Sunday, June 19, 2016

OF AFRICAN PRESIDENTS AND FOREIGN MEDICAL TRIPS

It is in the Season 6, Episode 3 of the Fox Series House, titled THE TYRANT, where  President Dibala of a fictitious African country, played by James Earl Jones fell ill while in the United States to attend the United Nation's General Assembly, and one of the doctors having developed some conscience (after been made aware of the acts of genocide perpetrated by the ailing president back in his country in Africa), puts same over and above that of saving the life of the president, to compromise the treatment plan, such that the president later dies due to wrong treatment been administered on him by the medical team attending to him, and on the plus side ensuring that moderates get into power in the African country to hopefully turn things around for good.
JAMES EARL JONES AS PRESIDENT DIBALA IN HOUSE SEASON 6, EPISODE 3 TITLED: THE TYRANT

Seeing this episode, took my mind back to the many cases of African leaders, despots and none, who had died abroad while receiving treatments which they considered their own people incapable or the hospitals in their countries ill equipped to manage, and if there wasn't the possibility that what happened in the House (MD) series couldn't have happened in any of the cases. Yes, much of what we see on TV is fiction, but couldn't there be some element of truth and reality in them? If somehow, the tightly held secrets that's the ailments of some of these presidents on treatment abroad manage to still get leaked to the people back home, how can we be sure that their treatment as well isn't compromised?


I hope African presidents will watch this particular episode of House, and begin to do right by their people in their countries as regards health. If a President Muhammadu Buhari after allocating to the State House clinic in Aso Rock multiples of the amount budgeted for all the Teaching Hospitals in Nigeria put together, but yet flies to the United Kingdom to treat an Ear Infection, what hope is there for the common Nigerian who depends on underfunded teaching hospitals and those below it when they have life threatening diseases? Will these presidents for the sake of avoiding the fate of the fictitious President Dibala in House, not begin to tinker with the idea of turning the present situation of the health sectors in their countries for good, if not for anything but for their own safety?


As President Buhari returns today, I wish he will ensure this be the last time he and his ministers (three of whom are also abroad for treatment) will waste scarce resources going abroad for treatment, and make it priority to build capacities of Nigerians in the health sector as well as health infrastructure to meet the health needs of the teeming population of Nigerians, rather than the embarrassment they cause the country with their frequent visits to hospitals abroad to treat even the slightest discomfort to their physical well being.


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- http://www.house.wikia.com

Monday, June 13, 2016

AS TERRORISM VISITS ORLANDO

After it became public that it was a Muslim that shot, killed fifty and wounded fifty-three at a gay club in Orlando in the United States, in what's now known to be the worst terrorist act in the States since 9/11, coupled with the fact that the suspect, American born Omar Saddiqui Mateen had called 911 pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, the narrative has once again turned to Islamic Fundamentalism, as it is wont to, save for the fact that in recent times the frequency has become a source of concern for many watchers of world events. I decided not to let this pass without dropping a word or two, when something gnawed at my innards as I read the chat shared between a victim (of the gay club shooting incident) and his mother, as the event unfolded.

PULSE NITECLUB WHERE THE LATEST SHOOTING HAPPENED IN ORLANDO

President Barack Obama aptly put it when he said the act involved "terrorism" as well as "hate", and if I might add "intolerance", a recurring decimal as we've found in Nigeria in recent days in the killing of a septuagenarian in Kano for blasphemy, a man in Niger State for same, another man in Kaduna who barely escaped with his life, for eating during Islam's holy month of Ramadan, even though he is Christian, amongst many others. Then you think of the killing of bloggers in Bangladesh, with extremists there looking to outdo Pakistan in extent of terror they can unleash on those with whom they disagree on religious basis mainly. At a time a state, an ally of the United States from where Wahabism was born, detains a blogger, which it routinely flogs in public, besides doing everything terrorist groups and Islamic religious extremists and fanatics do to people in areas under their control legitimately, it is hard to see how international terrorism will abate without a change in how things are done in Saudi Arabia.


The sad thing for me however is unlike an Obama who rallied Americans against the terrorists, warning that an attack against one American is an attack against all Americans, Nigeria's president couldn't care less about people killed by Fulani herdsmen, his kinsmen, and would be quick to urge people to respect the religion of others after an old woman was killed on trumped up charges of blasphemy in Nigeria's north, by people who share the same religious beliefs as his, probably acting up vigorously now that he's in power, which he rode onto on the premise (not necessarily by the president, but his campaign team mainly in the north) of elevating Islam to state religion. Interestingly, some so called "moderate" Muslims think it was wrong for the mob to have killed the woman, when she could've been charged to court, and I ask which court? Could she have been taken to a Shari'a court as a non-Muslim? Is blasphemy a crime under Nigeria's constitution? When I hear so called moderates talk like this I find it hard to fault Mosab Hassan Yousef's assertion in his "SON OF HAMAS" where he said "A moderate Muslim is actually more dangerous than a fundamentalist, however, because he appears to be harmless and you can never tell when he has taken that next step toward the top."


