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Osinbajo: No, Prof. Farooq Kperogi, No! By Ozodinukwe Okenwa

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Professor Farooq Kperogi is a Nigerian-born Journalism and Emerging Media lecturer at the Kennesaw State University in Atlanta Georgia, the United States. He is one of the writers I read religiously week in, week out. Few others are Azu Ishiekwene, Olatunji Dare and Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo. He is insightful, intrepid and patriotic. His profundity of thoughts, analysis and delivery marks him out as a great mind worth giving attention to.
Prof. Farooq knows the inner workings of power in Nigeria that sometimes his predictions or submissions turned out to be true turning him into a glorified oracle with authoritative takes on power and the wielders back home. He spares no one, muslims or christians, and calls a spade a spade no matter whose ox is gored.
I have never met Prof. Kperogi before but we had exchanged a couple of emails last year or thereabout. Of course, he is a great writer and through his public commentary he has a lot of reach with readers (online and offline via traditional media outlets) following his social activism.
Prof. Kperogi recently called out the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo in a scathing article he published on his popular blogging website known as “Notes From Atlanta”. Entitled “10 Reasons Osinbajo Will Ignite a Religious Civil War” Kperogi sounded more like he had an outstanding issue awaiting settlement with the number two citizen.
Displaying his usual verbosity and grammatical superiority complex he had sought to take down the Vice-President hammering out ten reasons why the affable VP could unleash a religious civil war in the event of his election as President post-Buharism.
In the diatribe he had described Osinbajo as “a suave, charming but toxic Islamophobic bigot who clothes his bigotry with oratory. He is only associating with Muslims because of his political agenda…He visits mosques (with his shoes on — in a betrayal of his ice-cold disdain for the religion) and awkwardly utters salaams only as a stoop-to-conquer strategy.”
And quoting a ‘Nigerian Tribune’ columnist, Festus Adedayo, he revealed that while Buhari was sick and away in London, Osinbajo attended a Redeemed Christian Church of God prayer in his home state of Ogun where the resident Pastor prayed for Buhari to “die” so that Osinbajo would take over as president “with the VP shouting (a) thunderous ‘Amen’.” The article from which he quoted was dated Nov. 10, 2019, in a column titled “The trials of Brother Osinbajo”.
I had read that article by columnist Adedayo but what he said in it was a bit different from the interpretation it was given by Prof. Kperogi. He said the RCCG Pastor had indeed prayed for Osinbajo to rise to the top as President but not at the expense of Buhari’s ailment or death!
I am not a fan of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Nor that of the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo or Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the ruling party’s so-called National Leader. I believe both of them deserve to be beaten electorally when the time comes for the successor of President Muhammadu Buhari to be chosen next year in the event of any of the two throwing their hat into the presidential ring.
President Buhari’s presidential scoresheet is null, so any party could easily defeat the ruling party next year. The 8-year presidential pestilence, Buharism, must be sent back to the showers no matter who holds the broken broom next year as the APC flagbearer. Whether Osinbajo or Tinubu, for us, it is akin to six and half a dozen!
We believe religion in general and God in particular should be removed from our national politics. God does not play politics! Again, the constitution does not allow a President to be elected as a religious leader or on religious ground. The last time we checked Nigeria is still a democracy and not theocracy.
If God should be put in the larger political picture then the monumental failures of the system could have been averted long ago. To His utter consternation God must have turned His back on our national woes after observing from above the oppression and repression of our elite; their penchant to pauperize Nigerians and steal what would have made them comfortable.
If God is the issue, politically speaking, then China and Japan, for example, cannot be leading the world economically and technologically. Now, Nigeria with our thousands of churches and mosques, millions of worshippers and hypocrites little or no progress is being made on every front. Who is fooling whom!?
The national power grid had recently collapsed leading to more darkness. At the best of time it was obscurity galore in many villages, towns and cities and now with the generalised power failure coupled with toxic fuel supply (which had led to steep increase in PMS pump price) the nation is living its version of hell on earth.
If Osinbajo was in attendance at the religious event where a prayer was offered for Buhari’s demise and he, instead of condemning it vehemently, applauded it then he must have committed a criminal, nay, treasonable offense worth investigating thoroughly and dealing with. If the veracity of the claim was proven to be true (which is not the case) then VP Osinbajo ought to have been sacked long ago for insubordination and disloyalty.
Osinbajo is often accused by critics (including yours truly) of being blindly loyal to the system, to Buharism that he is willing to sacrifice anything or everything to please his boss. Despite their religious differences Osinbajo and Buhari have governed together in harmony and deep respect for each other’s faith.
We refuse to accept the controversial submission made by the respected America-based Professor concerning Osinbajo especially where he said the diminutive VP shouted a resounding ‘Amen’ to a prayer for the death of his principal and his consequent enthronement as President.
No, Professor Kperogi, no! We disagree!

