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Nigeria @60: Saraki, Fayemi, Dapo Abiodun, Throw Weight Behind Compendium On Foremost Nigerians

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Former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, and Governors Kayode Fayemi and Dapo Abiodun of Ekiti and Ogun States respectively have thrown their weight behind the trans-generational compendium to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Nigeria.

The book, entitled Nigeria @60: Foremost Nigerians of the Last 60years; is written by former Society Editor of Thisday, Lanre Alfred. It will hit bookshelves across the nation and beyond in the first week of October.

In his Prologue entitled‘Enriching the History of a Giant’, Senator Saraki espouses Nigeria’s greatness which he agrees had been tested in several ways. “This book “Nigeria @60: Foremost Nigerians in the Last 60 Years” by Lanre Alfred, a journalist with many years experience, is definitely going to add fresh pages to the body of literature and biographical work on this great country.

As someone, who loves reading biographies, the author’s decision to tell the Nigerian story through account of the contributions and achievements of selected citizens remains interesting and another attraction for me.

This unique attempt at recounting our national history also seeks to put on display the roles of the selected players in national development over the years. It also presents a challenge for those key players, who are alive to strive to improve on their roles while also giving the rest of the citizenry the opportunity to honestly and genuinely assess the account and the roles it ascribes to these individuals.”

Interestingly, Saraki says Nigeria has been the country whose huge resources and dynamic, resourceful, creative, ebullient, and hard-working people represent the hope of the black man to stand on an even dais with the most developed part of the world. “She is the country that has carried the burden of the rest of Africa during difficult times as she did during the period of the apartheid system in South Africa and the liberation struggles in other parts of Southern Africa,” he states.

Saraki adds that though Nigeria might not have fully fulfilled the aspirations of her citizens and the rest of the world, she has continued to play a major role in stabilizing her region and the continent at large. Thus, he says he welcomes any attempt to give a good account of Nigeria’s existence as an independent country in the last six decades.

The former two-term governor of Kwara State concludes that Nigeria will overcome her challenges and fulfill her manifest destiny because there are several ways of leading Nigeria out of the woods; “One way is the one Lanre Alfred has taken with this book; celebrating the nation’s birthday through a revisit of the role of some of the key players.”

In the Foreword,Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Ekiti State governor, writes that Nigeria is an amazing story and an evolving power whose destiny is far beyond the convulsive spasm that often diminishes the narrative of her undeniable glory. “This lesson is what has attracted the intellectual lens of Lanre Alfred in this insightful book. He takes us through an undulating labyrinth of the Nigerian story and points our attention to the mesh of our socio-cultural plurality, which ultimately makes ours a complex political experiment.

“He depicts the nation’s foundational challenge as that of a sailing mission without a rudder and a flying expedition without a compass. For it was clear that, at independence, there was no consensus around vision, purpose, and strategy for the actualization of the nation’s dream.”

Like Saraki, Governor Fayemi concurs that the irony of the Nigeria story is that while her inadequacies are apparent to all, her progress is difficult to ignore either. “And this is the reality, which many critics and commentators have failed to factor into their evaluation of the nation’s trajectory. One of the ways to appreciate this progress might be to focus on the contribution of many compatriots, who have invested their God-given talent and creativity for the progress of the nation in the different segments of our national life,” he says.

Governor Fayemi says he is satisfied with Alfred’s optimistic approach to the appreciation of Nigeria because, “He has elected to gauge our progress in terms of verifiable and invaluable contributions of some individuals, who have greatly impacted the nation and whose contributions to her development since independence, are of immense significance.

“This approach is not only a commendable reward system; it is also an effective story-telling strategy that properly situates the nation’s milestones around the exploits of her heroes and heroines. To suggest that Nigeria has not made progress is to declare that the works of her heroes and heroines are in vain. It is to assume that, generally, nonentities had led the nation in politics, business, culture, religion, and leadership!”

He also commends the efforts that went into putting the book together, saying, “Alfred has launched his fecund mind into a fertile territory that many people would have ignored. It is another demonstration of his depth, prodigious intellect, and mastery of the nation’s story as a social commentator and chronicler. He has taught us a new lesson that nation-building is a collective responsibility and that a nation’s prosperity is the aggregation of the industry and prosperity of her citizens.”

