Monday, 29 June 2015

PRESIDENCY RESPONDS TO CLAIMS OF DENIGRATION OF THE VP

PRESIDENCY RESPONDS TO CLAIMS OF DENIGRATION OF THE VP.

A few weeks back the local media, (traditional and social) expressed concerns over the exclusion of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, from two crucial meetings between the Executive and Security chiefs.

At this particular time and really within this present spatial entity called Nigeria, Security ranks high in the consciousness of all Nigerians . So many were surprised that these meetings coming very early in the life of this administration excluded the Vice President, and indeed this prompted me in my blog titled "Pitting the VP against the President" to query the position of the constitution of the rights of the Vice President, and to call for the present senate to clarify the responsibilities and rights of the Vice President.

As a close observer of the democratic play field in Nigeria, my attention was drawn a couple of days ago to a blog http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/185279-investigation-vp-osinbajo-was-never-excluded-from-national-security-meetings.html  where spokesman for the government, Garba Shehu, pointed out segments of the constitution that clearly states that the Vice President is one of the statutory members of the Security council. The following sections of the constitution (Schedule 3 Part 1) are proof that indeed Nigeria's constitution may not be so incomplete after all, rather it is how government chooses to follow the constitution that may really be the problem .
In defence of government, the spokesman, then goes on to suggest that the Vice President could not attend those two meetings because he had some pressing engagement outside the country in which he was delegated to represent President Buhari. Twice.

While one must admit that, especially on issues of National Security, the buck stops with the President, one cannot help but struggle to rationalize the value of sending the Vice President twice, on errands while the Security of a Nation of One Hundred and Eighty Million peoples is being handled by a handful people without the benefit of representation by the ALL the statutory members of the Security council.

The security threat of Boko Haram is not a Northern problem, it is a Nigerian Problem. It is not simply a military problem, it is a social problem as well, and all forms of media, and media agencies have consistently kept on their toes to decry this threat. This administration must not short-change Nigerians by hook , crook or strategy. We desperately desire that this administration, should strive to uphold all the provisions of the constitution, especially as regards Security. There need be no politics in this.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

THE GLASS HOUSE ROCKS NIGERIAN FOOTBALL AGAIN

FOOTBALL NIGERIA:

THE GLASS HOUSE ROCKS NIGERIAN FOOTBALL AGAIN
AS KADUNA GETS SET TO HOST AFCON 2017 QUALIFIERS



No two things set Nigeria's rumor-mill and media (traditional and new), on overdrive like football and politics. Nigeria's football governing body, NFF is almost always at the centre of these media triggers. The most recent furor is about a  comment by Nigeria's first choice goal keeper, Vincent Enyeama, that the venue (Kaduna, in the Northern region of Nigeria) selected for Super Eagles qualifying match against the Egyptian National side, may be unsafe for the players.

The NFF strongly criticized the Super Eagles captain and issued him a query.

Now here is the problem: The NFF alleges that Vincent Enyeama tore the query letter right in front of whoever delivered the letter to him. Enyeama came out to speak on Brilla FM last week that he did not tear the query letter, and really, being a responsible member of the Super Eagles, he could not have done so. In spite of his denials however he apologized  on the same media to the NFF and Nigeria's football loving community as a whole.




THE COMPLICATION:

The NFF refused to accept this apology and further issued a summons to Enyeama to appear before a disciplinary committee headed by Barrister Chris Green, at the glass house on Tuesday 23rd June 2015 to explain himself. The committee sat for the whole day and Enyeama did not appear.

PUBLIC RESPONSE:

Until 6.00 PM on Tuesday, Nigeria's football loving community waited anxiously for feedback from the glass house as to what would be the final decision of the disciplinary committee now that Enyeama failed to appear before it.

No comments were issued from the committee and Nigerians were divided over their opinion of Enyeams's conduct. About 30% of all callers into local radio sports programs across the country called for the ban of Enyeama from the Super Eagles saying that this sort of indiscipline could rob off on the other members of the team and cause problems for the team officials. 60% of callers however believed the NFF was making a mountain out of a mole hill citing the facts of the security situation in Northern Nigeria as evidence.

The whole world knows that the Northern regions of Nigeria are struggling to grapple with Boko Haram insurgency, and in spite of recent successes by the Nigerian army, there are still some real threats in quite a number of the Northern states.