Strictly Personal

All eyes in Africa are on Kenya’s bid for a reset, By Joachim Buwembo

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Whoever impregnated Angela Rayner and caused her to drop out of school at the tender age of 16 with no qualifications might be disappointed that we aren’t asking who her baba mtoto (child’s father) is; whether he became a president, king or a vagabond somewhere, since the girl ‘whose leg he broke’ is now UK’s second most powerful person, 28 years since he ‘stole her goat’.

Angela’s rise to such heights after the adversity should be a lesson to countries which, six decades after independence, still have millions of citizens wallowing in poverty and denied basic human dignity, while the elite shamelessly flaunt obscene luxury on their hungry, twisted faces.

After independence, African countries also suffered their adolescent setbacks in the form of military coups. Uganda’s military rule lasted eight years, Kenya’s about eight hours on August 1, 1982, while Tanzania’s didn’t materialise and its first defence chief became an ambassador somewhere.

What we learn from Angela Rayner is that when you’re derailed, it doesn’t matter who derailed you, because nobody wants to know. What matters is that you pick yourself up, not just to march on, but to stand up and shine.To incessantly blame our colonial and slave-trading ‘derailers’ while we treat our fellow citizens worse than the colonialists did only invites the world to laugh. Have you ever read of a colonial officer demanding a bribe from a local before providing the service due?

African countries today need to press ‘reset’. A state operates by written policies, plans, strategies and prescribed penalties with gazetted prisons for those who break the rules.  This is far more power than teenage Angela had, so a reset state should take less time to become prosperous than the 28 years it took her to get to the top after derailing.

So it’s realistic for countries to operate on five-year planning and electoral cycles, so a state that fails to implement a programme in five years has something wrong with it. It needs a reset.

A basic reset course for African leaders and economists should include:

1. Mindset change: Albert Einstein teaches us that no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. For example, if you are in debt, seeking or accepting more debt is using the same level of thinking that put you there. If you don’t like Einstein’s genius, you can even try an animal in the bush that falls into a hole and stops digging. Our economists are certainly better than a beast in the bush.

2. Stealing is wrong: African leaders and civil servants need to revisit their catechism or madarasa – stealing public resources is as immoral as rape.

3. Justifying wrong doesn’t make it right: Using legalese and putting sinful benefits in the budget is immoral and can incite the deprived to destroy everything.

4. Take inventory of your resources and plan to use them: If Kenya, for example, has a railway line running from Mombasa to Nairobi, is it prudent to borrow $3.6 billion to build a highway parallel to it before paying off and electrifying the railway?

If Uganda is groaning under a $2 billion annual petrol import bill, does it make sense to beg Kenya for access to import more fuel, when Kampala is already manufacturing and marketing electric buses, while failing to use hundreds of megawatts it generates, yet the country has to pay for the unused power?

If Tanzania… okay, TZ has entered the 21st Century with its electric trains soon to be operating between Dar es Salaam and Morogoro. Ethiopia, too, has connected Addis Ababa to the port of Djibouti with a 753-kilometre electric railway,  and moves hundreds of thousands of passengers in Addis every day by electric train.

