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You can teach a man anything and he learns and perfect in it, you cannot teach a man how to rule himself, that he has to learn from experience. (Ali Mazuri).

Is our democracy failing and our institutions non functional because we adopted a democratic process alien to our cultural systems of rule? Western democracy in itself is built on structures and a representative framework built on community input into governance. But this is hardly what is obtained in our clime.

American imperialism is the economic, military and cultural philosophy that the United States affects and controls other countries. It is further a believe that the rest of the world is underdeveloped because they are not practicing western democracy. And so whenever America liberates a people, they impose on them western democracy, a process we call American Imperialism.

Iraq and Libya prospered under autocracy. Today they have been reduced to rubble through American Imperialism. The current state of these countries today is history. American imperialism destroyed these countries.

The question today in nigeria is, have we learnt anything in our 57 years of democracy and independence? The current structure of our democracy is it really working for us? Our bureaucracy, Military, Security forces are they a representation of our dreams at independence? The Sectional agitations for cessation and independence is it a function of the failure of democracy or an expression of individual greed and private aggrandizement? Have we really learnt anything about democracy in 57 years of independence?

We go to the polls and elect leaders with so much hope and dreams, once in office, they become ineffective, confused, and out of sync with reality. Democracy was meant to have strengthened our institutions. Why is it taking us so long to perfect our democracy and governance structure?

Fifty-seven years later, we still believe the white-man should set the pace for us. Build our bridges, teach our children and in some cases, teach us his culture as done in Carnivals.

Have our elites learnt enough of perfecting democracy to export it to our rural villages or are traditional systems of rule gaining more traction and credibility even among the elites. Is there a relationship between the non functional nature of our society and democratic practice in our country?

Growing up local government councils were viable, chairmen executed projects, but today, Councils have been reduced to puppets of the governors. Are we developing or under-developing?

The failure of governance in Nigeria is it a function of adapting the white-mans democracy, or a disorientation of our native leadership styles, or a function of greed and selfishness on the part of our ruling class? Why do we find it difficult to evolve a credible ruling class capable of developing our country? Is there hope for our country or do we just resort to God?

I believe we can get it right the more our people are educated and enlightened. The best thing that western democracy bequeathed to Africa is democratic rule. At least we can change our leaders if we are not contented with their leadership. But whether the leader is stronger than the institutions to effect the change is the biggest challenge to African democracy.

Getting it right is not a choice, we must surely get there.

.Odidi wrote in from Atlanta, Georgia

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Dr Ezekiel Ikupolati, Bishop of Ijumu Anglican Diocese, has urged the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo to quickly scrutinise and sign the 2017 budget into law.

He gave the call during a press conference at Iyara, Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi, on Tuesday.

Ikupolati noted that the budget was long overdue for implementation, saying Nigerians are yearning for improved living standard.

The clergy man said, “Accent to the budget should not be delayed; full implementation must commence.

Another PDP Reps member, Adamu Kamale decamps to APC

“I want to advise the Federal Government to constitute post budget committee to monitor and supervise the implementation of the budget.”

He also called on the Kogi State government to pay the outstanding salaries and pensions of civil servants so as to reduce poverty and stem untimely death among pensioners.

This is coming at a time when the Presidency admitted that Osinbajo has received the 2017 budget and is studying the document.

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Doyin Okupe, a former senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonatha, has explained why it would be hard for Nigeria to break up.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, had alleged of some top politicians “approaching officers and soldiers for political reasons”, a development which people believe could be a plot to overthrow President Buhari.

Commenting on the development on his Facebook page on Monday, Okupe said there were factors that make the break-up of Nigeria possible, but that it would not happen.

“Yes, again and again there are drums of war, rumours of coups and heightened cries for separation. Yet Nigeria will not break. I repeat as God liveth Nigeria is not about to break-up,” he said.

“Those who rely on what is seen physically and those who are not too knowledgeable about life may want to hold this assertion in derision. Yet there is more than meets the eye in matters that controls the affairs of nations and men.

