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No Nation, No Election – Abdulsalami

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Former military head of state, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar yesterday said there cannot be an election if there is no nation, urging politicians to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner in this year’s general elections starting from next week. Abdulsalami, who said African countries are usually tension soaked because of the very cut-throat competition involved during elections, warned that electoral tension that affected national security and development in Kenya, Cote d’ Ivoire and the Gambia should not be repeated. Speaking at a one-day conference on ‘peaceful elections and National Development organised by Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF) at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja, Abdulsalami said Nigeria is not a stranger to electoral violence. “African countries are usually tension soaked because of the very cutthroat competition involved,” Abdulsalami said referring to the election conduct. “Africa indeed is a hot bed of election controversies. In African countries like Kenya, Cote d’ Ivoire and the Gambia, we have seen the serious implications of electoral tension to national security and development. “Nigeria is not a stranger to electoral violence.  This country has historically had its fair share of election violence. Some of the violence even dates back to pre-independence era and Nigerians have witnessed the destruction that took place and retarded development. “General elections where the doom sayers were predicting the balkanisation of Nigeria,but thank God through the action of Nigerians and the then President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan;, they were proved wrong because this gentleman kept his word that his presidency is not worth the blood of any Nigerian and he graciously conceded defeat at that election,” Abdulsalami said. The former head of state who on behalf of all Nigerians, thanked former President Goodluck Jonathan for saving the country from falling into political crisis, added that his action further strengthen the growth of democracy not only in Nigeria but in Africa and indeed the world. “All Nigerians and indeed the whole world are praying that the election will be peaceful. As we all know, peace is absolutely necessary for the survival of a nation because without peace their will be no nation, without a nation there wouldn’t be any election,” Abdulsalami said. The immediate past Nigeria’s president who is also the founder/chairman, GJF, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who spoke extensively on the need for African leaders to be responsive, added that there is a strong nexus between the struggle for power and national development. “There is a vicious cycle in Africa where the struggle for political power leads to conflicts that bring up poor governance and creates hardship which fuels the struggle for change of leadership, thus creating further conflicts and poor leadership. “It is my considered view that, as African leaders, we must change our approach and disposition towards stewardship. We must get to the stage where we should be more interested in developing our people, rather than ruling or just governing them,” the former president said. According to him, a development-minded leader is visionary and selfless adding that he or she does not seek power at all cost and will not wield it for its own sake. “The ten most developed nations on this earth are those countries that experience the least conflicts while the ten least developed countries, many of them here in Africa, are the ones wallowing in the worst form of conflicts,” Jonathan said while stressing the need for politicians to pursue people oriented interests. “The lesson in this existential reality is that any leader who is committed to the development of his country will do everything to save it from turmoil and conflicts,” he added. On his part, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah said peace is absolutely necessary for the survival of the nation. Kukah who presented a paper entitled: “Electoral Violence In Nigeria; Causes, Consequences and Options for Preventing Them,” suggested that inter-tribal marriages will curb the menace. He condemned the way and manner politicians treat those they claimed’ to be representing. “Voters must not leave their fate in the hands of politicians. Leaders should be interrogated. Only common solidarity can save the country from electoral violence,” he said. Also speaking, a former president of Liberia, Prof Amos Sawyer, noted that faults in the electoral law should be the most reason why the electoral umpire should be more transparent. “The election processes are new, and there are bound to be glitches, which need to be treated with transparency,” Sowyer said, adding that the importance of peace to national development cannot be overemphasized. “Nigeria has a track record of conducting peaceful elections from 1999. I have continued to show that there can be life after office, a life that is productive and impacts humanity,” the former president added.

Opinion

What Does Femi Adesina Know?

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Primate Ayodele

What Does Femi Adesina Know?

Primate Ayodele

Primate Ayodele

By Lukmon Akintola

I read with great dismay a write-up about the founder of Inri Evangelical Spiritual Church, Primate Elijah Ayodele. The narrative was written by the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

In the write-up with the sole aim of disparaging Primate Ayodele’s image, Adesina acknowledged the philanthropy of the man of God via empowerment but questioned his gift of prophecy. Also, he picked what he termed holes in the prophecies of the servant of God, questioning why one prophecy or the other did not come to pass.

