Search

Iconic Monument

..where you get what you should know

Author

Akinpelu, Yusuf O.

Yusuf is an excellent chap

IF YOU WERE A LEADER, WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO ENSURE THAT PEACE AND SECURITY IS ACHIEVED AND SUSTAINED IN AFRICA?

2017 UONGOZI INSTITUTE ESSAY COMPETITION FOR YOUNG AFRICANS

TOPIC: IF YOU WERE A LEADER, WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO ENSURE THAT PEACE AND SECURITY IS ACHIEVED AND SUSTAINED IN AFRICA?

AUTHOR: AKINPELU, YUSUF OLAJUWON

AGE: 22 YEARS

NATIONALITY: NIGERIAN

PHONE CONTACTS: +2349032788612 & +2348098790120

GMAIL ADDRESSS: AKINPELUYUSUF20@GMAIL.COM

It is true that the weight of sanity of every society is measured on the scale of its security. And this scale is the sole determinant of the well being of its people in all realms. A peaceful society is a haven to both foreign and local investors, it is a hotbed for educational advancement, it is a breeding ground for stable leadership. It is also the metaphoric wing on which its people soar. In the bid to show this, security has been described as all measures or “safety of a state or organization against criminal activity such as terrorism, theft or espionage” So, this goes to show that for a better and secured Africa to exist, the smoldering ember of insecurity in the continent must be extinguished with torrent of security and peace.

It is also true that success in governance is not always measured by the stint in power, what is spent or what is amassed from the treasury of the nation but rather, by the wellbeing of the populace, their safety and freedom from fear and the general security of lives and properties. Therefore, if sometimes someday providence adorned me with the garb of fortune and I ever had the chance to lead the most populous black nation in the universe, I would, as a matter of urgency, dive into the fountain of opportunity that exists therein by turning this chance into an arsenal of strength for the security of my dear continent.

Indeed, and in fact, the problem befuddling Africa is not just the dearth of peace and security but it is at heart of them all. And because development and good governance cannot thrive in an atmosphere of violence and instability , I would tap into the legal weaponry of the African society to tackle this challenge head-on. For it is the habit of the Yoruba people of Nigeria to remind us that a lawless society is a sinless and flawless society. Premised on this, Article 23, Section 2, Paragraph (b) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights would be enacted. It reads, “for the purpose of strengthening peace and solidarity and friendly relations, States parties to the present Charter shall ensure that their territories shall not be used as bases for subversive or terrorist activities.” The enactment of this would send stern signal to everyone that insecurity has no base on the African soil. However, the sustenance of this legacy would be the enactment of other parts of this Charter. This would then be tilted towards achieving and sustaining the tripartite necessities: the rule of law, the fundamental human rights, social cohesion and justice.

This would be followed by the revitalization of the security institutions. The population strength of Africa is too large for its Police Force – whose duty is to ensure security of lives and property – to be understaffed. According to the United Nations, it is recommended that there should be one Police Officer for every 450 citizens. Unfortunately, African nations have failed woefully in fulfilling this global security function. Take for instance, Kenya has one security operative for every 1,150, Tanzania one for every 1,298, Ghana one for every 1,200. Not only would I ensure their number prolificacy but also their work proficiency by having them – “them” here includes not only the Police but the Armed Forces, Civil Defense Corp and other military and paramilitary parastatal – well equipped and satisfactorily remunerated. This would be in tandem with the proposition of South African researcher, Solomon Kirunda, who in his report in 2009 cited poor funding as an underbelly to security in Africa and subsequently called for proper funding of security agencies . There would be introduction of intelligence gathering and sharing, surveillance, periodic motivation, modernized training and sophisticated technology that meet global standard to inspire efficiency and patriotism.

