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Gov Zulum’s victory bell at Biu By Charles Ibekwe

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Gov Zulum’s victory bell at Biu- Since the onset of the Boko Haram insurgency in North-East, Nigeria in 2009, Nigeria has witnessed a period classified as one of the most trying in its history. I would say that the Boko Haram insurgency was underestimated. Consequently, conventional tactics were deployed in an asymmetric war.

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And the outcome of such military deployment remains a topic for another day. However, the crux of this piece is to systematically analyze the security situation in present-day North-East Nigeria and the factors that have proved to be the game-changer in the prosecution of the war against insurgency.

There have been concerted efforts that have resulted in gains and losses. There has been realignment and strategizing towards nipping the Boko Haram scourge in the mud. This is why the focus of this piece would be centered around 2016 to date when the Nigerian Military gained ascendency over the Boko Haram insurgents.

At the front of the renewed charge is the Nigerian Army, the arm of service that has received praises and bashings in equal measures from stakeholders and other segments of the Nigerian population. Despite, all the Nigerian Army has continued in a most commendable fashion.

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This much was brought to bear recently by the Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum at the occasion of the formal presentation of First Class Staff of Office to the Emir of Biu Emirate in Borno State, HRH, Mai Mustafa Umar Mustapha II.
Governor Babagana Zulum indeed captured the real situation of things regarding the efforts of the Nigerian Army in the prosecution of the Boko Haram insurgency that has ravished most parts of North-East Nigeria mainly Borno State. In his words, he stated thus:

“I must commend the Chief of Army Staff, Directors and Principal Staff Officers of Army Headquarters, the Theatre Commander, the General Officer Commanding, Sector Commanders, Brigade Commanders and Commanding Officers, Men and Officers of the Nigerian Army, Men and Officers of the Nigerian Police Force and other paramilitaries, Civilian Joint Task Force, hunters and vigilante for the support they have rendered in securing the territorial integrity of our nation”.

This coming from the governor of a state that is regarded as the epicenter of the Boko Haram insurgency is an indication that the commendation that has poured in for the leadership of the Nigerian Army and other paramilitary agencies involved in the Boko Haram insurgency is indeed worth every inch of it. The statement has also quashed some of the negative narrative pushed by some segment of the population with regards to the commitment of the Nigerian Army in the preservation of the country’s territorial integrity.

I believe that no other person is competent to comment on the Boko Haram insurgency than the governor of the state that is the epicenter of the insurgency. In my opinion, the governor has demonstrated patriotism through his actions, and I expect all those hanging on the fence to come to terms with this reality.

I don’t hold brief for the Nigerian Army or any other paramilitary agency. But I am constrained to lend my voice to this debate because I am conversant with the happenings in North-East Nigeria. And I know of the tremendous sacrifices that have gone into the restoration of normalcy in the region.

I recall that on numerous occasions I had advocated that Nigerians must form the habit of appreciating the efforts of the Nigerian Army. This is especially with the fact that we were up against an ideology that is deeply rooted in mischief, politics and extremism. This is indeed what the Boko Haram insurgency is all about. Take it or leave it.

It is not a conventional war, and as such, we should not expect troops to move in and smoke out Boko Haram insurgents within a timeframe. No, that is abnormal thinking that Nigerians must avoid. And unfortunately, this has been the yardstick that has been used in measuring the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria. This is also aside from the conspiracies both internally and externally by some vested interest towards ensuring that the Boko Haram insurgents continue to perpetuate evil and cause untold hardship in North-East Nigeria.

If not for anything, when one makes a detailed comparison of the state of affairs in North-East Nigeria pre-2015 and post- 2015, we would realize that a lot has changed for good and the threats posed by the Boko Haram insurgents has been reduced tremendously. From controlling over 16 local government areas, to directly engaging the Nigerian Army in battles and many other daring acts which included the systematic spread of terror to other parts of the country including the Federal Capital Territory.

