Rise in kidney disease

The Uptick in Kidney Disease

The number of Nigerians suffering from kidney disease remains on the rise and has been worsened by inadequate facilities and the high cost of treatment, writes Martins Ifijeh
With recent details from the Global Report on Care Delivery and Kidney Disease, at least 700 million persons around the world have one form of kidney problem or the other, representing about one in every 10 people globally.
And although the prevalence is said to be higher in high-income countries like the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, many of such countries have considered chronic kidney disease as one of their healthcare priorities, as compared to most low income countries, who despite having an increased prevalence of the issue, do not consider it one of the diseases they must prioritise solving.
One of such low and middle income countries not taking the issue of kidney disease seriously is Nigeria despite having over 36.8 million of its citizens suffering from one form of kidney disease or the other, representing about 23 per cent of the country’s population, according to available statistics.
This figure, which shows one in every seven Nigerians is a sufferer from some form of kidney disorder, has therefore prompted experts to raise alarm that Nigeria was sitting on a keg of gun powder waiting to explode if nothing was done to quell the rising prevalence of the menace in the country.
They believe stakeholders, as well as the government have not zeroed into tackling the issue head on, as the country has failed to put facilities in place to match the rising problems occasioned by the disease in the country. They are also of the opinion that Nigerians must be educated on what to do to prevent the disease as well as how to manage it.
A Nephrologist, Dr. Benson Ariye, explained that over 50,000 Nigerians should presently be on dialysis, but that only about 1,000 persons are presently undergoing dialysis in the country, which was one of the reasons a lot of Nigerians were dying from the disease daily.
He explained that it was rare surviving kidney failure without undergoing dialysis or kidney transplant, adding that if government must protect its citizens from dying from preventable illnesses like Kidney failures or other forms of diseases, then it must put facilities in place to combat the issue.
According to him, the bulk of those suffering from the disease in the country were poor or low income earners who may be unable to afford treatments in India, Canada or the United States. “The only institution they can rely on for support is our government. There should be availability of facilities to treat the various forms of kidney disorder in the country.
“Only a handful of hospitals in the country presently have these dialysis machines, which ideally should be spread across the country to tackle issues of kidney failure.”
He said one of the reasons why proactive measures must be taken was because the peak prevalence period for chronic kidney disease was between 30 and 50 years, representing the manpower shortage and economic waste, adding that “Nigeria cannot afford to lose its active citizens because of inability to provide facilities to combat the health issue.
While lamenting the burden of the disease, he said estimated 15,000 new patients were being diagnosed every year in the country, making the number of persons needing treatments to increase markedly annually.
Ariye also called for the subsidisation of kidney treatments in the country as most sufferers were unable to afford the treatments. “An average Nigerian would most likely not be able to undergo adequate treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD) which is on the rise.
Despite the thousands of Nigerians who present their cases to the hospital, Ariye believed this represents just a tip of the iceberg of the entire burden of CKD, because majority of those suffering from end stage renal failure or other forms of kidney disorder often do not present their health issue to the hospital on time due to lack of awareness, prohibitive cost of healthcare services or use alternative treatment like spiritual healing and traditional methods.
He said awareness on early presentation was also key to reducing the disease in the country.
The World Health report in 2002 and Global Burden of Disease Project reports show that kidney disease represents the 12th cause of death and 17th cause of disability in the world. The report also believed this may be an underrepresentation of the contribution of Chronic Kidney Disease to global burden of disease.
Some experts however believed this figure may best suit that of developed countries as kidney disease is reportedly becoming a very high cause of death among people living in underdeveloped and developing countries, including Nigeria.
“In Nigeria, the situation is such that chronic kidney disease represents about eight to 10 per cent of hospital admission even though we know more than 50 per cent of people with the disease do not present their case to the hospital,” says a Resident Doctor with Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Dr. Kenneth Ifidon.
He said this goes to show that the prevalence of the disease is increasing in the country even though kidney care facilities do not match the numbers of people presenting their cases to the hospital.
Causes
He said it was important people understood the causes of kidney diseases so they could prevent it. “Some identified causes of kidney diseases include hypertension, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, among others,” he added.
According to him, hypertension was the leading cause of kidney failure in Nigeria, adding that it often presents no symptoms until it is at the advanced stage. “This is another reason why people should not just assume that since they are walking and not feeling any health issue, then there is no need for checkups. If you want to prevent many forms of health issues, it is imperative that you constantly go for checkups. When one does checkups for hypertension at early stage, the truth is, as you are taking measures to preventing it, you are also indirectly taking measures to preventing kidney disease. So the role of medical checkups cannot be overemphasised if we must stay healthy always.”
He said diabetes has been established to be the leading cause of kidney failure in the country, hence the need for people to prevent things that predisposes them to diabetes. Adding that, “diabetes occurs when the blood glucose levels are excessively high. “Tiny amounts of proteins in urine are an early sign of kidney damage in patients with diabetes.”
On HIV/AIDS, he said it increases the loads on the kidneys and may lead eventually to its failure, hence the need for people to be cautious about habits that predisposes them to risks of contracting HIV/AIDS.
Prevention
He said people must understand that the kidney was one of the most important organs of the body because of its enormous responsibilities and that attention should be paid to the kidney, while living a healthy lifestyle.
According to him, “while taking measures to preventing hypertension, diabetes and HIV/AIDS, direct healthy lifestyle will also go a long way in keeping the kidney healthy.”
He said avoiding caffeine addiction was one of the best ways of keeping the kidneys in check. “People who drink multiple cups of caffeine beverages each day are often at risk of forcing the kidney to work harder in pumping out the toxins in the caffeine, which overtime makes the kidney weak.
“If you find that you are urinating several times a day more than you used to, try cutting back on caffeine products to see if that helps. Too much caffeine isn’t good for your body in many ways, and kidney stress is one of them”
He also explained that drinking of water was very vital to the health of the kidney. “People who drink plenty of water daily are less likely to have kidney disease because even though the kidney acts more as a filter than a reservoir, toxins can build up if there is not enough water pressure to push them through to the urinary tract for excretion.
“We know there are people who do not like drinking water except extremely necessary, but it shouldn’t be so. If you want to keep your body healthy, drink enough water,” adding that eating of fruits like water melon also goes a long way in keeping the kidney healthy.
Treatment
He said it was worrisome that treatment of kidney failure in the country has not been subsidised by the government, as poor patients continue to find it difficult accessing treatment.
According to him, a patient with kidney failure has a 3 to 5 hour dialysis treatment; three times per week while this treatment would only replace about 10 to 15 per cent of the function of healthy kidneys.
“Undergoing a session of dialysis in the country costs about N25,000.00, which means in a week the patient would have spent N75,000.00. This perhaps will continue for a long time. How do we expect the poor Nigerians to pay for this treatment?” He queried.
He said an outright kidney transplant cost an average of N4.5m outside the provision of a donor. “Though most donations are free because they come from relations and family members, but the determination of whether their organ is suitable for surgery or not are often investigated most times abroad thereby compounding the cost. After surgeries, patients must live on drugs to keep the foreign organ in check and these drugs are taken throughout a lifetime and they are expensive,” he added.
He stressed that a government that puts its citizens first must design ways of making this treatment available and affordable for the ordinary citizens and people who also live in rural areas where there are hardly healthcare facilities.

