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Femi Fani-Kayode: June 12, Democracy Day and Nigeria’s dance of death

Today is June 12th, our nation’s Democracy Day and I have some home truths to tell.

The struggle for June 12th was indeed a noble, worthy, cataclysmic and monumental one. It was also something of a nightmare which littered our fields with many corpses and soaked the very foundation of our nation with blood, sweat and tears.

I can confirm that because I was deeply involved in it and for many years I, along with many others, fought for it’s actualisation.

Many were martyred, many were jailed, many were tortured and many were compelled to flee into exile.

Great essayists, keen minds and profound writers and thinkers like Professor Adebayo Williams, Professor Wole Soyinka, Mr. Gbolabo Ogunsanwo, Justice Adewale Thompson and the great Chinwezu kept us going, fuelled our courage, stirred our passion, inspired our spirits and ignited souls with their powerful essays which we read eagerly and voraciously wherever we found ourselves in the world.

This was an intellectual, spiritual, physical, emotional and psychological conflict and struggle and we threw everything that we had into it.

Chief MKO Abiola was our hero and leader. He was the symbol and rallying point of the struggle and both he and his wife Kudirat sacrificed their lives for it.

I commend the Buhari administration for naming June 12th as our nation’s Democracy Day and I believe that Abiola deserves it. Yet this noble gesture, as commendable as it is, may well be too little and too late.

I say this because the Nigeria of today is the Nigeria of Buhari and not the Nigeria of Abiola. And this presents us with a very different set of challenges which have resulted in a far greater existential threat to our country than the annulment of Abiola’s June 12th presidential mandate and his subsequent murder ever did.

Consider the following. In Buhari’s Nigeria the President is from the core Muslim north. The Senate President is from the core Muslim north. The Chief Justice of the Federation is from the core Muslim north.

Again in Buhari’s Nigeria every single security, intelligence, investigative, military and para-military agency in the country except for the Navy is headed by a northern Muslim.

This begs the question: do the southerners and indeed the Christians have any place or any meaningful stake in Buhari’s Nigeria?

Yet it does not stop there. In Buhari’s Nigeria the core north says “no” when we say stop the genocide. They say “no” when we say restructure. They say “no” when we say establish a federation. They say “no” when we say establish a confederation. They say “no” when we say stop the hegemony.

They say “no” when we say Nigeria is a secular state. They say “no” when we say stop the Fulanisation. They say “no” when we say stop the Islamisation. They say “no” when we say Nigeria belongs to us all.

They say “no” when we say the northern minorities can lead the nation. They say “no” when we say there are many in the south that can govern the country.

They say “no” when we say Nigeria is not an appendage of Saudi Arabia. They say “no” when we say we are equal regardless of tribe or faith.

They say “no” when we say free Leah Sharibu. They say “no” when we say we are not their slaves. They say “no” when we say we demand a referendum.

They say “no” when we say we want to leave the marriage and break the union. They say “no” when we say stop playing this dangerous music. They say “no” when we say stop indulging in this dance of death.

They say “no” to everything and to everyone that seeks to resolve our differences in a reasonable and peaceful manner.

And so it has been for the last 59 long and turbulent years of our existence as an independent state and sovereign nation.

Little did we know that in 1960 we had merely replaced our external British colonial masters with a new set of internal ones.

We locked ourselves into a strange and deceitful web and became enmeshed and entangled in a complex catalogue of self-induced and self-inflicted woes.

Today we are a people under occupation and our land has been desecrated by the precence of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of extremly violent, dangerous, well-armed, blood-lusting, blood-crazed and blood-frenzied terrorists and killer herdsmen who are just waiting for the signal from their masters before they unleash unimaginable horror, terror and hell on our people.

Must we wait until we are slaughtered like flies and buried in mass graves, like the Biafrans, the Bosnians, the Tutsis, the Jews, the Congolese, the Armenians, the Red Indians of North America, the Aborigines of Australia, the Incas and Aztecs of South America, the Ouigas of Mynmar, the Yazidis of Syria and Iraq and countless others, before our eyes open and we demand to leave this tinderbox?

Can anyone blame Prince Adekunle Odunmorayo when he said, “The demand for restructuring is cowardly, useless and unachievable. Damn any restructuring. We want out of this charade. We want a new nation: we want Oduduwa”.

The Prince, who is my kinsman and a proud son of Ile-Ife, has spoken the minds of millions.

Yet it does not stop there. Permit me to add the words of one of the greatest, most moderate, most conservative and most respected leaders of our nation who fought to keep Nigeria together during the civil war, who has dedicated his entire life to that cause and who has had the privilage of leading the country on at least two separate occassions.

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Education

How ASUP reacted to Buhari’s assent of Polytechnic Amendment Bill

The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) on Wednesday lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Polytechnic Act Amendment Bill into law.

It’s National President, Mr Usman Dutse, spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Wednesday, while reacting to the signing of the bill into law by the president.