“True, all the ingredients required to justify a dismemberment of our union are fully present: inequality, injustice, nepotism, corruption, deception, sectional neglect and lack of inclusivity, mutual distrust etc; fortunately or unfortunately it is not in the manifest destiny of this great Nation to disintegrate.

“To anyone who is discerning, it has been crystal clear that God has shown His guiding hand in the affairs of Nigeria since the June 12 debacle. God does not act in vain but for a purpose. It will be preposterous to assume that the purpose of God’s intervention in the affairs of Nigeria in the past 25 years is to lead us to a break-up.

“In truth the Nigerian experiment or marriage is grossly imperfect and obviously not working.

“The Nigerian union presents some of the outstanding features of a dysfunctional marriage”, he stated.

Okupe said there was sustained anger, mutual contempt and distrust, lack of openness and poor communication among the component parts of Nigeria.

“In recent times the health of Mr President has been a source of concern to all.

“But more importantly, the north is more apprehensive in view of the previous experience with late President Yar ‘Adua. But they are not willing to discuss this openly.

“Official handling of the situation suggests sectional protectionism rather than presenting a national problem seeking for a national solution. After all this is a president loved and voted for by nearly fanatical nationwide followers. Why should his adversity be born and protected only by a section or just a few disciples?

“On the other side are those, mainly southerners who gloat over the president’s health challenges and cannot wait for power to be handed over to the vice president and for the latter to actually assume the full status of the president, almost immediately. They rely exclusively on the provisions of the Nigerian constitution, totally ignoring the main and the central abiding political philosophy of power sharing in Nigeria.”

The former presidential aide expressed worry that there were serious and genuine fears across the divide, but that nobody was “ready or willing to discuss these fears openly or even within leadership caucuses.

“What we then get are heightened calls and counter calls for breakup of the country, calls for restructuring and official rumours of coups.

“This is not the way to develop a great nation. There is need for a unity of purpose, an abiding faith in the unity of the nation.

“There is an urgent need to develop a national platform from which we can nurture the emergence of an elite political consensus from where we can always look at our problems as national problems and bring about unified national solutions. Then and only then can our nation be on its ultimate journey to its divine destiny of greatness‎.”

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The Ijaws in Delta State on Monday came hard on the Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson, for claiming that former president Goodluck Jonathan’s five years in power was a waste to the Ijaw nation.

Agreeing with Dickson that Jonathan disappointed his primary constituency by not making effort to ameliorate the sufferings of the Niger Delta people, the Ijaws however averred that Dickson was part of the former president’s failure.

Recall that during the annual celebration of Ijaw hero, Major Adaka Boroh, who fought and died for the self determination struggle, Dickson regretted that the five-year period of the Jonathan administration was a wasted opportunity as it did not bring about the needed development to the state.

But reacting through Chief Alaowei Cleric, the Ijaws dared Dickson to boast of the projects he has proudly completed across Bayelsa’s three senatorial districts, if not the accumulated unpaid civil servants’ salaries despite the huge monthly allocations, the 13 percent derivations and the bailout funds.

Cleric said, “It’s very shameful for Governor Seriake Dickson to berate the former president in the media. What moral justification does Governor Dickson have to carpet former President Jonathan in such a despicable and unprintable manner?

“Jonathan’s government was not a waste at the time he single-handedly installed Dickson as governor of Bayelsa State; it was not also a waste when Bayelsa State was receiving huge monthly allocations to the envy of others during Jonathan’s tenure as the president of the country; and now that the political pendulum swinged against the man (Jonathan), Dickson brazenly came out to make such sarcastic remarks on his benefactor.

“It is true of the saying that one can easily know his true friends in time of trial.

“For purposes of record, Jonathan actually failed his Ijaw/Niger Delta people. Dickson and some of the former’s overbearing appointees from the region were the cause of his failure. Which people oriented project has the governor executed and completed in the state in spite of the uninterrupted huge monthly allocations to the state during Jonathan’s tenure.”

