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Tribute/Diary to My Late Awopegba Adedapo Julius [DPO] FUTASU President [March 10, 2012 - July 13, 2012]

This is a story I have said before, it is a story I will continue to say because Awopegba Julius Adedapo [DPO], it’s the last respect I can pay to you.

My dearest DPO, as you are fondly called by friends and foes alike, today, it’s exactly 2 years [= 24 months, 104 weeks, 730 days, 17,520 minutes, 1,051,200 seconds] that you have been committed to mother earth and yet it seems like yesterday. We parted ways at the Federal University of Technology Akure [FUTA], long after the “swearing in ceremony” that brought you officially into office, the stead I had left for you, to continue the uplift of Students’ welfare in our great citadel of learning, FUTA.

Being a 400 level student of the prestigious Federal University of Technology Akure [FUTA], I had proceeded on the compulsory 6-months Industrial Training [I.T] scheme. I was hell bent on making all necessary required income during those 6-months, which I look back to with nostalgia. Having garnered little working experience as a fresh undergraduate, thanks to the “110-days ASUU strike of 2009″, I expected this I.T to be “bread and tea”, I was wrong! I had to work my socks off to get a placement, can we forget about the pay, please? My industrial attachment took me to SEVEN states [Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Edo, Delta, Anambra, Kogi], I worked on virtually all the NIPP [National Integrated Power Plant] complex in the southern hemisphere of Nigeria! I kept on ticking the days, waiting for the 6-months to be over, for probably the first time in my life, I longed to go back to school!

In the middle of a tiring, hectic schedule on a very wet fateful Friday, July 13th 2012, at the Petroleum Training Institute [PTI] central mosque, Effurun – Delta State, that was my post of duty then, just immediately after the jumah salamah [end of prayer], my phone lines went agog with numerous phone calls from past and present union leaders and union members, I knew something was wrong! My circus on the “social media” were buzzing and beeping me all at once, I knew big trouble was in stock! Then I saw it with my own eyes, it was posted CLEARLY and LEGIBLY, by a “senior comrade”, an ex-FUTASU president, on his facebook wall, I wept! Since the day I lost my mum, at the tender age of NINE, I always claim that no death can shake me vigorously again, until well, I lost my dad too, four years later, that for me, sealed my “weeping eyes” for any death again, until Julius Adedapo Awopegba [DPO] died, I wept like a kid, it shook me to my bone marrow. Your death stood right next to my parents’ own on my list of personal colossal lost!

After my tears had dried up a bit, which took the better part of TWO hours, I decided point blank to make the trip down to Akure that evening, but my boss wouldn’t have any of it, he was worried about my safety for such late trip, from Asaba, Delta State to Akure, Ondo State. He persuaded me to wait till the next morning before I made my trip, which I obliged. The waiting all night was painful, lonely and extremely long, I just couldn’t sleep, I lost my appetite, I couldn’t eat. I wept more. At cock crow the next morning, Saturday, July 14, 2012, I was the first out of the block for the short drive to the park, upon getting to the park, I learnt I couldn’t make the trip because the Edo State Gubernatorial election was being conducted that day, there was no movement, both vehicular and personal, in and around Edo state, I had to pass through Edo state, which was a connecting state from Delta state to Ondo state! I wept more at the park! I just couldn’t bear the pain of being somewhere in Delta state, and I couldn’t pay my last respect to a close associate on his death bed at the Federal Medical Centre, Owo.

I had no choice but to go back and wait for another 24 hours before I could make my trip to Akure, the wait was excruciating and painfully long. During the wait, there were counter reports from the officials of FUTASU that DPO wasn’t dead, that he was in a state of coma. Why play “politics” with the death of a perfect, young and resourceful gentle man beats my imagination! Was is it that the officials of FUTASU were blatantly falsifying the truth ? Or were they “withholding” the truth from the students? Or was it due to inexperience on the path of FUTASU officials in handling such important issue?. A similar scenario ensued when the then president of the country, the Late Umaru Musa Yar’adua, died, the presidential aides kept feeding the masses falsehood which almost tore the nation apart! I don’t get why the true state of the then number one student of FUTA be withheld from the students populace, whom he is/was serving. This piece isn’t for the shenanigans or those that were with us [the student movement] then but not now, they have since switched sides! Emotion is making me deviate from my tribute to the illustrious Julius Adedapo Awopegba [DPO].

While my forced wait didn’t allow me to personally participate in the mass student movement that ensued all day on that epic saturday after the “confirmed news” of DPO’s demise was made known to students, Akure town witnessed, if not the BEST [from the point of view of a unionist] or worst [from the point of view of the "anti-student movement" agents], it would surely be right up at the top, depending on which side of the fence you sit; BEST or worst. FUTA students took to street in Akure to mourn the demise of late Julius Adedapo Awopegba [DPO]. I followed the movement all through via the “social network” sites, one after the other, the national dailies had to cover the students’ unrest, which later became a national news. Our demand was just ONE and sacrosanct: that the governor of the state, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, turn up and grieve with the students, on the street! After all, the journey that claimed the life of DPO and four other comrades in Ondo State was in honour of the governor at an award ceremony in Abuja. The governor, after lots of delay and “poli-tricks” by his aides, later showed up, albeit not on the street, but inside the school premises, at the Sports complex, precisely, where he listened to few aggrieved students, he promised a “state-burial” among others. To an extent, the thirst for justice within the rank and file of the FUTA students’ movement had been satisfied, they all dispersed and went home to regroup the next day.

I embarked on my journey, first thing Sunday morning, a little delay occurred in Benin city, as the “comrade governor” had won a re-election, I was deep in thought, we had lost a comrade that could have gone on to better the impeccable records of the “comrade governor”! The joy on his face at the open rally while I was commuting was a joy to behold, the happiness on the faces of indigenes and residents of Benin city was heart warming, Ring-road, Benin city, was temporarily turned into the “convention ground” where Adams Oshiomole delivered a goodwill message to hundreds of thousands of electorates who had poured out en masse to celebrate with the “comrade governor” in the slight rainfall, neglecting their sunday service, that was the power of “comrades”, and far away in Owo, we had lost a “shining comrade”. In my thoughts, I prayed to DPO to forgive me, for, I had abandoned my trip to Akure, for about 1 hour, to behold the spectacle on display at Ring-road, Benin city. I wept again, the lads surrounding me thought I was weeping tears of joy for Adams Oshiomole, no folks, I was weeping for my deceased comrade! I was weeping because I was thinking, this rally could have been DPO’s own in some 20 years time! And it’s all gone down the drain with his death!

On arrival at Akure that sunday, I met a sizeable number of “students activist” on ground, still gathering, still mobilising, still inspiring, still challenging the “powers that be”, still holding forth, still insisting on having a “lecture-free” week in honour of the late FUTASU president, and above all, still praying! I joined in naturally, exchanged pleasantries with all and sundry within my reach, and I was immediately “sighted” by the agents of the University management. A task from the Dean of Students, Dr B.K Alese, he himself a thorough FUTARIAN, and once a FUTASU official, having served meticulously as an honourable during his days on campus, was immediately assigned to me, I was to join in the efforts to calm the students.