Another 10% of callers believed NFF is not only distracting the team with this irrelevant issue , but the body is more or less distracting itself from its core function at this moment which is providing the enabling environment and all necessary assets for the Super Eagles to go ahead and win that match.

MY TAKE:
Enyeama did not call a press conference all by himself. Secondly he only expressed his sincere fears-- fears all Nigerians hold even if we make believe we are not bothered. Moreover he did not call or ask players to boycot the match. The NFF should come out and explain to Nigerians the rationale behind taking the match to Kaduna when there are much safer venues around the country and stop trying to victimize Enyeama for merely expressing a self evident truth.

Optimistic as we are we could not have forgotton January 8th 2010 so soon when the Togolese National team was attacked by terrorists. Lives were lost. The lives of our footballers must mean something to us, surely.
 

Saturday, 20 June 2015

MASSES

MASSES



1

Single, lonesome, emaciated,
cachexic ribs flesh out the remains
of my marasmic body.

2

My brain designs parody.
The veins of my skull
form rivulets of blood
that course their way
from the depths of my sockets,
drilled from the innermost corners
of its waterbed
and overflowing
the basins of its lachrymal ducts.

3

Weary of my journey,
a thousand miles
neither here nor there,
with a body bereft of its juices,
I rest on the robust bark
[naked, yes very stark]
of an ageless Iroko1
which,
untouched by my spiritless look,
continued
basking in all its glory,
coloured by the glittering shimmers
cascading from the orange skies.

4

A moment:
It threw
a disdained glance
at my wretched corpus
while I,
sampling the last drops
of unprofaned Ogogoro2
from my near-dry calabash
shifted weights
from my pencil-thin left fibula
to the right--just as fragile,
as pictures
of Kongi's3 harvest
whirled
in the near recesses
of my fagged out memory:
Now they're here
Now they're not.

5

But me,
shackled to my wants
Imprisoned,
yet not in prison
dismayed, despaired and despondent
I shudder,
and roar my spirit to life
pushing my will
hoping for movement,
but not a single budge
from weary, un-oiled joints.

6

I resign.
This now
must be my final stop.
Sudden:
The leaves
Of the ageless Iroko,
sway to the raucous tunes
of a boisterous wind
as ,
I clutch
its bark,
willing elusive stability
on my terms,
and, for just me.
But,
all futility!

7

Sampling
a moment's stillness
from the eerie, distant quietness,
a new beat
sieves into my consciousness,
and new steps too:
A new hustle
A new drumming
forcing,
my weary eyes
to gear its strength to focus.
But every weakened ocular muscle,
every sinew, every fibre's hustle
could only muster
a piece
devoid of lustre ,
trailed
by presbyopic lenses.

8

Then
they drew by:
hijackers,
shielding,
leading
the maiden called Change
My one betrothed beauty,
stolen,
by those
more powerful
than I
could ever be.

9

Powerless,
I simply watch:
And here now,
above my head,
a congregation
of flying foxes
irritated by the noise
fluffed
their velvet shoulder furs
and dispersed--
away,
along with the hazy dust.

10

Troubled
by the sight
I push
with all my strength
to emancipate Me.
But
weakened muscles
only drop me:
Prostrate--
The shameful hue
and shadows
spelling out
my shameful name: Masses,
painted
on the striations
of my fleshless back.

                  Written by Victor Omotayo Sawyerr
                                      17/06/2015

Notes:

Iroko1 : A hardwood tree, mythically believed to be powerful

Ogogoro2: Locally brewed pure alcohol. It is sometimes adulterated, (dangerously so) with methanol
Kongi's Harvest3: A play by Nigeria's Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka

Friday, 12 June 2015

A VIEW FROM MY WINDOW : PITTING THE VP AGAINST THE PRESIDENT

                                    "A war of attrition destroys the morale of soldiers"



A VIEW FROM MY WINDOW : NIGERIA IN FOCUS:

PITTING THE VP AGAINST THE PRESIDENT: Is History about to repeat itself?

The National Assembly inauguration on June 9th 2015, which saw the emergence of House leaders who are not the preferred candidates of either the ruling APC Party or the President, has provided enough cheese for us to nibble at, for weeks on end.

