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The Call for Reform: Embracing Chief Awolowo’s Vision for a Better Nigeria

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As we celebrate the 115th Posthumous birthday of Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Oyeniyi Iyanda Awolowo, GCFR, it is essential to reflect on the valuable lessons that today’s politicians can learn from his exemplary leadership. Chief Obafemi Awolowo, a visionary and transformative leader, left a lasting legacy of progressive governance, innovative policies, and unwavering commitment to the betterment of Nigeria. Chief Awolowo’s emphasis on reform to drive progress, development, and prosperity for all Nigerians remains as relevant today as it was during his tenure. In honouring Chief Awolowo’s birthday, it is fitting to consider how his principles can guide policymakers in navigating the complexities of modern governance and leading Nigeria toward a brighter and more sustainable future.

Reflecting on the indelible mark he left on Nigeria through his visionary leadership, particularly his groundbreaking free education policy, Chief Awolowo’s legacy continues to resonate with many Nigerians, myself included. Personally, I owe much of who I am today to the opportunities afforded to me through this policy. In honour of Chief Awolowo’s birthday, it is fitting to explore and celebrate his attributes that today’s politicians can emulate for the betterment of our nation.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo was a visionary leader who played a key role in shaping modern Nigeria. His commitment to the principles of justice, equity, and progress made him a champion of the common man and a symbol of good governance. As we celebrate his 115th Posthumous birthday, it is important to reflect on his legacy and the values he stood for.

 

♦ Professor Ojo Emmanuel Ademola is a Nigerian Professor of Cyber Security and Information Technology Management, and holds a Chartered Manager Status, and by extension, Chartered Fellow (CMgr FCMI) by the highly Reputable Royal Chartered Management Institute.

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Reflecting Dividends of Democracy: A Holistic Approach to Tinubu’s Eight-Year Presidential Tenure

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Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s presidency of Nigeria has been heralded by several prominent figures, including Minister of Works Dave Umahi and APC chieftain Yekini Nabena, as divinely destined to span two terms, totalling eight years. These endorsements come amid economic challenges and rising expectations for transformative leadership. The billion-dollar question is how Tinubu’s administration can deliver on the promise of lasting positive change. This discussion explores actionable strategies that could ensure the holistic delivery of the dividends of democracy to Nigeria, encompassing economic development, social welfare, political stability, technological advancement, public engagement, and robust implementation mechanisms.

