Former President Olusegun Obasanjo last weekend lamented Nigeria’s decades of underachievement.
This and four other stories we tracked dominated public discourse last week.
1. Obasanjo rues Nigeria’s underachievement
On July 24, former President Olusegun Obasanjo described Nigeria as a big disappointment to Africa and the rest of the world.
The ex-president, who delivered a keynote address at the public presentation of a book titled: “Reclaiming the Jewel of Africa,” written by a former Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, expressed concern at the country’s inability to live up to expectations 63 years after independence.
He said: “Over the last 63 years, we have not lived up to expectations. We have disappointed ourselves; we have disappointed Africa; we have disappointed the black race; and we have disappointed the world.
“But the beginning of charting a new course for ourselves is to admit our failure because we have not always put the round peg in the round hole.”
Why it matters
The ex-president may have unconsciously reopened the discussion on leadership problems in Nigeria.
While Obasanjo may have hit the nail on the head in his assessment of the country, the statement is a challenge to Nigerians to get it right in their leadership recruitment process in the efforts to get the country out of the woods.
However, Nigerians, unfortunately, missed another opportunity to correct their past mistakes by electing individuals that will return the country to the path of progress with the poor handling of the last general election.
2. Salihu Lukman’s resignation from APC
The National Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), North-West, Salihu Lukman, on July 26 resigned from the position.
In a letter sent to the party’s Acting National Chairman, Abubakar Kyari, the APC chieftain said he resigned from the position due to acts that were at variance with the vision of the party’s founding fathers.
Lukman resigned as APC vice chairman a few days after the party’s national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, and the national secretary, Iyiola Omisore, resigned from their positions.
The letter read: “Your Excellency, I hereby kindly resign my position as National Vice Chairman, North-West of our great party, All Progressives Congress. My resignation is with immediate effect, which becomes necessary given my conviction that the atmosphere in the party is completely at variance with the founding vision of forming a progressive party.”
Why it matters
Lukman’s exit suggests the ruling party may be in danger of serious implosion with the planned imposition of former Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, as its new national chairman.
His resignation a few days after the exit of Abdullahi Adamu and Senator Iyiola Omisore has again confirmed rumours of unrest in the party despite the public posturing and denial by its leaders.
3. DSS, NCoS operatives’ show of shame
Operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) and officials of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) on July 25 clashed over the custody of the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, at the Federal High Court, Lagos.
However, in a statement issued 24 hours later by its spokesman, Peter Afunanya, the DSS promised to investigate the clash between its operatives and the prison officials.
The spokesman said: “The DSS recognises the Judiciary as a critical component in nation-building, national development, and security management.
“On this incident, the DSS has initiated an investigation into the matter with a view to identifying the role played by specific persons as well as undertaking disciplinary actions if necessary and drawing some lessons going forward.”
Why it matters
The ugly incident raises further suspicions that the secret police may have been deployed to fight perceived personal battles, especially between the new president and former central bank governor.
It, therefore, reinforces the call for President Bola Tinubu’s administration to check the excesses of the DSS, especially as it regards disobedience of court orders.
4. Resident doctors’ fresh strike
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) began an indefinite nationwide strike on July 26 following the Federal Government’s failure to honour their demands.
The NARD President, Dr. Emeka Orji, who confirmed the development to journalists in Lagos, said: “The National Executive Council had during its meeting for July held in Lagos agreed to proceed on an indefinite nationwide strike beginning from today (July 26) over the government’s failure to fulfill some of the agreements signed by both parties in May.”
Why it matters
The resident doctors’ decision to down tools two months after suspending their last strike may have thrown the health sector into disarray with ordinary Nigerians likely to be the biggest victims of the government’s frequent failure to honour agreements with its employees.
Although it is still early in the life of the current administration with the ministers and other individuals to drive its agenda not in place, the latest face-off is a sad reminder of the neglect of the health sector where the workers are left to operate under poor conditions while public officials hop on the next flights abroad in search of treatment for all forms of ailments.
However, what this implies is that President Tinubu has his work cut out in the bid to clear the mess created by his predecessor in virtually every sector of the Nigerian state and quickly too.
5. Lagos govt’s planned mass burial of 103 #ENDSARS protesters
The Lagos State government on July 23 confirmed moves to conduct mass burial for 103 victims of the October 2020 #ENDSARS protest in the state.
This followed the circulation of a letter on the approval of N61,285,000 for the mass burial of victims of the protest in the state and signed by the Director-General of Lagos State Public Procurement Agency, Onafowote Idowu, on social media.
However, in a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary in the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Olusegun Ogboye, the government said the victims were not from the Lekki tollgate shooting incident.
The statement read: “For the records, the Lagos State Environmental Health Unit picked up bodies in the aftermath of #EndSARS violence and community clashes at Fagba, Ketu, Ikorodu, Orile, Ajegunle, Abule-Egba, Ikeja, Ojota, Ekoro, Ogba, Isolo and Ajah areas of Lagos state.
“There was also a jailbreak at Ikoyi Prison. The 103 casualties mentioned in the document were from these incidents and NOT from Lekki Toll-gate as alleged. For the avoidance of doubt, nobody was retrieved from the Lekki toll gate incident.”
Why it matters
The leaked document and the government’s response may have reopened the wounds inflicted on the citizens by the #ENDSARS crises.
In fact, more trouble is likely to brew with the civic space getting more polarized each day over the contradictions noticed from the government on the matter.
The unfolding development clearly shows, therefore, that the Lagos government risks further damage to its reputation, as it struggles to calm frayed nerves and prevent tension that may arise over the planned mass burial of protesters cut down in their prime during the #ENDSARS rally.
By Hamed Shobiye
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