Nigeria cannot survive another civil war, Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; and frontline monarch, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has warned.
They called on the authorities to arrest what they see as the prevailing drift into “a dysfunctional state on multiple levels of citizenship, community belonging, security and productive opportunities”.
In a communiqué they issued at the end of a meeting at the weekend, the duo counselled the government on ensuring co-existence amongst Nigerians.
The communique was issued after a visit by the royal father to Soyinka in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
They said solutions must be found to the challenges threatening national cohesion and survival.
According to the literary icon and the royal father, efforts must be made to douse the tension over the suspended Ruga settlements.
The government has suspended the project, saying the implementation was inconsistent with its plan.
The communique decried a situation where some groups consider themselves, especially privileged and above the law.
It states: “We have in mind destructive forms of social transactions that characterize groups such as nomadic cattle herdsmen, and their umbrella groupings in the nature of Miyetti Allah.
“We confess ourselves increasingly distressed and appalled that the hitherto harmonious cohabitation, even routine collaboration, among the productive arms of society that Nigerians have taken for granted even from pre-colonial times, have deteriorated to unprecedented levels of barbarity, contempt for human lives and a defiant trampling on the civic entitlements of other productive vectors, such as farmers, the providers of both food and cash crops.
“This abhorrent, yet consistent pattern of sectarian, and homicidal arrogance is obviously not merely counter-productive but inhuman, criminal and divisive.”
Soyinka and Oba Ogunwusi said the recent ultimatum delivered by a sectarian order to President Muhammadu Buhari to set up the so-called Ruga cattle settlements across the entire nation within a stipulated time, despite national outcry, should be acknowledged as their entitlement under the law that grants them freedom of expression.
Given the current state of affairs, the eminent citizens called on Nigerians across the states to defend the sanctity of their ancestral lands, because such birthright has never been annulled, “not even under colonial occupation”.
They said those who indulge in what they described as “internal colonisation project are backward, primitive and underdeveloped minds that have failed to overcome delusions in the antiquated belief in sectarian dominion as the key to social existence”.
Soyinka and Oba Ogunwusi urged Nigerians to convoke a series of frank encounters, across various interests and concerns, to debate and determine the future structure of their nation, most especially with a view to attaining a genuine, decentralised functional governance arrangement.
They added: “We propose a structure that enables the constitutive parts to progress at their own pace, determine their own priorities, and encourage creative exploitation of their resources for the benefit of their peoples. Such encounters will simultaneously address the numerous anomalies that plague the nation – from youth unemployment, infrastructural decay, insecurity and ethical collapse, to the untenable aspects of the protocols of the present constitution that supposedly bond the nation as one.
“We consider it a primary imperative of nation existence that the constitutive parts of the nation take steps to preserve and enhance their distinct cultural identities, including tested and relevant pre-colonial values, their spiritual apprehension of phenomena and worship, all without detriment to the principles and ideals of mutual co-existence.
“To this end, we undertake to create state-of-the-art Ethnic Museums for our people both at home and in the Diaspora, where present and future generations can access their histories and cultures vividly, as living expressions of their very humanity, not simply as relics of eras vanished forever or irrelevant to the present.
“We pledge ourselves to join hands with others in fashioning a realistic, functional, and sustainable charter of development for the welfare and progress of our peoples, culturally, economically, and spiritually, where every individual freely obtains access to the means of his or her chosen path of development, and the fulfilling knowledge of valuable contribution to the well-being and advance of the overall community, and of humanity.”
Nationwide Strike: NLC Shuts Offices, Schools In Delta
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Delta chapter has started to shut offices and schools in Asaba ahead of the planned strike over delay to implement the new minimum wage.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports on Wednesday that the NLC members were seen patrolling Asaba in a marked Hiace mini-bus, closing government offices and turning back school children.
Recall that the national body of the NLC had threatened to go on strike from Thursday if the Federal Government fails to meet its demand on the consequential adjustment.
Before the meetings, labour was demanding a 29 per cent increase for officers at grade levels 07 to 14 and 24 per cent adjustment for officers at grade levels 15 to 17.
While the Federal Government proposed an 11 per cent increase for officers at grade level 07 to 14 and 6.5 per cent adjustment for workers at grade level 15 to 17.
Mr Goodluck Ofuburuku, NLC State chairman confirmed to NAN on the phone that labour was on strike in the state.
“We are on strike and that is all I can tell you for now. We expect offices and schools to comply.
“The strike is in force that is why we are going round to enforce compliance,” Ofoburuku said.
NAN reports that most government offices and schools within Asaba metropolis were closed as at this morning.
The state government secretariat, along Okpanam road, was equally shut as some workers who had reported for work were seen milling around the gate.
