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Youths Quest For New Order; Still an Elusive Search

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#EndSARS Protesters

By Jerome-Mario Utomi

Similar to many other Nigerians that demonstrated keen interests in the Saturday. December 5, 2020, legislative by-elections in the Lagos East Senatorial district, organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), I participated in the electoral process for two reasons.

The first is predicated on the consideration that democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people and that the power of the state resides in the people who elect leaders from among themselves into positions of authority to conduct the affairs of state.

The second looks strange but important as it gave rise to this piece. It has to do with using the by-election (process and outcome) to confirm or contradict opposing comments made recently by a very senior Nigerian citizen and another Nigerian youth, at Ojota, Lagos Centre of the EndSARS disturbance sorry campaign that rocked the nation a while ago of which the dust raised has refused to settle.

To this piece, participating in the election was chiefly to confirm or contradict the ingrained seriousness inherent in what Nigerian youths projected during the EndSARS campaign, and it did contradict the seemingly youths resolve, It postured it as unsustainable and more than anything else, brought to the fore why youths may continue to find it difficult if not impossible making political progress in the country.

On the other hand, the piece as subsequent paragraphs will reveal did confirm the fears of the elderly citizen. It upheld his argument that despite widening steps and the Endsars brouhaha, the factors that impede youths from making political progress in the country are still alive and active. These factors come in three folds.

First has to do with youth’s apathy toward political participation which in a broad sense consist of those voluntary activities by citizens that are intended to influence the selection of government leaders or the decisions they make.

The second focuses on youth’s inability to remain united for a very long time and failure to see anything wrong fraternizing with public officers that lack due care and those with a culpable absence of solicitude in meeting or performing their political duties to the people.

The third and very fundamental projects Nigerian youths as a bunch ready to abandon collective creed for personal/pecuniary gains.

To add context to the discourse, during the said conversation at Ojota, the aforementioned youth among other things stated that their decision to actively participate in the EndSARS campaign was not taken hastily or rashly. But because there is little hope for us, we might not get things done until we become tough-minded enough to break loose from the shackles of prejudice, half-truth, and downright ignorance.

The EndSARS protest was rather a fight against deformed leadership, resource mismanagement and perennial egotism, and fired by the reality that the oppressed cannot remain oppressed forever, submitting that Nigerian youth will draw strength from the accounts of past sufferings such as the sufferings of the Israelites in Egypt, the massacre of the Jews by the Germans, the barbarity of the first and second world wars, the enslavement of Africans, colonialism and apartheid.

At a glance, his position looks alluring. It is a position many would have loved to see come to fruition. It is indeed an ‘objective’ concern, especially as the need for the nation to inject knowledgeable and well-foresighted youths into positions of authority in the country to help ameliorate the present blow of inflation and recession, subsidize education, health, and create employment as well as guarantee security of lives and property has become overwhelmingly urgent.

However, while admitting the need for a generational change in leadership of the country from its head, the elderly citizen mentioned above contrary to expectation brought a sidelight dismissing the arguments by the youth.

Not only did he described EndSARS campaign as a mere obsession but he went ahead to underline that it is imperative that each of us, whatever side we are on (youth or adult)  begins to act like adults who can find real solutions instead of pointing the finger at others or running away crying because someone disagreed with us.

Wisdom, he argued is acquired by living purposefully and objectively”. The individual who knows where he or she is going and is determined to get there will find a way or create one. There is no grander sight in the world than that of an individual fired up with a great purpose, dominated by one unwavering aim. This is the missing link and major factor why Nigerian youths may continue not to make an impact in the national sphere be it political or economic. He concluded.

Indeed, as someone that will not support a movement based on sentiment or allow sentiment to determine his actions, the EndSARS campaign was in my views well-intentioned but Nigeria youths demonstration of apathy and lack of support to any of their own (youths) among the bunch that contested both the Lagos state House of Assembly or the Senate in the just concluded by-elections practically laces their quest for new order as vague, uneven and ungraspable.

By not using the by-election as an experimental subject (Guinea-Pig) to send signals to political elders of what is to come in 2023, Nigerian youths from the analysis of their recent actions have further blurred their political vision and made their goals indistinct.