The Ondo State government too as well did not leave us in mourning alone, they took care of the corpses at the mortuary of the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, they took care of the bills, casket and transport of the corps from Owo to various destinations.

It was indeed a monumental burial I could remember DPO, your corpse left early morning to Ibadan from Owo, your body was escorted from FMC, Owo to FUTA, where we had demanded that you should be allowed to be paid a last lap of honour by students in the school, after much arguments and bickering by the University management, the FUTASU officials cowed in, they didn’t allow us give you the best befitting lap of honour we wanted, although, they claim it was your family that instructed that they didn’t want your corpse to be brought into the school, we didn’t believe them, we connived with some genuine student movement comrades and ensured that your corpse was brought into the school premises, a short lap of honour was did for you from the frontage of the Students’ Union Building to the North-gate of the school, where we had mobilised an appreciable chunk of students to pay their last respect to you, there was tears from us, as we could not hold ourselves any longer, it was a memorable sober, we drove in convoy of about thirty vehicles, all from neighbouring institutions, Ondo State government officials, the University Management, and well-wishers to see you home, we were living legends, you were our deceased hero!

Our Beginning,

I remember vividly, our first “tate a tete”, it was sometime in 2010, when I, as the then Assistant General Secretary of the FUTA Students’ Union, was running helter skelter to get the “power brokers” of FUTA, which you were strongly one, as the then “school governor” of the prestigious School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology [SAAT], to endorse my candidacy for the presidency slot. I had to practically appeal to your pity to support my candidature, which you were against, due to the debacle you found yourself in, there was a presidential candidate running from your school, SAAT, and it would be “politically suicidal” for you to jettison his candidature to support mine. It was in this same meeting that I took the decision to personally have a flesh of pound from you when I eventually get to become FUTASU president. I waited patiently, 12 months later, it was your turn #DPO to run for presidency, and I vowed never to support you!

Our second contact was while you were running for the top seat, the FUTASU presidency, I would never forget that fateful day. You had been doing all your best to have an audience with me, but I had been doing all my best to put you off, refusing to grant you the audience, after a while, I eventually decided to meet you, I fixed the appointment in my room, suite A1, FUTASU presidential villa, block II, Abiola Hall, FUTA, I can see you all FUTA folks giggling at that address, stop it, don’t paint the “luxury accommodation” of the FUTASU president in bad light to the public now!

Before your arrival, I had ensured all the core members of my campaign team where present for the “D-day” with you. Upon your arrival, you were stunned to see us, eagerly waiting for you. When you had been through with your “speech” on why we should endorse you, I broke into a tirade, I lost my head, and I told you point blank I would never support you! You were stunned! That gladdened my heart! I then proceeded to take the pain to explain to you why I wouldn’t endorse you; I told you it was because of what you did to me, I told you it was the way you treated me when I came to you for your support while I was gunning for the top seat, I told you that you barely gave me an audience, you made me stand to hold that discussion with you at the 3-in-1 lecture theatre “quadrant”, I told you that you didn’t give me a chance back then, and I told you it was since that day that I have held that grudge against you. I told you that the day I learnt you were also nursing the presidential ambition, I had made up my mind I was going to tell you what you did to me, which really hurt me. Surprisingly, you smiled, that smile probably won my heart! And you explained all that happened to me, you told me your hands were tied back then, that you couldn’t “betray” the SAAT agenda. I was thrilled by your loyalty to SAAT. Either it was your loyalty to SAAT, although I later won the then SAAT candidate, right in his own faculty, or it was your smile, at the end of that epic and lengthy discussion, I told you that the presidency was yours! I don’t know what or why I said it, but I knew you were the horse to beat in the race. I told you not to panic because it was still early in the race, and you were up against heavy weights, there was the “SOS agenda”, there was the “SEET agenda”, and you were more of the “underdog”. Above all, there was the strong personal believe you had that you were going to win the presidential race. But GOD has HIS ways of playing out destiny, the rest, they say, is history, Julius Adedapo Awopegba [DPO], you eventually won the FUTASU presidential race.

Our third contact too was based on the “suspicion” of your campaign team that I was playing “politics” with you and your campaign crew. You were concerned that a present officer in my regime was also running for the presidency post and that I would go with him not you. But I reiterated my stance that I’ll provide all logistics support to you and your crew to the best of my ability, but I told you I wasn’t going to betray an officer in my regime, I told you that was the BEST I could do for you. Your crew wanted me to be a leading advocate of your campaign, and I told you that was asking for too much from me.

Our struggles

I remember back then how we took the bull by the horn, when we protested against the outrageous fee for the “soon-to-be introduced” PMT 301 & PMT 302 course, that was our first real struggle. It was a battle of the wits with the university management. It was during the transition period from the “outgoing FUTASU officials” to the “incoming FUTASU officials”, we held series of meeting, in house, and with the management, where we had to keep pushing the fee for this course down, we had to start our negotiation from the #12,000 charge, after extensive debates for and against the introduction of the course, we settled “unofficially” for #3,000 at the fifth meeting. I want you to know that after your demise, the fee was hiked up to #4,500, I swear to GOD, I know nothing about it, I was away on I.T, that formed the first basis for the numerous resentment towards the officials of your regime after you left! Despite calls from some “short-sighted” students that you should demand for the outright cancellation of the PMT courses, you stood firm and upheld it, you only beat the price down further, thus students had no option but to take the course, virtually all students who has taken the course has gainfully learned one “entrepreneurial skill and vocation” or the other, except perhaps, the stress they complain about, but again, what comes without pain? Most of them today are managers of men in their different “small scale” endeavours, this is another milestone of yours!

I could remember my last struggle as the president of FUTASU, it was due to the epileptic power failure around school area, you had just been elected but not yet sworn in, technically, I was still in charge, but theoretically, you were the boss, my star was shining less among the students, yours had just begun to shine brightly. The pressure from the students for a protest was mounting, I had no choice but to call a congress, and at the congress, it was resolved that we led a “peaceful protest” to the PHCN office at NEPA junction, I communicated that resolution to the university management, and of course, they were against it, we had no option but to move en masse to the PHCN complex. After we had all gathered on the morning slated for the protest, the Dean of Students, Dr B.K Alese, did all he could to stop us, but we still went ahead, I remember the threat you got that you hadn’t been sworn in yet, and that the mandate could be taken from you, but you still forged ahead with me at the battle front to the battle ground, the PHCN complex. Your sheer courage and willpower really motivated me and lots of students and we achieved results though not immediate, this again, you fought out rightly.

My President, I will never also forget our last trip to Abuja together, before your “LAST” trip, I can still picture the both of us cuddled in the hotel room, on the same bed, brainstorming on ways to make FUTASU better, it was this trip that you discussed extensively with me, all your plans for a better and more vibrant student movement in FUTA, it was this trip that really made me know you! We ate from the same plate, the potato chips and egg from that local woman on the road side, which became our regular meal during our stay on Lagos Street, Abuja. That smile of yours whenever we hit a snag in our efforts to ma FUTASU a better and more vibrant union!!! I can’t ever recall seeing you frown!

My dear Julius Adedapo Awopegba [DPO], I write you today that I shall never forget your good for humanity and most especially myself, at any given opportunity in life again, I shall remember you. Julius Adedapo Awopegba, DPO, as you used to say: “it is not over until is over”, there we are and the struggle continues.