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Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, has given reasons his government is probing the financial transactions by the administration of his predecessor, Dr Kayode Fayemi.

Fayose said apart from the N25 billion bond Fayemi took from the Capital Market, the administration also took N31bilion commercial loans which the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) now wants the state government to take responsibility for.

He stated this in Ado-Ekiti on Monday night while featuring in an interview programme on the state’s radio and television.

Fayose, through his deputy, Dr Kolapo Olusola‎, had on Monday morning inaugurated a Judicial Commission of Enquiry to probe the finances of the state under Fayemi from October 2010 to October. 2014.

Fayose said while the bond fund was meant for projects such as civic centre, State Pavilion, new Governor’s Office, new Government House, most of the projects were never completed.

He‎ added that the N31 billion commercial loans were also wasted and the state committed to serving the loans with about N1.1 billion monthly until year 2036.

“Also, that administration misappropriated funds given to the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) leading to the suspension of our state from UBEC support for some years. The SEC wrote me to take responsibility for the loans, even though they too derelict in their responsibility of monitoring how the funds were spent.

“Very annoying is also the fact that the representatives of our people, members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, invited Fayemi repeatedly, he refused to appear before them to explain how the funds were spent. His Finance Commissioner also took a cue from him, he refused to appear before the lawmakers too.

“The lawmakers had to pass a resolution mandating the state government to set up that panel and I am not a law breaker, I have to obey the people’s voice. The panel is made up of honourable people and will not witch-hunt anybody. If they don’t have any skeleton in their cupboards, let them appear before it,” he said.

On the refusal of petrol marketers in the state to sell their products, Fayose said his government would ‎not succumb to blackmail.

He explained that following the fire incident at a filling station early this year‎, it was discovered that most fuel stations in the state were operating without basic facilities in place and vital regulations being followed.

“I will not allow anybody set this state on fire. After the last fire incident, the owner was only ready to pay N10,000 compensation to people whose properties were burnt. The victims gave me a bill of over N176 milion compensation. The owner only insured his products, who will now be responsible for the losses suffered by the victims?

“Some stations were also located in wrong places‎. Their leaders came from Lagos and they went round and condemned the attitude of these people, but yet they want to hold us to ransom. They started their strike last week to create chaos during the burial of Baba Adeyinka Adebayo, but they failed.

“Henceforth, ‎those who refuse to sell petrol will not be allowed to sell any other thing in their stations. Those having shops in their stations must shut down those shops too. Any state official found to have helped any of them to get approval inappropriately will be dealt with severely,” he added.

‎On the release of the second tranche of the Paris Club Refund, Fayose opined that state and local governments suffered over-deductions in the first instance and they ought not to beg the Federal Government to return their money to them.

He added that despite the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari about two months ago, no state had been given any money.

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There is no doubt that Nigeria’s Power , Works and Housing Minister Mr Babatunde Fashola is annoyed with Nigeria’s power distribution companies over what he called their inability to deliver electricity to Nigerians especially at this point in time . Why the taciturn but well admired Nigerian leader and Senior Advocate of Nigeria should blow his top , and vent his spleen on the discos is however what needs to be found out and urgently too . That the Minister blamed the discos for ageing equipment they bought from government at privatization in 2013 is even more alarming and disturbing as the principle of caveat emptor or buyer beware does not sound fine from the mouth of the seller, which is the government that Fashola represents. This anger then smirks of brazen misuse of power by a Minister who is very much aware of the problems of the power industry enough to know that the failure of electricity supply in Nigeria does not lie at the doors of the discos alone.