In a correspondence with the author, Governor Abiodun of Ogun State lauded the ingenuity of the book while praising the writing proficiency of Alfred who he said has evolved as not just a reporter but a redoubtable historian. Abiodun stated that he would gladly recommend the book for reading across a broad spectrum of the society because “of its depth and richness and the fact that it makes for easy and compelling reading.” He continued, “This book is a storehouse of information about the people that made and are making Nigeria great. History well told is beautiful. Many of the historians who most appeal to the general reading public know the importance of dramatic and skillful writing as well as of accuracy and this is where Alfred has excelled with this book.”

However, the book is dedicated to Globacom chairman, Dr Mike Adenuga Jnr, as an homage to his humanity and relentless strides at rewriting the African business narrative; for standing tall and wading through odds with the courage of a knight and confidence of a champion. Interestingly, in the midst of the doom and gloom, the pervasive fear of the Corona-Virus pandemic, and the flagging faith of Nigerians per their survival, the chairman of Globacom Limited, raised hopes and planted joy in the bosoms of Nigerians. His huge donations to the Federal Government of Nigeria and several state governments play a huge role in containing the ravaging virus.

Alfred’s new book, which attempts to profile the trajectories of Nigeria’s heroes past and present, is the latest in a burgeoning corpus that includes the popular coffee table books; Titans…The Amazing Exploits of Nigeria’s Greatest Achievers; and Highlife – Lifestyles of Nigeria’s Rich and Famous; and biographies like Pacemaker – Triumphs of Igho Sanomi at 40; The Lion of Afia Nsit – Triumphs of Scott Tommey at 45; Julius Rone…The Jewel of the Delta; and Dapo Abiodun…The Heart of Prince.

BIG STORY

FG Receives List Of Indicted SARS Operatives, AGF Approves Prosecution

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The National Human Rights Commission on Monday submitted a list of 35 operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), for prosecution.

Submitting the list at the AGF office in Abuja, the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Mr Tony Ojukwu, said the list was an extract of the full report of the Special Presidential Panel on SARS earlier submitted to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), on June 3, 2019.

Briefing newsmen, Ojukwu said the affected SARS operatives were indicted in offenses bordering on extrajudicial killings, unlawful arrest and detention, threat and intimidation, unfounded allegations, seizure of properties, and illegal freezing of accounts of innocent citizens.

He noted that the report of the panel contained the findings on the complaints gathered from Nigerians during the sitting of the panel in the six geopolitical zones of the country.

He added that the list of the indicted operatives was accompanied with the full report of the panel to guide the prosecution of the indicted operatives.

Responding, Malami said his office would do justice to the list “through prosecution and taking associated incidental administrative steps”.

The minister, who said the Buhari regime had embarked on policies and legislation such as the Police Act 2020 to ensure deep reforms of the police in the country, also said the panel’s report would not be implemented to protect the interest of the victims without considering the interests of the general society.

He said the report would be implemented in line with the “multi-way-traffic nature of the justice system”.

The submission came amid protests by the youth in different parts of the country calling for the scrapping of SARS, an end to police brutality, and reform of the police force.

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BIG STORY

#EndSARS: Tinubu Hails Protesters, Blasts Hoodlums, Pleads For Cessation

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The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has said there is no one who is committed to the rule of law and good governance that would be opposed to the ongoing #EndSARS protests by the Nigerian youths.

Tinubu, in a statement on Monday, said the protests, which had gone on for 12 days, were justified, given gross human rights violations and impunity by the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force.

He also commended Nigerian youths for the level of organization that went into the protests, saying it showed a new level of consciousness that could strengthen Nigeria’s democracy.

He said the ongoing resistance by the youths against police brutality was reminiscent of the emancipation struggle against the colonial rule and military dictatorship, which gave birth to democracy.

However, Tinubu said the protesters must admit that the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had “acted with commendable dispatch by not only scrapping SARS but also accepting the five-point demand that triggered the protests.”

He said it would only be fair for the youths to call off the protests and give the regime a chance to implement the reforms they had demanded.

Tinubu’s statement on the protest, which he personally signed, was titled, ‘#EndSARS protests – The remedy for national maladies is more, not less, democracy’.

