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Analysis

The South-South Demand On The Federal Government

By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha

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The South-South Demand On The Federal Government

On 17th November, a meeting was scheduled in Port-Harcourt between political, social and cultural leaders of the beleaguered South-south region and the presidency was botched at the last minute because the delegation had to attend an ‘emergency security meeting’, in Abuja. Television footage showed elegantly dressed elderly traditional rulers and state governors of the region seated in a hall, waiting for the delegation that never came. A video of a militant leader at the event berating the absent federal government’s lackadaisical attitude to the region went viral shortly after.

Naturally, all stakeholders were disappointed and angry. For us, the snub fitted into the existing narrative of utter disregard which the federal government has for the region, which by providence is the goose that lays the golden egg for the entire nation. The people of the region are angry over a lot of issues, and in recent times the Zamfara gold matter has been added salt to injury. After the fiasco, the South-south Governors Forum chaired by Senator Ifeanyi Okowa demanded an unreserved apology from the presidency for the ‘shabby treatment of the South-south leaders.’ PANDEF rejected government’s explanation and called for an apology to the zone.

The meeting was finally held on Tuesday 24th November. The governors from the zone boldly spoke the minds of people of the region when they made the following demands. The immediate relocation of headquarters of oil multinationals to their operational fields, that is, the South-south, restructuring, true federalism, and the devolution of powers to the federating units, establishment of state police, completion of the East-West road and all federal roads in the region, rehabilitation of the region’s major seaports in Port Harcourt, Calabar and Warri. This was as bold as they could go, especially in an environment where the federal government is hostile to individuals and state officials who canvass a contrary position to that held by Abuja. But the mood in the country requires telling ourselves the harsh truths.

READ ALSO: Buhari: Umahi’s Defection Bold Move Driven Purely By Principle

The demands of the governors of the regions are not new. Chief James Ibori was very bold about these in his days as governor. Indeed, ‘resource control’ became synonymous with that era. Yet, there is an urgency to the matter currently. The EndSARS protests and the vociferous expressions of our youths indicate that there is fire on the mountain. It is no longer business as usual. We are almost certain that these issues will erupt again, and no one can predict how things will go. This is therefore a call on the federal government to heed the call of the governors.

The incumbent administration has made how power at the centre can be abused very glaring. Previous governments had pretended that the so-called ‘national cake’ is to be shared among the ethnic groups in the country. In the last five years, we have been slapped with the spirit of the ‘north controls it all’ even though it was supposed to be a government that was made possible by politicians from different parts of the country. Thus, for the regional governments or constituent parts of the federation to control their own affairs without the overbearing presence of an inept and insensitive government, there must be devolution of power.

The federal authorities need to be told that one of the obligations of power is the need to take decisions in the overall interest of the polity. Any government which promotes a parochial, selfish, and clannish agenda threatens the unity of the country. The country has enough human and natural resources to make it great. The youths recognise this. The world also knows this. But we have been paralysed by the ineptitude of an analogue federal government.

The South-south governors spoke the minds of the people of he region when they called for a ‘relocation of several NNPC subsidiaries from Lagos and Abuja to the region’, and the completion of the abandoned ‘Gas Revolution Industrial Park at Ogidigben and the stepping down of electricity at the Okpai and Utorogu gas plants’. Our notion of a federation is distorted and twisted. This is why a Central Bank condescends into freezing accounts of persons who the government thinks took part in the EndSARS protest. This is why a federal government has time and energy to dabble into establishing and running secondary schools. Idleness fuelled by fixation over the old ways of doing things is a great disease. The national grid is an anachronism. It must give way to cells of power generation and distribution controlled and determined by the regions. Securing the country internally should not be in the hands of a distant Inspector General of Police. Policing is local. The EndSARS reaction provides us with an opportunity to create community police to deal with local issues. The answer is there on the streets for us to see.

President Buhari’s ministers have been largely silent on the sensitive issues of the day. Of course, some of the government’s position on the issues of the day are indefensible. Handlin the aftermath of EndSARS is an example. But when the government officials who accompanied Professor Ibrahim Gambari to Port Harcourt knew and know that they will ultimately return home to face the wrath of the people. Minister of State for Labour and Employment Festus Keyamo (SAN) made the point clearly about any indigene of the Niger Delta that is against resource control. To quote him in full, Keyamo asserted that ‘it’s not because we are here today, we will come back home tomorrow and any Niger Delta son that does not support resource control and fiscal federalism is a bastard of the region’. For a serving minister, perceived to be loyal to the President, this is bold and telling. Let us give up the pretensions.

The bells are ringing. It is time to make hay because the sun is yet shinning on the country, held only by a tiny thread that could snap at the slightest provocation. To borrow from the title of the iconic James Baldwin’s repertory, ‘The Fire Next Time’ may be too hot even for those who are outside the kitchen! The President should heed the call of Nigerians on power devolution. Our system is NOT working.

