By Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi
It is common knowledge that while Nigerians and, of course, the global community were on Sunday, January 1, 2023, celebrating the ‘arrival’ of a brand new year, former President Olusegun Obasanjo released to Nigerians his regular trademark Open Letter, where he, among other remarks, endorsed the Labour Party candidate in the forthcoming general elections in the country, Peter Obi, describing him as a presidential candidate that has the edge over others in terms of knowledge, discipline, vitality and character, and, therefore, admonished Nigerians not allow opportunity that Peter Obi represents in the February 25 presidential poll slip through their hands.
As expected, the development has elicited reactions from political stakeholders and the general public. While some hailed the action of the former president, others viewed it with scepticism. The boundaries between both spheres have shifted back and forth for some days. In some cases, they have ended up igniting a lot of tension.
For instance, the supporters of Peter Obi believe that the insight that flows from Obasanjo’s letter remains credible and encouraged other past leaders to emulate him.
On their part, APC Presidential Campaign Council sees the endorsement as worthless because, in their estimation, the former president does not possess any political goodwill or leverage anywhere in Nigeria to make anyone win a councillorship election, let alone a presidential election.
The Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organization shares similar opinions with APC. To them, the support for the LP presidential candidate by Obasanjo was his personal wish, which did not reflect the opinion or position of the overwhelming majority of Nigerians across the country.
Indeed, while the debate about the viability or otherwise of the endorsement rages, there are, however, some silent but salient points that Nigerians must not fail to remember.
First and very fundamental is that it takes an illuminated mind to write a good letter, and it is, therefore, important that readers focus more on the message and not the messenger, as no one is infallible.
In the same way, one of the intrinsic privileges participatory democracy and the election of leaders confer on all is the enjoyment of access to the free flow of information. It gives each individual more standing within the society without reference to a class or fortune- to claim a measure of dignity equal to all others and empowers individuals to scrutinize the use of power by those in government so as to ascertain if we are the one using power or whether power is using us.
Considering this fact, I found nothing out-of-ordinary to warrant the ripple reactions that characterized Obasanjo’s recent use of analytical methods to advise Nigerians, particularly the youths, on the forthcoming general election.
Very germane, aside from enjoying the constitutional backing as enshrined in the nations’ 1999 constitution (as amended), to express his opinion, the open letter provided an honest roadmap that will assist Nigerians to elect as President someone that will restore the political and socioeconomic health of the nation.
Obasanjo captured it this way, “I will, without prejudice, fear or ill-will, make bold to say that there are four major factors to watch out for in a leader you will consider to hoist on yourself and on the rest of Nigerians in the coming election and they are what I call TVCP: Track record of ability and performance; Vision that is authentic, honest and realistic; Character and attributes of a lady and a gentleman who are children of God and obedient to God; and Physical and mental capability with the soundness of mind as it is a very taxing and tasking assignment at the best of times and more so it is at the most difficult time that we are.”
More than anything else, Obasanjo’s latest letter, in my view, further confirms that leadership holds the key to unlocking the transformation question in Nigeria, as only a sincere and selfless leader and a politically and economically restructured polity brought about by national consensus can unleash the social and economic forces that can ensure the total transformation of the country and propel her to true greatness.
Supporting the above assertion is the elder statesman’s encouragement of Nigeria to jettison in the country’s leadership recruitment system that has bred corruption, inefficiency, primitive capital accumulation and socially excluded the vast majority of our people, and in its place, work to build a new social and political order that can mobilize the people around common interests, with visionary leadership to drive this venture- as only then can we truly begin to resolve some of the socio-economic contradictions afflicting the nation.
Also, there is, in the opinion of this piece, another strategic reason to believe that issues raised by the former president may not be lacking in merit but should be considered accurate and charitable.
Recall that President Buhari, according to reports, had in March 2015, among other things, described Obasanjo as a courageous patriot and statesman who tells the truth to the power when he is convinced that leaders are going wrong. It is my prayer that PMB and other political gladiators will heed this truth that is now coming from that same courageous patriot.
Away from the current open letter, from public affairs analyst’s point of view, I believe and still believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with APC as a political party acronym that throws into confusion any nation they assume the mantle of leadership. It is not only in Nigeria but in Africa as a continent. If you are in doubt of this claim, wait till you cast a glance at this documented account.