Furthermore, attention would be paid to education. This is because there is a strong correlation between education and peacefulness. 12 out of the 20 most peaceful countries on the 2017 Global Peace index as rated by the Institute for Economics and Peace invest heavily in education. While UNESCO recommends that 26% of budgetary allocations be pumped into education, Ghana allocates 23.1%, Benin 15.9%, Cape Verde 13.8% Liberia 12.1% and Nigeria a paltry 6%. So as a matter of paramountcy, heads of states and other African leaders through the African Union would be charged to tailor their budgetary allocations to meet the 26% benchmark of the UNESCO. Also, I would encourage them to incorporate security education into the curriculum of African schools right from elementary stage.

In the words of Mimonides, when you “give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; [when] you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” For this reason, education would not be my sole priority, youth empowerment and poverty alleviation would be given prominence too. At the 2016 Africa Transformation Forum held in Kigali, Rwanda, Kelvin Balogun, President of Coca-Cola, Central, East and West Africa revealed that almost half of the 10 million graduates churned out by the over 668 universities in Africa yearly do not get job. And in fact, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), youth unemployment index in the continent hovers around 12%. An idle hand, they say, makes work for the devil. So if security must be beefed up in Africa, then youths must be empowered. Hence if I have my way, proliferation of empowerment schemes like N-power and Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWin!) both in Nigeria, Pots of Hope in Namibia, Giants of the Future International (GFI) in Ghana, Youth Empowerment Seminar in South Africa would be highly encouraged to furnish young Africans with self-sustainability and personal development.

Need I also say that as an envisioned African-bred leader, I know the African social values of justice and equity to be a potent tool to sustaining peace in Africa? I would encourage – while also ensuring proper monitoring of – the formation local security forces. These forces would be on surveillance at the grassroots. This would be done in conjunction with Traditional Rulers, Village Heads, District Heads and Ward Heads who would in turn be accountable to senior security personnel within their areas. Also, such forces as the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) where military from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria combined to put an end to the Boko Haram insurgency would be reinforced, polished and encouraged in Somalia, Kenya and other nations plagued by the quagmire of insurgency. This is because when we fight individually, we strive; but together we thrive.

I shall conclude by adding that I would – if chanced to be the leader of Africa – instill a sense of unity in the African nations; because it is only by this can we together fight insecurity. One patent lesson in Ola Rotimi’s classic The Gods Are Not to Blame is the way the people of Kutuje who, though led by Odewale, a foreigner but of their own colour, gained victory by the virtue of their unity. And that is why if I ever get the chance to lead Africa – like Odewale did the “Kutujeans” – my goal would be to reinforce security by planting the seed of unity in African nations. This I would do by identifying and utilizing the prospects of individual African nations. With the economic acuity of South Africans, the numeric capacity of Nigerians, the martial vitality of Egyptians, physical agility of Kenyans, spatial superfluity of Algerians, human developmental reliability of Seychellois and positive peculiarities of other 48 African nations, not only would I strive hard to steer Africa to achieve and sustain peace and security by combining the resourcefulness in Africa I would in fact set a prototype with which others around the globe would view as standard for building a peaceful world.

STATEMENT OF ORIGINALITY AND OWNERSHIP
I, Akinpelu, Yusuf Olajuwon, hereby confirm that the content of the essay I have submitted is my own work and it has not been submitted elsewhere for any other purpose.
I certify that the intellectual property rights for this essay are owned by me and that any information sourced elsewhere has been appropriately acknowledged.

Akínpèlú Yūsuf O.
July 14, 2017,
Nigeria.

NB: Here is my entry for 2017 UONGOZI INSTITUTE ESSAY COMPETITION FOR YOUNG AFRICANS.Unfortunately it didn’t clinch the winner’s award. But I belive it a brillinat trial worthy of being shared for your esteemed readership. Enjoy.

Advertisements

JUNGLE DRUMBEATS

drumbeats1

Title: Jungle Drumbeats

Author: Uche Ezeh Al

Publisher: Minshred Media

Year of publication: 2011

Page number: 382 pages

ISBN: 978-978-909-282-6

Reviewer: Akinpelu Yusuf O.