The next day, the Federal Government issued an explanation through presidential spokesman Garba Shehu saying that ‘the presidential team, to be led by Professor Gambari, was already prepared to leave for Port Harcourt when they were instructed to suspend their departure and attend the Security Council meeting’. Without mincing words, the federal government’s decision to abort the meeting was insensitive, insulting, and provocative. Here was a meeting that was fixed at the instance of the central government ostensibly to feel the pulse of the region. For those who come from that region, we know and feel how badly things are at home. Oil, that cursed commodity which ought to be a blessing for the people of the region, is killing the dreams of millions largely because of the approach of the government.

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Analysis

5 Things To Know About Late Complete Sports Founder Sunny Ojeagbase

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5 Things To Know About Late Complete Sports Founder Sunny Ojeagbase

Complete Sports founder, Sunny Ojeagbase has passed away. He was 71.

The media entrepreneur, according to a statement signed by his son, Julius Ojeagbase, passed away on Saturday, 26 February 2022, in Atlanta, in the US state of Georgia after a brief illness.

Newsrand presents below the five things to know about the deceased

  • Dr. Sunny Obazu Ojeagbase was born on 31st December, 1950 in Oshogbo, Osun State.
  • He attended St. James Primary School, Oshogbo in 1962 but could not proceed to secondary school due to his poor background. Afterward, his father advised him to learn a trade, so he tried his hands on different skills. From being a mechanic to learning short-hand and finally, printing which he learnt for five years.
  • At the time, the civil war was on, so he applied to join the Nigerian Army and was enlisted.
  • After being discharged from the army, he enrolled for General Certificate Examination (GCE) and he passed. Ojeagbase holds a Diploma in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos. 
  • He started freelancing with Herald Newspaper as a sports writer and later to Daily Times as sports reporter in 1979. He also worked with The Guardian, New Nigeria Newspaper and Concord Group of Newspapers.

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Analysis

Long Queue Continues In Fuel Station In Abuja, Lagos, In Spite Of FG Promises

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Long Queue Continues In Fuel Station In Abuja, Lagos, In Spite Of FG Promises

Long queues continue to persist in fuel station in some states, despite the Federal Government assurances that the scarcity would end before the end of last weekend.

Abuja, Lagos, Oyo, and Ogun states, according to findings are among the states with fuel scarcity and long queues.

Petrol marketers were warned by the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, against hoarding, or selling above the official price.

READ ALSO: Putin Orders Military To Put Nuclear Forces On Red Alert

Mike Osatuyi, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN’s National Operation Controller has disclosed that his members were still finding it difficult to source the product from depot owners.

According to him, independent marketers are still sourcing petrol at N190 per litre, against the government’s N148 per litre regulated price, thus making it difficult for them to sell at the N162/N165 per litre regulated price.

Consequently, many of their outlets were seen shut, while long queues of automobiles took over all available space at the stations.

In Abuja, queues at Fuel station grew longer at the weekend as the impact of supply disruption entered the third week, despite assurances of quick resolution by the Federal Government.

Chaos in the Nation’s capital as motorists struggled to get into few filling stations dispensing petrol.

As expected, while motorists had difficulty in purchasing petrol, black markets openly hawked the product in kegs, with price ranging from N350 to N400 per litre.

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Analysis

Holy Father – A Cry For Help? A Hit For Days!

An Echo review of Mayorkun, Victony & Holy Father by Omolawyer For Newsrand

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“We’re all living in Victony’s world.
He’s mastered the art of channeling his inner pain into beautiful melodies that will have everyone singing along like enchanted species.”

Omolawyer, 2022

What is Holy Father?

A disease I have injected into my soul. An irresistible flu that infected everyone in the country. The Mayor of Lagos is Back In Office, and the menu is different. He’s been cooking, as he and the Outlaw King have come together to serve their citizens and the world at large a taste of their very own Banger Boys soup.

Semzi’s cozy, warm melodies and sharp percussions provide the perfect balance for Victony to pour his cries before God. What’s his story? He needs help. He’s lost in a world where he’s had a taste of the crazy sexy woman’s forbidden fruit and he became enchanted. He won’t stop running back to her simply because he wants more. He doesn’t care about the consequences. He is fully aware of the fact that whatever he is doing is detrimental and will have consequences, and he’s made his peace with it. He willingly offers his heart to Lady Gaga and advises her to keep breaking his heart, till he runs out of hearts. Scary, yeah?

Mayorkun’s first two lines could pass as a summary of the song. He goes
“Kolo Kolomental, I can’t face it all alone,
This shit is detrimental to my body and my soul.”

