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Peter Obi, Prospects and Challenges

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Peter Obi Obidient

By Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi

This piece stemmed from two uniquely similar but different sources. First is a WhatsApp picture of Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential flag bearer and his running mate, Dr Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, which I recently stumbled upon on a group platform.

The referenced portrait was laced with the following inscriptions; Nigeria Has Never Had It This Good! No missing certificates, excellent academic achievements, good, verifiable track records, good business administration and no criminal records.

While reflecting on the portrait and its messages, I got yet another WhatsApp message. Like the first, it reads; ‘Obicracy is a system where the masses choose a competent leader without structure over incompetent leader with full structure’.

To cross-check the validity of these claims about Peter Obi’s popularity, I sought a telephone conversation with a cross-section of quietly influential Nigerians. While all comments were validly important and appreciated, the observations by Tony Ezeagwu, Chairman, Labour Party, Delta state/Coordinator, Peter Obi Campaign Organization, and another by Iwemdi Nwaham, member of People Democratic Party (PDP), not only stood out but formed the nucleus of the present discourse.

‘Like a boil that can never be cured as long as it is covered up until it is opened with all its pus-flowing ugliness to the natural medicine of air and light, their remarks respectively brought to surface the hidden prospects and concerns inherent in Obi’s movement to where it can be seen and treated. Most importantly, the duo subjected Obi’s quest for the presidency to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion.

Beginning with Tony Ezeagwu, he was not only emphatic as to Obi’s prospect but categorical as to why Nigerians should elect him as their next President.

In his words; as you can see, Nigeria as a country is in a state of decay. Everything has gone wrong, people are suffering, and schools are closed. No hospital to attend. People are being kidnapped and the people have no answer to all that is happening. And you have also heard of Obi’s background particularly when he was a governor.

‘You have heard all he did in Anambra State, how he revived the state. You know what made them impeach him on two different occasions. But each time he goes to the court, the court returns him to the office because of his steadfastness to doing the right thing. He was sure of what he was doing in the office as a Governor. He was doing the right thing and not the wrong thing. Even when they alleged that he did not follow due process and the rest of it, the court insisted that the man followed due process, except if it is a different thing that you are looking for’.

Waxing philosophical, he asked rhetorically; do you know that it is in washing hands that we know who will scramble for the food? And are you also aware that charity begins at home? What you were not taught at your youthful age, you cannot learn in old age. Obi has taught us not to talk about other people. Instead, we should tell Nigerians what he is going to do and what he has done in the past-as that is better than looking into what others have done. Whether they have done well or have done wrong. It is Nigerians that have to say that.

He further stressed that the most important thing is that what he did in Anambra stands him out. Anambra, he explained, is a state, just as Nigeria is a state. If we are talking about the Ministry of Health in Anambra, there is nothing different between the Ministry of Health in Anambra State and the Federal Ministry of Health. If we are talking about the Ministry of Agriculture in Anambra state, there is nothing different from that of the Ministry of Agriculture at the federal level. So, he is only going to replicate whatever he has done in the past.

The only thing is that it is going to be at a larger scope now and because it is on a larger scope, it will require larger resources to spend on those demands. It is not the size of the fund that is in Anambra as a state that is at the federal level. The only thing is that the size of the man’s thinking, the ability that he used in Anambra is the same ability that he is going to use at the federal level. I think it is a very simple and straightforward thing. Anybody who is talking about Anambra being a small state and the rest of it might not be getting it right.

The issue is; does Peter Obi know what to do? That is the question.

‘I am sure you are aware that the issue we are talking about is somebody who will look at a problem on the ground and not only know what to do but figure out the solution. That is exactly what we are talking about. And if you see the people Labour Party is parading now; president and vice presidential aspirants, you will know that first and foremost, two of them possess the energy needed to function at that capacity. They are young people. They are successful entrepreneurs. So, they know what to do to make Nigeria great’.

At this point, he said something very interesting; Obi is not promising the youth anything extra-ordinary than what they are entitled to.

So, what are those things that they are entitled to? I queried.

