THE USE OF THE INTERNET, PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES

Springing up merely as a revolutionary idea in the year 1962, what is today known as the internet could not have been adequately conceived by someone a century ago. No one could have imagined a time when communication would be so straight-forward, a time when speaking to someone several seas away would be as easier than shouting out to your next-door neighbour, a time when time becomes more and stress becomes less – journeys that usually took weeks to complete now can be done with in split-seconds, thanks to internet technology.

The internet has been succinctly defined by ‘Webopedia’ as a global network connecting millions of computers. It allows for the swift exchange of information, whether written, audio or pictorial, between its users. The internet no doubt remains one of the most fascinating and highly influential inventions of the 20th century, with well over 2 billion beneficiaries world-wide. This truth is aptly captured in these words of Bill gates; ‘the internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow’. And this matter even becomes more interesting on realising the fact that it is something that is virtually free and which is under no monopoly. It is open to everyone, old and young, rich or poor.

Indeed, the internet has evolved significantly since its inception. No doubt, it has come with a lot of advantages, for all classes of people. For students, it has made research a lot simpler. I can only imagine how solving take-home questions and essaying must have been in the pre-internet years; herculean no doubt. Intelligence and visits to the library were then inseparable friends, but today, you can get as much information as you need to become a genius on a subject and to write a perfect thesis on a given topic, simply by paying Google a visit, anytime of the day. Websites such as Wikipedia, Gradesavers, Google Scholar and NOUN open courseware contain readily available free academic contents for willing readers.

Furthermore, the internet has also proven to be an indispensable tool to entrepreneurs. Why, because it provides the perfect platform to publicise any merchandise, no matter how odd. Some companies, in fact, depend primarily on the net for survival; companies such as Amazon, eBay, Konga, OLX and Jumia. These are establishments which allow persons to window-shop on the net and then order for any product at their convenience. With the internet, any Tom, Dick and Harry can make a living simply by harnessing the on-hand market inherent therein.

The internet is now part of our reality; anyone who attempts to do without it only does so at his own peril. It can both make and mar an individual; be him a politician, journalist, or even a fraudster.

It cannot be gainsaid that the internet has been a veritable social, academic, economic and political tool. It can be used for a plethora of things including seeking knowledge, fostering unity, tackling irregularities and creating awareness. However, it would be very deceitful to suggest that the use of the internet has been a jolly-good ride thus far, as that is far from the truth. The internet also has its downsides. Just like Jimmy Wales said on Al-Jazeera’s ‘Head-to-Head’, ‘the internet is a tool, it is not automatically a tool for good.’

One of the challenges posed by the use of internet is that of massive time wastage. This is because many pages and networks on the net are very addictive. After all, there is a good reason Blackberry used to be called ‘Crackberry’, alluding to crack cocaine. You want to keep liking, sharing, tweeting, commenting, uploading, fighting for ‘front-page’ or ‘first-to-comment’; and there’s really no end to it. Take a look at Nairaland, which has a feature of displaying the number of hours, days or months each member has spent on the forum, perhaps to serve as a yardstick of seniority. We find some who have spent as much as 6, 7 months, and they are still active. Any serious-minded business-oriented person will know how much can be monetarily achieved over this span of time.

People, most especially the youths, are ceaselessly glued to their browsing gadgets, just to know if anything new has come up. And sure enough, there is always something new. People even go as far as pinging in toilets, while crossing the street or even during interviews. That’s how bad the situation is.

What’s more, pornography and exposure to nudity is another key problem constituted by the internet. There are already tons of websites committed to misleading millions of people by exploiting their carnal weakness. It has been statistically proven that 12 percent of all sites are porn-oriented and 35 percent of all downloads.

The internet equally allows a fast spread of hate speech, propaganda and all sorts of fallacious information. A bored faceless individual sitting in his bedroom can just decide to cook up a story about Boko-Haram infecting beans and sending them to the South, a planned attack on the University of Ibadan, a suspected gay caught around town etc., and before you say Jack, the story goes viral and is believed by tons of people.