Actually , telling the discos to perform or fold up is not only uncharitable of the Minister but it is a directive that shows the underlying frustration of the Power Minister in living up to his promise in his Road Map To Power Supply last year on achieving incremental supply before steady and sustainable power supply. The Minster needs to be reminded urgently that the factors that made his wise differentiation of the problems on the ground still exist, even more formidably now and they have a lot to do with many important stake holders in the industry and not discos alone. Which then means that in highlighting the discos alone for non performance on electricity delivery, the Minister was indulging in sheer scapegoating. That too is not fair to disco owners who are patriotic Nigerians who have invested in the distribution sector of the power industry with their hard earned money and capital but have nothing to show because they have been sold short on their investment by a government that knew the state of the infrastructure they were buying then, but encouraged them by promising to create the environment for their investments to yield dividend to the mutual benefit of the buyer and seller. That the Minister is now invoking the market dictum of buyer beware is certainly not consistent with the ethics of any sale, not to talk of a very expensive one as privatization of electricity which brought the discos to the delivery sector of our power industry in 2013.

Instead of writing the discos off when he now understands the problems of the industry, he should with the benefit of hindsight retrace his steps and recover the momentum which he had last year but which appears to be lost with his present anger with the discos. The Minister last year urged Nigerians to be ready to accept increased electricity tariffs now and made an analogy with the GSM industry and formerly very high prices of sim cards and mobile phones which came down drastically even as Nigerians got used to them and accepted them as part of their way of life and culture. That was a Minister showing empathy with the problems of the power industry and doing the correct and expected thing to sell the concept of sustainable, available and affordable electricity to Nigerians . It was a very good path that the Minister took at the time and it is one he should continue on and not abandon or deprecate as new challenges confront both government and discos from the nagging problems of bringing power to Nigerians by all means, and as soon as possible. The Minister is well advised to accommodate the discos and help them face the challenges of privatization and the expected dividends of efficiency and service delivery inherent in such process and that means being pragmatic in helping the discos live up to their mandate and billings. Anger is not a policy and is certainly out of the question given the problems confronting the discos which the Minister is very much aware of and to which as a leader of the power industry he must find answers. That really is the crux of the matter and not scapegoating of discos .

Engineer Abubakar.

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The Lagos State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr. Hyginus Omeje, tells TOBI AWORINDE that the agency’s restriction in Lagos State conforms to federal legislation

How would you sum up your experience so far in the Federal Road Safety Corps?

This is my second year as the sector commander. Looking back so far, it has not been easy but God has been our strength. The challenges are quite enormous, given the vehicular density of Lagos, the attitude of Lagosians to the use of the roads and the construction work on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. The construction has been ongoing for the past two years with the perennial traffic challenges that were created; this has kept all of us on our toes. Looking at the finances available to do what we need to do, I can tell you that it is quite challenging.

Our passion in what we are doing has been propelling us. We see our services as humanitarian in nature. Everybody cannot mount the pulpit to preach the gospel or be the chief imam, but I know that in my own little way, I am contributing to humanity.

Can you compare Lagos to other states in terms of traffic compliance?

Like I said, there is so much impunity going on. People flagrantly disobey traffic rules and regulations to one’s greatest amusement, despite all that the government has done, especially in Lagos State. The Lagos State Government has done so much in terms of improving the road infrastructure that would aid free flow of traffic, but we still see people not utilising these facilities as they are supposed to. A good example is the issue of traffic lights. You can notice that Lagos State has tried to signalise all critical junctions and those traffic lights are working. Each time you get to those junctions and there are no Lagos State Traffic Management Authority personnel, traffic warden, FRSC officer or any other officer of a traffic management agency around, people do the opposite of what the light is indicating. That gives me concern and it’s just lawlessness.

There are zebra crossings in front of schools, churches and some critical areas where pedestrians are supposed to cross the road. Yet, nobody is obeying the zebra crossing law. When a pedestrian puts a foot on the first white line, vehicles should stop there for the pedestrian to cross. Again, that is just flagrant disobedience to road traffic rules and regulations. Also, look at what the Lagos State Government has been able to do in creating lay-bys at bus stops. We expect people to go into those bus stops and pick or drop passengers. But if you don’t have a LASTMA officer there, they would not go inside properly. So, I am worried about the attitude of Nigerians and Lagosians to the regulations. It is quite worrisome. Despite all we are doing in terms of enlightenment programmes — (motor) park advocacies, road shows, being visible in the media, talking to people, educating people — and enforcement strategies, we still have a high level of impunity.

