By Akingbade Thomas
I have followed the opinion articles of Femi Fani-Kayode since he started publishing in different news media.
At first, his opinions seem to me to be inspired by patriotism. After some time, he gradually descends into ethnical and partisanship inspired writings. His recent writings have now been conceived in the womb of Judeo-Christian theology.
In his opinion, the root cause of virtually all the challenges confronting national and international community is nothing but the religious conflict amongst the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), and that the solution to these challenges is the ultimate triumph of the Judeo-Christian over Islam.
This easy solution is not original to Fani-Kayode, he has probably just found likeness for this illusionary, apocalyptic and pessimistic solution which is original to the Judeo-Christian theology, which originally evolved from cultural fabric of the Haranites and indigenous Canaanites, the ethnic groups from where the Israelites got their origin genealogically.
I particularly found it amusing that a man who claimed to be soundly educated will now begin to derive inspiration from religious beliefs (as organized into Judeo-Christian theology) that fundamentally, essentially and largely derived it source from superstitions, myths, historical distortions and irrational fears.
Below are excerpts from his article titled: “What Donald Trump will not do,” published by The Eagle Online on August 2: “During the coming election debates, he should do the Nigerian people a favour and ask Hillary Clinton one question. That question is: Why did she and President Barack Obama refuse to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation until late 2014? This was after they had slaughtered over 100,000 innocent Nigerians in a space of four years. If the victims had been Americans, would they have taken so long to designate them as terrorists? Is Nigerian blood not red and do Nigerian lives not matter?
“Donald Trump would never have made such a mistake or tolerated such evil. If he had been the POTUS for the last seven years and not Barack Obama, Boko Haram would have been designated a terrorist organisation five years ago. Unlike Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, when it comes to foreign policy, Donald Trump is incapable of tolerating and accepting evil from those who espouse terrorism and the cold-blooded murder of women and children as a way of life.
“That is the difference between him and them. He knows what to do to the Islamist terrorists and he will support any foreign government that will take a hardline against those that slaughter innocents in the name of their god. He will crush those that wish to establish a new world caliphate in which non-Muslims and moderate Muslims are slaughtered or turned into slaves. Unlike Barack Obama, he will not pamper the terrorists, encourage them in some parts and treat them with kid gloves. Instead he will wage a hard, full-scale, relentless and comprehensive war against them.
“He will, like Russia’s Vladimir Putin, see it as a battle of the forces of light against the citadels of darkness. He will view it as an end-time war between the sons and daughters of God and the emissaries and agents of Satan. He will decimate the ranks of the Philistines, the Amalekites, the Midianites and all the other vultures, vampires and blood-thirsty barbarians in our midst. He will not support a Nigerian government that has a clear-cut religious and ethnic agenda, that seeks to shame and dehumanise Christians and that is attempting to restrict the spreading of the gospel of Christ.”
The question Femi wished to ask Hillary Clinton is belated and a misdirected one. On September 11, 2001, the day terrorist group touched American soil, George Bush, the then president, in his broadcast, said: “We will either bring the terrorists to justice or take justice to the terrorists.” The fulfilment of this promise was immediate and completed when Osama Bin Laden was killed. George Bush didn’t wait for categorization before he acted as president should. My question to Femi is: why didn’t the president and Commander in Chief of Nigeria act decisively in 2010? What justification does Femi have for the Father Christmas acts of the Office of National Security Adviser, from where monies meant for the prosecution of the war against Boko Haram were shared to persons (among whom Femi is alleged to be prominent), who used it to prosecute personal vanities? I am not surprised, therefore, that he’s not still seeing the former president as the person largely responsible for all the atrocities committed by Boko Haram as itemized by Femi earlier. The president had the gun and the dry gun powder (apology to Governor Ayodele Fayose), he just didn’t release fire on Boko Haram for reasons that ranged from ineptitude to wicked political considerations. The sharing of the arms procurement money was taken to a ridiculous level, when, according to the revelation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, among those alleged to have been beneficiaries of this heinous act, are prayer merchants who were given millions of naira for the purpose of what the friends of Femi called ‘special’ prayer, which they went to offer at some places in Asia and Europe. Since Femi now claims to be an end time revivalist, may I ask him the rationale behind the dubious rigmarole to Asia and Europe to go offer ‘special’ prayer for Nigeria, to a God that the bible and Quran says is omniscient, omnipotent and above all omnipresent.
If Nigeria was so corrupt and dark then, to warrant God taking sabbatical in Asia and Europe, thereby making it impossible for him to hear and answer the prayers of these merchants, the likes of Femi forced God on the exodus. I wonder the kind of god Femi is claiming to know and serve. Could this god be author of schemes, tricks and bold face with which persons who were co-power brokers with Femi in the last government raped, plundered, and squandered the commonwealth of this nation? If he is, then this type of god that Femi is high on, is nothing other than primitive, corrupt and vain. These are the very attributes of the persons who had in past years conspired to retrogressively develop Nigeria.
