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GOTEL: The Dangers Of A Single Story

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“Always avoid the dangers of a single story,” Chimamanda Adichie once said. Acting up or making serious decisions off convictions from single stories is a flaw that illustrates our emotional, rather than, logical approach to solving problems in Nigeria.

Whoever cries first in public is automatically regarded as the victim and the entire village converges on the village square to bay for the blood of the other person who has yet to respond to the allegations against them.

Even when the accused issues a robust response, the villagers already chose who and what to believe, irrespective of facts presented by the responding party.

Some years ago four young undergraduates visited their school mate by dawn, somewhere in Rivers state. Suddenly, shouts of “Thieves, Thieves,” filled the early morning air and shattered the peace of that small town.

Within minutes a fierce crowd had gathered around the four ‘intruders’ and, despite the protestations of the boys, proceeded to stone them to death and burn their bodies.

That sad event is what we refer to as the ALUU 4 today. Four innocent boys murdered by a crowd that did not understand the dangers of a single story or just didn’t care about the truth.

It turned out that the real thief, the school mate who owed the boys some money and had been evading them was the one who screamed the false accusation that got them killed.

In America, one of the most popular Hollywood actors is Amber Heard. She was married to Johnny Depp, the star of Pirates of the Carribbean.

Miss Heard came out openly to allege that she had been a victim of domestic abuse in her marriage to the well loved actor. Johnny Depp immediately lost all his contracts and businesses with major production companies even though his ex wife had not presented a shred of evidence to back her claims.

Millions of people around the world attacked Mr Depp and his children violently (the children defended their father) while the man continued to maintain his innocence. But society, led by masters of virtue signalling, had made up it’s mind and passed judgment already.

Since yesterday the internet has been awash with audio, pictorial and previous court evidences, all proving the fact that the alleged victim, Miss Amber Heard was, indeed, the abuser!

Leaked audio tapes prove that not only was Depp quite the peaceful husband, but Miss Heard was given to fits of extreme violence, hitting her husband and even once slicing his finger with a knife, burnt a cigarette on his face, and hit him with pots during her self confessed bouts of anger.

Amber Heard told her husband in the audio tapes that she cannot promise to stop being violent.

Yet this was the same woman that the world celebrated as a strong victim of abuse. She became the face of a highly subjective #MeToo movement and profited off of her false accusations by gaining a lead role in the monster hit movie, Aquaman.

I understand the urge to take sides with the underdog. But let’s not forget that every dog is a dog and any dog can bite without provocation; even the underdog.

That innocent looking Chihuahua still has sharp teeth concealed behind the fancy face and can commit crimes.

When workers claim to be owed salaries, it is natural for everyone to identify with their pain. They automatically become the victims because, truth be told, it is wrong for an employer not to pay their workers. There are even laws against this.

So what happened with GOTEL, the media company owned by His Excellency Atiku Abubakar GCON, former Vice-President of Nigeria and Wazirin Adamawa? Did he decide to disregard labour laws and deliberately catapult GOTEL staff into penury by refusing to pay their salaries for work done? Did Atiku hire Diaspora professionals and force them to work for free while not respecting the terms of their contracts?

It is easy to believe such tales on face value. It’s easy because delaying salaries is an abnormal norm in the larger Nigerian context; government at all levels owe salaries, private businesses, even more so.

But those who have taken sides with the ‘underdog’ in this case run the risk of generalising and passing wrong judgment.

Credible sources involved in the saga have raised a number of valid points and I will address just a few of them with a view to, not passing judgment but, understanding why the seeming impasse lingers.

Firstly, what is the basic character of the former Vice-President? Is it in his nature to allow those around him wallow in poverty while he relishes the deserved wealth God and fate has bestowed upon him?

From my direct, personal experience with the Waziri, and with due respect to doubting Thomases, such a thought would be the most dishonest and unfair description of Atiku Abubakar.

His many interventions in the lives of thousands of citizens across different tribes and religions are well documented. But today is not the day to list them.

Talking about GOTEL, how well did the self-adulating Diaspora professionals handle the core assignment they were contracted to do? Did they lift the company from the doldrums of decadence to the pinnacle of media excellence? Did they bring to bear the much needed placement of the company among elite players in the sector given the fact that tens of millions of dollars were spent setting up GOTEL to become a world class media firm?

I read the interview in The Punch of Ebong Udoma, erstwhile Editor in Chief of the company who alleged that he was being owed about 60,000 dollars.

I particularly took note of the question he was asked about why he has not sought legal redress against the company.

Ebong Udoma blabbed some incoherent excuse about not living in Nigeria.

Maybe that’s true. He also claimed that the finance controller for the company, Abdullahi Babalele, failed to keep a number of appointments they had made to meet in his (Babalele’s) office.

Assuming, but not conceding, that it was true, it still would not be strange; Babalele is an extremely busy man and could be justifiably late to appointments. I have been to his office before and he was not there at the agreed times. What did I do?