How does the restriction of the Federal Road Safety Corps by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode affect the operations of the corps?

It is good that we get this in the right perspective. The FRSC (Establishment) Act empowers the corps to operate on all public roads. But the same Act also mandates the corps to encourage states to set up their own traffic management agencies. So, when we have successfully midwifed a state to have their own traffic management agency, it is natural that we just concede to them the responsibility of managing traffic within the metropolis, while we focus on the highways and federal corridors, with high severity index. To this end, the corps marshal gave a directive that where the corps has been able to midwife state traffic management agencies successfully, and they are working, we should allow the state traffic management agencies to manage traffic within the city centre, while we concentrate on the federal corridors. We have been doing that, even before the governor’s announcement on Tuesday during the commissioning of the Berger pedestrian bridge. When you see us (FRSC) in Lagos State (it is), an intervention.

You have a crash (for instance); a container has just fallen on Apapa Road. During rescue operations and critical gridlocks, we intervene, giving LASTMA back-up, support services. But mainly, our enforcement operations include Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Mile 2-Iba-Badagry Expressway, Lekki-Epe Expressway. Those are the three major corridors within Lagos where we have always carried out our enforcement operations. Looking at the governor’s statement, I have been seeing all manner of headlines, ‘Gov. Ambode bans…’ It is not correct; I was there and I heard him clearly. He said, ‘The Vehicle Inspection Office has been permanently put out of Lagos, while the FRSC is advised….’ Go and play the tape again. He used the word ‘advised’ because he knows that there are certain things that have to do with Acts of the National Assembly.

Is the FRSC Act in agreement with the governor’s advice?

The FRSC (Establishment) Act is an Act of the National Assembly that goes beyond states. So, he (Ambode) said, ‘FRSC has been advised to stick to the fringes and highways, rather than the main streets of Lagos.’ This is quite in order because the corps, as I said, had earlier given a directive. I have it in black and white, considering holistically how many states whose traffic management agencies we had midwifed by giving them all the support needed in terms of training, logistics, etc. so that they can manage traffic. For some of them, we trained their personnel. I participated in training some LASTMA personnel and that is how it is done in other states.

What is the biggest challenge of your job?

There is nothing that the FRSC is losing sleep over. If you look at our strategic goals for 2017, one of them is to ‘advance road safety administration.’ One key strategy initiative under that goal is to encourage states to help their traffic management agencies, so that the job can be easier for all us. What is the total workforce of the FRSC that you think you can be everywhere at the same time and do everything? LASTMA is doing very well in Lagos. Let them manage the inner city and we concentrate on federal corridors. Talking about federal corridors in Lagos, if you look at Lagos, because of its status as the former Federal Capital Territory, majority of the roads you see today in Lagos are federal roads. Western Avenue down-Ikorodu-Sagamu is a federal corridor. Others are Western Avenue-Third Mainland Bridge; Nigerian Ports Authority-Badagry, Lekki-Epe, Oshodi-Apapa, and Lagos-Ibadan. So, if anything is happening in any of those places, I will not be looking the other way because of headlines in the newspapers. What the governor is saying is that ‘we don’t want to see FRSC at Osborne, Acme Road, etc. going into streets.’

Is the reason for the governor’s removal of VIO from Lagos roads related to his restriction on FRSC?

