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11 “NO MORE” FOR 2013

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From all indications, 2012 was not a very good for many Nigerians. There were so many fatalities, including at least three fatal plane/helicopter crashes. We have not mentioned the countless road accident that claimed the lives of Nigerians. What about kidnapping, Boko Haram bombings, Mubi killings, UniPort 4, or the myriad of armed robbery cases.

On the political scene, we had fuel subsidy strike & investigation, pension scams and corruption scandals galore. We do not need a soothsayer or telepathic/ telescopic palm reader to tell us that for 2013 Nigerians do not want the same things. I may be late with my Christmas gift request for Santa Claus or Father Christmas. Therefore, I will instead put mine in the form of prayer requests, especially since my church and many other churches in Nigeria have started or are about to begin their annual 21-Day Fasting & Prayer programmes. As the Associate Pastor of Kingdom Family Chapel Asaba, I believe I have the permission of the General Overseer, Rev, John O. Nwosu to steal his proclamation of 2013 as “My Year of Manifestation.” In 2013, Nigerians expects the following 11 things to manifest in the remaining 11 plus months:

#1. No more epileptic power supply. We should be able to have constant and dependable power supply. In the area where I live in Asaba, it is getting better. I know that there will be light from 11pm to 4am and maybe 11am to 2pm daily, even if they take it 2 or 3 times in between. In other words, I am guaranteed five to 8 hours of electricity every day, absent some transformer problem. However, Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) can do better.

#2. No more Boko Haram. It is beyond cavil that the Boko Haram menace is the biggest security issue in Nigeria and a blight on the Jonathan administration. Whether we call it sabotage, conspiracy or give it a euphemistic excuse for a name, Nigerians, especially Christians in Northern Nigeria want to be able to go to church without worrying about bomb explosions or wondering if they should wear bulletproof vests under their clothes. For crying out loud, we are not in Iraq or Afghanistan.

#3. No more kidnapping. How is it that kidnappers have so much information about their victims and many of them go unpunished? There are some commonsense answers. So, as the rock song goes “We are not gonna take it. No! We no gonna take it. We not gonna take it anymore”

#4. No more armed robbery. What seems to amaze me is stories of how brazen some armed robbers are. They can rob for hours unchecked. It begs the question – where are the security forces? We need to equip our security forces and pay them better. Apparently, the President agrees and stated, at the just concluded national Security Summit, that the police will be better equipped.

#5. No more corruption. As part of this, we want to see actual prosecution and conviction of those that Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices & other related offences Commission (ICPC) believe were involved in corruption. Several cases gain publicity and then die off. The public needs to know the outcome of these high profile cases like the Dimeji Bankole case and the Farouk/Otedola scandals. Better yet, we should encourage prevention by putting in place policies that will prevent embezzlement. Let us remove the cheese from the front of the mouse.

#6. No more use of the phrase “dividends of democracy.” Most Nigerians do not invest in the stock market and clearly are not familiar with the word “dividends.” For the non-economists or those who are not stockbrokers, dividends is usually what companies pay shareholders annually when the company declares profit. This is obviously an elementary explanation so don't text or e-mail me with a correction. Anyway, good road are not dividends of democracy because we had them under the military. In fact, most of the roads in existence today were constructed by the military governments.

#7. No more use of the adjective “amiable” to refer to elected officials.

In fact, most people don't even understand what it means. When we use it before governors, it is not a good fit.

#7. No more arrogant and egotistical Pastors.

Okay, a lot of people will not like me for this one. In those days, “Men of God” were known for both their piety and humility. See the “ty” in both words (“To Yahweh”). Anyway, as a Pastor, I get annoyed when I see pastors seeking the best things and positions at events, forgetting that we are supposed to be servants. Pastors now want to be treated like politicians. They are no longer the “light” or “salt” of the world. To change Nigeria, we have to start with Christendom. I buttress my point by stating what happened to me at an event I was officiating. Unbeknownst to me, a pastor was one of those that had violated the rule by sitting where he was not supposed to sit. When I asked people to move, someone shouted and queried how I could ask a Man of God to move. In addition, God forbid if you serve other people before you serve pastors at an event. Let us be agents of change.

#8. No more uncorroborated media stories.
We in the media need to check and crosscheck our facts and stories before publishing. It will prevent us from misleading people or breaching our fiduciary duties. Of course, it goes without saying that money should never exchange hands in order to fabricate stories or obfuscate facts.

#9. No more medical treatment abroad for politicians.

Call it a violation of heir fundamental rights, but our politicians should not be flown abroad for medical treatments, especially at our expense. They are conceivably responsible for the dilapidated hospitals. So let them “enjoy” the fruits of their labor or the dividends of democracy here in Nigeria. By the way, does anyone know where Enugu State Governor went for treatment since September 2012 and how much it is costing the State? What about Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State? Hope these are not another miniature Y'Adua fiasco in the making.

#10. No more unemployment.
In its website, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) stated that the country's unemployment rate was 23.9% at the beginning of 2012. Someone may be thinking that you cannot eliminate unemployment. However, you can reduce it to a bare minimum, lower than the American rate of 7.8%. The teeming unemployed youth translates to security issues because they become easy prey for unscrupulous politicians and susceptible to religious extremism. In fact, the poorest States in the federation are where Boko Haram & crime flourishes. According to NBS, the Northern States (except for Niger) all have poverty rates of over 70% and unemployment rate of over 40%. Clearly, poverty breeds insecurity.

#11. No more artificial fuel scarcity.
I find it amazing that NNPC Mega station will not have fuel when the filling station next to it will have plenty at 115 Naira per litre as opposed to the official rate of 97 Naira. When I was growing up in America, a comedian Arsenio Hall use to talk about “things that make you go Hmm.” In other words, think about it.

Prof Alex Osondu Atawa Akpodiete is an author, Computer Scientist, Educator, Consultant, lawyer, Political Analyst, Public affair analyst & Social commentator. He has a Doctorate degree in Jurisprudence from the US, along with a degree in Computer & Information Science. He has lectured Law, Ethics and Security & Intelligence Studies at the University level here in Nigeria and US. He also writes for a state daily newspaper & national monthly journal. He currently divides his time between Nigeria and USA where he runs a PR and an international capacity-building firm ATAWA GROUP. Contact him on 08138391661 or [email protected] He is also on Facebook and you can follow him on Twitter.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Prof. Alex O. Atawa Akpodiete, Esq. and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Prof. Alex O. Atawa Akpodiete, Esq.