Community/District: Mowo, Badagry Lagos State, Nigeria.
Interviewer: Noble Reporters
As the troubles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic persist, NobleReporters correspondence, Olamide Noble and Adii Noble went for community interviews (opinion poll) whereby seek people’s opinions on COVID-19 and possible solutions.
Mummy, do you know what causes COVID-19?
I don’t know what could have cause COVID-19.
So, ma you just know there is COVID-19?
(Chuckles), we only heard that there is COVID-19, we don’t know what could have be its cause.
How do you see this Lockdown? What can you say of it?
Sighs! It’s for our safety.
And you support it, do you think it is a good idea?
Hah!.. what can we do, what can we say since it’s an order from above, all we pray for is God’s grace to overcome this pandemic.
Ok, Talking of Lockdown, was it a good move to have shut worship centres? (Churches and Mosques).
No! I disagree, it wasn’t a nice move, since we all needed prayers so this disaster can vanish. Not going to worship centres is now turning us to pagans.
Ma, according to you, can you tell us if there is truly COVID-19 or not?
I don’t know if there is coronavirus or not – I will not be infected, only God knows the truth.
Can we say COVID-19 is the reason for inadequate power supply in the community?
I don’t know, maybe the PHCN are also affected by the pandemic.
Senator Jeremiah Useni, a retired Lieutenant General, was Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja during the regime of the late Gen. Sani Abacha-led military junta. The 77-year-old politician who contested the 2019 governorship election in Plateau State speaks on a number of issues
You contested the 2019 governorship poll in Plateau State and pursued your case from tribunal to the Supreme Court, but lost. What is the next step now?
There is nowhere to go again. The Supreme Court is the highest court of the land. So, what do you mean by what next again?
We have heard some people going back to the Supreme Court asking for the review of their cases. Are you also considering that line of action?
That thought never crossed my mind. But you are aware that those who went back never succeeded in getting what they were asking to encourage others to do the same.
The Supreme Court threw away that of Bayelsa State review request by the All Progressives Congress and that of the Peoples Democratic Party in Imo State by maintaining its earlier judgements.
So, I can’t just join the band wagon because people are going there. What I believe is that only God knows if the judgement of the Supreme Court in my governorship petition is right or not. But the fact remains that it is the highest court of the land.
Have you given up on your governorship ambition or do you still want to govern the state?
It takes four years before another election. So, I’m still looking at the situation whether there were mistakes on my part, on the part of my party, individuals or the judiciary and ensure that one can guide against it. So, my priority is not that I must be governor.
You have been minister and a senator after a successful career in the military, yet you want to be a governor. People are wondering what you really left undone in your previous positions.
In the military, you have restrictions. No matter the good intentions you might have, you have to be very careful as a military man. You can’t even make a political statement. You cannot climb the podium and address the people. But as a politician, the door is open. As long as the statement is not against the government or such that it will be taken as a security threat. And of course, as a politician, you move freely with the people and sympathise with them when necessary and be able to explain to the people why certain things happen or why certain things cannot be done.
I was close to the late (Gen Sani) Abacha and people thought I would be implicated one way or the other and jailed but they never knew that my friendship with the former Head of State had nothing to do with corrupt enrichment of self because I did not care about what he did. I was only doing my job. When I was military Governor of Benue State, I would stop people sweeping my office by 7:00 am. I told them to come by 6am if they actually wanted to sweep my office because I had no time for such dereliction of duty.
As a former military officer, are you not worried about the security situation in the country?
Of course, I am concerned. Some people have told me that they heard that I am close to Mr President, Major General Muhamadu Buhari(retd.) and I said yes. They now wondered why insecurity has continued to plague the country. And I said should my friendship with the President stop insecurity? Am I in the same party with him? My friendship with him has nothing to do with security. He is a different person just as I am. But I won’t go on air and tell people to stop accusing him of not doing enough to address the problem of insecurity. If he does something wrong, you are free to accuse him. My friendship with Mr President also has nothing to do with politics. Some people will come and say, “he is your friend. Why not let him speak to those (judges) people to make you governor”. And I said, we are not running a military government where the Head of State picks and appoints people as governors. Those who will occupy those positions are determined by politics and if the judiciary is to do its job or anybody to convince them to do otherwise, definitely, it is not Mr President.
A lot of people including members of the National Assembly have called for the removal of the service chiefs. Do you consider this as a solution to the problem?
In the military, there is a period you are to serve as a service chief and then, you will be asked to go, whether there is insecurity or not. To me, that is what people should look at. Some people are talking as if there is no insecurity in the country, they will remain there for life. No. You cannot have a service chief staying for four or five years. If you are complaining of that, I can understand that. But Mr President has a reason for doing so because their appointment is at the discretion of Mr President. He can appoint them today and even sack them within one week as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
What is the way forward in addressing Nigeria’s security challenge?
I am not saying that sacking them is not the solution. The point I am making is that, what is the guarantee that the ones you are bringing on board will be better than the ones you are sacking? What I am saying is that, what people are complaining about should be whether the service chiefs should be in office either for three or four years, but they have spent more than that. And that they are not happy about their continued stay in office. You can talk about it from the laws and asked why they are still being kept in office against the laws of the land.
I have discussed with friends what can be done to address the security challenges facing the country. The truth is that the challenge is diverse. First, what are we doing as Nigerians? We see a situation where brothers kill themselves and husbands or wives kill their partners and yet, they are supposed to be in love. Why the fight? When I went round, the teachers’ union told me they had about 2,000 qualified teachers who were jobless because the state government refused to employ them. They also told me that the state had over 2,000 unqualified teachers in the system. When I heard the information, I considered it abnormal and I quickly summoned the relevant persons in the ministry to find out if it was true. And when they confirmed it, I told them to get those unqualified teachers out of the system the next day and replace them with the qualified ones. The instruction was carried out without delay and the next day, the same teachers association came out to demonstrate that I sacked people from work. I was surprised because they were the same people who wrote petitions demanding that I do something about the abnormally which I did. So, what I did was to join them in the protests and they started laughing and went away quietly. But that is how we ended up doing the right thing and ensured that only qualified teachers were allowed in the system.
What do you think Mr President can do to make the fight against corruption more effective?
I am not Mr President and I can’t say I know the problem he is facing, but all I know is that to get to the old wood, you have to first remove the new ones on top of it. What I mean is that so many new corrupt people are committing so many offences and the old ones they took over from are still there.
So, how do you get rid of the old ones without getting rid of the new ones first?