Adiue my dear Dapo, like I said this morning, those we started the struggle with have join them and we are still watching the day we shall triumph over them.

May your soul continue to rest in perfect peace.
May God continue to grant your family the fortitude to bear your loss.

SamaOnPoint’sBlog…..always ONpoint

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GREETINGS:
#RamadanKareem too all Muslim faithful worldwide.
May ALLAH [S.W.T], in HIS infinite mercy, accept all acts of worship, in this sacred month and beyond, as an act of ibadah.
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DEMONIZING NIGERIAN DOCTORS
– AN AGENDA FOR CHANGE

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INTRO:
This write-up was first published on THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 2003 by IKE ANYA [via ikeanya2000@yahoo.com].
11 years after, we are back debating the nationwide strike by the medical practitioners in this country.
Any semblance to characters living, dead, re-incarnate or in limbo are REAL. All blunders are mine, please bear with me, thanks in advance as you read, comment and share the post.
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In the past month or so, several articles have appeared in the Nigerian press criticising some aspect or other of the practice of Nigerian doctors. It started (I think) with Bolaji Abdullahi’s “Thank God I Am Not a Doctor” in THISDAY, which unleashed a flood of responses. More recently, Rotimi Oyekanmi in a passionate article decried the perceived role of doctors in the care and subsequent demise of his friend and colleague. Even more touching is the letter from a Mr Sule in The Guardian recently, outlining the circumstances of his wife and baby’s deaths in a hospital in Kaduna.

Reading these articles as I sympathised with the families of the bereaved, I was also conscious of the fact that often, bereaved families feel not enough has been done to save their relation. This is a natural human response and most health workers learn in the course of their careers to accept this with equanimity. I am also conscious of the fact of the very difficult circumstances under which doctors and other health workers in Nigeria work. I am pleased that these articles are being written and that hopefully a debate is being opened which for a long time has been avoided or ignored. There is a need for the Nigerian populace to ask certain pertinent questions – What type of health service do we want? How do we intend to achieve it? Nigerian doctors need to ask – What is our role in the context of the wider population? What do we intend to achieve? What is our motivation? What is behind the recent media onslaught? What can we do to restore our image and credibility? How can we best serve our patients? How can we act more effectively as advocates for the health services? The media have a key role to play in raising awareness of these issues and also must re-examine their own roles in this context.

Oyekanmi in his article for instance refers to the fact that many beds in the hospital ward lacked bed sheets and that there were only a few nurses to take care of a large ward and no doctor available on the ward. This merely underlines the paucity of resources that is the lot of the Nigerian health sector today. While I accept that mismanagement of resources is also a common phenomenon, I would argue that within the context of Nigeria, that is hardly surprising. I would further argue that accepting that corruption and mismanagement runs through all sectors of Nigerian society, the resources allocated to health fall short of what is needed to produce desired results. The continued brain drain of health professionals to other countries is part of the problem. Too often, attempts at analysing the brain drain have focused solely on remuneration.

Having worked in various health services in Nigeria, I am familiar with some of the problems that result in the sorts of complaints in these articles.

In the first instance strengthening primary care and prevention efforts is key as this will actually reduce the demand on secondary and tertiary care. I am aware that several primary health care centres were planned by the present government, but am unsure if they were completed to schedule and if they are producing the desired impact.

Secondly, improving the working conditions of health workers is important and by this I do not mean the ubiquitous salary increases alone. Paying doctors and nurses a million naira a month without providing them the infrastructure they need to work effectively will yield no results. That is not to say that adequate remuneration is not an important factor in motivating health workers. Nor has the present or indeed previous governments done enough strategic planning in this area. In this regard, I had first-hand experience of the attitude of some key government officials during the 2001 resident doctors’ strike. There were proposals from the NMA [Nigerian Medical Association]and the NARD [National Association of Resident Doctors]to put in place a mechanism that would have guaranteed regular, seamless review and adjustments of doctors’ salaries and allowances and fore closed the issue of strikes in the health sector but these were rejected in the most cavalier way. Little wonder two years later, there is still talk of strikes in the health sector.

The other role that needs to be strengthened is the role of the wider public. Patients have a right to care and must demand this right. The media and organisations like the Centre for the Right to Health have key roles to help sensitize the public on this. Such a movement can result in positive changes for the health system as a whole. Lawyers as well have a role to play in this, in ensuring that patients who suffer from a doctor’s negligence gain redress. In doing this, traditional perceptions of justice and letting sleeping dogs lie may need to be challenged. Medicine like any other profession has its bad eggs and it augurs well for society to admit to this and have channels of redress open for victims. But it is not only in fighting negligence and demanding care that the wider public and the media have a role to play. They also need to demand of the government adequate funding for health services. The importance of electing public officials with a clearly defined health agenda is key in this regard. Indeed to paraphrase a well-worn cliché, a society gets the health services it deserves, or as the Pidgin saying goes “Good soup na money kill am”.

The quality of health reporting in Nigerian newspapers for instance leaves a lot to be desired. One would expect that a reporter on the health beat should have an adequate grasp of the issues and terminology of medicine and health. However, one daily sees examples of mis-spelt words, wrong conclusions drawn, faulty statistics proffered and a general desire for sensationalism in the Nigerian health press. Can an inarticulate and uninformed press be an effective watchdog for the medical profession and the public? Organisations like Journalists Against AIDS have blazed the trail in organising media workshops and training materials on HIV/AIDS but a lot more needs to be done in a wider health context.

Nigerian medical doctors must also be more introspective and seek new ways of dealing with the challenges they face in a changing world. A growing number of articulate patients, a widening of information sources and changes in the traditional perception of doctors and the medical profession all mean that new ways of working must be explored. In this regard, it is heartening to note the Medical and Dental Council’s introduction of Continuing Medical Education where doctors will statutorily be required to undergo re-validation from time to time to ensure the quality of their practice.

Yet more needs to be done. The current system of postgraduate medical education needs to be re-examined. A system that regularly records 20 per cent pass or less must have something fundamentally wrong with it. Either the wrong people are being admitted into the programme (unlikely- as these are very competitive schemes) or the training prepares them inadequately for the examinations, in which case, the structure and content of training needs to be overhauled. In like manner, clinical governance and audit are concepts that need to be introduced more widely into the Nigerian health care delivery system. This, in simple terms involve looking at the quality of a doctor’s work, not necessarily in a judgmental manner but in order to help them improve the quality of their service. So a doctor in effect could ask himself – How many patients have I treated in the last six months? What was the outcome of the treatment? Do my standards compare with those of my other colleagues in the same environment? How can I make my service better? This will go a long way in improving the quality of service. Of course, there are constraints. The average Nigerian doctor and indeed health worker is overworked and introducing audit may appear to increase the workload. However, in the long run, this is a concept that is likely to prove beneficial to doctors, the government and the wider public.

Nigerian medical doctors and health workers also need to rethink the concept of their traditional roles and determine effective working systems and patterns that put patients and their interests at the heart of the system. The continual squabbling over assignation of roles has not been to the benefit of patients. Mutual respect and recognition of complementary efforts is essential to building better and more effective working partnerships.