Source: ThisDay

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Rome was Not Destroyed in a Day

Rome was Not Destroyed in a Day


By Simon Kolawole

Sadiq Daba, the actor, ran into some serious health issues recently. He cried out for financial help to undergo foreign treatment. Pronto, Nigerians reacted overwhelmingly. But wait. I did not hear anybody talk about Daba’s religion or ethnic group. The people who tweeted and retweeted his appeal for help, and those who contributed money, were certainly not from his village. I was so so so so so happy. It confirmed, yet again, my pet theory about Nigeria — that we do not hate each other. We are just victims of the unending political manipulation of ethnic and religious identities for selfish gain. Evidently, ordinary Nigerians have the “Nigerian spirit” in their DNA.

My grandmother, God rest her sweet soul, shaped my worldview when I was a little boy growing under her care. She had this amazing ability to be so proud of her Yoruba heritage and at the same time celebrating the best in people of other tongues. In the days of Operation Feed the Nation, launched by the military government of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo in the late 1970s, we planted tomato, maize and spinach in our garden. One day, when the tomatoes were ripe, Mama told me: “Have you noticed that when the tomato in the north is out of season, our own is due for harvest? That shows you God wants us to live together, to complement each other.”

I did not understand much of modernised agricultural practices then — I would have argued with her that you could have both tomato species all-season! But, forget my mischief, she was so broadminded. It must have rubbed off on her offspring. When my father’s younger sister wanted to marry a Muslim, she maybe thought Mama would not like it. As I was told, my aunty introduced her fiancé as “Moses”. It was only when their children (that is, my cousins) were being named Hakeem, Sherifat and Ibrahim that the family realised “Moses” was actually “Mustapha”! Mama, I was told, laughed off the trick with a rhetorical question: “Were we not all created by the same God?”

Indeed. I have met extremists and chauvinists from across religions and races. I am yet to hear anyone declare that we were not created by the same God. One of the most astonishing things about life, to me, is the fact that although we can choose to be Muslims or Christians, and so on, nobody can choose to be Hausa, Fulani, Igbo, Yoruba or whatever. We just woke up one day to find ourselves as members of one ethnic group or the other. It was not our making. So why should you discriminate against me, and hate me, on the basis of an ethnic identity that is beyond my control? Is it my fault that I was born into a family that was clearly not my choice?

In this “mindsets” series, my goal is to challenge the way we think about Nigeria. I am fully persuaded that since we have been doing things the same way for ages and we have been getting essentially the same results, the time has come for us to challenge our fundamental assumptions and thinking — and begin to consciously do things differently. As many commentators, analysts and public speakers have been pointing out over time, we need to reform our mindsets. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. A mind moulded with hate, prejudice, greed and inordinate ambition will produce nothing but hate, prejudice, greed and inordinate ambition.

In the first part of this series, I wrote on “The President Nigeria Badly Needs” (January 7, 2018). I challenged our obsession with seasonal political calculations and permutations. We build our hopes on false dawns and heat-of-the-moment excitements every four years — and end up with more of the same. Something has to change. In the second instalment, “The Spirit of Lagos That Nigeria Needs” (January 28, 2018), I revisited the now rested “Spirit of Lagos”, a reorientation campaign by the TBWA Consortium, in partnership with the Lagos state government. I said Nigerian leaders and the citizens need to cultivate new mindsets to be able to build a new Nigeria.

