must be based on the curriculum for the course or the pursued discipline which must be rationally graded without academic fraud, examination misconduct and examination malpractice for the certificate to be worthy of the accredited grade or class. The use of this certificate would only be meaningfully enjoyed through the in built good character which always forms the basis of interpersonal relation for positive work attitude that would enhance productivity to meet up with the profit making goal of the organization bearing in mind the need for high efficiency.
The attitudinal value must therefore translate to moral discipline .
When the educational institution fails to operate upon the axis of this value, the schools produce troublesome monsters as graduates or alumni for the society. When religious institutions fail to educate, enlighten, admonish and furnish her adherents onto the path of righteousness, the moral discipline essence upon which the fabric of the fear of God rests is lost, for the society to suffer under the misguided elements, who will rather profess profanity in place of the sacredness essence of clean state of piety ; the society will now be at the mercy of wicked people in governance and bad people in business-the cabals and the cartel. Admonition based on moral values and disciplinary measures is therefore a universal tool to promoting good ideals of life, organizational and professional ethics for the society’s moral fabric to be intact, for the purpose of peaceful co-existence, good governance and well divinely sanitized society which would result in peace and development to be achieved under an environment of justice and equity.
From any source talks on moral discipline may come, it is imperative that the people and the society must follow to benefit the nation.
This is why , we must practically recognize and follow divine statements in the holy books to uphold virtues and progressive moves.
Let us therefore meditate on this verse of the Holy Quaran, that emphasizes self discipline as a function of promoting peaceful co-existence and fraud free society. The Holy Quaran 3 : 104 refers ‘’ let there arise out of you, a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong : they are the ones to attain felicity.’’ Let us walk the talk.
Prof. Sabitu Olagoke
Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide,Wakajaiye, Ibadan, Nigeria
Saturday 9th May 2020
The significance of prayer is best thought and understood during Ramadan fasting session. Prayer itself is a bridge builder between man and God. It is the most powerful communication tool that easily transmits the divine energy from God to man, when articulated through a profile body free of sins and crimes and a preserved soul that is free of evil thoughts. These two factors are fundamental basic requirements for man/God cordial relationship.
However, even among the religious people of the world these conditions are trivialized if not neglected, making them to be mere hypocrites with empty boasts about God.
This is equally responsible for the poor state of piety in the land. Let us learn correctly how to be scripture compliant. Ramadan Kareem.
Sunday 10th May
Prayer efficacy has three modes before supplicants can be rest assured of divine acceptance. Meditation allows for reflections into the past activities for possible amendments into the weak areas. It allows esoteric voyage into self reality and exploration into the impact of the environment.
The next one is sermon that appeals to the soul, admonition the body to heal the diseases of the heart in order that one is readily guided through the mercy of God.
Counseling is the third module to perfect translated ideas into suiting the realities of life to be one of example in the odd world of confusion.
Learn to be just in your prayer as a sincere worshiper to be successful in life. Ramadan Kareem.
Monday 11th May
Be reminded that only the prayer of the just would be energized into meeting up with the purpose of desire for which an individual is tendering his request to God(James 5 : 16).
In His declaration the almighty Allah asserted ‘’to him is due the true prayer of those without faith is nothing but vain prayer. ’’(Quaran 13 : 14).
In this category of faithless worship, even the majority of the worshipers in all religions find themselves.
Derisively on this, the almighty Allah said ‘’any other media called upon besides Allah, hear them, know more than if they were to stretch forth their hands for water to reach their mouths.
It would not be possible for water to reach them as it would be easier for water to climb a mountain from the ground floor. Let us be people of full understanding, otherwise we may remain ungrateful to God for life. Ramadan Kareem.
Tuesday 12th May
Computer programming for efficacy can be likened to the stand of God in Isaiah 41 : 17–18, ‘’the poor and needy people look for water, but they can’t find any, they are thirsty. Their tongues are very dry. I will not leave them and let them die. I will make rivers flow on dry hill. I will make springs of water flow through the valley. I will change the desert into a lake filled with water. There would be spring of water in that dry land.’’
These undoubtedly would be the foot of just worship.
The computer programming format of the above lies in Quaran 2 : 186.
- Prepared people of God in high state of piety.
- Worried souls consult trusted and tested clerics.
- God the almighty Allah shows mercy through the counseling guide of the cleric.
- Requirement from God to answer prayer request in sincerity of purpose and just worship.
- Once item number is satisfied the prayer is answered without hitch of barrier.
- Manifestation of God shows divine intervention in the supplicant’s life. Let us follow this to live a just and self fulfilled life. Ramadan Kareem.
Wednesday 13th May
Two things need to amaze using Nigeria as an example. In the 21st century, Government is still discovering the poorest of the poor, demanding like Almajiri beggars for COVID 19 monetary support from individuals whose source of money are never known or attested to.
The second awe is that the divine intervention is left aside by Government in tackling the COIVD 19 pandemic. This may be as a result of the fact that no qualified cleric using the quality and standard measurement of God can be identified or found around.
Jonah saved his nation, Nineveh. Prophet Mohammed founded a new Saudi Arabia and better strategic world order through the rules of law and promotion of God/man relationship.
Jesus Christ counseled and healed all with no economic costs attached while at the same time leaving behind a legacy of peace and the promotion of good God/man relationship.
Nigeria’s clerics can source their strengths from all these by been scripture compliant as role models on the issue of connecting every individual, as a free born, with his or her creator.
For the nation to be able to enjoy free divine intervention let us therefore realize that to seek the glory of God, we must believe that all prayers belong to Him. To Him we mount up all words of purity e call prayers, but avoid trivializing it into mere wishful thinking. Be reminded that God will require a high level of state of piety from an individual before entertaining your requests. or crowning it with success. Remember that an individual will be faced with a lot of resistances from the people of the underworld, including the principalities of darkness. We cannot therefore, allow recess of divine strength, so as not to be punctured by the nails of wicked people on earth. God is able. Ramadan Mubarak.
Prof. Sabitu Olagoke
Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide,Wakajaiye, Ibadan, Nigeria
Monday, 4th May
Ramadan Mubarak, let us learn to cultural acceptable level, the essence of been our brother's keeper. For example, the third pillar of Islam is on giving out of a specified percentage of the accrued profits of our acquired wealth and when it is in terms of farm products, there are equally percentages that we must part with for donations, for the purpose of poverty alleviation and hunger eradication. This is about Zakat operation. This is inline with the need to get fulfilled to the scripture compliant level to gain the favor of God. Quran 92 : 5-7 refers ''So he gives in charity and fears Allah and in all sincerity testify to the best, that is the essence of caring and sharing and been philanthropic . Almighty Allah, He will indeed make smooth for him, the path to Ease.'' The period of Ramadan offers us the opportunity to build a positive mindset in this direction. Ramadan Kareem.
Tuesday, 5th May
The concept of charity affords the rich to be philanthropic in nature, as being experimented under Sodaqat, that is voluntary alms giving as a normal way of life. But this must be done to the empowerment level of the needy.
The almighty Allah identified some troubled spots that must be addressed to have a normal, safe and secured society. For example in Quran 9 : 60, it is declared ''Alms are for the poor and the needy and those employed to administer the funds. To institutionalize this, the apex body of the Islamic family need to take this up as a project for the rich individuals and Islamic sects to follow. Such funds mus be extended to those whose hearts have been recently reconciled to truth; for those in bondage and in debt; those in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer : thus it is ordained by Allah. And Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.''
To prevent violence and insecurity, this must be a task that must be culturally entrenched. Ramadan Kareem.