There is also a need for better regulation of the private medical sector. A friend recently carrying out a research project in private hospitals in a South Eastern state was shocked to discover that the state Ministry of Health could not furnish him with an up-to-date list of private clinics in the area. How then can standards be checked and maintained? The Guild of Medical Directors and the Nigerian Medical Association have an important role to play in this regard as self-policing agents. The message is if you do not police yourself adequately, others will do it for you, to your detriment. The unchecked proliferation of private hospitals may ultimately be doing more harm than good to the population. A situation where virtually anyone can open a “specialist hospital” is fraught with dangers.

In the final analysis, the ailments of Nigeria’s health system are by and large reflections of the ailments of the wider polity. The bottom line in all this is a reconfiguration of leadership, followership and the wider Nigerian society. Yet within this disordered setting, certain challenges present themselves, which can be turned into opportunities.

In writing this article, I am conscious that not a few feathers will be ruffled. I expect that eyebrows will be raised at me, a Nigerian doctor working abroad daring to prescribe solutions for the health system I have abandoned. To such critics I say that it is precisely because of that distance that I can dare to write this article and explore new and possibly subversive concepts in the search for positive change. I hope that it contributes to the debate and furthermore opens up concrete channels of improving the health of Nigeria’s teeming population. – By IKE ANYA [ikeanya2000@yahoo.com].
THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 2003.

SamaOnPoint’sBlog…..always ONpoint

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INTRO:
The life and times of Huey Mustafa Freeman by Huey Mustafa Freeman TAFA is a poetic master class at writing a birthday poetry to commiserate the celebration of his life’s story on his birthday.
Any semblance to characters living, dead, re-incarnate or in limbo is a coincidence. All blunders are of the writer, not the publisher, please bear with him as he explores his GOD given right to “Poetic License”, thanks in advance as you read, comment and share the post.
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I’ll begin by saying: “same sh*t, different year”!

Still stuck in my illusions it’s not a different fear…..

I would like to shed a tear but my eyes never give me away…..

The pain thickens, I need to cry it out, someone give me a way……

Hardcore line that I’m made of has begun to wither away…..

On the verge of conformity, God forbid I pray…..

This year started with high hopes “middling” with uncertainties…..

This past year and this month holds my darkest hour certainly……

My heart learnt new things I didn’t believe it could learn…..

The poetry is a passion, one day I’m so sure it could earn…..

But not today, maybe tomorrow, some don’t even think that…..

Haters; give them some “Hypo” let them drink that…..

Welcome to TAFA, the score and a decade…..

Where everyday is a masquerade of a facade…..

A grand charade, layers upon layers of ambiguous scenes…..

They can set fire to the rain but it won’t burn these tremendous skins…..

The past year brought about the debut of a legend…..

I can tell more than extra has to be done before I become a legend…..

What I am though is a beautiful mind probably the most beautiful you’ve ever met…….

Your acknowledgment will come in a few years but I’ll pretend like we’ve never met……

The Analysis from the analyst was a good effort notwithstanding…..

The factors that came into play, lyrically sh*t was still outstanding…..

Delving into realms their music could never touch…..

Like I said poetry too deep the simpletons would never touch…..

I made them recognise, brought back the true feel…..

Only great minds could have taken cognisance of the true skill…..

The art form is my platform for detailed expression…..

Every minute literary work is a retailed expression…..

Into the complex mind, El’Sama described it as pristine…..

If the beauty doesn’t wow you, you’re a philistine…..

The kitchen is my mission, a vision under construction…..

That’s a sigh of relief nearing completion…..

Ideas insinuate that my dedication is the source of my grief…..

Disbelief in their eyes when I counter -utter “the source of my relief”…..

I had to take my time because I didn’t have the famous fabled synonym of time…..

Then crickets creaked, rats squeaked; that I lost focus on mine…..

I never did though. timing was key and it wasn’t all about me…..

“Temper, Poverty, No ambition” all they said about me…..

I’m not perfect, neither Muhammed nor Jesus is, not cut from the cloth of distinction…..

But I do got principles, a philosophy that’s clear to all in depiction…..

Subconsciously bred doctrines, grateful to you dad……

The best people I’ve ever met raised me, for that I’m glad…..

Mom – the pith for my unending struggle to succeed…..

Dad – responsible for sowing that rock seed…..

Random books we read, our thoughts we fed…..

What these drones adhered to, our cognitive and intuitive parts repelled…..

Grammar repaired as the bombs we shelled…..

Soft spoken man but always doomsday when he yelled…..

A silent Philanthropist would never gloat…..

Though his body is deep, his good acts ever float…..

As the winter stings us, you’ll think we would borrow his summer coat…..

Brethren and me, taught well, we won’t ride the “you owe me a favour” boat…..

Because no one really does owe you anything…..

None cares, you don’t need a crystal ball to show you everything…..

The world is harsh, the scorching sun burns…..

The thrill of the shrill dark night scorns…..

The stars twinkle little lights, teasing you as you are lead into the dark…..

The unknown, the new moon awakens the wolves, and you’re just a sheep awaiting to be made the snack……

The strongest survive, the weak often get eaten…..

Muscles don’t apply here, you might just be that f*cking chicken…..

Life ain’t carnivorous , the b*tch is omnivorous…….

Get that into your head easily like a sing-along chorus…..

Humans never cease to amaze even the ones called friends…..

If you could see through a spirit’s eyes then you’ll see they are just fiends…..

Master-class back biting, utterances nerve racking…..

Unfair tackling, lies in colours that are sparkling…..

In your face they mean well, “shape-shifters” so you can’t tell…..

Laughing behind you when you thought they were there when you fell……

They witnessed your scenes of hurt then masturbate in corners, Perverts!!!…..

These cowards, little d*cked guys are “snakey”, don’t believe they are reverts…..

Everyday is a lesson, being alive is a blessing…..

“Alihamdulillahi” when we wake up should be the first thing…..

Interesting, what I saw nearly did come to pass…..

Crisis as Dunes was about to start her master’s class…..

Helter skelter, could be worse if we didn’t have this shelter…..

Stoop, her face in the poop, in a loop but that sh*t won’t melt her……

Figure head leader helpless, standing like a statue…..

Stigma like a stain on cotton from cashew…..

Like yorubas say “useless like the left hand”…..

Infection on the wound, need might arise to amputate the left hand…..

Apologies for my long-standing irresponsibility……

Like a fog or some mist irritating your visibility…..

The Life and times of Huey Mustafa Freeman ain’t full of pleasantries…..

Loads of sh*tty things people grab your toiletries…..

Tankful of words still as I descend towards the end…..

Some matters of amour to give this picture the perfect blend…..

Affection deep, truest ever felt……

Bluest ever felt, my nucleus had to melt…..

Change is constant, urges with no constraint…..

Yearning for freedom, agitation for no complaint…..

All are sinners I believe, none is a saint…..

Filth in your underwear, none but you will clean the taint…..

The night-outs, the meetings, nothing is hidden…..

Under the sun, no excuses for that grime scheming…..

Above all, the lies might let down a cascade of liquid from the eyes…..

Tear ducts ripped off, pain inspired quotes for the lies……

Reality check, my harsh tongue has also got a warm embrace…..

