Bill Gates, Peter Obi and Nigeria’s pandemic, By Hassan Gimba
In the past year, hardly can find a word that elicits palpable fear, confusion, hope and scepticism as COVID-19. Surely COVID-19 has changed the world drastically. And definitely, it has changed the way we think and the ways we interact. The pandemic has also been a source of a lot of hardship because, as a result of it, many businesses have closed shop.
The pandemic has been a reason for many job losses and plans gone awry. It has killed a lot of initiatives, pushed more people into poverty, bred many other diseases, pushed some into suicide and killed so many more.
In a world that believes it is civilised and can get a panacea for everything, such a scourge cannot be allowed to remain unchecked for long, hence the race for COVID vaccines. It is quite understandable why the world is at its tenterhooks because the pandemic has afflicted over 105 million with over 2.3 million deaths worldwide.
Globally the race to rein in its spread is apace. We can all see how medical personnel are battling against scarce resources to save the lives of hundreds of thousands. You see them, you feel them. And your heart goes out to them.
And because they are sincere to themselves, while searching for medical solutions, governments take care of their citizens through palliatives – in cash and in-kind – at personal levels. At corporate levels, the governments provided and have kept providing bailouts to a lot of businesses. The pandemic brought fear and confusion among the serious countries, but there is also hope that a solution will soon be in hand.
Here, there is make-believe fear among the authorities. People are confused because the source of the fear is not visible. However, those at the forefront of the anti-COVID-19 campaign are just fine because they are making money off it while the generality of the people increasingly become more sceptical. Yes, unfortunately, as if we are not part of the global village, the pandemic has been turned into a money-making venture. The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) goes about it in a way that raises suspicion over its motives. States must declare a rise in the infection figures or risk being labelled high-risk areas.
A source close to the NCDC revealed that one of the reasons states like Yobe and Kogi were “blacklisted”, apart from being straight over the pandemic scare, is because their governors shot down the plan to cause the presidency to impose another lockdown on the nation. A lockdown is like a blank cheque to the itchy-fingered officials.
But tales abound of its staffers suddenly becoming rich overnight or about the agency giving out contracts in billions that end up as nonexistent projects while appropriated monies have been paid out. The NCDC, officials of the federal ministry of health, to an extent, and those of the presidential task force on COVID-19 have turned the pandemic into a means of making money out of the misery of fellow citizens. The daily allowances they each take home makes one believe the funds collected are meant for them alone.
When the first lockdown was announced early last year, subsequent events proved that the palliatives meant to cushion the excruciating difficulty envisaged were misapplied. While the world is losing greatly because of the scourge but sincerely fighting it, Nigeria’s officials are smiling to the bank. All these and more are factors that have made many people distrust the government, its agents and agencies.
Many conspiracy theories have been flying about, especially when the so-called ‘Chinese doctors’ surreptitiously brought in disappeared like ninjas. Nigeria now intends to spend between N400 and N450billion to procure the vaccines. The intention is to vaccinate 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population at $8 per vaccine. But the government would do well to get the vaccines from a country or countries that the citizens would at least be at ease with. Of course, the government has ways to make people get vaccinated, no doubt, but a government that owes its authority and credibility to the people needed to make the people comfortable. Already people are afraid of western produced COVID-19 vaccines but luckily, Russia, India and Cuba have produced them. The majority of Nigerians may be more comfortable with them than those from the western bloc.
However, there are even two schools of thought on this. The first which does not believe in the pandemic as being touted in Nigeria is the one led by Yahaya Bello, the governor of Kogi State. Bello believes that with such amount, each state in the country can have one (two for six big states) N10billion world standard hospital and we shall be better off for that.
Another school of thought led by Mr Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State, believes we can get the vaccines at one-third of that amount. He offered to lead the federal government’s purchasing team to get this dream bargain for the country.