Even if they (youths) had during the protest enjoyed the support of well-meaning Nigerians of diverse background, profession, religion and tribe, there appears in the opinion of this piece, there appear lack of comprehension on their part that the tragic political condition/challenges in the country demand neither luxury of political apathy nor leisurely approach to a solution.

The question this reality places before Nigeria youth today are; If they are to reform the system, what should be the overriding goals of their reforms? What do they really want to see happen that is quite different from today? How can the youths assist the nation address ‘obsolete team management structure’ called leadership style presently in the country that cares less about discipline and planning but concentrates on the working assumption that ‘doing is more important than thinking, and execution more important than generating breakthrough ideas?  How will they (youths) come up with more thorough leadership arrangement/styles that impose more discipline than conventional, promote successful decision-making processes built on a higher quality of information, and create government institutions that collaborate with private sectors and civil society in the race for massive infrastructural development while promoting transparency- the cornerstone of leadership?

While providing answers to these questions will be gratifying, the youths must in the interim recognize that to produce change, they must be organized and develop potentials that are politically new, something that is not yet known and not in existence, which will establish new political configurations in their units of powers.

More importantly, they should understand that in everything under the sun, there are limits. As insults cannot win arguments, protests on its part neither win the war nor helps the candidate emerge victorious at elections. For those who know, even if it appears to do so, it is at best temporal.

This piece holds the opinion that the only way youths can gain political relevance and effect political change is through active participation in the nation’s political processes using their population and demographic advantages. Failure to do this will continue to render their quest for a new order in the country as elusive efforts.

It’s up to Nigerian youth.

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

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Feature/OPED

Do You Know Ijaw Politicians?

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Ijaw Politicians

By Asiayei Enaibo

Yes, they are great politicians in Ijawland; many have groomed followers with the gospel of hatred, those who managed our poverties with one salary divided to seven. Those that only want to see you serve their children and take over from them while their servants service their grandchildren and in-laws.

Do You Know Ijaw Politicians?

Yes, we have great and eloquent Ijaw politicians that make or support a bill once in four years and give us cups of rice at the end of the year and we call them Messiahs. Are they Messiahs or cups of rice and anti-development politicians?

The last time I saw my village children sent as delegates from their families to collect cups of rice tied in cellophane, and the children too were happy and angry, but they could not say a word, for they do not know what good governance is all about.

We have politicians only in the election period as our youths, including myself, praise them for survival to manage our collective poverty as we clap for their third or sixth term coming!

Ijaws are blessed with great minds as politicians that never brief us on constituency development for four years or twenty years. Once you make such comments, they will hire community-based boys from your area to disarm your pen and break your legs in a ghastly Keke accident when their convoy is coming.

From the Senate down to House of Representatives, to House of Assembly, the lawmakers, their oversight function is to gather enemies, a list of stubborn boys they could starve for objective criticism, blacklist, even though you have community-based policy ideas to show them for them to excel in their business of politics, they will refuse you to come near their homes, locked with iron gates and dogs to attack the Talking Drum.

Empowerment, zero per cent. Once you say something about empowerment, they will go and snap photos at the sales points of Keke and Okada to show us photos that they did empowerment at Abuja, while the people in the villages they are representing have no idea of such empowerment.

Do You Know Any Ijaw Politicians?

Yes, those who have not said anything as a matter of urgent public importance even though flood kills all the children at Bobougbene, yes those that don’t listen to the youths but listen to old ones on money sharing formula in Burutu.

Do You Know Any Ijaw Politicians?

Yes, the few good ones are good but the corrupt familitocracy are more than the public interest. Once they give our children one scholarship, they say it is their personal money. When they were not elected, none had personal money to share, they turn our head against us.

They have never called for a town hall meeting to address us. Once we make such comments, those who call themselves as Ijaw watchdogs that they have given cups of rice, are blindfolded to distract the meeting for their own interests not to allow the meeting to expose their selfish, un-political thinking. They said they have influenced the project to us, the last time I checked, the lawmakers are the same contractors, their grandfathers’ father’s names are the contractors, they partner as an elder brother to corruption whose senior sister is to embezzle the money and abandon the work while they give her negotiated amount to run away. For they are the Messiahs we have as politicians in Nigerian.