Bond intended to keep, as far as the fresh air can free ‘em craze…..

The inscrutable would be described with time…..

With time the mind might coagulate like milk mixed with lime…..

Time is no respecter of persons, this might be my last stand…..

Life is a game, you have to know when to play the last hand…..

A synopsis, Huey Mustafa Freeman, the life and times…..

This is a concise look through the strife and rhymes…..

A year older, smiles as I enjoy this meal of rice and soda…..

“Join me, come” in the twisted vibe of master Yoda…

Anyway, thanks for all the wishes – the faint and the sincere…..

For all the prayers – the crooked and the linear…..

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO Huey Mustafa Freeman!!!

SamaOnPoint’sBlog…..always ONpoint

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…[Continued from last week]

[3] – Addressing Poverty and Unemployment:
There is need for the government to address the issue of unemployment by creating jobs for the teeming youths, and also by creating an enabling environment where business can thrive; and where investors can freely operate, thus reducing the unemployment rate. More importantly, the states in Nigeria should be more committed to combating poverty and raising the overall standard of living so that the gains of development can be better spread and many more youths can be rescued from poverty and hopelessness, otherwise, the state would be creating a readily available army of ethnic militias, religious irrendentist, tribal warlords, cultist, armed bandits, international prostitutes exploited by weak politicians and disadvantaged groups, taking advantage of the desperate and hopeless situation and position of the youth.

[4] – Meaningful Youth Policy:
Nigerian youths constitute at least 65% of the estimated 165 million citizens of Nigeria. The needs and aspirations of Nigeria’s youth should be factored into national policy and planning processes if they are to achieve their long-term objectives. This therefore calls for a robust and meaningful youth policy which shall be a strategic anchor of a sustainable agenda for transformation.

[5] – Enforceability of Provisions of Chapter II of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended]:
Making the socio-economic rights as contained in the chapter II of the Constitution justifiable will help provide a better future for the Nigerian youths. Nigeria can borrow a leaf from South Africa that made these rights enforceable in its post-Apartheid constitution.

[6] – Orientation and Education:
The youths could also be empowered through orientation and education to enable them understand and appreciate their roles, rights and duties in the society. They must perform their civic responsibilities so as to ensure the success of the electoral process. Some provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) do not encourage Nigerian youths to be actively involved in the democratic process. For instance, as provided in the Constitution, the minimum age requirements for office of the President is 40 years, office of the Governor – 35 years, Senator – 35 years and House of Representatives – 30 years, are capable of discouraging active youth participation in our democratic processes. As earlier discussed, the Nigerian youth, like their African counterparts, were the driving force towards the attainment of independence of various African countries; spear-headed and resisted colonialism and pioneered the road towards independence; and on the attainment of independence, it was the youth that largely led their country towards a developmental foundation. More importantly, a good number of these leaders were below 30 years at independence and post-independence. It is suggested that these could be reviewed downward in order to encourage youth participation in the political process. In the alternative, I will like to join my voice with the Nigerian Youth Coalition Against electoral Violence, by proposing 30% affirmative action for youths in appointment to political positions in the country. The youths constitute the largest proportion of the country’s active population, and their participation in governance would promote socio-political and economic development in the country.

[7] – Training of Youth on Election Matters:
There is the need for adequate training of the youth on election matters to enable them understand their roles during elections. In the 2011 general elections, the youths through the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme were mobilized to serve in all constituencies to ensure strict observance of electoral processes in order to prevent all forms of electoral frauds and manipulations. This resulted in the fair conduct and reporting of electoral registration and release of valid results which against all odds posed by zoning system brought victory to the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

[8] – Insecurity:
Government must also address the issue of insecurity in the country which is daily de-populating our youths. The present security challenges and internal uprising across the country are arguably products of poverty and increasing unemployment. The result of this is the participation of youths in criminal and other social vices, who ordinarily should be genuine tools for the socio-political development of any nation. If the situation continues, it portends serious danger to the national security of the country. The youths in any nation are, and must remain, the focus for development and growth. The international standards set for youth survival, health, education, protection from crime, strife, civil disturbance, physical and sexual abuse, drugs, prostitution and vagaries of the modern society must be met at all cost as a matter of economic and political priority and expediency. It is only by doing this that the nigerian youth of today can favourably compete in the world of tomorrow.

[9] – Youth Empowerment:
There is the need for youth empowerment through participatory and youth oriented skill acquisition and employment generation scheme. The youth must be ready to key into the various Youth Empowerment programmes which the Nigerian government has over the years initiated, among which are: National Directorate of Employment (NDE) established to provide employment for Nigerian Youths or retired persons; Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES) to empower the youth with the National Information Technology (NIT) skills and prepare them for global competitiveness; Youth Empowerment Network (YEN) established to give youth a real chance to find decent productive jobs anywhere they find themselves; National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) to address the perennial problems of youth unemployment; the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agencies of Nigeria (SMEDAN) established by the SMEDAN Act of 2003 to promote and efficient micro, small and medium enterprises sector that will enhance sustainable development; the Nigerian Youth Parliament (NYP) to mentor the Nigerian youth towards appreciating the political landscape; Amnesty Programme of the Federal Government to re-integrate the Niger Delta militants into socio-economic sector of the nation and to help checkmate some of the security challenges associated with this group.

[10] – Private Sector Contribution:
There is the need for legislative frameworks in Nigeria that define the duties of the private sector towards the youth development in Nigeria. This should include measures such as contribution to National Youth Fund, investment in capacity building, and employment plans, among others. The numerous companies operating in this country must be asked to come up with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in their areas of operation to complement the efforts of the government.

[11] – Education Curriculum:
The education curriculum at all levels should be tailored along contemporary issues. Tertiary institutions must train to meet the needs of Africa and the society. The curriculum should be made to be compatible with the contemporary issues in Africa and must be designed in a way to address the problems of the youth.

CONCLUSION
It is clear from the above discussion that the Nigerian Students’ Movement is as relevant as any other group in the Nigerian society for the socio-political development of the nation. They the duty to mobilise the people, sensitize and educate them to participate in the political, economic and social activities of the country. In as much as they have a greater stake than the present members of the ruling class in whatever happens, the Nigerian youth and students cannot afford to sit on the fence and watch things, as, ultimately, the mantle of the nation’s leadership will fall on them. Nigerian students should, following Samora Machel, endeavour to “transform science and knowledge from instruments of crime against the people to instruments of their liberation, to transform ideas from instruments of mystification into instruments of enlightenment”. This is the task before the Nigerian youth and students.

I am pleased that this write up is unique in the sense that it is purely a youth-inspired write up to discuss young people. It is for the youth, and of the youth. I sincerely hope the youth and students will critically but soberly reflect, discuss, engage, and chart a new course for the future of the Nigerian youth. The future is ours, and it is time to claim and possess it.

GOD bless NIGERIA!!!
GOD bless NIGERIANS!!!
LONG LIVE the NIGERIAN STUDENT MOVEMENT!!!

SamaOnPoint’sBlog…..always ONpoint

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Factors Militating Against the Nigerian Youths in the Socio-Political Development of Nigeria

Some of the challenges affecting the youths today include: illiteracy, unemployment, poverty, lack of social security, socio-economic and political exclusion, poor mentoring and capacity building. But I shall consider few of these.