Steadfastly, the current discourse surrounding Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s potential for serving a full eight-year term as Nigeria’s president reflects a mix of optimism, political loyalty, and strategic positioning. While prominent figures like Minister of Works Dave Umahi and APC chieftain Yekini Nabena underscore the notion that Tinubu’s tenure is divinely ordained and resistant to political disruptions, it is important to consider the broader context of such assertions.
 *Support and Optimism*
1. *Political Backing*: The current support from key political figures within the All Progressives Congress (APC), including Nabena and Umahi, signals strong intra-party unity. This cohesion is crucial for navigating the complexities and challenges of governance.
2. *Influential Endorsements*: Arthur Eze’s endorsement reflects a segment of Nigeria’s influential elite placing their confidence in Tinubu’s leadership. These endorsements can serve to bolster public confidence and encourage a collective national effort towards the administration’s goals.
3. *Faith in Reforms*: The emphasis on ongoing reforms suggests a belief that economic and policy measures currently being implemented will yield positive outcomes over time. The assertion that Tinubu’s opponents will eventually have to acknowledge these achievements implies a reliance on the tangible benefits of these reforms to counteract opposition narratives.
 *Challenges and Realities*
1. *Economic Hurdles*: The recognition of the country’s economic challenges indicates an understanding that the success of Tinubu’s administration will be significantly measured by its ability to address these issues effectively. Economic performance often influences political stability and public support.
2. *Political Dynamics*: Nigerian politics is known for its complexity and fluidity. The assertion of divine destiny and inevitability of an eight-year term, while rhetorically potent, does not eliminate the potential for significant political shifts, internal party dissent, or external pressures that could impact Tinubu’s tenure.
3. *Public Sentiment*: Ultimately, the success of any administration is contingent on public perception and satisfaction. While elite support and party coherence are beneficial, widespread public endorsement will be crucial, especially as reforms begin to impact daily life.
Surmising, the notion of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu serving a full eight-year term is supported by influential political and economic figures, reflecting a mix of optimism, strategic political support, and a belief in the administration’s current trajectory. However, the path to realizing this goal will depend on the administration’s ability to address Nigeria’s pressing economic challenges, maintain political stability, and secure broad-based public support. The coming years will be pivotal in determining whether the optimism espoused by Tinubu’s supporters will translate into tangible and lasting success.
The core question remains how can Tinubu’s administration bring to life the ideal vision for Nigeria, ensuring that the principles of democracy are fully realized and the benefits are comprehensively delivered to every citizen?
Essentially, ensuring the holistic delivery of the dividends of democracy under Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration involves a multifaceted approach that addresses economic, social, political, and institutional challenges. If his administration aims to align with the notion of a “divinely destined” leadership, it must focus on tangible results and effective governance. Here are several strategies that could help achieve this:
 *Economic Reforms and Development* 
1. *Fiscal Responsibility and Transparency*: Implement policies that promote fiscal responsibility, reduce corruption, and ensure transparent management of public funds. Transparent governance builds public trust and promotes accountability.
2. *Diversification of the Economy*: Move away from over-dependence on oil by promoting sectors such as agriculture, technology, manufacturing, and services. This diversification can create jobs and ensure sustainable economic growth.
3. *Infrastructure Development*: Prioritize and expedite the completion of critical infrastructure projects such as roads, railways, power generation, and broadband internet. Improved infrastructure can boost economic activity and improve quality of life.
 *Social Welfare and Human Development* 
4. *Education and Healthcare*: Invest significantly in education and healthcare systems to enhance human capital. This includes building schools, and hospitals, training medical personnel, and implementing policies that make education and healthcare accessible and affordable.
5. *Social Safety Nets*: Develop robust social safety nets to protect the most vulnerable populations from economic shocks. This includes unemployment benefits, food security programs, and affordable housing initiatives.
 *Political Stability and Good Governance* 
6. *Strengthen Democratic Institutions*: Ensure the independence and efficiency of democratic institutions such as the judiciary, electoral commission, and anti-corruption bodies. Strong institutions are crucial for the rule of law and democratic stability.
7. *Inclusive Governance*: Promote inclusivity by ensuring that all ethnic, religious, and social groups are represented in government. This can foster national unity and mitigate potential conflicts.
8. *Electoral Reforms*: Implement electoral reforms that ensure free, fair, and credible elections. This can enhance political stability and public confidence in the democratic process.
 *Security and Rule of Law*
9. *Tackle Insecurity*: Develop a comprehensive approach to combat insecurity, including strengthening the military and police forces, addressing root causes of insurgency and banditry, and promoting community policing.
10. *Justice and Legal Reforms*: Ensure swift and fair justice delivery by reforming the judicial system and reducing case backlogs. Legal reforms should also focus on protecting human rights and curbing abuses by security agencies.
 *Technological Advancement and Innovation* 
11. *Digital Economy*: Leverage technology and digital solutions to enhance governance efficiency, economic growth, and service delivery. Developing a digital infrastructure can spur innovation and attract investments.
12. *Encouraging Startups*: Foster an environment that supports startups and entrepreneurship through government-backed initiatives, access to funding, and regulatory support.
 *Public Engagement and Communication*
13. *Transparent Communication*: Maintain clear and consistent communication with the public regarding government policies, achievements, and challenges. Engaging the public through various platforms can build trust and foster a sense of collective effort.
14. *Civic Education*: Promote civic education to ensure that citizens are informed about their rights and responsibilities in a democratic society. Active citizen participation is essential for a thriving democracy.
 *Implementation and Monitoring* 
15. *Effective Implementation*: Develop mechanisms for the effective implementation of policies and initiatives. This includes setting clear goals, timelines, and responsibilities for government agencies.
16. *Monitoring and Evaluation*: Establish robust systems for monitoring and evaluating the impact of government programs. Continuous assessment allows for adjustments and improvements to ensure desired outcomes.
By focusing on these strategies, Tinubu’s administration can work towards the holistic delivery of the dividends of democracy, aligning with the perceived divine mandate and improving the lives of Nigerians across all sectors.
In conclusion, ensuring the holistic delivery of democratic dividends under Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration requires a comprehensive and multifaceted approach to addressing Nigeria’s economic, social, political, and institutional challenges. By focusing on transparency, economic diversification, robust infrastructure, social welfare, inclusive governance, and security, the administration can align with its perceived divine mandate. Effective implementation, coupled with continuous public engagement, can foster trust and inclusive development. If these strategies are diligently pursued, the Tinubu administration could indeed realize the transformative change envisioned for Nigeria, thus solidifying its legacy and meeting the high expectations set by its advocates.