Wednesday, 6th May
During this Ramadan, redemption feeding is another source of reaching out to the poor(Fidyatu Toham), which the rich can use to atone for its inability to fast. This equally must extend to the level of empowerment.
Crisis and challenges of eradicating the Almajiri is now a monstrous challenge for Government and the society because of the socio-economic and sociological challenges associated to its eradication.
However, the concept of been our brother's keeper whereby the rich ones support Government 's efforts may effectively address this area this is because rehabilitation without vocational training support and engagement will never be sustainable and satisfactory for the victims of this social menace.
Religious leaders must place emphasis on how to make operational Sodaqat, Zakat and Fidyatu Toham, that is voluntary alms giving, to become our natural ways of life, for the needy and the poor to be effectively taken care of. Ramadan Kareem.
Thursday, 7th May
Zakat L' Fitri, that is alms giving to climax the Ramadan fast, may be in monetary terms or food materials, most especially grains by the family for the purpose of reaching out to the poor through the coordinating Imam, who must be God fearing in the distribution.
Muslims must continue to recite Quran 90 to get acquainted with the importance of making charity as an atonement of sins that have not been criminalized.
The excerpts from this chapter refers '' But man has not made haste on the path that is steep and what will explain to thee the path that is steep, it is freeing the bound man or the giving of food in a day of deprivation, to the orphan with claims of relationship or to the indigent down in the dust. Such giver must equally be of those who believe in God, enjoying patience, constancy and self-restraint and also enjoying deeds of kindness and compassion.''
Decide to be one today. Ramadan Kareem.
Friday, 8th May
Every nation where kleptocracy characterize governance, self centered thoughts dominates the lives of the elite, always records poor tales of poverty, hunger, homelessness, armed robbery and characteristic state of insecurity.
The almighty Allah therefore warns against miserly behavior in the Holy Quran 92 : 8-12. '' But he who is greedy miser and thinks himself self sufficient and gives the lie to the best, that is (charity), he will indeed make smooth for him the path to Misery nor will his wealth profit him when he falls headlong into the pit. Verily will take upon us to guide.''
This is why the Holy Quran 13 : 18 declared ''for those who respond to their lord are all good things, but those who respond not to Him, even if they had all that is in the heaven and on earth and as much more in vain offer it for ransom. For them will the reckoning be terrible, their abode will be hell,-what a bed of misery.''
The ravaging coronavirus pandemic attests to this.
Uphold charity and shun miserly life to eradicate poverty and hunger for ensured peace in the land. Ramadan Kareem.
Prof. Sabitu Olagoke
Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide,Wakajaiye, Ibadan, Nigeria
Over 300,00 trained and registered Teachers in Kenya are without jobs.
According to well informed sources in the Education Ministry, schools in the country are short of 96, 00 Teachers, with with primary schools having about 10 million pupils being short of 38,054 tutors and Secondary schools, with about 2.8 million students, have vacancies for 58,291 teachers.
Following Government aggressive campaigns to achieve 100 per cent transition from primary school, there has been a high enrollment rate coupled with the fact that 9,472 women and 6,950 men applied for government teaching positions but were not employed.
6,872 of the applicants posses Bachelor of Education while 1,596 had diplomas. Certificate holders seeking jobs in primary and pre-school schools accounted for 5,686.
As the administration of Zimbabwe President, Emmerson Mnangagwa prepares to deliver good governance women of Mashonaland province have called on government to ensure that the process of decentralizing powers is bereft of political considerations.
This call was made recently by women from the rural province during an interactive session organized by the Institute for Young Women Development, for women of Mashonaland and their representatives in the Parliament , at Bindura .
One of the participants from Guruve, stressed that the discussions on devolution must be apolitical saying "What is required in particular is for national officials (both political and administrative) to commit to a devolution process that respects the rules of the game. Importantly, if devolution is to succeed it should be a shared objective supported by both those with and without power as well as by the general citizenry."
Another participant, Margret Chimombe from Shamva suggested that the lawmakers should educate the women on the aims and objectives of the proposed devolution of power, adding ''"It's only a few people who are aware of what this is about. Some are in the dark so it should the duty of office bearer to come down to us and tell us what this animal is all about before any other engagements."
In her submission, Member of Parliament for Women's Quota Bindura-Shamva constituency, Dorothy Mashonganyika warned the women to be wary of politicians who might want to use the process to feather their nets saying ''We do not want political involvement but let us respect political structures as they also play a part in representing our views''.
President Mnangagwa had indicated that his administration would implement decentralize power.during his 2018-2022 tenure, but the people of Zimbabwe have been expressing fears that politicians would hijack the process to further their political agenda.
June 12 : GCFR without Payment of Reparation and Compensation to M.K.O Abiola’s Family is Meaningless-Prof. Olagoke
Even though it is post humous, Nigerians have continued to applaud President Muhammadu Buhari for deeming it fit, to confer the country’s highest honors of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic(GCFR) on the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential elections, late Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola.
In addition, Nigerians believe that if the bank accounts of the Late Bashorun Abiola frozen by the late Military despot, Gen. Sanni Abacha, are unfrozen and reparations paid to his family, justice would have been seen to have been done.
Also, all those who one way or the other lost their lives during the period ought to receive compensation through the families they left behind.
However, the body language of President Buhari is not in tandem with the peoples’ belief, even as a cross section of Nigerians argue that declaring June 12 Democracy Day emanates from gaining political mileage, if consideration is given to the fact that the incumbent President was part and parcel of the late Gen. Abacha military regime.
In this interview, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke opines that conferment of the highest honors in the land in not enough, but ought to also include paying reparation and compensation to Bashorun Abiola’s family, else Nigerians may think otherwise. Excerpts :
In commemoration of June 12, the day the freest and fairest general elections in Nigeria’s history was annulled, what do you think is the best compensation for the late Bashorun M.K.O Abiola’s family ?
The issue surrounding Bashorun M.K.O Abiola is a milestone of an historical record and antecedent in which Nigeria in particular, and the whole world in general, need to learn a lot from. He happened to be a victim of unholy friendship and treachery by his kinsman.
Besides this, his life depicted to the whole world, that even the pinnacle of affluence has a lot of limitations to the expected influences that may accompany it.
Despite God’s favor on him to win the Presidential elections, with outstanding performance over the National Republican Convention(NRC) candidate, Alhaji Bashir Tofa, based on what nature could give any man, in terms of what would have been the barriers-barriers of Muslim/Muslim ticket, Southern candidacy and the possible environment that is fraught with Ethnic, Tribal and Religious differences, the atmosphere was not only favorable, but the people put aside their differences to ensure that Bashorun Abiola emerged as the winner.
However, some household enemies and the hidden ones among his friends, became a deadly clog in the wheel of his destiny.
The funny aspect, is that of the failure of successive governments after, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, to revisit his case,and the eventual Democracy that ushered in a total departure from the erstwhile military rule.
His kinsman, the then President Olusegun Obasanjo and his successors, who happened to be the direct beneficiaries of Bashorun Abiola’s struggle for Democracy, equally failed to revisit his state incarceration and dehumanization.
Fortunately, an opposition political party, in the name of the All Progressives Congress(APC) and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari(rtd.)eventually revisited what the whole world helplessly claimed to be an act of injustice, hence the post-humous conferment of GCFR to the late Bashorun Abiola and by extension the largesse of the peak of recognition for his supposed deputy, in the name of Alhaji Babagana Kingibe, as well as the conferment of one of the highest honors in the land on the unforgettable activist, late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, who lived all his, life for the enthronement of Democracy and died without fulfillment of the struggle, to address the injustices meted out to Bashorun Abiola.
