On Saturday, September 18, 2021, the President of the Nigeria’s Senate, Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan, was garlanded with the chieftaincy title of Akorewolu Iyin by the Oluyin-in-Council, led by Oba Adeniyi Ajakaye.
The event portrayed so many things to the emerging politics in the country, especially at this time when tension is high and pulsating due to ethnic division, hatred and distrust in Nigeria. This chieftaincy title was more of a handshake across the Niger and ways to mend the cracked walls and unite Nigeria.
However, the most exhilarating aspect of the event was the accolades showered by Lawan on the Senator representing Ekiti Central Senatorial district and an indigene of Iyin-Ekiti, Opeyemi Bamidele, describing him as one of the most dependable and compassionate leaders he had ever met. Senator Lawan made it clear that Senator Bamidele’s constituents had not made any mistake by electing him as their representative.
Lawan, who represents Yobe North, said: “Senator Bamidele is a man who values integrity, hardwork, honesty and openness in dealing with people and issues. He is a reliable representative of the people. If you give him any task, you should rest assured that he will do it well. He is a dependable ally in the Senate and I congratulate his constituents for having this worthy personality representing them.”
With this, it was clear and evident that as decadent as leadership had been in Nigeria, some leaders are still very reliable and Senator Opeyemi Bamidele is one of them. And no matter what anyone thinks, this pronouncement would still resonate while determining Ekiti leadership in future election.
Looking at the event by from a larger spectrum, Lawan at the ceremony divulged his lamentation and frustration about the most visible and seemingly invincible twin problems pummeling Nigeria, which are disunity and insecurity.
Indisputably, Lawan’s elaborate and colourful honourary chieftaincy ceremony was facilitated by Senator Bamidele, who is an illustrious indigene of the town.
Periscoping what transpired at the occasion and the emotion-laden tone with which Senator Lawan spoke, one could decipher that he was deeply worried just like other members of the Senate at the ceremony.
Some pundits, who have penchant for rushing into hasty conclusions on issues might read political meanings to the ceremony because of the presence of All Progressives Congress(APC) heavyweights like Senators Opeyemi Bamidele, Basiru Ajibola, Hon. Sola Fatoba , Deputy Governor Bisi Egbeyemi and others at the occasion.
In actual fact, the happenings there vividly negated the foregoing. Bigwigs at the occasion dropped their sentiments and operated as one, which they believed could be upgraded to higher pedestal to rescue Nigeria from the dungeon.
To demonstrate that the ceremony was more of a unification agenda, rather than politics, Lawan stormed the town in company of over 30 Senators, including the PDP federal lawmakers from Enugu, Senator Chukwuka Utazi and Senator Kola Balogun from Oyo State, among other top Nigerians from the corporate and traditional circles.
Having a deep retrospect of the entire scenario, one might be convinced that it was another demonstration of handshake across the Niger. It could also be perceived as one of the instruments to unify Nigeria and mend the widening gulf currently creating cleavages due to distrust caused by widespread insecurity, which had left scars of suspected ethnic cleansing and profiling.
It was a unanimous verdict by all political juggernauts across party lines and traditional rulers from South West, Southeast and Northern extractions, as well as the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Farouq Yahaya, that the event represented a unifying platform for confidence and trust building, and that Nigeria could subdue all its challenges with all hands on the plough.
Lawan, who is Nigeria’s number three man, consented to the fact that the country’s challenges have become so noticeable and threatening the corporate existence of the Nigerian nation. He warned about the imminent crash of the country, if the problems are not resolved in time to save Nigeria from impending cataclysm.
As stroppy and convoluted the problems seem to be, the Senate President sounded like incurable optimist. Lawan spoke confidently that Nigeria shall overcome and rise to global reckoning as one country that is investment-friendly, free of ethno-religious crises, political upheavals and all sorts of insecurity.
He said with proactive actions by all ethnic nationalities and dropping of toga of ethnicity and hatred, killings, maiming, kidnappings and terrorism shall be roundly uprooted and defeated in Nigeria.
Making direct allusions to spiralling terrorism and kidnapping incidences across the six geopolitical zones, the top government functionary urged Nigerians to perceive security as a collective battle, rather than a sectional one.