♦ Professor Ojo Emmanuel Ademola is a Nigerian Professor of Cyber Security and Information Technology Management, and holds a Chartered Manager Status, and by extension, Chartered Fellow (CMgr FCMI) by the highly Reputable Royal Chartered Management Institute.

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Anthony Obi Ogbo

Netanyahu should lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s current leadership crisis can be likened to the principles of General George S. Patton Jr., who famously said that one can either lead him, follow him, or “get the hell” out of his way. General Patton was a no-nonsense United States Army general who led troops in World War II, and his quote has become a cornerstone for understanding the complicated art of leading. Besides other fundamental competencies in leadership, taking responsibility is crucial as it builds trust and respect, and promotes honesty, transparency, and accountability for both successes and failures. Accepting responsibility thus demonstrates integrity, humility, and a commitment to personal growth and development.

Following a devastating attack by Hamas terrorists on October 7, Israeli officials have taken responsibility for their failures in preventing the violence that led to the current conflict. However, Netanyahu has refused to accept responsibility for the situation. The attack was a horrific display of violence, with Hamas terrorists killing innocent civilians, including women and children, and taking hostages. Since the start of this conflict, Netanyahu has struggled to define his clear goals and strategies. He has been confused about dealing with his cabinet, the public, and Israeli allies – shifting blame onto others, and prioritizing his political survival over the needs of the nation.

Last week, he publicly criticized his strongest ally, the United States, for withholding weapons needed for the war. Directing sharp criticisms at President Joe Biden, he suggested that this delay was hindering Israel’s offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where ongoing fighting has worsened the already dire humanitarian situation for Palestinians. In reality, Biden had postponed the delivery of certain heavy bombs since May due to concerns about Israel’s actions resulting in civilian casualties in Gaza. However, Netanyahu conveniently omitted the fact that he had outright rejected the U.S. request to reconsider a full-scale invasion of Rafah, where over 1 million people are seeking refuge. Defiantly, he asserted that Israel would continue its mission to eradicate Hamas, with or without U.S. support.

Netanyahu’s uncompromising stance on challenging policy issues persisted as he dissolved his war Cabinet last week to consolidate his authority over military decisions. Before this move, his main political rival, Benny Gantz, a retired general and member of parliament known for his moderate views, withdrew from the three-member war Cabinet. This means that major war strategies will now be exclusively approved by Netanyahu’s security Cabinet, a larger body dominated by hard-liners who oppose the U.S.-backed cease-fire proposal and advocate for continuing the conflict.

Israel is currently facing a political dilemma with Netanyahu at the helm. The political landscape has been turbulent, with Netanyahu facing a growing opposition. This was exemplified by the recent passing of a controversial judicial overhaul bill in the Israeli parliament, sparking civil resistance. The situation escalated when reservists, including F-16 pilots, refused to fly under Netanyahu’s leadership until the anti-democratic bill was revoked. These actions not only impact military readiness but also underscore internal threats to Israel’s democracy.

In March, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called for new elections in Israel, criticizing Netanyahu as an impediment to peace. Schumer, a long-time supporter of Israel and the highest-ranking U.S. Jewish elected official expressed concerns about Netanyahu’s government and highlighted the need for change in leadership, especially during a war that began with attacks on Israel by Hamas militants.

Schumer’s sentiments are shared by many, as Netanyahu’s prolonged tenure has raised concerns about stagnation and a lack of fresh ideas. The Prime Minister’s multiple corruption charges have also tarnished his leadership, contributing to increased polarization within Israeli society. A new leader could potentially bring innovative approaches to address pressing issues and bridge divisions within the country.

There are significant policy issues at play in Israel, particularly under Netanyahu’s leadership. His policies on settlements, security, and the peace process have sparked controversy and debate. Critics argue that his stance on settlements has impeded the possibility of a two-state solution by expanding Israeli presence in the West Bank. Furthermore, his approach to security, including military actions in Gaza and Lebanon, has been criticized as heavy-handed and counterproductive to peace efforts. The peace process itself has stagnated under his leadership, with many accusing him of prioritizing Israeli interests over finding a resolution with the Palestinians. Overall, Netanyahu’s policies have created division both domestically and internationally.