In 1985, the All Peoples Congress (APC) took over the mantle of leadership in Sierra Leone (pre-war days) with Joseph Momoh at the helm of affairs; just immediately, the nation came to a halt; the civil servants’ salaries stopped, the road fell to pieces, the schools disintegrated, the National Television stopped in 1987 when the transmitter was sold by the Minister of Information. And in 1989, a radio tower that relayed radio signals outside Free Town fell, ending transmission outside the capital, with weapons pouring over the border as the government disappeared. The economy finally collapsed, and Sierra Leone kissed calamity.
Looking at the above account in relation to what is currently happening in the political geography called Nigeria, it rings apprehension as to whether the country will not be heading for the Sierra Leone experience if voted again in the forthcoming general election.
Essentially, even if an answer is provided to the above, it will not at any significant level erase the common belief by Nigerians that APC lacks the solution to the hydra-headed socioeconomic challenge facing the nation, a feeling that has, in turn, eroded the goodwill the party enjoyed in 2015.
In my view, what is happening is neither Peter Obi endorsement-specific nor open letter induced. The truth is that before this ripple reaction that trailed the latest letter, Nigerians were shell-shocked at ugly developments in the country under the present federal government.
This worry is particularly evident in the current administration’s inability to keep to the promise made in 2015 and 2019 to create a climate of opinion in the country that will look upon corruption in public offices as a threat to society. Instead, it has plundered and plummeted the country into more corruption while leaving the nation’s economy to walk in the valley of the shadow of death. This failure majorly explains what irked Nigerians against the present administration.
While the ultimate result of what the federal government is doing currently is in the womb of the future, and the result may not be palatable if the trend is allowed to complete its gestation without something dramatic done to have it aborted, the truth must be told to the effect that the APC-led federal government has eloquently proved to be pleasant talkers but inept in political will to implement any policy. They have, within this period, promoted corruption and made the entire brouhaha about the corruption fight superficial that only exists in the frame, with the vision neither sharp nor the goal clear.
Most importantly, Nigerians, particularly the youths, like Obasanjo suggested, must, therefore, not allow themselves to be confused but should look towards building a future that is free of suspicion and a nation that will be viewed at the world stage as the zone of peace and prosperity.
In the interim, this piece holds the opinion that Obasanjo’s open letter and endorsement of Peter Obi remains the most dynamic and cohesive action expected of a past leader of his class to earn a higher height of respect and the former president’s TVCP political formula on its part, is the only way forward.
This is a message that Nigerians, particularly the youths, must not allow to go with political winds.
Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org/08032725374
Registration Requirements For Business Entities In Nigeria
By Benita Ayo
Registering a business venture is oftentimes the best and wisest move an entrepreneur should always take before launching out. The reason for this is not far-fetched.
In most situations, when an entrepreneur fails to register his business prior to its commencement, the desired business name may become subject to disapproval whenever he chooses to register the business at a later date.
This is one reason why it is strongly advised that a business undergoes the necessary registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
Let it be known that it is never enough to simply register a business and retreat. There are still things the law expects a business owner to do after registration of a business with the CAC.
For instance, every business entity, such as (Limited Liability Company (Public or Private), Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), Limited Partnership (LP), Business Name (BN), Incorporated Trustees (IT) etc, are all expected to file the Annual Returns of their businesses on or before the 30th June of each fiscal year. Failure to do this attracts penalties for default.
In extreme circumstances, where a business entity has failed to file its Annual Returns for consecutive years, the entity’s profile with the Corporate Registry will be deemed inactive.
In sum, while most business entities continue to transact their businesses unabated, a check on their profiles at the Corporate Registry will reveal that such businesses are, in truth, inactive.
A company whose Corporate Profile is ‘inactive’ is on the watch list of the CAC for de-listing.
You may contact me via the under-listed channels for further consultations on the following services;
- Business/Company Registrations
- Annual Returns filing
- Re-activation of ‘inactive’ corporate profiles
- Corporate Profile search etc.
Benita Ayo is a Seasoned Corporate Commercial Counsel with over nine years of post-call experience. She has handled myriads of briefs in Corporate/Commercial, Employment Law as well as Property Transactional Practice.
Checkmating The LGBT Incursion In African Politics: The Nigerian Case Study And Consequences
By Kwame lbrahim
The number of Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) persons in Nigeria, though largely undocumented officially, has continued to rise exponentially, especially among teenagers, youths and adults.
According to several projects related to fact-finding research and spontaneous polls conducted in some institutions of higher learning and amongst clusters of young people in social media groups and platforms, this is common everywhere but more pronounced in cities of Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Sokoto, Abuja, Maiduguri, Ibadan, Kaduna and Owerri.
This is even spreading all over the country at a growing rate despite the legal statutes and social responses, which have clearly red-flagged the queer preference and defined homosexuality as illegal in Nigeria and punishable by up to 14 years of prison in the conventional court system.
