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OPINION: What is Actually Wrong with Nigeria and Nigerians: Organised Madness?

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By Dr. Okey (Oduma) Chidolue, Columnist

We endlessly complain about our government (Local, State & Federal) but we cannot individually or collectively carry out a very simple task like driving through an intersection.

“What exactly is wrong with us?” This is the question I have continued to ask.

We endlessly complain about our government (Local, State & Federal) but we cannot individually or collectively carry out a very simple task like driving through an intersection.

About two weeks ago, it took me and my fellow road users five (5) hours to drive from Asaba to Onitsha for absolutely no reason at all. A drive-time that shouldn’t have taken more than fifteen (15) minutes. The road was fairly paved with zero potholes and there were no motor accidents. But we all wanted to enter the Asaba-Onitsha Bridge at the same time with zero regard for vehicles coming from the opposite directions. And, before you could spell jack, we had four (4) lanes both ways, on a road technically designed for two lanes.

Then comes the shocker; a visibly mad man audaciously took charge of the traffic control as Road Safety officials helplessly watched a shuttle bus conductor (of all people) admonishing a pastor for changing his lane recklessly. Few drivers and passengers threatened one another with the usual “I will kill you today” verbal jab. This is an everyday organised madness that a simple STEP (Sorry, Thanks, Excuse & Please) THERAPY would have stopped. But not in this climate where courteous behaviour means nothing, except when we travel to London and New York. Who did this to us?

We did it to ourselves, period!

We have zero RESPECT for one another. We employ “white” folks to add “credibility” to our contract bids. An average Nigerian is a lawyer, doctor, or engineer. And, must be addressed as Chief/Dr/Sir/Honorable, etc. He doesn’t take responsibility for his faults. And he definitely doesn’t want to be a plumber or bricklayer because our society looks down pitifully on artisans, the economic drivers of Europe and the United States of America, where we all run to for sanctuary.

If we RESPECT one another, there won’t be any mad rush for all of us to drive through an intersection or board an aircraft at the same time. If we RESPECT one another, those “Honorables” and “Big Man” with annoying and illegal pilot vehicles will disappear. If we pray less and RESPECT one another more, our State Services will begin to improve. And, most importantly, if we RESPECT one another, bribery (the bane of our Republic) will begin to release its strangulation. For now, there are no sanctions for traffic infractions because violators could bribe their way through willing law enforcement agencies.

The current situation is not hopeless, though.

Looking at the exemplary advancements in music and fashion within a relatively short period, there is light in the tunnel. But we must begin to re-educate our youth by discouraging “sorting” in schools. Excellence must be rewarded. And, we must go back to the basics that made our universities great in the 1970s. A well-educated society is usually a respectful and organised society. And, a good education doesn’t mean the acquisition of a Ph.D.

For sure, our value system and orientation must change. There is this infamous remark by an “unknown” gentleman who quipped that he came to the city in search of money and not in search of work. Simply put, he wants to make money without work. Something is amiss!!!

Okey (Oduma) Chidolueis a public affairs commentator and philanthropist

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Nigeria

45 Million Women Lack Access To Family Planning In Nigeria

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The Country Director of an international non-governmental organisation, Marie Stopes Nigeria, has expressed concerns that about 45 million active women of childbearing age lack access to family planning and sexual reproductive health services in the country.

Effiom  Effiom, made the revelation in Abuja Monday during a two-day sexual reproductive health workshop his organization, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, organised for traditional and religious leaders.

He said lack of access to facilities for family planning and sexual reproductive health services, lack of commodities at health facilities, coupled with other traditional and religious barriers has contributed to the high maternal mortality rates in the country.

Effiom said the workshop was organised to engage traditional and religious leaders to appreciate critical issues affecting provision and uptake of quality reproductive health services.

Mamman Mahmuda, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, believed that traditional and religious leaders have a role to play towards promoting advocacy and supporting demand generation for sexual reproductive health services and rights to reduce maternal and infant mortalities in Nigeria.

 

 

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Nigeria

Orji Kalu Visits Nnamdi Kanu In DSS Custody, Promises To Keep Counseling Him

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The Chief Whip of the Nigeria Senate and former governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, has visited the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, in the custody of the Department of State Services on Monday afternoon.

Kalu, in a statement personally signed by him and made available to our correspondent in Abuja, said the IPOB leader was in good health and under proper care.

The former governor of Abia State added that he spoke with Kanu as a brother and told him the need to consider the consequences of certain actions that he would be taking.

Kalu said, “This afternoon, I visited my brother, Maazi Nnamdi Kanu in DSS custody, Abuja.