Today, the story has changed as the remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents have been confined to the fringes of the Lake Chad Basin region, with no territory under their control and largely carrying out offensives in Gestapo hit and run style. If this is not something that should elicit commendation, I wonder what else should do—my candid thoughts.

If not for anything, I am glad that such a statement from the Governor of Borno State would inspire the troops to work harder because their efforts have been noticed and commended. This psychological boost is what is indeed needed as we push towards ending the Boko Haram insurgency. I used the word push because this is an ideological war and not a conventional war. And as some of us may know, insurgencies the world over is not something that comes to an end with the snap of the fingers. Some historical accounts stated that insurgencies take a minimum of 15 years to be addressed entirely because insurgency is an evolving phenomenon.

The Boko Haram insurgency is not any different; we recall that the target was security agents initially. From there it moved to the establishment of caliphates. It also moved to abductions and attacks on soft targets in women and children and today; it is now focused on guerrilla warfare.

Having said all, I am also in awe as to why Governor Babagana Zulum chose to make this statement in Biu. In case we do not know, the Biu Emirate has remained one of the regions in Borno State that have shown outstanding commitment towards ending the Boko Haram insurgency in the state. The Civilian Joint Task Force that is in place in all parts of Borno state is an expansion of the Biu model that was effective in neutralizing Boko Haram threats.

As a fact, the Boko Haram insurgents found it difficult to recruit fighters from Biu. And it is on record that they always meet their waterloo whenever they attempt to infiltrate Biu. And this is largely why Biu has remained one of the most peaceful cities in Nigeria. With the benefit of hindsight, the governor indeed was strategic in the choice of Biu to make such a remarkable statement.

I am glad. I am elated, and I must not fail to use this medium to register my profound appreciation to the leadership style of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai who has led the Nigerian Army at this historical time. He has displayed a firm conviction towards ending the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria. His approach and strategy are topnotch, and I won’t talk about the numerous awards that have come his way for lack of space. But what I can say is that the provision of leadership in the Nigerian Army is responsible for the feats recorded in the prosecution of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.

I can only wonder what the story would have been if there had been a continuation of the pre-2015 era where troops’ morale was at its lowest ebb. I dare to say that if this momentum is sustained, the Boko Haram insurgency would be a thing of the past soon. But we all have a role to play; we must continue to extend our support in ways that we can as this is not a conventional war but an asymmetric one.

I doff my hat for the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai for he is indeed the soldiers’ soldier. And one that is an epitome of hard work, resilience and passion for Nigeria. What more can I say? This is indeed a victory bell in Biu.

Ibekwe is a public affairs commentator based in Enugu.

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Otunba Gbenga Daniel clarifies why The Compass Newspaper was established, lists achievements as Ogun governor

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CSOs Petition Senate, Accuse Gbenga Daniel Of Plot To Destabilize Ogun State

 