So, you can’t get the old wood when the new ones are on top, except you are in a position to clear them at the same time otherwise you must have to remove the new ones first. But what we find in the fight against corruption is a situation where, in trying to get the old ones, the new corrupt people are building up. That is the problem. But as a person, I think Mr President is doing his best but he is not working alone. He has somebody who will do the work and then you refuse people advising you and work with bad advisers. So, you take the blame yourself. And if you have people who swore to do the proper thing and they turn round to be giving you wrong information, then what do you do? Even within the Presidency, look at the ongoing fight between the Chief of Staff to the President and the National Security Adviser? I wouldn’t believe that it is Mr President who gave the instruction that his Chief of Staff should be giving instructions to the National Security Adviser. But the National Security Adviser is complaining that the man is trying to give him instructions. I think there is a modicum of insecurity in what is happening there. So, it is left for the President to determine whether what he is saying is correct or not. If he was told to reduce work for Mr President or Mr President said If you want to see me, see so, so, person. It is left for the people to complain if they have any issue with him but for the Chief of Staff to the President to just summon service chiefs, I never heard of it before.
The infighting between the Chief of Staff and the National Security Adviser, among other happenings in the country and the seeming helplessness of Mr President suggest that Buhari is not in charge of the country’s affairs. Do you agree that this is true?
People can interpret this thing anyhow. I think somebody is just taking advantage of his closeness to the President to do certain things that are not right and I give you an example. Someone came here and told me he was told not to come in and see me. When I asked him the reason, he said they said it was an instruction from my son. When my son came, I asked him why he is stopping people from seeing me. I told him and the other children that If you think that this person I am seeing is not good, then you should tell me and it is left for me to take a decision on that but you don’t stop people from seeing me. But if such information doesn’t come to me and they went about telling people, they will think I was the one who actually gave the instruction.
Which section of the country would you like to produce the President in 2023?
The direction of politics is unpredictable sometimes. People will tell you that there is permanent interest in politics, but for some years, Nigerian presidency has been swinging between the North and South. But as time went by, people were not talking about these two political divisions again. Instead, they started talking about allowing each of the six geopolitical zones to be given a slot for the presidency. And the separate agitations by each of them comprising the South-East, South-South and South-West on one hand and North-East, North -West and North-Central, on the other hand, is causing confusion in the polity. Now if they say South-West, some people will say it has had its own turn at the presidency. If they say South-South, some would ask whether former president Goodluck Jonathan is not from that region. Now, if you say South-East, the name of Nnamdi Azikiwe will come up. So, we have to agree on the method or we go by tribe as the case may be. But people will always say what suit them. But left for me, the presidency should be rotated between the North and the South. And if the President is a Muslim, the Vice President should be a Christian and if the President is a Christian, the Vice President should be a Muslim. That is what I believe will help the country and its people.
Sola Sobowale, a film producer-cum screenwriter, has described Nigeria as a “dumping ground”, adding that some of “our children can’t even speak our language”.
The 57-year-old Nollywood actress, who is renowned as the ‘King of Boys’, disclosed this during a media program titled ‘Rubbin’ Minds’.
“Nigeria looks like a country that is a dumping ground. We’re fake. With cars, some countries say they can’t get sweepers to clear their roads (of used cars). Then, they send to Nigeria,” she said while giving her take on social matters.
“When you get to our homes, you’ll see that lots of our children can’t even speak our language. What is happening! English is for Education so we can interact in classrooms.
“But what about our own culture? We need to start making our children know where they come from and speak our languages. English is secondary!”
Sobowale, who also spoke of how she broke into the limelight as an actress, gave reasons why she had her children jetted out of the country for tertiary education.
On the emerging concept of feminism in Nigeria and the role of women in children’s education, she reprimanded many women for “losing it” and not scrutinizing their ward’s academic activities.
“I know what education is. I know what my father did. But, along the line when I started having my children, I paid so much money in schools through my nose,” she added.
“But, after this, what university are they going to attend? With a course of three years, they end up doing it for six because of strikes and strikes.
“I can’t spend that kind of money and my children are not where I want them to be in the end. So I decided they were going to leave Nigeria.”
Nine-year-old Temidara Onafuye interviewing King Sunny Ade while the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed looks on.
King Sunny Ade (KSA), said he bought his first guitar when he was 16 years old with personal savings and hid the instrument from his family who did not want him to go into music.
The 73-year-old foremost Juju singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist disclosed this in Lagos when he met a nine-year-old fan, Temidara Onafuye.
Onafuye, a primary school pupil based in North Carolina, USA, visiting Nigeria for the Christmas and New Year, had said she craved to see Sunny Ade because of her love for his music.
Fielding questions from the young girl, KSA who visited Onafuye at her family’s residence, said while he could play other musical instruments he had a special passion for guitar.
“Apart from singing. I play the guitar, keyboard, different percussion instruments including talking drum, “Sakara”, “Omele’, “Konga”; all these make African music stand out.
“I have a passion for guitar, I see it as my baby and I cannot do without it.
“Couple of years ago, I was rated 69th best guitarist in the whole world,” KSA, with original name, Chief Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye said.
On retirement, the Juju music maestro said he would play music till his death. “I wanted to retire some time ago, but my fans all over the world did not allow me. They said if I retire, what will I be doing.Juju music is in my blood, I cannot retire from music, I can only retire from the stage. Even at 100 years, God willing, I will still be singing,” he said.
“I decided to learn how to play the guitar on my own and I bought my first guitar when I was 16 years old.
“I saved money and bought the guitar for myself.
“All my family members did not want me to play music because they believed that musicians at that time were not serious people
“Eventually, when I bought the guitar I hid it under the staircase.
“I was afraid to tell anybody that I wanted to go into the city for music training where I would be exposed.
Luckily for me, I chose my keys and my style of music which is known as “Juju”.
Juju music is a fusion of traditional Yoruba vocal forms and percussion with Western rock and roll and KSA is acclaimed to be in the vanguard of the development and international popularisation of the genre.
The internationally renowned musician recalled how he played music with the late comedian, dramatist and actor, Moses Olaiya, popularly known by his stage name, “Baba Sala”.
“Hardly do people know that Baba Sala was a musician. He played the guitar, talking drum and his music was like that of IK Dairo.
“When he floated the Baba Sala Travelling Theatre, I was the one in charge of the music section,” he said.
KSA who disclosed that he had composed more than 3,000 songs said all his songs were his favourite because “each of them serves a purpose”.
On retirement, the Juju music maestro said he would play music till his death.
“I wanted to retire some time ago, but my fans all over the world did not allow me.
“They said if I retire, what will I be doing.
“Juju music is in my blood, I cannot retire from music, I can only retire from the stage.
“Even at 100 years, God willing, I will still be singing,” he said.
KSA disclosed that he was working on a project of building a standard music school and a museum to document and preserve all genres of music, particularly the early ones.
“I have started building my own school and by the grace of God in a few years, there will be something on ground for people to see.
“I did not study music anywhere and was not trained by anybody but I have a passion for music.
“I look around the entire nation, we do not have a standard music school.
“Most of the Nigerian musicians of note are self-made,” he said.
KSA said the museum would archive all genres of Nigerian early music, images and relics of musicians for young ones like Onafuye to visit and study.
“There is a need for documentation of our music and preserve them, particularly the old ones for the younger generation to study.
“You can imagine a place in Arizona where they have one of the biggest music museums and I have a diary there.
“People go there for tourism and the moment you pass through my stand they will play a bit of my song; “Synchro, synchro system”.