Today, I am going a little bit practical on how we can renew our minds. There is a saying that Rome was not built in a day, a proverb originated by the 19th century English playwright, John Heywood, who also gave us immortal expressions such as “out of sight out of mind”, “better late than never”, and “the more the merrier”. He said Rome wasn’t built in a day “but they were laying bricks every hour”. This, in some sense, tells us the value of consistent hard work, perseverance and conscious efforts at construction. If Nigeria is going to change, therefore, we must alienate those who see themselves, first and foremost, as ethno-religious champions. It all starts in the mind.

But, pardon me, Rome was not destroyed in a day either. It took ages to build the city but took a much shorter time to destroy it. Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410 AD. In three days, they looted, burnt and wrecked the beautiful city. That hastened the collapse of the Roman Empire. Same thing applies here: the destruction of Nigeria by ethnic champions and religious bigots will not happen in one day — it is a gradual, steady process. That is why we the people must guard our hearts jealously before we are recruited into the hate brigade under different guises. Those already recruited can decide to desert straightaway. We need to build, not destroy.

My suggestions. To start with, do not participate in the sharing of messages and materials that are clearly intended to preach hate and prejudice. Saying “shared as received” is pure hypocrisy. You can be critical of leadership without attacking or disparaging their religions and ethnic origins. As a matter of principle, I do not share messages that are clearly meant to spread hate. It is a duty I owe my conscience. We all have terrible things to say about other people. If we do not allow love to guard our hearts, we will keep adding fuel to fire. Therefore, before you press the “send” or “forward” button, ask yourself: what is my motive? Unto thyself, be honest.

Also, do not feed your children with hate and prejudice. Fill their hearts with edifying things. A senior colleague of mine, a Muslim, married a Christian, who then converted to Islam. He told me he once engaged the services of a cleric to teach his children the Qur’an every Sunday. One day, he overheard the cleric telling the children not to drink from the same cup or eat from the same plate with their aunts, who were living with them, because they were “infidels”. My colleague fired the “afa” on the spot. He remains a devout Muslim, sure, but he saw danger and immediately quenched it. This kind of hate messaging certainly fuelled the mindset that birthed Boko Haram.

This is how hate works: it focuses on what divides us rather than what unites us. If there are Qur’anic verses that say Muslims should love and care for Christians, the hate merchants will focus on where Christians are called “infidels”. If there are verses in the Bible that say “love your neighbour as yourself”, the messengers of hate will focus on “what fellowship does light have with darkness?” There is nothing you want to justify with the scriptures that you won’t find. If you truly have love in your heart, you will focus on the verses of love. The God that forbade eating four-footed creatures is the same God that ordered Apostle Peter, in a trance, to kill and eat! To the pure all things are pure.

And this is how prejudice works: because Chief Obafami Awolowo did not declare Oduduwa Republic in solidarity with Biafra in 1967, every Yoruba is a traitor — including the one that was born early this morning. Because an Igbo chap was arrested for 419, every Igbo person — dead, living or unborn — is a fraudster. Because Barkin Zuwo struggled with speaking English, every northerner is an illiterate; in fact, no northerner has a brain. Because of the insane activities of ISIS and Boko Haram, every Muslim is a terrorist, including your friend. Tragically, there are people that the only thing they can see in you is your language or religion, not the content of your character.

Let me quickly say this before I shut down my laptop and take a stroll: it is very difficult to resist the message of hate and prejudice in a society already polluted by manipulative politicians, their overpaid sidekicks and our inept leaders. I know. When everybody is saying there is casting down, it is very difficult to go against the grain and say there is lifting up. You just go with the flow. But maybe the “casting down” gang is not as big as the “lifting up” brigade — just that the latter has been intimidated into silence. They must begin to speak out. Rome was not destroyed in a day. Those working to destroy Nigeria neither sleep nor slumber.

As for me and my house, we resolved long ago that we would never feed our children with hate, prejudices and biases. These things are usually passed on from generation to generation. I resolved to follow the example of my grandmother by celebrating the best in others rather than focusing on their worst. I would rather talk about the dignity in labour you find among the Hausa, the creativity among the Igbo and the industry among the Yoruba. Accuse me of living in denial and I will accuse you of living in bitterness. Accuse me of being politically correct and I will accuse you of being self-righteous. Accuse me of being naïve and I will accuse you of being jaundiced. It’s all in the mind.

=======

AND FOUR OTHER THINGS

HATE MESSAGE
Talking about hate speech, I was presented with a perfect example on a platter of gold on Saturday. Punch quoted Professor Umar Labdo of Maitama Sule University, Kano (formerly Kano State University), as saying the Fulani are destined to lead Nigeria for a long time. He even as much as said that we should be grateful the jihadists did not annihilate local people after the conquest. To help douse the tension caused by the Fulani herdsmen crisis, which has claimed hundreds of lives, he said Benue belongs to the Fulani. I hope by the time all these professors turn Nigeria to Somalia with their reckless and insensitive utterances, they will be very proud of themselves. Tactless.