5. Protect the environment: We don’t own it, we borrowed it from our parents to preserve it for our children. Who doesn’t know that the future of the planet is at stake?

6. Do monitoring and evaluation: Otherwise you may keep doing the same thing that does not work and hope for better results, as a sage defined lunacy.

7. Don’t blame the victims of your incompetence: This is basic fairness.

We could go on, but how boring! Who doesn’t know these mundane points? We are not holding our breath for Angela’s performance, because if she fails, she will be easily replaced. Africa’s eyes should now be on Kenya to see how they manage an abrupt change without the mass bloodshed that often accompanies revolutions.

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Strictly Personal

The post-budget crisis in Kenya might be good for Africa, after all, By Joachim Buwembo

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The surging crisis that is being witnessed in Kenya could end up being a good thing for Africa if the regional leaders could step back and examine the situation clinically with cool-headed interest. Maybe there is a hand of God in the whole affair. For, how do explain the flare not having started in harder-pressed countries such as Zambia, Mozambique and Ghana?

As fate would have it, it happened in East Africa, the region that is supposed to provide the next leadership of the African Union Commission, in a process that is about to start. And, what is the most serious crisis looming on Africa’s horizon? It is Debt of course.

Even the UN has warned the entire world that Africa’s debt situation is now a crisis. As at now, three or four countries are not facing debt trouble — and that is only for now.

There is one country, though, that is virtually debt-free, having just been freed from debt due to circumstances: Somalia. And it is the newest member of the East African Community. Somalia has recently had virtually all its foreign debt written off in recognition of the challenges it has been facing in nearly four decades.

Why is this important? Because debt is the choicest weapon of neocolonialists. There is no sweeter way to steal wealth than to have its owners deliver it to you, begging you, on all fours, to take it away from them, as you quietly thank the devil, who has impaired their judgement to think that you are their saviour.

So?

So, the economic integration Africa has embarked on will, over the next five or so years, go through are a make-or-break stage, and it must be led by a member that is debt-free. For, there is no surer weapon to subjugate and control a society than through debt.

A government or a country’s political leadership can talk tough and big until their creditor whispers something then the lion suddenly becomes a sheep. Positions agreed on earlier with comrades are sheepishly abandoned. Scheduled official trips get inexplicably cancelled.

Debt is that bad. In African capitals, presidents have received calls from Washington, Paris or London to cancel trips and they did, so because of debt vulnerability.

In our villages, men have lost wives to guys they hate most because of debt. At the state level, governments have lost command over their own institutions because of debt. The management of Africa’s economic transition, as may be agreed upon jointly by the continental leaders, needs to be implemented by a member without crippling foreign debt so they do not get instructions from elsewhere.

The other related threat to African states is armed conflict, often internal and not interstate. Somalia has been going through this for decades and it is to the credit of African intervention that statehood was restored to the country.

This is the biggest prize Africa has won since it defeated colonialism in (mostly) the 1960s decade. The product is the new Somalia and, to restore all other countries’ hope, the newly restored state should play a lead role in spreading stability and confidence across Africa.

One day, South Sudan, too, should qualify to play a lead role on the continent.

What has been happening in Kenya can happen in any other African country. And it can be worse. We have seen once promising countries with strong economies and armies, such as Libya, being ravaged into near-Stone Age in a very short time. Angry, youthful energy can be destructive, and opportunistic neocolonialists can make it inadvertently facilitate their intentions.

Containing prolonged or repetitive civil uprisings can be economically draining, both directly in deploying security forces and also by paralysing economic activity.

African countries also need to become one another’s economic insurance. By jointly managing trade routes with their transport infrastructure, energy sources and electricity distribution grids, and generally pursuing coordinated industrialisation strategies in observance of regional and national comparative advantages, they will sooner than later reduce insecurity, even as the borders remain porous.

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