All posts by demoadefa

This is the Blog page of Demola Adefajo, a passionate Nigerian. Site is dedicated to topical socio-political issues. Demola can be contacted via demo_times@yahoo.co.uk, 2348034701991. Twitter handle is @demoadefa Welcome.

​Tips to Lower Risk of a Heart Attack or Stroke

Tips to Lower Risk of a Heart Attack or Stroke

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC 

Sometimes, small changes to your lifestyle can really cut your odds of having a heart attack or stroke. Try this step-by-step approach.

1. Exercise a Little Each Day

Moderate physical activity lowers your chances of a heart attack. Shoot for 30 minutes of exercise that gets your heart pumping at least 5 days a week. Brisk walking or swimming are some good choices. On the other 2 days, do strength training, like lifting weights.

If you’ve got a tight schedule, break your exercise routine into small chunks. Try a 15-minute walk in the morning and another before lunch.

2. Set a Reasonable Goal for Weight Loss

If you’re overweight or obese, you don’t have to get thin to reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke. If you lose 5% to 10% of your weight, you’ll improve your cholesterol numbers and lower your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

3. Take Your Heart Medicine

It sounds like a no-brainer, but don’t skip your meds. Many people don’t take their medications the way their doctor told them to. Figure out what keeps you from taking your medicine — it could be side effects, cost, or forgetfulness — and ask your doctor for help.

4. Eat Well

If you stick to a healthy diet, you could lower your odds of getting heart disease.

Fill your plate with different kinds of:

Fruits

Veggies

Whole grains

Fish

Lean meats

Stay away from processed or prepared foods that often are high in salt and added sugar. They’re also filled with preservatives.

5. Drink Some Alcohol, but Not Too Much

If you drink, any type of alcohol helps your heart, but use caution. Too much raises your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

To get the benefit without the risk, stop at one drink a day if you’re a woman and two if you’re a man.

6. Eat a Little Chocolate

Go for dark chocolate, and make sure the ingredients are at least 70% cacao. It’s filled with nutrients that help protect your ticker.

Keep your portions small so you don’t gain weight and work your heart harder.

7. Don’t Smoke

Smoking dramatically raises your risk of heart attacks and strokes. Talk to your doctor about how to quit. You’ll also be doing your friends and family a favor, since secondhand smoke can also lead to heart disease.

8. Pay Attention to Your Symptoms

Don’t just hope they’ll go away. See your doctor if you feel anything unusual, like shortness of breath, changes in your heart rhythm, or extreme tiredness. Also, watch for pain in your jaw or back, nausea or vomiting, sweating, or flu-like symptoms.

Source: WebMD

Why you have bad breath

What your bad breath is trying to tell you

You ’re not drinking enough water

Dehydration is the leading cause of bad breath other than poor dental hygiene , according to the Mayo Clinic . Not drinking enough water means food ( and the bacteria that feed on it) hangs out in your mouth longer , breeding and heightening the stench. Fortunately the fix is as simple as the problem : Drink up ! Water is best , but doctors add that sugar – free gum or candies can also help stimulate saliva flow .

You have a serious illness

Bad breath may smell equally stinky to our untrained noses but according to researchers at the University of Colorado in Boulder, not all bad breath is created equally —and the presence of certain gasses in your mouth can indicate disease . For instance , excess methylamine may signal liver and kidney disease , ammonia may be a sign of renal failure , elevated acetone levels can indicate diabetes , and nitric oxide levels can be used to diagnose asthma , according to the scientists. A separate study found that a certain mix of bad breath gasses can even indicate malignant throat cancer . You can ’ t tell just from a sniff test but if you have chronic bad breath it might be worth getting a more sensitive test done in your doctor ’ s office .

You ’re at risk for heart disease

Gum and heart diseases are closely linked, with gingivitis being an early warning sign of cardiovascular problems , according to a study done by the International & American Association for Dental Research . And one of the major signs of gum disease is bad breath . Treat your gum disease and not only do you ditch the noxious mouth fumes but you also improve your heart health . Don ’ t miss these other silent signs of clogged arteries .

You have tonsillitis

One of the hallmarks of sore – throat disease is persistent bad breath . The same bacteria that give you bad breath are the ones that also infect your tonsils , giving you recurrent sore throats . Tonsillectomy , a surgery that removes the two glands in the back of your throat , can help treat the sickness and bad breath , according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology , Head and Neck Surgery.