He said, “It is impossible for anyone truly committed to the rule of law, democracy, and good governance to be opposed to the concern and demands of the protesters. There is no way that any society can make meaningful progress without the enthronement of these values.

“The protesters have, for the better part of the commencement of their civil action, conducted themselves with an admirable sense of responsibility, restraint, and maturity. This is commendable. Indeed, the high level of organization demonstrated by the protesting youths shows a new level of consciousness of the capability of a vigilant civil society as well as the efficacy of people’s power. This can only ultimately strengthen the country’s democratic evolution and sustainability.”

While urging the protesters to withdraw, Tinubu said Buhari had shown “a laudable sensitivity to the grievances of the youths.”

He said, “It is only fair that the government must be given the chance to implement the reforms demanded by the protesters. This can certainly not be done instantaneously by the waving of a magic wand. If the government had not implemented promised reforms in the past, the swiftness with which it has responded to the demands of the protesters this time around shows that there is a positive change by the government both of attitude and of a new sense of urgency.”

Tinubu urged the youths to be careful not to fritter away the considerable gains they had made within a very short period with “lack of moderation and strategic thinking”.

He said it was unfortunate that hoodlums, thugs, and assorted criminals had begun to take advantage of the protests to perpetrate violence and disrupt civil life.

He said he believed the intention of the organizers of the protest was not to “cause generalized anarchy or effect regime change.”

Tinubu warned the youths that if they gave the impression that their intention was to effect a change of regime “then any government will necessarily have to act with the requisite decisiveness and force to restore law and order and preserve the constitutional rule.”

However, he said the ruling APC must see the protest as “an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and recommit itself to the values for which the party was formed through extraordinary hard work, dedication, and commitment.”

Meanwhile, the pan-Fulani Socio-Cultural organization, Miyetti Allah Kailutal Hore Fulani Socio-Cultural Association, has accused Tinubu of masterminding and bankrolling the #EndSARS protest currently rocking the country.

The Fulani group claimed that the #EndSARS protest, allegedly being financed by Tinubu, was aimed at bringing down the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

This, the group claimed, was because Tinubu had lost out “in the plans to contest the presidential election under the All Progressive Congress in 2023.”

The Fulani group warned that they won’t take it lightly with Tinubu should anything untoward happen to their kinsman.

They said this in a statement titled, ‘#EndSARS: Gathering of political vultures,’ in Kaduna on Monday.

The statement was signed by Miyetti Allah’s National President, Alhaji Abdullahi Bodejo, and the Secretary, Alhaji Saleh Alhasan.

According to them, the continued protest despite the government’s yielding is an attempt to ground the country and create more suffering in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group demanded that Tinubu should call off the #EndSARS protest and allow the Federal Government to fashion out modalities to address the nation’s challenges.

Alleging “ethnic and regional colouration” to the #EndSARS protests, they added, “Some people from certain regions are trying to undermine and overthrow a democratically-elected government or intimidate the North to give up its rights to rule beyond 2023.

“The insistence to continue to protest even when the government has made concessions; the open defiance is reckless, provocative; denial of access to means of livelihood can lead to fracas and conflict.

“The demands of the protesters are nebulous, inconsistent, haphazard, whimsical, and impossible to meet.”

When contacted, Tinubu’s spokesman, Tunde Rahman, said, “As it has been stated elsewhere, Asiwaju Tinubu could not have sponsored the #EndSARS protest that has blocked one of the main entries into and out of Lagos and one of the economic arteries of the Lagos State Government. He could also not have sponsored such a protest where he too has been labelled a target by the organizers.”

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Lagos Orders Closure Of Schools Over #EndSARS Protests

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The Lagos State Government has directed all pupils/students in public and private schools to stay at home following the tension generated by the anti-SARS protests.

Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, who issued the directive, said the safety of the pupils/students, parents, and all staff working in schools was paramount “at this critical period.”

She, however, advised parents to keep an eye on their wards and not allow them to be used as willing tools in the hands of those who might want to hijack the protests to unleash mayhem on the society.

The Commissioner also encouraged schools to utilize other means of distance teaching and learning such as radio, television, and online media as they have been doing during and post COVID-19 lockdown.

According to Adefisayo, a new date of resumption for all classes will be announced as soon as possible.

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