Jungle Drumbeats. It is like a local delicacy garnished with foreign spices. It is like a perfect blend of foreign and local cuisines, seasoned with mouth-watering ingredients and prepared by a hand, gifted with culinary dexterity. Ian Whitehead, a British Reporter, works with the Political Desk of Sunday Mirror. He is a nosy reporter whose eye for big stories is high.

Nigeria had just gained independence. And a war had just broken loose in the country. To Ian, Harros Witson, British Prime Minister, and his cabinet are criminally imbued in the pogrom. No one would believe him not even his Editor. Now, the stage was set between Ian Whitehead and Whitehall, Mirror’s Editor.

With many leaked memos vindicating his belief, Ian’s quest to unravel the truth was undying. His quest would come with a cost: He would be temporarily suspended from his work place and the war front has to be visited. From here, to Lagos he shall go. From there on, his world is on the run for survival.

All through his journeys, it were like I am on course with Ian – the author is able to bring me into the book and make me an imaginative character second only to Ian, the book’s main character. Uche’s words are fluidic and crispy, explicit and fascination, deep and creative. His narratives and descriptions depict beauty and literary vastness, wrapped with cultural depth.

Ian’s journalistic quest turn around to become an adventurous odyssey where hostility, kidnap, bloodbath, starvation, cannibalism, sorcery, trials were in the wait for him. He discovered the truths. He saw the false. He encountered the mysteries. He met the war-battered. He paid the price for daring to delve into the mystical side of the Biafran war. But to Ian, it was worth the price. To Ian, when completed, his discoveries will make a groundbreaking story; for Uche Ezeh, it is debut novel.

drumbeat2

BOOK REVIEW

 

5ca5ef2314707755019ca6db95b55a40

Title: The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley

Publisher: The Random House Publishing Group, New York

Year of publication: 1999

Foreword by Attallah Shabazz

Introduction by M.S. Handler

Epilogue by Alex Haley

Afterword by Ossie Davis

Page number: 466 pages

ISBN: 0-345-35068-5

Award won: Chosen by Time Magazine as one of ten most important nonfiction of the century

Reviewer: Akinpelu Yusuf O.

Written with the a sweet choice of wordings, the book stands alongside masterpieces as The Diary of Anne Frank and others, as one of the ten most important nonfiction of this century by Time Magazine. If there is a book that has the message you need to boost your self-belief, it is this book!

With the ugliest of childhood, littered with host of life-threatening actions, this book describes, in detail, the life of a highly controversial figure in the history of Afro-American Revolution. Growing up in a world thickly-clothed with hostility, racism, poverty, ignorance, he, after a one of too many burglaries, land himself in jail.

In jail, he wrote out and learnt the entire words of the dictionary. It was there he came in contact with books – he read, read and read till he developed astigmatism. Here, he began to ask questions which to his jailers (the devil white man he called them) was a threat. In there too, he met God. And by the time he was out of jail, he was for only two things: Black Americans’ Revolution and religion. There, X the unknown became Malcolm X the renowned. There, Malcolm the gangster became the Superstar!ah Muhammad, his spiritual godhead was the only person he gave his all, until he went on Hajj to Saudi Arabia where he saw how the Orthodox Islam is practiced. It was there he came to realize that not all whites are devil. The stage was set. His ideologies raised dust and pebbles among his admirers and haters. While he toured around the world, the atmosphere back home in America began to light up.

Several death threats and taunts and attempts came; he survived all but one. El Hajj Malik Shabazz as he later became to be called after his Hajj, like many of his ilk, became much more than there was time for to be. His last breath was breathed in front of an audience whose well-aimed bullets burrowed into his stomach. From then on, the Afro-American community was gagged and muted of its only vociferous voice. His life and death were hallmarks of changes. His beliefs were garnished with controversy in the heart of his many contemporaries. 34 years after his assassination, his legacies were reopened by the society that rejected him; his beliefs were rewarded by a society that was threatened by his living. 34 years after his assassination, he was issued a stamp by USA Postal Service in its black Heritage Stamp Series.