“If a foreigner can do that, why not us? There is a need for us to keep records,” he said.
KSA said he was inspired and impressed to hear that a young girl like Onafuye, who lived abroad could admire his music and be his ardent fan, even with the raving wave of “hip hop” and foreign music.
He said he had to leave all his engagements to honour the young girl when her maternal grandfather, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture told him about her.
“I want to thank the Almighty God for allowing us to meet and I thank the minister for getting in touch with me.
“When the minister informed me, I said I will like to see her, and I decided that, even if it is in Abuja, I will pay my flight ticket to see her before she travels back,” he said.
KSA specifically thanked the parents of the girl for nurturing and teaching her African culture, music and tradition, even outside the shore of Nigeria.
Responding on behalf of the family, the minister said he was touched by the visit because very few people of KSA status would leave their busy schedule, especially at a festive season to visit a nine-year-old fan.
Mohammed said he was also impressed with the parents of the girl for impacting African culture in her.
“Today is a special day, not just because Temidara is my granddaughter but because I am also a minister in charge of culture.
“I am very proud that our culture will not die.
“Kids like her are the torchbearers and It means that there is hope for our tradition,” he said.
The minister’s wife, Alhaja Kudirat, the girl’s parents and other members of the family welcomed KSA and thanked him for the visit.
The musician signed his autograph for the young girl and promised to invite her as a special guest to any of his concert in the U.S.
Elder statesman and former governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, is not happy with the situation of things in the country. He described the situation as very bad, pointing out that it is being suffered more by the Igbo in the country.
He lamented that there have been sustained marginalization and series of attacks on Igbo people and their businesses by the Federal Government for no reason.
He noted that the horrible situation has prompted their youths to agitate for a country of their own where they would feel loved and accepted.
In this interview with Sunday Sun, he also spoke on other issues of national interest. Excerpts:
How in your view have the Igbo fared since after the civil war in Nigeria?
After the civil war, Igbo people have been suffering. Some sufferings resulted directly from the civil war. The others resulted from policy of government which seem directed to pull the Igbo down; P-I-D, Pull Igbo Down. Well, when you fight a war and you come out of it and you are not victorious, there are consequences. We lost people; many people. The Nigerians declared ‘no victor, no vanquished’ yet they gave us 20 pounds for all the money we have in the banks. If you have million pounds, you get 20 pounds. And since then, we have been suffering in every way. Our people are commercial people, businessmen. They are attacked in their businesses. They import goods and the goods are seized and auctioned to other people. Individual business people are attacked. First, Jim Nwobodo lost his bank, Savannah Bank. It was taken from him. Second, Chief Cletus Ibeto, once the greatest importer of cement into Nigeria was attacked and his business crumbled. He is now trying to build up. Ifeanyi Ubah of Capital Oil was humiliated with detention by the EFCC several times. NNPC was owing him. Instead of helping him to recover the money, the government added insult to injury. Innoson Motors, the young man who has the first motor manufacturing company in Africa was dragged from Nnewi to Abuja in pants. Fortunately, the Central Bank has decided on the case between Innoson and GTB and Innoson is the winner. Emzor Pharmaceuticals was closed down because they said that some recalcitrant youths were inhaling some of the drugs which were produced by the factory; which drugs have been in production for decades. The attacks on businesses have continued. I understand that Sunnewspaper was visited by the EFCC. Now, we are hearing stories about Onyema and Air Peace. We are sure that it is a case of selective justice, assuming that there is any justice in it; it has to be a case of selective justice that he is being attacked because people who have done worse things are still in the country. Apart from attack on businesses of Igbo people, there are all kinds of humiliation. Noticed that our boys were asked to lie down in the mud and some were drinking mud water. And then eventually many were killed. The killing has been quite much. When young men wanted to have a memorial of the Biafra war dead ones, they were massacred; first in Aba, and then in Onitsha. The one that is most intriguing was the massacre of young men who were celebrating the victory of Trump in faraway America. Now, humiliations are many. There is Awka-Etiti down there. Awka-Etiti is a very small town in Idemili. Where we are now is Igbo-Ukwu. There is about three miles distance between Awka-Etiti and Igbo-Ukwu. It may be less even. When I was coming back on Wednesday, we passed through four checkpoints between Awka-Etiti and Igbo-Ukwu; a distance of three miles. And, of course, humiliation is obvious. The way you are treated at the checkpoints, not just the way you are delayed. So, the Igbo have been going through hell since the end of the civil war that was declared ‘no victor, no vanquished.’ I must say that our people who import containers are the worst hit because when they import containers, the containers are seized and auctioned to other people.
There has been unending outcry of marginalization by President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government. What do you think is the way out?
Well, first of all, marginalization; for years now, if there is a meeting of the National Security Council, the Igbo man is not represented and he is one of the three largest tribes. Two, if you hear there is a list of new appointments, you will find the Igbo absent from that list or largely absent from that list. But if there is a list of people removed from employment, especially the military, security people, the Southeast people dominate that list. Well, there are so many examples. The recent appointment of commissioners of police was only good for the Southeast. They got one commissioner. Why do I say very good? They normally don’t get any at all. This time they got one while Northwest got 12. There was a time some justices were appointed across the country; 27 justices. No Igbo, two people from Southwest and South-south. I mean, one has to keep a record in order to roll out the many cases of injustices done to our people. So, humiliation, marginalization, and pull them down have been the fate of the Southeast people in Nigeria since the end of the civil war. And the civil war, contrary to the impression people got, did not result from any coup which Igbo organized. The coup was organized for the benefit of the Yoruba, to make Nigeria grow faster by putting Awolowo who was a very good manager of people as Prime Minister of Nigeria. It was not done for any Igbo interest except that Igbo is most interested in the progress of Nigeria.
There have been agitations by the youths for a Biafra Republic. Do you think that the agitation was justifiable?
Because of what I have told you so far; since the civil war, the youths who didn’t even participate in the civil war are calling for Biafra. Calling for Biafra is a reaction to what the Federal government is doing to the Igbo and the youths want fast solution. They want Biafra. But the elders see some advantages in Nigeria that is made to work. Because of the large market and our people are businessmen, the elders are thinking of the economies of scale and they are feeling all the pains the youths are feeling, but they are bearing it a little more than the youths. So, if you want to look at it very well, you will see that the youths are reacting faster to Nigeria’s government pushing the Igbo out of Nigeria. It is the Nigerian government pushing the Igbo out of Nigeria. The youths are reacting to it more than the elders.
Presidents have come and gone in this country. Looking back at the years of the previous administrations and comparing them with the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, do you think things are getting better?