While the Special Adviser has a right to his opinion, many in his carder of media management would agree that he should have done a better job with his piece.

In his write-up, one salient fact that Adesina forgot to reckon with is that the work of God differs from that of men, and so is the work of men of God.

As such, his analysis was basically without any spiritual guidance or interpretation.

Isaiah 55: 8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

The above quote from the book of Isaiah becomes more meaningful when we consider the fact that God had asked that the judgment of his prophet be left to him.

So why is Adesina who is believed to be a very smart and intelligent media manager taking up the responsibility? Adesina wondered why Primate Ayodele conveniently prophesied that Nigeria would disintegrate; questioning how many people living presently would still be alive in 2035 or 2040, the period the man of God had said the country would cease to exist.

Please let Adesina be told that 2040 is just 19 years from now, and a lot of people including himself will see the year, except he deliberately chooses not to. He also questioned why the servant of God tends to deliver negative prophecies, but one would expect that Adesina who is regarded as a Christian should know that a prophet who is truly called by God is not at liberty to change what has been revealed to him by God.

Even in the good book, prophets such as Prophet Jeremiah and Prophet Elijah had the knack for negative prophecies, as revealed to them by God, but it never meant that they had no business with prophecy as Adesina painted Primate Ayodele in his obnoxious article.

That the man of God is famous for such prophecy does not mean that they are intended to scare the daylight out of his followers or Nigerians at large.

Revered Prophets and true seers have affirmed that with prayers negative revelations could be averted, but they also know that they are not at liberty to change the revelations of God, so they say it as it is shown.

Hence, the popular Yoruba Christian saying associated with prophets: “Egbe ni fun eni ti a firan to njise”, literarily meaning “Woe betides the prophet who delivers a message, not from God.”

If Adesina chooses not to see that Nigeria is a failing state without security, job opportunities, and an ever-increasing level of poverty, then it is unfortunate.

Indeed, if a man such as Primate Ayodele is calling for the consequences of a failing state to be managed now to averted doom in 2040, and Adesina has chosen to castigate him just to satisfy the ego of his principal, then shame on him.

Why can’t Adesina and his people in Aso Rock reach out to Primate Ayodele for what it’s worth and seek spiritual advice?

There are people who to date are still blamed for what Nigeria has become, maybe someday, Adesina’s name would be added to that list.

Posterity will definitely remember him either for good or bad, hopefully not the latter.

The Special Adviser also condemned Primate Ayodele for what he termed his failed prophecies in politics.

According to Adesina, Primate Ayodele in the build-up to the 2015 presidential elections said Goodluck Jonathan would win, but the man lost.

Encomium Magazine quoted Primate Ayodele to have expatiated on the misgiving of the Jonathan situation.

Speaking with the popular and reputable magazine published by Mr. Kunle Bakare, Primate Ayodele said: “All I have said about 2015 elections is consistent with God’s words. I have no power over any of these words. I only said it as the Lord directed.

“You can check everything we have said, how it’s going to happen, and all that. We have said Jonathan was not going to get it in the core North, it has happened that way. And the Governors Forum will divide against him should he decide to contest in 2015, everything has come to pass.

“But at a time we said PDP would win at the centre if Jonathan handles some issues very well, including the First Lady issue, the Chibok girls, and others. My question is did he handle these things the way the Lord directed?

And we have said if Jonathan wanted to win in 2015, this and this were the steps he should take.

Prophecy is to warn you against any impediment and how to tackle it. It’s now left for you to take it or leave it. But all I know is that all we said have been constant.

One thing people don’t know is that prophecy is not a literature book or newspaper. And can anybody interpret prophecy better than God?”

Also, it is on record that Primate Ayodele did say that Jonathan’s re-election would be dicey; the man of God also warned Jonathan that he risked losing the election if he took a wrong step.

Indeed, when Jonathan began to take steps that were in the wrong direction, Primate Ayodele was quick to note that he was going to lose the election.

In an interview with Daily Independent, the cleric said: “‎Even though it will not be a landslide victory for the opposition, the President will lose. “No matter what, Jonathan will be the last PDP President in Nigeria. I don’t see a landslide victory in the presidential election.”

Jonathan will be PDP’s last president — Popular Lagos Cleric

It is important that one fact should be constant in this narrative and that is Adesina believes that Primate Ayodele prophesies did not come to pass. But wait, didn’t they come to pass?