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Former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has clarified the motivations behind the establishment of The Compass newspaper, denying any intentions of using the platform to oppose Senator Bola Tinubu.
In an interview the former governor granted a national newspaper, Daniel addressed these misconceptions and highlighted the extensive developmental work undertaken during his tenure, much of which he felt was underreported.
Reflecting on the media landscape during his governance, he stated, “I took over from a newspaper mogul, Chief Olusegun Osoba, and I was not expected to get good press. The sympathy was really not with me; it was with my predecessor. People thought I would crash within a few weeks.”
Facing persistent negative press, Daniel felt compelled to create a media outlet to accurately document and publicize his administration’s achievements.
He emphasized that the establishment of The Compass was a strategic move to counteract biased media coverage rather than a tool for political vendetta.
“We needed to have a platform to also record what we were doing. We did a lot of work that people still do not know,” he explained.
Daniel lamented the lack of social media at the time, which would have allowed for more direct communication with the public without reliance on traditional media channels.
“Unfortunately, we did  not have the level of social media that we have today. If that existed, nobody would need the traditional media.
“But you know, you people at that time, once you blocked us, you blocked us here, you blocked us there, I was  finished (laughs). If we were working 24-7, nobody would see this. They would say you are not working because you people have blocked everybody. So that was what happened.
“I’m not a newspaper person. But, at that stage, we needed to have a platform to also record what we were doing. We did a lot of work that people still do not know.
“For instance, we are thanking our current governor for now working on the (cargo) airport. But this was part of our master plan, which we decided, we did everything we needed to do, we got all the approvals before we left. But you people (press) will not report it.”
“We secured three free trade zones in Ogun State. The Olokola Free Trade Zone, which is where Dangote Refinery was supposed to be but because you people did what you had to do, we lost that one to Lagos. But I said to people, well, Lagos is still the same. If it’s lost to Lagos, it’s fine.
“In any case, where we wanted to put it is inside Ijebuland. All these places where they are in Lekki is still part of Ijebuland, under Lagos. So we’ve not lost anything.
He also said the Kajola Transportation Free Trade Zone, and the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone, were all initiatives under his administration. These zones were designed to boost industrialization and economic growth in the region.
Daniel also pointed out the numerous educational institutions established during his tenure, including the Abraham Adesanya Polytechnic in Ijebu-Igbo, the Gateway Polytechnic in Sapade, the Tai Solarin University of Education, and several others. He stressed the transformative impact these institutions had on the state’s educational landscape.
“You’ll be shocked if I tell you that in the course of our administration, we established probably about seven tertiary institutions and campuses. I can count for you. We established Abraham Adesanya Polytechnic, Ijebu-Igbo. We established the Gateway Polytechnic in Sapade. We established  another one in Igbesa and another one in Itori. We established the Tai Solarin University of Education. We established the School of Nursing in Ilaro. We took the old  Tai Solarin College of Education to Omu. It’s now known as Sikiru Adetona College of Education in Omu. We established Gateway Industrial & Petrochemical Institute  (GIPI) in Oni. What didn’t we do? But you people didn’t report it.”
In terms of industrialization, Daniel noted the development of the Sagamu Interchange area into a major industrial hub.
“That axis now is probably the biggest industrial zone in the country. Companies like Nestle, Coleman Cables, CTK, and the biggest international breweries are now located there. It is the fastest growing industrial arena in the entire country,” he said.
Addressing the media directly, Daniel humorously added, “There’s a whole lot that you people refused to report for us.”

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Rivers: APC-PDP Youth Forum Commends Court Judgement Nullifying Amendment of LG Law

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*Rivers: APC-PDP Youth Forum Commends Court Judgement Nullifying Amendment of LG Law*

 

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The APC-PDP Youth Forum has welcomed the court judgement invalidating the amended Local Government Law proposed by the Martins Amaewhule faction of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

In a statement signed by its chairman, Comrade Nwogu Benjamin, the group which comprises leaders from the political parties, described the ruling as sound, impartial and outstanding.

The judgement was delivered in a suit numbered PHC/1320/CS/2024 which challenged the extension of tenure for LG chairmen for six months after the expiration of their term.

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Justice D.G. Kio, presiding over the case, declared the amendment invalid, citing its inconsistency with the 1999 Constitution and Section 9(1) of the Rivers State Local Government law No. 5 of 2018.

Benjamin said the court has done justice to the spirit of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, thus saving the nation from the stranglehold of anarchists, emperors and saboteurs who mean no well for our democracy.

“We warmly commend the judiciary for its courageous and landmark judgment invalidating the amended local government law in Rivers State. This decision is a triumph of justice and a testament to the independence and integrity of our judicial system,” the group said.

“By this judgement, the proposed extension of the tenure of local government chairmen by six months after the expiration of their term has been declared invalid. Also, the governor still has the power to suspend local government council chairmen and appoint caretaker committees.

“By striking down the amended law, the court has upheld the principles of democracy, rule of law, and good governance. This judgment is a victory for the people of Rivers State and a reminder that the judiciary remains a bastion of hope for justice and accountability.

