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The Crowning Of Shekau




Tunde Odesola

It’s 2:30am but she lays wide awake in bed. Her disturbed mind, with the measured precision of an expert blacksmith, tongs each issue troubling her mind on the anvil and sets the hammer to work, forging shapes into metals, burnishing hope into a grave polity. I-Sha needs to quickly find an elixir to the two ailments plaguing her husband – deafness to reason and numbness to reality.

The thoughts came pouring down her soul like snowflakes in winter – white, feathery and beautiful yet icy, bone-freezing and deadly. She gently turns on her side, pulls the succulent duvet under her chin and lolls up on the kingsize bed, glancing at her husband sitting on the chair by the lamp.

She looks at the lion she married several years ago and sadness fills her heart. In place of the lion, a cat she sees. Though still slim and suave, the bouncy confidence has departed the gait of the man she adored. Boo, as she fondly calls him, was efficient when he donned the green khaki – only needing to open his mouth, and a horde of subordinates would fall over themselves in submissive obedience to his command. But this democracy babariga is too large and too complicated for Boo to wear. With his gangly frame, he always seems lost in the billows of the parachute the agbada of democracy has turned into. In democracy, Boo seems like a whale stranded on seashore. In the military, the zombie structure masks his inadequacies.

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I-Sha: (She clears her throat) What’s going on, Your Excellency?

Boo: Menene, I-Sha?

I-Sha: What’s going on in your government? Don’t feign ignorance, you know what I’m talking about, Your Excellency.

Boo: It’s midnight; you need to be in bed, sleeping.

I-Sha: I’m in bed. I’ll sleep when you put my mind at rest.

Boo: Picks his teeth.

I-Sha: You see, that’s what I’m saying; it’s about 3am and you’re picking your teeth. You ate at 8pm, you’re picking your teeth at 3am! Whenever there’s an urgent issue, you pick your teeth.

Boo: I-Sha, picking my teeth is a strategy.

I-Sha: Strategy?

Boo: Yes, and an art of war.

I-Sha: Art of war?

Boo: Haka ne! It masks the mind’s construction from the face.

I-Sha: Mind’s construction?

Boo: Exactly!

I-Sha: So, you know the strategy and art of war, and Boko Haram has been feeding the flesh of your soldiers to the birds? You know how to mask the mind’s construction from the face, yet you can’t do anything without your rough-riding relative, Haba Kia, and the manipulative Mammon Dowrat, who have completely seized power from you.

Boo: What do you mean?

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I-Sha: Who gives commands to your service chiefs? Who gives directives to ministers and heads of government agencies? Nigerians know who they voted for, but they’re amazed how another C-i-C emerged in Kia. They also know that Mammon is the voice on the throne. The masses are utterly disappointed in you, muji na. You deceitfully kept the promise of change to their ears and shattered it to their hope.

Boo: (His phone rings, he picks it) That’s Mammon calling. He’s in my private room.

I-Sha: Mammon calling?

Boo: Yes.

I-Sha: So?

Boo: I need to go and answer him or should I tell him to come into the bedroom?

I-Sha: (Exasperated, speaks in Hausa) Is it Mammon who should answer to you or you answer to Mammon?

Boo: This is a democracy; everyone is equal.

He gets up and leaves the bedroom. Tears roll down I-Sha’s eyes.

Both Dowrat and Kia greet as Boo steps into the private room.

Boo: Why is everybody shouting your name all over the place, Kia?

Kia: (Chuckling) I don’t know, Your Excellency. I must be doing something great.

Boo: Even I-Sha won’t sleep; she’s worried. They say you and Mammon have taken over governance. Do these people know anything about devolution of power?

Dowrat: Anyone can say whatever they like. An urgent matter of state brought us here, Your Excellency. It’s the coronavirus.

Boo: Oh yes, I heard that the coronavirus is now in Lagos. What’re you doing about it?

Dowrat: That’s why we’re here.

Boo: Good. What’re you doing?