You ’re at risk for pre – term delivery

Pregnant women need to pay particular attention to bad breath , according to the American Academy of Periodontology . Women with gum disease — often signified by halitosis —are more likely to have premature or low birth weight babies . This is why it’ s so important to stay on top of your dental hygiene and checkups when you ’ re expecting, the group says . Here are other secrets dentists wish patients knew.

You have a stomach ulcer

When you think ulcers you probably think of terrible stomach pain , problems eating and heartburn . But you may be overlooking another common symptom of the malady : bad breath . Helicobacter pylori , the bacteria known to cause stomach ulcers and also responsible for a large proportion of gastric cancers, can also make your mouth mega malodorous , according to research published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology . Here are other reasons your stomach pain is acting up .

You ’re overweight

You can now add bad breath to the list of health problems caused by being overweight , according to a study from Tel Aviv University . The researchers found that the more overweight a person is, the more likely their breath will smell unpleasant to others. They ’ re still investigating why this is the case . It may have to do with biological dysfunction or it may be another example of the social stigma endured by the obese .

You need to eat more yogurt

Bad breath , or halitosis , is caused by an overgrowth of “ bad ” bacteria in your mouth. But do you know what else is packed with bacteria ? Yogurt ! The humble dairy snack is a microbial superhero that can help fight off the stinky germs in your mouth and replace them with breath – friendly bugs .

News Headlines June 26,  2017. Headlines from Nigeria’s major newspapers

News Headlines June 26,  2017. Headlines from Nigeria’s major newspapers

Compiled by Demola Adefajo 

The Punch

Sallah: Buhari’s audio message in Hausa draws criticisms

Lagos hospital rejects MFM pastor injured by Badoo 

Court jails 35 persons for environmental offences 

Man arrested for raping, robbing trader 

Pupils’ abduction: Parents observe low-key Eid-el-fitr 

Gunmen kill policeman, one other in Kano 

Fire guts House on the Rock church in Abuja 

Probe killer herdsmen’s sources of weapons, Sultan tells FG 

Is deregulation on hold forever? 

Getting alerts on your bank account 

Fuel tanker explosion kills 146 in Pakistan

Senate’s hypocrisy on 2014 conference report

2018: FG warns MDAs against inflating personnel budgets 

Zenith b’ball phase three ends today 

Man kills tricycle operator, dumps corpse in well 

Nigeria’s Internet of Things revenue hits $93m – Reman

How to prevent respiratory tract infection (cold) 