Look, he responded; first and foremost they are entitled to a good life. Secondly, they are entitled to go to school and if you have a course of four years, you will do it for four years and not for eight years. Thirdly, when you graduate, you will get a job. Fourthly, our people used to call Benue State the food basket of the nation. Today, Benue State is no longer the food basket. They have been driven out of the bush and their farms and you don’t expect us (Nigerians) to be getting food the way they used to. Go to Zamfara State, people are being slaughtered every day. Go to Kaduna State, people are being slaughtered every day. So, what he is going to do is that he has to bring Nigeria to oneness again. It will no longer be Christian/Muslim or Hausa/Igbo, Yoruba or South versus North. It has to be if you are a Nigerian, you are a Nigerian. That is what he wants to put in place.

However, while Tony exudes confidence about how Peter Obi will win the forthcoming presidential election and turn the fortunes of this country around, Iwemdi Nwaham, a member of PDP in Delta State, said something new and different.

He said, I don’t have a contrary opinion as per observation. I only have a contrary opinion as per actualization. When you open social media, when you look around you, you just find people who are ‘Obidient’ all over the place. You go to school, you go to a motor park, palm wine drinking bar, and honestly, the mileage of stocks is in favour of Obi because Obi is saying the right things. Obi is really touching on the nerves and this is where APC must know that they have thrown up an Obi because of the way they have misruled this country. You know, when you come out of that, you look at the ingredients for electoral victory.

‘The ingredient for electoral victory is not just to sit down in a palm wine bar and talk. It is much more. When they say structure, you have to have a structure and because of the way people are interpreting it, I don’t even like using the word structure anymore but it is real. In party politics, you entrench yourself, you put certain tentacles into the ground. If you don’t have it, you will just ramble around it’.

I tell you, Peter Obi might not even score 30 per cent in Anambra State of the votes that will be cast for president. But he is so popular; people like to listen to him. His messages are resonating everywhere. He will get to the presidency but not in 2023. There are certain things that must be in place in dismantling the skewed nature of Nigeria. Nigeria is too skewed in favour of one ethnic group and it is not fair. Those things that will be done to dismantle it cannot be done by Peter Obi or Tinubu. It can only be done by somebody like them who will say ‘look my people, I think this unfairness has become too much. We have gone too far. This country might go into a conflagration if we don’t apply sense’. Then he now begins to reorder gradually. It cannot be done mechanically. He concluded.

Whatever may be the case; this piece on its part holds the opinion that the current administration has no clear definition of our problem as a nation, the goals to be achieved, or the means to address the problems and achieve the goals. Secondly, the system has virtually no consideration for connecting the poor with good means of livelihood-food, jobs, and security. This is the only possible explanation for the present situation and a fact that has made the need for a third force in the coming 2023 general election important!!!

Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He can be reached via jeromeutomi@yahoo.com/08032725374

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Itsekiri And Ijaws’ Creation of Hyper-Modern Path to Peace Via Football Tournament

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Itsekiri

By Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi

Benikrukru Community field, Gbaramtu kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area, Delta State, the kickoff venue of the Ijaw/Itsekiri peace and unity football competition initiated by Chief Sheriff Mulade, Ibe-sorimawei of Gbaramatu kingdom and National Coordinator/CEO, Centre for Peace & Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), was on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, filled to capacity and moderately dotted with imposing banner conspicuously positioned with screaming but familiar inscriptions that emphasise on the importance of peace and unity to humanity.

The ambience at the venue was refreshing as merrily dressed guests strolled in. Community members of Ijaw and Itsekiri origins were relaxed in their sitting positions. They were entertained to the rhythms from the stable of Ijaw and Itsekiri traditional dancing maestros.

Their humble and friendly dispositions complimented each other and made it very easy for non-indigenes to be at ease in their presence, even as that was the maiden visit to the community.

Aside from having in attendance former Super Eagles players, Christian Obodo and Sam Sodje, among others, the event was also graced by courageous Niger Deltans, who have met resistance from their own government in the past but refused to give up in their quest to build a better Niger Delta region and Nigeria by extension.