“We applaud the judges for their bravery and commitment to upholding the constitution and the law. Their decision demonstrates that the judiciary is willing to stand up for what is right, even in the face of adversity.

“We urge all stakeholders to respect the judgment and work towards entrenching democratic values and the rule of law in Rivers State. This judgment is a step forward in our quest for a more just and equitable society.”

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Reno Omokri, Time to Free Peter Obi, by Idegu Ojonugwa Shadrach

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Reno Omokri, Time to Free Peter Obi, by Idegu Ojonugwa Shadrach

Reno Omokri, Time to Free Peter Obi, by Idegu Ojonugwa Shadrach

 

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I could recall how you extensively supported His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the last presidential election with solid facts. However, four of the leading candidates of last presidential election – their Excellencies: Atiku Abubakar of PDP, Bola Tinubu of APC, Peter Obi of LP and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of NNPP are well-known politicians. Atiku Abubakar, your preferred candidate is a national leader. Bola Tinubu, who is now a national leader, was then, a regional leader whereas Peter Obi and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso remained state leaders until 2023 presidential election. The aftermaths of the last presidential election, have set president Tinubu, Mr. Peter Obi and Sen. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso into national leaders. This is Nigeria. All our past leaders and incumbent leaders have stains on their public imagines due to wrong decisions taken while serving.

 

 

 

 

 

Reno Omokri, Time to Free Peter Obi, by Idegu Ojonugwa Shadrach

 

 

 

 

I do read you as I always do read few Nigerian intellectuals in my leisure time. I have counted you worth reading following your well-structured lines with facts. To this effect, I have written to you on a request to make possible contributions where necessary as our dear Nigeria is still bleeding. However, as I pen this short note, I haven’t received a response from your end. Pressing further, lately, I become uncomfortable with some of your opinions on the state of Nigeria and, on some of your attacks to, Mr. Peter Gregory Obi. Though, your points are meaningful but I fear if the validity appropriates current situations in Nigeria. Even as you stay far away in United States, the heat in Nigeria is everywhere, which I thought you might feel it as others do. Having seen how you are a role model to some Nigerian youths, it is somehow fearful for the maintenance as recently, you have solely focused on attacking youths with their smallest approach to celebrate their anointed candidate, in the person of Mr. Peter Obi, and on their attempts to criticize President Bola Tinubu administration. To me, I don’t think our current Nigeria need your brain for that. Intellectuals are creatives. Therefore, we need your innovative ideas to set Nigeria standard in this trying time. There is nothing bad about constructive criticisms. You have been proffering solutions to Nigeria’s problems. Why can’t you stop attacking Peter Obi who is now trading harder for his 2027 presidential fate? Is it not better you lead reconciliatory moves between Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi on the 2027 presidential election than putting efforts to de-marketing him? Presently, from look of things, plenty Nigerian youths have chosen Peter Obi. It is now better you intelligently push for collaboration of Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi than all these attacks. Yes. I do like your preferred candidate, His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for his intelligent and mature display of political involvements. I can’t say, why would he continue to press for the position, and would not like to sponsor a young vibrant and visionary for the position. This is because, there are some ideologies best handled by originators. Hence, I never condemned neither recommended anyone of them during the election, because, none of them has scored the needed political measures.

 

Intellectual Reno, it would be of great benefits for Nigerians if your preferred candidate for the last general election adopts the character of visiting or sending individuals to condole and support displaced and extremely poor Nigerians as Peter Obi has adopted after the presidential election. Hence, if you want to govern citizens, it is that time you go around to see their problems in order to offer solutions to citizens visited. It shouldn’t be when election is at hand that we begun to see citizens we want to govern. If you love Nigeria, come over so we move many things together, or while staying over there, there are a lot of things to do together from afar that can help. This is what you and Atiku Abubakar must plan to do now. However, I do know that, Atiku Abubakar and you (Reno Omokri) have been doing many things secretly and openly in helping our dear Nigeria. So, both of you must keep doing that until you see the Nigeria you ever anticipated.