Mr. President deliberately refrained from giving his national address on May 29, during his inauguration, and I believe he must have reserved his speech for June 12, which he has been courageous enough to declare as Nigeria’s Democracy day, in fulfillment of the agitations of the progressives to recognize Bashorum Abiola as the symbol of Nigeria’s Democracy and the pathfinder of how the freest and fairest general elections ought to be conducted in Nigeria.
Most of Nigerians expect that the highest honor conferred on Bashorun Abiola as his right, shall be followed by his family having access to what Nigeria and our government owe the late business mogul, most especially in the aspect of unfreezing his numerous bank accounts, as the first step towards reviving his ‘’dead’’ chains of legacies. All these shall be to the benefit of the family he left behind and this shall serve to reunite them.
Recently, one of his oil companies of international repute was affected by the recent government policy through which some oil companies’ licenses were revoked.
Government owes Nigerians an explanation on why Bashorun Abiola’s business concern was affected and possibly work on how he would be exempted.
However, recognition through the conferment of the highest national honors in the land shall be meaningless, without supporting it with the attendant freedom for the family to have access to what he had spent all his life to acquire.
I have the belief that the Federal Government is waiting for June 12, for favorable declaration on this, otherwise, the stiff opposition against them may use any lapses on the side of the Federal Government to gain sympathy of the generality of Nigerians to turn the table against them as they did in many states lost by the APC to the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in the people’s court and parliament during the recent general elections.
9th National Assembly : Nigerians Hope for a Legislature that Shall Not Massage the Executive’s Back-Prof. Olagoke
Both chambers of the 9th National Assembly shall be inaugurated next week and Nigerians are hopeful that the elected representatives of the people shall make laws that shall impact positively on impoverished Nigerians who have not seized to contend with insecurity.
Nigerians are also hopeful that the lawmakers shall not in any way or circumstance become rubber stamps for decisions from the Executive that are anti-people and dictatorial in content.
In this interview, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke says that the expectations of Nigerians revolve on a people driven Legislature that would not massage the back of the Executive, but enact enabling laws that will not only regulate and control the excesses of the Executive, but emancipate the masses from the vicious cycle of poverty and insecurity. Excerpts :
What do you think the lawmakers of the 9th National Assembly should embark upon, considering the performance of the lawmakers of the 8th National Assembly ?
The 8th National Assembly’s performance was hostile and antagonistic considering its relationship with the Executive, this later affected the people negatively and harshly.
When bills are passed into law, there must be corresponding enabling empowerment programmes and projects on it, for the law to have impact on the society.
To an average Nigerian, the last four years of the National Assembly, has been more of orchestrated ceremony of wealth, rather than that of enabling the people that gave them the mandate to serve.
It had been more of celebrating trivialities, that have ever failed to articulate development.
It is unfortunate that Nigeria is yet to address several issues. For example, we failed to learn from the experience of secession by placing emphasis on the problem of the fall in the international price of oil as it affected the budget, rather than looking inward on the country’s style of management and the structure of the payment of salaries and allowances which tilts favorably more to the side of the political class, while the civil and public servants continue to groan and grumble with the given token because of the corresponding low purchasing power of the Naira.
Despite the heavy weight of the salaries and allowances of the political class, corruption and institutional indiscipline continued unabated, rendering the efforts of the Federal Government in this direction ineffective, specifically for Nigerians to turn a new leaf.
The aspect of plea bargaining for the big wigs and no deterrence record for the offenders had made the exercise to become a laughing stock, to the favor of the opposition that eventually rose from their ‘’dead’’ state to compete and win in a number of states and to pose a major threat to the’ almighty’ Federal Government during elections.
If all these issues are not addressed, Nigerians would not yet be happy, in celebrating the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly.
Characteristically, on record of history there had always been downward profile of performances on goodness and rising profile of moral decadence from one session to the other as the players exchange batons from one dispensation to the other.
From the look of things, although the mistake of the past whereby the All Progressives Congress(APC) government was not cohesive enough for the leadership of the National Assembly, to favor the Executive is still lingering.
Now that they are struggling to have their way, the fear must be on the effectiveness in serving the people, rather than rubbing the back of the Executive.
The expectations of the people generally, at home and abroad is that objectivity should be the axis of operation, based on global best practices that is incorruptible Judiciary, people driven legislature on the issue of their welfare through enacting enabling laws that will not only regulate and control the excesses of the Executive, but directed purposely to emancipate the cause of the masses on the issues of their welfare and well being.
The Executive, on their harnessing power for resources, is expected to serve the people sincerely through transparency and accountability to promote inclusive governance through the principle of equity.
If the APC government is to be sincere then, no member is expected to run foul of these goals because change of government is expected to address areas of heresies, weaknesses and failures of the outgoing dispensation, which visibly was responsible for the failure to effectively and completely achieve anything reasonable on the subject matter of zero tolerance to corruption and institutional discipline.
Irrespective of still controlling power, the arms and tiers of government which the ruling members of the ruling party are the occupants, now need to unite to achieve these fundamental aspects of heresies which happen to be the bane of our democratic disposition for worthwhile development.
After Ramadan Fast Nigerians should not Return to What God has Rejected-Grand Imam Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide
As Muslims enter into the last days of the 30 day Ramadan fast period and prepare for the Ed L Fitri celebrations, the general belief is that the fast period has brought about a new direction for the faithful who must have cleansed themselves of impurities and all that is evil.
In this interview, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Gran Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke urges Nigerians not to go back to their sinful ways after the Ramadan fast. Excerpts :
What is your message to the Muslim Faithful as they are about to finish the 30 day fasting period ?
The first thing to do for every Muslim who happens to be alive at the end of the 30 day Ramadan fast, is to give thanks to the creator, almighty Allah, who has given us the wherewithal to go about the fast exercise successfully.
This thanksgiving need to reflect on the extent to which we have been able to learn about the culture of fear of God, in order that we may be able to live the expected exemplary lifestyles which society requires to keep the peace with accelerated development.
When one looks at the three major segments of the Ramadan period, as a school period to learn, one would appreciate God for giving and teaching us mercy in the first 10 days, forgiving us our sins, if we go about the exercise rightly with sincerity of purpose. The fast teaches us to forgive our perceived enemies and those who must have offended us.
The third segment is what we can regard as harvesting period, loaded with spiritual re-orientation in which we learn how to be very close to God, by taking to His will.
Besides this, it is a period when prayers are easily answered through sincere supplication to almighty Allah.
This translates to an all encompassing spiritual rejuvenation that transcends the usual mortal sourcing of power or miracles.
We must not lose sight of the fact that before or during the Ramadan fast, that some known colleagues must have passed on, leading us to the question of who is next after the Ramadan ?
However, with the promise of God the Koran 10 : 61–62, the almighty Allah calls us to the following order, that closeness to God is sacrosanct to having insurance against life’s hazards through the following three criteria :
- Keeping of good neighborliness to be accepted by the community and society.
- Translating the theoretical message to application point of living by the reformative messages of God from the Holy Koran.
- This bothers on legitimate earning to live, source and maintain power and influence.
The almighty Allah set this as conditions to be practically observed, in order that one would become a friend of his creator, who will be so much insured against any form of fear or grief.
Fortunately, this is the import of the message of Ramadan, which we are expected to live by.
After Ramadan therefore, the expectation of God and society from the Muslim graduates of the Ramadan school, ranges from as follows ;
- Just worship based on holiness for Allah and sincerity of purpose, without derailing from the righteous path in any aspect of life we may find ourselves.
