AirAsia QZ8501: Officials say debris is missing plane


An Indonesian helicopter crew retrieved some of the bodies, as Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports

Indonesian officials have confirmed that bodies and debris found in the Java Sea off Borneo are from AirAsia flight QZ8501 that went missing on Sunday, a statement by AirAsia says.

AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes said he was “devastated” by the news.

President Joko Widodo told media he had instructed all search teams to focus on finding the passengers and crew.

The Airbus A320-200, carrying 162 people from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore, disappeared on Sunday.

The head of Indonesia’s search operation, Bambang Soelistyo, says three bodies have been retrieved, not 40 as previously stated by naval officials.

Relative of victim at Surabaya airport - 30 December
Families had to endure an agonising wait for news

The discovery came on the third day of searching. A navy spokesman said rescuers were “very busy now” with the salvage operation.

‘End to uncertainty’

The AirAsia statement said the remains were found in the Karimata Strait, south-west of Pangkalan Bun in the Borneo province of Central Kalimantan.

Mr Fernandes said: “I am absolutely devastated.”

He told a news conference there could now be an end to uncertainty for everyone involved.

“This is a scar with me for the rest of my life,” he said.

“It doesn’t change anything. There is at least some closure as opposed to not knowing what’s happened and holding out hope.”

The AirAsia statement said family members would be assigned care providers and an emergency call centre would be set up for those seeking information.

BBC map showing last communication of AirAsia flight QZ8501
Widya, wife of the pilot, Iriyanto - 30 DecemberThe pilot’s wife (pictured right, with headscarf) was among those waiting for news at Surabaya airport
Indonesian air force crew carry what is believed to be slide from missing plane to military base in Pangkalan Bun - 30 December
Searchers have found what they think is the missing plane’s slide
Debris floating in the Java Sea
Pictures of debris were taken by search and rescue aircraft

In a news conference shortly after the discovery was confirmed, President Widodo urged relatives to be strong in facing “this difficult moment”.

“I have instructed all the teams to focus on finding the passengers and crew,” he said.

The first debris from the plane was spotted earlier on Tuesday. Pictures of debris and bodies were shown on Indonesian TV. Relatives of passengers on the plane watching the pictures were visibly shocked.

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At the scene: Alice Budisatrijo, BBC News, Surabaya airport

They had been hoping for a miracle, but in the end they had to watch the worst possible news.

Relatives of the passengers screamed and wailed as local television networks showed pictures of what was clearly a human body floating in the water.

Grown men put their hands to their faces. At least two people collapsed and were taken out of the room on stretchers.

The mayor of Surabaya, Tri Rismaharini, went from one crying relative to another, and at one point walked out with a grieving man, while telling him: “We don’t have a choice. Today this happens to you, tomorrow it may happen to me. Nobody knows. So you have to be strong. Our lives belong to God.”

It’s been a trying and exhausting wait for the more than 100 relatives who have been gathering in that room, but no-one could have been prepared for this ending.

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The head of the search operation, Mr Soelistyo, said that a shadow was also spotted under the water, which appeared to be in the shape of a plane.

All resources were now being sent to the area where the debris was found, he said.

Mr Soelistyo added that ships with more sophisticated technology were being deployed to check whether larger parts of the plane were submerged beneath the debris.

AFP journalist Bay Ismoyo, who took some of the first photos of the debris, said he saw “an orange object floating on the waters”.

Alice Budisatrijo witnessed relatives screaming and crying as they watched a news conference on screens in Surabaya

“We saw an unusual object floating. We tried to zoom in and we recognised what looks like a life vest.”

At least 30 ships, 15 aircraft and seven helicopters joined the operation when it resumed at 06:00 local time on Tuesday (23:00 GMT Monday).

The operation, led by Indonesia, includes assistance from Malaysia, Singapore and Australia, with other offers of help from South Korea, Thailand, China and France. The US destroyer USS Sampson is on its way to the zone.

On board the plane were 137 adult passengers, 17 children and one infant, along with two pilots and five crew.

Most were Indonesian but the passengers included one UK national, a Malaysian, a Singaporean and three South Koreans.

AirAsia previously had an excellent safety record and there were no fatal accidents involving its aircraft.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-30634081

Presidency: Jonathan pockets N4. 323bn as salary in 3 years

By Joseph Erunke

ABUJA – FOR presiding over the affairs of Nigeria as its president in the last three years, President Goodluck Jonathan has pocketed N4.323 billion as salary.

In the same vein, he had within the last three years,paid N626.422 million as tax to the country.

The years which the president earned the salary and paid the tax, according to document from the Federal Inland. Revenue Service,FIRS, he released to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, were 2011,2012 and 2013.

The document which was placed at the INEC office at Area 10, Abuja, showed that the president, in 2011,2012 and 2013, received the said amount.

The document showed that the president yearly salary stands at N14, 410, 290. 48 yearly.

The president also paid a total of N626, 422, 175 million as tax in the years under review.

The income tax clearance certificate from the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Abuja with Ref. No: ABJ/MDA/PAYE/09690150 and dated July 2 2014, revealed that in Year 2011, 2012 and 2013, he received a total of N4,323, 087,144 salaries.

But the total amount of tax paid for three years is N626, 422, 175

While he paid N1, 242, 670, 21 as tax in 2011, Jonathan paid N2, 510, 775.77 for 2012 and 2013.

The document tagged: “To whom it may concern”, indicated that the president’s source of income was “employment”.

The clearance which was stamped and received in the Legal Services Department of INEC on December 18 2014 reads: “This is to certify that Dr. JONATHAN, Ebele Goodluck (Presidency) has paid income tax assessment for the past three years.

Meanwhile, the Code of Conduct Bureau has cleared Vice President Namadi Sambo to contest the 2015 general elections.

The letter of clearance was issued by the chairman of CCB, Mr. Sam Saba, to Sambo for the 2011 general elections.

It reads: “This is to certify that Arc. Namadi Sambo, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has never breached any of the Code of Conduct for public officers as contained in 5th schedule to (sic) the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (1999), and has been declaring his assets as and when due.
He is therefore cleared to contest the 2011 Presidential election.”

– See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/12/presidency-jonathan-pockets-n4-323bn-salary-3-years/#sthash.WpjGKyvo.dpuf

Obasanjo wanted Third Term, says Segun Osoba

*Yoruba didn’t benefit from Obasanjo –Adebanjo
By Dapo Akinrefon

FORMER governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba faulted claims made by former President Olusegun Obasanjo of not nurturing a Third Term agenda saying that he (Obasanjo) agitated for it.

Osoba, who was chairman at the launch of a book titled: ‘Watch the watcher: A book of remembrance of the Obasanjo years by Yinka Odumakin’, also accused Obasanjo of allegedly rigging out Alliance for Democracy governors in the 2003 governorship elections.

The former governor also disagreed with some aspects of the book ‘My Watch’ authored by Obasanjo said he (Obasanjo) approached leadership of the AD to solicit for their support in 2003.

His words: “The Watcher (Obasanjo) wrote a book which Wole Soyinka has given his verdict. I am also going to give my verdict when I write my book.

That he (Obasanjo) does not know about the pact with the AD governors is far from the fact. To correct him, it was July 2002, he (Obasanjo) came the graduation at Unilag, we met at the office of the old Head of State. It was there that he almost went on his knees that we, the AD governors, should support his second term ambition.