On the executive-legislative budget war

The recall process against Melaye 

Dickson sues for peace 

FG loses N131.8bn as oil production drops again 

Road: Ogun to give preference to indigenous contractors 

Ex-NDDC boss, Aginighan, blames Dickson for INC crisis 

Gombe emir tackles farmers, herdsmen crisis

Nigerians should resist hate speeches – Ishaku

Eid-el-Fitr: Ganduje grants amnesty to 500 prisoners 

Financial Market Watch …for the week ended June 23, 2017 

What your bad breath is trying to tell you 

Deeper Life crusade 

Gunmen kill policeman, one other in Kano

On the executive-legislative budget war

2018: FG warns MDAs against inflating personnel budgets

Road: Ogun to give preference to indigenous contractors

FG loses N131.8bn as oil production drops again

ThisDay

300 Lawyers Jostle for Ten Positions at Federal High Court
Investigate Sources of Weapons of Killer Herdsmen, Sultan Tells FG
Presidency Releases Buhari’s Recorded Message to Nigerians
Our administration will unite Nigerians, says Osinbajo 
Southern Leaders Commend APC Governors for Calling for Country’s Restructuring …
DSS Arrests top Boko Haram Commander, 20 Others in Kano
Dialogue with Kanu, Other Marginalised Groups, Fayose Tells Buhari
Kirikiri Prison Overpopulated by 1,853 Inmates
Court Orders Air Force to Vacate Shopping Mall
Mark Says Agitation for Break up Needless
Adebule, Akiolu, Chief Imam Preach Love, Tolerance
Glo Joins Muslims to Pray for Nigeria’s Progress, Unity
Sallah Celebrated without Security Hitches in Borno
Ramadan: Conoil Urges Caution on the Roads
VON DG: Non-arrest of Arewa Youths, Strategic
APC Petitions ICPC, Police, Urges Probe of Bakassi Relief Materials Scandal
Kalu to Deliver NBA Annual Lecture
Army, Police Foil Kidnapping, Kill Suspect in A’Ibom
Umahi Flags off ANDP 5,000 Housing Project in Ebonyi
Court Quashes Suspension of Bauchi NNPP Secretary
Armed Gang Kills 30-year-old Man in Bayelsa
2,500 Holiday Makers Benefit from Osun Free Train Ride
CBN Forex Supply Hits $7.136bn in Four Months
Demand for ‘Service Fee’ on N701bn Loan for Gencos Rocks NBET
Union Bank Unveils Upgraded Branches
IMF Seeks Stronger Collaboration against Terrorism Financing
DHL Fetes Employees
Nigerian Companies Embrace Innovation to Overcome Recession
Atiku Rates Osinbajo High on Governance
Ishaku Sets up Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Administrative Panel to Resolve…
El-Rufai Urges Nigerians to Resist Those Bent at Dividing the Country… 
Odama’s Murder and the Cry for Justice
Eriksson Urges Rooney to Consider the Chinese Super League
African Champion, Cameroon, Fails to Progress to Semis
Voigt Hopeful as Five Nigerians Make NBA Draft
Watford Completes £8m Deal for Derby Midfielder
Onyekuru Calls Odemwingie for Advice
Pogba Unfazed with Griezmann at Man City
EDITORIAL: THE END OF RAMADAN

The Nation

Evans: I got gunshot scar after 2006 Lagos robbery
Osinbajo: no effort will be spared to keep Nigeria one
$1.2b Etisalat debt: Banks consider legal action against core investor
Governors preach peace, national integration, love
Sultan to govt: probe sources of herdsmen’s weapons
Presidency releases Buhari’s voice message
Falana: National Assembly wrong to alter budget
Awka Chamber of Commerce honours Obiano on Wednesday
Peaceful celebrations in Maiduguri, Damaturu, Yola, Gombe
Osun by-election: Why I’m contesting, by Hussein
Germany beat ten-man Cameroon to win group
Dalung visits Commonwealth Youth Games in camp
AFBC Boxing Championships: Nigeria to miss World Championship
Federer claims ninth Halle Open title
World Taekwondo Federation changes name over “negative connotations’’
Ex-taekwondo boss Nnaji gets WTF award in Korea
Nigerian referees, assessors, fitness trainers all set for FIFA Elite Programme
Zoning debate resonates in Ekiti
Obiano ‘ll be re-elected, says Emecheta
How to develop Edo North, by Senator
‘Save us from land grabbers’
Religious tolerance key to economic growth, says Ambode
Rain stops Adebule, Akiolu, Chief Imam from praying at Dodan Barracks
‘More Nigerians engage in Yoga practice’
Electricity consumers may protest over meters scarcity
Investors to lose N45b unclaimed dividends, shares
‘Nigeria’s future depends on today’s investments’
Hyundai premieres Kona SUV

The Guardian

Sultan asks government to move against killer herdsmen
Auto plants may shut down amid poor sales
Surveyors, FIRS on collision course over valuation breach
Arewa leaders laud FG’s handling of Biafra agitation, quit notice
Urhobo leaders urge Clark, Bozimo to intervene in land dispute
Muslims celebrate amid tight security in Kano
Shettima urges Army to end Boko Haram insurgency in North East
Clerics, PFN sue for peace, tolerance at Eid
More Nigerians die of meningitis, 1,098 cases in six weeks
Nwakali set for first team battles at Arsenal
NBA draft portends bright future for D’Tigers
Okocha, Kanu thrill football fans as Osun wins 2017 Copa Coca-Cola
Nigeria, Egypt, others battle for spot at ITTF World Cup
Obomate salutes Eunisell’s commitment to Rivers United campaign
Federer wins in Germany, Lopez prevails in London
Editorial: Cancellation of multiple checks at airports
Jollof rice and other matters
Parley between the east and west
Regional integration and development amidst concerns
Nigeria and the danger of minorities
Ladoja denies interest in Oyo 2019 governorship
Shehu Sani condemns sack of traditional rulers in Kaduna
Five suspended as Enugu State APC crisis deepens
Southern leaders laud governors on restructuring
Insecurity forces council to restrict Okada operations in Delta
Parents bemoan agonising wait for six abducted pupils
J.K. Rowling: creator of magic who dazzled the world
Erdogan’s Istanbul opera house plan sparks excitement, controversy
Tuface, Rotary Peace Fellow seek support for IDPs, refugees
‘Transformers 5’ dominates box office but opens at franchise-low