His lessons are plethora. Of them, his self-belief and his self-conviction and his resoluteness and his truthfulness, his selflessness for his kinsmen and intellectual-richness stand him tall among the dead living. The “the most important book I’ll ever read. It changed the way I thought; it changed the way I acted. It has given me the courage I didn’t know I had inside me. I’m one of the hundreds of thousands who was changed for better” statement, as said by Spike Lee, dug its hands into my pocket to buy the book.

51wvatqvhml-_sy498_bo1204203200_

 

FIRST CLASS SAGA; NECESSARY OR OTHERWISE?

In a world ever-changing like ours; in a world like ours where practical is a grandfather to theory; in a country ever complex like Nigeria; one thing stands you out of the rest: that is what you can do better than the rest. Gone are the years when the only chance of getting a good job by university students was a first class grade. Then, student’s live was pinned to only two places: the front seat in the class and the secured corner of a library. Today, you, I, every one of us seated here today, now know that there are as much differences between having information and being informed as there are in having education and being educated. You know why? I’ll tell you why: it is because it is one thing to have a first class degree and it is another thing to have a first class pedigree.

Judges, brothers, sisters, it is the pride of every student and every parent to have a first class certificate, I know. But the truth is not every one would have it. So, if the Third Edition of the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines necessity as ‘something that you need, especially in order to live’, it can only be said that first class saga is not and can never be a necessity! After all, our lives do not depend on it to continue existing.

To further buttress my stand, the quest to be the best is far more than having a paper certificate. But in our school today, we treasure certificate and not certification. By so doing, students have become lovely lover with la cram, la pour, la pass, la forget – which we call, in common parlance, “agberu gbeso” – instead of la read, la understand, la surpass, la recollect. As a result, we have schools producing graduates who are highly knowledgeable in paper work but mentally weak in putting what they know into practice. Because of this you-must graduate-with-a-first class saga, yearly, our institutions produce graduates with certificate without certification.

Esteemed audience, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying having first class is not worth it. I’m only saying it should not be the sole criteria in rating our graduates. Come to think of it. The greatest inventors and investors never became so because of their certificates but rather because of their way of thinking. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Ben Carson, Albert Einstein, Aliko Dangote were never first class products – that is even if they completed school. This goes to show that not having first class result does not mean not having first class ideas. Hence, this first class saga is not a necessity.

Moving on, school as we know it to be is a home to all learning. From academic to religious, from social to financial, from moral to marital and what have you. In an article published by The Guardian UK on 17 February, 2014, where students from different universities around the world were interviewed, it was revealed that most skills needed by employers are being learnt by students outside the school. Leadership skills, communication skills, self-awareness skills, business skills, teamwork, all were discovered to be gotten in the extra-curricular activities students were involved in while in school. It further says that a 2.1 or 2.2 degree married with these skills are more valuable in the labour market than a perfect first class degree. So now tell me why should this saga of first class be a necessity?

In addendum, in October 11, 2016, The Nation Newspaper reported Caleb University, Imota, to have produced 15 first class students out of 340 graduates – this is 1 in every 23 graduates. This same source of October 27, 2016, revealed Bells University, Otta, to have produced 28 out of 334 – my calculator says this is 1 in every 12. In July 2014, out of 740 graduating students from Covenant University, 82 were on first class – approximately, this is 1 in every 9. You can see how a first class in first degree is as cheap as dust in a sawmill. There is only one thing responsible for this: and that is the first class saga. What this does to our education is, rather than strengthening our mental possibilities, it weakens our cerebral capacities.

Let me conclude by saying that if truly we know that invention is the mother of necessity. If truly we want to produce job-providers and not job-seekers. If truly we want a new face of change not the type we see now. We must look beyond the scramble for a first class certificate; we must cherish what students’ brains show they know and not what the papers say they know. That kind of education is what you and I should chase.

Asalaamu‘alaykum!