“We (AD governors) told him that we were not the founding fathers of AD. We told Abraham Adesanya but he said he would never go to Abuja. He later agreed that he would meet us at the presidential lodge.

Abraham Adesanya never met him at Abuja but at the slightest notice Obasanjo came to Abuja. Adesanya told him (Obasanjo) that he heard he was going to ambush us (AD governors). Present that day was Bishop Gbonigi, the Awujale and Cornelius.”

Osoba, who has decamped to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) explained that “I am shocked and surprised that he wrote in his book where he said he knew nothing about the Third Term Agenda which he said God would have given him if he had asked God.”

Commenting on the book (Watch the watcher) he said “It is an event to put the records straight. Many aspects of the book written by President Olusegun Obasanjo needs correction. He was at the centre of all the negotiations to broker a political agreement between Alliance for Democracy and the Peoples Democratic Party in 2003. For him to say he knew nothing about it, I totally disagree with him because the finaly meeting with him was attended by highly placed Nigerians, a highly placed royal father, the Awujale, Pa Adesanya, Bishop Gbonigi, Bishop Ladigbolu, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, all the governors and a host of others.”

Speaking further, he said “for him (Obasanjo) to say that he knew nothing about the arrangement between AD for which he aborted and rigged the election is totally incorrect. The book he wrote, is too voluminous, I don’t want to comment on other aspects because it is a very heavy book to read.”

Yoruba didn’t benefit from Obasanjo –Adebanjo

Also speaking, Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo argued the South-West did not benefit from the eight year administration of the former president.

He said “for eight years, I challenge anybody to come and show what we (Yoruba) got when Obasanjo was at the helm of affairs.”

While he chided the former president, Adebanjo said “for Obasanjo, Nigeria never existed before he came to power. He has only one adviser, Matthew Aremu Okikiola Obasanjo.”

“Obasanjo believed he is not corrupt. But before he left office, he changed the constitution of the party so that he can become the Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT). Obasanjo has no conscience,” he said.

It’s a provocative book of memories–Prof Dara

On his part, the book reviewer, Professor G.G. Dara said “it is expected that the book will trigger more debates.”

Dara said “the author was motivated to write the book to challenge exaggerated claims of heroic grandeur and accomplishments made by the former President.”

ROLL CALL

Notable personalities present include Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko represented by Mr Shola Ibiseni; Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Jelili Adeshiyan; Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; FERMA chairman, Engineer Jide Adeniji, Professor GG Dara, Labour Party scribe, Mr Kayode Ajulo; Colonel Tony Nyiam (rtd), Col Bello Fadile, Mr Akin Osuntokun and Lagos PDP chairman, Tunji Shelle among others.

– See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/12/obasanjo-wanted-third-term-says-segun-osoba/#sthash.VpPQ6cm5.dpuf

Nigeria’s problems increasing –Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday admitted that Nigeria’s problems were increasing, instead of abating.

Noting that the situation would have been worse if not for the prayers of Nigerians, Jonathan said he was optimistic that God would, in the same way he tackled the problems of the Israelites, do same for Nigeria.

The President spoke   at the last Sunday of the year service by   the Christ Apostolic Church, Area 1, Durumi, Abuja.

He said , “One of the reasons I go round churches, at least in Abuja, is to   thank my brothers and sisters for the prayers they have been having for the country, the government and I.

“We are facing a lot of challenges now as a nation.   The challenges did not start today but somehow, instead of abating, the problems started increasing for one reason or the other.

“But I am convinced that it would have been worse than this but for your prayers. With the prayers you continue to offer to God, God will see us through.

“I always say that whenever I read the Bible, especially the Old Testament, particularly the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to the promised land, the kind of challenges they faced; their confrontations, the wars up to the days of King David, they were always fighting. You may need to ask, why should children of God   continue to be fighting?

“I believe what is happening to us is not even as serious as sometimes the passages we read in the Bible and God saw them through.”

Jonathan promised that despite the challenges, his administration would continue to do its best to reposition the country.

He said although the results might not be immediate, his government had introduced a lot of policies that would change the nation’s fortunes positively.

According to him,   if the steady progress is sustained, Nigeria will be a better place in the next four or five years.

He added, “The God we believe in will see us through. What I will request from you is to continue to pray for us.

“For me and members of my team, in spite of the challenges, we will continue to do our best.

“As a nation, we have not reached where we want to go, definitely not. But we are coming up with a number of policies.

‘‘Those who are taking pain to look at what we are doing will agree with us that if we progress as a nation steadily in this manner, in the next four or five years, this country will be a better place.

“Only a few days back, the Vice President was in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to flag off the Eastern railway. The Western one moving from Lagos to Kano has been running. We will start using the modern one from Kaduna to Abuja by the first quarter of next year and the one from Port Harcourt.

“When we were small, there were railways. But I believe most of our children of about 30 years only see railway as cartoons on the television but now, they are seeing it.

“We relied on agriculture before the oil boom or doom and all that died. We are reviving it and the whole world has appreciated that we are moving forward in agriculture.

“When something is started, people do not see the benefits immediately. We know that as a nation, we have a lot of challenges in terms of getting jobs for our young ones and we have set up a lot of programmes that can bring job opportunities for our young men.

“The result may not be obvious immediately but God willing, job opportunities will continue to increase and many more young people will be engaged.”

Jonathan reiterated his position that his administration was working hard to ensure that the effects of the drop in oil price did not affect the nation’s economy adversely.

He said since the nation survived a similar situation between 2008 and 2009 when oil price dropped to $40, it would survive the current one

He said although there might be temporary inconveniences, the situation would not bring the economy down.

Jonathan described 2015 as a tempting year for the country, saying elections year in third world countries is always a turbulent year with all kinds of predictions.

Despite the charged atmosphere ahead of the elections however, he said God would see the country through.

He urged the congregation to continue to pray for politicians for God to guide their utterances and actions.

The President observed that if indeed aspirants to various public offices were interested in the well-being of the people, they would not kill or maim people to win elections.

Jonathan said, “All that I will request of you is to continue to pray for   politicians for God to guide us in our utterances and what we do so that we will not sacrifice the lives of Nigerians because of our ambitions.

“Nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian. Pray for God to give us that wisdom and mind to make sure we conduct ourselves in a way that will not set the country ablaze because of our own personal ambitions.

“There are so many good Nigerians that can hold the offices we are occupying or aspiring to occupy. It is by   God’s plan that we are here in positions of authority.

“None of us should begin to think that he is the best person to occupy any public office. There are a thousands and one Nigerians that are more qualified than those   aspiring to occupy offices.

“The development of Nigeria is what all of us want. If every aspirant has the mind to develop the people, then you do not need to kill or maim people to get there.

“You do not need to kill the people you want to develop in order to get to the office you want except if you are aspiring for that office for a different reason.”

Earlier in his welcome address, the President of CAC Worldwide, Pastor Abraham Akinosun, had said that God had promised to make Nigeria a great nation.

Akinosun’s message was read by the Chairman of the church’s Federal Capital City Zonal Headquarters, Pastor Michael Olatunde.

He regretted that despite God’s promises to the nation, the devil had also appointed some people to truncate Nigeria’s progress.

He said such people and their activities were manifesting in various ways.

The clergyman said the position of such people who had vowed to make the nation ungovernable was not strange.