 

One of the reasons I would love you to stop attacking Peter Obi, and to lead a reconciliatory move to align him with Atiku Abubakar, is for a fact that, in a journey to liberate citizens, the fighters must not have in-house problems. On this, you could remember how His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki led groups or movements that overthrew your mentor, His Excellency, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to bring Former president Muhammad Buhari. After the election, neither you nor your mentor attacked them. Even after Muhammad Buhari squarely dealt with the then, Senate President, Sen. Abubakar Bukola Saraki during the tenure, I couldn’t recall if Sen. Saraki attacked Muhammad Buhari. Even president Tinubu has refused to attack his political son, His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo who contested the presidential primary election with him, after the election. Though, between them, either it was to perfect political propaganda at the time or not, I don’t care. I think, it is understood that everything happen for reasons. Seriously, since you and your boss left office, Nigeria hasn’t seen better days. So, I am of an opinion that you should discontinue attacking Peter Obi and, to join forces with well-meaning Nigerians to fight for good governance as Nigeria is tremendously suffocating for the underperformance of president Tinubu administration.

 

Mr. Reno, again; I love the way you openly supported and campaigned for His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar with facts is good, and the way Aisha Yesufu rigorously campaigned for His Excellency, Mr. Peter Gregory Obi in the last presidential election. I can see that Aisha Yesufu support for her preferred candidate hasn’t ceased. However, after the election, I have seen that you concentrate more in defending president Tinubu anomalies using mechanisms of comparative templates of other nations that are not having similar or interrelated histories and resources like ours. What has happened? Frantically, it is inappropriate to see an intellectual like you spending quality time on your friend’s woes – that Nigerians are not paying attention to. In the same vein, I think, the helpful and meaningful national tour of His Excellency, Mr. Peter Gregory Obi is selling him for 2027 general election, and your continuous attack on him, which plenty Nigerians don’t react on and which most of Nigerian youths have earmarked as your hatred for him, would continue to market him. That is not necessary at the moment. Nigeria needs your brain for national growth and development – your merit is tremendously acclaimed.

 

Till my last breath on this planet Earth, I would continue to cherish your existence for helping humanity especially Africans with your business, religious and political ideologies. So, completing what you have started, and knowing you for them before your ripped age to transits to another sphere of life are all I do wish to see and acknowledge, the intellectual Reno Omokri. Nigeria, at the moment needs people behind online pushes. Hence, human rights activists, journalists, intellectuals and visionaries have a lot to offer Nigeria. Critics are more of damage at the moment. We have a lot of people you can collaborate with for better governance in Nigeria. Fact-checking past activities in reflection to present mischievous rules just to attack someone who is doing within his reach to make ideological and pictorial contributions to our dear Nigeria is a waste of time and talent, if not mistaken.

 

A pastor or anyone indulged in heavenly assignments must not mock and hate. Though, due to some assignments, and a way to get some souls for the Creator, some church workers might involve divergent approaches for that; hoping that the peanut sin, as they regard would be forgiven as it is meant to win souls for God. Intellectual Reno Omokri, you are a pastor, an activist, an author and a political actor. When these are coupled, you are an astute intellectual. One of the appreciated natures of an intellectual is neutrality. Neutrality helps rigidity and validity of morality. Intellectuals are not religious bigots. They trade on truths as accorded by facts and realities. That’s why real intellectuals don’t mock and hate. Because, they believe in natures as a rewarder. So, in reflection, I find it hard to understand what is encouraging your endless attacks on Peter Obi. Plenty Nigerians have acknowledged your recent attacks on Peter Obi as a pure hatred just for contesting under Labour Party in the 2023 presidential election which he proudly became third. And, Peter Obi who won a beautiful third place in an election he hasn’t contested before, who has refused to ignore youths and Nigerians who supported him, and who gathered good advisers and unbiased intellectuals that helped in proceeding to a legal room (court), to me, should not be fully discredited this way. Mind me, I have never supported Peter Obi’s candidacy. Generally, I didn’t support any candidate in the last presidential election. If at all I should do, I would have supported Omoyele Sowore, an activist. Because, I do believe that real activists can be political in the reflection of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and few others. But, as an astute politicians like Atiku Abubakar, Bola Tinubu, Peter Obi, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and so many others that are even religious, I don’t believe in their capacity to change lives of displaced and poor citizens totally and without biases as they may be full of social segregations and discriminations. Hence, they have never gone to them with free mind and hearts of helping – as a result of honoring humanity. So, I don’t hesitate to support pure activists, journalists, intellectuals and visionaries as they put societies first.