To conclude, I wish to re-assert that the internet is nothing but a tool, and like a knife, can either be used for good or evil. We must all be careful how we go about using the things the virtual world has got to offer, so that we may avoid hurting others, and at the same time, avoid getting hurt by others. Noam Chomsky once remarked that the internet could be a very positive step towards education, organisation and participation in a meaningful society. But then all that depends on us; for the internet can only go as far as we allow it.

THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE: PROGRESSION, WASTE OR WHAT?

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‘The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labour’.

These words of the French philosopher, Albert Camus, featuring the absurdist tale of poor Sisyphus inevitably bring to mind the pitiable story and futile circumstance of some 496 individuals, most of them advanced in years, who, on the 17th day of March, were ‘conscripted’ to partake in the on-going national conference.

President Goodluck Jonathan has said the conference is a medium where high-standing national stakeholders will ‘engage in intense introspection about the political and socio-economic challenges confronting our nation and chart the best and most acceptable way for the resolution of such challenges in the collective interest of all’. The question that crosses ones thoughts then is; what comes next after the resolutions have been charted?

It is visible to the blind and audible to the deaf that the conference is an utter waste. Reasons being: one, despite the fact that the whole venture is meant to be a service to the nation; and many of the delegates are pensioners with enough wealth to suffice their whole village and numerous progenies, the government still finds it appropriate to fund the conference with ridiculous generosity. At a time when various abandoned projects daily cry for attention, we find the government bold enough to spend as much as about 7 billion naira on a ‘talk-shop’.

If it were to end there, the situation may still be manageable as the funding, though unnecessary anyway, can be deemed a sacrifice for a worthy cause. But then, the whole process is just ‘vanity upon vanity’, waste upon waste, because the conference, from all indications, lacks any iota of efficacy. This is because the conference is not sovereign and fully autonomous. It is, at the end of the day, answerable to the President. In essence, whatever the resolutions reached, no matter how laudable, they are still subject to the whims and caprices of the government of the day which is the quintessential exemplar, if not origin, of the decay in the nation. This is a pointer to the sad fact that the national conference is nothing but a façade of seriousness and an incapacitated gathering of honest patriots. As Tony Blair aptly puts it; ‘power without principle is barren, but principle without power is futile’.

The national conference is not the panacea we seek. It was set up to find solutions in issues such as fiscal federalism, resource control, regional autonomy and security of lives and property. And even if it actualises this, it definitely cannot serve as a means of tackling political corruption, abject poverty, miscarriage of justice etc., as these are problems only sincerity on the part of the supreme authority in a country can solve. It cannot be, as the President has said, ‘a means of resolving differences and tensions that may exist in the country’, because the delegates were not popularly chosen. When it ends, it does not mean the average Ibo man will cease to hate the average Hausa man, or that the Yoruba Ijaw man will be comfortable handing his daughter in marriage to the typical Yoruba man.

Fred Allen once said that ‘a conference is a group of people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done.’ How true this is. The reports of past conferences and committees, a good instance of which is the National Political Reforms Conference constituted by Former President Obasanjo in 2005, are still gathering dusts wherever it is they were dumped.

To conclude, I would say the national conference can definitely not be regarded as a form of progression. In fact, it is a means for retardation. It is not a step in the right direction; instead, it is many steps on a vain path. It is not a thing of value; rather it is a big joke, a diversionary and pointless activity; a waste, of time, money and, most saddening of all, lives. To suggest otherwise is to live in fanatical denial.

INSECURITY AND AMNESTY: A JOLLY RIDE TO LAWLESSNESS

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ABDUL FATTAH ADEBAJO ADEKUNLE, LAW, 100 LEVEL

Winner of the 1434AH superior pen writing competition

[Published on pages 38 and 39 of Adh-Dhikr Magazine, February, 2014]

Written: several months back…

At times, I wonder how it is that we find ourselves in the current predicament. What have we done or failed to do as a nation that causes us to deserve this ‘punishment’? Are Nigerians that distinct from those in other lands, that we are bedevilled with insecurity?

It is quite demoralising that, today, the word ‘Nigeria’ is coterminous and equated with fear, insecurity and loss of lives. Nigeria is, today, a no man’s land. No tourist wishes to see our mouth-watering cultural artefacts. No company holder dares attempt to extend his investment to Nigeria. In fact, the ones already here are, so to say, running for their dear lives. That is not all; presidents and government officials now publicly announce their apprehension in paying Nigeria a visit. A quintessential instance is the recent case whereby President Obama of the United States visited African nations such as Ghana, Senegal, South Africa and deliberately put Nigeria aside.