Everybody knows that Nigeria has been taken giant steps backward. It cannot be worse now. Impunity has become the norm in Nigeria. Things are not done according to norm or constitution. And the judiciary has been finally destroyed. The politics has always been down and has been worse in the years. The executive is not making impact. Hunger is taking Nigeria to dark places and it doesn’t appear that anything has been done to improve the welfare of the people. In fact, the welfare of the people has been tumbling; tumbling down in every way. It is not difficult to prove these things. One indication of how you are going is your exchange rate. Your exchange rate has now come to N365 to $1. It is not easy to bear that. Naira was superior to dollar before. Now you have to get N365 to $1. The price of rice and all consumables have gone up. Unemployment has never been as bad as it is now. Security is worse; banditry everywhere, kidnappers, thieves everywhere. And there are many cases. The president is not helping much. The president talked about free visa. I mean, visa not required of Africans and we know whom he is talking about. I think that is the case that cannot be left like that. The National Assembly must act. I don’t believe the president has the power to open the gates of Nigeria and allow everybody to come in. It’s like planning for war; planning for foreigners to dominate us. That cannot happen. We should not allow it. And we are not going to go fighting anybody. But we want good reason to prevail.
Do you think that the closure of the Nigeria’s border is good for this country?
It is not easy to pronounce on border closure because there are many aspects of it. Why should imports come to Ghana, Togo and some other West African countries, and they collect the duties and then send to Nigeria? We lose duties if we allow it to continue that way. But we know we are suffering because of our rice. Even that suffering is temporary. For me, it is alright. I just ordered Anambra Rice for my Christmas. Abia also wrote me that they have rice to sell to me. So, temporary suffering is imposed by the border closure, but there are good reasons for closing the border. And there are serious problems arising from closing the border. It is not something you will just dismiss because…we don’t say something is bad because it is done by a government which has been failing, but make judgment given our understanding.
What is the implication of returning to budget circle of January to December? What implication do you think it would have on the economy?
I don’t see any problem with that; I don’t see any implication. If it is made regular, it will be very good. It is good to have enough time to implement the budget. That is part of planning. I think I should commend it and encourage them to keep it constant like that.
Let us come home. By 2021, Ndi-Anambra will be going to the polls to elect the next governor. Lately, some persons are promoting the issue of zoning. Here in Anambra, before now, we talk about competence. Would you prefer a competent governor who comes from any zone or any governor that must come from a particular zone whether competent or not?
Very good question and very important. In 2021, a new governor must emerge in Anambra State. That governor must be a very competent person, fully qualified, well educated, ready to work, and seriously interviewed and processed to know that he is good enough. There is one good thing about Anambra. The good thing about Anambra is that from any village, you can get competent people to be governor of Anambra State. From any zone you can get, maybe, up to 10 people qualified to be governor of Anambra State. From every local government you can get somebody qualified to be governor of Anambra State. What we are talking about now is that we want to reduce tension. We want to reduce the cost of election. We want to make routine, if possible, the election of governor. And we agreed on zoning. It is an agreement we reached. It is important that is why we are talking about the presidency being zoned. The North has had more than enough. So, with respect to Anambra State and governorship, Anambra Central has ruled for 11 years, Anambra North will soon complete eight years, Anambra South has not ruled for more than five years or five plus. And Anambra South has dominance of qualified people. So, what people are saying is that there is no point going away from equity and justice. We expect the next governor to come from Anambra South. And there is a new element. I was the first governor of Anambra State. I took the whole state as my area of concern. I never did anything for Anambra South because I am from Anambra South. No! But as you know now, everybody who comes as governor pays special attention to his zone. There is no point repeating what you know already. Everybody in Anambra State knows that governors now take special care of their zone and then do something for the rest of the state. So, I support strongly that the next governor should come from the South and I will not be too concerned about the governor paying extra attention to the South because all others are doing it. In fact, I am the person to advocate it because everybody is blaming me for not doing anything for my special area, my zone.
Because I thought, we could not be doing that because of zone.
How would you assess Governor Willie Obiano’s administration so far? How well or badly do you think he is doing?
Well, sometimes we forget; especially we forget the good ones and remember the bad ones. Obiano increased security level in Anambra State. Since Obiano, kidnapping has been low. Since Obiano, Iweka North in Onitsha has been quiet or relatively quiet. He has done so many other things in the medical field, in the education field, in many fields. I have been hearing complaints that the second term hasn’t been as good as the first term. I am hearing complaints about his not being open to people; not listening to people, and not even receiving people as he did in the first term. There may be reasons for that. I don’t know. So, as a matter of judgment, I will say that Obiano performed very well in the first term. And I am not sure I know enough in the second term to make any statement.
What can you say about the level of economic integration in the Southeast? Are you satisfied with it?
Your point is one, that economic integration in the Southeast has not been strong and that it is necessary for it to be strong. When I was sworn in as governor of Anambra State, my inauguration speech was titled ‘think home.’ I asked our people to invest everywhere they are investing, but to remember home also. We must have a strong home base. That helps us to deal with problems from outside. We must have a strong home base. And it is inevitable for our success that we have a strong home base. You gave the example of Enugu Airport being federal and Anambra Airport not making progress; Ebonyi talking about airport, but the one we have in Enugu was abandoned and we are waiting for the Federal Government to come and build it for us. Yes, Federal Government has been building for other people, but we know that Federal Government does not care for Southeast. If the Federal Government does not care for us, should we not care for ourselves, also? This is the point you are making. And I agree totally with it. The economic integration of the Southeast should be very strong; it should be planned. Effort was made before to plan it, but it didn’t go far. Today, we have to find a way to design a commission that plans the development of the Southeast. I am proposing a new leadership model for the Southeast so that even the governors we bring out will be people who know their onions and know what to do to boost the economy of the Southeast. The way things are done now, anybody who has money comes out to contest for governor and when he wins, it is his business. The development of Southeast is the responsibility of Southeast and we can jointly face it. And if you are to be governor, we must approve you as somebody who can help develop Southeast. If you are to just bring money, share it and become governor that will be a thing of the past by the time we get the right leadership which we are now working on.
What are your predictions for the year 2020? What do you foresee for Nigeria in 2020?
It is very bad now, 2019; and has been progressively bad for at least four years. As I said in one of my interviews, man has failed Nigeria. What do we do? The only thing is to go back to God and beg Him to produce a change. And we hope that that change will come even within 2019 or not later than Easter 2020. Change that we desire for progress. It can be change of attitude. It can be other changes. But there is need for change and we pray God that change comes before Easter.
As long as she was alive, their marriage was like the wedlock of the gods that the late Professor Zulu Sofola portrayed in her classic novel. For the 40 years the marriage lasted, they were inseparable. Wherever you saw one, there would the other be also. They shattered all obstacles together; and beautified as they impressed.
But on Sunday, December 27, 2009, time stopped forever for the personable former First Lady and founder of the Better Life for Rural Women project, Dr. Maryam Babangida. She died. On that black Sunday, the Asaba, Delta State-born ex-First Lady succumbed to ovarian cancer at the University of California’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, aged 61.
The late Maryam Babangida was born on November 1, 1948, to Hajiya Asabe Halima Mohammed, a Hausa woman from Niger State, and Mr. Leonard Nwanonye Okogwu, an Igbo from Asaba, Delta State. Sultry Maryam got married to the then Major Ibrahim Babangida on September 6, 1969, shortly before her 21st birthday. The marriage was blessed with two boys and two girls––Mohammed, Aminu, Aisha and Halima.