- One must be a source of motivation, defense and protection for ourparents who we must ensure are close to God, as well as been clothed, well fed and protectively sheltered, without suffering from any hazards of life.
This is a recompense for the very care they gave us when we were babies or toddlers.
3. As parents , we must be responsive and responsible to the cause of the welfare of the children including their education and healthcare concerns as well as physiological needs.
4. We must preserve our bodies by avoiding sins and crime as well as ensuring that soul purification exercises are achieved.
This will make us rational and disciplined, which are embodiment of moral etiquette, that is not dangerous to the society, but beneficial.
We must refrain from cheating others, breaking of oaths and promises, and infidelity.
Lastly, we must never take laws into our hands and neither must we resort to extra judicial killings without following the due process of law
All these have been taught in the month of Ramadan, for us to be reformed as individuals, into instruments of light that will manifest in our care for others and sense of patriotism, most especially in the scheme of nation building.
Luckily for us in Nigeria, the governments at the Federal and state levels were sworn-in the the glorious month of Ramadan which came up almost after the Lenten season.
To be sincere to God, He has given us the opportunity to institute and establish a new government of Democratic dispensation with bedrock for functionality, dwelling on justice and equity for peace and development to reign supreme under the most perfect conditions of conducive atmosphere provided for us by God through Ramadan.
If we are to be sincerely grateful to God, the sovereignty of Nigeria is been given to the Christians and Muslims to manage as a trial that shall be assessed and evaluated through individual and collective performances.
What we need finally, is a perfect system of leadership and follower ship network, to be able to walk the talk because with education and religion as an advantage, counting the number of Churches and Mosques adherents now in power with additional advantage of been certificated through good education, there won’t be any excuse for anyone of us to fail Nigeria and the state.
However, it is expected that corruption and indiscipline shall be alien to the new political dispensation.
Let us all be gradates of Ramadan on quality and standards in tandem with global best practices.
After the Ramadan fast, Nigerians should not go back to what God has rejected, but allow the revamped core values nurture and nourish our attitude to be best players in running a well ordered society full of peace and development.
The signing into law of the N30,000 new national minimum wage by President Muhammadu Buhari was received with joy by all Nigerians, especially workers and their dependents. Even though workers are not too comfortable with the consensus method of picking leaders of their unions.
The leaders who emerged via consensus and the 36 state Governors would in the coming weeks,to a great extent, determine how long this joy will last.
In this interview, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke opines that Nigerian workers think of only themselves at the detriment of retirees and other Nigerians. Excerpts :
Do you think workers in the states of the federation have any cause to rejoice over the signing into law of the N30,000 new national minimum wage by President Buhari ?
Generally workers are expected to celebrate the so called N30,000 new national minimum wage in the preciseness of unsustainable economy with poor growth rate, that has no impact on the general lives of the people.
Workers are expected to be holistic, fighting for the cause of the welfare of the people and the structural effects of our democracy, that is yet to be achieved.
Injustice and inequality, marginalization and equity challenges are supposed to be in place before Nigeria and its states can have peace and development that may be sustainable and beneficial to all.
I would have expected that the workers’ unions fight the cause of the retirees and the issue of unpaid salary arrears, before vigorously embarking the satiation for the increase in the minimum wage.
This is because fighting for an holistic cause is expected to be step wise and developmental, which implies that we expect that no state government should be able to stay in power without been confronted every week with the workers’ agitation on these issues; to force them to reason that it was only through the peoples’ mandate in democracy that they had been able to get into the juicy positions of power.
Unfortunately, Nigerian workers became selfish, limiting themselves to the cause of those people in service only, at least ensuring that all states comply rationally with the old minimum wage would have made a good level playing ground to fight for the increase.
State Governors under our democratic dispensation have only succeeded in impoverishing the people, most especially their children-graduates-majority of whom are made to roam the streets aimlessly thereby becoming nuisances.
While government officials and the executive live in affluence, the people under them continue to groan under the harshness of abject poverty affecting their fundamental human rights to have access to the very good things of life; that can make them realize the benefit of governance dynamics.
Now, we are having a change of government come My 29, 2019, derisively, the outgoing Governors may show deceptive friendship, by accepting to pay the N30,00 new national minimum wage, to set a trap for the incoming government, so as to make the new government highly unpopular among the people who gave them the mandate.
Those who will continue in power, maybe ready to damn the consequence, by not agreeing to pay the new wage.
It is a known fact that only between two to three states have the capacity to pay the new national minimum wage, even in the face of unabated corruption.
The government may end up contending with industrial disputes.
This is not to say that Nigeria is not potentially capable to implement the assented payment of the new national minimum wage of N30,000, but the government failed to back it up with good economic policy and formula.
The cheapest way to do this, does not lie in increasing the Value Added Tax(VAT), because this would negatively affect the prices of commodities for home consumption as well as inviting increase in inflation, with direct consequence on the impoverished masses, who constitute more than 70 per cent of the population.
For equity sake, in which the welfare of the masses would be taken care of, there is the need for the downward review of the salaries of the political class, the executive and the Legislature in particular, say by half, so that the upward review of the minimum wage, which is more of a daily token and stipend in the hands of the elite, who constitute less than 10 per cent of the population of Nigeria, would succeed.
If this had been done, the heavy top would have rolled down to augment the meager amount meant for mass distribution.
Stomach infrastructure is basically primary and should not be toyed with politically, otherwise the provision of basic amenities, if absent, would rubbish the efforts of government in the areas of transportation, mining, power and other sectors that would aid development.
Stomach infrastructure has direct link with the ability of government to provide employment and empower all Nigerians, most especially the youth, so that they would be less restive.
Remember, more than 95 per cent of the small scale industries facilitated industrialization in all the developed countries-the United States of America, United Kingdom, Russia, China and South Korea.
This very good model is sought after by Malaysia and Singapore, which gained independence in 1965.
Let this government in the next political dispensation follow suit, by developing the nation and be virile enough to become a strong institution, rather than building strong individuals, who have become untouchable in the face of corruption, destroying equitable legacy for our youth as it is today. God save Nigeria.
The feeble response by government has further aggravated the almost helpless situation.
The impression Nigerians have, is that the present administration does not have the know how to restore normalcy.
In this interview, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke says Nigerians no longer trust their leaders who neither transparent nor accountable, which has resulted in the clamour for secession. Excerpts :
Banditry, killings, kidnapping, armed robbery and violence are the signposts of living in Nigeria, what do you think is the way out ?
Naturally, in a system of mankind, poverty takes the most percentage of what can fuel crisis and violence.
This is why the major challenges to be managed by government, revolve on the provision of basic amenities and functional infrastructure. As regards this, successive governments have failed.
For example the Boko Haram issue would have been a thing of the past, if not for the accumulated destitution among most of the youth in the Northern part of the country.
Secondly, since the inception of democracy, we have been running governments that have been insensitive to the peoples' plight, contrary to the dictates of section 16 of the 1999 amended constitution, which harps on the responsibilities of government to the welfare of Nigerians.
Apart from this, our political management has assumed an extreme dimension of ethnic and tribal coloration, where nepotism is the basis for getting jobs and contracts.
When government fails to manage the issue of corruption effectively, the wealth of the land goes into the hands of the privileged few in positions of power.
Unfortunately, the mitigation measure on ground, rests with our security agencies, which are being weighed down by lack of motivation.
The world standard of work ratio of all the security agencies to the population, they are supposed to serve, is extremely low.