THE OYINLOLA COALITION
The Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) is finally here to “rescue Nigeria” from APC. In October 2005, the Movement for the Defence of Democracy (MDD) was launched by ex-PDP bigwigs such as Chief Audu Ogbeh and Chief Tom Ikimi, along with opposition figures, to “rescue Nigeria”. MDD gave birth to ACD, later AC, later ACN and today’s APC that “rescued” Nigeria from PDP in 2015. In 2010, there was the PDP Reform Group, made up of Chief Ken Nnamani, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari and Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, et al, to “rescue Nigeria”. Today, the CNM, led by Brig-Gen. Olagunsoye Oyinlola (rtd), is all set to “rescue Nigeria” from APC in 2019. Again.

GLORIOUS EXIT
Former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme has been buried in his hometown, Oko, Anambra state. Someone pointed out on social media that “in one week Oko has street lights everywhere, in one week the bad road from Ekwulobia to Oko has been reconstructed”. Great thoughts. My theory remains that if Nigerian leaders resolve to develop Nigeria today, you will see a marked difference within four years. If they decide that all hospitals will become world-class and there will be uninterrupted power supply and all major roads will be in good shape, you will see the results in no time. One day, we will come to the consensus that our real problem is poor leadership. Truth.

STINKING STEPHANIE
Stephanie Otobo, the Canada-based stripper, last year accused Apostle Johnson Suleiman of things. She went into lurid details, giving dates and timelines. Charged to court in Nigeria over alleged blackmail, she sued Suleiman in Canada, claiming $5 million in damages resulting from “breach of trust, breach of fiduciary relations, breach of contract, negligence, defamation and poisoning”. She even found time to record a gospel song. She has now done a U-turn, claiming she was politically induced to blackmail the pastor. Was she pressured to recant? In a sane society, she should be facing criminal charges, including perjury and blackmail, by now. But is it not Nigeria? Theatre.
Source: ThisDay

Office sexual relationship 

Office sexual relationship 

There is no denying the fact that the relationship among workers sometimes exceeds the surface. As time passes by and intimacy sets in, something even deeper is introduced, it is office romance.

While some co-workers enjoy mere workplace friendship, some take it a step forward to add romance to theirs. For these click of people, it could be outside the work environment, night clubs, relaxation joints, hotels or even homes.

However, a new survey from Yellow Octopus has revealed that one in 10 co-workers have sex at work and the frequency might shock you.

If you noticed that your co-workers book out a meeting room for an unspecified chat on a regular basis, chances are that they are doing every other thing but official meeting!



The survey was conducted on 1,000 people about their in-office behaviour and found that sex at work is, indeed happening, perhaps with more frequency than one might envisage.

This trend is on the rise among skilled labours during the day and even more among unskilled labours who run night shifts.

Of the people surveyed, 11 percent said they had had sex in the office with a co-worker, while four percent said they had done it with a non-employee — meaning, they had brought someone into the building unofficially.

The majority did it after office hours, but around a third managed to get away with sex in office during work hours. Technically, they were getting paid to enjoy sex.

Unfortunately, before you start conceiving an idea to try this out, be informed that the researchers also disclose that 14 percent of those who had sex at work were caught and the consequences are better imagined.

The moral of this report is: Don’t try sex at work.

News Headlines Feb 5, 2018. Headlines From Nigeria’s Major Newspapers 

News Headlines Feb 5, 2018. Headlines From Nigeria’s Major Newspapers 

Compiled by Demola Adefajo


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Babangida denies statement on Buhari

Babangida denies statement on Buhari


Babangida (left) and Buhari

Former Military President, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, has denied a statement in which he asked President Muhammadu Buhari not to contest the 2019 election. 

Responding to the widely circulated statement issued by his spokesman, Mr Kasim Afegbua, Babangida said the statement did not tally with his views on national issues. 



‘My attention has been drawn to a report making rounds especially online in which I was quoted as advising Nigerians not to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari in the coming 2019 election.

‘Not only is the said statement untrue, it is in its entirety, an inaccurate representation  of my view of the state of our dear Nation’, he said. 

He was quoted as asking President Buhari to step down for digital leadership in 2019. 

With this denial, Babangida has tried to distance himself from the stance of another former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who late last month wrote an 18-page letter, accusing the President of poor handling of the economy and clannishness. 
Babangida also said as a former head of state he had access to make his views known to the President without resorting to open letter. 
Here is the full text of the letter:


My attention has been drawn to a report making rounds especially online in which I was quoted as advising Nigerians not to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari in the coming 2019 election.

Not only is the said statement untrue, it is in its entirety, an inaccurate representation  of my view of the state of our dear Nation.

As a former President and an elder statesman, I have existing communication channels through which I reach out to President Muhammadu Buhari on topical issues of national importance, should there be the need so to do.

The media,  both online or mainstream and indeed the unsuspecting public are advised to disregard such false reports.

Thank you and God Bless you all.

Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (Rtd) (GCON)
Former Military President Federal Republic of Nigeria

Hilltop Mansion
Minna, Niger state.
4th February 2018.

Ignore Obasanjo’s letter to Buhari, Senator Waku asks Nigerians

Why Obasanjo is angry with Buhari – Waku

Senator Joseph Waku

Nigerians have been advised to ignore the letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to President Muhammadu Buhari. Describing the letter as a thrash and full of mischief, former member of the National Assembly, Senator Joseph Waku lambasted Obasanjo whom he described as a serial blackmailer.