But this is even if we need the vaccines in the first place. Bill Gates, one of the richest men in the world for the past 20 – 30 years, believes we do not need them. All the conspiracy theories surrounding the pandemic begin or end with his name. Sometimes his name may not be at the start or finish because it has appeared in the middle.
Bill Gates, like the Kogi governor, believes that what we need are functional, state of the art hospitals dotted around the country. Bill Gates’ proposition to the Nigerian government: Invest the billions in healthcare, not COVID-19 vaccines. “There is no doubt that the impact of putting money into the health system, particularly the primary healthcare system, will be very high in terms of saving children’s lives,” Bill Gates says.
The co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation wants Nigeria to prioritise the development of its health sector rather than focusing on the COVID-19 vaccines. Nigeria should divert resources budgeted for the approved COVID-19 vaccines into the development of the country’s weak health care system, he opined. “There is no doubt that the impact of putting money into the health system, particularly the primary healthcare system, will be very high in terms of saving children’s lives. Nigeria should not divert the very limited money that it has for health into trying to pay a high price for COVID-19 vaccines,” he advised.
Mr Gates did not stop at that. He said Nigeria is already a beneficiary of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, a public-private global health partnership to increase access to immunisation in poor countries. “The key is that Nigeria is still eligible, and so, for a lot of those vaccines, they will come through the GAVI facility that we have raised money for”, said Gates. That means Nigeria will get a reasonable number of the vaccines free of charge.
But will they pay heed to him? Already it is as if those who have other intentions for these hundreds of billions will neither listen to the Kogi governor nor acknowledge the offer of assistance by Peter Obi, whom they may begin to see as a busybody. But everybody knows Mr Obi’s reputation as a frugal overseer of government purse. As for Bill Gates, he may as well take his advice elsewhere before they will accuse him of interfering in a sovereign country’s affairs.
As it happened during the first lockdown when there was an insistence that school children trapped at home must be fed, so there will be insistence now to buy those vaccines. As billions were spent in the first lockdown on palliatives but only those provided by businessmen were seen – those later vandalised – billions will be appropriated for vaccines but only those received from donations would be the ones to be seen.
But the worst of all is that the presidency may allow all these shenanigans to happen. The pilferers will have their piece of the cake. And sadly, Nigerians will continue living as if nothing momentous has happened.
But we can see why charlatans set the agenda in our country. So long as the words of governors – serving and former – will not be taken seriously or those of people like Bill Gates will carry no weight with us, so long will the words of Nnamdi Kanu, Femi Fani Kayode, Sunday Igboho and Shekau continue to shape the thinking of our masses and set agenda for our country.
And so we shall continue to see the initiative being taken away from the government by non-state actors. Now we witness the “expelling” of “criminals” (not minding whether they are criminals or not) by Igboho on the one hand and the “dissuasion” of criminals on the other by Sheikh Muhammad Gummi – both responsibilities of the government, yet out of government’s hand.
UN-POLAC Appoints Dr. Adamu Dodo As Editor-in-Chief
UN-POLAC Appoints Dr. Adamu Dodo As Editor-In-Chief
The Senate of the United Nations-POLAC has approved the appointment of Dr. Adamu Muhammad Dodo as Editor-In-Chief of her new magazine; POLAC World.
The appointment letter dated February 24, 2021, signed by the UN-POLAC Director General/Advisor, Prof. (Obong) Halo B. Eton revealed that the appointment was sequel to the resolution to float both online media and mainstream magazine.
“In view of the above and based on your expertise in newspaper and online publications, you are hereby appointed the Editor-In-Chief.
“You are to work out the modalities for the rake off of the magazine,” the letter reads.
Dodo the head of information and media relations FMC Yola, ADAMAWA state, northeast Nigeria, the lead publisher of the Periscope Global, publishers of both online and Mainstream newspaper and the interim chairman, North East Online Network NEON, was appointed Peace Ambassador with the United Nations-POLAC on Saturday, December 12, 2015.