On the day Maryam went to meet her Maker, the world stood still for her husband, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Nigeria’s former military president. The cancer had sliced off his better half and his world momentarily became a huge dark void. Every glittering thing became gloomy. Ten years on, the General is still struggling to fill the vacuum.
In this exclusive interview, General Babangida, who was at his wife’s bed side when her life ebbed, went down memory lane and revealed that though the passage of time had reduced the pain, the tragic loss has not totally healed. He recalled some of the high and low points in his union with his late wife, disclosing, perhaps for the first time, why he stuck to the highly fashionable former First Lady till death separated them that fateful Sunday in December of 2009.
Babangida didn’t stop there. He also spoke on life without his better half, her immortality and legacies. Then, he dropped this bombshell: despite his advancing age, and regardless of his present state of health, he wants to marry again. And he didn’t say that for the sake of headlines. He meant every word of it.
Well, as they say, the taste of the pudding is in the eating. Please, sit back, relax and enjoy the interview. Excerpts:
It would be 10 years on December 27, this year, since your wife, the former First Lady, passed on. How has life been with you without Dr. Maryam Babangida?
It hasn’t been easy, I must say. But thanks be to God. Her children and my friends try to take away that burden off me and they have been very successful so far.
What have been the pains?
That you lose somebody very close to you; somebody very dedicated to the family, you, the children and so on. Another one is not having a companion to talk to when you are in a distressed situation. Those are the pains.
Those are what you miss most about her?
What is the greatest problem you face as a widower?
Somebody who would instantly correct me when I make a mistake. Somebody who would say without mincing words that: ‘this is right’ or ‘this is wrong’. This is important, especially for those of us in the limelight. That is what I miss most.
There was an interview we had with you in this same room when I asked if you were going to remarry, and you answered me in the affirmative. Years down the line, nothing has happened. I don’t know whether you really meant it or you were just joking. What is your final answer?
It will still be in the affirmative. The answer is yes. This is because I am still thinking.
Are you sure sir?
Yes, I am quite sure. I’m searching and I’m hoping. But the longer I wait, maybe, the more problematic it becomes. If it drags, I would be too old and the whole idea of having a partner would seem to diminish. But I will make sure I do it before reaching that stage.
You will make sure you do what?
Have a partner.
That presupposes that there is somebody at the corner?
So far, no.
If it is going to happen, when and how are you going to start the process if it hasn’t started by now?
If somebody is in the corner, you could organize that in three or six months. And because it must be somebody you have known for a long time, or somebody you have been in contact with for a long time, you don’t just tell them look this is for marriage. But as time passes, and relationship building continues, it could end up in marriage.
However, I have to be fair in my search. I really want to be fair. For instance, you don’t expect me to take a wife much younger than I am because that will be a problem for her and for me. I have to be fair. Secondly, I do wonder if she (the chosen one) would be able to live the way Maryam and I did, which is not easy these days. So, I keep on praying; and I think it will happen.
Do you think the children will be receptive to that idea, having waited these 10 long years?
They will be happy that their father got what he wanted. His happiness is their priority.
Especially the ladies, Aisha and Halima?
Yes. After all, this is what daddy wants and if it makes him happy, so be it. We want him to be happy.
As Africans, we believe that when we lose loved ones, we could still communicate with them in our dreams. In the past 10 years, how many times has Dr. Maryam Babangida appeared to you in your dream?
Very few times; and I think that is fine. As far as I am concerned, that takes a lot of burden off me. But if I see her every day, I wouldn’t wake up to this idea (of wanting to marry again) because seeing her regularly brings back all the memories. But since I don’t see her, it strengthens my resolve.
How would you celebrate her at 10?
I am working on a programme dedicated to her. I hope it will be ready by the tenth anniversary.
What kind of programme sir? Could you let us an insight into it?
We are trying to work on some of the things she did, especially around women and in the society, here in Niger State.
There has been very little effort towards what she was doing while she was alive. Are you not pained that nobody has taken up the Better Life for Rural Women Programme from where she signed off?
It is not easy. Her daughter is trying fairly well. She is trying to get into educating the local people in the villages so that they can make life better for themselves in terms of economic development. The daughter is doing that. She seems to be doing fine.
If despite all you have been through, you still look this way, handsome, soft-spoken and all that, one could imagine how you were at 17 or 19. How did you deal with the girls?
I knew you would come with that conclusion. But let me give you a story to answer your question. When I told my wife to let’s get married, she looked at me and said: ‘You can’t be serious’. I said: why? She said that the impression she had was that we (soldiers) were playboys. I said I had decided to stop being a playboy and I wanted to settle down. I think I convinced her that I really meant I was going to settle down.
How did your love life start, especially at a time when inter-tribal marriages were not common, especially in your part of the country? How did your parents and hers take it?
Fortunately, the two parents knew each other. They were more or less friends and I also became friends with her cousins, aunties and uncles. They didn’t have difficulties accepting me.
You really played before you eventually made your mind to settle down…
Yes, I did…
I asked that question because I interacted with a couple of your friends who told me about the way you people used to rock at Bobby Benson’s Caban Bamboo night club in those days…
He (Bobby Benson) was a good friend of mine. I knew him very well.
What was your relationship with the late Brigadier Benjamin Adekunle? He frequented the night club too…
He and I were from different divisions. I got to know him closely when the war broke out. He was in Third Marine Commando while I was in 1 Division of the Nigerian Army. But, later in retirement, I got closer to him because he visited me here in Minna. He also visited me when I was in office and when I was out of office.
Still talking about relationships, how did it eventually happen after you told your wife and she said you weren’t serious? How long did it take you to convince her?
To be honest, less than a year.
How did you deal with the other girls?
Well, they had to accept the reality that there would be a time they would have to leave me and I had to leave them.
Did you actually leave them completely?
I tried to…
How do you react to this notion that when Delta State was created by your government, you chose Asaba as the capital because your wife was from there? Critics said geographically speaking, Asaba was not at the centre of the new state. (Delta State was carved out of the former Bendel State on August 27, 1991. The state was born out of agitations by the Urhobos and Anioma for the creation of separate and distinct states from the region.)
It was not because of her. Before we created a state or local government, we studied everything-the history and the politics of that area; then, settled on one. I made a lot of consultations. I was fortunate to have people like Sir Dennis Osadebe, who, I think, was a Premier of the Mid-West. I went to him and he told me the whole history of that area. Historically, during the British era, the town was seen as an important town in terms of location, commerce and the rest of them. So, from all the consultations, we made up our minds that we will make Asaba the capital. It just happened that my wife was from there.
It was said that on the eve of your announcement, the military administrator went to Warri and was looking for a place…
(Cuts in…) It was a Nigerian thing. For instance, before the announcement (for the creation of new states), somebody in Niger (State) had also gone to another town and started saying that that will be the capital. But we knew it was going to be Minna. Then, we were accused. Like I said, it is a typical Nigerian thing.