It was after the incident in Kaduna, that a friend wrote on Facebook, that he decided not to eat groceries he bought at the market while there, to avoid unnecessary brouhaha from fasting Muslims, though not necessarily because if push comes to shove he couldn't defend himself, but then it brings me to the question of what Muslims actually want. You can't have a church or synagogue in Saudi Arabia or in Muslim majority regions the world over, yet Saudis and Muslims in the west will fight the state hands down for a mosque to pray, spill over into the streets and block traffic like they do in Nigeria, shutting down  economic activity on the affected road even in places where they are the minority. I feel now, that there's nothing that can be done from the outside to change the growing radicalism in Islam. The target for change definitely can't even be ISIS and those aligned to them in thought, word and deed. Even the opportunity with moderates may also have been lost, but they remain the only hope over Muslims who are just so in name only. It is their voice of condemnation of these acts of intolerance that we must constantly hear over the din of the fanatics, in updates on Facebook, in tweets on Twitter, on social media and several other media at their disposal, rather than the disappearing act we observe with them after incidents like that in Orlando, or elsewhere in the world. The narrative about Islam has gotta stop being about, and associated with terror and terrorism, or else they shouldn't blame passengers when they ask a bus conductor to return their fares just because a bearded man, with trousers defying gravity joined them on the bus.


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- http://www.CNN.com

Friday, June 3, 2016

KANO, THE RELIGIOUS INTOLERANT STATE

I could never have imagined that Boko Haram will be a thing associated with Borno State, until it happened. Even when it happened, somehow I felt Kano State must have something to do with it. Yet, when the few attacks in Kano occurred it was still apparent that the headquarters of the  fundamentalist Islamic group was in Borno State, which has a sizeable Christian population. I cannot now say that I was somewhat disappointed in the fact that Kano wasn't somehow linked with Boko Haram, seeing that it had once hosted something of the likes in the name of Maitatsine group in the 1980s.


Besides that, Kano has never shed its notoriety for religious intolerance, and the beheading of a woman from eastern Nigeria on Thursday evening, for blasphemy with her husband barely escaping with his life could be said to be one in a litany of shameful religious intolerant behaviors associated with the northern part of Nigeria generally, and Kano in particular.
MOB PARADING WITH THE HEAD OF THEIR VICTIM

Interestingly, when the former Central Bank governor became the Emir of Kano, I had very little hopes that much will change in that direction, knowing that he was some kind of a zealot when it comes to religious matters, and to now have to be the face of it in Kano, and the second in rank for same in Nigeria. I felt it would further embolden extremists and fanatics in the region, most especially in Kano, and recent events there before this one have done nothing to assuage my fears.


Unfortunately, as with beheadings in the past in Nigeria's north, of mainly Southern Nigerian, Christian victims of both sexes, this will definitely not be probed, with the perpetrators brought to justice, despite the rantings of the Nigerian police, even though ensuring justice is done has the power to at least nip such activities in the bud. It is even more unfortunate, that prominent Muslim personalities and groups have yet to speak up in condemnation of the act of persons purporting to be acting on behalf of them and their religion (of peace).


This is why, when many people say that they are lauding the present government under President Muhammadu Buhari for downgrading the ability of Boko Haram to continue attacking the Nigerian state, I don't rejoice, because the environment that breeds such groups in the north of Nigeria still exists, and enjoys support both at the state and national/federal levels. Therefore, even if the deadly group is defeated now, another is sure to come in its own name to continue where it's predecessors have stopped.


It is no wonder Nigeria can not know peace, with so much injustice in the air, and blood of innocents rising to the highest heavens. It is no surprise why the insular North, especially in the areas of religious fervency and intolerance remain challenged in terms of development, as no sane foreign investor will consider a location competing with the tribal areas of  Afghanistan and Pakistan ideal for serious investment. If only the federal and the Kano state governments, could insist that the Nigerian police should go beyond rhetorics to do it's job, to ensure that the perpetrators of this dastardly act are brought to book, and the religious and traditional rulers of the north, work towards eradicating the penchant of mobs to lynch people accused of blasphemy, then maybe we may begin to see some change for the better. For now it's nothing but gloom.