Dodo’s contributions in actualising POLAC’s peace mission and vision associated with restoration, promotion and strengthening of cultural heritage, earned him the position of state coordinator in charge of Adamawa state and national programme manager in the year 2016.
Dodo has won the best POLAC state coordinator awards for two consecutive years; 2017 and 2018.
Owing to his pieces and projects on peace and conflict resolution, Dodo has in 2018 bagged another honorary doctorate degree in Sociology of Peace by the UN-POLAC Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution. The same year he was upgraded to the position of North East Coordinator and Country Deputy President (Northern Nigeria). The position he holds to this day.
Dodo the communication tsar and public relations consultant is a governing council member of the Institute of Business Diplomacy and Financial Management IBDFM among so many professional bodies he belongs to as Fellow member.
POLAC stands for Positive Livelihood Award Centre established as an international autonomous institution in 2001 with the UN and UNESCO following General Assembly resolution, declaring 2001-2010 as a decade of peace and non violence.
It has the mandate to enhance the effectiveness of the UN millennium development goals, now sustainable development goals and UNESCO Culture of Peace Programme particularly the maintenance of peace and security and the restoration of human dignity.
It has the following goals:
- To defend human rights and restore dignity to all persons
*To contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among groups and individuals through culture and education.
*To enhance the position of family heads through recognition as Peace Advocates for proper family upbringing.
*To recognise people (both late & alive( as legends to encourage the incoming generations for peace and sustainable development.
- To stimulate reactions in all spheres of life.
- the advancement of the international understanding, Goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons United in the ideal of service for peace
The closure of miringa market by the military and the agitation so far!
THE CLOSURE OF MIRNGA MARKET BY THE MILITARY AND THE AGITATION SO FAR!
By Musa Salihu Kachallah, arpa
On behalf of the good people and law abiding citizens of Mirnga District, I write to appeal to the government of Borno State under the leadership of a selfless leader our amiable Governor Professor Babagana Umara Zulum the Executive Governor of Borno State to call the attention of the present Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru to in the name of almighty Allah as a matter of urgency to reopen Mirnga Market that was shutdown by the Military for close to 3 years under the guise that some suspected elements of Boko Haram terrorist do visit the market to shop for their daily need to resume for business activities.
Though we are not in anyway disputing the intelligence gathered by the Military authority in this regards, but I can categorically said without missing words that since the beginning of this Boko Haram crisis in North East Nigeria no single Boko Haram fighter was ever seen or arrested in Mirnga town or in the market the records are there for everybody to see but our market remained close for this unjustified reasons.
Your excellency sir, as you know Mirnga District is a peaceful Community full of people with integrity and positive thoughts as well as willing businessmen and women who are ever ready to struggle to earn money legitemately but this singular action of the military authority has plunged many families into poverty and lacking as our Fathers, Mothers, Brothers and Sisters who carryout petty trades are gradually loosing their means of survival and it is going to be irrational if the market further remains closed.
Sir, I want you to see reasons for ordering the reopening of the market bcoz millions of your subjects are continually loosing their means of livelihood for this act as you can see many people today cannot afford to care for their families anymore especially our energetic grain bag loader known as (Yan’Dako), Wheelbarrow pushers, Water Vendors and many more who feeds from my hands to mouths bcos until they go out for this activities before they earn some money but theirs means of survival has been thwart.
Furthermore, it may interest you to note that Mirnga Market is the central market that connects people from far and near like businessmen from Adamawa, Gombe and Yobe States respectively as well as our neighborhood like Biu, Damboa, Sabon-Gari, Mandaragirau, Gunda, Bumsa, Madlau, Buratai to mention but a few but this primitive decisions by the Army is not taken with a second thought or weigh the multiplying effect before closing the market for flimsy reasons that can be controlled bcoz we all know closing of Mirnga Market will not in anyway hinder Boko Haram logistics as they have many ways of getting stuffs, so why suffering our people unnecessarily.