Dutse said the union was happy that the bill was finally signed, hoping that all agencies concerned would commence its implementation immediately.

He said the law when implemented, would bring development into the system, minimise internal challenges and conflicts in the sector and also increase efficiency in operations.

Dutse said the law would also minimise government’s interference and improve democracy in the sector and industrial harmony.

“We are happy that finally, the bill has been signed; and we thank God Almighty for this great feat we have recorded in the sector.

“The law is a paradigm shift in the polytechnic sector; it will address many challenges bedevilling the sector.

“We appreciate President Buhari for assenting to the bill because we made series of efforts in the sixth and seventh assembly, but all the efforts ended without any result.

“We thank God that this time, we were able to achieve something, and we believe it will be a paradigm shift in the sector.

“The law will bring development into the system, minimise internal challenges and conflict in the sector; it will bring about increase efficiency in operations, minimise government interference and improve democracy in the sector

“I want to encourage all stakeholders to implement the law. We are calling on all the agencies to immediately commence implementation.

“We are appealing to all the agencies concern to do the needful without further delay,” he said.

Dutse urged the Federal Government to also continue with the efforts and give more attention to the sector.

He said that the Polytechnic Act was just one of the many agitations and demands of the sector, urging the government to meet other demands.

“We are calling on the government, to without further delay, release the approved funds for the NEEDS assessment in all polytechnics, so that with the review of the law, everything will be complemented.

“The NEEDS assessment is to ensure a sustained and effective intervention in the infrastructure and other needs of our institutions, and it is long overdue.

“A good law without good infrastructure in the polytechnic will not yield the desired result; so we want government to improve infrastructure facilities in the sector.

“We also want government to meet all other demands which include reviewing the Memorandum of Action, release of the revitalisation fund, non-payment of salaries by some state governments, payment of CONTISS 15 arrears and HND/BSc dichotomy, among others,” he said.

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Education

Osun Polytechnic: Students accuse management of insensitivity, ineptitude

As the crisis at the Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, persists following the death of an HND one student, Aminu Shehu, the students of the institution have carpeted the management of the school for what they termed insensitivity on their part.

The Students, led by the President of the Students’ Union Government, Comrade Bolaji Ezekiel alleged that the inherent level of insensitivity exhibited by the school authorities was responsible for the death of their colleague.

Ezekiel, who addressed newsmen at the NUJ Correspondents’ Chapel, Osogbo, the Osun State capital on Wednesday also frowned at the state of infrastructure of the citadel.

He further accused the management of misleading the general public through different contents in the media, saying that was not the true account of what transpired.

According to him, the destruction of property at the school’s clinic, during the protest that greeted the incident was not carried out by the union, saying the protest was hijacked by miscreants who attacked the building and looted some equipment.

“We are bold to say that the management has been misinforming and making attempts to incite the general public against the students.

“It is on that basis that we considered it paramount to set the record straight, and inform the public that the deceased was rushed to the school health centre some minutes before 5pm, in which the medical personnel at the clinic said they have closed for the day.

“After rejecting the student, they did not also make the clinic ambulance available to convey the deceased to another hospital within the town. We have to carry him on motorcycle.

“Unfortunately, he could not make it to the hospital, he died few minutes after leaving the school premises”, he said.

The students’ leader, however, condemned the action of the school authority suspending activities of the union, arguing that there was no justification for proscribing lawful students’ association.

He also urged the investigative panel set up by the school management to be objective, fair and just in its recommendations and expose students culpable in the crisis.

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Crime

300-level UNIBEN student commits suicide ‘over breakup with boyfriend’

The corpse of Miss Christabell Omoremime Buoro, aged 21, a 300-level student of the department of Medical Laboratory student, University of Benin (UNIBEN), was on Tuesday evening discovered in her hostel flat at Plot 4 Uwaifo lane, Newton street, Ekosodin area, behind the university fence.

A source in the compound (name withheld) told DAILY POST, that the dead body of Miss Christabell was discovered after she allegedly took some deadly substance to end her life. It was gathered that the undergraduate linked her suicide to her breakup with her boyfriend.

The source disclosed that an empty sachet of Klin detergent was found in the spot where she took her life.

According to him, “A small girl of that age will take her life all because of one boy. The policemen that came to evacuate the body were very angry after reading out laud the note she dropped.

“Thank God that she even dropped a note, if not the roommates would have been in hot soup, because investigation would have began from that point.”

Meanwhile, police officers at the Ugbowo police station have invited the two person for questioning over the content of the letter.

Rumour circulated yesterday that Christabel mixed the deadly insecticide, popularly called Sniper with Sprite drink, and reportedly left a suicide note where she stated that she was about taking her life because the guy she loved didn’t love her in return after her boyfriend broke up with her.

When contacted on the phone, the university PRO, Mr Michael Osasuyi, told DAILY POST exclusively that the institution is waiting for a detailed briefing concerning what really happened since the incident did not happen within the school premises.

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