Adesina said Primate Ayodele prophesied that PDP would shock APC in Lagos, but it did not happen. Adesina’s error of fact was that he translated PDP shocking APC to mean that PDP would win the election.

However, Primate Ayodele never said that. Indeed, PDP did give APC a run for their money in the said election. While APC won, it was one election in which the PDP showed they meant business, and they were a party to reckon with, unlike before when they were just another opposition party in the state.

Presently, there are political analysts who still maintain that PDP was robbed of that election.

On the Kaduna State election, Primate Ayodele never said PDP would win, his position was that it will be difficult for PDP to retain the state.

Many would recall how Primate Ayodele urged Nigerians to pray for President Buhari’s health when he went abroad for treatment, so how could he at the same time have said that the president would not return.

This was another erroneous allegation brought against Primate Ayodele by Adesina.

On APC breaking up, it is shocking that Adesina has refused to acknowledge the obvious.

There is wrangling in APC in almost all the states in Nigeria.

The drama of how Adams Oshiomole was eased out as the national chairman of the party is legendary. What happened to John Odigie-Oyegu?, The drama between Oshiomole and Godwin Obaseki before the latter joined PDP was also hilarious, and Adeshina is saying that all is well?

This is just a minute aspect of the crisis in the party, as an wholelistic analysis would be more than shocking.

For Adesina not to acknowledge this truth is evidence that his whole writeup was bias and a mere waste of time.

Indeed, the APC is presently rebuilding for the 2023 election, even a blind bat would acknowledge that. Y

Primate Ayodele did prophesied about Boko Haram bombing the South West, but that it is yet to be actualised does not mean that it won’t happen, It also does not mean that prayers can’t avert such negativity.

So, has Primate Ayodele prayed for the people of the southwest? When was this prophecy even made? One of the hallmarks of journalism is objectivity, but Adesina’s narrative was devoid of that singular attribute.

Adesina itemised prophesies that he claimed did not come to pass, but failed to adopt the principle of objectivity by telling his readers the prophecies of Primate Ayodele that had come to pass.

While they are countless, we will mention just a couple that has come to pass from the recently unveiled 2021/2022 and beyound edition of Warnings To The Nations.

-Primate Ayodele prophesied about the assassination of the leader of a country, this came to pass in Haiti.

-Primate Ayodele also noted that there will be the destruction of lives and properties in South Africa if Zuma’s case isn’t handled well; we all know what’s happening now.

The same applies to the sudden change in leadership of GTBank which was mentioned in this book. –

Ayodele who Adesina said knows nothing about prophecy accurately prophesied the outcome of Euro 2020 and COPA America semi-finals and final matches during a live service on his Facebook page.

The prophecies were broadcast live before the matches were played, they came to pass exactly as he had said they would.

Just in case Adesina is not in the know, Primate Ayodele has published a compendium of 10,000 fulfilled prophesies.

For the Special Adviser to rubbish this effort and the good works of the man of God in his write-up devoid of objectivity is far from shameful, but an indication that he knows nothing about spirituality.

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Opinion

Opinion: Such a Dangerous Time to be a Student

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Opinion: Such a Dangerous Time to be a Student

By Olutayo Irantiola

Sponsored by: H&H

Growing up in this country some years ago was full of fun and pleasant memories; from your classmates, to your teachers, the school authority, and everyone around. It was a grand community wherein all the misdemeanor of children were corrected by neighbours and children still plead not to be reported to their immediate parent; parenting was done by the community.

Reading newspaper reports daily has negatively impacted the mental health of many persons. Howbeit, would one remain perpetually deaf to what is happening in one’s community? Life has got so bad that being a student has become a difficult journey to embark upon.

The happenings in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria have made schooling very dangerous. Well, as said, that is the meaning of Boko Haram from the beginning is Western Education is forbidden and it is depicted with the various killings and abductions. In the last few years, students in that region of the country have been turned into refugees in their homeland. Although, recently, the Borno State Government is making attempts at resettling the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and schools are being built and commissioned all over. This signifies the beginning of Western Education for this set of Nigerians.