He recalled that Jesus Christ, Nehemiah and Ezekiel among other Biblical characters also faced stiff opposition from their people.

He urged Jonathan not to be distracted but to remain focused on rebuilding the country.

Jonathan was accompanied to the service by his mother, Eunice; his Chief of Staff,   Jones Arogbofa; his Chief Personal Physician, Dr. Fortune Fiberesima; and the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, among other top government officials.

Special prayers were made for the President, the country and the success of the forthcoming elections during the service held under tight security.

Gifts were also presented to the President by the church authorities.

http://www.punchng.com/news/nigerias-problems-increasing-jonathan/

Buhari Will Fix Nigeria — Latinwo

Buhari Will Fix Nigeria — Latinwo Group Captain Salaudeen Adebola Latinwo is a retired Airforce officer and specialist in aviation technology and management, as well as a security and communication expert. He is former Governor of Kwara State during General Muhammadu Buhari regime and highly disciplined. He maintains a very high standard of academic, security and economic professionalism. He was a key player during Buhari/Idiagbon administration. In this interview with GILBERT EKEZIE, he spoke on the state of the nation, political development, 2015 elections and way forward for Nigeria. Excerpts: How do you assess the state of the nation today? I would say that Nigeria is in what is called a, ‘High Equilibrum trap’. It could hardly produce enough food to feed its citizens. The essential infrastructure are completely decayed. The health sector is non-existent. Our roads are not motorable and there is non-availability of electricity. Also, the education system is in a completely collapsed state. Lives are very tough for many Nigerians. Also, the certain facts that are known to us and the international community is that we must accept that Nigeria is a deeply divided country and that there exist inter-civilization, disunity, massive corruption, political instability and serious economic problems. There is the Muslim North and the Christian South civilization division, which had divided Nigerian politics for decades, stimulated one major war of secession, religious conflicts, many coups, riots and other violences. The open and perhaps obvious situation is that Nigeria political leaders are locked in a bad marriage that they all dislike, but dare not leave, because it is impossible to reverse the situation. Moreover, Nigeria undoubtedly, is plagued by weak leadership, divisive ethnic politics, decayed government institutions, an oversized and ineffective bureaucracy, weak judicial system, lack of respect for the rule of law, weak security system and geographic constraints that may be unable to engage the international economy sufficiently to reverse it. Also, we have timid and weak private sector, negative capital flow a non-existing market for long term funds and abysmally low saving ratio and purchasing power which have made misery and poverty the companion of most Nigerians. Every warning indication in the cockpit of the Nation is flashing Red. We cannot pretend as a nation that these problems do not exist. But if we are determined to address them genuinely, we will definietly find a lasting solution. There’s anxiety all over. The less understood aspect of violence in Nigeria is the everyday threat that an increasing number of citizens are facing. Nigeria may continue to become far more dangerous as the supply of machine guns, rocket propelled grenades and mortars become easier to access. The increasing number of unemployed and impoverishment of the people will in turn increase the level of crime and general insecurity. Indeed, there is no reason at present to believe that the police and other security services will become more adept, especially given the funding, crisis and the level of training and commitment presently with the Nigerian police and the Nigeria Armed Forces. So, urgent decisions need to be taken fast, in order to save the ship of this nation from sinking. What then should be done to save the country from sinking? I believe that the most important function of government is to provide security for the lives and property of its citizens. In addition to that is the provision of infrastructure, like roads, health care, education and others. Nigeria will not sink anymore, if the government is more assertive, committed, disciplined and employ positive approach to issues, with adherence to the rule of law, human right, fairness and justice, creating a society where everyone will have equal opportunity to social upward mobility. Meanwhile, the decisions taken by past and present governments, the presence of trained professionals, strengths of civil society promoting democracy, capabilities of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Police and other security agencies have potentials to enhance better performance of the country and shape its future. Significantly, Nigeria is poorer today than she was at independence. But, if we are determined to live, work and suffer together, we will in no time, overcome all those difficulties. Reform efforts will continue to be complicated by structural obstacles, such as neighbourhood effects, covering cross boarder and spill over conflicts with other sub-Saharan African countries. Also, the path to greatness is peace, love, unity and accomodation. So, we need leaders who will see the country in the right courage to greatness. We have the potentials and ingredients to greatness, but it must be harnessed through purposeful leadership. Could you rate the Nigerian political institution? The political institutions in Nigeria have lost capacity, flexibility and legitimacy. Social and economic problems mound in the face of the state. Corruption, ineptitude, crime, violence flourish and fear poliferates. Some authorities wither and people retreat to informal areas. We are in a country where political power and national wealth become monopolized by increasing narrow elite, which substitutes force for dialogue, barganing and legitimate authority. Mass constituency becomes more alienated, angry and embittered. Contending elites manipulate ethnic, religion and religious cleavages in the struggle for power. And incidents of deadly conflicts escalate in number and scale. And the fight against corruption; is it yielding results? I will advise that the government should show and don’t tell-tracking corruption making reform real. No matter which syndrome of corruption reformers confront, at some point, they must assess the scope of trends of corruption problem and estimate the effect of their reforms. They must show political backers, officials, citizens, business people and potential wrongdoers that reform is for real. They also need sound evidence to decide which problems to attack, in what specific parts of government and using what tactics. If corruption control is to be sustained by citizens defending their own interests, the links between reform and the problem of daily life must become more than an abstraction. And, if those connections are not clear, collective action problems and low levels of trust, will likely inhibit reform. So, those seeking to check corruption need valid and reliable measures of corruption vulnerabilities and the effect of reform. From your experience as a security expert, why has it been difficult to check the excessess of Boko Haram? Well, Boko Haram or terrorists group that the government cannot properly or effectively deal with are described as non-state fighters. The appearance of non- state actors on the national scene have brought rapid growth of quasi-private armies and wild card military formations who consider armed conflict as legitimate business. Undoubtably, this means that new threats appear over the horizon, acquiring new military dimension. For the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents to be curbed, there should be conventional military strategy. The military is saddled with the responsibility of fighting external aggressors and not internal ones like the Boko Haram. The insurgents live among the people and are difficult to be fished out and attacked and that is why the Nigerian military have not succeeded in confronting them. However, the issue needs a different approach. The military must, therefore, re-group, reorganise, retrain and re-strategise to face the new threat to our nation. I am happy to learn that our military formations have already commenced action in this direction, what is left, and that which is important is for the civilian population to give their full support and assistance to the military, cooperate in all manners and provided useful and enlightened information to the military and the entire security operatives. Undoubtedly, the military is up to the task, and with the new approach, proccedure, tactics and strategy, they will overrun the insurgents. But, they need the full cooperation and support of the civilian populace. Also, we must realise that that terrorism cannot be eradicated by means of force alone, non-military means to control its feeding grounds should be explored. Such ground is provided by social and economic cataclysm; poverty, large-scale unemployment, armed conflict, organised crime and drug traficking and illegal and uncontrolled arms trade. Terrorism can only be fought by comprehensive means and in joint efforts. No nation on its own can secure its homeland or counter the threats of modern terrorism. But with concerted efforts, it will be easier. What are your expectations for 2015 elections? With the conduct and outcome of the recently concluded party primaries across the country, I expect that 2015 elections will be better than the ones we had in the past. People are beginning to understand the need for transparency and fair play in the political scene. One major thing I know is that Nigeria needs a new and authentic leadership in 2015; people of highest integrity, honour and commitment in building an enduring and organised society; leaders who have the courage to build industries, institutions and other establishments to meet the needs of all their stakeholders. Most importantly, those who recognise the importance of their service to the society. The destinies of Nigerians are in their hands. So, I expect Nigerians to rise and effect the necessary changes by voting for the right candidates during the 2015 elections. As someone who has worked with General Buhari, how would you rate his administration as Head of State? It was good. In fact, the coup against his regime is frequently inserted into a narrative of regrets, nostalgia and loss. The significant problems that we faced cannot be solved with the same level of thinking that created them. There was war against indiscipline, hoisting of flag, recitation of national anthem, environmental sanitation and agricultural programmes. Buhari’s regime was synonymous with war against indiscipline and Nigerians are aware that the country was well managed. Discipline, law and order were strictly maintained across the country. Could you highlight some of his pedigrees? In almost every nation, culture, religion and philosophy of effective living throughout the world, do what you say you are going to do, is recognised as an important value and a significant measure of trust-building behaviour in interaction with others. Your credibilty can only be built over time. And, it is built from the history of your words and actions. The Buhari I know is a man to trust at all times. Of course, trust is like an oxygene for a business. When it is in short supply, the effect for employees and customers alike could be like a loss of cabin pressure in an aircraft and never has the danger being higher than it is now in the viral condition of the twitter age. He is a true nationalist, an epitome of truth and firm in his decisions. Obviously, General Buhari is also courageous and believes in himself. Do you think Buhari is capable of giving Nigerians better leadership? Yes, he is. You see, when a handshake is given, it must be honoured at all costs. Though bargaining occurs only before a deal is agreed to, when you shake hands, the negotiation is over. As I rightly said, Buhari’s word is a great assest. Honesty is his greatest virtue, and with him as President, Nigeria will be better fixed. Your advice on the way forward for the country. For us to live as one, we need to show love between one another. The love must base on understanding, creativity, redemptive, goodwill for all men, irrespective of colour, tribes, religion and class. The love will seek nothing in return, rather an overflowing love. We must refuse to do anything that would bring down another individual or a group of people. Hate for hate only intensifies the existence of hate. And evil someone must have the belief and strong conviction to cut off the circle of hate and inject the very structure and powerful element of love. Nigerians need to be disciplined because no society and organisation can work effectively without applying discipline and orderliness as guiding principles.  The Sun.