I do blame the good ones that are afraid of bad ones not to contest to rule us with great ideas, innovative laws that can project our rural riverine areas to tourist centres. We have great minds in Ijawland, the old good ones are poor, the young good ones are poor, they can’t buy a vote, for our society sells vote to buy poverty. Some have already exchanged their franchise for 20 cups of rice come 2023.

Look at them, we have Urban Development Commission everywhere, but no Riverine Rural Development Board and nobody is saying anything. They gather and only laugh with their colleagues, no policy, Where is great Comrade Joseph Evah, who has done this to us?

How Do We Reform Them Now?

First, we should hold them accountable with a blueprint whenever they are coming to our communities for campaigns, itemize what they can do for us in black and white paper and use Egbesu to swear, once they fail us, let what happened to Abacha happen to them. Amen!

Let us hold them to brief us in a town hall meeting on what they could bring to our communities in a yearly budget. If they fail, we go to their national office with placards as a vote of no confidence to withdraw our mandate in protests. Yes, we can.

Yes, it is a good point, we do not have light, no politicians care in our area, we don’t have drinkable water in the Ijaw area, no elected politicians care, we don’t have good schools, the appointees are afraid to tell the governor.

We don’t have roads, they said our places are difficult terrain.

Our mothers give birth in the canoes while paddling to the cities to deliver in the hospitals, then we call such children names like “Arukazi.”

The year 2023 is around the corner, they hire all the 200HP engine boats to go to the difficult terrains to buy votes, the good, the ugly and the evils, many have listed the stubborn boys to beat the writers, many have planned hired boys for rigging, then vote-buying, four years equal to N2,000, N10,000 for the future of a whole family. I blame our mothers and women with political Asoebi clapping for N500 on daily basis at the end no empowerment. Eyorotuooo.

Do You Have Great Politicians In Ijawland?

Yes, one half-bridge as a legacy project for twenty years, they are the best coming again. Let us prepare to buy ‘Ongu,’ that ancient water reservoir and cry into it to fill it with tears so we could have water to drink.

Arise youths of conscience, let us watch over our future as 2023 comes around.

Someone has already listed his father’s enemy once he becomes a governor, they will suffer, a premeditated plan to suffer the masses as if they are God.

Good leadership is a manifestation of public development.

Look around you and where you are representing, don’t allow your praise singers to deceive you as Darkness and Light are known to humanity at all levels.

Asiayei Enaibo, the Talking Drum of the Niger Delta, writes from GbaramatuVoice Media Centre.

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Feature/OPED

Moving Day Madness

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Moving Day Madness

Moving to a new home is exciting, but it can be stressful, too. A move requires so much planning that it can feel overwhelming but, by being organised you can turn it into a smooth, even enjoyable, process. Planning is key – this is definitely one of those times that it pays to be super organised. Follow these tips from Aisha Pandor, CEO and Co-founder of SweepSouth, to keep the stress at bay on moving day.

Make a list

A checklist helps you to keep track of everything, making it less likely you’ll forget something. It also allows you to tick off tasks as you complete them, giving you a sense of accomplishment and motivating you to keep going if you start getting tired of packing.

Plan the move as far ahead as possible, and sort out any admin you can in the run-up to the actual day, such as changing your Wi-Fi details and informing your insurance of your new address. Check to see if they’ll insure your possessions while you move.

Packing hacks

“Start packing well ahead of time, labelling each box on top by writing the name of the room it’s intended for, along with bullet points of what’s inside,” advises Aisha. Safely store fiddly fixtures and fittings like screws and brackets in sealable plastic sandwich bags, and stick appliance and gadget wires down with tape to prevent them from dangling about while being moved.

Use bin bags to make transporting clothes easier – slip hangers with clothes on into a large bin bag and tie a few hangers together with a rubber band for easier carrying. Pack precious items like jewellery, important documents, and laptops into a separate bag that you take in your own car.

Finish packing the day before

It sounds obvious, but don’t compromise on this one, says Aisha. “You’ll thank yourself when the movers arrive and you don’t have to rush around getting last-minute things sorted. And don’t underestimate the small items. You may think they’ll be easy to pop into a box just before the movers arrive, but these small tasks could end up wasting valuable time.”