The pivotal genesis of their lugubrious status-quo is not far-fetched. It all started with militant activities in the Niger-Delta region, which perhaps was made possible during the civil war of 1967-1970 that left myriad arms in the hands of individuals. As an offshoot, we also have innumerable cases of high-profile kidnappings; those being most rampant in the South East and South West on the other hand are infamous for harbouring petty thieves and notorious armed robbers. With the intervention of late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua’s regime, the militants in the Niger-Delta, and activities of MEND were considerably checked. This was mainly due to the introduction of amnesty, which is a process in which violent individuals are disarmed in exchange for education, employment or wealth. This recession brought untold joy unto the hearts of Nigerians, but little did we know that we are yet to get to the end of the beginnings of the burdensome quest.

In 2009, a group popularly referred to as Boko-Haram came into the limelight. Jama’atul Ahlis-Sunna lidda’awati wal-jihad (Boko-Haram) is believed to have originated from the activities of Maitatsine in the 1970s and 80s. its fame also rose when Mallam Alli was heading it around 1995. Thereafter, he passed the leadership to Muhammad Yusuf, a radical whose extra-judicial death in 2009 gave rise to the blood thirsty side of Boko-Haram and the death of more than 10,000 Nigerians – most of the innocent.

The federal government has for too long a time turned a blind eye to the activities of the sect, allegedly because some of the members have rich backgrounds with links to top government officials. However when the situation appears to be getting out control, albeit it never was in control; the government deemed it fit to offer a friendly arm to the sect; taking as precedent the Niger-Delta militants saga. This offer was, sadly and unexpectedly, harshly turned down, with the remarks that it is the government that actually needs amnesty.

Relentless, President Goodluck Jonathan shows that he is still ‘on top of the situation’ by putting to use another trick up his sleeve, a declaration of the state of emergency. This he did on May 14, 2013 in four states of the federation including Adamawa, Bornu and Yobe states. He imposed a 24-hour curfew in these states and sent thousands of military personnel, with the aim of fishing out and crushing the sect members. In addition, telecommunication and GSM were disabled to disorganise the sect. despite the strict measures, we still hear incidents of bombing (of religious institutions and market places); a very fresh case is the killing of juveniles in Yobe by setting a school ablaze. Up to 20 people were reportedly killed. Those who fled from the inferno were shotdown in cold blood. This is to point out that, truly, no real progress have been made.

All said and done, what can we say is the panacea to this precarious situation? The answer to this is very simple, but the implementation, not quite so. Indubitably, the root cause of Boko-Haram and other shapes insecurity is taking in Nigeria is simple and straightforward: poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. In the case of Nigeria, these are most obtainable in the North.

At this juncture, it would be apt to cite one of the remarks of a famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle – he said: ‘poverty is the parent of revolution and violence’. A hungry man does not think of anything but his hunger; and an idle hand, they say, is the devil’s workshop. The only rational explanation for a case in which a teenager in Lagos killed another individual with a knife for 10,000 naira is poverty.

I hereby submit that no level of military expedition or amnesty can salvage us from our predicament; Muhammad Yusuf was able to gain supporters and disciples because people were ignorant and because he strongly preached against corruption and police brutality. Thus, if we must restore sanity, safety and self-dignity in this nation we must set out to tackle corruption, fight illiteracy, and combat poverty with all available means, lest the aftermath becomes ineluctable: a jolly ride to lawlessness.

SOCIAL NETWORKS AND MUSLIMS

Photo credit: Kairay Media

Photo credit: Kairay Media

A MUSLIM:

He is someone who submits willingly and absolutely to the will of Allah, the almighty. He lives consistently by the tents of Al-Islam. He considers the sayings of Allah and his messenger in whatever he sets out to do.

In this age of rocket-science, there exist quite a lot of novel inventions which could only be dreamt about in the Prophetic era. This poses a challenge to present-day Muslims, as patterning their lives with that of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon his soul) would be somewhat difficult considering the quantum jump experienced in technological, environmental, and socio-economic spheres. One of such new inventions is the internet, and more specifically, social networks.