[1] – Poverty and Unemployment: The National Bureau of Statistics [NBS] asserted that 54% of Nigerian youths were unemployed in 2012; and of this, females stood at 51.9% compared to their male counterpart with 48.1%. The population of youths aged between 15 and 35 years in Nigeria is estimated to be 64 million. The dilemma of the African continent is the continued inability to provide the appropriate political and economic frameworks for enhancing the productivity of its youthful population. The high levels of poverty and unemployment in Nigeria in the midst of stupendous oil wealth have resulted in a large and growing proportion of the youth population seeing violence as a solution to their problems. Many unemployed young persons are easily attracted to militias rampaging across the country and to other series of violent activities, such as oil bunkering, bank robberies, terrorism, cyber-crime, kidnappings, among others, by the immediate prospects of highly rewarding employment. The recent, being the rise in “baby making” factories across the country. They see this as one form of employment – a way of escaping poverty and hunger in the face of deeply frustrating economic and social crises. In the words of Augustine Ikelegbe:

“A motley crowd of unemployed, frustrated and desperate youths, with poor social incentives and blocked aspirations, undergirds much of the popular and criminal violence associated with uprisings, protests and rebel movements in Africa. In the Niger Delta and elsewhere in Nigeria, militias and armed groups are largely made up of school dropouts and unemployed youths, as well as a sprinkling of the underclass and artisans. Youths involvement in militias, armed gangs and cults suggests that violence can be a form of “empowerment”, the outcome of the search for new forms of identity and integration, a form of employment and an opportunity for looting and accumulation”.

The recent news of about 23 Migerian unemployed graduates who ended their lives untimely in their quest for the Nigeria Immigration Service [NIS] job is still fresh in the memory. A situation where over 500,000 applicants are seeking to fill 4,556 vacant positions speaks volume about the state of unemployment in Nigeria. Recall that a similar thing happened in 2008, when NIS and the Nigerian Prisons Service jointly conducted this kind of interview that led to the death of 17 Nigerian youths from stampedes and exhaustion. Several youths have lost their lives and are still losing their lives in the hands of Boko Haram with its bombings of schools, public structures, parks, killing and maiming of corps members and school children, abduction and kidnapping of school children, thereby reducing the number of youths in spite of being tagged the “leaders of tomorrow”.

[2] – Health: The health of the youth deserves special consideration. The prevalence of HIV and other killer disease needs to be addressed to safeguard the youth for socio-political development. About 3.1 million people are living with HIV in Nigeria and about 300,000 new infections occur annually with people aged 15 – 24, contributing 60% of the infections. HIV is the leading cause of death among the youth. Nigerian Government must take steps to mitigate the spread of HIV/AIDS amongst them.

[3] – High Cost of Electioneering: another major challenge facing the Nigerian youth is the high cost of running for elective offices in the country. As at today, the total cost of running for the least elective office, office of the Councillor, in most of the political parties, is largely unaffordable by majority of the Nigerian youths, not to mention other higher elective posts like the States House of Assembly, the House of Representatives, the Senate and so on.

WAY FORWARD

[1] – Greater participation of youth in Governance, Policy Formulation and Implementation:

This entails the active and meaningful involvement of the youths in all aspects of their own, and their communities’ development, including their empowerment to contributing meaningfully to decisions on social, economic and political development. Though, most African countries have government ministries and departments with the clear mandate of addressing youth issues, this has not really affect their participation in governance and electoral processes. Any country’s democracy that fails to include the youths who are over half of its population has failed to meet the basic criteria that qualifies the state to a democratic state. As pointed out by Mourtada Deme:

“An inclusive democratic society needs to ensure that its youth participate in all its affairs, that young people’s views are included in development policies and that they develop leadership skills. In many African countries, youth have either remained marginalised or have not played a role in the political process. This is due to institutional and policy constraints of the state and the society. To overcome the obstacles to youth participation in fundamental political and democratic processes, it requires carefully conceived strategy and concerted efforts to achieve meaningful change”.

Out of the 492 delegates for the 2014 National Conference, 5 slots were given to the youths and 3 slots given to the National Association of Nigerian Students [NANS]. These figures are rather too small considering the fact that about 70% of Nigeria’s population are youths! The youth, who should give momentum, drive and energy to this process, are largely alienated and marginalised. If democracy is a game of number, a government of the majority, it stands to reason that the Nigerian youths should have been given ample opportunities to contribute meaningfully towards the socio-political development of Nigeria through the National Conference. In this era of social media, many young Africans are well networked and politically aware. Africa’s youth have shown that given the opportunity, they can use latest information and communications technologies to push their political agenda. Indeed, by sheer numbers and age, Africa’s youth will impact aspirations for improved political governance and socio-economic transformation. The youths should not only be prepared for the future, they have a role to play in making decisions which affect the future of the world. Youth participation will help to address the perennial issues of social exclusion and political marginalisation. As noted by late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi: “The youth lack political space to make their contribution to society and it is political, social and economic alienation that is leading the youth to social and economic problems”.

[2] – Domestication of the African Youth Charter:

The African Youth Charter [AYC] was endorsed on 2 July, 2006 by the African Union Heads of States and Governments meeting in Banjul, Gambia. It entered into force on 8 August, 2009. The charter is a political and legal document which serves as the strategic framework for African States, giving direction for youth empowerment and development at continental, regional and national levels. The African Youth Charter came as an institutional and legal response to youth development and empowerment in Africa. It aims to strengthen, reinforce and consolidate efforts to empower young people through meaningful youth participation and equal partnership in driving Africa’s development agenda. The policy focuses on youth participation in society and politics; youth’s role in development; commitments to young people regarding education, health, employment, eradication of poverty, the environment, peace and security, law, and culture. In other words, the African Youth Charter is the first legal framework in favour of youth development. The Charter also addresses itself towards specific groups of youth including young women and girls, and disabled young people. Some of the steps the youth leaders and youth organisations can take in their home countries regarding the Charter are:

[a] – contribute to dissemination and
popularization of the Charter, and work with Ministries of youth to promote the understanding of the content of the Charter among youth at all levels through;
i – translation in local languages and large distribution;
ii – specific workshops and meetings with specific targets to facilitate popularization of the Charter;
iii – national activities or festivals for the launching of the Charter, with massive media involvement;
iv – communication and information sessions in schools and universities for students and teachers;
v – public rallies, competitions, and marches for country wide information dissemination and action;
vi – advocacy meetings with officials and decision makers.

[b] – work with parliamentarians, especially those dealing with education, youth development or any related areas, to advocate for the ratification of the Charter. To take effect, African Member States need to ratify the Charter and translate the Charter’s commitments into national laws. As of April 19, 2012, 28 Member States have ratified the Charter, 39 Member States have signed the Charter, 6 Member States are yet to sign and ratify. Nigeria signed the Charter on 2 July, 2007 and ratified it on 21 April, 2009.
There is the need for the Nigerian government to take steps to domesticate and implement the African Youth Charter. The National Assembly should align the Nigerian laws and policies with the provisions of the African Youth Charter, with the youths’ rights and responsibilities specifically being made enforceable in the constitution and other laws. In view of the huge financial implication it may entail, thus leading to the non-implementation after transformation, member States should amend their constitutions and rother related laws to impose an obligation on governing bodies to embark on time-bound progressive implementation of their duties by providing specific percentages in their national budgets to carry out such duties.