Nigeria is a largely conservative country, and the very Western proclivity towards openly embracing gay rights and LGBT penchants are deemed not only as anathema but also an unacceptable negation and disrespect for the very foundation on the mores and decency which its cultural, religious, traditional and secular communal existence have been built and have continued to thrive over the years.
As Nigeria evolves into a more post-modern and more globalized society, credible findings have revealed that the fundamental threat that this surge in queer attitude poses for its secularity is disturbingly manifest in the deliberate and determined effort by LGBT advocates to take over the political, legislative process in its 2023 elections.
The basic aim of such financiers is to subsequently secure sufficient representatives in its National Assembly to push for and promulgate the law legalising and legitimizing homosexuality.
In the past, such an attempt was resisted by communities in Kenya through the support of community leaders and its government, but the Nigerian situation seems different because of the present unholy silence that has greeted many aspirants for senatorial and House of Representative positions of some political parties that have well known LGBT sympathizers and practitioners as their candidates.
This is indeed a worrisome phenomenon which, if allowed to become a reality, will not only erode the very fabric of Nigeria’s original existential identity but would dangerously affect the acceptable balance of decency and straight relationship, which have been the hallmarks of a majority of traditional families in Nigeria and Africa.
There is no gainsaying the fact that Nigeria society will be confronted with dire consequences if this queer LGBT advocacy gains traction in its National Assembly, especially when such a law would embolden the gays and lesbians to openly challenge and even violently rubbish any real or perceived rational and normal counter-argument against this quite uncharacteristic behaviour in its society.
Furthermore, there is no doubt whatsoever that a law legitimizing LGBT tendencies would result in uncontrolled homophobia, which will radically disrupt peaceful existence and dislocate many straight people, who will be subjected to unprovoked assaults by those gloating to endorse the new legislation on the streets, schools, bars and restaurants, churches and other places where the need to impose the law would be deemed necessary and patriotic.
This sad intent through politics by introducing and sponsoring LGBT members into the National Legislative System of Africa’s most populous Nation will, of course, come at a great social, existential cost and unleash in its wake major destructive consequences to all African societies, the Nigerian nation and most developing communities of the world.
Against the backdrop of an anticipated backlash of violent and berserk orgies of unprovoked violence by members of the LGBT community, who had hitherto felt constrained, the need to sensitise the general public through the various channels of communication becomes highly recommended and inevitable, especially in recognition of the fact that this behaviour and the attendant defensive fightback, will definitely escalate if such is not checked at this 2023 election period in Nigeria.
All well-meaning Nigerians must act swiftly at this point of the electoral and voting process, where all the gains already achieved from the existing bill prohibiting and stipulating penalties for such queer practices can be reversed if they allow the pro-gay and LGBT sympathizers to dominate the National Assembly with their presence as elected Representatives as they would have a voice on the floors of the two parliaments to destroy its moral standards and religious beliefs.
The accommodation, maturity, peaceful, harmonious coexistence and decency which exist in Nigerian society would all be eroded once the legislation to legalise same-sex and LGBT relationships are achieved. A stitch in time saves nine. This is a time for community, traditional and religious leaders to speak up. This is the time for the electorate to grow in proper awareness of the consequences of making inappropriate choices.
Already, findings from credible investigations conducted to ascertain the next strategic ploy by the Queer community to accomplish the deliberate agenda of forcing legislation that would favour their cause indicate that the LGBT community in Nigeria has set its target at producing twenty House of Representative members from four states, namely: Sokoto, Kano, Rivers and Lagos, during the 2023 election.
In states where party tickets could not be secured in the two major political parties, sympathetic aspirants were sponsored with huge amounts of funding to join fresh parties with the clear intent to attract followers, which is a major catalyst for political mobilisation in a country like Nigeria.
Specifically, Kano, Lagos and Rivers states are said to have recorded huge success for this aspiration. However, the extent to which these plans work out would largely depend on the acceptance or rejection of these aspirants by the level of awareness created for the voting public, especially through their leaders.
Kwame lbrahim, PhD, is from the African Research Institute and Doctoral School of Safety & Security Services, Budapest, Hungary
Buying Naira with Naira, Rantings And Musings
By Prince Charles Dickson PhD
Under pressure we wail under pressure, under pressure black people under pressure, under pressure Nigerians under pressure. No food in we belly, no money in ah we pocket, no bed we lay we head.