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NIGERIA HAS NOT FAILED!

NIGERIA HAS NOT FAILED

I was spreading my washed clothes one afternoon [23-04-2013] when ‘it’ suddenly crossed my mind…

It’s been repeated on innumerable occasions, through several means; television, radio, newspapers, social networks, bear parlours, collegiate debates, gossip joints etc. that NIGERIA is not only a failing nation, but an already failed and irredeemable one.

It is said that NIGERIA is a doomed country, a marriage grounded on duress and mistake, a company about to liquidate, a time-bomb waiting to explode. In fact, a particular politician has developed the habit of uttering the view that ‘the ship of the Nigerian state is heading towards {an avoidable} cataract, iceberg and oxbow lakes.’ And, fortunately or unfortunately, that is the view of the majority, excluding, of course, the ‘microscopic few’ who feed off the woes, hunger and misery of the masses.

However, putting sentiments aside, and focussing solely on reality; how true can we say this viewpoint is?

I’m sure it is obvious already, from the title of this write-up; that I disagree with the notion, even though I definitely am not part of the parasitic ‘microscopic few’. So what exactly is my thought respecting the issue.

I believe Nigeria is not a failure. But neither can she be labelled a success.         I believe just as we cannot call a particular course (or subject, as the case may be) a failure or success, we cannot call ‘Nigeria’ the same.

What am I trying to say? Only students fail or succeed. They fail or pass particular courses. And since Nigeria is not a student, {just a subject or ‘a mere geographical expression’ as Chief Obafemi Awolowo once put it} she has neither failed nor succeeded. Thus, the accurate proposition should not be ‘NIGERIA has FAILED’ or ‘NIGERIA is a FAILED STATE’; it ought to be; ‘NIGERIANS have FAILED NIGERIA!’

In school, we have easy courses {e.g. General studies, use of English etc.} and difficult ones {e.g. advanced mathematics, programming, physics etc.}. If we are to categorise Nigeria into one of these two broad types, she would be a very easy course to pass, easier than English language, easier than religious studies and even easier than ‘nullology’, the study of nothing, if there’s anything such thing. This is so because she has all the resources in the world to make even a dullard pass. Yet, Nigerians have failed her.

The question to ask now, I guess, is WHY? Why have we failed our fatherland despite her rich and copious mineral resources? Why have we failed our country despite her possessing a more than enough {fresh and youthful} human resources? Why have Nigerians failed Nigeria, even though she is very easy to pass? Why, oh why? Is it that we are that daft? I don’t know. But in a country where hundreds of people die daily in the most despicable ways and yet the number one figure finds it easy to engage in political crusades; a country where little children are being raped, sold, kidnapped and murdered, yet all the parliament thinks of is a raise in allocation; a country where genuine justice is incessantly slaughtered on the altar of cupidity; what else do we expect? It is not that we are too daft to succeed, just that everyone is too busy ‘surviving’ {even if it’s at others detriment}, to care about the greater good. We are too busy salivating for political appointments and governmental contracts to remember that others also deserve a good life; and even a life at all. We are too busy chasing money; fame and comfort that we fail to see the big picture, to be concerned about the verdicts of posterity.

And until that changes, we will keep failing this country. We will keep having a ‘carry-over’ of the vicious cycle of corruption and poverty and insecurity.

This article is not aimed at highlighting the many problems bedevilling this country, because we do not just already know them, we, as a matter of fact; sensually perceive them on a daily basis. Again, it is not that I have set out to postulate solutions to these problems, as an ignorance of the way-out of our predicament has never been a problem for us as well; it is the will cum the zeal to follow them through that we lack.

I have only thought it worthwhile to correct the popular, but erroneous notion that Nigeria has failed. No! She hasn’t; because she is inanimate, she is lifeless, and she makes no decisions to determine her well-being or otherwise.

It is we, Nigerians, that have failed the Nigerian subject.

It is we, Nigerians, that have failed the Almighty, our teacher.

It is we who have failed ourselves.

Nigeria has not failed; rather she is failed.