 

As it may interest you, no one is perfect. That’s a simple nature of every life on this planet Earth. So, it is not too appropriate you spend your life studying and criticizing who you thought to be better than. It is highly ridiculous. My job is not to dig out or do a comparison of any kind. So, do not wake up to burn precious time in sharing achievements of the four leading presidential candidates of last year election. If I want to know that, I can personally do that. Again, for your vigor support for Atiku Abubakar, has shown how deep-sighted and great you are. For recommending Peter Obi as Atiku Abubakar’s running mate then, is another great thing of yours. This coupled with your intellectual and spokesmanship handles during your mentor’s administration remain huge contributions to a political history of Nigeria. This is what I want you to maintain. Subsequently, you can do more, the intellectual Reno. You can join or build a political powerhouse with some leading Nigerian well-meaning and unbiased intellectuals, human rights activists and journalists in order to make Nigeria go forward as always advocated for.

 

Though, you are entitled to your decision to do the attacking. I am only obstructing as Nigeria is facing a lot and I would love you to be among saving hands of our dear Nigeria. You have all it takes to join, and to organize well-meaning Nigerians to do something that can curb insecurities and poverty rates in Nigeria. I have moved on the streets and I always go home troubled with what is happening in Nigeria. Following negative effects of poverty in Nigeria at the moment, the rate of which some of our youths who haven’t discovered themselves and don’t believe in themselves have embraced online crimes to get feeding, and some of the housewives who are not patient and faithful are into adultery and, young ladies who are into fornication to get upkeeps is a thing to bother. If we refuse to do something, the intellectual ones among them would plan to take Nigeria unaware in shortest time.

 

It is a popular notion that, “whatever is worth doing is what doing well”. In my 29 years journey of life, I have seen within the space, how some individuals have achieved whatever they desire, some haven’t achieved but there are promising contents around, and some don’t even show any of these. Yet, no one must give up. Only when an individual become lifeless, can possibly determine ends of the person’s desires. As widely alleged, His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate you supported during last general election is among the category of individuals whose desires are still waiting for completion despite longstanding and great achievements recorded before now. And, only God can stop him. The simple illustration is to make an entry fact that, whatever you have to do wouldn’t stop His Excellency, Mr. Peter Gregory Obi from doing what he desires. Time wasted for attacking him may earn you money. But, no matter how much you may make, wouldn’t fill the space and vacuum created, as it may occur. Be it political as most Nigerians do to earn whatever – I don’t care to know. Rather, I am most concerned for the touch of betrayal and humiliation. Though, the humiliation doesn’t count as all Nigerian politicians are not free from underperforming, and the betrayal doesn’t count as it is a forgivable and one of the cheapest parts of human characters. Productively, becoming a historian for sake of twisted intellectualism, and for uncreative service; but, a means to discharge failures of a particular person in a world that no one is perfect is a call to concern. Henceforth, for a room that we have to whatever – it is becoming an abuse to handle it ineffectively and ineffectually. Forgive my manners, as well. I don’t live a defending life and I don’t spend time on unproductive things. I see this as relatively necessary to address as it is consuming a lot of time – you and others can use to help Nigeria from current dilapidated situations.

 

The intellectual Reno Omokri, I salute your golden age and I must learn to stop here as I look forward to seeing your favorable mannerisms.

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