This is why the clamor for state police may hold water, although with reservations.
Are we civilized enough to the level of upholding professional ethics in this respect ?
Certainly, the answer is no, because all tiers of government in Nigeria are still vindictive on the opposition, hence the security agencies may be manipulated for selfish purposes by any government in power. We need to work on this area of civility challenge.
Dearth of adequate personnel and professional training requirements, need to be addressed with utmost urgency to avoid wasting the lives of the few that are ready to stop further bloodshed that would have been found to be highly unwarranted.
Running an inclusive government, rather than the winner takes all syndrome, will not only promote amity and memorandum of understanding, between the President and the governments at the state and local levels, but will also allow for timely intervention to quell riots or any acts of violence.
Nigeria is presently enjoying, a graveyard peace.
The people do not trust their leaders who neither transparent nor accountable, this has caused a lot of disaffection to the point of hiding under restructuring motives to achieve secessionist agenda.
Most of the regions are waiting for Nnamdi Kanu to achieve his aim, for others to say '' to thy tents Oh Israel''.
With the foregoing as the situation on ground, Nigerians should naturally expect pockets of killings and anti-societal acts inimical to any reasonable development.
However, making the country ungovernable for the government in power, is never a solution, but an act of retrogression, that all Nigerians must condemn.
Nigeria ought to learn from the civilized way the issue of BREXIT is being handled.
Dialogue is the best option to adopt to further the peaceful co-existence that still keeps the country together.
The service chiefs and the Professors of conflict resolution, would continue to be indicted for incompetence and lack of patriotism, if the the President could not be rightly advised to do the needful, with all sincerity of purpose.
What is government doing with the reported $1 Billion it collected for the purchase of arms and equipment for the military ?
What are the security agencies doing with the reported N 350 million worth of arms and ammunition intercepted at the nations' borders ?
We must know fully well that a cracked wall, would ever harbour reptiles, to the detriment of the people in the house.
Inter-religious and ethnic disaffection been promoted by the President Muhammadu Buhari led government must stop, because government needs the support of all Nigerians.
The NPA made its position known through its Executive Secretary,Mr. Emmanuel Abimbola.
‘’Book piracy is a major problem in Nigeria. Piracy is on the increase, these pirates print abroad and the quality of their work is alarming. We as an association are working with the Nigeria Copyright Commission, to reduce it to the barest minimum. These pirates are not our members, they come from outside. We embark on anti-piracy campaigns to alert the public on the activities of book pirates’’, Mr. Abimbola dislcosed.
Nigerians will on Saturday go to their various polling units to vote for candidates of their choice in the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.
Although the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) and the security agencies have assured Nigerians that the elections would be free, fair, credible, devoid of violence and killings, as was the case in the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the electorate are taking this assurance with a pinch of salt, just as they rest their hopes on God.
In this interview with Federationews2day, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof, Sabitu Olagoke appeals to INEC and the security agencies not to subvert the electoral process, while asserting that voters should be given the free will to vote for candidates of their choice without regard to any overbearing influence. Excerpts :
What are your words to the electorate as they prepare to vote for candidates of their choice in the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections on Saturday ?
Firstly, let's talk about the lessons that have been learnt from the outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, which serves as a warning to the politicians in general and those elected into various offices to serve, that performance matters most, most especially in the area of service to humanity, which places emphasis on the electorate and the environment.
The failure to recognize this fact and meditate on it, was majorly responsible for the fall of some erstwhile political giants and their political parties at the polls. For example, after eight years in office, some state Governors fell by the way side, in their bid to get to the Senate. Those who did not fall, have been seen to be unpopular among the people.
For the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections, two episodes will play out, some will be voted for, by virtue of their credentials of credibility, even when the party is not liked and some will be voted for through party leanings, even when the substance of credibility is lacking in the candidates. Whatever way it occurs, Nigerians must be very careful not to lose their heads out of unnecessary passion.
So, we must not turn the situation into that of violence, because according to Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar(rtd) Nigerians must embrace peace.
It should be noted that none of the politicians, the electorate will vote for, including their children would be affected, if the unexpected happens; rather the masses who constitute the majority of the electorate, would kill themselves, without any hope for compensation.
Nigeria must not play the fool of the tower of Babel, which was built with rigour and vigour, but got destroyed without the completion of the project, due to skirmishes, a fall out of disorganized information system and communication lag.
The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) must not be bought over for posterity sake, while the commission must retain its role as a credible umpire.
The issue of logistics and functionality of the Smart Card Readers(SCR)ought to have been resolved before the day of election, which is March 9, 2019.
In the case of the Observers, local and international, on ground for the election, Nigerians should take care not to wash their dirty linens in the open glare of the international community.
For the security agents who will protect the electorate, INEC staff and Ad Hoc staff, they must display a high level of maturity and professionalism.
They must be able to disarm trouble makers without the use of firearms. They must be able to provide adequate security at the various polling units, while also ensuring the safety of electoral materials and the offices of INEC.
Politicians have continually embarrassed their followers and supporters through the buying and selling of votes.
The implication of this ugly practice, is that our children may now imbibe pilfering as a culture, while also embracing examination malpractice as a way of life.
We must not forget that the mirror image of the society, which we are bastardizing through ungodly acts is a fall out of our attitudinal challenges, which is already having a direct effect on the psyche of the youth !
Is it not paradoxically funny that the political scientists continue to remain as fathers of politics in the Ivory Towers, even though they have failed to produce exceptional politicians for the society.
This is a direct challenge to the functionality of our educational status.
Above all, voters must not be harassed, intimidate, threatened or misled into voting against their conscience.
What should be of paramount importance to Nigerians today, is credible leadership and good governance, which can only emerge through voting according to the dictates of the voters' conscience and the fact that the votes must count.
My appeal therefore to Nigerians, is to give peace a chance, so that we can turn our various communities into environments of peace, where justice, equity peace and development shall be paramount in the minds of the emerging leaders for the states, whose activities in government shall be people oriented.