In conclusion sir, we are begging you to please in the name of almighty Allah to investigate the rational/motive behind closing our Market and order for reopening as soon as possible. I write this appeal with dismay bcoz as we speak now all the markets that was closed along with Mirnga market that time from Biu Main Market down to Yadi-Buni Market all have resumed operation in full activities but for Mirnga Market reversed is the case and despite the attacks on Buni-Yadi, Buratai and others by Boko Haram terrorists in the past yet their market was open for commercial activities but Mirnga that had never has any and is relatively peaceful our market remained closed why? .
Finally, sir we are praying to Almighty Allah to grant you good health, guide and protect you and to give you more wisdom to discharge your duties with just to all sundry as you always justify in your governance.
Long Live Khadimul Unman!
Long Live Borno State
Long Live Federal Republic of Nigeria
Nigeria and presidential democracy: any better alternative? (2), By Hassan Gimba
Nigeria and Presidential Democracy: Any Better Alternative? (2), by Hassan Gimba
In Nigeria and Presidential Democracy: Any Better Alternative? (1), we touched on how cries of marginalisation permeate the air. Partisan interests are placed above national interests while divisions along ethnic and religious lines have become the norm just as the struggle for power and its retention have taken a “do or die” dimension, affecting almost everything, including the neutrality of the judiciary, the supposedly last hope of the common man.
We also observed that the communication gap between the average Nigerian and his representative in government has widened so much it seems they live in two separate worlds with nothing in common except, perhaps, religion and tribe or party and town.
And then we asked if we can continue this way, going on to query if the fault is that of the system and to seek a better one, if so. But in doing that, should we look inwards? Will a system in tandem with our inner being be the answer to our multifaceted and ever-growing problems as a nation? Perhaps we have been imposing on ourselves systems that are alien to us, to our culture, to our souls? Of course, some believe the problem with us is not so much the system as it is the people. Well, could be. But can people be true to what is not their nature? Well, yes, if they put on an act. One can act like a saint but can the actor live the life of a saint? People are always at their best when they are true to themselves. Being yourself does not always give room for hypocrisy. And time has proved to us that it has a way of exposing hypocrisy.
Britain, which gave us the parliamentary system in 1960, still practises it. While the parliamentary system is over 750 years old there, ours lasted six years before it was scuttled by the march of the jackboot.
Surely while ours was an imposition, a sort of a deliberate wholesale adoption of a set system, Britain’s parliament was not created from a “conference”. It naturally evolved as out of daily necessities. Therefore, one is not far from the truth if one insists that the parliamentary system, which started in 1265 with the Simon de Montfort Parliament, is in the blood of the Briton; it is part of him. While the representative system began with the de Montfort (Earl of Leicester) Parliament, fifty years earlier, the check on impunity by leaders was rolled out. In June 1215, the Magna Carta was issued to become the first document to put into writing the principle that the king and his government were not above the law.
We can see how the homegrown parliamentary system has served Britons well. It is because they looked inwards, derived from their nature which was in tandem with their inner being, rather than copy, adapt, borrow and impose on themselves a system that is alien to their culture, to their being. And so it works for them because they are at home with it. It is their roots.
America is another example. The democracy it is practising and proudly imposing it on other nations around the world is homegrown. After freeing itself from Britain, its colonial overlords, the leaders of the revolt set out to build its enviable democratic culture. In an article written for the Smithsonian Magazine of September 20, 2011, Joseph Stromberg said, “The dawn of American democracy didn’t come in 1776, with the declaration of Independence. It didn’t come in 1788 when the constitution was ratified by the states, or in 1789 when George Washington took office.” He continued, “According to Harry Rubeinstein, chair and curator of the Division of Political History at the American History Museum, the symbolic birth of our system of government didn’t come until its noble ideals were actually put to the test…” And that test was Washington’s resignation and handing over to John Adams in 1783.