The Senate President made it clear that no part of the country can unilaterally solve the crises ravaging the whole nation, except the citizens come together in unity to face whatever challenge they have headlong.
Lawan stated that the country should return to that era of unity, oneness and greatness, when things were done without ethnic bias or bigotry, operated religious tolerance , eschewed political bickering and embraced equity, equality, justice and fair play .
The Senate President canvassed for strong legislative and executive collaborations to be able to tackle our challenges. He said while the legislature works hard to pass cogent bills against the scourges, the executive must also muster the political will to implement such without bias. He described this as the best way to put Nigeria on the path of greatness and full recovery.
Contrary to the position being touted by Nigerians that the federal legislature was a mere rubber-stamp and onlooker and playing no role to abate the multifaceted crises pummeling the nation, Lawan disclosed that his colleagues have done creditably well in this regard and that he was very proud of the giant leaps and mileage they have covered to put Nigeria on the path of greatness.
The Senate President paid glowing tributes to Nigeria’s founding fathers like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Sir Ahmadu Bello, for having a clear vision that Nigeria must stand united and be the best in Africa.
Besides the foregoing, Lawan revealed that those leaders had a strong and unflagging belief that Nigeria should not only be the Africa’s giant, it should also compete globally in terms of politics, security and economic survival.
He said: “The Ninth Senate has done what we need to do to make Nigeria great. Our leaders who set a vision for the country came from different constituencies, backgrounds, religious inclinations, but they had a vision that Nigeria should be best in Africa.
“So many challenges were faced, but those leaders dealt with some of them and subdued them. Other subsequent leaders also had a vision to make Nigeria a country that will be progressive and develop.
“Like our founding fathers did, we are also dealing with these challenges despite our political, ethnic and religious differences. Now, we are facing security challenges all over the country. Political, religious and traditional leaders must come together. Whether the problem is predominant in the Northwest or Northeast or Southwest or Southeast, all hands must be on the deck to resolve them.
“As a matter of urgency, we should come together as a people and deal with these challenges. No part of Nigeria can entirely face the problems facing the country and tackle them all.”
Talking about effective representation Senator Bamidele has offered in the Senate, Lawan said: “The Senate had passed a bill establishing Medical University here in Iyin-Ekiti through a bill sponsored by Senator Bamidele. I will make sure I lobby President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the bill so that the university can take off in time.”
Bamidele spoke in similar fashion. The Senator said the fact that Lawan, who is from the Sahel Savana part of Nigeria, was being honoured in Ekiti in the thick forest of Southwest connotes that all Nigerians must relate seamlessly without boundaries.
Bamidele added that the country’s founding fathers could have found it so herculean to actualise indepedence for the country in 1960, if ethnic, religious, insecurity and political cards were allowed to dominate the polity.
“In the pre-independence era, our leaders didn’t play up ethnic and religious sentiments. They operated the same vision, which was to make Nigeria gains self governance for the benefit of all and sundry.
“Unless we go back to that spirit of oneness, it would be difficult for us to overcome our challenges and move on. All the major and minor ethnic groups and political parties must reflect the same vision, which is to raise the standard of living of all Nigerians through effective politics that can transform the economy.”
Bamidele added that giving effective representation should also be a focal point to shore up dividends of democracy to already despondent Nigerians, so that the leaders can regain that trust from the citizens for maximum support.
Sequel to this, Bamidele told his constituents that he would continue to work hard to attract dividends of democracy to Ekiti State in a manner that would guarantee peace and good lives through job creation for the unemployed youth and offering of hope to vulnerable Nigerians.
“As an insider in the Senate and one of those chairing pivotal committees, I know that our members are committed to rescue Nigeria from this parlous state. None of us is happy about the killings and general insecurity in the land. We are all bothered and burdened by it and we are using the instrument of legislation to fight the terror groups.
Celebrating Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele: A Pillar Of Progress In The 9th
By Victor Alade
As the curtains draw close on the remarkable journey of the 9th Senate at the Nigeria National Assembly, it is only fitting to acknowledge the outstanding contributions and unwavering commitment of Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele to the success and growth of this distinguished assembly. Representing Ekiti Central Senatorial District, Senator Bamidele has been an integral part of the 9th Senate, leaving an indelible mark on the legislative landscape of our great nation.