But of all that I observed, the gathering acknowledged what has been on the mind of Nigerians.

Fundamentally, it frontally demonstrated a strong conviction that non-discrimination, justice and fairness are the foundation for peace, unity, stability and economic prosperity of any nation. From the love that existed among the two ethnic groups on that day, at that time and in that place, it was obvious that building a nation where all citizens of the country shall not be discriminated against on the basis of ethnicity, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, birth or other status is possible.

Essentially also, from the way the two teams entered the field with a stride of confidence and fair play, the competition provided Ijaw/Itsekiri with an opportunity for introspection by the two ethnic groups on the journey so far. Some gave the ‘union’ kudos for the tremendous progress it has made in forging unity and peace and riding the area of hatred and hostility, while others felt that the new challenge before the two ethnic nationalities is to transform into a strong economic bloc in order to position for the challenges of the 21st century as it patterns Niger Delta region.

To assist readers in appreciating this current journey to sustainable peace by the two ethnic groups via football tournament, it is important to underline that the district of Warri in Delta State, going by reports, has been the scene of ethnic and territorial conflicts between the Itsekeri and the Ijaws since March 1997, when ethnic violence broke out between the Ijaws and the Itsekeris following a government decision to relocate the headquarters of the Warri south local government council from an Ijaw community to a community belonging to the Itsekeris.

Though the hostility was overtly arrested and brought under control, covertly, it has remained a zone where fierce war has been raging between ethnic and social forces in Nigeria over the ownership and control of oil resources. And as a direct result, a long dark shadow has been cast on efforts to improve the well-being and economic development of the region’s individuals, peoples, and communities.

Without a doubt, the Ijaw/Itsekiri hostility is not only telling evidence of the numerous problems facing the people of the Niger Delta region, but largely an expose of unwillingness by the government over the years to address problems which possess the potent capability to affect the stability of Niger Delta as a region.

The above claim, in my view, becomes more telling after listening to Mulade, who spoke on the sidelines in the kick-off match, where he stated that ‘’The essence of this tournament is to try and reduce the hostility among us. Some years ago, we had some misunderstandings. That led to what is known as the Warri crisis. So, what we are doing is building the relationship. So, for you to join us is to support this celebration of peaceful co-existence.”

Certainly, there are grains of truth in the above position. The tournament has not only brought out something different and fundamentally new that will help shape the relationship between the two ethnic groups. Rather, it has assisted in providing health and vitality of peaceful co-existence, rededicating commitment to peace, promoting unity and intensifying harmonious development of the Niger Delta region.

The facts are there and speak for it.

On Monday, November 7, 2022, it was reported that the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III, while playing host to Chief Mulade Sheriff and members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) who paid him a courtesy visit in his palace, gave his endorsement and royal blessings to the peace and unity football event. The Olu applauded Chief Comrade Sheriff Mulade for initiating such a laudable programme and promised to liaise with Mr Amaju Pinnick to bring his wealth of experience in football management to support the process.

In a similar style, members of the LOC, on November 11, 2022, were received by Oboro Gbaraun II, Aketekpe, Agadagba of Gbaramatu Kingdom in his palace at Oporoza, the traditional headquarters of the kingdom.

In his response, the monarch appreciated the organizer’s initiative and implored him to continue preaching and spreading the need for peaceful coexistence because peace is not negotiable. He also enlightened the LOC team on the importance of peace to attract development to Delta, particularly Warri and its environs. He encouraged the untiring contribution of the LOC towards uniting Ijaw/Itsekiri, the importance of which is crucial to harnessing the dividend of development and opportunities to our people.

While this piece celebrates the feat, there are, however, accompanying beliefs in my views that the Ijaws are a truly peaceful set of people.

The first such example is a recent statement by an Ogbe Ijoh-based political pressure group, the Independent GrassRoots Liberators (IGL), where the group, among other comments, pleaded with the Senator Ifeanyi Okowa’s led Delta State Government to immediately settle the communal disputes between Ogbe-Ijoh, Ijaw ethnic nationality of Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta state and Aladja, an Urhobo community in Udu Local Government Area of the state, adding that they want to live in unity as they have been living before. “We don’t want to be killing ourselves anymore,” they said.