Looking ahead, the question arises: what is his strategy to effectively lead Israel? Is Netanyahu prepared to develop a comprehensive plan that combines diplomatic efforts, security measures, and economic policies? Will he prioritize strengthening relationships with key allies, such as the United States, while also working to improve ties with neighboring countries in the Middle East? Is he committed to implementing initiatives to boost Israel’s economy and address social issues within the country? Would he be open to spearheading a multifaceted plan aimed at ensuring Israel’s security and prosperity in the years ahead? Ultimately, is Netanyahu prepared to lead, follow, or step aside for the greater good?

♦Publisher  and Professor, Dr. Anthony Obi Ogbo, is on the Editorial Board of the West African Pilot News. He is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

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Anthony Obi Ogbo

Donald Trump and Blacks – Oil and Water Don’t Mix

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“Political affiliation without genuine consideration of interests and benefits can result in a meaningless display of ignorance and recklessness —Anthony Ogbo

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Oil and water are known for their stark differences in chemical compositions and physical characteristics, making them the most opposing properties in nature. Oil, a non-polar substance, refuses to mix with water, a polar substance, due to its contrasting polarities. This results in the formation of distinct layers when the two are combined, showcasing their inability to easily blend together.

Similarly, the relationship between former President Donald Trump and Black people is just as incompatible as oil and water. However, in a surprising move last week, Trump launched a Black voter coalition group in a bid for a November comeback. The announcement was made at a community event in Detroit, with prominent Black Republicans such as Ben Carson and John James in attendance. Trump even mentioned Rep. Byron Donalds as a potential vice-presidential candidate, highlighting the support he has garnered among Black voters. Traditionally, the Black voting bloc has supported Democrats, but recent polls have shown openness to Trump.

Despite attempts to appeal to Black voters during his presidency, his actions and rhetoric consistently alienated and marginalized the Black community. From his refusal to condemn white supremacists to his implementation of policies that disproportionately harmed Black Americans, Trump’s presidency further widened the divide between himself and the Black community. His lack of empathy, understanding, and respect for the struggles faced by Black people only solidified the impossibility of any meaningful relationship between him and the Black community. Just like oil and water, their differences are too vast and irreconcilable.

The stark contrast between Black voters and Trump is not mere speculation, but rather a reflection of his actions. Trump’s lack of popularity within the Black community is rooted in his policies. For example, as president, he supported a healthcare repeal proposal that would have left 8.7 million people of color without Medicaid coverage by 2026. Additionally, he backed a proposal to defund Planned Parenthood, a vital organization for nearly 1 million people of color who rely on its health services, including physicals, cancer screenings, and contraceptive care.

On January 27, 2017, he signed an executive order, the initial version of his Muslim ban, which discriminated against Muslims and banned refugees. Later that year, on May 12, his administration announced the abandonment of the Smart on Crime initiative, a program aimed at rehabilitating drug users and reducing the costs of incarcerating inmates.

Furthermore, the Trump administration halted the implementation of the Obama-era Employer Information Report, or EEO-1 form update, which would have collected pay data confidentially broken down by gender, race, and ethnicity. This data was crucial for federal enforcement agencies to uncover wage discrimination against women of color, who experience some of the largest wage gaps across all industries.

The upcoming November election has once again highlighted the importance of the Black vote as a significant stakeholder. Historically, the Black vote has been a powerful force in American politics, capable of influencing elections and shaping policy decisions. In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the necessity to engage and mobilize Black voters, especially in key battleground states. The upcoming election is no exception, with issues such as racial justice, police reform, healthcare access, and economic inequality at the forefront of many Black voters’ minds.

As a crucial stakeholder in this election, the Black community holds the power to amplify their voices and demand change from elected officials. Voter suppression tactics are on the rise, and efforts to undermine mail-in voting are increasing. This underscores the importance for Black voters to be well-informed, actively engaged, and proactive in ensuring their voices are heard at the ballot box.

It is essential also, to recognize that African Americans have the right to not only align with any political party but also to make informed decisions about policies and politics. However, how these decisions are made is critical. Blindly supporting a political party goes against the fundamental purpose of politics. Political affiliation without genuine consideration of interests and benefits can result in a meaningless display of ignorance and recklessness.

Last, it is important to acknowledge that a relationship between Trump and the Black community is like oil and water – they do not mix. This highlights the need for Black voters to carefully consider their choices and ensure they align with their values and interests.

♦Publisher of the Guardian News, Journalism and RTF Professor, Dr. Anthony Obi Ogbo, is on the Editorial Board of the West African Pilot News. He is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

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