Latinwo

Group Captain Salaudeen Adebola Latinwo is a retired Airforce officer and specialist in aviation technology and management, as well as a security and communication expert. He is former Governor of Kwara State during General Muhammadu Buhari regime and highly disciplined. He maintains a very high standard of academic, security and economic professionalism. He was a key player during Buhari/Idiagbon administration. In this interview with GILBERT EKEZIE, he spoke on the state of the nation, political development, 2015 elections and way forward for Nigeria. Excerpts:

How do you assess the state of the nation today?

I would say that Nigeria is in what is called a, ‘High Equilibrum trap’. It could hardly produce enough food to feed its citizens. The essential infrastructure are completely decayed. The health sector is non-existent. Our roads are not motorable and there is non-availability of electricity. Also, the education system is in a completely collapsed state. Lives are very tough for many Nigerians. Also, the certain facts that are known to us and the international community is that we must accept that Nigeria is a deeply divided country and that there exist inter-civilization, disunity, massive corruption, political instability and serious economic problems. There is the Muslim North and the Christian South civilization division, which had divided Nigerian politics for decades, stimulated one major war of secession, religious conflicts, many coups, riots and other violences. The open and perhaps obvious situation is that Nigeria political leaders are locked in a bad marriage that they all dislike, but dare not leave, because it is impossible to reverse the situation. Moreover, Nigeria undoubtedly, is plagued by weak leadership, divisive ethnic politics, decayed government institutions, an oversized and ineffective bureaucracy, weak judicial system, lack of respect for the rule of law, weak security system and geographic constraints that may be unable to engage the international economy sufficiently to reverse it. Also, we have timid and weak private sector, negative capital flow a non-existing market for long term funds and abysmally low saving ratio and purchasing power which have made misery and poverty the companion of most Nigerians. Every warning indication in the cockpit of the Nation is flashing Red. We cannot pretend as a nation that these problems do not exist. But if we are determined to address them genuinely, we will definietly find a lasting solution.

There’s anxiety all over.

The less understood aspect of violence in Nigeria is the everyday threat that an increasing number of citizens are facing. Nigeria may continue to become far more dangerous as the supply of machine guns, rocket propelled grenades and mortars become easier to access. The increasing number of unemployed and impoverishment of the people will in turn increase the level of crime and general insecurity. Indeed, there is no reason at present to believe that the police and other security services will become more adept, especially given the funding, crisis and the level of training and commitment presently with the Nigerian police and the Nigeria Armed Forces.

So, urgent decisions need to be taken fast, in order to save the ship of this nation from sinking.

What then should be done to save the country from sinking?

I believe that the most important function of government is to provide security for the lives and property of its citizens. In addition to that is the provision of infrastructure, like roads, health care, education and others. Nigeria will not sink anymore, if the government is more assertive, committed, disciplined and employ positive approach to issues, with adherence to the rule of law, human right, fairness and justice, creating a society where everyone will have equal opportunity to social upward mobility. Meanwhile, the decisions taken by past and present governments, the presence of trained professionals, strengths of civil society promoting democracy, capabilities of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Police and other security agencies have potentials to enhance better performance of the country and shape its future. Significantly, Nigeria is poorer today than she was at independence. But, if we are determined to live, work and suffer together, we will in no time, overcome all those difficulties. Reform efforts will continue to be complicated by structural obstacles, such as neighbourhood effects, covering cross boarder and spill over conflicts with other sub-Saharan African countries. Also, the path to greatness is peace, love, unity and accomodation. So, we need leaders who will see the country in the right courage to greatness. We have the potentials and ingredients to greatness, but it must be harnessed through purposeful leadership.

Could you rate the Nigerian political institution?

The political institutions in Nigeria have lost capacity, flexibility and legitimacy. Social and economic problems mound in the face of the state. Corruption, ineptitude, crime, violence flourish and fear poliferates. Some authorities wither and people retreat to informal areas. We are in a country where political power and national wealth become monopolized by increasing narrow elite, which substitutes force for dialogue, barganing and legitimate authority. Mass constituency becomes more alienated, angry and embittered. Contending elites manipulate ethnic, religion and religious cleavages in the struggle for power. And incidents of deadly conflicts escalate in number and scale.

And the fight against corruption; is it yielding results?

I will advise that the government should show and don’t tell-tracking corruption making reform real. No matter which syndrome of corruption reformers confront, at some point, they must assess the scope of trends of corruption problem and estimate the effect of their reforms. They must show political backers, officials, citizens, business people and potential wrongdoers that reform is for real. They also need sound evidence to decide which problems to attack, in what specific parts of government and using what tactics. If corruption control is to be sustained by citizens defending their own interests, the links between reform and the problem of daily life must become more than an abstraction. And, if those connections are not clear, collective action problems and low levels of trust, will likely inhibit reform. So, those seeking to check corruption need valid and reliable measures of corruption vulnerabilities and the effect of reform.

From your experience as a security expert, why has it been difficult to check the excessess of Boko Haram?