Dowrat: We need to embark on vaccination of cows against the dreaded disease before it leaves Lagos for the North. We need about N20bn for the exercise.

Boo: Coronavirus is a very deadly disease, Mammon! Will N20bn be enough?

Kia: We’ll manage it and take N300m from the N386m earmarked for the treatment and prevention of the disease from being transmitted among humans.

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Boo: That’s ok; humans can talk, cows can’t.

Kia: When I leave here, I’m going to look for a professor of virology and appoint him as the head of government’s intervention on coronavirus initiative for cows.

Boo: Will you appoint another professor of virology to oversee the remaining N86m earmarked for human vaccination, treatment and prevention?

Kia: The disease was discovered in Lagos, not Kaduna, Your Excellency. A primary healthcare officer will be ok for humans.

Boo: You this boy, you’re very wise. I don’t know why everybody is shouting coronavirus! coronavirus! Kenya has suspended all flights from China, South Africa has evacuated her nationals from China.

Kia: People from the North don’t travel abroad, so we don’t need to evacuate anybody.

Boo: Even Ateekoo that I defeated is advising that I suspend flights from countries affected by coronavirus. What does that one know about governance?

Dowrat: I wonder o, Your Excellency. His former boss from the rock city has gone mute after your re-election

Boo: You’ll soon begin to hear his voice when the new policy comes on stream.

Kia: Which of the lofty policies? Is it the one seeking southern land for herdsmen? Or the one seeking to criminalise resistance to herdsmen killings?

Boo: No, it’s the bill seeking to crown Boko Haram leader, Shekau, the Shehu of Terrorism; grant amnesty to repentant Boko Haram members and allow them enjoy foreign education.

Kia: Haa! Those bills? They will just shout and keep quiet. When they refused to allow rugga and Boko Haram was killing them, they shouted and shouted and stopped. This one also, they’ll shout and keep quiet.

Boo: I like it that the bill emanated from the senate. If it was from Azo Roc, they would’ve, by now, been burning tyres on the streets.

Kia: Don’t mind them, Your Excellency.

Boo: Have you spoken to Shekau?

Kia: Yes. He’s very happy. Particularly, he loves the policy that seeks to enlist his members into the army. He even expressed his desire to head the joint Army with its headquarters in Sambisa.

Dowrat:Lofty as these policies are, we need to be wary of the western world; you know they like poking their noses into people’s affairs. They’ll make an issue out of the babies Boko Haram mistakenly threw into bonfires. They’ll listen to the false allegation that Boko Haram is a terrorist group that kills and rapes.

Boo: People don’t know that everything that has an advantage, has a disadvantage. Did Odion Ighalo not profit from the coronavirus outbreak in China? This is why I’m not going to worry myself banning flights, setting up quarantine centres or providing any support. What will be, wll be.

Dowrat: We should even thank God the disease was discovered in Lagos, like the Ebola case. The coronavirus would’ve been uncontrollable if it broke out in the North.

Boo: I’ve said it; everything that has an advantage, has a disadvantage. They said I should sack service chiefs, I refused. If I had sacked them, would we be having this wonderful partnership with Boko Haram today?

I-Sha, who overheard all their conversation, looks through the door and shouts, “Takulahi!” meaning “Fear God!”

One of the men countered, “Allah ya halince ka!” meaning, “May God punish you!”, and he goes after I-Sha.

Tunde Odesola is a seasoned journalist and a columnist with the Punch newspapers




Foundation Trains 50 Women Farmers In Bauchi




A Bauchi based Non Governmental Organisation known as Al-Muhibah Foundation, has conducted a three-day training for 50 women farmers on fonio farming in the state.

The founder of the foundation, Hajiya Aisha Mohammed who is also the wife of Gov. Bala Mohammed, stated this at the end of the training for the women on Sunday.

According to her, the project was funded by the Islamic Development Bank (ISDB) and aimed at empowering women in the area of farming fonio locally called acher.

She explained that 25 women were selected from Alkaleri and 25 from Tafawa Balewa local government areas of the state respectively.