Daily Trust

Kaduna spends N6.5bn on school infrastructure
Osinbajo: Buhari will complete his tenure
Niger Muslims observe Sallah amidst tight security
Eid el-Fitr: Sultan urges FG to prosecute armed herders
Board for Arabic, Islamic Studies prays for Buhari
Fulani group wants Ishaku held for Taraba killings
Peace corps urges prayer for Buhari
Those accusing Ishaku of genocide are ignorant – Bello
Kwara bans pilgrims from carrying kolanuts
Mixed feelings as Customs commences first E-auction
Protest over Police pay
KASTLEA sacks 124 marshals
Beyond the red line
New face of Leaders of Thought
Nigeria urged to engage China on ‘Belt and Road’ initiativeKano purchases N2bn equipment to curb medical tourism

Abia govt demolishes houses of suspected kidnappers
Igbo quit notice: Emir Sanusi calls for tolerance, peace
Osun West: APC candidate wants a repeat of 2015 feat
Rep Pwajok asks Berom to support Lalong’s second-term
Sheriff’s led PDP calls for tolerance
Mixed feelings as Customs commences first E-auction
Etisalat: CBN, NCC moves to save 4,000 jobs
Osinbajo to launch tax awareness, income declaration campaign this week
New face of Leaders of Thought
PAKISTAN: Fuel tanker inferno kills at least 150
TURKEY: Police stifle Istanbul Gay Pride rally
UK: Six hurt as car ploughs into Eid crowd
After The Talk, The Action
Reps to probe former OAU VCs over breach of procurement act
How cybercafé operator defrauded 70 UTME candidates
Exam bodies to manage needs of physically-challenged candidates
Desertification: Women to turn environment green in Sokoto
The challenges of FG’s Wall of Trees Project
‘Organisations now reluctant to pay workers gratuity’
Okowa backs LG autonomy
NSITF to enforce registration of employers, seeks amendment of act
Osun: Court restrains Oluwo from removing Ogundokun as Bashorun Musulumi of Iwoland
$40m contract: EFCC’s attempt to file fresh evidence stalls Jonathan’s cousin trial
Why Supreme Court sacked Senator Danladi, Herman Hembe, Agi Micheal Adigwu
‘Kuli-Kuli’: Trans-tribal delicacy facing extinction

​Common reasons visa applications get rejected

Common reasons visa applications get rejected

 By: David Lawal 
What makes an Embassy or Consulate reject providing you with a Schengen Visa?

This is the question many people ask anytime they are about to apply for such a visa. The fact is that whenever a Schengen visa or any visa gets rejected, there is something UNSATISFACTORY as regards that visa application.

Many visa applicants get confused and unable to exactly understand the reason for their visa refusal. That is why the article will focus on presenting the commonly known reasons for such refusal.

A visa application might be considered unsuccessful if the consular officer fails to get from the candidate all the needed information about him/her. Lacking such information, the consular officer will be incapable of deciding if the candidate qualifies to be given a visa.

On the other hand, sometimes the consular might get information from the applicant that is unacceptable or beyond the fixed procedures. Sometimes the candidate is prone of illegitimate and/or dishonest activities. In all of the aforementioned cases, the officer is led to DENY offering a visa to the applicant.

LEARN which are the Most Common Reasons For Failed Schengen Visa Applications, in order to avoid being amongst those who perform them:

1. Past or Current Criminal Actions

The past and current circumstances and actions of the applicant matter a lot in the decision of the consular officer in issuing a Schengen visa. In such cases, the refusal might occur because the applicant is considered a threat to the public policy, internal security or public wealth of Schengen Area (i.e. terrorism, drug abuse, child abuse, addiction, other serious crimes).

2. False Travel Document

There is a common destiny for all the individuals (applicants) who attempt to present false travel documents to the embassy or consulate, trying to misrepresent their identity, using fake identity – and that is an absolute visa denial and other accompanying unfavourable consequences.