“I met him in good health and care and we discussed as ‘Umunne’.

“In 2001 when I was Governor, I made his father Eze Israel Okwu Kanu, the traditional ruler of Akwara Ukwu and since then the family has been very close to me.

” I understand that Nnamdi has an insane amount of people rooting for his back home and I encouraged him to consider the consequences of certain actions and utterances for the sake of the same people.

“Even though my ideology and his ideology are totally different, God has made us brothers and we can’t run away from each other.

“I owe him and Nigerians good counselling whether he and his family listen to me or not.

“I will continue to counsel him as I have always done in the past. What we need most is a peaceful and secured society.”

 

 

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Nigeria

Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, Steps Down After 16 Years

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The Chief Executive Officer of microblogging platform Twitter, Jack Dorsey, has resigned.

He announced his resignation on Monday, after 16 years of co-founding the social media company.

“I resigned from Twitter,” he wrote and posted a screenshot of his resignation letter sent to Twitter.

He also announced Parag Agrawal as his successor.

Dorsey has not been in the good books of the Nigerian government since October 2020, over an allegation that he was complicit in the promotion of the EndSARS protests that ended in the destruction of lives and billions of property in Nigeria.

In June 2021, the administration of Muhammadu Buhari (retd), suspended Twitter, citing the “persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”. The Federal Government’s action followed a deletion of a controversial civil war post by the President.

Buhari had since come under fire for what many termed as a restriction of the right of expression. The international community including the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, amongst others had since knocked the Buhari regime for the action but the Federal Government had been unyielding in its stance insisting that the sovereignty of the West African nation must be respected by the San Francisco tech giant.

Millions of content creators in Nigeria, who earn their living from the microblogging site, have been affected as they are forbidden from using Twitter. Some of them have since embarked on a journey of diversification while exploring other social media platforms.

Nigeria, with over 200 million people, had about 33 million active social media users as of January 2021. WhatsApp is the most popular platform used in the country, with over 90 million users according to Statista. Also according to Statista, about 61.4 per cent of Nigerian social media users use Twitter, 86.2 per cent use Facebook, 81.6 per cent use YouTube, 73.1 per cent use Instagram, and 67.2 per cent use Facebook Messenger.

Read The Full Resignation Letter Below

Hello Team.

After almost 16 years of having a role at our company…..from co-founder to CEO to Chair to Exec Chair to interim-CEO to CEO…I decided it’s finally time for me to leave. Why?

There’s a lot of talk about the importance of a company being ‘founder-led.’ Ultimately I believe that’s severely limiting and a single point of failure. I’ve worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders. There are 3 reasons I believe now is the right time.

The first is Parag becoming our CEO. The board ran a rigorous process considering all options and unanimously appointed Parag. He’s been my choice for some time given how deeply he understands the company and its needs. Parag has been behind every critical decision that helped turn this company around. He’s curious, probing, rational, creative, demanding, self-aware, and humble. He leads with heart and soul, and is someone I learn from daily. My trust in him as our CEO is bone-deep.

The second is Bret Taylor agreeing to become our board chair, I asked Bret to join our board when I became CEO, and he’s been excellent in every way. He understands entrepreneurship, taking risks, companies at massive scale, technology, product, and he’s an engineer. All of the things the board and the company deserve right now. Having Bret in this leadership role gives me a lot of confidence in the strength of our board going forward. You have no idea how happy this makes me!

The third is all of you. We have a lot of ambition and potential on this team. Consider this: Parag started here as an engineer who cared deeply about our work and now he’s our CEO (I also had a similar path…he did it better!). This alone makes me proud. I know that Parag will be able to channel this energy best because he’s lived it and knows what it takes. All of you have the potential to change the course of this company for the better. I believe this with all my heart!

Parag is CEO starting today. I’m going to serve on the board through my term (May-ish) to help Parag and Bret with the transition. And after that…I’ll leave the board. Why not stay or become chair? I believe it’s really important to give Parag the space he needs to lead. And back to my previous point, I believe it’s critical a company can stand on its own, free of its founder’s influence or direction.

I want you all to know that this was my decision and I own it. It was a tough one for me, of course. I love this service and company…and all of you so much. I’m really sad……yet really happy. There aren’t many companies that get to this level. And there aren’t many founders that choose their company over their own ego. I know we’ll prove this was the right move.

We’ll have an all-hands meeting tomorrow at 9:05 AM Pacific to discuss it all. Until then, thank you all for the trust you’ve placed in me, and for the openness to build that trust in Parag and yourselves. I love you all.

 

 

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