The second has to do with the recent comment credited to Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Oboro-Gbaraun II, Aketekpe, Agadagba, at his palace in Oporoza, the ancestral headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom while he played host to Mr Ali Muhammad Zarah, Managing Director, Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), on Sunday, November 13, 2022.

The first-class monarch, according to media reports, said; “This is Gbaramatu Kingdom, and we are very peaceful people. If you come closer to the people, you will know the kind of people we have here. Some people can castigate our names or tarnish our image, but we are not like that. We know who we are.”

Waxing philosophically, the Monarch said, “We want to say, if the children are happy, definitely the father is happy too. Recently, I told some senators that instead of staying in Abuja and speculating about what is happening in the Niger Delta region, they should take a trip to the region for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation. If they come, they will know how the people are, but staying far from them, you cannot know how they really are. So I am very happy for people like you visiting our Kingdom.”

As the author of this piece, while I commend the efforts of the tournament organisers, the piece, on its part, thinks that there is a lesson government must draw from the above words of the revered traditional monarch.

Utomi Jerome-Mario is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Policy) at Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He can be reached via jeromeutomi@yahoo.com/08032725374

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Makeup Through the Years

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makeup

From a very young age, girls are taught that makeup is a way to enhance their natural beauty. There are endless tutorials and tips on how to apply makeup. The reality is that most women don’t wear makeup for the sake of looking good. In fact, many women wear makeup as a form of self-expression or as a way to boost their confidence. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, there are certain makeup essentials that every woman should have in her beauty arsenal. These include a good foundation, concealer, powder, blush, mascara, and lipstick.

With these products, you can create various looks, from a natural daytime look to a glamorous evening look. While some women are content with a minimal makeup routine, others enjoy experimenting with different products and looks. If you’re someone who loves experimenting with makeup, then you’ll need a wider range of products, including eyeshadow, eyeliner, and bronzer. No matter what your reasons for wearing makeup are, there’s no denying that it can be a lot of fun. So go ahead and experiment with different products and looks to find what makes you feel your best. When you figure it out, it’s a 22Bet bonus!

Makeup Updates

As the years go by, makeup changes with the trends. In the early 1900s, makeup was used to accentuate the features of the face and was seen as a way to enhance beauty. Women would use rouge on their cheeks, kohl around their eyes, and lipstick to accentuate their lips. This was seen as a way to attract a husband and was seen as being very important for a woman’s social status.

However, in the 1920s, makeup became more about individuality and self-expression. Women would experiment with different colors and looks, and it was seen as a way to be creative. Women were also starting to wear more makeup in public, and it was seen as a way of empowering women.

The start of the “glamorous” look that was popular in Hollywood was in the 1930s. In the 1940s, makeup was used to create a more natural look. Women would use foundation to even out their skin tone, and they would use powder to set their makeup. They would also use rouge on their cheeks and lipstick to accentuate their lips. This was seen as a more sophisticated look, and it was also seen as being more appropriate for work and other public places.

In the 1980s, makeup was used to create a more polished look. Women would use foundation to even out their skin tone, and they would use powder to set their makeup. They would also use eyeliner and mascara to define their eyes. Today, makeup is used to create a variety of different looks. It is up to the individual to decide how they want to use makeup to express themselves.

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Does Nigeria Have a Problem or a Situation?

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Nigeria's budget deficit

By Prince Charles Dickson PhD

In 1845, Karl Marx jotted down some notes for The German Ideology, a book that he wrote with his close friend Friedrich Engels. Engels found these notes in 1888, five years after Marx’s death, and published them under the title Theses on Feuerbach. The eleventh thesis is the most famous: ‘philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it’.

The most widely accepted interpretation of this thesis is that, in it, Marx urges people not only to interpret the world but also to try and change it. However, we do not believe that this captures the meaning of the sentence. What we believe that Marx is saying is that it is those who try to change the world that has a better sense of its constraints and possibilities, for they come upon what Frantz Fanon calls the ‘granite block’ of power, property, and privilege that prevents an easy transition from injustice to justice.