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She said the decision to settle for fonio acher farming training was as a result of its nutritional value, adding that Bauchi state was among the states facing malnutrition problems due to the lack of adequate nutrition diet for children.

“It is on this basis that looking at the nutritional value of Acha fonio, are the opportunities in helping to reduce the cases of or curb severe malnutrition.

“We also key into the Islamic Development Bank policy to learn how to empower women through interventions that improve health, food security, economic opportunities, education, access to technology which would enhance women’s financial literacy and business skills.

“Today, the 50 women farmers have received farming tools, insecticide, fertilisers, farmland, seedlings, capacity building training as well as 20 water pumping machines to each of the two LGAs,” she said.

The governor’s wife further explained that the project was to also ensure that the productivity, sustainability and profitability of the Fonio-Acha value chains were sustained, developed and expanded in the two benefiting LGAs by empowering women groups in the local production of the crop.

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Earlier, the Finance and Administration Officer of the Foundation, Mr Stephen Goyit, explained that ISDB sponsored 70 per cent and Al-Muhibah Foundation sponsored 30 per cent of the project.

He said based on the project design, the 40 water pumping machines and accessories were distributed to the women farmers in a cluster for easy monitoring.

Goyit added that a total sum of N30,000 was given to each of the beneficiaries for feeding and transportation allowances.

One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Grace Yohana who expressed happiness to have received the training, appreciated Al-Muhibah Foundation for the ‘kind gesture’.

I’m very happy about this intervention. They gave us N30,000, we learned many things about fonio farming and the state Ministry of Agriculture has also promised to give each of us one bag of fertilizer,” she said.

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Pastor Adeboye Reveals How God Will Call Him To Glory




The General overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor E. A Adeboye has said if rapture fails to take place soon, he would die on a Sunday after eating pounded yam.

The Man of God, who made the assertion at the ongoing Holy Ghost Congress of the church in Ogun State, said he would die the way one of his uncles died after church service.

Recounting how the uncle died, Adeboye said he was in the house after dancing during a church service and gave up the ghost without being sick.

He said the uncle died inside a toilet while the wife was preparing his meal.

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“After she finished pounding the yam, she knocked at the door of the toilet, when they opened the door, my uncle was gone; no sickness, no ache, no pain.

“I know somebody will say if we are never sick, how are we going to die and go to heaven? You don’t need to be sick to go to heaven”.

“If the Lord tarries His coming, I will go on a Sunday after a good meal of pounded yam,” he said.

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Company To Pay Nigeria £20m In Compensation Over Judgement Debt Suit




A Court in the United Kingdom has ordered Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID) Limited to pay Nigeria £20 million in damages and compensation following its victory in a $11 billion judgment debt heard in October, 2023.

The court ordered that the money be given to Nigeria within the next 28 days.

The award of £20 million in damages was revealed during a subsequent ruling on the subject in London to determine what happened after the October ruling.

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Reports said the hearing was also held to determine whether P&ID would be granted permission to appeal the decision, however, the court denied P&ID’s request to remand the case to arbitration.

It contended that the company’s conduct during the process was heinous, thus the judgment.

Nigeria had sued P&ID for at least £20 million in damages and legal fees but obtained significant relief in October when the UK court released it from entanglement in the $11 billion judgment debt previously issued in favour of P&ID Limited.

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In the lawsuit between the Federal Government of Nigeria and P&ID, Justice Robin Knowles of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales affirmed Nigeria’s claim that the gas processing contract was obtained by fraud.

In the judgment delivered after five years of legal battle, Judge Knowles said: “In the circumstances and the reasons I have sought to describe and explain, Nigeria succeeds on its challenge under section 68. I have not accepted all of Nigeria’s allegations. But the awards were obtained by fraud and the way they were procured was contrary to public policy.”

Recall that P&ID was contracted by Nigeria in 2010 to build a gas processing plant in Calabar, Cross River State, in the country’s south but the deal fell through because the Nigerian government did not keep its half of the bargain.

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