Re-Election of President Buhari Divine, But A Lot Still Has to Be Done-Grand Imam Shafaudeen-in-Islam
Nigerians woke up on Monday morning to receive the news that the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) Prof. Mahmood Yakubu had declared President Muhammadu Buhari the candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC)the winner of Nigeria's presidential election, a few minutes to 4.00 AM, while they were still in bed.However, the timing of the declaration, saved the country of widespread protests, as Nigerians continue to insist that the electoral process was not free, fair and credible, in addition they lamented that the whole process had been compromised long before the elections.Already, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has rejected the results and vowed to challenge the results in the law court, just as he promised to reclaim his mandate.In this interview with People, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafuadeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olgaoke says the re-election of President Buhari is purely divine, even though a lot still has to be done. Excerpts :What is your reaction to the victory of the incumbent President at the just concluded presidential elections ?The battle for the prestigious and sensitive position of the President among the 73 presidential candidates has come and gone. But the real battle was between President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Abubakar Atiku.Ideally, President Buhari was not supposed to have any problem, but an easy sail to victory, if his state Governors had performed up to expectation in their various states, where the ruling APC was supposed to have very close contact with the people, which would have resulted in a resounding impact on their lives.Sadly,contrary was the case and this could be seen in the outstanding performance of the PDP, in a number of states, including Oyo and Ondo states.In these two states particularly, people have been hurt and irredeemable damage inflicted on them by their expected saviour- the APC government in the states.Besides this , employment was toyed with by the APC government at all levels.The APC victory was based on the political passion and sentiments of the people for President Buhari, who was daily insulted by the opposition and whose party , the APC, was bedeviled by intrigues and pockets of civilian coup de Grace, if only the APC had lived up to expectation there would not have been any chance for the PDP to rise again to the level of wrestling power from the ruling party.The re-election of President Buhari is purely divine, because according to our yearly predictions from Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, it was revealed that the party and some of its big names would fall by the wayside, despite the efforts they might put up to save their faces, but President Buhari would be re-elected against all odds, the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and other retired Generals factors notwithstanding.The prediction went on further to state that the former Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku would be deceived by some of his home men to play him out, his spending power notwithstanding.Besides all these, the campaign messages of the two parties influenced the pattern of voting.For example President Buhari said that he would continue to hunt for treasury looters, although Nigerians are not all that impressed with the anti-corruption fight.On the other hand the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku declared that he would grant amnesty to treasury looters caught so far and that the NNPC would be sold, which brought back the memory of the privatization saga and the Halliburton scandal.Also, Former President Obasanjo's book ''My Watch'' which outlined the corrupt tendencies of the Former Vice President has not helped matters.Nigerians were therefore left to choose from the two. This ultimately resulted in the present situation, despite the fact that the electoral process was fraught with anomalies, which Prof. Yakubu considered not to be significant enough to declare the election inconclusive or null and void.What is most important now, is for INEC to perfect the shortcomings in logistics, the malfunction of the Smart Card Readers as well as the very major area of security, which must be strengthened for the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections, for it to be peaceful and without any hitch.The spirit of sportsmanship must be imbibed by all parties to give peace a chance.Equally important is for the emerging government to avoid party dictates that may be offensive to the possible formation of a strong government that would walk the talk.The winner takes all syndrome must be rejected because the functions and responsibilities of governance are in need of people who are serious, patriotic, disciplined and who have zero tolerance for corruption.Such people must be skill based, but unfortunately, no single party has a monopoly of these vital elements. These elements cut across party lines and also transcends political parties.This is the only way by which all congratulatory messages to Mr. President elect could be meaningfully justified in the next political dispensation.
President Julius Bio of Sierra Leone has declared that those found guilty of rape and defilement of minors would be jailed for life.
"With immediate effect, sexual penetration of minors is punishable by life imprisonment.""Some of our families practice a culture of silence and indifference towards sexual violence, leaving victims even more traumatized. We as a nation must stand up and address this scourge,'' the President stated.President Bio also announced the establishment of a new police division to investigate sexual violence, a special magistrate court that would handle such cases and a public hotline specifically for reporting sexual violence, while calling on all all government owned hospitals to provide free medical treatment and certificates to all victims of sexual violence.
There has been national outcry over the increasing rate of sexual violence in the Sierra Leone .
Sierra Leoneans have called on government to introduce stringent rape laws following the rape of a 5-year-old girl by her 28-year-old male relative.
The attack crippled the girl's spine, leaving her paralyzed for life.
The United States stands by the millions of Congolese voters who went to the polls across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on December 30 to participate in presidential, legislative, and provincial assembly elections. Since independence in 1960, the DRC has never experienced a peaceful, democratic transfer of power. The December 30 election was therefore one of the most important elections in DRC history.
The United States was deeply concerned by the DRC’s National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) decision to deny accreditation to several international election observers and media representatives. We also noted that confusion on election day over the location of polling stations, the posting of voter lists, the late delivery of some election materials, and CENI's unfortunate decision to cancel elections in Beni and Butembo in eastern DRC disenfranchised voters. Nevertheless, despite these challenges, millions of Congolese citizens turned out peacefully across DRC on election day to cast their ballots and make their voices heard. CENI must now ensure that these voices and votes are respected.
As the Congolese people, the region, and the world await patiently for the results of these elections, the internet must be restored and the media allowed to report freely. We strongly urge the CENI to ensure that votes are counted in a transparent and open manner, with observers present, and that the results reported by CENI are accurate and correspond to results announced at each of DRC's 75,000 polling stations. We support the African Union Election Observation Mission to DRC’s expectation, expressed on January 2, that the announced results align with votes cast by the Congolese people. As official results are tabulated and reported, we continue to urge DRC government officials, leaders of the DRC security forces, opposition party leaders, civil society representatives, and stakeholders from all sides to respect the law and reject violence.
There are moments in every nation’s history when individuals and political leaders step forward and do the right thing. This is one of those moments for the DRC. Those who enable a peaceful, democratic transfer of power out of respect for DRC’s constitution and the results of this election will be hailed, while those responsible for undermining democratic institutions and processes, threatening the peace, security, or stability of DRC or benefiting from corruption will be held accountable. Those who undermine the democratic process, threaten the peace, security or stability of the DRC, or benefit from corruption may find themselves not welcome in the United States and cut off from the U.S. financial system.
On December 30, millions of Congolese went peacefully to the polls. Now is the time for CENI to affirm that these votes were not cast in vain by ensuring the accurate reporting of election results.
United States Department of State Washington DC
The National Bureau of Statistics has disclosed that 20.9 million Nigerians are unemployed. Indeed, unemployment is the major discussion among Nigerians.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari has opined that the figure reeled out by the NBS, is a reflection that his administration is making progress in governance.
Nigerians are shell shocked by the President's remarks and the fact that rice farmers have contributed about N1.7 Billion for the President's re-election, even though rice as a foodstuff has gone beyond the reach of the common man.
In this interview with People, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke says that the misinformation of the Federal Government's paid agents gives it the impressions that it has fulfilled its promises. Excerpts :
The National Bureau of Statistics(NBS) has stated that 20.9 million Nigerians are jobless, what is your reaction to this figure ?
The Federal Government is only focusing on the 30 areas it has made progress without taking into consideration the impact level on the people. And because most of our leaders depend solely on the information of their paid agents, such as the Ministers, Commissioners, Governors and retinue of Personal Assistants, they are rather misled into believing that the yearnings of Nigerians have been met.
The best way for self assessment on governance is to have direct pulse of the nation by physically going to some of the market places to see the reality of things.
When the Queen of England visited, during ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo's tenure, she refused to be locked in the nation's luxuries, but told the President to take her round some of the market places. After going round the Queen told the President, that he should take the issue of poverty alleviation serious, as she stated that she observed suffering on the faces of the people.
This is a nation where the unemployment rate has jumped from 14.2 per cent in 2016 to 23.4 per cent in 2018 and 20. 9 million Nigerians has been declared as the figure of unemployed Nigerians in 2018, while the record of those who are underemployed has made the figure to rise to 40 per cent of the total population.
Let us remember that the spate of killings have made nonsense of more than 1040 schools, with between 400,000 and 500,000 students affected.
What about the increasing number of Nigerian Children, who are out of school, in 2010 it was 10.5 million and presently it is 13.9 million.
The President must believe less in the paid agents and ensure he uses SWOT analysis to restrategise in order that his desire for good governance, that would be beneficial to all , most especially those who gave him the mandate to rule, are met.
The SWOT analysis on the Nigerian situation reveal our areas of strength and opportunities in the abundance of endowed resources, natural and human to be in abundance.
Our areas of weaknesses duel more on competence for the desired astute management and classical administration to operationalize functional Democracy based on justice and equity for peace and development to reign.
Our areas of threats are on security issues that bothers on conflict management, as well as the fifth column role in government and the state apparatus making progress too difficult to come by.
Mr. President, therefore, needs to realize that his immediate challenge is on his ability to identify the true elements in his cabinet and government, that is, he must motivate the prime movers not to lose them into another party.