Nigeria is a very strange place. In Nigeria, we debate what is real, and imagined, what is fantasy and what is reality.

In Nigeria, we are problem-focused. We always have problems, our politicians, our leaders, the systems, our structure, our past, our present and future, our people, our democracy, and our elections. Everything has a problem. Everything and everyone is a problem.

You leave Plateau state to Bauchi to do an MRI scan because there is a problem with the problem. The prestigious and renowned University College Hospital Ibadan where it was said the Saudi royalty once upon a time came for their healthcare, currently has barely a twenty-bed ICU. See problem!

The governor of Abia has done a lot, including getting an eatery to establish an outlet in the state, the same Abia boasts of Aba, considered one of the dirtiest cities around and also one of the most industrious and neglected by the government. Solution and problem joined together!

Tell me the state and I will show where the people are drinking multidimensional pove-tea from all strata of government. Daura in Katsina hasn’t produced an exceptional student in any exam, even as the president’s homestead and the state continue to be plagued by insecurity.

Fake teachers from Abeokuta, the cradle of knowledge, to Jos, the land of natives and non-natives.

What are we committed to, what are we sacrificing for and to, what does Nigeria mean to us? Let’s break it if that’s a solution, so pedestrian and easy, I will remind us when the arm dealers are sealing and dealing with The Nupe Warlords, Anaguta freedom fighters, Fulani Miyetti and Hausa Aggrieved Warriors or Rare Igbo Union, it won’t be funny.

Welcome to Nigeria, in Nigeria, we don’t have problems because we are the problems, no. We don’t have problems; we have situations. If your wife catches you with a neighbour’s wife, you don’t have a problem, you have a situation. Problems are had to solve; situations can be solved. If your girlfriend is spending more time with another guy, if you don’t have money, all these are situations. Change your girlfriend or change your mindset, your work or something.

Nigeria as a whole, as a country, or nation, as a people have a situation we have gotten to that point on several occasions, we were there, and the civil war broke out, our several ethnographic-ethno religious conflicts have taken us there, the menace of herdsmen and farmers, bandits and politicians keep taking us closer to the precipice.

The powerful not only control social wealth; they also control the public policy discussion — and what counts as intellectually correct. Good ideas are never sufficient. They are not believed or enacted simply because they are right. They become the ideas of our time only when those who come to believe in their own power, which use this power to struggle through institutions and advance their ideas, wield them.

Nigeria is in a situation, will men of a good conscience and patriots stand up to be counted? There’s no structure or system to build upon. Yet we must sit and talk about who we are and how we want to live, our current situation provides yet another opportunity for us to look forward, and understand where we are coming from, and take a leap with understanding what needs to be done according to each peculiarity.

I end with this story.

So, I went to a mental institution and wanted to send one person home. So I am going to ask a simple question. I asked the first person 3×3, and the fellow scratched his head, and he answered 164, I said to him, go back. Then I asked the second person the same question, and he smiled, looked up and then responded after a while Tuesday. Sorry. Wrong answer. Go back to your room

I almost gave up, until I went to the last person and asked the same question, if you can answer this question, I will let you go. He looked back at the other two who had left and smiled and said doctor, it’s 9. Right, and I gave him the release papers, and he started running to the door. But before he ran away, I said I need you to tell me something; your two friends did not come up with the right answer. How did you manage it? He said it’s so simple. I multiplied 164 by Tuesday, and I got 9.

Nigeria may get the right answer, but is the thinking correct? Nigeria finds answers often at the last minute, but truth be told, ‘the country has been interpreted in various ways that only capture problems, without a change in thinking, we won’t solve it, we must see our present circumstances as situations that can change with a different interpretation, and better thinking.

We must, as a people, want to try and change our situation despite the sense of the constraints and possibilities of the ‘granite block’ of power, property, and privilege that prevents an easy transition from injustice to justice. We must want to try, we must want to change, we must want to solve, and must want a new narrative. Are we in trouble or in a situation where there are solutions? Only time will tell.

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