In this interview with TUNDE THOMAS, Waku also spoke on other national issues including the recent herdsmen killings, proposed cattle colonies by the Federal Government among others.

What’s your take on the letter written to President Muhammadu Buhari by former President Olusegun Obasanjo?

Obasanjo is an attention seeker who should be ignored. Obasanjo likes playing to the gallery. If Obasanjo is a mature man and a genuine patriot and elder statesman who he wants us to believe he is, that letter he wrote to Buhari is needless.

Why do I say the letter is needless? It is needless because Obasanjo has unfettered access to President Buhari and all those issues he raised in the letter he could have discussed with the President one-on-one, and if Obasanjo didn’t want that option, he could have requested that a meeting should be convened where he, President Buhari and other former presidents and heads of states in the country who are all members of the Council of States would have discussed the issues he raised. But Obasanjo I know very well can never change – Obasanjo is mischievous. He is a blackmailer. Through that letter, Obasanjo wanted to incite Nigerians against Buhari.

Obasanjo is very mischievous. He wrote that letter to Buhari out of mischief and not out of patriotism. If Obasanjo had sought an audience with Buhari or even invite Buhari, and he refused to honour his invitation or if he had been unable to get the Council of States to discuss the issues he raised, it would have been understandable, but Obasanjo had not exploited all these avenues before he wrote his satanic letter to Buhari. Obasanjo is a selfish individual who likes playing to the gallery.

You were saying that Obasanjo lacked the moral right to write the letter …

Yes. As the saying goes, those who live in a glass house should not throw stones. Obasanjo is throwing stones from inside the glass house he is living in, and he deserves to be stoned back.

Without trying to be a spokesman for Buhari, but now speaking the fact as a Nigerian, Buhari compared to Obasanjo is a saint. Obasanjo should keep quiet. Obasanjo was a terrible leader when he was President of Nigeria between 1999 — 2007. He was a dictator, brutal and very incompetent. Obasanjo’s evil deeds are many, but one can mention a few. He introduced political corruption into this country. Although he set up EFCC and ICPC, but he just used the anti-graft agencies to witch-hunt his political opponents. We all remember how Obasanjo used EFCC to persecute his political opponents. The then EFCC boss, Nuhu Ribadu became Obasanjo’s hunting dog – in connivance with Ribadu. Obasajo illegally impeached several state governors including Joshua Dariye in Plateau and Rasheed Ladoja in Oyo State.

Obasanjo also in a brazen act of corruption elevated Ribadu within a period of six months from Assistant Commissioner of Police to Assistant Inspector-General of Police, AIG.

Obasanjo also introduced the privatization programme through which his administration sold Nigeria’s primed assets to Obasanjo himself and his cronies.

What about the Obasanjo’s Presidential Library in Ota, a personal project of Obasanjo but in which Obasanjo ensured that he extorted billions of naira from state governors, business moguls and others to put up the monumental structure. Recently, one of the state governors then, Ayodele Fayose claimed that Obasanjo forced state governors to donate billions of naira to the project, and Fayose had asked Obasanjo to refund Ekiti State donation.

How do you now describe somebody involved in all these scam as a wise man, who is in a position to lecture others or accuse others of corruption? Obasanjo is the father of all corruption.

But some Nigerians are saying that the letter should not just be dismissed with a wave of the hands and that it contains some allegations and issues which, Buhari should address …

That’s why I said earlier that Buhari is not a saint, and that no human being is 100 percent perfect. But I’m still on Obasanjo, I have not finished with him. Obasanjo talking to Buhari about insecurity and killings – for Obasanjo himself, it was worse under his administration when he was the president. Remember Odi killings that took place under Obasanjo’s watch where innocent people were murdered and their properties destroyed based on the orders of Obasanjo to the security agents.

What about the killings in Zaki Biam, the village of the then Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Victor Malu. Even though Malu was a senior official in Obasanjo’s administration, yet Obasanjo betrayed him by destroying his village.

What about individuals that were assassinated during Obasanjo’s era. Bola Ige, the then number one judicial officer was killed and up till today, his killers are yet to be apprehended. What about Marshall Harry and others whose lives were wasted during Obasanjo’s years in office? We can go on and on. The list is endless and this is one of the reasons why I said Obasanjo lacks the moral stand to attack Buhari.

Obasanjo was a callous and vindictive man who hounded so many innocent Nigerians into jail during his time in office. At over 80 years, it is sad that Obasanjo is yet to mature. He can never change.

Obasanjo should stop playing to the gallery; he should bury his head in shame. He should stop trying to project himself as the oracle of the nation. Is this not the same Obasanjo that wanted to run for a third term but who was stopped in his track by some patriots. Obasanjo was a saboteur who wanted to subvert the constitution in order to run for a third term; he should keep quiet. Obasanjo is a hypocrite. He should be ignored. Here is Obasanjo who wanted to run for a third term not allowed by the Nigerian Constitution but he is now asking somebody who is constitutionally allowed to run for a second term not to do so. He is a hypocrite.