Mrs. Tina Okolo, a civil servant told NAN that the NLC members came and locked her office premises and ask the workers to go home.
“They came this morning and ask us to go home. I reported to work at about 8:15am, but now am going home.
“I don’t know much about the strike, so I am just waiting to see how things will turn out,” Okolo said.
NAN reports that the gate of West-End Mixed Secondary School, Asaba, was also closed, as the students were seen going home at about 10:15 am.
A teacher, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN that the students had been asked to go home because of the strike.
Also, members of the NLC were seen at the Achievers Group of Schools, DLA road Asaba, driving out the students and trying to lock up the school gate.
However, most banks in Asaba remained open for business as customers continued their transactions without hindrance.
Kayode Alfred Now Writes For This Day Newspapers
Industrious entrepreneur-cum-society Kayode Olanshile Alfred has officially joined the leading and widest-circulated news journal, This Day Newspaper as a columnist. The award-winning and dynamic writer will be reporting the social lifestyle of the rich and the famous personalities in the society.
The unassuming Kayode, still in the attitude of his passion for the written word, either by commission or omission again went back to his first love as a columnist with This Day on Sunday where he resumed with his society page, High Life.
The charismatic, innovative and very industrious Kayode Alfred, is one of Nigeria’s most prolific society writers that is dedicated, even obsessive, about his work even as he loathes the disappointments that at times, come with it. Alfred will always be a pride of the journalism industry, especially when it comes to society reporting. His impressive career as a journalist speaks volumes and this is just stating the obvious, as he has proved this over time, with his gist, interviews, articles, and stories on those who matter in the society.
The Lagos State University graduate has carved a niche for himself in this volatile industry and can conveniently rank among the best five in society reportage, and this is no hyperbole.
He started making waves in the pen-pushing world many years back, when he joined the National Encomium magazine as a very pro-active Society writer, the credentials of which gave him the leverage to move instructively to The Nation Newspapers, to resume his normal beat as a prolific society writer, with his must-read page, called Society Watch in The Nation on Saturday.
The journalist turned designer has carved a niche for himself among fashion buffs. He can also be regarded as a celebrity journalist and fashion aficionado, a self-driven entrepreneur with astounding diligence and sartorial depth. It is no surprise, therefore, that his foray into the fashion world is predicated on the high art and culture of bespoke designs.
Sanwo-Olu Declares Emergency On Lagos Roads As Work Begins
Work begins today(Monday) on the deplorable city roads in Lagos State as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Sunday declared an emergency on the situation.
The governor gave the directive for the commencement of repairs to construction companies. It followed his promise last week to start fixing the roads immediately after the rains.
Lagosians have been groaning under the state of roads and the attendant traffic situation. The extended rainfall has not helped matters.
According to the governor, all the construction companies had been mandated to mobilize their tools to the sites assigned to them.
He said: “This (Sunday) afternoon, we have just concluded meetings with various reputable construction companies and all of them have been given the brief to immediately commence major construction work in various parts of the state. The exercise will begin tomorrow with palliative work on the selected roads, which are on the Island and the Mainland.
“The contractors have been given the mandate to start mobilizing their equipment to their respective sites without further delay. Their activities must first give our people immediate relief on the affected roads so that there can be a free flow of traffic even during the rehabilitation work.”
To complement the major construction work on the highway, Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC) would be carrying out repairs on 116 inner roads across the state.
This, he said, would be in addition to the over 200 roads already rehabilitated by the corporation in the last three months.
Sanwo-Olu said his administration was not oblivious of the pain experienced by road users in the past few days, which was compounded by the persistent downpour.
He appealed to residents to bear with the government while efforts were being made to assuage their pains and bring permanent relief to them.
He said: “We expect the rains will begin to subside in this month of October and this is why we are mobilizing our contractors to immediately start the major construction work on the identified highways and bring permanent relief to residents. I am giving all Lagosians the assurance that the contractors will start the construction in earnest and will deliver on the terms of agreements reached with them.”
Sanwo-Olu said officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) would be working round the clock to control traffic on the areas where the construction would take place.
The Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure, Aramide Adeyoye, listed some of the critical areas to include Ojota stretch of the Ikorodu Road; Motorways – Kudirat Abiola Way; Apogbon Highway; Babs Animashaun Road; Agric/Ishawo and Ijede roads in Ikorodu as well as Lekki-Epe Expressway from Abraham Adesanya to Eleko Junction.
She added that there would be massive re-construction on a network of roads in Ikoyi, Ikeja GRA and Victoria Island.
The contractors deployed by the government are: Julius Berger, Hitech, Arab Contractors, Metropolitan Construction, Slavabogu Construction, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), Rajaf Foundation Construction and RCF Nigeria Limited.