The people dem are suffer, in ah ghetto, in ah city, everywhere dah me go oh, me see them, some are cry, some are die, some are weeping! Some are wailing! Everywhere dah oh eh. Under pressure we wail under pressure, under pressure everybody under pressure, Ras Kimono Under Pressure
You see the Nigerian looks upon Nigeria as a theatre and the entire population representing and manifesting the full spectrum of acts and actors. In this revelry, life is the theatre; the nation is the stage upon which we perform. The politicians and a few of us are the actors, very often mediocre. When stars appear, it is more often because a play must have a star rather than because the player is possessed of some dramatic genius. We saw it with Obasanjo, we saw it with Mr Yar’adua, and with the shoeless one, we are seeing it with the soon-to-end Mr Buhari. We falter and we muff our lines; sometimes our performance takes on an aspect of the grotesque-nobody takes this seriously because it is perceived as being the nature of the play. Our people become the audience.
I once watched with bemusement a deaf and dumb boy who caught his mom with a stranger in bed. When his father came home, the poor young boy was at a loss on how to communicate his discovery. After several futile attempts, the boy ceased trying. The father, on the other hand, patted him, walked into the bedroom and was scolding the wife, he asked her why she was sick, rolling on the bed and could not call for help from the neighbours or the family doctor.
I am not going to talk about the currency redesign brouhaha, because as good a policy as it supposedly is, again, it has exposed the gross behavioural nature of some Nigerians. The central bank, the commercial banks, the bankers, the PoS Operators and the general populace are guilty of varying degrees of culpability.
And, then the fuel palaver, the same one that once upon a time Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said: “This is the winter period. There is always more demand for refined products from petroleum during winter in colder countries. This is what we are experiencing now.” Today, I guess it is winter in those places again. And at the black market, the usual trend, is certainly high petrol prices, unavailable and weak Naira, low minimum wage and increasing poverty.
Legislators are neither here nor there; governors’ are not sure where they stand. In all the noise the product disappears. Transportation fare increases, food prices skyrocket…a nation that has a disconnect between the ruled and its rulers, like the deaf and dumb boy, his mother, the stranger and his father.
The fact is, our currency wahala, and fuel palaver are not the government’s problem. What are we really subsidising? Is it the high cost of energy or unavailable petroleum products? Nigerians are tired, hungry and not in protest mode. There’s no fuel scarcity but fuel criminality because leadership lacks the will.
Where are the refineries promised, all gone with the wind called Turn Around Maintenance! There is no PMS in the fuel station, but unregistered marketers/blackmarkers all have the commodity… a continued rationalisation and justification of absurdities like a commentator put it. It is even more disheartening when the intellectual effort and voice of elites are at the heart of such theatricals due to ethnoreligious cleavages birthed by economic disenfranchisement.
Our major problem is the lack of leadership manifesting itself in every facet of our human endeavours. Some of these areas may be fixable in future if we get the right people with the right policies but how do you fix the future of the mass population of our children who are not getting educated today?
The future of Nigeria is bright, and interesting but scary if we reflect on it. Teachers are illiterate; students can’t go to school because schools are closed down, and alternatives are unaffordable, the change is bleak…
The fuel management chain is a lucrative cankerworm of corruption, our banking system is not exactly different, a serious government can yet tackle it, it’s beyond committees and white papers. It’s action; only action can stop the rot. Nigerians can, I believe we can but we don’t know that we can, and doubt if we are ready.
The reason is simple…we are not just part of the problem, in some cases, we are the problem, when Sunny Okunsun sang;
Which way Nigeria, which way to go? I love my fatherland, o yeah, I want to know; Yes, I want to know. I love my fatherland, which Nigeria is heading to? Many years after independence, we still find it hard to start. How long shall we be patient still we reach the promised land? Let’s save Nigeria, so Nigeria won’t die. Which way Nigeria? Every little thing that goes wrong, we start to blame the government. We know everything that goes wrong, we are part of the government.
Which way Nigeria is heading to? Inefficiency and indiscipline is ruining the country now; corruption here there and everywhere, inflation is very high. We make mistakes in the oil boom, not knowing that was our doom. Some people now have everything, while some have nothing. Which way Nigeria, which way to go?
I end with this encounter, a politician was charged with profanity for calling an opponent a bastard: the politician retorted, “When I call him s.o.b I am not using profanity. I am only referring to the circumstances of his birth”. What is the circumstance of the birth of Nigeria, can anything be done to bring destiny and fate to conjure up some good for us all?
The elites are having a field day, but with each fleeting moment, three facts of life beckon, the rising of the sun, the setting of the moon and truth, only time will tell.
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