 

NB: Delivered at The Maiden Professor Umar Abdulrahman Debate Competition, organized by MSSN OAU, held at the Central Mosque, Obafemi Awolowo University.

LIVING IN THE MEMORY OF OUR FALLEN HEROES.

“Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them” – George Santayana (1863-1952)

If not for the retentive memory of history, the agonizing story of how Adekunle Muyiwa Adepeju was slain would have been swept under the carpet of forgetfulness. It was an unfortunate year; a year that saw the Nigerian political and academic arena painted black with the blood of a young-shall-grow. Precisely, Monday, February 1, 1971. That was the first shooting and killing that ever happened in any Nigerian university.

After forty-six years of ending a life that had the right to live, the wheel of power of the nation has been ferried by ten different generalissimos. Forty-six years down the drain, ten Vice Chancellors have sat at the helm of affairs in the Premier University. Yet, sadly, and pathetically too, nothing special has been alluded to the memory of this hero. In fact, scratch that. Nothing is in place – or in sight, in the least – for him from those who, rather than educate him, terminated his existence.

kunle-2

This show of nothingness is what has caused continuous increase in death toll of students in our higher schools of learning. Kunle Adepeju was the first but would never be the last to taste death in the hands bloodthirsty, trigger-happy men in uniform. Because nothing tenable has been done to put an end to killing of students in the hands, handling stray-bullets, Kunle’s death opened the door for more cases of similar nature. Today, we not only talk of one martyr, we talk of countless of them. The likes of Chris Abashi, Kinsley Udoh, Akintunde Ojo, Chima Ubani, Chris Mammah, Ben Oguntuase have suffered same fate as Kunle did.

Amidst these ugly stories, however, have these slain students and the many more who have suffered deprivation of freedom no rights? Of course they do just like every other person does. Their right to freedom is written in that Section 295 of the Criminal Code that spell it out clearly that everyone above the age of sixteen may not be corrected by a blow or other force; and that excessive force shall not be used in any case. Their right to freedom of expression without fear of being killed, maimed or oppressed is gently seated in Section 36 of the Nigerian Constitution. It is what guarantees for every person the right to fair hearing, the right to express, the right to protest peacefully.

It is a sad reality to say that despite these, the occurrence of miscarriage of justice and abortion of fairness is gradually surpassing the height boasted by Everest. Our legal system, as handled by our so-called in loco parentis, is lame. Their logical makeup, unfortunately, has not come to the realization of this! With a lame legal system, how can justice walk its way to all and sundry – talk more of having a place to walk to when justice is found wanting.

Laws are not made to fill or breathe on pages of paper, they are made for them to be upheld and put to practice in the defense of their sanctity. Our friends from Mandingo tribe of Niger would tell us that an empty sac cannot stand. Perhaps, this came in the reality of the fact that laws that are slumbering on the pages of books are no laws; they are legal license to maelstrom. When we swim in the pool of lawlessness, what we get is incessant unrest, unrelenting anarchy and indiscriminate slaying and maiming of innocent souls which currently litter our institutional scenes.

At this point, the popular aphorism of Martin Luther King Jr. that “the choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence”, comes to mind. In the midst of this, doing nothing would bring nothing. Action – sincere action as that – is all we can do to salvage some pride in the legal system of our educational sector. Students’ rights should stop being wronged. Human rights should cease being violated. That way, the essence of our existence is respected and paid its due.

RESOLUTIONS

After the unfortunate 1971 incidence, the then Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, set up a Panel of Inquiry headed by Justice Kazeem. The Commission, in the outcome of their inquiry, stated that “the crisis was caused as a result of inadequate hostel accommodation and supply of foodstuffs. Other causes were poor catering services, strained relationship between the students and the university authorities, unjust rustication and expulsion of students as well as the use of police to control the students’ demonstration.  Justice Kazeem also said that the students had not been involved in the administration of universities.” Sadly, all of these are still the order of the day in our institutions.