He must build the capacity of the lackadaisical, to be able to contribute meaningfully to government's business of building the nation while the catalytic elements, that is the rebellious ones must be managed with maturity and transformed into useful elements for the party and government.
No government with in-house problems and inconsiderate opposition can stand the test of time.
To avoid driving people to an hopeless state of despair, there is need for Mr. President to restrategize into visionary leadership that would be proactive in taking decisions to fix things, purposeful leadership that would be directional in operation and sacrificial to make things work.
My candid advice to the others in the All Progressives Congress(APC) is for them to imbibe the essence of togetherness in sharing visions for government to be able to deliver beneficial services to the people, who are now more well informed in the spirit of globalization.
Above all, the fear of the potential of the opposition to damage and remove must be the beginning of wisdom, to mend fences within and creditably deliver the expectations of the People of Nigeria.
Medical Stores Department(MSD) in Tanzania is set to commence the delivery of medical services and drugs to remote parts of the country through drones.
Thsi disclosure was made byt the MSD Director, Laurean Bwanakunu, in a chat with journlaists.
“We will soon announce tender for the company that will enter into agreement with MSD to supply the drones''.Bwanakunu also stated that a pilot project which enables drug-dropping drones to transport life saving blood and medical supplies to Ukerewe Island of Lake Victoria, was already on course.
A community in Sierra Leone is hopeful that a court ruling which ordered an international palm oil company to return a big block of land to its owners would be a source of empowerment for them to retake control of their land and resources.
In the course of the case the court discovered that the land in Port Loko district, northern Sierra Leone, was leased to a Singapore-based palm oil company, Siva Group, in 2011, but for three years it failed to fulfill its rent obligations to landowners.
In its judgment the court ordered the return of the 41,500 hectares (103,000 acres)to the community and a imposed $250,000 fine.
Lawyers for the case disclosed that this was the first time in the history of Sierra Leone that a community would win back land leased to a foreign company.
Helpless Nigerians have raised the alarm over the continuous implementation of the policy of casualization by both the public and private sectors.
They lament that the companies are both local and foreign owned, while stressing that the high unemployment rate was the source of inspiration of these companies.
The companies hide under the guise of outsourcing the recruitment of casual workers to promote slave labour.
Recently aggrieved casual workers of a biscuit and poultry products factory located in Ibadan, Nigeria protested at their respective places of work to bring to the notice of the public their harrowing experiences.
One of the workers at the biscuit factory speaking incognito, painted a pitiable picture.
''In this factory we work on three shifts of eight hours, there is no break. And the pay is so meagre. The management treats workers like slaves, we are not allowed to take our phones into the factory, we are not allowed to eat, if a worker has an accident while working such a workers would be queried. For the eight hours work, a worker must not sleep. As at now, three workers, who had accidents while working in September are still coming to work with their injuries. And our salaries are between N14,000, N16,000 and N17,000 per month. For me my salary is below N12,000'', the mpoverished worker lamented.
Another worker at the poultry products factory disclosed that for several years ,casual workers have been shortchanged in the name of outsourcing the recruitment of casual workers.
A man at the factory, who simply gave his name as Emmanuel disclosed that the contract of the company in charge of the casual workers had been terminated, while stressing that the workers wages had been increased by N300.00.
In his reaction to the development , the Natonal coordnator of the All Workers Convergence(AWC)Comrade Andrew Emelieze casualization was also the trend in government owned establishments.
''It is unfortunate that Nigerians workers have been maltreated all these years, this has been the case all the while, it did not start today. The issue of casualization does not only affect the private sector, but also the public sector.''
'' The postion of AWC is that workers should continuously protest their pilght and other workers should also protest in solldarity to end slave labour and slave wages. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Prodcutivity should initiate policies to save Nigerian workers from casualization.''
At the University of Ibadan, non academic staff lament that management staff of the institution, compel junior workers to work after the official closing hours of 4.00pm for personal purposes without extra wages.
In his reaction, the branch Chairman of the Non Academic Staff Union(NSAU)Comrade Oluwasegun Arojo maintained that it was unethical for any staff of the university to subject to such an inhuman treatment.
''I think it is unethical for any staff to compel his surbordinate to work etra hours with compesation. The extant rule permits that when you do extra work, you must receive over-time pay. If at all it is happening it is barbaric. And those involved should desist from such act forthwith. It could lead to crisis. Anyone affected should report to the union leaders in the university'', Comrade Arojo stated.
Nigerian workers are increasingly giving up hopes of owning their own homes, as issues of unpaid salary arrears, unfavourable working environment and conditions trail the present administration up till the last lap of its four year tenure.
Mot workers have for long contended with the exploitative tendencies of house owners, who increase rents randomly.
This in in addition to the soaring costs of land and building materials.
For the National Vice President Western zone of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities(SSANU)Comrade Alfred Jimoh, workers have taken their destinies in their own hands, when it comes to the fundamental issue of housing.
''The future of workers are in their own hands, as far as owning houses is concerned. I have not seen any meaningful assistance from the management of the University of Ibadan and the Federal Government in particular. The only effort I know, is a revolving housing loan, but I don't know how effective it is. Workers are making efforts to own their houses with the assistance of cooperative societies and their unions. SSANU acquired some plots of land and distributed same to its members. Also, cooperative societies in the University of Ibadan assist their members with loans and deduct this from their salaries, As far as Government and our employers are concerned nobody cares'', Comrade Jimoh lamented.
In the views of Comrade Oluwasegun Arojo, the Chairman of the Non Academic Staff Union(NASU), University of Ibadan branch, the beauty of working is to retire into one' own home, with the assistance of government.
''Our members should be able to afford to build their own houses. Let government provide the loans and direct workers to pay instalmentally, not that when we retire, shelter becomes a problem'', Comrade Arojo stated.
However, the All Workers Convergence(AWC) frowns at the National Housing Fund(NHF), just as it describes fund as a method government introduced to evade its responsibilities.
This position of the AWC was made known by its National Coordinator, Comrade Andrew Emelieze in a chat with Federationews2day.
''The National Housing Fund is an imposition by the Federal Government of Nigeria, in a bid to run away from its responsibilities to provide either affordable housing scheme for Nigerian workers or giving out housing loans to the workers. The NHF is used to scoop cash from the already impoverished workers because the deductions are mandatory and almost non-refundable until probably after retirement''.
''The interests on the deductions collected from the workers is equally ridiculous. More painful is the fact that the process of obtaining the housing loans are very cumbersome and workers are usually frustrated, making them resign to fate and allow the deductions to continue without attempting to take the loans''.
'For workers, generally, we feel cheated and because we don't have options, and because we are not well protected by our industrial unions, we at most time resign to fate. In fact the NHF has never given account of the contributions and balance of workers on a monthly basis.
''And if no worker in the scheme has collected loans within the last 10 and 15 years, and the NHF is not giving reasons why this is so, it means the National Housing Fund is a fraud'', Comrade Emelieze concluded.
Three Journalists were injured when an explosion disrupted last Saturday's ZANU-PF political rally at the Bulawayo White Stadium in Zimbabwe.
The political rally had in attendance President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was there to campaign, ahead of the July 30 general elections in the country.
The three Journalists who were injured work for the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation(ZBC), they are Cameraman Coster Thole, Technician Chipo Five, and Producer Forget Tsododo.
Although President Mnangagwa escaped unhurt, the source of the blast has not yet been uncovered, while security agencies step up investigations
The recently suspended nationwide strike action embarked upon by health workers in Nigeria has exposed how the Federal Government has destroyed the essence of trade unionism in the country.