The allegation of ethnic and religious agenda against this present government by Femi is stale and of no useful effect on the mind of Nigerians who know the shallow places Femi is speaking from. How come Femi has forgotten in a hurry how some religious groups and centres went almost berserk while they were promoting malicious ethnic and religious sentiments against President Muhammadu Buhari during the 2015 electioneering campaign. If this sinister propaganda couldn’t stop Buhari from winning the election, how can this ridiculous gist of Femi now be of any effect? Femi appears to be living in Nigeria of five years ago. If not, he would have sought other critical and logical basis to engage this government, other than this lifeless sentiment.
The business of managing and addressing the present challenges that confront the national and internal communities is a serious one and requires hard thinking, hard action, urgency and eternal vigilance. The answers to the challenges created by the inevitable conflicts of interests, culture and ideology of societies around the world can’t possibly be found in the easy but fatalistic theology of adherents of organized religious movements.
If in the thinking of Femi is the idea that the myriads of challenges that confront the world today can easily be resolved if we all just pessimistically succumb to the predetermined outcome concocted in the body of the teaching of eschatology, there is no need therefore for him to pretend to be writing about a better Nigeria when his bible has prophetically predetermined that one of the Abrahamic religions will ultimately prevail on the other in Armageddon. He should just patiently wait for the appointed time of fulfilment.
Thomas writes from email@example.com.
Islamic Estate Planning: Protect Your Family and Leave a Legacy
Islamic estate planning involves the distribution of your assets that serve to preserve, manage, and distribute them after death according to the principles of the Shari’ah.
According to the Islamic ordinance, those principles are significant in planning for dependents and represent an investment in the afterlife.
Islamic inheritance laws organise your wealth ownership and assets to ensure fairness and justice after your passing. Instead of leaving the tough decisions to grieving family members, you can arrange the gifting of your assets in advance. This creates a streamlined process for the distribution of the inheritance to all family members.
Islamic estate planning is essential in the life of Muslim faithful. Indeed, if you pass away as a Muslim without a proper plan for your assets, you may be breaching the bequest guidance stated in the Holy Book, which serves as an instruction manual for a Muslim’s life.
However, many are not concerned with making an inheritance plan, even though a failure to make one could trigger intense family debate and hinder the transfer of some assets to specific beneficiaries.
According to the guiding principles of Islamic estate planning, after covering the funeral expenses and debts owed by the deceased, a person may designate up to one-third of their wealth.
This discretionary giving is known as the Wasiyyah. However, there are limitations to this discretionary giving.
For example, Wasiyyah cannot be given to someone already receiving a share under the Islamic inheritance laws. The Wasiyyah is most commonly given to charity or to care for distant relatives who cannot provide for themselves.
The residual two-thirds is the Mirath and is reserved for the Islamic heirs as ordained in the Holy Book. Primary beneficiaries are those who will inherit some of your wealth, provided that they are alive and Muslim. These are your spouse, children, and parents, and they receive a fixed share of the wealth.
Secondary beneficiaries are those whose share of the inheritance is contingent on whether other primary beneficiaries are still alive. These may include siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, and other relatives. It is vital to appreciate the rights and obligations relating to an estate.
In preparing to bequeath an inheritance, it is crucial to organise your wealth in a manner that will make assets acceptable for consideration in an Islamic estate plan.
In this regard, investments should be screened for compliance with Islamic estate ethics, and investments in interest-bearing assets are disqualified.
Instead, it would help if you endeavoured to invest in increasingly popular Sukuk bonds. You should consider Mudarabah Investment accounts as substitutes to fixed deposit accounts and subscribe to a family takaful policy instead of a life insurance policy in your saving plans.
As for pension assets, you should opt for a multi-fund structure with an option to invest in Shari’ah-compliant instruments.
Zakat, the third pillar of Islam, is a compulsory giving required from every financially stable Muslim. Those who have acquired wealth are obligated to respond to people in need and give back to the community. This response could include sponsoring widows or the education students and organising in a charitable Trust as part of an Islamic estate plan.
Therefore, you must consult a professional estate planner to assist with setting up a Trust arrangement where 2.5% of your assets/wealth is set aside annually for Zakat.
Several other tools can be used to organise the transfer of assets to a specific beneficiary. They include Hiba (making gifts), Waqf (setting up an endowment or trust), Wasiyya (transfers by donation), and it is appointing a Wasi or guardian for living dependents. Getting it right requires a thorough understanding of the principles of Islamic estate planning and the various assets available to achieve compliance.