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- https://mobile.facebook.com/photo.php

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A SECTIONAL BUHARI AND A DIVIDED NIGERIA

I have been saddened since President  Muhammadu Buhari made his Democracy Day speech last Sunday, the 29th of May. I had felt that I was the only one who noticed that he made no mention of Fulani Herdsmen amongst groups he declared security threats to the nation, despite the fact that the group, his kinsmen may have killed more people, who hadn't the opportunity to fight back, than the official enemy of the state with whom his government now seem set to dialogue, the fundamentalist Islamic group, Boko Haram.


Interestingly, the next day security forces clashed with unarmed pro-Biafra activists during a peaceful protest in Asaba, Onitsha and Nkpor, amongst several locations in the southeast, where according to the latest report forty of the protesters are said to have died, while two policemen lost their lives, in what seems to have become a recurring decimal each time protests like this takes place in the East of Nigeria. In fact, during an interview,  which President Buhari granted Al-Jazeera months back, he refused to watch footage of security operatives swooping in on unarmed pro-Biafra activists during a prayer session, in an open field and shooting some of them in cold blood.
UNARMED PRO-BIAFRA ACTIVISTS HOLDING A PEACEFUL PROTEST BEFORE THINGS WENT AWRY 

It pained me to note that a President of a multiethnic nation like Nigeria could be so sectional to ignore in that speech, the genocidal activity of his Fulani kinsmen,  to focus on groups especially in the South by whose hands no life has yet been lost, and who after much criticisms for his silence over the continued menace of his kinsmen on the lives and livelihood of other Nigerians, simply claimed that the marauding Fulani were none other than strangers from Libya, despite mounting evidence in text and video that these were armed Fulani militia from Nigeria, ranked fourth on the global index of terrorist groups, whose activities aren't even covert but carried out with impunity, sometimes with the security agencies conveniently staying out of their way when and while they strike.


It is therefore with much sadness that I heard the Inspector General of Police, instructing his men to disarm unarmed pro-Biafra activists and protesters while he has never said anything close to that concerning Fulani Herdsmen who have replaced bows and arrows and sticks with AK-47's. The only group besides security forces, armed robbers and terrorists who travel with such light weapons, discharging bullets with reckless abandon, when simple citizens could spend the night or more (to be bailed only after parting with huge sums of money, and physical and mental torture) in the police cell for having a pen knife in their person during the usual illegal police "stop and search".


To compound my sadness, is the deafening silence amongst so called Igbo  leaders, political or not, who haven't deemed it fit to confront the government for the wanton killings of their own for engaging in what is seen to be very legal in democracies worldwide, even going to the extent of calling their own hoodlums, at a time accused terrorists are been released in droves on the instance or prodding of the northern political, traditional and religious oligarchy. Even a former governor and now senator Kwankwaso from Kano came to Lagos to bail out Hausa youths arrested for complicity in the recent clashes between the Yoruba and Hausa in the Mile 12 Area of Lagos. It had to take an Ekiti governor,  Ayo Fayose from the Southwest to stand with the Igbo youth for daring to mark the anniversary of the day in 1967 when the Late Dim Odumegwu Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, then a colonel, declared the Sovereign State of Biafra, separate from Nigeria, to which Nigeria responded with a war of attrition for three years, after the Igbo safety couldn't be guaranteed any longer within the geographical space called Nigeria, a situation that seems not to have changed much,  not just in the North where many of them reside, but now even in their own land.


Nigeria may have survived the prophecy that it was doomed for disintegration in 2015, but it doesn't mean that it can't still happen in the immediate or remote future, especially with a sectional president who feels that the so called oneness of Nigeria is non-negotiable, and would die rather than see the day, than submit like former Vice President Abubakar Atiku did at a book launch recently on the subject of Biafra, that Nigeria needs to be restructured such that the constituent parts can have a sense of belonging. Unfortunately, President Buhari has chosen to waste this golden opportunity to become a statesman, even stating that the document from what is viewed by some, as a flawed National Conference held while former President Goodluck Jonathan was in power isn't worth even as much as a skimming through for some of its merits. Of course, with that attitude, it isn't surprising that vistas of hotspots are opening up in different places all over Nigeria with each passing day, chief of which is the Niger Delta Avengers who have managed to half Nigeria's crude oil production capacity with their precision attacks on oil drilling platforms and pipelines, while the economy seems to be trying to drill into the earth's core at the rate at which it's falling, just months after he came into power, and Nigeria's economy was adjudged the biggest and fastest growing in Africa, and third in the world. He forgets easily, that the trouble we brew today, we drink tomorrow!


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- http://www.nigerianeye.com