Political intrigues and an increasingly bold, vibrant Media constantly 'attriting' , constantly searching, and posting on all media forms, make for a really interesting first term in office, on President Buhari's second coming.
Early as it is in the life of this regime, the political meteorologist's report is already showing that thunder storms may be gathering in the clouds not too far ahead of us :

The scenario? President Buhari has twice excluded Vice President Osinbajo from crucial security meeting with security chiefs, where matters of State , critical to the operations against Boko Haram are discussed.
The Problem? Watchers of politics in the country, political commentators and the media are beginning to insinuate that there must be some underlying trust issues between the President and his Vice when it comes to Security. Others believe that the VP has a right to be in those meetings and that being excluded was a way of limiting his rights as a VP. The matter has become another talking point and before long either the President or his Vice will be forced to address it.

For those of us however, who are intrigued by the power play between Presidents and Vice Presidents across Africa, this is yet another drama in the making. Some, as a matter of fact, really do believe it's just a matter of time before history repeats itself leaving us with a Vice President estranged from the Presidency. How it pans out in the long run may just depend on what point the trio of loyalty, common sense and selflessness come to intersect with each other .

But while this drama continues to play out internally within the Party confines, and externally, in the media and public space there is need to search out for precedents, and seek out the legality or otherwise of the President's action.
Nigeria operates a democratic system patterned along the American style of democracy, and although today, America's Vice President seems to wield considerable power as well, this was not always the case.
 Infact John Adams , Vice President , 1789 to 1798 had this to say about his office :

         "The office of the Vice President, is the most insignificant office ever the               invention of man contrived, or his imagination conceived"

It was only since after the 2nd World War that the US Congress and the President began to assign more roles to the VP. For over 100 years , Vice Presidents of the United States of America were simply marginal figures along the corridors of power.

Important to note is that it was not until 1933 when President F. D. Roosvelt, (32nd President of US) began to include his VP in cabinet meetings that other Presidents after him started including their own Vice Presidents in cabinet meetings.

But here is a situation we can draw parallels from: President Roosvelt even though he allowed his VP attend cabinet meetings, he did not allow him attend National Security meetings, and particularly did not inform his VP about the highly important National security project called "The Manhattan Project" which at the time was a top secret project to develop atomic weapons. Ironically, President Roosvelt died in 1945, and the war was still going on. His VP, Harry Truman suddenly became a war time President and found himself in an extremely difficult position (to put it mildly) because he did not have firsthand knowledge of all the available National Security information . He had to depend on daily briefings from the Secretary of War to make critical decisions that could affect not only America but the World in general.

How did the American Congress deal with this anomaly ? Simple. The American Congress realized that a situation where a sitting President did not have firsthand knowledge of the country's National Security options was absolutely untenable, and a very big security risk. In 1947 congress then included Vice Presidents as one of the four statutory members of the National Security Council . The sense behind it is this: If at any point in time the President is unable to continue being President, the VP who succeeds him would be fully equipped to discharge most of his duties without hang-ups.

This is good precedence and I would think the new Senate, and Representatives ought to, as a matter of urgency, look into passing laws that clarify and specify  some of the critical responsibilities of the Vice President  as a way of minimizing an unnecessary attrition that could destroy the morale of the nation.

                Written by Victor O. Sawyerr
                  June 12, 2015

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

NASS INAUGURATION , MATTERS ARISING

MATTERS ARISING
10/06/2015
NASS INAUGURATION: THE PETULANCE OF APC
Talking points from the inauguration of Nigeria's National Assembly yesterday continue unabated. All media forms are still feasting on the dismembered remains of an outcome that threw political permutations of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the wind leaving party forces reeling and squealing.