Well, Boko Haram or terrorists group that the government cannot properly or effectively deal with are described as non-state fighters. The appearance of non- state actors on the national scene have brought rapid growth of quasi-private armies and wild card military formations who consider armed conflict as legitimate business. Undoubtably, this means that new threats appear over the horizon, acquiring new military dimension. For the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents to be curbed, there should be conventional military strategy. The military is saddled with the responsibility of fighting external aggressors and not internal ones like the Boko Haram. The insurgents live among the people and are difficult to be fished out and attacked and that is why the Nigerian military have not succeeded in confronting them. However, the issue needs a different approach. The military must, therefore, re-group, reorganise, retrain and re-strategise to face the new threat to our nation. I am happy to learn that our military formations have already commenced action in this direction, what is left, and that which is important is for the civilian population to give their full support and assistance to the military, cooperate in all manners and provided useful and enlightened information to the military and the entire security operatives. Undoubtedly, the military is up to the task, and with the new approach, proccedure, tactics and strategy, they will overrun the insurgents. But, they need the full cooperation and support of the civilian populace. Also, we must realise that that terrorism cannot be eradicated by means of force alone, non-military means to control its feeding grounds should be explored. Such ground is provided by social and economic cataclysm; poverty, large-scale unemployment, armed conflict, organised crime and drug traficking and illegal and uncontrolled arms trade. Terrorism can only be fought by comprehensive means and in joint efforts. No nation on its own can secure its homeland or counter the threats of modern terrorism. But with concerted efforts, it will be easier.

What are your expectations for 2015 elections?

With the conduct and outcome of the recently concluded party primaries across the country, I expect that 2015 elections will be better than the ones we had in the past. People are beginning to understand the need for transparency and fair play in the political scene. One major thing I know is that Nigeria needs a new and authentic leadership in 2015; people of highest integrity, honour and commitment in building an enduring and organised society; leaders who have the courage to build industries, institutions and other establishments to meet the needs of all their stakeholders. Most importantly, those who recognise the importance of their service to the society. The destinies of Nigerians are in their hands. So, I expect Nigerians to rise and effect the necessary changes by voting for the right candidates during the 2015 elections.

As someone who has worked with General Buhari, how would you rate his administration as Head of State?

It was good. In fact, the coup against his regime is frequently inserted into a narrative of regrets, nostalgia and loss. The significant problems that we faced cannot be solved with the same level of thinking that created them. There was war against indiscipline, hoisting of flag, recitation of national anthem, environmental sanitation and agricultural programmes. Buhari’s regime was synonymous with war against indiscipline and Nigerians are aware that the country was well managed. Discipline, law and order were strictly maintained across the country.

Could you highlight some of his pedigrees?

In almost every nation, culture, religion and philosophy of effective living throughout the world, do what you say you are going to do, is recognised as an important value and a significant measure of trust-building behaviour in interaction with others. Your credibilty can only be built over time. And, it is built from the history of your words and actions. The Buhari I know is a man to trust at all times. Of course, trust is like an oxygene for a business. When it is in short supply, the effect for employees and customers alike could be like a loss of cabin pressure in an aircraft and never has the danger being higher than it is now in the viral condition of the twitter age. He is a true nationalist, an epitome of truth and firm in his decisions. Obviously, General Buhari is also courageous and believes in himself.

Do you think Buhari is capable of giving Nigerians better leadership?

Yes, he is. You see, when a handshake is given, it must be honoured at all costs. Though bargaining occurs only before a deal is agreed to, when you shake hands, the negotiation is over. As I rightly said, Buhari’s word is a great assest. Honesty is his greatest virtue, and with him as President, Nigeria will be better fixed.

Your advice on the way forward for the country.

For us to live as one, we need to show love between one another. The love must base on understanding, creativity, redemptive, goodwill for all men, irrespective of colour, tribes, religion and class. The love will seek nothing in return, rather an overflowing love. We must refuse to do anything that would bring down another individual or a group of people. Hate for hate only intensifies the existence of hate. And evil someone must have the belief and strong conviction to cut off the circle of hate and inject the very structure and powerful element of love. Nigerians need to be disciplined because no society and organisation can work effectively without applying discipline and orderliness as guiding principles.

The Sun.

Exclusive: Why I’ll Win This Time – Buhari

In the first interview he’s granted since he became the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), retired General Muhammadu Buhari opened up to Weekly Trust on a variety of past, present and future issues regarding his politics, military career, personal life and others. Herewith, are excerpts:

Weekly Trust: This is your fourth stab at the presidency. Is there any factor that makes you feel this attempt will be any different?
General Muhammadu Buhari: Yes. The first is the merger which gave birth to the APC itself. Since 2005, we realized that none of the opposition parties can go up against the PDP significantly. The party has no intention of ruling this country with justice, as we have seen in the sixteen years they have been around. For example, on the side of the economy, look at the Nigerian Airways, the railways and shipping line, where are they? Look at the expenditure on NEPA and the hearing conducted by the National Assembly on it. Then look at pension funds and the petroleum industry. The list is long.
There is no way they can tell you that there has been an honest attempt to punish corruption on a massive scale in this country. Secondly, out of ethical behaviour, Nigerian soldiers started granting interviews to foreign media, saying they were being sent to the warfront without proper weapons. And again the National Assembly attempted to conduct a hearing by going to find out what is being appropriated to the military or the Ministry of Defence for the last three, four years, which amounts to trillions of naira. And they invited the service chiefs or Chief of Defence Staff to tell them what is happening to the money, but that hearing was frustrated.
WT: You’ve been in the race for the presidency for over a decade now. Some people feel that as one of the pillars of the merger, you should have sacrificed your ambition so that a younger generation would aspire…
Buhari: I don’t want to personalise going for the highest office. If you could recall, I was being held on it by a number of people when I broke down in 2010, when I said after that attempt I won’t attempt again. But my supporters all over the country said since I didn’t say I have resigned completely from politics in the press statement I issued, I cannot refuse them. So my supporters ganged up and said I must compete. The party had not rejected me, either. An example is the just-completed primaries. If my supporters had not wanted me to attempt again, they would have voted me out. But you know the result, it was transparent. So since I didn’t resign from partisan politics, I felt I had a role to play to make sure this country is secure and efficiently managed.
WT: The current government has been criticised, even internationally, for under-performing. Do you think this would make coasting to victory relatively easy for you?
Buhari: Well, certainly they have made more than enough mistakes to be voted out. But most importantly, is for constituencies to be sufficiently mobilised to vote and make sure their votes count. We have the example of Ekiti and Osun, of recent. And we know that the only thing the PDP does is to rig elections, send compromised law enforcement agents to arrest opposition leadership, lock them up, then let them out after the elections. Also, they organise people to snatch boxes. All these have been displayed in court and in previous elections.
WT: Just recently the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had an interactive session with the media and a resolution reached was that the media cannot announce results. With your call that voters stand by results, are you comfortable with INEC being the sole announcer?
Buhari: I’m not comfortable with it at all. I will ask my party to send strong representation and if possible, mobilise voters to resist it. Results should be announced in every polling unit, collation centre, and local government and in every state, and then finally, it should be compiled and announced by INEC headquarters. In each polling unit, there are INEC representatives. Is it that they don’t trust the people they deploy?
WT: What would be the very first action you would take against insurgency if you are elected?
Buhari: First of all, I’ll find out from the main source, the law enforcement agencies their intelligence reports. What has been going wrong? How is it that fighting insurgents in one corner of Nigeria – the federal government, even with what is being voted for them – is asking the National Assembly to approve a $1billion loan to fight insurgency?
WT: As a retired military officer, with the benefit of hindsight, how do you feel about the state of the army today when you compare it to your time?
Buhari: Have you ever heard the armed forces individually meet with junior rank, giving interviews to foreign press, saying they were being pushed to the front without weapons? It never happened before now. And that was why the National Assembly attempted to conduct a hearing by digging into the budget of the Ministry of Defence over the last four years, and then tried to confront the service chiefs on what was happening. Like I said earlier, that hearing was frustrated.
If you go to any ministry or parastatal, two things you must get are administrative and financial institutions. If that is followed, soldiers wouldn’t have given interviews to foreign press because Nigeria is voting enough money for hardware and training. But the money is disappearing somewhere along the line.
WT: Still on insecurity, you have commented about the Chibok girls’ situation in the past. What would have been your approach?
Buhari: When the Chibok girls were kidnapped, it took weeks before the president even accepted that they were taken. I don’t want to believe the intelligence system of this country has collapsed so badly that a disaster of such magnitude could happen without the president knowing for that long. It’s unbelievable. And of course you can recall the drama with the First Lady. Of course, there is God. There has always been God and there always will be.
WT: Do you ever feel that, with the colossal problems Nigeria is currently facing, you would fall short of expectations?
Buhari: I have my ideas of the needful. But there will be a government in place. If under my leadership, it should comprise of knowledgeable, tried and tested people. As I said earlier, I don’t believe the intelligence community is not sending reports. They’re either being ignored by executives at various levels or we’re not working hard enough. But the important thing is to know the facts on the ground and work around the clock to make sure that you make progress as rapidly as humanly possible.
WT: Corruption is a hot-button topic in Nigeria and some of your backers may have related issues. Wouldn’t your hands be tied when trying to deal with corruption?
Buhari: I try as much as possible not to make myself a hostage. So whoever helped me, as you suggest, to become the party’s flag-bearer, I want to assume he or she did it because they want to give the party the opportunity to win next year’s election, not because they want to hide whatever they may have committed against their country.
WT: Speculation was rife when you picked your running mate, about APC chieftain Bola Tinubu forcing a candidate down your throat. How true is that?
Buhari: Tinubu didn’t force anybody on me. The system is absolutely clear. If your party chooses you, you have got the right to pick. The party picked me as their presidential candidate. There are so many considerations. Support for the party, its constituencies, and the character of the person you recommend. All you do is to ask for names from the party, and they go through the processes, taking into account constituencies in the six geo-political zones.
You can’t have the presidential candidate from the northern political zone and then the vice president from there. It’s not politically acceptable. The party gave me the names and I picked one. Even the PDP accused me for being incompetent, that it took me six days to do it. The APC’s isn’t automatic. We go through a system.
WT: How is your relationship with Tinubu beyond politics and party activities?
Buhari: He’s a committed party member. I think, if not for him and Chief Akande and some of us, the merger wouldn’t have taken place.
WT: Some see your choice of running mate, Osinbajo, as unusual. When did you meet him and why did he become your choice?
Buhari: It wasn’t out of the blues. Who was my last running mate? He was a pastor and a Yoruba man. In 2003 it was Chuba Okadigbo, a Catholic. In 2007, it was Ume-Ezeoke, an Igbo man, a Catholic. In 2011, it was Bakare, a pastor. There’s nothing unusual about them.
Frankly, I met him through [Tinubu]. He brought a team of press men who grilled us for six hours on a Friday. I had to beg them for a Friday mosque break and they allowed me to go pray and come back. He’s a professor of Constitutional Law, has been a Commissioner of Justice and an Attorney General. He’s an intellectual and has got vast experience. Who else do we have better than that?
WT: But there were speculations that Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State or Lagos State’s  Babatunde Fashola would emerge your running mate. Perhaps this is why your choice appeared unusual…
Buhari: To be fair, I defined the candidate’s right to choose his running mate, which is legal. Why should I be harassed for claiming my right? The party gave me the mandate.
WT: You are yet to articulate an agenda to Nigerians…
Buhari: Our manifesto is coming.
WT: May we have a preview?
Buhari: But I’ve already stated that there are two fundamental issues. All other things are under security. If you don’t secure the country, you’ll be wasting your time. The government has the capacity to do some things simultaneously. This is to stop corruption.
WT: What is your relationship with former Nigerian leaders, such as General Ibrahim Babangida, Olusegun Obasanjo and the rest?
Buhari: Obasanjo, of course, I competed against him in 2003 and he is still a member of the PDP. They are my biggest political enemies. I don’t think Babangida is an active member of the party like Obasanjo. We’re pressing our rights as Nigerians. Once we are out of uniform, we can pick a party of our choice. But whether in or out of uniform, everyone has the right to vote in his or her constituency. I don’t see anything between me and my former colleagues, senior or junior.
WT: People say you were dictatorial when you were Head of State, but the tune seems different today, that then it was Idiagbon who was behind that approach. What was the true picture of things then?
Buhari: Idiagbon, may his soul rest in perfect peace, was very hard-working and loyal. That was his fault, being loyal. He’ll take instructions from me and implement to the letter. And because he refused to smile when he was in office, and was not sparing anybody, they put most of the blame on him. Now that he’s not there and I’m alive, they are shifting the blame to me. He was a committed Nigerian. Idiagbon had been militarily following my footsteps. He was commander of 31 Infantry Brigade, now Mechanized Brigade, which I established after the war. When I left, he became the commander there. When I moved to the North-East, he moved to become Governor of Borno State. Historically, he has been following me in my profession.
I knew him a long time ago. It’s one of the things now being abused by mischief-makers about the whole Muslim-Muslim, Christian-Christian ticket thing. Idiagbon lived and died a Muslim. I’m still a Muslim. Nobody had ever talked about religion when we were around. Gowon was in charge of this country for nine years, thirty months of which was a civil war. All his commanders, Army, Navy, Air Force and Supreme Headquarters were Christians and nobody talked. When Abiola became a politician, he contested and picked his running mate Kingibe, a Muslim from Borno State. If there was justice, they won that election. But Nigerians now have certainly allowed their attention to be diverted from productivity to religious arguments and so on.
WT: What will you say to critics who translated your relationship with Idiagbon to say you’re weak?
Buhari: Give me the chance next year and see whether I’m weak or not.
WT: You just complained about how the society has been reduced to a religious and ethnic affair. What would you do if you become president come 2015?
Buhari: The way I’ll do it is by performance. It’s what is physically on the ground that matters, not what faith you practice. The constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria says you can belong to any religion or even choose not to. It’s your business. But the fundamental issue of Nigeria is security.
WT: (Cuts in) But that didn’t come to play in the process of choosing your running mate, Osinbajo as your running mate…
Buhari: You can’t absolutely ignore perception. At the same time, you’ll not allow perception to tamper with the reality on ground or social justice.
WT: A former associate of yours, Buba Galadima, said he left you because you reneged on your promise not to contest again. But here we are…
Buhari: Since I’ve gone back on what I said, the only thing for him and his followers is not to vote for me next year.
WT: If he comes back, would you accept him?
Buhari: He’s welcome.
WT: You left the army in 1985. What did you delve into after being released from house arrest?
Buhari: I went home and looked after my cattle.
WT: There are alarming statistics regarding youth unemployment in Nigeria. If elected, what exactly would be your solution?
Buhari: The problem is that every unemployed youth is frightened. And a number of people think we are sitting on a keg of gunpowder, which is true. But what can be done rapidly to assuage the situation. I think agriculture and solid minerals would quickly move them away from unemployment. Other things have to take time, because you need to rehabilitate the infrastructure, especially education. You don’t get qualified teachers overnight. We’ve to cultivate it by retraining them and make teaching attractive so that teachers would agree to go to the institutions. Then renovate the institutions. It is disheartening to see children in some local governments sitting on the ground under a tree with a makeshift blackboard. I think that is indefensible. There must be enough resources to put educational infrastructures on ground. That’s very important, as is healthcare.
WT: Should Nigerians expect to see the Buhari brand of justice when you come into power?
Buhari: I think the practical way of approaching corruption in this country – and I make reference to NEPA, the petroleum industry and the military – is to draw a line. Whatever is the cause, we’ll not interfere with the courts, except that we’ll stay on their backs. Let them treat corruption cases as best as they can. From the day we come in, for those who think the treasury is for their pockets, there will be legal implications. If you say you will start to investigate every corruption incident in Nigeria, it would not be possible. Most of the institutions have been compromised. The person you depend on to go and investigate may be corrupt also.
WT: What is your typical day like?
Buhari: I use between 5:00am to 5:30am to pray, after which I listen to Voice of America, then the BBC up to 7:00am. Then I enjoy the benefit of retirement and put in an hour or so of sleep, and then I come out and have breakfast. After that, it’s the office and there are usually those who have an appointment and those who don’t, waiting for me. That’s what takes most of my time. Now that I’ve got a ticket, we have to be busy building the structure on the ground because time is against us.
WT: What sport do you play?    
Buhari: I used to play squash and tennis. Now I walk.
WT: What is your favourite food?
Buhari: Tuwon Alkama.
WT: The young are constantly online these days. Will your presidency be social media-friendly?
Buhari: Yes. I want the government to get to the people. I want an honest assessment of our performance to be conveyed to the public.
WT: At 72, you’re still strong. What’s the secret?
Buhari: I think it’s the military training. I played a lot of squash and table tennis, too. Now I try to walk three times a week at least.
WT: There’s an impression in some quarters that you’re misunderstood. What can you say about that?
Buhari: I don’t think I’m misunderstood by most Nigerians. I’m misunderstood deliberately by paid agents of the PDP. That’s all I can say.
WT: What would you say is your philosophy?
Buhari: Social justice. From leadership of your family to whatever you become, make sure there is justice.