Governor Okowa’s 2023 Presidency; an Objective Analysis
By Jerome-Mario Utomi
This piece stemmed from three recent developments in the country. First is the latest argument by development minded Nigerians that the nation’s perennial leadership haemorrhage/crisis is aggregated by a successive deficiency in leadership vision and in some cases made worse by public officials’ understanding and interpretation of problems with clarity but lacking in political will to see through or implement solutions. A development that has made the nation in dire need of a system that works, a government that caters for its citizens, especially the youths, secures lives and property while bolstering the economy.
The second and very germane is the Southern Governors Forum insistence that the presidency must shift to the southern part of the country come 2023, coupled with the recent decision by the main opposition party in Nigeria, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to zone the position of the national chairman of the party to the north.
As we know, it is a political principle embraced by major political parties in Nigeria that each time the national chairman of a political party emerges from the north, the presidential candidate of the same party, usually, emerges from the south where the likes of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State hails from.
Thirdly and most essential has to do with the fresh call by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr Ndudi Elumelu, on Mr Okowa to contest for the presidency of the country in 2023.
The Minority Leader, who spoke at the installation of Rotary Club’s 2nd President for 2021/2022 Rotary Club Year (Club of Asaba Downtown District 9141), pointed out that Governor Okowa should serve as the President of the nation so that he can replicate his achievements in massive infrastructural and human capital development in Delta State at the national level.
He stressed that Governor Okowa was endowed with the capacity and proficiency to rescue the nation from the misrule of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and reposition her to the path of peace, unity and economic prosperity.
“I must commend Governor Okowa for his selfless service and sacrifices that have led to unprecedented massive infrastructural development in our dear state as well as a better living standard for our people.
“Governor Okowa is a rare gift not only to Delta State but also to our nation Nigeria, at large. I firmly hold that he is endowed with the capacity and proficiency to serve our nation at the topmost level so that he can replicate the successes recorded in our state at the national level.
“I sincerely call on him to make him available to serve the nation again. He deserves to be the president of this country, come 2023,” Elumelu stated.
However, despite the popularity of this opinion, it will be antithetical to support a movement based on sentiment or allow sentiment to determine our actions. Therefore, in line with the Christian Holy Book, the Bible, admonished in 1 John 4; 1 that we do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
It will, for reasons, be of considerable significance to place this call under objective analysis to fundamentally help electorates make informed decisions ‘as the ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all’.
To perform this function well, it will necessitate the following posers; Is Governor Okowa capped with vital leadership capacity needed to tame the nation’s perennial ‘leadership haemorrhage/crisis aggregated by a successive deficiency in leadership vision and made worse by public official’s understanding and interpretation of problems with clarity but lacking in political will to see through or implement solutions? Has Governor Okowa truly achieved massive infrastructural and human capital development in Delta State? Has he indeed and in truth demonstrated selfless service and sacrifices as claimed by Mr Elumelu?
Again, going by Elumelu’s claim, another question would be at the federal level, are there signs of misrules on the part of the APC led federal government that calls for Okowa’s attention to reposition the nation to the path of peace, unity and economic prosperity?
Again, on May 29, 2015, amidst cheers and jubilation from the marmot crowd that attended his swearing-in ceremony at the Cenotaph in Asaba, Okowa, going by media reports, told his audience that, “As a government, we are committed to the building and consolidation of a state in which there shall be more employment opportunities, a flourishing agriculture and agribusiness sector, effective health and educational systems, renewed urban infrastructure and enhanced security and peace to bolster economic growth and development.”
Now, looking at the past six years of his administration, it will elicit the question as to how well has the Governor brought these promises to fruition? Also, at the national level, how relevant is Governor Okowa when it comes to issues of national urgent importance? As the current Governor of Delta State, what particulars can Okowa led government point at to convince Nigerians that he can effectively administer the federation?
In providing answers to these nagging questions beginning with the last question, it must be fundamentally underlined that separate from the fact that Delta State, to use the words of Governor Okowa, is a microcosm of Nigeria because she is populated by different ethnic nationalities and has had inter-ethnic conflicts/clashes, fatal boundary disputes, especially over oil-bearing land, and political tensions, a case that in my views qualifies a governor of such state to effectively lead the federation, Governor Okowa, as subsequent paragraph will show, since assumption of office on May 29, 2015, demonstrated that for the leader to distinguish himself, he has to be a shining light and as such, he should be in a position to break the retrogressive tendencies that subsist in doing what one does not wish to do.
To capture this claim well, this piece will further x-ray/classify the achievements of Governor Okowa’s administration into two.