…[ to be continued]…

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My thoughts and prayers with the victims of last night’s bomb blast at Zuba park, Nyanya, Abuja. May their souls rest in perfect peace. Oh GOD, please save our dear country, NIGERIA.
You all should PLEASE lend your voice in one way or the other to the #BringBackOurGirls movement.
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…[continued from Last week].

[2] – Role in Electioneering Process: Elections are the means of establishing good governance in a democratic environment. In its original conception, it was essentially to serve as an alternative to violent change of government or power, coup or revolution. It was conceived as a legitimate means to have a change of successive elections. The Supreme Court has this to say in the case of Ojukwu v. Onwudiwe [1984] where it held as follows:
“The concept of free and fair election requires that, unimpeded by official interference, discrimination on the ground of sex, colour, wealth, and so on, by physical restraint, intimidation, bribery, threatening, undue influence or other such conditions that endanger the security of persons or otherwise obstruct their freedom of action, every adult citizen shall be free to contest an election and to campaign for votes, to register as a voter, to choose the candidate for whom to cast his votes and to vote accordingly; that there is equality between the voters, none being allowed to cast more than one vote or to vote on behalf of another person or otherwise to impersonate another voter; that political parties are free to sponsor candidates and canvass for votes in a truly competitive sense; that contest is conducted according to laid down rules accepted by all as binding; that those entrusted with its conduct are not agents of, or are not subject to direction by any contestants; that the contest is in fact conducted impartially, giving no advantage to one candidate against another; that the result shall be based on and truly reflect the votes lawfully cast at the election by the voters and free from falsification, inflation or other fraudulent manipulation of figures”.

In other words, election is a way of censuring, reposing function in a ruler that is popularly accepted and ejecting an unpopular leader. This method shuns mutiny and chaos in a system, hence, it reflects peaceful hand-over from one administration to the other so long as the process is devoid of election rigging.
As noted by Geraldine J. Fraser-Moleketi: “There is a strong evidence that the participation of young Africans in formal, institutionalised political processes, such as the electoral process, is relatively low compared to older Africans. A recent Afro-barometer paper ["The Political Participation of Africa's Youth: Turnout, Partisanship and Protest" - Nov. 2011] finds that African youths aged 18-30 years old tend to vote less and express a lower level of partisanship [i.e how closely someone feels to a particular party] than older Africans. Existing data also points to low representation of youth in membership and leadership positions in political parties and parliaments. Evidence shows that the relationship between the youth and the political parties is characterised by mutual disrespect and/or mistrust. This strained relationship poses a sunstantial challenge to youths’ political participation”.
This statement is particularly true about Nigeria. Indications have emerged that the campaigns for the next Presidential poll would kick off not less than 16 November 2014, in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act, following the release of the 2015 general elections time-table by the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC]. The 2011 Amended Electoral Act which INEC relied upon in issuing the time-table, stipulates that campaigns into elective offices must begin 90 days to election. Counting from the date set by INEC for the election on 14 February 2015, it means that the campaigns must start not later than 15 November 2014 and end on 12 February 2014, which is 24 hours before the end of the 90 days stipulated in the Act. Section 99 of the Act states:
“For the purpose of this Act, the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and shall end 24 hours prior to that day”.

It must be emphasised that election is a process and not an event. It is a process that embodies all variables that lead to the formation of political parties to the declaration of results in the polls. Good governance and people oriented leadership can only be a product of a fair electoral process which ventilates the expressions of the people as represented in the ballot. Therefore, any attempt to manipulate the process is an affront on the collective will of the people.
In a nation like Nigeria that witnessed general elections in 1965, 1979, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1998, 1999, 2007, and 2011, there is a very urgent need to consider the electioneering process in place in view of the much anticipated 2015 general election. This is paramount given the characteristics of the previous elections which include rigging, thuggery, inadequate electoral materials, stuffing of ballot boxes, snatching of ballot boxes, absconding of electoral officers during elections, illegal thumb printing of ballot papers, disqualification and banning of opposing candidates, etc.
As the 2015 general election is drawing near, many of the youths will be involved in the electioneering process as ad hoc officials, among others. The youths need to be involved as voter education agents to sensitize the electorates on the need to participate actively in the electoral process and the democratic process. The youths, being critical stakeholders in the electoral process and a pivotal engine for development in the society, must not treat the electoral process at a distance. But in doing this, the youths must shun violence and avoid being used as political thugs or being involved in unwholesome practices. Electoral vilence presents one of the greatest challenges to many democratising societies, and manifests itself in various forms including murder, looting, thuggery, kidnapping, arson, abduction, assault, violent,seizure and destruction of electoral materials, among others. As posited by Preye Kuro Inokoba and Agnes Ebi Maliki:
“…electoral violence as the ultimate form of electoral fraud is an aberration as well as anathema to the fundamental tenets of democracy; it deprives the people voice in governance; it stalls communication between the politicians [government] and citizens; it has encouraged political apathy and indifference of the citizenry; it makes government unrepresentative, unaccountable, unresponsive and irresponsive; it creates a conducive atmosphere for unscrupulous individuals to hijack the instrument of the government. Even more worrisome is the fact that electoral violence, especially with youth’s involvement in it, has become an established and “legitimate” mode of political behaviour in Nigeria”.
We cannot give in to thuggery and violence in election process and then turn around to decry bad governance! The previous elections in Nigeria [2003, 2007, and 2011] provides clear examples of “gunpowder” politics as politicians provided youths with cash, weapons, intoxicants [particularly alcohol] and immunity from arrest and prosecution by law enforcement agencies in exchange for the manipulation of electoral process, including assassination, intimidation of voters, ballot box snatching and electoral officials intimidation at polling stations during elections. Indeed, the youths has for long been at the receiving end of electioneering turmoil in Nigeria. For instance, as reported by the Human Rights Watch concerning the 2003 general elections, the unemployed youths were allegedly paid up to N10, 000 [ten thousand naira] to participate in attacks and intimidation of political opponents. The politicians have made several promises to the violent youth groups to ensure their loyalty, which they often renege. As a result, many of the groups did not return the weapons they received from the politicians and thus turned to other criminal purposes, such as kidnapping, armed robbery, oil bunkering, etc. The question is: if truly the youths are the future, what future are the Nigerians political elites building for the country’s democracy by recruiting and indoctrinating youths into electoral misdemeanour?
The 2015 general election therefore present another opportunity for Nigerian youths to take up responsibility to their voices heard for peace and progress, to project a powerful voice against corruption, advocate for positive change, and provide generational insight on development issues. The political climate and health of any nation defines the degree of freedom of individuals, the degree of ease of trade, the direction and nature of state priorities, the state of the economy, social perspective and even sometimes, the religious perspective, and indeed, hasa colossal influence on its growth or decline. It is the citizens of a country that determines the kind of government and the nature of their political system through voting in a free and fair election. Thus, as we prepare for the 2015 general elections, the Nigerian youths now have the opportunity to redefine the democratic system that is best suited for the country. The youths must therefore break themselves free from the influence of corrupt politicians; stop stealing ballot boxes when the polls do not favour their candidates; allow electoral processes follow their normal course; and the youths must realise that those little political crimes they partake in are drops of water constituting the mighty ocean of political instability and bad democracy the country suffers.