HITHERTO, MAKING THE SENATE WORK
When the 9th Senate was inaugurated, it faced an enormous task of overcoming the perception of being a “rubberstamp” to the Executive. However, Senator Bamidele, with his exceptional leadership and unwavering dedication, played a pivotal role in stabilizing, adding value, and legitimizing the Senate as an independent and effective arm of government.
His immense contributions have been instrumental in transforming the Senate into a proactive and robust institution that diligently carried out its legislative duties.
As the outgoing Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Bamidele has played a critical role in advancing the cause of justice and human rights in Nigeria. He has also championed several bills that have had a direct impact on the lives of Nigerians, including the Whistle blower Protection Bill, the Family Support Trust Fund Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, and the National Human Rights Commission Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, among others.
Senator Bamidele was instrumental in the passage of several other crucial bills that have impacted positively on the lives of Nigerians, including the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2019, and has made significant contributions to other bills such as the Tertiary Education Trust Fund Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
Throughout his tenure, Senator Bamidele displayed an unparalleled commitment to fostering good governance and accountability. His sponsorship and support of numerous bills, such as the Public Private Partnership Bill, 2021, demonstrated his unwavering resolve to drive economic growth, create employment opportunities, and enhance the welfare of Nigerians. His deep understanding of the legislative process and his ability to build consensus among his colleagues further solidified his reputation as a trusted and influential lawmaker.
A BASTION OF HOPE FOR A NEW NIGERIA.
As we usher in the 10th Senate, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele track record and experience make him a formidable force for progress and stability. His active involvement with the Stability Group, a coalition committed to promoting inclusivity and diversity in the Senate leadership, further underscores his dedication to ensuring balanced representation for all citizens.
With his vast knowledge, exceptional leadership acumen, and unwavering commitment to service, Senator Bamidele is poised to play a crucial role in the success of the incoming Senate. His ability to bridge divides, foster unity and promote good governance positions him as a beacon of hope in steering Nigeria towards a prosperous and inclusive future.
Beyond the walls of the Senate, Senator Bamidele has been a champion of youth empowerment and women’s rights. Through his various empowerment initiatives with which he provides scholarships to indigent students, he exemplifies his commitment to education and human capital development.
The Iyin Ekiti born Senator understands that investing in the youth is crucial to unlocking the potential of our great nation and creating a sustainable future.
Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele’s illustrious contributions to the 9th Senate have been nothing short of remarkable. His unwavering dedication, progressive mindset, and commitment to the Nigerian people have left an indelible mark on the legislative landscape.
As the 10th Senate takes the reins, we have every confidence that Senator Bamidele’s visionary leadership will continue to inspire and drive positive change in Nigeria.
Let us celebrate Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, a pillar of progress in the 9th Senate, and support his unwavering commitment to building a prosperous, inclusive, and united Nigeria.
-Victor Alade writes from Akure, Ondo State
Shock in Nasarawa Community As Dead Man Walks Out Of Casket At Point Of Burial
• Says I saw heaven, deceased childhood friends, ex-girlfriends
The Gidan Angalu community in Toto Local Government Area, Nasarawa State was thrown into shock penultimate Tuesday with the ‘resurrection’ of a native doctor at the point of burial two days after he was certified dead.
Fifty-nine-year-old Godwin Ugeelu Amadu had been confirmed dead by doctors at a private hospital at about 6 am on September 5, 2022, following which he was covered up and wheeled into the mortuary as doctors and family members awaited the arrival of his Abuja-based eldest son, Mr. Jacob Amadu.
Since the deceased native doctor was said to have left an instruction with his children that he must be buried not later than three days in the hospital before burial and he must not be embalmed with Formaline, arrangements were said to have been made for his burial two days later.
To the utter shock of Amadu’s children, relatives and sympathisers, however, the native doctor rose from the casket he was kept in as arrangements were being made to take his corpse to the graveyard, causing the crowd that had gathered for his burial to run in different directions.
The ‘resurrection’ of Amadu two days after his ‘death’ turned him into an overnight celebrity as people came from far and near to confirm what had happened.