But in that letter, Obasanjo stated that he was advising Buhari not to go for a second term based on his performance, and his failing health …

What’s there to write about in Obasanjo’s eight years of failure as Nigeria’s leader. Monumental corruption took place under Obasanjo’s watch whereas Buhari is fighting corruption. Obasanjo should explain what happened to over N60 billion his government earmarked for electrification project, but instead of giving us light, Obasanjo gave us darkness. Buhari is trying his best. For instance, Buhari’s administration has built up Nigeria’s foreign reserve to $40 billion, whereas under the previous administration, our foreign reserve had been depleted to zero level. Where we need to give credit, we should not hesitate to do so, and where we want to condemn or criticize, we should also do so. To me, Buhari has not been a failure, and I believe that there is still room for improvement. Obasanjo has a lot of skeletons in his cupboard; he should keep quiet.

Do you have any words of advice for Obasanjo?

Obasanjo can never change. He is like a leopard who can never change from its dark spots. How do you advise a man that is over 80 years. Even if Obasanjo attain the age of Methuselah, that is, if he lives for over 900 years, he will still remain the same. Maturity has nothing to do with age. Obasanjo, since I know him, has never exhibited any sign of maturity. At times, he behaves childishly. He doesn’t have the traits of a genuine patriot, and qualities required of a statesman. On whether Buhari should seek reelection or not, the president has not come out to make a categorical statement on it. So what’s Obasanjo’s headache all about?

If Buhari decides to seek a second term, it is his constitutional right to do so. The problem with Obasanjo is that he is not happy or doesn’t want anybody to equal his own record. If Buhari decides to seek reelection, then it means he will be equaling Obasanjo’s record, and he is not happy about that. Again Obasanjo is bitter and angry with Buhari that Buhari has not been running to him for advice in Ota. Obasanjo is not happy that Buhari has not become a regular visitor to Ota; he is not happy that Buhari has not been coming to pay homage to him at his Ota farm. He wanted Buhari to be dancing to his own tunes, and all these Buhari has not done.

What’s your reaction to Obasanjo’s call for a coalition movement or a Third Force to wrest power from APC and PDP?

Don’t mind Obasanjo, he is trying in another way to realize what I will call Fourth Term, which he failed to realize while in office. What I mean by this is very simple – Obasanjo should never be trusted. Has he not publicly told Nigerians that he had quit active politics, if that is so, why is he floating another coalition, is that not another political party that he is floating? But yet Obasanjo is saying that he has quit politics. Obasanjo is deceiving Nigerians. Obasanjo double speaks; he is still actively involved in politics and his aims are two -to register that coalition as a political party, and then to get his own surrogate as the leader of the party. His ultimate aim is to get a leader he can manipulate, and who will be ready to dance to his tune anytime. Nigerians should be wary of Obasanjo and his new agenda.

PDP of recent has also been critical of Buhari’s administration, accusing the government of not living up to expectation, what’s your views on that?

What do you expect from PDP? Is PDP not an opposition party? You don’t expect PDP to sing the praise of APC. PDP was in power for 16 years and led Nigeria into economic recession, but with Buhari in the saddle just for two years plus, Nigeria is out of economic recession. The nation’s foreign reserve was seriously depleted under PDP’s government, but today, Buhari’s administration has built up Nigeria’s foreign reserve up to $40 billion, what about the reforms in the agricultural sector, especially in the area of rice production which has saved the nation the agony of rice importation which was to cost Nigeria lots of money.

What is your reaction to the recent killings by herdsmen in Benue, Taraba and other parts of the country?

From all the perspectives, political, social, economic and cultural, the unity of our country is becoming consistently threatened by the relentless attacks by these herdsmen. A large percentage of Nigerians are disenchanted and have lost confidence in the capacity of our security agencies to protect them.

What in your view is the solution to the problem?

Contrary to the cattle colonies idea being canvassed by the Federal Government, the permanent solution to the carnage by the herdsmen who to me are evil marauders is to establish Animal Fodder Farms in different zones, particularly in the northern parts of the country. Let me also state here that some foreign investors with the appropriate technological expertise have expressed their readiness and willingness to engage in beneficial partnership with the Federal Government in this regard, what is left is for the Federal Government to strike a deal with the foreign partners to start production. 5,000 hectares of cultivated land can produce sufficient fodder feeds which can conveniently feed one million cattle per year. We should not condemn Audu Ogbeh over the proposed Federal Government cattle colony’s proposal but we should all try to make useful recommendations that will help us to find ways out of any problem instead of being in the habit of criticizing, condemning or attacking any policy without proposing alternatives which will help us to chart ways forward. What should always be paramount in our mind is how to live together in harmony.

Culled from The Sun

Babangida asks Buhari to step down in 2019

IBB urges Buhari to step down in 2019 for digital leadership
…laments ceaseless flow of blood

Ibrahim Babangida

By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor

Former President Ibrahim Babangida has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to step down in 2019 to allow a generational shift that should reinvent the wheel of leadership and spur healing in the land.
Babangida in a special statement issued on Sunday also lamented the failure of the All Progressives Congress, APC to advance its change mantra in several areas of the polity saying that the party failed to push ahead with the programme to restructure the country as canvassed to Nigerians.

Babangida in the statement issued on his behalf by his spokesman, Prince Kassim Afegbua particularly lamented the flow of blood in the country noting that the unity that himself and others sought to keep was daily being drawn to the seams by the killings across the land.

Babangida also lamented the herdsmen/farmers clashes as he called for the adoption of ranching as a way of stemming the crisis. He also fumed against the recycling of analogue leadership as he called for a more youthful and digital leadership to push the country in the comity of nations.