APC spokesman, the National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in a vitriolic reaction on June 9th 2015, 16:24[Nigerian Time] , almost two hours after Dr. Bukola saraki had emerged unopposed, as President of 8th Assembly of the Nigerian Senate , published on the party's website that :
  "... The APC has described as totally unacceptable and the highest form of treachery, the conduct of Tuesday's inauguration of the National Assembly that led to the emergence of... "
         ...Alhaji Lai Mohammed
         National Publicity Secretary,
          APC
Alhaji Lai Mohammed

Speaking for a party that recently won an election from a position of opposition, and using words like 'totally unacceptable' and 'treachery' for a proceeding that was conducted in public view, within the ambits of the provision of the constitution, not only smacks of petulance but may imply to close watchers of politics in Nigeria that the 'Change' mantra may simply have been a smoke-screen of sorts, and that the Party has no intention of changing the practice of 'ruling by special arrangement"
The extraordinary length to which the Party's leaders went to invoke a Presidential intervention, by summoning him to the failed (? mediation) meeting, to wield a 'presidential' big stick on the Party's senators so they tow they party line in electing their Principals within the Senate , flashes a red flag as well and brings to question the Independence of the President.
Whether Mr. President, by design or fortuitously failed to attend the meeting, this should also be a signal to him that there are still a thousand and one strings attached to his tailcoat and some of those strings are in the firm girps of some cold calculating magicians.
With all this background drama still playing out it is comforting that mr. President has accepted the outcomes of the proceedings at the National Assembly . A statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity , Femi Adeshina indicates that: "... the President would rather that the process of electing leaders as initiated and concluded by the APC had been followed. Nonetheless, the President took the view that a constitutional process had somewhat occured... "
Put this way, this also flashes a red flag. "Somewhat" within the context of statement may have been used to show highlight the President's unwilling acceptance of the outcome of proceedings yesterday, but it casts a whole different spectrum of interpretation of procedures and proceedings going forward. Is this President going to henceforth question the constitutionality of all proceedings that do not favour his or the party's wishes?
It is the burning hope of the masses that mr. President would realize sooner than later that it is necessary to cauterize more than 80% of those strings on his tailcoats for him to truly belong " to everyone and to no one" as he proclaimed in his inaugural speech.

                                                        [Written by: Victor O. Sawyerr]
P.S. : The preferred  APC candidates for the Office of President of the Senate , Senator Ahmed Lawan and a group of about 25 Senators who missed the  proceedings yesterday indicated after todays session that they would be heading to the courts  soon to contest that proceeding.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

NASS ELECTS PRESIDENT

09/06/2015
NASS ELECTS SENATOR BUKOLA SARAKI AS SENATE PRESIDENT OF THE 8TH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The inaugural session of the 8th National Assembly of Nigeria convened at 10.00 Am in Abuja with the sole purpose of electing its officers and declaring the 8th Assembly open.

In what may seem to many as a subtle coup, Senator Bukola Saraki was nominated , unopposed to become the President of the 8th National Assembly, much to the surprise of the All Progressive Congress (APC) on who had canvassed it's members to vote Senator Ahmed Lawan, based on a mock party election which saw some of its members stage a walkout.
The choice of candidate for the Senate Presidency has caused some friction within the party, and game watchers believe if unresolved quickly, it may cause the party to implode.
Although quorum was already formed when Dr. Bukola Saraki was elected, a number of APC Senators were not yet in the hall when proceedings commenced.

This may indeed provide more talking points in the days ahead.
Voting is alreYady in progress for office of Deputy Senate President.

11:55 AM
Senator Ike Ekweremadu (PDP) emerges Deputy Senate President.
Senate President & Deputy










With the emergence of the Senate President from APC  and the Deputy Senate President from PDP it may offer some assurance that there would be balance in the house, but there are a whole lot of underlying dynamics which may play out in due course.

12:37PM
House of Representatives  is already in session to nominate its principals.

Monday, 1 June 2015

CLAMOUR WE ALL

CLAMOUR WE ALL 

Clamour we all
For Power
To act
To Change
To deify
To 'demonify'
To wield absolutes
Over lesser
Mortals.

Clamour we all
For Power
To stand
As Kings
To soar
Like Eagles
Roar
Like lions
To own
The jungle.

Clamour we all
For Power
To depose
Like gods
Repose
Like angels
Wave wands
Like fairies
And wrest
The universe
Into
Our Private Domain.

Clamour for,
But the ultimate
Aphrodisiac ;
NAY
The final
Psychedelics:
                 The Trappings
                 Of Addiction, and
               A conundrum
                                    of altered self perceptions
                                    Inebriated self consciousness...
...A GALAXY
   That revolves
   but in the palm
   Of our little hands.
    [Written by Victor O. Sawyerr. June 1st 2016]
[Acknowledgement: "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac"... Henry Kissinger Former Secretary of State, USA ]

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