[3] – Mobilisation Role:
Since students are close to the grassroots, they could and should play important roles in national mobilisation, especially at the grassroots. This fact was recognised by the Federal Government’s Political Bureau Report [1987] when it asserts in one of its reports that students constitute a reservoir of energy and dynamism for any national struggle or campaign, if they are correctly guided, mobilised, and fully integrated into the social fabric. It stated that: “With appropriate training and guidance, [students] can provide the manpower needs of the country and … they can make positive contributions to national development”. Mass media and modern communication technologies are important tools that can be used to mobilise the youth, and to facilitatw, encourage and build their capacity to take their rightful part in the development and political processes of their countries.

….[to be continued].

SamaOnPoint’sBlog…..always ONpoint

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Youth occupy a very important place in any society. In addition to being leaders of tomorrow, we outnumber the middle-aged and the aged; and by virtue of our numerical superiority, youths have energy and ideas, which are society’s greatest potentials. We can make or break a nation. The National Youth Development Policy, 2001, asserts that:

“Youths are the foundation of a society. Their energies, inventiveness, character and orientation define the pace of development and security of a nation. Through their creative talents and labour power, a nation makes giant strides in economic development and socio-political attainments. In their dreams and hopes, a nation founds her motivation; on their energies, she builds her vitality and purpose. And because of their dreams and aspirations, the future of a nation is assured.”

The statement above recognises the role of the youth in the peace, security and economic development of a nation. It therefore implies that to have any meaningful development in a nation, the youths MUST be the foundation.

Without prejudice to other definitions by Member states, the United Nations, for statistical consistency across regions, defines “youth”, as those persons between the ages 15 and 24 years. All UN statistics on youth are based on this definition, as illustrated by the annual yearbooks of statistics published by the UN system on demography, education, employment and health. For the purposes of the Charter, the African Youth Charter provides that “youth or young people shall refer to every person between the ages of 15 and 35 years.” The adopted National Youth Policy states that “youth comprises of all young persons of ages 18 to 35 years, who are citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”. Elsewhere, “youth” has been defined as “someone between the ages of 14 and 40″. The implication of these definitions is that youth represents the active population of the country, and can be found in primary, secondary and tertiary Institutions; and there are those who are out of school with all its grave consequences to the individual and the society. August 12th of each year is recognised by the United Nations as the International Youth Day.

Youth is a delicate phase in human development; a time when future choices are made; it represents the most volatile, complex, unpredictable, dynamic as well as the most vulnerable segment of the population, socio-politically, economically, emotionally and otherwise. The place and importance of the youth in the development process is vividly captured by the Nigerian National Youth Policy in this manner:

“Youth are one of the greatest assets that any nation can have. Not only are they legitimately regarded as the future leaders, they are potentially and actually the greatest investment for a country’s development. They serve as a good measure of the extent to which a country can reproduce as well as sustain itself. The extent of their vitality, responsible conduct, and roles in society is positively correlated with the development of their country”.

They are referred to as “a big reservoir of labour”; “the most vibrant age bracket in human population, the marrow of the human resource of any nation”; and “an exuberant person on the threshold of mature adulthood”. As students, “they are always in the forefront in the struggle against injustice, oppression and exploitation. They therefore constitute a militant force in any political system”.

The Role of the Youths in the Socio-Political Development in Nigeria

The Nigerian youths have contributed in so small measure to the socio-political development of Nigeria. In the context of Nigeria’s historical experience, the youth and students have rendered valuable contributions to the struggle for liberation and national development”. Some of the roles are discussed below:

[1] – Agent of Political Change

There are two major schools of thought that have emerged about the political role of students in society, the positivist and the negativist schools. While the positivists see students as part of the major forces in societal development, and calls for the assignment of specific roles to them in nation-building, the negativists strongly contend that students are immature, irrational and of undefined emotions whose youthful exuberance should be put in “proper” check. Suffice it to say that students are a powerful political force in contemporary society, and so, it will be out of place to see them in a negative way as volatile, anarchist and immature. Students and student movements have contributed in no small measure to the socio-political developments in many countries, including Nigeria. Most, if not all, democracies in present day Africa are the products of the youth – who in most cases sacrificed their sweat and blood to uphold, plant, and nurture the ideals of democratic governance. The youth have not only fought for their own interests, but also for the interests of the people; against colonial regimes; helped in overthrowing dictatorial national governments, and demanded the liberalisation of oppressive political systems. The Nigerian youths played central roles in the evolution of the Nigerian State through their various struggles against decolonisation. They started charting the cause for national development since the 1930s. In 1938, H.O. Davies, with his colleagues, formed the Nigerian Youth Movement; later, Herbert Macaulay formed the National Council of Nigerians and Cameroons, and followed in succession was the Zikist Movement founded by Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, later the West African Student Union patroned by Rev. Reginald Sorenson and led by Olu Alakija was formed, then the Egbe Omo Oduduwa pioneered by Chief Obafemi Awolowo and S.L. Akintola in the 1940s. Indeed, the struggle for national development for national independence began with the quests of Obafemi Awolowo, H.O. Davies and Anthony Enahoro, among other leading youths in the 1940s. Awolowo was less than 40 years old when he co-launched the Egbe Omo Oduduwa, and this metamorphosed into Action Group in 1951. In other words, the Ahmadu Bellos, Nnamdi Azikwes, Obafemi Awolowos, Mokwugo Okoyes, Tafawa Balewas, Joseph Tarkas, and Aminu Kanos, all started their political careers in their youth; they founded the organisations which negotiated with the colonial regime while they were youths, and assumed leadership of this country while still in their forties! The historic acts of these men in the nationalistic struggles soon became the bedrock of national polity on which we dwell and engage on concepts of leadership aspiration, public and national interest and good governance to define and determine national policies till date. The same thing applied to other African countries, such as South Africa, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Angola, Mozambique etc. Thomas Sankara, was not yet 40, when he and his colleagues led the Burkinabe Revolution and in Latin America, Fidel Castro and his colleagues, in what became the “July 26th Movement”, were all in their twenties when they launched the daring attack on the Moncada barracks in 1956 in an heroic, but failed attempt to unseat the dictator Batista! The North African experience called the “Arab Spring” – young people that were at the forefront of revolutions in Cairo, Tunisia, and Libya – has provided an example about the determination of youth to fight for what they believe and bring about change and these events have called for the re-opening of the discourse about democracy, democratization and the role of youth in governance in the developing world.
Nigeria has celebrated 14 years of uninterrupted democratic governance in 2013. The Nigerian youths have immensely contributed their quota to the sustenance of democracy and to the democratic struggles right from the colonial era up to independence in 1960 and even till date. The vital role the youths played as pro-democratic agents helped greatly in the struggle for independence and even in the wrestling of power from military government to the installation of a democratic government in 1999.

…[To be continued]

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