Some days before the strike was called off, the management of the University College Hospital(UCH) Ibadan, had issued a circular directing all workers in the hospital to resume within 48 hours or risk dismissal. This, it was gathered, was with the knowledge of some union leaders in the hospital.
Indeed, workers in Nigeria have for long called to question the sincerity of their union leaders, in representing their interests, transparently.
Not long ago, Non Academic Staff in Nigerian universities suspended their industrial action.
According to the Chairman of the University of Ibadan, branch of the Non Academic Staff of Union, Comrade Oluwasegun Arojo, although the government threatened to invoke the ''No work No Pay rule'', the workers were paid for the duration they were on strike.
''Government was threatening not to pay us, but after the whole threats, the matter was resolved amicably. And government decided to pay our members for all the period that they downed tools. Even though our major demands have not been met, we hope that the government will change its style of leadership and do the needful'', Comrade Arojo disclosed.
Interestingly, a circular issued by the Head of Hospital Administration, Dr. J.O Amedu, for the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, announced that all salaries would not be paid to those who embarked on strike. The circular referred to the provision of section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act CAP 18, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and International Labour Organization's principles concerning employers' rights during strike in essential services, to justify its action.
However, the National Coordinator of the All Workers Convergence(AWC)Comrade Andrew Emelieze opines that workers have the right to go on strike.
''To the issue of the pronouncement that workers' salaries, who went on strike would not be paid for the period that the strike lasted, this is an aberration, more of an abnormality, especially when the labour act allows for legitimate strikes been a tool for negotiation. Workers have the right to get paid. Even in line with the International Labour Organization's position, strikes are legitimate, it is a legal tool to make demands and encourage productivity''.
''Hence, as such workers pay within that period is guaranteed. More so, government was the cause of the strike and should be held accountable for all the shortcomings concerning the lock out, whereby government refused to meet the demands of the workers, thereby making it impossible for them to be at work. On this note, government must pay their salaries or else government should be ready for another dispute'', Comrade Emelieze concluded.
Interestingly, workers of the UCH, Ibadan are yet to be paid for April and May, according to the Chairman Joint Health Sector Union(JOHESU) of the hospital, Comrade Olusegun Sotiloye.
''The circular issued by the UCH management was not enough to scare us, right now we are yet to receive the April and May salaries, while we wait patiently for the intervention of the Senate President, as he promised. Workers should remain calm, while we wait for the dividends of the strike'',.Comrade Sotiloye stated.
Sadly, health workers in Oyo state insist that thy are at a lose, over why the strike was suspended.
''We have a number of demands that are yet to be met by the Oyo state Government, and yet we are back to work'', they lamented.
They also argue that their union leaders have been compromised by the state government, that was why there has not been an headway in the agitation for their demands to be met.
''The routine is becoming monotonous, our leaders will call us out on strike and after sometime, such strikes are suspended, without meeting our demands. If Nigerians are saying our leaders have been compromised, they are correct'', the workers speaking incognito revealed.
However, an attempt to get the response of the JOHESU Chairperson, Comrade R.A. Afonja met a brick wall at the unions secretariat at Yemetu, in Ibadan, as the Chairperson's response was '' is it by force to speak, please excuse us''.
The coming days and weeks, would only serve to outline how the some officials of the present administration and union leaders in the country have systematically destroyed trade unionism and hope for an improved and efficient workforce.
The All Workers Coverngence(AWC) has declared that the Federal Government does not have any intention to increase workers' salaries.
The AWC made this declaration through its National Coordinator, Comrade Andrew Emelieze, in a chat with People.
''It is a delibrate attempt to dash the hopes of the Nigerian workers, who have been underpaid in the past years. And so it is as if, it is also a delibrate attempt to deceive the Nigerian workers, having continually promised since last year, ever since the committee was set up and the promise that the new minimmage will see the light of the day in Septmber, for government to now say it is no longer possible, confirms the fact that government is deceiving the workers and it is the most irresponsible thing to do''.
''In the light of this, the AWC, is calling for immediate radical action from the Trade Union Congress(TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC), the two unions should as a matter of urgency, confront this pronouncement with a nationwide strike action, as this remains the only therapy that can help workers in the struggle for a new antional minimum wage '', Comrade Emelieze stated.
The Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Nigige, has a few days ago, disclosed that by September, the committee on new antional minimum wage would be submitting its report, and as a result the implementation would be moved forward.
Training and Retraining of Workers : Oyo Govt Has not Done Enough for us-Chairman JNC
Similarly, the Chairman of the Trade Union Congress(TUC), who also doubles as the Chairman Joint Negotiation Council(JNC) in the state, Comrade Emmanuel Ogundiran, has disclosed that the state government has not done enough in the area of training and retraining of the state's workforce in the last seven years.
''Training and retraining that could have improved our productivity has been embargoed. This is not good for the workers. However, the state government is trying its best in the payment of salaries, we are only been owed for May, as at now, the government has the will to pay. But in the area of facelift to our work environment, government started well, the Governor's office is a sight to behold, but same cannot be said of our offices'', Comrade Ogundiran noted.
Senior staff of Nigerian universities have expressed reservations over the release of N1.3 billion out of N8 billion the Federal Government agreed to pay as earned allowances to only the academic staff of the University of Ilorin and the University of Nigeria Nsukka(UNN).
The position of the university workers was made known by the Vice President of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities(SSANU)Western zone, Comrade Alfred Jimoh.
''The information of the release of the allowances to the academic staff of the University of Ilorin and University of Nigeria Nsukka, has got to us. The truth of the matter, is that we have not heared anything about the release of non academic staff allowances. N1.3 billion was released to ASUU, out of N8 billion. The Federal Government has taken care of ASUU and left us in the cold. Government ought to be sensitive enough to take care of us and not the ancillary staff'', Comrade Jimoh concluded.
In the same vein, Chairman of the Non Academic Staff Union(NASU)University of Ibadan branch, Comrade Oluwasegun Arojo has expressed hopes that government would soon release the allowances of the non academic staff.
''We are hopeful that anytime soon, our portion will be released, how soon the money will be released, nobody can tell. We are patiently waiting for government to do the needful'', Comrade Arojo stated.
A systematic dismembering of the manpower structure in Nigerian universities has began in earnest.
The plot engineered by some politically exposed Academics, according to investigations is designed to ease out all senior and junior staff in the universities, for the benefit of the academic staff.
If the plot sails through, the affected staff will then become the financial responsibilities of the Federal Ministry of Education.
Carefully contrived by a number of academic staff presently enjoying political patronage from high ranking political office holders, the plot will ensure that only lecturers are on the payroll of the universities.
Well informed sources, insist that senior and junior staff are to be redeployed to the Federal Ministry of Education, while a few of them would be seconded to the universities.
This according to the sources would pave the way for a special salary scale for the academic staff, while salaries of the others would be determined by the government.
However, educationists warn that such a plot could destabilize the university system, just as they insisted that those behind the plot were only promoting their selfish interests.
They berated the President for engaging the services of professionals, who had already led government astray.
The Rwandan Government has introduced Information and Communication Technology(ICT) education in schools in the country.
The policy ''smart class rooms" seeks to incorporate ICT into various aspects of the country's education system and reform teaching and learning systems.
According to the Director General of Rwandan Education Board(REB), Dr Irénée Ndayambaje, who made this known , recently, in a training session for teachers on the use of ICT in schools in Kigali, the policy is also intended to integrate technology in all education processes such as preparation, delivery of lessons, assessments, research among others.
He stressed that the target is to have 1,500 schools equipped with smart classrooms. Presently, only 645 schools are equipped in the country.