Imagine the recent happening in Greenfield University, Kaduna State. Some students were killed for no just cause. The situation is critically alarming that lecturers, workers, and students have become targets of kidnappers. About the same time, a Professor of the University of Jos, Grace Ayanbimpe and her husband were also kidnapped. All of these led the Senior Staff Union of Universities to demand weapons to guard themselves if they cannot be safe on their various campuses.

It is such a challenging time to be a student when you think about the number of auto crashes that claim the lives of students annually while trying to commute to their various institutions of learning and back to their homes. This also brings to the fore the unfortunate death of the students of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, earlier in the year, who were crushed to death by a truck.

When you encounter Nigerian students, you need to pity them specially. They would spend years in a tertiary institution of learning, either state or federal, because the Academic Staff Union of Universities and the Nigerian Government are always at loggerheads over things they usually claim would benefit the students. It is so saddening that you can only know the year in which you resume school but you can never know the year in which you will graduate. Every day, the heartbeat of parents and the students keeps palpitating strongly because nobody knows what would be the next occurrence that would make interrupt learning.

Despite all these, female students are exposed to several ills within few years of maturity. They are trailed by lecturers old enough to be their fathers; some evil students rape and murder them amongst others. The journey of a female student needs special care with all that is heard and seen these days. Kudos to the University of Lagos for firing two randy lecturers.

At the moment, Nigeria is just heading for a more grievous crisis in terms of labour force. As stated by Professor Olayinka Idowu, the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan. Every Senator wants a University to be sited in his hometown, as such, quality education is fast depreciating in Nigeria. Asides that, all the Polytechnics are being converted to Universities, for instance, Yaba College of Technology and the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro. These schools may become Universities but what of the technical know-how that we are losing. The skillset of a graduate of the Polytechnic is very different from that of a University graduate. Although the Senate has removed the dichotomy lately, we still need everyone to understand the differences, if not, polytechnics would becoming ghost tertiary institutions.

Ultimately, if you are fortunate to get through school without any scar or blemish; the hurdle of serving your fatherland is staring at you in the face. With all the various uprisings in the country, where is the safe haven for a one-year period, that reminds me, the NYSC Orientation Camp in Maiduguri, has been turned into an IDP camp. Where exactly is the place that one would want to serve with the current state of the country? If you are not thinking of all these, it becomes frightening for the Director-General of NYSC saying that Corps Members can be deployed to a war zone if a war breaks out. Can a Corps member defend the integrity of this nation by mere marching when trained soldiers are being killed by terrorists in our nation?

Have you noted the rising spate of the kidnapping of those in search of work lately? The syndicate is getting more organized daily. They would lure victims to a particular location, thereafter abducting such individuals. It is getting sophisticated to a fault. There jokes about the situation about how lucrative the kidnapping business has become. People now notify others to look out for certain addresses as they are the hideout of people perpetrating such heinous crimes.

It is such a challenging time to be a student; it is such a challenging thing to be out of school and it is such a challenging time to be in search of work! May the Lord see us through these trying times.

This write up was sent in by Olutayo Irantiola, a Public Relations Consultant and Creative Writer based in Lagos, Nigeria, his writings are available on www.peodavavies