The Mayor is fully conscious of the consequences that come with our Lady Gaga. Still, he doesn’t want to lose what they had. He’s had a taste of her poison, and he’s addicted to it. After pondering, he proceeds to surrender to her, he places himself at her mercy, ready to be feasted upon like a fully prepared meal. 

Victony’s sonic qualities are evident in this song, as is his ability to find pockets on beats. His blend with Semzi is a solid one, and one that I hope continues. Another thing that is really visible is his impeccable songwriting ability. Victony is a music box. He finds the perfect words with ease. How he is able to turn short conversations and thoughts into beautiful sonics and melodies is one that should be studied.

LYrics of “HOLY FATHER.”

Mayorkun is top quality, and he never ceases to blow our minds with his deliveries and sweet ‘lamba‘. Holy Father is a virus.

Since it dropped on the 28th of October, 2021 it has remained in the Top 20 on Nigerian Apple Music top 100, as well as charting in other countries, and it is clear why. The song is a masterpiece, and the beautiful combination of the Mayor of Lagos and the Outlaw King is one that can’t be ignored. One can easily describe Victony as the gift that keeps on giving.

Holy Father serves as the lead single off Mayorkun’s second album, Back In Office. This album comes three years after The Mayor Of Lagos, his first album which likely marked a phase of his journey in Afrobeats. TMOL was an attempt by the singer to establish his ground, his space, his artistry, and his brand as the Mayor of Lagos.

A mayor is the head of a government, town, city, or municipal council. Mayorkun sees himself as this and desperately tries to use this project to pass this message across to the world. It’s one thing to have a system churning out hit songs, it’s another thing to be regarded as a king. This is the major difference between the hitmaker and the OG, and Mayorkun uses this project to portray himself in that light. Or so it seems.
It didn’t do too well in the public scene as an album, and people didn’t exactly understand the message he was trying to pass across, though it produced a few hit singles.

Back In Office feels like another attempt at it again. The Mayor Of Lagos is Back In Office. From 2018 till 2020, Mayorkun has proven to be one of the hottest acts in the game, then the lockdown happened. The lockdown threw the entire industry into disarray. There was a big frenzy, no shows ~ a portal into a streaming world, no content, but Mayorkun held down the lockdown. For a long time too, if I may add, songs like “Of Lagos” and “Geng” brought a new wave and colour upon the people, lighting up every sound pool around you.

Critics argue that Mayorkun brought Amapiano to Nigeria or made it a thing, and I think critics are not wrong. He also brought another wave of “ad-libs” and highlighted their part and importance to the Afrobeats genre, as Zlatan did before him. He had the entire industry shouting ‘Ge-ge’. It wasn’t long before his great run started to get people angry, and Twitter users decided to ‘table his matter’.

But how? Everyone loves Mayorkun. He’s that guy. What possible way could you slander him? The one way he doesn’t want you to. Rating him as a youngin in the game. Discrediting him. Not placing him where he desires to be due to his comic and laid-back approach and attitude. Comparing him to new school acts. Not recognizing the boss in his brand. Yes. Exactly. Those conversations sent him off Twitter, off everything. We didn’t hear from TMOL till he decided to announce he’s Back in Office.

Personally, I feel this is one of the greatest album-to album transitions that has happened in the history of Nigerian music as to the theme, feel, name and sound. It’s a continuation of the same story, an incredible feat to pull off with art. However, the project isn’t just connecting.

Holy Father was the biggest song off the album, and Victony mentioned at the album listening that it was originally his song. This had me having an interesting conversation in my head. It’s way ahead of every other song on the project, in every way. A lot of people don’t connect with the other songs on the project, and only Holy Father has broken that so far. Why is it so?

The first Album had this same problem also. Mayorkun isn’t just connecting. His transcending isn’t endearing. It’s the same thing that happened with AG Baby and how he evolved and grew, but something about TMOL hasn’t had the same effect yet. It’s almost like Mayorkun is trying so hard to evolve and break into a new soundscape as an artist and into new localities and boundaries as a person, as we saw with how intentional and strategic the collaborations on the album were, but something about the evolution isn’t just right. Or he evolved and people aren’t connecting with this version of him.

Why?

Why is Holy Father sonically ahead of all other songs on Back in Office?
TMOL is Back In Office, but is he having issues with his government? The Album has basically come and gone, with all of the conversations being around one song. This is a big concern of mine.

It takes a whole lot to hold down the lockdown and serve an entire continent back to back. Very few artists could or have had the type of run Mayorkun had in 2020, and fewer can afford to ghost off an impeccable run. It takes much more to come back from an intentional sabbatical and have everyone singing to your melodies once more. I mean, Good Lord. Holy Father. Only spiritual sonics can pull such off. Which leaves me wondering, where is the rest of the album?

What’s happened to our Mayor? What’s wrong? What’s not?

– Omolawyer

Omolawyer, the writer is a music industry enthusiast, A&R and Pop culture aficionado

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