Packing is a tiring task, so hire hands for the other big chores associated with moving day, like cleaning. Empty houses are always dirtier than you’d expect, so book a cleaning service through SweepSouth Connect for both the old and new – meaning your old space will be left spotless once the last box has been taken, and you’ll be moving into a sparkling clean home.

Assemble a moving-day survival kit

Pack a box of essential items to see you through the day and your first night, and keep it in your car for easy access. Consider these items: a phone charger, screwdriver, sharp knife for opening boxes, glasses and mugs, a kettle, provisions to make hot drinks, cleaning cloths, bin bags, washing up liquid, toilet rolls, and a small medical kit. It’s also a good idea to have an overnight bag with toiletries, a hand towel, pyjamas, a clean change of clothing, and sheets to hang over bedroom windows in case the curtains aren’t up yet.

Be safety conscious

Take every precaution you can to keep you and your moving team safe. Don’t overpack boxes, dispose of any dangerous liquids, and make sure that appliances like lawnmowers are cleaned and emptied of fuel. On the day of the move, prevent accidents while boxes are being moved by keeping a clear pathway so that you can walk through without tripping over objects while carrying something heavy in your arms.

Pace yourself

Moving days are tiring, so make sure you get a good night’s rest before. Start the morning off with a good breakfast, and stop for lunch, so that you keep your energy levels up. Keep a few bottles of water handy for yourself and the movers – a hydrated moving team is a happy and efficient team, says Aisha.

Create a playlist ahead of time. Music is a mood booster, and listening to music you love triggers feel-good chemicals that make you happy and less anxious. If you don’t have time to collate a playlist, type terms like ‘Happy Hits’, ‘Mood Booster’, or ‘Good Vibes’ into Spotify and slot into a bouncy, energetic playlist. Move over, moving-day blues!

Do a final walk-through

Walk through the house one last time before you go, doing a close inspection of each room. It’s also worth taking some photographs so that you have a record of the state of the property.

Moving days always take longer than anticipated, and you’ll no doubt be exhausted by the end of it. “Have realistic expectations of how much you can achieve in one day,” says Aisha. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to unpack everything by the first night, so take a well-deserved break and recharge. And, finally, order some lovely takeaways to celebrate the first night in your new home – your tired body will thank you!

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Feature/OPED

Bravery Absenteeism in Developing Countries

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rural market Developing Countries

By Nneka Okumazie

A difference between developed countries and others is fear. There are many developing countries in the world where the people are afraid to try things that would make them progress, almost prompting the question that who taught them to fear?

Fear is the thing in the face of many, preventing them to do anything beneficial for the good of their society. Usually, many are not afraid to do things of close-ended self-interest, but it is not this kind of courage that moves society forward.

What it takes to develop a society is largely courage, from different corners and people independently, as part of their own effort to their society.

This is different from those who keep blaming the government like the government can do anything successfully if everyone is still thinking selfishly.

Fear is the economic machine of developing countries. It is their politics, security, food, etc. It takes fear to take money belonging all and embezzle. It takes fear to take bribes or give. It takes fear to be involved in corruption, any kind of fraud, etc. It takes fear to instead of aspiring for development for all, to aspire to be or stay the rich of the society or believe the only way is to leave, or there is a problem with a place other than the people there.

There is always this must not happen, cannot take it, but, what if it happens, the worse or what if things go wrong and stay so?

The things to have and show, or the things to be and display are meaningless, get old and anyone anywhere can get them with or without equal status, efforts or duration.

There are people who have done everything to be in the right status – but death or something else came and it all went away. The person who didn’t have it, whom they would still have been better than were things okay for them, or if they were still alive, continues on and does not miss that thing others had and felt it’s the greatest.

Progress is beyond one bridge somewhere or some infrastructure, but what it takes is what everyone has to do.

This, for any society that puts fear first, or that assumes that status or to be comfortable is the right thing to do is already a miss or loss.

Fear gets transferred to the next generation, including how they ensure that what they impose is not rule of law, but how to fear what would bring progress.

Fear from everyone in a society cannot make them dare, even to the risk of death, because to many, having a thing is the meaning of life, not the purpose of good change to become to society.

[2 Samuel 23:20, And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow:]

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