http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/weekly/index.php/top-stories/18584-exclusive-why-i-ll-win-this-time-buhari

Sharing Nigeria’s cake

 

A cake make to celebrate Nigeria's 54 years of independence - 1 October 2014
Nigeria marked 54 years of independence from the UK in October this year

In our series of letters from African journalists, Nigerian writer and novelist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani looks at the clamour for assistance that accompanies a politician’s rise to office.

The political party primaries in Nigeria have drawn to a close and voters now have a clearer picture of whose turn it might be to divide up the national cake after the elections in February 2015.

But the winning candidates won’t be the only ones taking their share of the country’s riches.

In Nigeria, news of a person’s success in an election often travels at the speed of lightning, over rivers and mountains and past fields and forests, to his kindred in all corners of the globe.

Those with no jobs believe their days of unemployment are coming to an end; those with no education think it will soon pose no barrier to climbing the corporate ladder; those in faraway lands begin plans to return home.

Soon, these kith and kin launch their pilgrimage towards the successful candidate.

They ring his phone; they send text messages; they knock at his gate.

They offer to help his campaign in any way they can; they organise prayer sessions for his victory, usually late at night in his living room.

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

‘Bitter tongues will wag’

A friend of mine who lives in Lagos told me last week that he was travelling to Benin city.

His friend had just “picked up” a spot in the House of Assembly there. Another person he knew was set for another top position.

“He’s a good friend of my elder brother in Florida,” he said. “I’ve already told my brother: ‘You’d better come down and rub minds with him and introduce us to him.'”

Another friend whose husband is a close associate of a winning candidate in one of Nigeria’s choicest states told me her phone did not stop ringing after his victory was announced.

People had been calling to offer congratulations. Indeed, even I had called for that very reason.

In Nigeria, the culture has always been that anyone who gets into power, who suddenly finds himself holding a knife with which to cut the national cake, must invite his clan to both slice and eat it with him.

Women dance to celebrate the arrival of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in Port Harcourt - 14 May 2010
Friends and family of candidates take to the streets to celebrate if their man is triumphant at the polls

The most unforgivable sin a politician can commit is to forget “his people” after he assumes office.

He must “remember” his sisters, brothers, cousins, nieces, nephews, in-laws, friends, schoolmates, and so on.

Preferably through contracts, appointments and jobs.

Failure to do so will lead to taunts and ostracism and on the day his tenure expires, he will find himself completely alone.

Long after his funeral, the bitter tongues will continue wagging.

Local history will forever record him as having denied his kindred their turn.

I have heard several amusing stories regarding the influx of people from the Niger Delta region into Abuja, the Nigerian capital, after their kinsman, Goodluck Jonathan, was elected president in 2011.

Outstretched palms

One of my favourite tales was told by my British-Nigerian friend who teaches in one of those Abuja schools where the children pay stupendous fees in dollars and make fun of their teachers’ cheap mobile phones.

She was shocked when a particular pupil, during a science lesson, seemed to know more about crustaceans than you would expect of a child his age in the city.

This child stood before the class and described in great detail how the creatures are caught, cleaned and cooked.

A Nigerian woman carrying her baby casts her vote at a polling station in Nigeria's presidential elections - 16 April 2011It will be tough for Nigeria to tackle its corruption problem while people demand rewards for their votes

At the end, my friend called the boy aside and asked how he knew so much about the topic.

The child explained that he had grown up in the creeks, where his family petty-traded crustaceans for a living.

That is why the news of a candidate’s potential ascension into political office stirs such joy.

In many parts of the world, it requires years of steady progress for one’s economic circumstances to radically transform.

Here in Nigeria, all it takes is an election, and a new political appointment. Suddenly, a child goes from capturing crustaceans in the creeks to an exclusive school in Abuja.

Voracious kith and kin are the main force behind Nigeria’s corruption problem.

Imagine the thousands lined up with outstretched palms behind each political office holder.

Try telling them that you intend to reform the system now that it is finally their turn to eat.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-30447166

Why You Should Sleep Naked

Girl-Sleeping

Over the years, researchers have studied sleep and have disclosed several benefits beyond providing rest for the body. They have also pointed out that it’s not just about sleeping, but length of time, temperature, position, foods and other factors can contribute to getting the best out of sleep time and reaping its numerous benefits. Recent studies have focused on how what one wears to sleep may affect his/her sleep and according to an international study by the U.S. National Sleep Foundation, sleeping in the nude has been shown to have numerous benefits. Experts revealed to Daily mail of UK how ditching pyjamas is the best.

For a good night’s sleep

Sleep experts agree it’s important to keep cool at night as your body (or ‘core’) temperature needs to drop by about half a degree for you to fall asleep.