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Health

Death For Sale! Toxic Cigarettes Flood African Market

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Cigarette

Nigeria at risk of circulation of dangerous brands

Few years back, manufacturers of cigarettes sold in Nigeria were compelled to carry warnings on their packs such as “Cigarette smokers are liable to die young” . Warnings such as “The Federal Ministry of Health warns that tobacco smoking is dangerous to health”, “Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, and emphysema and may complicate pregnancy”,   and “Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health” are widespread, but perhaps what they failed to point out is that cigarettes are licensed to kill. Cigarette smoking Even though smoking is a “gradual killer”, it is a deadly finisher. A cigarette is the only consumer product guaranteed to kill the user when used exactly as prescribed. All over the world, smoking is routinely linked with adverse health and declining wellness. Smoking is the No.1 cause of preventable death, killing more people than many known non-communicable disorders. Approximately one person dies every six seconds due to tobacco, accounting for one in 10 adult deaths. Up to half of current users will eventually die of a tobacco-related disease such as cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and other respiratory diseases. Now there are fears that cigarettes sold in some African countries are more toxic than those smoked in Europe. Ordinarily, cigarettes are toxic to human health, but some brands are even more toxic because they contain higher levels of addictive nicotine and tar. The chemicals in cigarette smoke harm nearly every organ of the body. Tobacco smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds are toxic. About 70 are known to cause cancer. None of these chemicals has an overall health benefit. One of the components of cigarettes is nicotine, which is deadly and habit-forming. While smoking harms the smokers’ health, it also puts lives of people around in danger because they inhale the smoke exhaled (second hand smoking). An investigation by Marie Maurisse, winner of Public Eye’s Investigation Award found that every year, Switzerland exports more cigarettes than it does chocolate. Also, exclusive tests showed that the tobacco industry has double standards: cigarettes sold in Africa are more toxic than those smoked in Europe. One of the major destinations of the toxic cigarettes, according to the report, is Casablanca in Morocco where every smoker favours cigarettes made in Switzerland.      It was found that cigarettes produced on Swiss soil and sold in Morocco are much stronger, more addictive and more toxic than those sold in Switzerland or France. For each substance tested, according to the report, nearly all cigarettes produced in Switzerland and consumed in Morocco contained levels higher than that found in Swiss and French cigarettes. The results reveal a double standard – if Moroccans smoke cigarettes that are more harmful than those smoked by Europeans, it can be taken for granted that every other African who smokes actively or passively is at risk. According to the report, Switzerland often promotes the fact that it exports its delicious chocolate, or prestigious watches, to the world. Yet there is another Swiss product that is just as successful, but far less vaunted: cigarettes. In 2016, Switzerland produced 34.6 billion cigarettes – nearly two billion packets. Some 25 per cent were sold on the domestic market. Nearly 75 per cent were exported, providing enough cigarettes for over four million people to smoke a packet a day over the year. Although tobacco sales have fallen by 38 per cent in Europe, over the past 20 years, thanks to preventative campaigns and price increases, the reverse is the case in Africa where producers are increasingly pushing so-called new “reduced-risk products”, which supposedly provide consumers with nicotine without the harmful effects of tobacco. The implication of smoking such toxic cigarettes, according to medical experts, is rise in deaths from lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia, and other respiratory diseases. Emerging markets such as Nigeria remain attractive target, no thanks to ineffective regulatory and enforcement activities and weak health policies. Researches estimate that 80 per cent of smokers live in low- or middle-income countries. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that there are 77 million smokers in Africa, namely 6.5 per cent of the continent’s population. The institution predicts that by 2025, the figure will rise by nearly 40 per cent compared to 2010 – the steepest increase globally. The number of tobacco-related deaths on the continent will double by 2030 in what the WHO describes as an “epidemic”. Marie Maurisse said: “It’s very difficult to investigate the tobacco industry because it’s very secretive”.   Morocco appears to be an excellent gateway into these markets: according to a study carried out by the Moroccan Ministry of Health, 13 per cent of smokers in the country are aged 15 and under. And the proportion of girls who smoke is starting to rival that of boys.   Producers use very aggressive advertising campaigns to attract new and young customers and to promote their cigarettes. In many African countries, there is weak enforcement of laws for preventative measures against tobacco. However, the reverse is the case in Western countries.   According to the WHO: “Evidence shows that measures such as taxing tobacco, graphic warning pictures, a full ban on advertising and promotion of, patronage for and help to stop smoking, all serve to reduce demand for tobacco products. Many of the big global tobacco manufacturers engage in widespread lobbying and legal procedures against evidence-based anti-smoking policies going as far as opposing introduction of health warnings on cigarette packets in some countries. In Morocco just like in Nigeria, there is law adopted to ban smoking in bars and restaurants but it is not enforced.   However, the bottom line is that smoking is no longer fashionable. Many countries have pushed out some of the toughest anti-tobacco laws and restrictions in history. In many countries smoking openly in public places such as restaurants, airports or bus stops is forbidden. Smoking is restricted in designated places and even when you smoke in privacy, people who see you smoking consider you a nuisance and threat to public health. Family and friends repeatedly tell you smoking will kill you. And they are right. The National Tobacco Control Bill, NTCB 2014 stipulates a minimum of six months imprisonment or N50,000 or both for individuals that smoke outside public places designated as smoking areas. However, stronger policies are required to protect the citizens from the dangers of tobacco. Enforcing the ban on public smoking   and saving lives and reducing health costs through the new smoke-free laws are continue to be relevant.

 

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