Sharing his experience in an interview with our correspondent, Amadu, who said he has abandoned his career as a native doctor to become an evangelist, recalled that before his sickness and eventual ‘death’ on September 5, he had enjoyed good health and fully attended to patients who came from far distances to his village.
But sometime in July, he began to feel pains in his chest and legs. He said his legs were swollen and he tried treating himself as a native doctor but there appeared to be no improvement, prompting his two eldest children based in Abuja and one of his daughters based in Lafia to rush him to the Federal Medical Centre in Keffi.
At the hospital in Keffi, he was admitted for two weeks after which he was discharged and certified fit. But a week after he returned home, he developed severe chest pain.
He told his children who had gone back to their stations not to take him to the hospital again and also told them repeatedly not to keep his corpse longer than two or three days before burial.
With his condition getting worse, however, his children defied his instruction and returned him to a private hospital in a nearby community where he could get preliminary attention before he would be transferred to the Federal Medical Centre in Keffi where he had been treated before.
There, doctors battled to save his life before they thought he had given up the ghost and prepared him for burial.
Also speaking with our correspondent, the eldest son, Jacob, who said his father was declared dead while he was travelling from Abuja to see him on his sick bed in Nasarawa State, said: “I got to the hospital at about 10 am on September 5 and the mortician at the hospital wheeled out the trolley containing my father and unveiled his face for me to see, and it was indeed my father.”
“We advised the hospital not to embalm him because he actually told us repeatedly not to embalm him when he dies and to bury him immediately rather than keep his corpse inside a room.
“So we hurriedly left for the village to mobilise young men to help dig his grave so that we could bury him the second or third day as he had wished.
“On September 7, we brought his corpse to the village in a casket to bury him and sympathisers around the community were crying while others assembled in different locations discussing the sad event of his passing.
“While his body had been displayed in an open roof where he normally attended to his patients as a native doctor, the children brought the casket and put his body inside, preparatory for his burial, but he suddenly doctor rose from the casket.
“We were in the village when we suddenly saw the casket shaking and eventually fell and my father woke up to the surprised of many people in the village. A lot of the men and women who had gathered ran away, believing that it was his ghost.
“I summoned courage as a man to walk up to him and got a seat for him to sit on. He was not talking.
“I later held his hand and led him to the bathroom. He had a bath and after a few hours, he requested for food. He ate and then relaxed. “In the evening of the next day, he started talking a little and on the third day, he tried to narrate his experience.”
In an interview with our correspondent one week after he ‘resurrected’, Amadu said he could not fully recollect all that transpired during his struggles in the throes of death except that he was writhing in pains at one moment, felt relieved moments later and found himself in another world.
Amadu said: “I thank God that he has given me life again after tasting death. It is a miracle that God gave me a second chance and I think I will dedicate the days he has given me to live again to worship him and preach his gospel.
“My journey to heaven was a tranquil one. I feel very confused about what God has done to me. All I can remember for now is that I lost my memory when I was sick, but people later gathered in my village to mourn my passing.
“The cloud opened up and I saw something like a giant golden satellite suspended in space. I wouldn’t know whether this is what the bible calls heaven, but there I was greeted by a 75ft tall angel who stood in front of the gate.
“The angel had a beautiful sword and wore something like golden hair. As I looked round, I discovered that there were two other angels behind him holding pamphlets and books containing the words of God.
“The three angels had a brief discussion among themselves and later allowed me into the city of heaven.
“On entering the city, I met a childhood friend who died 22 years ago. His name was Choko Aguma. He was the one who took me round the city where everybody was committed to worshipping God
The UK Barn and The Hypocrisy of Covid-19 Guidelines in Nigeria
By Festus Fifen
Recently the United Kingdom in response to the global red alert on the omicron variant of Covid-19 placed Nigeria as part of the high risk countries which later metamorphose to flight restrictions from Nigeria and other selected African countries by some European countries. The United Kingdom over the years is a trusted partner as far as Nigeria is concerned. The flight restriction moves from some European countries especially the United Kingdom was perceived as unnecessary and discriminatory by a larger part of Nigerians home and abroad. No wonder the government through the honourable Minister of Information and culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed was very critical of the decision describing it as discriminatory and targeted at Nigerians for a virus that originated from China.