The brain, driven by your internal body clock, sends messages to the blood vessels to open up and release heat.

“Your core temperature is at its highest at 11:00p.m. and its lowest at 4:00a.m,” said Dr Chris Idzikowski, Director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, Scotland, and author of ‘Sound Asleep: The Expert Guide To Sleeping Well.’

“If anything prevents that decline in temperature, the brain will wake itself up to see what’s going on, meaning you’ll struggle to get to sleep or you’ll have disturbed sleep.

“The advantage of sleeping naked is it’s easier for the body to cool and maintain the lower temperature the brain wants to achieve,” he said.

Disrupted sleep from being too hot doesn’t just mean you’ll get less sleep overall, but it might mean less deep sleep which is the most restorative type.

Deep sleep is key for memory consolidation and the production of growth hormone — important for cell repair and growth.

Stop infections

Wearing nothing to bed can help women avoid developing yeast infections, such as thrush, says Austin Ugwumadu, a consultant gynaecologist at St George’s Hospital in South London.

“Thrush loves warm, restricted environments. So, wear something loose or preferably nothing at all.

“If you wear something tight, it means less air gets to the area and you’re more likely to sweat, which can cause irritation,” he said.

Burn calories

There is an increasing focus on brown fat, a type of tissue in the body that may protect against weight gain.

While ordinary body fat piles on when we eat more calories than we burn, brown fat seems to burn excess calories to generate heat.

We know babies have lots of brown fat — they need it to keep warm — but studies have shown there are small amounts in the necks of adults too.

Experts believe that certain activities could switch on this fat, potentially helping to burn calories at a greater rate.

In a U.S. study in the journal Diabetes, researchers found that sleeping in a cold bedroom could activate brown fat in adults.

Five healthy young men slept in climate-controlled bedrooms for four months. For the first month, the room was kept at 24°C, then it was lowered to 19°C, then it went back to 24°C and for the last month raised to 27°C.

They ate the same amount of calories and their calorie expenditure and insulin sensitivity — how much insulin the body needs to keep blood sugar levels stable — were measured each day.

The results were striking. After four weeks sleeping at 19°C, the men had almost doubled their volumes of brown fat.

Tests showed they burned more calories throughout the day when their bedroom was cooler (though not enough to lose weight) and their insulin sensitivity had also improved.

Senior author, Francesco S. Celi, said the study showed that over time, sleeping in a cold bedroom could lessen the risk of diabetes.

Michael Symonds, professor of Developmental Physiology at the University of Nottingham and an expert on brown fat, says sleeping naked may be beneficial.

“Brown fat can produce 300 times more heat than any other body organ, meaning if you can keep it activated for a prolonged amount of time you’d be less likely to lay down excess energy.

“So, anything you can do to try to activate it, such as lowering the thermostat and sleeping in the cold, may be of benefit,” he said.

But room temperature shouldn’t be below a level at which you feel comfortable, otherwise you won’t sleep.

People who tend to feel hot at night and like to sleep naked, may have a high amount of brown fat, which causes them to feel warmer than others.

Lower blood pressure

Cosy pyjamas are tempting, but if you share a bed with a partner, going nude will generate a generous boost of oxytocin, a hormone that’s been shown to have a wealth of health benefits.

“It is triggered by closeness, particularly skin-to-skin contact,” says Dr Kerstin Uvnas-Moberg, a physiologist at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and an expert on oxytocin.

“Sensory nerves on the skin send impulses to the brain, triggering the release.

“When a baby is placed on its mother’s chest, the blood in mother and child starts to pulse with oxytocin,” he said.

Oxytocin has a protective effect on the heart, as it lowers blood pressure. It also boosts the immune system and reduces anxiety.

“But it only works if skin-on-skin touching is something you’re happy with,” he added.

Boost your love life

People who sleep naked have happier love lives, according to a survey of 1,000 British adults by a bedsheet company this year.

The study found 57 per cent of nude sleepers were happy with their relationship, compared with 48 per cent of pyjama wearers and 43 per cent of nightie wearers (onesie wearers were just 38 per cent).

Sleeping naked is a good strategy for those with body image issues, says Denise Knowles, sex therapist at counselling charity Relate.

“You can slip under the sheets and then take your clothes off, and then you can be touched, even if you don’t want to be looked at.

“Pyjamas might give the message ‘not tonight,’ but equally a lot of couples have a lot of fun taking each other’s clothes off,” she said.

http://leadership.ng/style/397916/sleep-naked

Dublin court rules pregnant mother’s life-support machine may be switched off

The High Court in Dublin ruled on the case after doctors sought legal advice on switching off life-support
The High Court in Dublin ruled on the case after doctors sought legal advice on switching off life-support

A judge in Dublin’s High Court has ruled that a life-support machine may be switched off in the case of a brain-dead woman who is 18 weeks pregnant.

The woman’s family had wanted her life-support machine to be turned off.

Doctors had not granted their wishes as they were unsure of the legal status of the unborn child under the constitution in the Republic of Ireland.

The woman in the case was declared brain dead on 3 December.

The court had heard that the chances of her unborn child being born alive were small.

‘Dignity in death’

Lawyers for the unborn child had told the court that it must be satisfied that there was no real possibility of the foetus surviving before allowing the machine to be turned off.

Lawyers for the Health Service Executive (HSE), the body which runs all public health services in the Republic of Ireland, had argued that it would be lawful to withdraw life-support in this case.

The woman is in her late 20s and has two other children.

The judge said that to “maintain and continue” the present support would “deprive her of dignity in death”.

“It would subject her father, her partner and her young children to unimaginable distress in a futile exercise which commenced only because of fears held by treating medical specialists of potential legal consequences,” he said.

‘Privacy’

Irish Health Minister Leo Varadkar said he would be carefully examining the ruling.

“I wish to convey my heartfelt sympathies to the family and partner of the woman at the centre of this case at this most difficult time – particularly given the season,” he said.

“This case and the judgment will need to be carefully examined before I can make any further comment on it.

“In the meantime, I would ask that the privacy of this family is respected, at this so difficult and challenging time.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30599063

I won’t have office for first lady – Buhari

by Abdulkareem Baba Aminu

General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd)

Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) retired General Muhammadu Buhari says he will not have an office for first lady if elected in next year’s election.
In an exclusive interview with Weekly Trust in Kaduna, Buhari said his decision was premised on the fact there is no office of first lady in the Nigerian constitution, just as there is no official role for presidents’ wives.
Rather, he said ministries which are constitutional should be allowed to play their roles.
“There is the Ministry of Women Affairs, and so on”, he said.
The APC flag bearer said women would however play very important roles in his administration.
“I was raised by my mother, as I lost my father when I was under six years, so I know what a woman can do if given the chance,” he said, adding that he sees them as his cornerstone.
General Buhari also spoke on the situation in Chibok, Borno State, where over 200 schoolgirls were abducted by the terrorist group, Boko Haram and remain in their captivity.
“Imagine a mother with a teenage daughter there and for seven months and has no clue where she is”, he said, noting that women’s effort in looking  after children, apart from the pain of childbirth,   aggravates the pain of losing a child.
“Roughly one year in their tummy and from the time they are born until they clock six, children tend to assume they know everything, but it is women, their mothers, who are responsible for them. I have the greatest respect for women,” he said.

https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/daily/top-stories/42969-i-won-t-have-office-for-first-lady-buhari