For a man of great accomplishments like you, and as a Muslim, your religion permits you to marry as many as four wives, if you like. But you stuck to Mrs. Maryam Babangida till her death on December 27, 2009. Before the marriage eventually happened, what were the traumas you went through?
(Laughs) That is the advantage of being a playboy. It gives you an opportunity to explore and learn, such that by the time you make up your mind to settle down, you have learnt all the good and bad things in a relationship. When you now decide to settle down, you try as much as possible to avoid all those pitfalls. Maryam and I had a very short courtship because she had everything I was looking for in a woman. She possessed them.
Accepting me for what I am.
And what are you?
Just a human being. I had my faults. I made mistakes. Like every human being, I am not perfect. And if you are prepared to accept me for what I am, then, we have no problem. She exhibited that a lot and that kept us together. I can tell you that in 40 years, we quarrelled only twice. She was a very tolerant person and the parents were very understanding. They supported me on most issues.
Would it not have been otherwise if you were not General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida-very high up there, highly visible, known all over the world? Would she have been that tolerant?
I think she would still have been. During the war, for example, I was away most of the time. We were in the war front, and there was a lot of anxiety. Anxieties like: would he come back? Would he be killed at the frontline? You know that sort of thing. But she was a very strong-willed person and she was always firm in her hope that I would return to her alive, and not in a body bag. Her optimism enlivened the spirit in the home and helped the children, and so on.
Was there a time in your 40 years of marriage that she got angry and said: ‘what the heck, I’m leaving!’?
No, we never had that. That is why I said we quarrelled only twice and they were ordinary things we could sort out.
How did you handle your problems anytime confusion came?
We allowed tempers to cool down. That is rule number one. We also applied that thing called common sense. Then, we initiated a discussion, involving just the two of us, on the subject that brought about the quarrel. That way, the problem was easily resolved. Again, I never felt too proud to say ‘I am sorry, I was wrong.’ I always said that. She, too, always said: ‘I’m sorry, I was wrong’. That was the end of the problem.
Does ‘the other room’ play any role in resolving such problems?
(Laughs) We always solved our problems in the dining room.
I’m talking about the ‘other room’.
Which is the other room? Please, enlighten me.
What is the highest point of your life? At 78, what are the highs and the lows?
The first is when I was commissioned into the Nigerian Army, as a young officer from the Indian Military Academy. Fresh from the Academy, I was full of life, coming to provide service to the country. The second is: while rendering services to the country, you meet people who operate either in defence of the country or in aiding people to provide for safety of lives and properties in the country. The third is when I was given a command during the war. The high point (in that) is that here was a young Major Babangida, and I had over 500 soldiers under me. Their lives, their welfare, depended on me. That was a huge responsibility.
You have to be concerned about how you make them have the confidence that you would not lead them into any disastrous situation; you have to be concerned that they would follow you to war. I’m glad they developed that confidence because I mingled with them. I trained and ate with them. We played together. And if they knew that we were going to war, fear was no longer in them because, as an officer, I was capable of doing what they could do. As an officer, I could do what a corporal could do. So, they just followed. That is a good point in leadership; and it has been very successful.
Queen Facardi, a popular Ghanaian social media celebrity, has said she can’t count the number of men she has had sex with.
While appearing on the Delay Show during a live broadcast with host Deloris Frimpong, Queen spoke about her sexual life and why she started having sex with multiple men.
Queen said she began sleeping with men because she couldn’t find a job after applying for a long time. After her countless job applications didn’t yield fruit, she said she decided to make use of her sexuality after she discovered that she’s a “priceless commodity in the market because she has what the men want.”
She began sharing semi-nude photos on social media especially, on Instagram. Subsequently, her followers and likes increased and men came patronizing her.
Quenn Facardi said in an interview
She went on to reveal that she can’t count the number of men she’s slept with so far.
Queen Facardi also confirmed that she had abortions at an early age.
In this interview, pioneer Military Administrator of Delta State, Air Commodore Luke Ochulor, warned that the nation’s democracy may soon collapse if the system; particularly, the electoral process was not overhauled. His words: “I will ask Nigerians to change their method of democracy. If they don’t change it; it will collapse. I am not a prophet but this is a serious warning. Did you see me carrying Bible to preach? I repeat, if they don’t change their method of democracy and election, it will collapse very soon. And when it happens; it will be to your tents oh Israel.” He spoke further on this and more with STANLEY UZOARU, in Owerri.
Give us insight into your service years
I served as the first Military Administrator of Delta State. I rose to the rank of one star General in the Nigerian Armed Forces, specifically, in the Air Force. I was an instructor in the global navigation worldwide. I operated the Charley-130 Air craft. That’s where I was an instructor for many years. I retired after 30 years of service having worked during and after the civil war. If you want to know more wait for a memoir they are writing about me that will be published very soon.
When did you disengage from service?
I retired as far back as October 1993. I joined the Nigerian Air Force in January 1964. It is quite a long time and I am sure you were not born then. You can see that I am already an old man.
So, where were you during the civil war; did you fight on the side of Biafra?
When you look at my name, when you hear my name there is no way I would have been on the other side of the battle. I was a Biafran officer. I fought on the side of Biafra. Like I have always said, the purpose for which we fought the war as young as we were, 25, 26 years of age was to save the Igbo race and I have said it before my colleagues from the North, from the West, from the South South, that that was the purpose of getting involved in the war.
How were you able to get back into the armed forces after the war when many others that fought on the side of Biafra were disengaged?
Yes, that was the system. It is unfortunate to get involved in civil war. You journalists know it very well, that after the exposure, people don’t talk much generally. Well, after the war, General Gowon wanted to implement the three Rs, of Reconciliation, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation. We were the ones that were called back to come and continue to serve the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
So, what has life in retirement been like since 1993?
As a matter of fact, life has been full of ups and downs depending on which side that one is. But I would say that anybody who is of my own generation in the Nigerian military system can hardly say that he has had the best of time. It has not been rosy and it has not been all that bad but it can be described as a chequered history. Nobody can say that it has all been very good or it has all been terribly bad but the Nigerian conditions for many people are like that of the wailing wailers. It is a pity really. I remember telling the Sun and the Daily Trust that for some of us, if we are to say what we feel about Nigeria today, it is worrisome not because Nigeria as a country has annoyed anybody or short-changed anybody but maybe that is our own lot. The country at the moment is going through hell. If you look at the youths, some of us will feel worried and bewildered. If you have a boy or a girl, who comes out from a university, graduates very well and after 40 years of age he or she is still living with the parents; it is not acceptable. So, for me I have always stayed away from partisan politics.
Are you missing your career in the military?
No, having served for 30 years, you know the military is one institution where when you are there you pray to God that you leave in peace because I witnessed over nine coups when I was in service. I mean, to witness nine coups and still be able to escape without losing your life or being arrested or being implicated, to me, one should always give thanks to God. It wasn’t a nice experience to be involved in coups and counter-coups taking place in your presence. I don’t miss or regret anything. I left at the time I believe I should leave.