I KNOW MY COUNTRY

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I KNOW MY COUNTRY.

Entry for the 100-word TGIC Centenary essay contest.

Imagine a tall Iroko tree, cut away from its roots. It, inevitably, shall collapse, wither and die. Imagine the Nile without its source, the Kagera River. It loses its glory. Now imagine a man isolated in thought from his place of birth. What a pitiable spectacle, he is.
Nationality is but an eleven-letter word if it does not entail appreciation of one’s environment, acknowledgment of one’s birthplace and a familiarity with essential traits of our home.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo said that no matter how tall a tree is it cannot forget its roots. What excuse do I, still struggling on the ladder of life, now have to forsake my dear nation? None, I believe.

WHAT MAKES ME A TRUE NIGERIAN

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WHAT MAKES ME A TRUE NIGERIAN.

Written For The Diamond Bank 100-word Limit Centenary Essay Contest…

What makes a Christian a true one? Nothing but the mere fact that he believes in the Gospel of Christ and practises it to the letter. What makes a philosopher a true one other than the fact that he believes in the significance of truth, rational thinking and he acts in accordance with his deductions? So what makes a Nigerian a true one? The answer is simple: belief and practice.

I am a true Nigerian! Why? Because I belief in the unity, I belief in the struggle, I belief in the great future of this land. I am equally working tirelessly to make sure that my dream for Nigeria comes to light. So help me God.

CURBING IMMORALITIES AND DEGRADING TENDENCIES

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CURBING IMMORALITIES AND DEGRADING TENDENCIES.

More than 14 hundred years ago, the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) foretold of a time when there will be widespread corruption, men will mate with men and women with women, wars and homicides will be on the high[1], female singers and musical instruments will become popular, nations will be ruled by the worst of their citizens[2]. A time when adultery will be committed openly and with impunity[3]. A time of chaos, when normality will become abnormal, when good deeds will be frowned at and evils rewarded. A time, of ‘immoralities and degrading tendencies.’ Sad to say that that time is here. It is staring us in the face, poking its filth into our lives and it has, in fact, managed to gain our acquiescence.

These days, a lot of upsetting spectacles meet my eyes that I fear they will sink in, in shame and disgust. No day passes without one being greeted with depressing news reports. If it is not of a man getting married to a dog[4] or of a union of prostitutes fighting for their right to operate openly[5], it will be of ‘men’ of God and school principals defiling children young enough to pass as their grandkids[6]. The situation, no doubt, is not just getting out of hand; it has already got out of hand. However, is it so bad to have gone beyond redemption? To this, I reply again with the words of Prophet Muhammad: ‘there is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its treatment.’ [7] Thus, for every problem, no matter how seemingly gigantic, there is a solution. So what is the solution to this pressing problem? How may we curb the immoralities that have enveloped our society?

Allah says in the Qur’an; ‘surely Allah does not change a people’s lot unless they change what is in their hearts[8]. This verse is similar to the age-old saying that ‘heaven helps those who help themselves’, and it goes to show the importance of self-evaluation and individual development to societal reformation. And like a Greek philosopher [9] once said; ‘the city is what it is because our citizens are what they are.’ In other words, the change has to start from every individual, if we are ever going to get anywhere. We all need to collectively resolve to know what is evil, shun it and return to the will of our Lord.

In addition to this, the family also has a key role to play in this movement. It is widely acknowledged among scholars that the first agent of socialisation is the family. Whether a child will grow up to be an ‘Abu Bakr’ or an ‘Abu Lahab’ is primarily a function of his/her background. Today, the family system has become a shadow of its former self. We are in a world where fathers are busy 24 hours with sustaining the family. And mothers, whose duty it is to look after the home, are even busier than the family head. We are in a world where the closest companion of the young ones is not the chest of their mothers but that of teddy bears. We are in a world where majority of what children learn is got from social networks. In such a world, how can immorality not skyrocket beyond our control? Hence, we will achieve nothing unless we restore the efficacy of the family.

Finally, it is the case that all other establishments can merely recommend what is appropriate; only the government of the day that can enforce it. It only, can legitimately penalise what is wrong and harmonise legality with morality. If after all is said and done and we still have persons who contravene the common ethical code of the society, then the corrective hand of the law is needed to restore balance, effect justice and eradicate corruption from the land.