Among other recommendations, the commission gave the recommendation that live ammunitions should never be used in quelling student demonstration. If sanity must be restored to end crisis which at times leads to death of students, the discoveries of this panel must be opened, read and followed to the letter. The complaints that have been on for eon have to be taken care of before any other action can be thought of being taken. The Commission’s recommendations too must not be given a blind stare – they must be looked into.

Also, Kunle’s non-recognition is unfortunate to think of. His memory should be immortalize. In the University of Lagos, for instance, Akintunde Ojo has a hall to his name. University of Ibadan, like no other need to breathe life once again into this fallen hero. A hall can simply be named after him. Or perhaps a day of special recognition be set aside in his name. By so doing, his memory would forever live with us.

More importantly, students-management relationship should be better cemented tightly. The relationship should cease to be a cat and rat relationship where suspicion, hate, assault are the hallmarks of their coexistence. Management member should manage well. They should respect the rights of students whom they lord over. Students too should cease to strip common sense naked by disrespecting constituted authority. Be it as it may, the truth is that this authority is of higher hierarchy, so they must be held high. When they misstep, with the right method, with the right message, their steps can be retraced by the students’ community.

In all, we all should remember that our past and present deeds are saved securely in the retentive memory of history. Posterity will never forget those who have done well; neither will it forget those that have done otherwise. When every of our acts in life is done sincerely for the sake of building a worthy-of-being-remembered future, we will never for once fail to do it right. Even when we do it wrong, getting back on track wouldn’t be difficult. It is then it can be registered on our minds that today’s story is tomorrow’s history. Continue reading “LIVING IN THE MEMORY OF OUR FALLEN HEROES.”

Duke University law professor Jedediah Purdy, writing in The New Republic, looks at the rise of the left in American politics.

via Can the Rise of a New Left Deepen Our Definition of Democracy? — Longreads

Beg by begging not by forcing!

Wait oooh. What do these so-called asinine masquerades (éégún) causing undue mayhem to people on our roads stand for? Grand theft? Daylight thievery? Or traditional extortion? Because I don’t understand.

I don’t understand why an able–bodied man, hale and hearty, young at heart would resort to begging under the pretext of tradition. It is moronic and so barbaric! This was not surprising; what was more surprising was the begging methodology these hoodlums used.

Just today, I saw some of these brave thieves, two of them, in their garbs, veiled, armed with their arms–length whips like herdsmen, all completed by their monstrous look. In the air zigzagged their whips to scare passersby, and ensure that in fear they handed them money. Rogues.

Their hoax tactic, however, backfired when I got to the scene. I didn’t know how this fury wore me. I only saw that I surged ahead, marching towards them, with a completely frowned face and a walk style that says, “if they born you well try rubbish”. And I meant it. Had they acted funny, by Allaah, I would have tripped and stripped them (or at least one of them).

I was astounded that they read well my face and that their senses had not melted under the hot sun at the time I passed them by. I was also surprised they read my countenance under my bespectacled face despite their thick, sweater–material veil. I later learnt that they were thought to read face. Lucky them.

In this hard time? When recession is the air we breathe, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the water we drink, abah! When some people’s money has been “MMMed”, just of recent? Some people would then come to the road coercing their fellow humans into paying for what they never bought. So absurd. Total rubbish.  I think an embargo would do for this act of public nuisance.

See, before the embargo comes, when next you see such, please for God’s sake, don’t fall victim. Show them that: They are beggars, no doubt about that. And if they must beg, they must beg by begging not by forcing! Period.

READERS ARE LEADERS, EVER HEARD OF THAT? HERE IS A PROOF.

In Vulture, book critic Christian Lorentzen suggests we dispense with terms like “postmodern” and “postwar” when discussing novels, and instead analyze them relative to the presidential administrations under which they were released. What will we mean when someday we refer to Obama Lit? I think we’ll be discussing novels about authenticity, or about “problems of […]

via Obama by the Books — Longreads

WELCOME BACK WISHES

Now, people, it is good to be back! Why not treat yourself to this piece.

Enjoy!

Enjoylatin