3. Insufficient Explanation For The Purpose And Circumstances Of The Planned Stay

Another motive to lead the consular office to deny your Schengen Visa is failing to have the needed justification for your purpose and conditions of the planned travel and stay. Such are the cases of:

Failing to present an employment and professional qualification that matches with the presented financial situation

Incapacity to provide documents that support the purpose of travel and stay in the Schengen Area

Missing to apply for a visa period in conformity with the presented travel itinerary and holiday right or revenue situation

The inability to offer unchanging declarations about the purpose of travel and stay

4. Damaged Passport

A reason for a visa refusal could be presenting a passport that is not kept in a good condition. Such case can be when passport pages are detaching or missing when the cover of the passport is damaged and so on.

5. Passport Invalidity

The alternative motive to lead the consular officer denying your visa application is presenting a passport that is not acceptable for the Embassy or Consulate. Such cases are classified under the following:

Presenting a passport that does not have a valid period less than three (3) remaining months after the return from the visit in the Schengen Area

Presenting a passport that does not possess two different blank visa pages

Presenting a Travel Document Booklet instead of a valid passport

Presenting a valid passport that is older than ten (10) years

6. Inability To Proof The Travel Itinerary

An additional reason for Schengen Visa application fail, is inability to present the proper plan of your travel within the Schengen Area. Such cases include:

Applying at the wrong Embassy of the Schengen Area (not being able to determine the main destination of your visit to the Schengen Area)

Not being able to prove to have a booked accommodation for each destination and each night to spend in the Schengen Area

Not being able to provide booked flight ticket for each applicant (when a group of travellers)

Not being able to provide travel tickets for each destination to be toured in the Schengen Area.

7. Invalid Letter of Reference

Further evidenced reason for a failed Schengen Visa application is providing a formal letter of reference that is not authenticated by the author. Such cases involve:

Inability to offer a formal letter that has an original letterhead with the address and contact details of the company or the author issuing it

Inability to present a formal letter issued not later than three (3) last months from the application date

Inability to  have the stamp and signature of the author on the formal letter

Other

8. Insufficient Means Of Subsistence

One of the reasons the embassy or consulate of the Schengen country might refuse to give you a visa is lacking or insufficient proof of means of existence for the duration of stay in Schengen Area, nor for the return to home country. Such cases might involve:

Failing to offer financial statements not older than one (1) month from the application date

Lacking  a current account statement (presenting credit card statements in its place)

Not having  enough funds in financial statements presented.

Presenting a traveller’s cheque that does not have the candidate’s name.

9. Unacceptable Birth Or Marriage Certificate

An additional cause for a failed Schengen Visa application is not being able to offer birth or marriage certificates that are accepted (not authenticated) by the embassy or consulate. Such cases include:

Failing to offer a certificate endorsed by official authorities, i.e. Ministry Interior

Failing to offer a certificate in non-English language translated by the authorised translator

Inability  to prove a civil certificate (offering a religious document instead)

Not being able to offer a certificate showing both parents of the child

Not being able to offer certificate that matches with the names of the parties presented on the submitted passports

Not being able to offer a document of the legal sole custody order for the child (if a single parent)

Not being able to offer the legal adoption documents for the adoptive child (for EU Spouse application)

10. Invalid Travel Insurance

The other reason that might lead to a Schengen Visa application fail, is the inability to present the appropriate travel insurance coverage for the duration of stay in the Schengen Area. Such cases might involve:

Failing to provide a travel insurance cover in the anticipated amount

Failure to provide a travel insurance that covers the return of the candidate in home country

The inability to provide a travel insurance whose policy is valid all over the Schengen Area

The incapacity to show a travel insurance that covers the entire days of the trip in the Schengen Area

11. Lacking to present a Proof of Accommodation

An additional factor that might lead for your visa to be refused is not being able to properly demonstrate you have a place to stay during your travel abroad. Such cases include:

Not being able to present an evidence of a hotel reservation,

Lacking to provide the invitation from the host (proof of sponsorship),

Failing to present an evidence of a pre-paid tour.

12. Unfavourable Schengen Visa Situation

What else could destroy one’s Schengen Visa application is earlier history with the Schengen Visa. Such cases include:

Failing to previously respect Schengen Visa limitations (i.e. Overstay in the Schengen Area, failing to follow the presented travel itinerary – by skipping to stay mostly in the main country of destination in the Schengen Area, and so on).