Babangida who governed Nigeria as military head of state between 1985 and 1993 while lamenting the recycling of analogue leadership said:

“In the past few months and weeks, I have played host to many concerned Nigerians who have continued to express legitimate and patriotic worry about the state of affairs in the country. Some of them have continued to agonize about the turn of events and expressly worried why we have not gotten our leadership compass right as a country with so much potential and opportunity for all. Some, out of frustration, have elected to interrogate the leadership question and wondered aloud why it has taken this long from independence till date to discover the right model on account of our peculiarities. At 57, we are still a nation in search of the right leadership to contend with the dynamics of a 21st century Nigeria.

Having been privileged to preside over this great country, interacted with all categories of persons, dissected all shades of opinions, understudied different ethnic groupings; I can rightfully conclude that our strength lies in our diversity. But exploring and exploiting that diversity as a huge potential has remained a hard nut to crack, not because we have not made efforts, but building a consensus on any national issue often has to go through the incinerator of those diverse ethnic configurations. Opinions in Nigeria are not limited to the borders of the political elite; in fact, every Nigerian no matter how young or old, has an opinion on any national issue. And it is the function of discerning leadership to understand these elemental undercurrents in the discharge of state responsibilities.

WHERE WE ARE.

There is no gainsaying the fact that Nigeria is at a major crossroads at this moment in its history; the choices we are going to make as a nation regarding the leadership question of this country and the vision for our political, economic and religious future will be largely determined by the nature or kind of change that we pursue, the kind of change that we need and the kind of change that we get. A lot depends on our roles both as followers and leaders in our political undertakings. As we proceed to find the right thesis that would resolve the leadership question, we must bear in mind a formula that could engender national development and the undiluted commitment of our leaders to a resurgence of the moral and ethical foundations that brought us to where we are as a pluralistic and multi-ethnic society.

Nigeria, before now, has been on the one hand our dear native land, where tribes and tongues may differ but in brotherhood we stand, and on the other hand a nation that continues to struggle with itself and in every way stumbling and willful in its quest to become a modern state, starting from the first republic till date. With our huge investments in the African emancipation movements and the various contributions that were made by our leadership to extricate South Africa from colonial grip, Nigeria became the giant of Africa during that period. But having gone through leadership failures, we no longer possess the sobriety to claim that status. And we all are guilty.

We have experimented with Parliamentary and Presidential systems of government amid military interregnum at various times of our national history. We have made some progress, but not good enough to situate us on the pedestal we so desirously crave for. It is little wonder therefore that we need to deliberately provoke systems and models that will put paid to this recycling leadership experimentation to embrace new generational leadership evolution with the essential attributes of responsive, responsible and proactive leadership configuration to confront the several challenges that we presently face.

In 2019 and beyond, we should come to a national consensus that we need new breed leadership with requisite capacity to manage our diversities and jump-start a process of launching the country on the super highway of technology-driven leadership in line with the dynamics of modern governance. It is short of saying enough of this analogue system. Let’s give way for digital leadership orientation with all the trappings of consultative, constructive, communicative, interactive and utility-driven approach where everyone has a role to play in the process of enthroning accountability and transparency in governance.

I am particularly enamored that Nigerians are becoming more and more conscious of their rights; and their ability to speak truth to power and interrogate those elected to represent them without fear of arrest and harassment. These are part of the ennobling principles of representative democracy. As citizens in a democracy, it is our civic responsibility to demand accountability and transparency. Our elected leaders owe us that simple but remarkable accountability creed. Whenever we criticize them, it is not that we do not like their guts; it is just that as stakeholders in the political economy of the country, we also carry certain responsibilities.

In the past few months also, I have taken time to reflect on a number of issues plaguing the country. I get frightened by their dimensions. I get worried by their colourations. I get perplexed by their gory themes. From Southern Kaduna to Taraba state, from Benue state to Rivers, from Edo state to Zamfara, it has been a theatre of blood with cake of crimson. In Dansadau in Zamfara state recently, North-West of Nigeria, over 200 souls were wasted for no justifiable reason. The pogrom in Benue state has left me wondering if truly this is the same country some of us fought to keep together. I am alarmed by the amount of blood-letting across the land. Nigeria is now being described as a land where blood flows like river, where tears have refused to dry up. Almost on a daily basis, we are both mourning and grieving, and often times left helpless by the sophistication of crimes. The Boko Haram challenge has remained unabated even though there has been commendable effort by government to maximally downgrade them. I will professionally advise that the battle be taken to the inner fortress of Sambisa Forest rather than responding to the insurgents’ ambushes from time to time.

THINKING ALOUD.

In the fullness of our present realities, we need to cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari to complete his term of office on May 29th, 2019 and collectively prepare the way for new generation leaders to assume the mantle of leadership of the country. While offering this advice, I speak as a stakeholder, former president, concerned Nigerian and a patriot who desires to see new paradigms in our shared commitment to get this country running. While saying this also, I do not intend to deny President Buhari his inalienable right to vote and be voted for, but there comes a time in the life of a nation, when personal ambition should not override national interest. This is the time for us to reinvent the will and tap into the resourcefulness of the younger generation, stimulate their entrepreneurial initiatives and provoke a conduce environment to grow national economy both at the micro and macro levels.