We need not look far to see that nations tend to develop when their system of governance correlates with their innate way of thinking. Arabs in general, historically and by tradition, live in communities with close ties, respect family lineage and thrive under a strong paternalistic leader. The Arabs of Libya and Iraq that wanted to leave their roots and take up the American system are now rueing their folly. Despite America’s maximum pressure, arm twisting, blackmail and sometimes condescending cajoling, China, Russia and now Iran are holding tight to their roots. And they are stronger for it.
Therefore, one way for a political arrangement to work for a people is for it to originate from them. But humankind is a broadminded, flexible and adaptable species. Because of these and many other plausible positives, man can adapt and get adapted to any political plan for his development but with a proviso. That proviso is that he is sincere and patriotic.
And this is why we have seen thriving countries that borrowed alien systems of governance; their honesty in implementing the system and the love for their country have made it work to their benefit. You can count the Asian Tigers, many European, South American and African countries among them.
As all people evolve, the peoples of Nigeria were all developing at their paces and consolidating the substances that enhanced their lives. Colonialism came and disrupted our slow and steady but sure growth into modernity. It uprooted us, leaving us dangling in the air. We have left our roots but we are yet to grab the ever-elusiveĺ colonialists’ branches.
A ready example can be taken from the textile industry. We had ways of processing cotton and converting it to thread. There was a fabricated machine made from wood for that. From there, we formed yards that were used to sew dresses. Then, even the Whiteman bought them and transported them to his land. We also had methods of colouring clothes. Had our “primitive” textile industry been left alone, it might have evolved into something bigger than what the Whiteman has now.
But because we lack confidence in ourselves, we jettisoned ours that was improving by the day as our knowledge base got expanded, and embraced the Whiteman’s contraption. A contraption we cannot make or repair displaced what we were manufacturing. A contraption we cannot own supplanted ours. Such missteps took place in our iron smelting industry and in all other sectors of the economy. And so, like the bat which is neither a bird nor an animal, we became neither here nor there.
But our neither here nor there-ness does not just stop with our industries. Our dream became to behave like the Whiteman whose morals we see as worthier than ours. Our cultures, traditions and norms we saw as archaic and were ashamed to showcase. Even in our dressing, what is “corporate” to us is Whiteman’s idea.
This hankering for the foreign we knew not, understood not and which was never in sync with our nature also reared its head in our political preferences. Agreed we were conquered and made to live under the conqueror’s will but we have gotten our independence and with that our thoughts, presumably. They did divide us because they never wanted us united, to begin with, but we should know that for our sakes, and forge a united front.
Before the advent of the colonialists, the various peoples that constitute today’s Nigeria were practising various forms of governance. We had our ways of administration; we had our leadership structures and our economic systems. Perhaps, had our march not been truncated by colonialism, we would have continued to improve a system that is natural to us and possibly even export it. Recent actions of some politicians in the United States of America show that their political interests are bigger than national interest; surely, we could have taught them a thing or two. There is little doubt that a homegrown political system would have served us better in our current confusing, seemingly hopeless and daunting circumstances as a nation.
Headlines3 years ago
Bombshell: How Corrupt Brigadier General Clement Apere Deliberately Sends Soldiers to Die in the hands Of Boko-Haram
National1 year ago
Nigerian Army Bans Another NGO from operating in the Northeast
Headlines2 years ago
Oil License Not Renewable-President Buhari
Opinion2 years ago
MAI MALA BUNI THE CELEBRITY OF THE MOMENT
Politics8 months ago
Ruling Borno is like Ruling a Small Country, I saw my children only 3 times in the first 65 days in office – Gov. Zulum
National1 year ago
Baga communities are now safe, return back home, operation lafiya Dole tells people of Baga and it’s adjoining villages
Opinion2 years ago
YOBE 2019: Why Maimala Buni Will Emerge Winner
Metro2 years ago
FMC Yola Jummat Mosque Is One Year: Time Utilisation, The Last Qutba