Holding a passport with an active Schengen Visa.

Culled from Schengen Visa Info

​At Eid-el-Fitr, Buhari Preaches Peace, Warns against Reckless Statements

At Eid-el-Fitr, Buhari Preaches Peace, Warns against Reckless Statements

Olawale Olaleye in Lagos and Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari, Saturday, felicitated with Muslim faithful in Nigeria on the occasion of eid-el-fitri, the end of Ramadan fast, which is being marked today.

He used the occasion to preach peace and unity in the country, and warned against reckless statements capable of causing disaffection in the country.

The president, in his message made available to journalists by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja, said he was grateful to God for the successful completion of the Ramadan fast and prayed for the long lasting effect of Ramadan lessons, urging the citizens to live in unity and peace.

Buhari, who spoke from London, the United Kingdom, where he is at present observing his medical checkup, noted that, “I am immensely grateful to God for his mercy in guiding us successfully to conclude another Ramadan fast. My greetings to all Nigerian Muslims and our brother Christians on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr! May the lessons of Ramadan namely piety, self-denial, prayers and generosity to the poor and needy be with us for all time.

“I, again, appeal to all Nigerians to avoid reckless statements or actions against our fellow countrymen. We should all resolve to live in peace and unity in our great country, which is the envy of many less endowed nations,” he said.

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, while congratulating Muslim faithful on the successful completion of Ramadan, urged all Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of tolerance, peace, patriotism and love for one another as a way of building a strong and united nation.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki, who also spoke from Saudi Arabia, where he had been to observe the lesser hajj for the last ten days of Ramadan, said only tolerance, stronger sense of patriotism and love for one another will help the country sail through the present multiple agitations confronting her.

“We should put into practice the lessons of tolerance, perseverance, and love for our neighbours that we learnt during the Ramadan period to overcome the multiple agitations threatening the corporate existence of our country,”

On his part, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, also urged religious leaders to continue to preach and promote the virtues of unity, love and peaceful co-existence for Nigeria to attain greatness.

In a statement yesterday, Dogara urged Nigerians to eschew divisive and hate tendencies, adding that Nigerians must learn to live in harmony, tolerate one another and see the nation’s diversity as a source of strength.

“For Nigeria to attain greatness and fulfill its potential, we must regard our diversity as a source of strength and continue to promote and strengthen the unity, peace and progress of the country at all times,’’ the Speaker said.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, while also declaring today as Eid-el-Fitr festival after he had announced the sighting of the new moon of Shawwal in a broadcast in his palace in Sokoto last night, said the new moon was sighted in parts of Kaduna, Katsina, Borno, Adamawa and Sokoto States.

“In accordance with Islamic law, we have the honour and pleasure to announce that today, Saturday, the 29th Day of Ramadan, 1438 AH, which is equivalent to June 24, 2017, has marked the end of Ramadan and the beginning of the new month of Shawwal.”

He said reliable reports of moon sighting were received from Muslim leaders and religious organisations across the country, which were duly verified and authenticated by the national moon sighting committee.

“Consequent upon this, tomorrow, Sunday, the 25th Day of June, 2017, becomes the first day of shawwal, 1438 AH and is therefore declared the Sallah day for 2017 Eid-el-Fitr”, he said.

He therefore urged the Muslims to sustain their prayers for President Buhari, other leaders, as well as for sustainable peace and unity in Nigeria and beyond. He also called on Nigerians to continue to live in peace with one another irrespective of ethnic and religious differences.

Source: ThisDay

​Presidency releases Buhari’s voice message, debunks media report on speech impairment

Presidency releases Buhari’s voice message debunks media report on speech impairment

By NAN | 

The Presidency has released President Muhammadu Buhari’s voice message to Nigerians to debunk reports that he is suffering from speech impairment.

NAN reports that recently there have been reports in the social media claiming that the President was suffering from speech impairment and memory loss.

However, in the recording, aired on Sunday by some radio stations, including the BBC, the President was heard felicitating with Nigerians on the occassion of Eid-el Fitr.

Buhari thanked them for their consistent prayers for his well-being.

The President also urged all citizens, irrespective of their socio-political affiliations, to always avoid hate speech and divisive tendencies capable of causing disaffection among them.

He also prayed for good harvest as farmers embarked on agricultural activities occasion by the commencement of rainfalls across the country.

Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity had on Saturday in a statement issued a similar message.

A presidential source on Saturday had earlier confirmed that “the President is getting better “will return to Nigeria very soon”.

Buhari left Abuja for London on May 7, to see his doctors for follow-up medical checks.

​Restructuring Nigeria without Tears By Simon Kolawole

Restructuring Nigeria without Tears

By Simon Kolawole 

Something is wrong with anybody who says there is nothing wrong with Nigeria. We all seem to agree that something is not working. We all seem to concur that this is not the best Nigeria can be. We all seem to believe that something major needs to be done for us to make progress. What we lack is a consensus on what the actual problem is, and what the solution should be. The diagnoses are different and the prescriptions are inevitable different. Those who think the problem is Lord Lugard want disintegration. Those who think it is the law want a new constitution. Those who think it is religion want to set up a caliphate. Et cetera, et cetera.

Alas, the political firmament is filled with hardliners — the “my way or the highway” brigade — and what hard-line positions do is to place emotions above logic and blind the mind to possibilities. One-track minds are a danger to any society. Politics is always seen by many as a zero-sum game — “your gain is my loss” — but there is always the chance of a third way where there’s a win-win. A multi-ethnic, multi-religious and volatile polity like ours can use some less hard-line positions in devising the best way forward. That Nigeria needs to be restructured to deliver better development outcomes is becoming more glaring by the day, and we can’t deny it.

I will place a number of restructuring proposals on the table today, all informed by my basic theory that at the very root of our frequent political squabbles is the gross underdevelopment in the land. When the vast majority of the population are living in poverty, denied the basics of living life meaningfully, we can’t have a better recipe for political instability than that. I believe we are doing such a bad job of navigating the political landmines on the road to development that we may not get there anytime soon. In short, I believe the political management of Nigeria is not working for all. The ethnic and religious tensions are provoked by political mismanagement, I should think.

The first item on my proposal agenda is “mental restructuring”. In my article, Restructuring the Debate on Nigeria (August 28, 2016), I pointed out the numerous development possibilities that currently exist which we are not exploiting because we keep blaming the structure of Nigeria. I wrote: “I, too, believe Nigeria needs to be reformed economically and politically. But listen to me: in spite of all the excuses we give for ‘why Nigeria is like this’… there is still a lot of lemonade we can make from these lemons. However, we are too lazy, too conceited, too deluded, too bitter, too parochial, too blinded to see the opportunities. All we can see are the problems.”

We must first liberate our minds to see the possibilities that exist for everyone. Most agitations for restructuring today are designed to spite the north, to make them look like they are finished without the Niger Delta oil. The resistance from the north is also fuelled by the fear that they are finished without the oil (this is changing, though). Yet, the indisputable fact is that we are all parasites on this oil. Not too long ago, the downturn in oil prices, coupled with militant activities, brought the economy to a standstill. We were all in soup. If oil prices had not recovered and militancy had continued, Nigeria would be paralysed by now. We must first restructure our minds to see this truth.

If we do not restructure our mindsets, we would still not see great opportunities even in a politically and economically restructured Nigeria. We would remain the same. Restructuring will not put better brains in our heads. Any mindset that is configured to see oil as the almighty (or “oilmighty”) will remain in economic prison whether or not Nigeria remains one or is broken into 250 countries, whether or not there is “true” federalism or “false” federalism. It is in the mind. If we do not get our perspectives right under the current structure, what are the chances that we will suddenly reason better under a different system? That is one question that needs to engage our minds.

My second proposal is “political restructuring”. Mine is different: I am not proposing confederalism, balkanisation or “true” federalism. Those things are rather too complicated for me to understand how they work. However, the truth is that with the amount of resources and tonnes of policies that we have been throwing into the system for ages, the outcomes are still, at best, mediocre. There is a gross mismatch between input and output. If a problem is too big to handle, maybe you start by breaking it into pieces. I am of the opinion that the time has come for the federal government to shed weight. It is time to perform another experiment since the current system is not working.

In my “political restructuring” proposal, I am not canvassing the creation of more states and more local government areas, neither am I suggesting a six-zone structure. Maybe those things are very good and will do wonders to our development process, but I cannot say that for sure. Rather, I align myself with those who think the centre is too concentrated and needs to be diluted. I have always believed the federal government is too big and too powerful, but I have not always pushed this argument because I am also disappointed with the performance of other tiers of government. I often tell myself that there are no guarantees of better outcomes if we give more powers to the states.