First, achievements at the state levels which has to do with policy objectives/programmes implementation aimed at creating jobs and wealth (wealth creation and employment generation), economic diversification, the democratization of the education sector, infrastructural development, re-jigging/provision of the state’s security architecture in the state, engagement of the youths in productive enterprise, nurture of entrepreneurs and leaders, promotion of communal peace and development of a database of employment and unemployed youths for planning purposes. The second focuses on his unrelenting nation-building efforts at the federal level.
Evidence abounds that the Governor in pursuance of these objectives compressed his programmes into a five-point agenda which is encapsulated in the acronym SMART.
The SMART agenda means Strategic wealth creation projects and provision of jobs for all Deltans; Meaningful peacebuilding platforms aimed at political and social harmony; Agricultural reforms and accelerated industrialization; Relevant health and educational policies and; Transformed environment through urban renewal.
Take the wealth creation and employment generation, as an illustration, the Governor himself recently but succulently captured his achievements in this way; “we have a deliberate policy to tackle youth unemployment through skills training and entrepreneurship development programmes. I believe that the way out of the unemployment quagmire is to equip the youth with the technical know-how, vocational skills, values and resources to become self-employed, as distinct from one-off empowerment. This is what my administration has done by instituting various skills training and entrepreneurship development programmes, which include: Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP); Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP); Graduate Employment Enhancement Programme (GEEP); Rural Youth Skills Acquisition Programme (RYSA); Girls Entrepreneurship Skills Training (GEST); and Women Entrepreneurship Skills Acquisition Programme (WESAP).”
These programmes he said are trainee-centred and service-oriented. The sectors and activities covered include agriculture, agricultural value chain services, vocational skills-based microenterprises and cottage enterprises.
Furthermore, the training and mentoring processes aim beyond raising entrepreneurs to produce leaders and managers that have high levels of personal responsibility and effectiveness. I am pleased to let you know that after six years of faithful implementation of these programmes, we have trained and given business support packages to several thousands of youths.
Following the success of these interventions and other efforts in promoting technical education, Delta State was ranked the Best State in Human Capital Development in the 2017 States Peer Review by the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria.
Also in 2020, Delta was adjudged to be the Second Least Poor State, coming only after Lagos, Nigeria’s business hub, according to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
From the above observations, it is obvious that he (Okowa) in my view is a Presidential material the nation needs to exit the unemployment crisis and economic retardation. However, in order not to be accused of indulging in hasty conclusions, this piece will go beyond the Governor’s wealth creation and employment generation prowess, to x-ray his efforts in other sectors.
To Be Continued.
Jerome-Mario Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He could be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org/08032725374.
The Effects of Home Loans on the Cost of Living Post-COVID
COVID-19 has been a disaster for many people globally, one reason being the effect of the pandemic on the cost of living.
As the cost of living is rising while wages remain stagnant, it’s becoming apparent that many people are struggling to pay off their existing commitments. As a result of such obligations, more and more people seek refinancing options to lower their mortgage rates and reduce monthly expenses.
This post will cover how COVID-19 has affected home loan rates and the part it plays in the rising cost of living.
How Has COVID-19 Stressed Out The World Economies?
While it’s inevitable that no country can escape the effects of a global pandemic, some countries have weathered the storm better than others. For example, as you can see in the image above by Compare The Market Refinance Quotes, the US, Australia, and Denmark seem to be the least financially stressed of world economies, with manageable home loan rates being a significant factor. This has allowed these countries to cope with the negative effects that COVID-19 has had on the cost of living.
Other countries may be able to copy the decisions made by these governments to help restore their economies. Nevertheless, many individuals of these countries and others still find it challenging to pay their bank loans and mortgages.
How Are Home Loans Affecting The Cost Of Living Post-COVID-19?
In March 2020, many countries worldwide implemented a debt moratorium to alleviate household debt burdens due to the coronavirus pandemic. These moratoriums have already expired in many places, which raises some tough questions regarding what additional policies should be adopted to address the pandemic’s lingering effects.
With people facing the challenge of prioritizing their payments, especially when considering the rapid increase in inflation that many countries are experiencing, many have turned to various financial tools such as refinancing to get them through these difficult times.
What Is Loan Refinancing?
Loan refinancing is when you take out a new loan to replace the old one. There are many reasons why you might want to refinance your loans; you may not be happy with how much money you are spending each month on your monthly payments, or maybe you have another loan with a higher interest rate that will save you money in the long run. In these uncertain times, refinancing is becoming more popular.
However, it’s important to note that refinancing only works if you have good credit and still owe some of the original balance of your original loan. Not all types of loans can be refinanced, but here are five loan types can:
- Student loans
- Credit card balances
- Auto loans
- Various bank loans
In conclusion, the effects of home loans on the cost of living are pretty significant for many people, not just in the US but also worldwide. This has caused many to use refinancing as the cost of inflation rises.
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