I wish to conclude by citing the flawless words of Allah (SWT) in the Holy Qur’an where He says: ‘Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what  is wrong, and believing in Allah[10].’ Therefore, each and every one of us must take it as our responsibility to do good, enjoin good and forbid evil. We must all strive to put an end to the immoralities and degrading tendencies in our society, lest they be the one to put an end to us.

REFERENCE
1. Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6903.
2. Narrated by ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, in At-Tirmidhi.
3. Ibn Hibban and Al-Bazzar.
4. California Allows First Ever state Recognised Human-Animal Marriage: http://nationalreport.net/california-allows-first-ever-state-recognized-human-animal-marriage/ and Woman Marries Dog In Romantic Wedding Ceremony: http://mirror.co.uk/news/wierd-news/woman-marries-dog-romantic-wedding-3225948
5. Nigerian Prostitutes Demand Recognition: NEWS EXPRESS and Nigerian Prostitutes Strike: “We Demand Our Rights”: Pulse Nigeria, http://pulse.ng/gist/we-demand-our-rights-id2713674.html
6. ‘Pastor Raped Me Countless Times’ – Victim Tells Court: Nigerian Eye, published March 4, 2014 and Pastor Rapes 9-Year Old Girl: P.M. NEWS Nigeria, published July 29, 2010.
7.Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 71, Number 582.
8. Qur’an, Surah Ar-Rad, 13:11. Translated by Yusuf Ali.
9. Dialogues of Plato.
10 .Qur’an, Surah Al-Imran, 3:110. Translated by Yusuf Ali.

FREE AND FAIR ELECTION IN 2015: HOW FEASIBLE?

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FREE AND FAIR ELECTION IN 2015: HOW FEASIBLE?

THE WINNING SPEECH DELIVERED AT THE FINAL ROUND, IN-HOUSE SPEAKING CHAMPIONSHIP, ORGANISED BY THE LITERARY AND DEBATING SOCIETY, FACULTY OF LAW, UI.

Duration: 5 minutes.

Date: 14th Day Of March, 2014.


It is indeed a historic day. A day that has been anticipated for four long years. A day that has generated much dispute and quarrels. A day, the only day, that sovereignty truly belongs to the people. On this day, we see people: male and female, juvenile and senile, children and their parents, the leaders and the led; everybody marching to the same location, harbouring the same intention, to engage in the same action. The day is the 14th day of February, a Saturday, the Election Day. And coincidentally, Valentine’s Day.

Good afternoon friends, brethren, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Adebajo Adekunle Adefisayo, and I am here at this event to share my thought on the question: FREE AND FAIR ELECTION IN 2015, HOW FEASIBLE?

Let us cast our minds back in history. On June 12, 1993, millions of Nigerians voted in an election that is widely acknowledged as the best in the history of the nation. The elections were properly planned and conducted. There were pre-election debates, making it easy to know the candidate who is truly brilliant and the one who only has a charming smile. People voted and when it was obvious that MKO Abiola would be declared winner, his rival, Bashir Tofa was said to have sent him a congratulatory message, showing a spirit of comradeship. Records have it that has the results were being declared, prices of goods and services were dropping. Some businessmen even refused to be paid because they were glad that hope has finally come to the people. Unfortunately, this memorable election was annulled by the then Military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida.

Fast-forward to 20 years later, elections in Nigeria are nothing to write home about. It is in Nigeria that politicians tear one another’s posters all because of power. It is in Nigeria that you will see a presidential aspirant being invited for a debate by the people and rather than grace the invitation, he decides to be grooving with a popular musician. Yet, he still wins. It is in Nigeria that you find party loyalists at polling booths offering ₦500 and cups of Garri to voters to ‘buy’ their mandate. It is in Nigeria that thuggery during the electioneering process is a normal thing. When thugs do show up at a polling unit, the voters gladly welcome them asking why they came late. In short, 20 years later, elections in Nigeria are increasingly decreasing in credibility. They are only getting better at getting worse.