However, one very disturbing fact is that we seem to concentrate so much on Abuja that we don’t even know what is going on in our states. We complain about “budget padding” in the National Assembly but hardly look at “budget padding” in the state houses of assembly. We protest about federal roads being in bad shape but ignore the state of the local roads. We shout all the time about federal universities and ignore the state of schools that are not under the federal government. We grumble about nepotism in Aso Rock and forget about the one in our backyard. We are so Abujacentric that our governors are getting away with murder.

The federal government takes 56% of the federation revenue while the 36 states of the federation take 24% and the 774 councils take 20%. I think we have to restructure this vertical sharing formula urgently. Abuja will continue to insist on keeping 56% because of the responsibilities it is saddled with, but we can also relieve them of these responsibilities. Some have asked: what is federal government’s business with agriculture? It’s a good question. What is the business of federal government with secondary schools? There are so many items that can be handed over to the states. We need to make Abuja the least attractive of the tiers of government.

My third proposal is what I call “throat restructuring”. There is too much greed in public office and this has continued to deal deadly blows on our finances. I have heard many people argue that we should do away with the senate and operate a unicameral legislature. This, we are made to understand, will reduce cost. I beg to disagree. You can run a 109-member National Assembly that will gulp N1 trillion per year and a 400-member legislature that spends only N500 million. The constitution does not stipulate the allowances they award to themselves. The constitution does not stipulate the heavy allowances for the executive arm either. People just love to burn free money.

Let me summarise my arguments: one, we need to restructure our mentality so that we can recognise opportunities even within these present constraints; two, the federal government must shed weight and devolve more powers and more revenue to the states so that we can focus less on Abuja and look at our backyard; three, we need to restructure the throat of our public officers in all arms of government, so that the gluttony can be curbed, and we can free more resources for development. My proposals are not as complicated as “true federalism” and “regionalism”, so they can be a good starting point without much rancour. Other matters can come later.

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AND FOUR OTHER THINGS…

THE CRIMEBUSTERS

Police recently arrested Chukwudidumeme Onuamadike aka Evans, the alleged notorious kidnapper, and we now have a running soap opera in our hands. Where in the world do you conduct investigation into heinous crimes on TV? For all you care, the investigation has been compromised. Co-conspirators and evidence could disappear. Nigerians love drama — so this Evans show really excites them. You cannot find this in a civilised country, which is partly why they are more efficient at fighting crimes. And can someone tell Abba Kyari, the police officer who led the mission, to keep a lower profile? Crime busters are not supposed to be celebrities, are they? Weird.

THE IGBONLA KIDNAP

On May 25, 2017, kidnappers stormed Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe, and abducted six students. Reports said some officials of the school were also kidnapped. It is now a month and we are yet to get those unfortunate boys out of the paws of the kidnappers. Are we so preoccupied with other things that the case of the Igbonla Six has become irrelevant? Or have we seen so many crimes in this country that the kidnap of six teenagers is no longer worth our stress? I congratulate the police on the successful arrest of Evans the Notorious Kidnapper, but the job is not yet done. And we must get these hapless boys back by any means necessary. Imperative.

THE BACKSLIDERS

One step forward, two backward. That’s usually the story of Nigeria in most aspects of national life. Two years after we celebrated the role technology played in giving us a fairly credible election (I use “fairly” advisedly), you wonder why anyone would want to take us backward. For the July 22 Lagos council polls, the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) chairman, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, has told us that the agency will not use the card-reading machine. She said the date for the elections were too close for the card reader to be used. We are, therefore, back to the bad old days when identity theft was the in-thing at polls. Setback.

THE ALARMISTS

Any consumer of news in Nigeria will think Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) has been removed from school curriculum while Islamic Religious Knowledge (IRK) is retained. And the plot to Islamise Nigeria is now at an “advanced state” because Arabic as a subject. In reality, CRK and IRK are in the curriculum of senior secondary school. At junior secondary, there is a subject called Religious and National Values which combines a choice between IRK and CRK with History and Social Studies. It was introduced in 2014 when President Jonathan, a Christian, was in power. Arabic, by the way, is not Islam; it is a language, just like French. Actually, I have seen an Arabic Bible before. Hysteria.

Source: ThisDay