The VIO issue is different. If I heard him very well, he said, “due to public complaints.” The VIO (was criticised) for its modus operandi. The VIO is also an institution that has its statutory function. The VIO is responsible for testing drivers and checking the vehicles for their roadworthiness status. You can’t take it away from them. The FRSC is not mandated to do that. It is their (VIO) work. Inasmuch as I can arrest owners of vehicles that are not roadworthy, it is the statutory duty of the VIO to inspect vehicles and ensure that they are roadworthy. If there is a crash today and you are doing an investigation, you must invite the VIO to check that vehicle. If the man (driver) is claiming it is brake failure, you need to involve VIO personnel to see if truly that vehicle had brake failure. So, if the state government feels otherwise about their modus operandi, it is a state issue. I don’t want to get entangled in it.

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A group known as “Niger Delta Advocacy and Good Governance Watch” (NDAGGW) has on Friday blamed Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for fanning the embers of disunity in the Niger Delta region through his alleged reckless and unguarded statements.

The NDAGGW in a statement by its President, Kinikan Charles Worgu and Secretary, Akpobome Gibson, issued after its emergency meeting in Port Harcourt said the governor’s childish tantrums and politically motivated actions had cut off the camaraderie that once existed among governors and political leaders of the region.

The organisation frowned at the latest tirade of the Rivers governor during the commissioning of the second Nkpogu bridge by former President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday.

They observed that Wike’s attempt to join others and castigate Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson over his recent harmless comment on the performance of past leaders of the region was not only immature but gave him away as the chief sponsor of those who have been misinterpreting it.

The group said it had listened to Gov. Dickson’s speech which he made‎ on the Isaac Boro Day celebration in Yenagoa last Tuesday and nothing suggested that he was referring to the former president and therefore wonered why Wike will be spareheading and sponsoring those slanting it.

The statement reads: “Rather than call his brother governor to clarify ‎if truly such a comment came from him, Wike is busy distorting Dickson’s patriotic remarks. It has become clearer that it is him that has been behind the various publications smearing the image of the Bayelsa State governor. ‎This to us has once again exposed his antics of always playing the devil’s advocate.

“Our question is why is Wike crying more than the bereaved? It comes with the obvious feeling that he as usual wants to curry favour but sadly he has turned himself to the biblical Esau. We don’t know how long he will continue with this attitude but we do hope he realizes his actions and restitute.”

According to them, they had it on good authority that the same Wike sponsored Ann-Kio Briggs‎ to mobilize and cause mayhem during the second anniversary of Dickson on February 14, 2017 and this became glaring when less than 48 hours after her shameful conduct, the self-acclaimed Niger Delta activist at a town hall meeting with Acting President Yemi Osibanjo pleaded for the reinstatement of some of Wike’s security details.

Describing the Rivers state governor as a serial betrayal, bootlicker and political opportunist, the Niger Delta group disclosed that they were also aware of plans by Wike to sponsor a candidate for the next Bayelsa governorship election and added that he seem not to be at peace with himself because of the shadow of his predecessor that was hunting him.

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Following Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s announcement of the ban of Vehicle Inspection Service officials (VIS) from Lagos roads at the public commissioning of the Ojodu Berger bus stop pedestrian bridges, a lay by and a slip road some few days ago, the public space has been awash with divergent comments on the proprietary or otherwise of the government’s decision.

However, one must admit that the voices that have been applauding the government’s decision seems to be in the lead in view of the perception and complaints against  the VIO as being high handed, uncivil, engaged in extortion, arbitrary impoundment and fines, etc.

But in announcing the ban on VIO from the roads, Mr. Governor didn’t corroborate the complaints, but rather harped on the need of his government to employ modern technology rather than manual efforts in carrying out the responsibilities of tracking and monitoring vehicle registration and certification in line with global best practices.

For our education and information, on15th April 2016, acting without a vote, the UN General Assembly and its Member States adopted a resolution on “Improving global road safety”(document A/70/L.44) expressing concern that road traffic crashes killed more than 1.25 million people and injured as many as 50 million people a year.

Thus, in consonance with the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020: Member States are specifically invited to adopt comprehensive legislation on key risk factors like speeding, drinking and driving and improve the safety of vehicles and roads of which a compulsory vehicle inspection (both periodic and roadside) is crucial to improving road safety.