Contemporary leadership has to be proactive and not reactive. It must factor in citizens’ participation. Its language of discourse must be persuasive not agitated and abusive. It must give room for confidence building. It must build consensus and form aggregate opinion on any issue to reflect the wishes of the people across the country. It must gauge the mood of the country at every point in time in order to send the right message. It must share in their aspirations and give them cause to have confidence in the system. Modern leadership is not just about “fighting” corruption, it is about plugging the leakages and building systems that will militate against corruption. Accountability in leadership should flow from copious examples. It goes beyond mere sloganeering. My support for a new breed leadership derives from the understanding that it will show a marked departure from recycled leadership to creating new paradigms that will breathe fresh air into our present polluted leadership actuality.

My intervention in the governance process of Nigeria wasn’t an accident of history. Even as a military government, we had a clear-cut policy agenda on what we needed to achieve. We recruited some of the best brains and introduced policies that remain some of the best in our effort to re-engineer our polity and nation. We saw the future of Nigeria but lack of continuity in government and of policies killed some of our intentions and initiatives. Even though we did not provide answers to all the developmental challenges that confronted us as at that time, we were not short of taking decisions whenever the need arose.

GROWING INSECURITY ON OUR HANDS.

The unchecked activities of the herdsmen have continued to raise doubt on the capacity of this government to handle with dispatch, security concerns that continue to threaten our dear nation; suicide bombings, kidnappings, armed banditry, ethnic clashes and other divisive tendencies. We need to bring different actors to the roundtable. Government must generate platform to interact and dialogue on the issues with a view to finding permanent solutions to the crises. The festering nature of this crisis is an inelegant testimony to the sharp divisions and polarizations that exist across the country. For example, this is not the first time herdsmen engage in pastoral nomadism but the anger in the land is suggestive of the absence of mutual love and togetherness that once defined our nationality. We must collectively rise up to the occasion and do something urgently to arrest this drift. If left unchecked, it portends danger to our collective existence as one nation bound by common destiny; and may snowball into another internecine warfare that would not be good for nation-building.

We have to reorient the minds of the herdsmen or gun-men to embrace ranching as a new and modern way to herd cattle. We also need to expand the capacity of the Nigeria Police, the Nigeria Army, the Navy and Air Force to provide the necessary security for all. We need to catch up with modern sophistication in crime detection and crime fighting. Due to the peculiarity of our country, we must begin community policing to close the gaps that presently exist in our policing system. We cannot continue to use old methods and expect new results. We just have to constructively engage the people from time to time through platforms that would help them ventilate their opinions and viewpoints.

THE CHANGE MANTRA

When the ruling party campaigned with the change mantra, I had thought they would device new methods, provoke new initiatives and proffer new ways to addressing some of our developmental problems. By now, in line with her manifesto, one would have thought that the APC will give fillip to the idea of devolution of powers and tinker with processes that would strengthen and reform the various sectors of the economy. Like I did state in my previous statement late last year, devolution of power or restructuring is an idea whose time has come if we must be honest with ourselves. We need to critically address the issue and take informed positions based on the expectations of the people on how to make the union work better. Political parties should not exploit this as a decoy to woo voters because election time is here. We need to begin the process of restructuring both in the letter and spirit of it.

For example, I still cannot reconcile why my state government would not be allowed to fix the Minna-Suleja road, simply because it is called Federal Government road, or why state governments cannot run their own policing system to support the Federal Police. We are still experiencing huge infrastructural deficit across the country and one had thought the APC-led Federal Government would behave differently from their counterparts in previous administrations. I am hesitant to ask; where is the promised change?

LOOKING AHEAD

At this point of our national history, we must take some rather useful decisions that would lead to real development and promote peaceful co-existence among all the nationalities. We must be unanimous in what we desire for our country; new generation leadership, result-driven leadership, sound political foundation, demonetization of our politics, enhanced internal democracy, elimination of impunity in our politics, inclusiveness in decision-making, and promotion of citizens’ participation in our democratic process. The search for that new breed leadership must start now as we prepare for 2019 election.

I get worried when politicians visit to inform me about their aspirations and what you hear in terms of budgetary allocations for electoral contest does not cover voters’ education but very ridiculous sub-heads. A typical aspirant in Nigeria draws up budget to cover INEC, Police, Army and men and officers of the Civil Defense, instead of talking of voters’ education, mobilization and sensitization. Even where benchmarks are set for electoral expenditure, monitoring and compliance are always difficult to adhere to. We truly need to reform the political system. And we must deliberately get fresh hands involved for improved participation.

We need new ways and new approaches in our political order. We need a national rebirth. We need a rebranded Nigeria and rebranded politics. It is not so much for the people, but for the institutions that are put in place to promote our political engagements. We must strengthen the one man one vote mantra. It is often ridiculous for me when people use smaller countries in our West Africa sub-region as handy references of how democracy should be. It beggars our giant of Africa status.

The next election in 2019 therefore presents us a unique opportunity to reinvent the will and provoke fresh leadership that would immediately begin the process of healing the wounds in the land and ensuring that the wishes and aspirations of the people are realized in building and sustaining national cohesion and consensus. I pray the Almighty Allah grant us the gift of good life to witness that glorious dawn in 2019. Amen. I have not written an open letter to the President, I have just shared my thoughts with fellow compatriots on the need to enthrone younger blood into the mainstream of our political leadership starting from 2019

Source: Vanguard