I called his mobile number more than once to remind him that I was waiting. There was a delay but he came eventually. Why did I wait? It was the simple fact that I knew what I wanted and, since that was the reason I was there, I would not have left without it.

If someone owed me sixty thousand dollars and asked me to come to their office, I would go with my blanket and night wear. There’s no way I would leave their before getting my money. If the money was not ready, the Babalele I know would not ask me to come.

And since Ebong was leaving Nigeria, he could have reverted to His Excellency to seek his intervention with Babalele.

The only reason anybody would be invited to pick up his legitimate funds by Babalele and end up not waiting for it is if he was culpable in running down the company’s finances and did not want to be audited before payment.

A lot of Nigerian professionals are averse to accountability.

Unfortunately, over the years, one has noticed that a lot of hired hands have taken the Waziri’s open heart for granted and fleeced the man of monies not worked for.

The Chiamehen management at GOTEL embezzled funds meant for staff salaries and administrative running of the firm. The man even did that almost typical Nigerian ghost worker stuff by appointing his daughter who lives in faraway America and placing her on GOTEL’s payroll– in dollars– for doing nothing. Absolutely nothing!

What these faux victims will not tell you is that they (staff) have never submitted a kobo in profits to the owner of the company. For fifteen years Atiku has run GOTEL out of pocket. The management never as much as bought diesel for the generator. Atiku took care of those needs.

Now let’s be fair. Atiku is a private businessman. He is not the government and does not have access to unlimited cash. He is also affected by every factor that knocks businesses to the ground, especially dishonest employees.

Facing a proper audit and investigation into his activities, Chiamehen fled Nigeria claiming that he was going for sick leave. According to Paul Ibe, Media Adviser to His Excellency, that sick leave was in 2016.

Is Chiamehen not well enough to return and give account of his financial and operational stewardship? It’s been four years now.

It is within the rights of a business owner to demand an audit. Infact, every serious organisation must audit it’s operations from time to time, especially when corruption has been detected.

One of the things I admire most about Atiku is that he never runs from challenges like a coward. He faces them headlong and submits himself to scrutiny. That’s why he is Nigeria’s most investigated politician and has yet to be convicted of any crime.

Why is Chiamehen in hiding? I am not saying that he has stolen money. But he should return or, at least, write a comprehensive report about all transactions that happened under his management.

This will go a long way towards ending the saga. There is no way the public can pick sides in a matter that has not lent itself to objective scrutiny. It would be merely responding to wild conjecture rather than incontrovertible fact.

As for Ebong Udoma, I am still struggling to see what world class content he brought to the firm to warrant the huge resources spent under their management. Beyond that, I have yet to find actionable facts in his allegations. If he claims that he was asked to come get money from Babalele then why did he not wait for his money? Why did he leave Nigeria in a hurry, and why did he not seek legal redress?

For now, on the side of the underdog, there are more questions than answers. The owner of GOTEL has not minced words at all. His defence has been consistent and, if you know Atiku well enough, then you would be sure about one thing;

Atiku ensures to be right before he fights.

Nigerians should avoid the danger of the single story. Another group to run from is the band of godless virtue signallers who are paid by elite urchins to leverage on the emotional nature of Nigerians to smear just about anybody they perceive to be a threat.

Michael Achimugu writes from Abuja

Ike Ani is a Freelance writer whose quest constantly is to relate happenings around the world to human daily living. He's also a song writer and singer, Acoustic Guitarist, and Teacher.

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5 Nigerian Politicians That Tested Positive To COVID-19

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The COVID-19 pandemic has wrecked havock in many countries worldwide, shutting down businesses and more.

Many nations’ economy have suffered huge drops and alot have changed in terms of economic activities.

The pandemic has proven to have no favorites as every social strata can be affected by it. Nigeria is not left out on the list of countries affected.

As at the time of writing this article, Nigeria has about 5,100+ cases of COVID-19. While some Nigerians believe this, some others doubt and have tagged it a politicized virus on Nigeria’s shores.

Following mainstream media reports from March 2020, recall that both politicians and celebraties were affected by this outbreak.

Here in this article are the list of some Nigerian politicians that contracted the deadly coronavirus.

While some recovered fully, one died as numerous reports blamed his previous health challenges.

1. Abba Kyari (1952-2020)

Abba Kyari while alive was the chief of staff to the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. Abba Kyari served the nation and while doing that contracted the virus.

He eventually died on the 17th of April 2020 due to the complications caused by the COVID-19 within his system according to reports.

2.Governor Nasir El-rufai

The Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai announced that he tested positive to COVID-19 himself .

The governor tested positive to the virus on the 28th March 2020. He has been under going treatments since then.

3.Governor Bala Monhammed

Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed tested positive to the dreaded Coronavirus last month. However, Governor Bala after receiving treatments tested negative after being tested on 9th April 2020.