Therefore, while one appreciates the government’s commitment to adopting technology for the execution of its responsibilities in the 21st century, one is at a loss to explain the rationale for the “jubilation” that has greeted the government’s action which is simply a change of tactics and thus one is suspicious of the motive of these “happy” people which needs to be scrutinized, in the long term interest of the society.

One has heard complaints against the fines of VIO for erring motorists as being on the high side, when it’s a fact that the fines are statutorily approved in the Lagos state traffic law. So why heap the blame on the messenger (VIO) who is only enforcing the law as passed by the lawmakers? Rather, our focus should be on reworking our traffic laws to comply with international standards where we deem it draconian. Some persons have also complained that when VIO stops their vehicles for check on the roads, they turn a blind eye to other vehicles which in their view are rickety and in breach of the law. But the truth of the matter is that the VIO, do not have the personnel and materials to arrest all the erring motorists on the roads at a particular time.

One must acknowledge the fact that notwithstanding the complaints against the VIO on Lagos roads, if there is one agency be it federal or state that has driven fear into the minds of drivers and vehicle owners who are in breach of the law, it is the VIO with their uncompromising enforcement against erring motorists.

While one cannot rule out the possibility that there may indeed be some bad eggs among the vehicle inspection officers whose conduct paints the service in bad light in the eyes of the public, it is also a fact that within their limits, the VIO have to a large extent ensured that a lot of vehicle owners with expired drivers licence and vehicle papers, broken lights, rickety vehicles stay off Lagos roads for fear of being apprehended and prosecuted.

The fear of arrest by the VIO has made many law breaching vehicle owners to resort to ply the roads early in the morning before the resumption of work by the vehicle inspection officers or late in the night when they must have closed officially for the day.

Thus, one expects the VIO to be commended for its untiring and risk taking efforts at ensuring that carnages are reduced on our roads rather than the condemnation that has greeted their activities and the “joy” of its ban by those that one suspects have been denied the opportunity to endanger public safety by the presence of the VIO on the roads.

Well, the days ahead promises to be of interest for the motoring public and public safety, but be that as it may, one hopes and pray that some of our country men and women “celebrating” the ban on VIO in Lagos state will play their part in contributing positively to reduce carnages on our roads by voluntarily ensuring like we have complied with the use of seat belts, that only licensed drivers and vehicles with valid documents and functioning apparatus ply our the roads notwithstanding the transition from manual to technology for tracking and monitoring vehicle registration and certification because soon, it will be revealed whether we are law abiding or violating motorists. I rest my case.

.Ekujuni wrote in from Lagos


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“I shall cause thy message to reach the corners of the earth”

– Revelation revealed to the Promised Messiah (a.s), 1898.

Having millions of audience across the globe is not a small feat. Having a loyal enraptured and satisfied audience cutting accross all ages and races is a miracle. Yet, MTA International has done it. And this too in 25 years! What is more? Operations of this television channel since its inception has been over ninety percent done by volunteers. What is even more surprising is that most of its staff had little or no knowledge about running a television channel and its operations when they started. The Chairman, Nasir Ahmad stated that ” I was no more qualified than anyone else”.

In line with logic, this venture should have failed. It is like going into the sea without knowing how to swim. But against all odds, here it is 25 years later bigger,  better and still expanding rapidly.

How is this possible? Simply put, it is Divine Grace. A fulfilment of the revelation revealed to the Promised Messiah that his message shall reach even the farthest corners of the earth. Almighty Allah does not speak in vain. This is one of the beautiful manifestations of His words.

To truly appreciate the growth of MTA International, let us take a look at its history. MTA International was launched for the first time as Ahmadiyya Muslim Presentation on the 31st of January, 1992 under the leadership of the fourth Khalifah, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad. It was established with the purpose of broadcasting the Friday Sermons to Ahmadis accross the world. Later,  other programmes were added to cover a four hour schedule, then twelve hours and finally twenty four hours. These programmes were produced and broadcasted to build a bond between the Khalifah and his followers, enhance spirituality of the viewers and tackle misunderstood concepts such as Jihad and role of women in Islam and society. Summarily,  it is the answer to the wrong narrative broadcast by mainstream media to the world. And what a brilliant one!