After about two days of the story making the rounds on different media platforms across the country, myself and the former Director General of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, Professor, Abdulsalam Nasidi, (a professor of virology) were on a radio station in Abuja, analyzing the implications and the consequences of such action not forgetting the political and economic implications of the flight ban. I remember making a statement before we went on set and the professor agreed with me completely. And what was the statement? I told Prof. that the problem with us as a country is not the discrimination from the western countries. The problem with us is, over time, we don’t punish or let me put it this way, there are no consequences for misbehavior or flouting laydown rules and regulations as far as covid-19 regulation is concerned. This attitude over time paints a different picture about our core values as a country. This has even made countries in the world including some African countries cast aspersions on our personalities and the results that originate from our institutions of higher learning and even medical reports.
Now, that leads me to the topic of today, which I really want us to look at closely. While driving to the office this morning, there was this advert I heard through my radio set about a show that was coming up in Abuja the Nigeria Capital, I was trying to catch up with the headlines from the dailies and the adverts ended with “all COVID-19 protocols will be duly observed. I asked myself do we really talk about these COVID-19 principles and non-pharmaceutical guidelines because we want to obey them completely and diligently or we just mention it in public service announcement and advertisements so that people will know that we believe in the covid-19 protocols?
Let’s start from the government itself, I mean those people that are in charge of giving ‘us’ these rules and also in charge of implementation and enforcement
In the airports in Nigeria, after all the rigours of adhering strictly to COVID-19 protocols during the boarding process, you go into the aircraft to discover that you just wasted your time in a process that looks very much like a mere ritual. you are jam packed like sardines inside the plane. Without all the necessary precautions. That is a story for another day. I wouldn’t want to go there now.
Now you see senior government officials arranging or organizing events, they will go as far as announcing strictly by invitation and COVID-19 protocols will be followed and a few other things only for you to go there you realize that the lawmakers are actually the law breakers.
You will notice it’s a case of 49 sitting 99 standing (in the words of the legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti). They don’t follow any of these non-pharmaceutical guidelines. You will still see people without facemask, no safe distance in the sitting arrangement and no proper coordination in crowd control. come back the next day you will hear COVID-19 protocols fully observed. In front or at the door of almost government office is the bold poster NO FACE MASK, NO ENTRY yet inside those offices are people that have thrown caution to the wind. At the entrance of shopping malls across the Nigerian Capital City Abuja you are forced to wear a face mask before entry, but as soon as you have access to the mall, everything returns to the pre-covid-19 era, same with Hotels and other public facilities and institutions. Let me not mention public transportation and taxis.
Who is deceiving us in this country? Why do we feel that the Foreigners, Diplomats I mean those who work in different high commission and embassies of other countries in Nigeria do not see how we throw caution to the wind in enforcement and implementation of protocols? Why do we feel that when it’s time to give updates about what is happening in Nigeria in the areas of compliance to Covid-19 guidelines they will not give their host country a true picture of what it is? Why do we feel that they (Foreigners) will follow us in our hypocrisy and make everybody believe we are following the guidelines?
Not too long ago stories about some travelers purchasing the vaccination certificate without taking the vaccine was played up by the media and till now no one person punished for doing that, we have also heard cases of health record officers inputting the wrong data for people and nothing has been seen to be done to those perpetrating such evil against humanity. The issues of “express” vaccination report given to international travelers at the airport is another can of worm we won’t open now.
The truth remains that as far as it is now, COVID-19 protocols and the announcement in Nigeria might just be a mere lip service. There are other areas that Nigeria can also look at as a country as far as this is concerned. The areas of the importance the government puts into the covid-19 fight. But we should ask ourselves who has bewitched us as a country?
My take is that the government should intensify efforts to make sure that the level of compliance is high, the high and mighty in the society should also be seen to follow the guidelines, this will go a long way in encouraging others to follow their footsteps. There should be more advocacy messages compared to the subtle threat that we have today in the system. Enforcers of covid-19 guidelines should spare no one in its enforcement approach. Everyone involved in the fight against Covid-19 should do what they are supposed to do, so that we overcome the hypocrisy of COVID-19 vaccines and we will be taken seriously by the international community. Thank you.
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