What can you describe as the high point of your career or may be your happiest moment in the Air force?
Well, my happy moments come when I look at the young men I was training in the force becoming great. Many of them became Chief of Air Staff. Even the present Chief of Air Staff was my student back then. Air Chief Marshall Paul Dike was my student; so was Air Marshall William. Air Marshal Petirin passed through me; the present Chief of Air Staff too. All of them went through me because I was an instructor in the flying school.
What can one also look at as the low point of your sojourn in the military? Any regrets?
When I start talking of regrets now my colleagues will say that in spite of all the support they gave me that I am still talking of disappointment. No, I wouldn’t want to say that. The only time I felt sad was the June 12, 1993 election.
That was the election that Babangida annulled?
No. I don’t want to go into that. I mean when Abiola was involved in election and General Abacha went again to take over government after we had agreed that we were no longer interested. It’s not Babangida as people always say. It wasn’t Babangida. It doesn’t take one man to cancel an election. It involves a large number of people or officers who will say no, we don’t want that. But whoever is the head of state will bear the brunt.
Are you affirming that Babangida alone should not be crucified for that decision to cancel the June 12 election for which he is held responsible?
Never! He didn’t take that decision alone. I don’t want to go into that. There are certain things that a man cannot say in his life. As you grow; you may find out that there are certain things that you cannot say to the public and those things will have to live with you throughout your life until you go down to the other side. We know that there were some officers who were hell-bent in making sure that the result was not announced. It wasn’t General Babangida. He was the head of state and that is the reason everybody is calling his name.
What are you actually doing now in retirement?
What I have tried to do first of all is to monitor my children who I have trained all these years to become people with responsibility and to be careful with life. I also advise government on matters of security. For some of us, we don’t even offer advice until they request for it and without making noise. Once we see a governor doing well and he is one of us or contacted us for an advice, we offer same with what we think should be the best for an ordinary man.
You are a member of the Imo State Council of Elders that backed Governor Emeka Ihedioha; looking back and within the short period he has held sway, are you pleased with that decision?
I don’t have any regret about that. This is because before then; we elders met several times and looked at the history of Imo State. We looked at the various zones in the state––Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe zones. We monitored what they have been doing since 1999 when this dispensation came in focus. During the time Obasanjo became the President, we monitored and found out that the politicians have not been doing what we expected in matters of equity. Equity demands that you don’t hold on to power as if you are an emperor and assume that other people should be told to go home and rest. At times, the politicians make careless and reckless statements in the manner they describe their fellow politicians or other citizens of the state. We discovered that Orlu produced His Excellency Achike Udenwa who was there for eight years and I was one of those who insisted that His Excellency Ikedi Ohakim should be allowed to do his eight years. I didn’t see what was wrong with his administration. I was not a member of his cabinet. But politics threw him out and His Excellency Rochas Okorocha took over and did another eight years. Meanwhile, Okigwe has done only four years and our man, Chief Sam Mbakwe, adjudged to be the fulcrum, the power of Imo State. Then for Owerri zone, Senator Evan Enwerem was there for only one year plus. Then the question is how come that Owerri Zone will not be given the opportunity to serve? We looked around as elders and said that there were over 71 governorship aspirants in Imo State before the primaries. We put them together and discovered that in that 71, Owerri Zone had 54 candidates vying for one position. We placed them on a scale and weighed their careers, weighed their profile, weighed their integrity, weighed their capabilities and we found that the only person who we believe that can take over the leadership of Imo State and make sure that justice is done was Emeka Ihedioha. One, he has gone through the House of Representatives, he has walked the ropes, he is also a young man and there was no way we could find any other person better than himself and that decision we took at that time and I stand by it.
So, can it now be said that you are in politics?
Every human being is a political animal, but I am not a politician, even though, I advise. I am a leader, a statesman. When you talk of politics, politicians say many things they don’t mean; I don’t want to be grouped in that line. But I am not ignorant of political affairs and world affairs. I am involved in Nigerian politics in the sense that I would want Nigerian democracy to be real.
You have been linked with an emerging security outfit in Imo called the Imo Intelligence and Community Development Agency (IICDA). What’s the group all about?Yes, I am part of the group. Yes, I am the Grand Patron. The Chairman would be in a better position to give you all the details. As the Grand Patron, all I need is to support them because I have looked at what they are doing; they are not the enemies of the state. They want to bring the awareness of intelligence to the grassroots so that people become aware of their environments. You are living with people and you don’t know where they come from yet every morning, every one leaves and you don’t know what each is doing. That is why most of the time security threats take us by surprise here. You see people are being killed here and there. You don’t have those things occurring without a prelude. And our people are not security conscious. I supported them to be their Grand Patron because from what they explained to me, they will be able to take security to everybody not minding where you are. It doesn’t mean that you will not accept strangers. Everybody any way is a stranger. I have studied their system and procedures. They are on the right track.
As the first Military Administrator of Delta State, looking back, how would you describe governance then and now?
The difference is very clear even with each passing day. Actually the comparisons are obvious. The environment at the time is not the same. That was a military era. At that time, I can tell you that Nigeria had no money. If there was money, I can tell you that it was being conserved. The governors didn’t have allocations. At that time, no governor would travel outside the state without clearance from Abuja talk less of going overseas, going overseas to go and do what? You must stay in your state to run it unless you are invited to Abuja for a meeting. So, there is no way the Head of State would call you and it is discovered that you are somewhere in Kenya, in South Africa or Europe. So, the difference is very clear. The government more or less was a small organization and there were not many people who were really involved in the administration. First, you can see the development of those states that were created in 1991 by His Excellency General IBB. You can see that many of them are doing very well. Some of them have even overtaken the older states in terms of management and growing funds available to the states.
Can it be rightly implied from your comments that there was more discipline in the states during the military era than now?
That one is quite obvious. You can see it not because I was there, neither am I holding brief for anybody. The danger in answering your question is this: the Nigerian public will now think that this man likes military regime and doesn’t want our democracy to survive. Far from that, the point is that it was easier to know what the governor was doing. Moreover, you notice that as the country grows, the problem becomes more enormous. Those days, what I was using as my official car was a Peugeot 504 car. There was nothing like a retinue of vehicles. Why? You don’t need them. You may have an extra car in case the one breaks down and the other for security. This is unlike now in the democracy, in fact, I will stop to avoid being misunderstood. I tell you something; I have been doing a nightly exercise since I took interest in Nigerian democracy from 2003.
Did you say nightly exercise?
Yes! What it means is that man on a journey should not sleep off like that. Even when he wants to sleep, the thoughts that hunt him will not allow him to sleep. Anyone at my age who goes to bed without thinking about the problems of Nigeria must have some problems. Without mincing words, some of the politicians are doing very well while some are not. I don’t want to mention their names. The nature of our democracy and elections leaves much to be desired.
Looking back over time, how would you describe the character and nature of our politics?
