Since 1999 when we returned to democratic rule, the so-called youths have not only been relegated to the backseat in the scheme of things, but are also happy being on the backseat. The Youths (as at then) that agitated for the ouster of the military in 1999, along with those that have been in the corridors of power since the days of President Shagari in 1979 are still here calling the shots, while the youths of today that are supposed to be running the show for the good of Nigeria are cheering them in the comfort of twitter, facebook, nairaland, palmchat, 2go etc. For instance, the “young” Audu Ogbeh that was elected member and Deputy Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly in 1979, appointed minister of communication under Shehu Shagari in 1983, elected chairman of PDP in 2001 is still active today as the substantive minister of Agriculture. This is a man that first tasted political power 37 years ago when some of us weren’t even born. Are there no young and vibrant APC youth that is capable of administering the sector? Our country has been on comatose since the generation of the present political leaders took over in 1966/7 till this day, yet, the youths of our generation are less concerned.
What has the generation of present day political leaders achieved since they took over the mantle of leadership from their fathers? I dare say that Nigeria has been retrogressing under their leadership. They couldn’t fix power, roads, schools and hospitals. The structural defect of our country that they contributed to bringing to fore in 1966 is yet to be addressed. They have wasted billions of tax payers money and our oil wealth organising talk shops that they tagged conferences and confabs without result. They couldn’t even fix the security sector, nor provide jobs to the teaming unemployed and a conducive environment for business to thrive. Under them, nepotism not only became celebrated but has been officially adopted. This present generation of expired leaders are not only corrupt but have instituted corruption in the system. Tribalism is their forte. When you look at the prominent political parties including PDP and APC, the same tired politicians are holding sway and swapping offices. Their loyalty is neither to their party nor the country but only themselves. They couldn’t even enthrone a culture of free and credible election that meets minimum standard. This present day generation of leaders have nothing to offer, they have showed it repeatedly, tested and failed woefully.
Before I go on, I wish to remind our youths of today of the feat achieved by their once upon a time predecessor. In their youthful days, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Ernest Okoli, Kofo Abayomi, Hezekiah Oladipo Davies, James Churchill Vaughan, Oba Samuel Akisanya, Nnamdi Azikiwe, etc. formed the Nigeria Youth Movement in 1933, this brave young Nigerians not only stood up to the British against the ill treatment of Nigeria citizens, they also participated actively in politics, won elections and were the movers of our independence in 1960. As youngmen, they assumed leadership positions in their regions and at the federal level. They may not be perfect as leaders, but history will always be fair on them as contributors to an independent Nigerian State. Till date we still celebrate them.
When former president Goodluck Jonathan in January 8, 2015 said and I quote,
I believe that the young Nigerians are the future, we are finished. We believe that the youths will be the ones that will take us to the moon, my generation has failed because we could not take Nigeria to the moon. I don’t want to address old people like me because we (his generation) are spent already.
I shook my head in shame though I agreed with him that his generation FAILED Nigeria including him, I still questioned the rationality for saying that young Nigerians are the future except he wasn’t referring to today’s youths. How could Jonathan call this generation the future of Nigeria when the generation of youths today are future-less? Which future does a generation of N.F.A(No future Ambition) has? This is a generation that are hustling to be appointed Special Assistant on Twitter, Facebook, Nairaland etc under the guise of Special Assistant on Media while their mates in other climes are leading political parties and government institutions, calling the shots and developing their societies.
This is a generation that sit down to expect their fathers in NLC and TUC to help them lead protest on the street while they tweet the outcome and update their facebook, palmchat, and other social media status. This is a failed generation that wouldn’t have done anything in 2010 had it been their fathers Soyinka, Bakare and co didn’t protest calling for the elevation of then VP Jonathan. This is a generation that sat down with their #OccupyNigeria hashtag while their fathers were in Ojota calling for the reversal of the ill advised subsidy removal of 2012. This is a generation that couldn’t even protest the CBN fraudulent recruitment of children of the ruling caucus and demanding for its reversal and removal of CBN Governor but sat in the comfort of their parlours to tweet.and disturbing the peace of social network. This is a generation that have resigned to playing fighter dog for politicians in the two major parties but are never invited when the spoils are shared. What kind of generation would see nothing wrong in the high rate of unemployment(which didn’t start under Buhari administration) but only whine in their rooms, resorting to try your luck with football betting companies? Ordinary Youth Wing these political parties refused to allow, neither are they giving up slots for young people in party, elective and appointive offices.
Is it not our peers in Burkina Faso that successfully brought down TWO military dictators within one year with some losing their lives in 2015? Is it not our peers in Egypt and Tunisia that brought down their dictator leaders? Is it not our peers that are on the streets of Brazil calling for the ouster of President Lima and prosecution of former president Sylva? Is it not our mates that are leading parties in South Africa? Why are we so comfortable taking back seats? Why are we comfortable with the fact that the old men are recycling themselves and slotting their kids?