Now, 2015 is in the corner. We are still seeing a lot of abnormalities in the system. The recent activities of INEC have brought little or no hope, most especially the November 16, 2013 gubernatorial election in Anambra state which left many in a state of utter confusion. Nigerians have lost confidence in the commission, so much so that we invented a new expression, Jega, meaning ‘the act of stupidly wasting the time of a lot of people whilst keeping them under the sun.’

But then, Professor Attahiru Jega has (has contained in an article of the Sun newspaper published Tuesday, March 11) promised us that new machineries are in place to prevent rigging in the coming elections. It will not be business as usual. Permanent voters’ cards will be distributed without which a person cannot vote. On getting to the polling unit, a machine will be present to verify the voter’s passport and fingerprint, making it impossible for politicians to buy voters’ cards.

That said, I believe that very soon, the story will change. I believe that the 2015 election will not only be free, it will not only be fair; it will be first class. In fact, better than what we saw in 1993. If only we are willing to sacrifice. If only our leaders will do away with thirst for power; if they will be concerned about the welfare of the people and not the well-being of their pockets. If they will be true statesmen and not politricksters, because as James C Freeman aptly said; ‘a politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation.’

In conclusion, I would say: Let us be positive thinkers. A positive thinker sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible. Let us be positive thinkers, and in essence great achievers, by seeing that freedom and fairness in the 2015 election is much feasible.

God bless Nigeria! God bless you!

Thank you!

MULTIPLE PARTY SYSTEM IS BETTER THAN BI-PARTY SYSTEM FOR THE NIGERIAN POLITICAL ARENA

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THIS IS A DEBATE PRESENTED AT UCJ’S 2ND FRANCIS EGBOKHARE INTER-PRESS DEBATE COMPETITION

TOPIC: 

MULTIPLE PARTY SYSTEM IS BETTER THAN BI-PARTY SYSTEM FOR THE NIGERIAN POLITICAL ARENA

 DURATION: 3 MINUTES.

DATE: 31ST OF JANUARY, 2014.

VENUE: GAMALIEL ONOSODE’S SEMINAR  ROOM, MELLANBY HALL, UI.

Joseph Joubert said, ‘it is better to debate a question without settling it, than to settle a question without debating it.’

Greetings, Ladies and Gentlemen. Adebajo Adekunle is my name. And I am here, on this august occasion, as an ambassador of the Mellanby Hall Press Organisation.

I will be speaking in defence of the submission: Multiple Party System Is Better Than Bi-Party System For The Nigerian Political Arena.

So what is my justification for holding this conviction.

First and foremost, the multiple party system does not limit the voters’ choice. Voters are given a wide range of candidates to choose from in line with the ideals of democracy, liberty and justice. As aptly summarised in the words of Thomas Sowell, ‘the most basic function of government is to provide a framework of law and order, within which the people are free to choose.’ Ladies and Gentlemen, do we call it freedom when you are asked to choose between Starcomms and MTN? Do we call it freedom when you are offered admission only at Igbinedon university and University of Maiduguri? Do we call it freedom when you are given scholarship to study either in Syria or Somalia? Do we call it freedom when you can only choose between two political parties? When you are compelled to pick ‘the lesser’ out of two evils? When we can actually choose the best out of many ‘goods’. No we do not call it freedom! Why? Because Pars libertatis est non liberum, partial freedom is no freedom at all.

Secondly and in addendum, the two party system and Autocracy, dictatorship and totalitarianism are sons of the same mother. This assertion has anchorage and is substantially validated in a scenario that played out in the first republic of Ghana, when the late President Kwame Nkrumah used the Preventive Detention Act to arrest and detain members of the Opposition United Party, leading to the gradual dismantling of the opposition, and virtually turning Ghana into a one-party state.

Finally, the multiple party system is natural, legal and recognised by the constitution of this country, which states in Section 40 that: ‘every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular, he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests.

To conclude, all I am saying, my elite addressees, is that to have just two political parties in a political entity such as this will only, as a matter of certainty and inevitability, cast the political arena of the country into a governmental instability, administrative despondency and electoral melancholy. Nigeria is a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-tribal, multi-dimensional, multi-directional, multi-faceted, multi-racial, multi-purpose, multi-vocal, and multitudinous nation. Tell me, what better party system will suit our political arena, if not the multi-party system?

I rest my case!