When the channel was launched on January 1st,1994 as MTA International, it became the first non-profit, twenty four hour international Muslim channel to broadcast a host of Islamic programmes. The programmes were translated to different languages among which are Swahili, French, Bengali and others. This was to cater for the variety of audience speaking the different languages.

By 7th January 2004, daily transmission of programmes began with the broadcast area focused on Asia, Europe, North America, Central America and South America. Currently, the number of programmes have expanded to include Bustan-e-Waqfe Nau and Gulshan-e-Waqfe Nau, Faith Matters (one of my favourites), Rah-e-Huda, Shotter Shondane among others.

On April 23rd 2004, MTA2 (MTA Ath-Thania) was launched with the broadcast area focused on Europe and parts of Africa below the Sahel region. The first one was then renamed MTA1 (MTA Al-Ula). Unlike MTA1, MTA 2 was established under the leadership of the fifth Khalifa,  Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad,  as the fourth one was deceased. Its programmes are similar to that of MTA .

The 23rd of March 2007 witnessed the launch of MTA 3 with broadcast area focused on the Middle East, North Africa and North America.

The latest addition, MTA Africa 1 and 2,was launched on 1st of August, 2016 with satellite studios in Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The thrust of the programmes of these channels are on documentaries of African cultures and heritage, talk shows on current affairs and social issues, interfaith programmes and special events. Already, MTA Africa is showing a promise of great success with the large number of volunteers who have shown commitment towards ensuring its growth. Most of the volunteers are youths who will definitely bring in innovative and creative ideas that will be adapted to operations, contents and production. With the responsibilities of coordination and operations placed on efficient and excellent individuals like Umar Shafe (Coordinator, MTA Africa Project) and Qasim Akinreti (MTA Africa, Nigeria coordinator), there is guarantee of rapid growth. Already, a new MTA studio, Wahab Adam Studios, is almost completed in Ghana.

Currently, MTA International channels broadcast their programmes in over sixteen languages including Arabic, French, Malayalam, Swahili, Bangla, Pashto, Tamil, Russian, Turkish, Fars, Japanese, Hausa and so on. This is one of the distinguishing features of MTA from the over one hundred and sixty six religious television stations globally. Another features which distinguishes MTA is the programme contents which has over the years grown to adapt to and satisfy its global audience regardless of age, race of level of literacy.

It is not unusual for pioneers to fall behind over time due to inadequate innovation and creation that characterizes growth. However, MTA International was and still is at the forefront of technological advancement with the innovative, creative and efficient use of apps, websites and streaming of live content from popular platforms such as YouTube. This is made possible through the continuous revision of contents, operation and production methods, research on the audience as well as adaptation of knowledge gained by the staff from their job in the media industry.

There has been an International Broadcast Conference (started in 2003) to review MTA’s prrogramme contents and develop staff so as to be able to efficiently face and overcome challenges that abound in the current technology driven international broadcast field. Right now, MTA can boldly stand shoulder to shoulder with any international broadcast station. Talking about the graphics, the designs, the sound…everything. It is a source of immense pride for the Jama’at world wide and will continue to be Insha Allah.

Creating excellence for 25years with such small material for a start is a miraculous feat and there is no sign of stopping. The fifth Khalifa, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad,  at the fourth International Broadcast Conference stated thus,

“Unquestionably, MTA is itself playing a great role in spreading the true teachinhs of Islam to all parts of the world”.

MTA International, at 25,is a testament to the fact that when Almighty Allah makes a promise, He fulfills it. Alhamdullilahi robbil alamin.

.Omoyele is a member of MTA International Africa Nigeria Studio


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