Some of us waste their MBs defending Jonathan and others but who remembered you when Jonathan’s son-inlaw was appointed SA to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross river state? Lai Muhammed is a minister and his son is a member of Lagos state house of Assembly, in the same house of assembly, Bola Tinubu has his nephew as member. TA Orji, a Senator has his son as Abia state house of assembly member, Atiku Abubakar’s daughter is a commissioner in Adamawa state, James Ibori’s daughter is a member of Delta state house of assembly, Admiral Nyako son is an incumbent Senator, the present Governor of Niger state is the son-inlaw to Abdulsallam Abubakar, Ibim Semenitari, the MD NDDC is the Daughter of Gabriel Toby, the former Deputy Governor of Rivers state under the disgraceful administration of Peter Odili. The men we devout our time and energy to defend are putting their kids to RULE us just as they ruled our fathers. The worse is Kwara state, where Saraki family has been holding sway since 1979. They allocated CBN positions among themselves but threw up police recruitment to us so that we will guard and serve their children in political offices and CBN, just as our fathers served them.
I am pained that i belong to a generation that pride in cowardice, suffering and smiling, and folly. It is a shame that this generation that I belong to is on the verge of entering into the disgraceful part of history as one that not only failed themselves but also failed the generation after them. This generation has successfully displaced the generation of the present day political office holders (who naturally are supposed to take back seat) as the most myopic and less visionary. This generation has successfully earned itself as a disgrace among its peers in Africa and the world at large. This generation I refer to the Coward Generation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CGFRN). If you are between 25 and 40 years of age, this piece is an indictment on you. Those below the said age should learn from those within the age and not displace them in their place of disgrace when they become of age.
Despite the venom poured on this generation (which is deserving), I still believe that hope is not lost for us to redeem ourselves and earn our place among noble generations. I believe that we can look into our challenges and setbacks and address them in order to move from where we are to where we hope to be. This I shall address in subsequent piece…
May God Bless Us All and Bless Nigeria.
No Plans To Relocate AFRICOM HQ To Nigeria Or Any Part Of Africa- U.S. Replies Buhari
The United States has said there is no plan to relocate its Africa Command from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any other part of Africa despite the worsening state of insecurity in the region.
The US gave the response barely two weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari appealed to the US government to consider relocating AFRICOM to Africa to assist Nigeria and other adjoining countries to combat worsening terrorism, banditry and other security crises.
The President made the plea in a virtual meeting with the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on April 27.
Germany-based Africa Command (AFRICOM) is the US military headquarters that oversees its operations in Africa.
Buhari’s request followed a series of recent military casualties in Nigeria’s decade-long fight against Boko Haram terrorists, fresh expansion of the insurgents’ bases to Niger and Nasarawa States, and heavy waves of abductions and killings by bandits in the North.
Buhari said, “The security challenges in Nigeria remain of great concern to us and impacted more negatively, by existing complex negative pressures in the Sahel, Central and West Africa, as well as the Lake Chad Region.
“Compounded as the situation remains, Nigeria and her security forces remain resolutely committed to containing them and addressing their root causes.
“The support of important and strategic partners like the United States cannot be overstated as the consequences of insecurity will affect all nations, hence the imperative for concerted cooperation and collaboration of all nations to overcome these challenges.
“In this connection, and considering the growing security challenges in West and Central Africa, Gulf of Guinea, Lake Chad region and the Sahel, weighing heavily on Africa, it underscores the need for the United States to consider relocating AFRICOM headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany to Africa and near the Theatre of Operation.”
However, the US government on Thursday ruled out any plan to relocate AFRICOM from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any part of Africa.
According to the United States Department of Defence’ Pentagon, previous studies have shown that the cost of relocating AFRICOM from Germany to Africa is very huge.
In an emailed response to The PUNCH, the Pentagon said although it would continue to value Nigeria and other countries in Africa as important partners, the American government would not consider relocating AFRICOM to any part of the African continent at the moment.
This newspaper had asked if the US would consider Nigeria’s request to relocate AFRICOM to the continent.
“It would be inappropriate to speculate on any future actions. However, at this time, moving this headquarters (AFRICOM HQ) to Africa is not part of any plans, but USAFRICOM’s commitment to their mission, our African and other partners, remains as strong today as when we launched this command more than a decade ago,” US Pentagon spokesperson, Ms. Cindi King, said.
King also ruled out any plan to consider Buhari’s request in an ongoing global US defence review.
She said, “Although there is an ongoing Global Posture Review, the relocation of Combatant Command headquarters is outside the scope of its assessment. In the case of AFRICOM, previous studies have concluded that the cost associated with the relocation of this headquarters is significant and likely to incur the expense of other engagement opportunities and activities that more directly benefit our valued African partners.
“We greatly value the partnership with Nigeria and appreciate President Buhari’s recognition of the United States’ positive contribution to African peace and security, as well as other regional partners that have made similar past pronouncements. The United States remains committed to continuing our close partnership with African countries and organisations to promote security and stability.”