Within what time frame are you talking about? Let’s go back to a more recent time starting from the Shagari period to the present dispensation. If a child in the womb can talk, I tell you honestly he would tell you that those days are better. It is very clear too. Though, there has been a lot of development as you can see the structures that dot here and there, but when you look at the psyche of a Nigerian, he has more or less lost his personality in the eyes of the outside world. I have been trying to find out why this is happening because the changes have been quite dramatic but nevertheless it was easier those days to exist as an individual whether or not you have money than now. Life now is a grind. Life was better those days. We are developing but our development is only structural but if you look at our attitude and the level of discipline, we are nowhere. Nigerians love confusion and you can observe this in the manner that people drive through the street, not minding whether or not the next man dies. We have problems indeed.
The crime wave among the youths is very alarming. Looking critically at the situation, who do we hold responsible for the level of mounting gross indiscipline among the youngsters. Is it from the homes, the schools or where?
Yes, the youths are indisciplined but there is this Latin word, ‘nemo dat quod non habet’, meaning that you can’t give what you don’t have. Environment determines how an individual is going to act. For instance, if there is food for the three of us on a table, if the food is big enough, you will never struggle for it once it is about to finish. That is a natural instinct in a human being. But once it is insufficient to go round, your instinct will tell you that you must do something drastic or extraordinary if it must reach you. That is a natural reaction to the reality, not their fault. If you watch, you will notice that their intellect is higher than that of those before them. You can see that science and technology have done their jobs. You don’t blame the youths but pity them and encourage them to change. This is because if the country does not survive, they are the ones to bear the brunt.
What is your message to the people of Imo State and Nigerians?
First of all, I will ask Nigerians to change their method of democracy. If they don’t change it, it will collapse. I am not a prophet but this is a serious warning. Did you see me carrying Bible to preach? I repeat, if they don’t change their method of democracy and election, it will collapse very soon. And when it happens, it will be: “To your tents oh, Israel.” And most important, this question of winner takes all must stop. I heard a governor threaten two years ago that he was going to deal with his enemies in the same state. He was describing those who did not vote for him and those not in his party as his enemies. Granted as the governor of the state, you may not treat everybody equally but you should treat everybody fairly. If you watch what is happening in the state (Imo), the government is trying to reach everybody regardless of the political leaning. It is because of this winner takes all that politicians are killing their opponents to win elections. Nigeria’s democracy must change or collapse. For Imo people, it is always good to have hope than being in despair. That hope must reflect what we do. If we keep our surroundings clean; we are not doing it for the government but for our health. We always see people throw dirt out there and they will say, call the governor. If you keep your area clean and I keep mine, everywhere will be clean.
Former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made an appearance on Howard Stern‘s SiriusXM show, where she spoke on politics, her love life, and many more.
When Howard asked about the rumors that Hillary might be gay, the 72-year-old politician and former First Lady of the United States replied: “Contrary to what you might hear, I actually like men.”
Howard then said, “Raise your right hand, you’ve never had a lesbian affair?”
“Never, never, never!” Hillary declared. “Never even been tempted, thank you very much.”
Hillary then went to say that she had “dated a lot of different people” and added, “boys were not my problem.“
Hillary Clinton, who lost to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, served as First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001 when her husband Bill Clinton was President. She also served as a United States senator from New York from 2001 to 2009, and as the 67th United States secretary of state from 2009 until 2013.
Actress and filmmaker, Dayo Amusan has lamented over not making any money from Nollywood even after shooting 12 movies and still counting.
Amusan in the interview with The Media disclosed that she does other things that generate money for her but however expressed hope of making money from Nollywood someday.
“I do a lot of things that generate money for me. I have always done business even before I came into Nollywood and I am still in business. I came into Nollywood as an actress before becoming a movie producer and to date, I have shot 12 movies and still counting. Truth be told, I have not made money from Nollywood yet. After 12 movies I have not made the kind of money that I should make but I know I will make it. You see, there is a difference between making a huge profit and then, just getting your money back on your investment. I haven’t broken even” she said.
She also disclosed that her major challenge is that her movies are not yet being shown in cinemas.
“I love doing good movies and putting up good content. I think my major challenge now is that my movies are not showing in all cinemas in the country like I hoped and it saddens me. Their excuse is that my movies are indigenous and the titles are local but I am like ‘we get to watch foreign movies indigenous to different parts of the world yet subtitled and these movies are been shown in our cinemas so I ask the question ‘why can’t we encourage our local content?’ I want to believe that even if a movie is 100 per cent indigenous, that does not stop it from showing in cinemas as long as the movie is well subtitled.
“It has greatly affected me as an independent film maker, I do most of my productions from my purse. It is not like I get grants and it really eats moviemakers up when we don’t get the opportunity to showcase what we have.
“Even if they feel we are not getting it right, there is a way they can inform us that this is what you need to achieve this and that. But they just label it local content, indigenous this and indigenous that, giving what we do all sorts of names but the fact is, when you preview a job and story wise you have it, picture wise you have it, quality wise and artistic whatever you have it, then why the barrier? Why can’t such a movie be seen in all cinemas across Nigeria.
“But they are giving excuses that when cinema going audiences hear the title, they will not like it. Who says so? Yes, a title could have a very positive impact on a production but a title is a title, be it local or English or what have you. An indigenous title cannot stop a good film from flying at the box office,” she adds with emphasis.
Popular Ghanaian gospel singer, Stella Aba Seal has openly advocated for men to be allowed to marry 2 wives as long as they can take care of them.
Speaking in an interview with Becky on E with Becks, Stella said a polygamous marriage will help reduce the high rate of adultery on the part of men and women.
”If a married man is responsible and I’m his first wife and he wants to marry [another wife] and he can take care of both of us…I don’t have a problem with that,” Stella Seal said.
“If you think you love the woman enough, do the needful or fix your marriage. I speak to ladies who tell me they have four to six boyfriends just because they don’t know who will give them security,” she added.
Nollywood actor, Olu Michaels has shared his lifelong decision of never getting married or having children.
In an interview with Media, the 48-year-old actor disclosed that he is scared of getting married. He also said it is too late to have kids even though his parents have been pushing him to get married.
“I’m not married, and I don’t intend to. Truth be told, I’m scared of marriage and I don’t think I will ever get married. .
Though, I wanted to have kids when I was younger but not now, it is too late. Why I said it’s too late for having children is that I am a workaholic and I don’t like a situation where I would want to sleep and then a baby starts crying. My parents have been begging me to get married but no” he said.
On what he looks out for in a woman, Olu Michaels said;
“I am a jealous man. For example, if I marry an actress and I see her kissing another actor on set, I will never tolerate such. Also, if I marry a beautiful woman, I might never concentrate on my work because I will be on the look to protect her.”
He also opened up on what he does whenever he feels lonely at night. Olu Michaels said he drives around his Mercedes Benz which has a lovely interior and sleeps off on it whenever he feels lonely.
“What I do every time I feel lonely is that I have a car that I bought with all my money. It is a Mercedes-Benz and the interior is wow. I love it. I just drive round town and get home and sleep off” he said.