He has since resumed work at the governemnt house and as well encouraged the use of malaria drugs in the fight against the COVID-19.

4.Raymond Dokpesi

Raymond Dokpesi the Founder of DAAR Communications earlier tested positive to the Virus alongside other members of his family but fortunately, he tested negative after receiving treatments.

He was declared neagtive on 14th May 2020. He however lamented over the poor Medical infrastructures in Nigeria.

He called upon the Federal Government to look into ways to improve the healthcare systems in the country.

5.Frank Okiye

The Edo State House of Assembly speaker Frank Okiye on 25th March 2020 tested positive to the Virus. His status then made the Edo state Governor Godwin Obaseki go into self isolation .

However, on 24th April after receiving treatments, the Speaker tested Negative.

The Edo state government in a bid to curb the spread of the Virus decided to set up screening centres all around the state’s borders.

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The Political Agenda For Repatriating Almajiri Boys To Southern Nigeria

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Currently amidst the Coronavirius pandemic, many Northern States are actively repatriating large numbers of Almajiri young boys from one state to another but the part that makes it sound security threatening is that the practice of having almajiri boys within communities is not a common phenomena or religious practice in the southern region of Nigeria.

Some southerners have tagged the move of sending Almajiri boys down to the south as political and as well as religious with a terror plan underground. While this is unverified, the rate which at which trucks loaded with young boys from the north are trooping into the south is alarming.

The manner with which they try to smuggle them in makes it look like there is more to it. For some, they use trucks for cows to hide the boys. Days ago, a Dangote truck was involved in the smiggling of young boys from the north.

So, is there more to this recent smuggling? If they are not hiding something alongside the trucks, why are they not bold to drive into Southern cities without having to hide under tampoline covers meant for goods? These are questions the governors who are repartraiting almajiris from their states need to answer.

Politically, if we are to analyze this, there is an underground plan that has not been made bare yet as far as this all of a sudden repartriation of young boys are concerned. The Federal Government should not keep quiet about this neither Should southern Governors.

A practice perculiar to the North that doesn’t end well at the end of the day should not be shifted to the south for any reason. These boys they are shifting to the South have no home, family or any relation to stay with when they get to he South.

They will start by joining those Northerners who are predominantly farmers in the south in their humble abode until they seek something terrible to indulge in such as Highway kidnapping in the South-South and South-west regions.

Not judging but if you take note of the culprits behind kidanpping on South-west and some part of South-South highways, they are 70% Northern young men who have relocated to the south with no prior plan on what to do to survive.

Because they moved to the south with no basic plan of what to do, they are easily recruitd by kidnap kingpins in the South to perpetrate all manner of crimes within the regions. This calls for Federal Government attention.

Politically, those behind the all of a sudden shiting of Almajiri boys to the south are seeking a 20-50 years plan to battle for lands and communities in the South in the future. This may be tagged as mere allegations but that is the fact staring at the South.

THIS IS THE GRAND PLAN:

Move the boys to the remote southern regions, get their hands busy with all manner of activities (Legal or illegal). This gimmick is not easily understood by the people of the South. These boys leverage on this error of the south to have knowledge of all nooks and cranny of the remote southern parts.

Most of the boys being smuggled to the south via different means will not reside within the major cities but will smartly move to the rural areas. In the next 30 – 50 years, they will start claiming lands belonging to communities that housed them for over 40 years.

This method is not new as so many Fulani Normads have employed it severally in Plateau and Benue state in recent times. When this doesn’t go their way, they engage in a heavy masssacre of locals to prove their points.

Is this going to be the reality of some rural areas in the South in the next 50 Years? This should not be seen as a message to preach against one Nigeria because there are Northerners who are based in the Southern Nigeria and are there with good reasons likewise the Southernerns in the North.

Those who choose to smuggle themselves into a region with a decoy method have something devilish and demonic in mind against such regions are enemies of Peace. If one is confident of a good move, he/she doesn’t need to hide to do it.

Why are Almajiri Boys smuggled to the South in fishy ways recently? The Southern Governors should throw this question to the Northern Governors while it is still day.

One Nigeria is very much possible when a Region stops playing devilish moves against others.

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EFCC Donates Allison Diezani’s Mansion To Lagos Govt as COVID-19 Isolation Centre (Photos)

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In a bid to support the curbing of the Coronavirus, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Friday, handed over a property forfeited by former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke to the Lagos State Government.

The seized mansion is to be used as an Isolation Centre for COVID-19 patients.

The property consisting six flats of three bedrooms and a boys’ quarter was forfeited by Diezani, a minister under the Jonathan administration, following an order of Lagos State Federal High in 2017.

Speaking during the handover ceremony, the Lagos Zonal Head of the EFCC, Mohammed Rabo, stated that the gesture was part of the commission’s social responsibility efforts towards the fight against the spread of Corona virus.

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