It’s ‘near impossible’ for America to accept Buhari’s invitation –Campbell, ex-US ambassador
Meanwhile, a former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has listed reasons why it is “unlikely or near impossible” for the US government to relocate AFRICOM from Stuttgart in Germany to Nigeria or any part of the continent.
He said aside from the fact that the cost of doing so is very huge, the Nigerian military had proved to be a difficult partner for the US over the years.
China Urges U.N. States Not to Attend Xinjiang Event Next Week
China has urged United Nations member states not to attend an event planned next week by Germany, the United States and Britain on the repression of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang, according to a note seen by Reuters on Friday.
“It is a politically-motivated event,” China’s U.N. mission wrote in the note, dated Thursday. “We request your mission NOT to participate in this anti-China event.”
China charged that the organizers of the event, which also include several other European states along with Australia and Canada, use “human rights issues as a political tool to interfere in China’s internal affairs like Xinjiang, to create division and turbulence and disrupt China’s development.”
“They are obsessed with provoking confrontation with China,” the note said, adding that “the provocative event can only lead to more confrontation.”
The Chinese mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The ambassadors of the United States, Germany and Britain are due to address the virtual U.N. event on Wednesday, along with Human Rights Watch Executive Director Ken Roth and Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard.
The aim of the event is to “discuss how the U.N. system, member states and civil society can support and advocate for the human rights of members of ethnic Turkic communities in Xinjiang,” according to an invitation.
Western states and rights groups have accused authorities in Xinjiang of detaining and torturing Uyghurs in camps, which the United States has described as genocide. In January, Washington banned the import of cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang over allegations of forced labor.
Beijing denies the accusations and describes the camps as vocational training centers to combat religious extremism.
“Beijing has been trying for years to bully governments into silence but that strategy has failed miserably, as more and states step forward to voice horror and revulsion at China’s crimes against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims,” Human Rights Watch U.N. director Louis Charbonneau said on Friday.
Lawmakers Tensed Over Possible Boko Haram Attack On National Assembly
Lawmakers have been notified of a possible attack by Boko Haram insurgents on the National Assembly complex and other public buildings in Abuja, The media gathered.
Several members of the House of Representatives, on Wednesday, confirmed to Punch correspondent that they had been notified of the imminent attack by the terrorist group.
One of them, who is from a state in the South-West, said his presence would henceforth be limited on the premises.
“That is the security alert I saw today. I’m already moving out of here. I’ll only be around when there is a major reason to do so. Nowhere is safe in the country anymore,” he said.
Already the notice of the impending attack has been made available to the lawmakers.
The notice, a copy of which our correspondent obtained, was sent to the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, other principal officers and all members of the House.
The ‘security alert’, dated May 4, 2021, was issued by the Chairman of the House Committee on Internal Security, National Assembly, Mr. Usman Shiddi.
It was titled ‘Re: planned insurgent attacks on VIP locations, government facilities and assets in Abuja.’
The alert read, “I refer to the above subject of which a copy of the intelligence report from the Force Intelligence Bureau of the Nigeria Police Force in the National Assembly Complex has been made available to my office.
“The report indicates planned insurgent attacks by some elements of Boko Haram on some VIP locations, government facilities and assets in Abuja, including the National Assembly complex.
“In view of the above intelligence, I have considered it paramount to advise that all members should, henceforth, use the presidential gate for ingress and egress.
“This is to avoid the unforeseen congestions that are sometimes encountered at the main gates since such congestions could easily be the targets for these insurgent elements.
“Security agencies are, however, actively on top of the issue to unravel and to contain the intended menace. Accept the assurances of my highest regards, please.”
Security has been beefed up in and around the complex since Thursday last week.
For the first time, security operatives on that day checked vehicles entering the premises, causing traffic congestion especially at the third (and last) gate, a process that has continued to date.
Before now, the security operatives were only after the identities of drivers and passengers to confirm that they were staff members, legislative aides, journalists, or persons working in private businesses in the complex.
The media correspondent observed that soldiers joined the regular sergeants-at-arms and men of the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Services, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Federal Road Safety Corps that manned the gates.
Recall that the Governor of Niger State, Sani Bello, had on April 26, 2021, raised the alarm over Boko Haram terrorists taking over a part of the state, hoisting their flag in Kaure village from where they had made incursions into more than 50 villages.
Bello said Abuja was not safe, with Boko Haram’s presence in Kaure – a two-hour journey from the Federal Capital Territory.
He said, “I am confirming that there are Boko Haram elements here in Niger State. Here in Kaure, I am confirming that they have hoisted their flags here.”
The same day, Gbajabiamila had met with the President, Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, in company with the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa.
On the next day, the House held a long executive (closed-door) session to discuss the rising spate of insecurity across Nigeria, calling on Buhari to declare a state of emergency on security.
At the secret session that lasted over three hours, the lawmakers unanimously adopted a series of resolutions, one of which was that “the Federal Government should ensure the protection of national infrastructure and assets, particularly the Shiroro and Kainji Dams in Niger State.”
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