The wanton disregard for democratic norms by our decadent and retrogressive ruling elites is increasingly becoming acute.
We are inextricably entangled in a quagmire of building democracy with anti-democratic political class.
It is obvious, at least to every discerning mind that our politicians are not willing to allow democratic principles to thrive.
For instance, in matters of election – which is one of the cardinal elements of democracy – we are embroiled in snakes and ladders: a step forward and another or two backward.
The progress made in reforming our electoral processes in 2015 has been brazenly reversed by our political class. Voter suppression, ballot snatching and stuffing, vote-buying, violence, militarization of polls, among other forms of irregularities and malpractices, have become the defining features of our elections.
The recent “elections” in Kano, Kogi and Bayelsa States were characterized by these terrible incidents.
Waste of resources
When I think of the enormous resources we invest to conduct “elections” and the sacrifice we make for that purpose I become worried.
For instance, according to the Daily Trust’s investigation, what INEC spent on 2019 general elections was more than what India spent to conduct its elections in 2014, “where 553.8 million people voted.”
We have spent hundreds of billions (in naira) to conduct elections since the return to civil rule.
Worse still, the billions, if not trillions, spent on campaigns, vote-buying, consultation fee to marabouts, ritualists, sorcerers and thugs are mostly stolen from the public treasury, since the contestants are either serving looters, ex-looters (with intention to resume their looting spree) or they are being sponsored by these looters.
Dividends of democracy denied
We have had six general elections since 1999, and during every campaign, our politicians make promises to address the same problems they promised to address in the preceding campaign.
Yet, these problems/challenges (poverty, unemployment, inequality, insecurity, corruption, poor access to healthcare services, falling standard of education, among others) have only worsened!
It’s also disturbing that during every election, lives and property are lost as a result of electoral violence, and businesses and schools are shut down for at least two to three days.
More worrisomely, with all the massive investment and sacrifices (of lives, property and school and business activities) made during elections, most Nigerians do not participate either because they have lost faith in our political elites or their franchise is being suppressed through violence or militarization of the polling centers. With this low participation, the legitimacy of the “elected” governments is, in my opinion, questionable, since democracy is supposedly a “government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
Otherwise, we have to revisit the definition of democracy.
Considering the points made above, one may be tempted to doubt whether the benefits we have gained from the six general elections held since1999 surpassed the cost incurred in conducting them. More fundamentally, we need to reflect on whether we can really get things right through this quadrennial ritual.
My worry is that “elections” in Nigeria always produce the same set of characters under the same or different (though the difference is just in nomenclature) platforms.
It’s quite unfortunate that our leadership recruitment processes have been monetized and bastardized, such that decent and principled people find leadership positions well-nigh inaccessible. Worse still, Nigerians lack the culture of civic engagement that is needed to check the excesses of our ruling elites.
We naively assume that by alternating between the ruling classes parties, we will one day have a crop of leaders who, out of sheer altruism, could get us out of our woes.
Or, maybe, we interminably await providential intervention to salvage us from the yoke of our misrulers.
We have to act
We are yet to recognize that as long as we cannot keep our leaders on their toes through organized resistance, we will never gain the dividends of democracy.
In other words, if we continue to remain acquiescent or consenting spectators, things will keep worsening before our eyes.
It is, therefore, necessary to begin serious conversations on how to initiate popular struggles in order to make our country better. Redeeming Nigeria from the unscrupulous political elites is difficult, but not impossible.
Therefore, the difficulty of this task shouldn’t deter us from the struggles for a political alternative.
The great African revolutionary and Marxist ideologue, Amilcar Cabral, aptly admonishes: “mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories.”
Aminu Ali wrote from the Department of Sociology, Bayero University, Kano. He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
𝗞𝗮𝗻𝗻𝘆𝘄𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝟭: 𝗡𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗚𝗮𝗺𝗲
Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu
Say what you can, but Kano has always been innovative. I am currently revising a book on the history of Hausa cinema for a publisher in the United States, so I want to share a few morsels of information that might be interest, and also give depth to the history of Hausa cinema in the light of the current (November 2023) real-life drama that is playing out in the industry.
What is known as Kannywood has an original name “Finafinan Hausa”. It professionally started in 1990, but amateurishly in 1980 when it was kickstarted by Sani Lamma and Hamisu Gurgu of Kano (more of them in subsequent postings). In 1990 it was the brain child of late Aminu Hassan Yakasai, supported by Aminu Hassan Yakasai, Ali “Kallamu” Muhammad Yakasai, Bashir Mudi Yakasai, and Tijjani Ibraheem. Their first film, 𝗧𝘂𝗿𝗺𝗶𝗻 𝗗𝗮𝗻𝘆𝗮, released in March 1990, was directed by Salisu Galadanci. This was the beginning of what is now known as Kannywood.
The halcyon Hausa cinema days were days of joy, fame and stardom. Two storylines dominated the films. The first focused on domestic ecology of Hausa marriages. This was led by Hamisu Iyantama group of Bohemian writers, including Ahmad Salihu Alkanawy, Khalid Musa, Bala Anas Babinlata, ruled the roost. Iyantama led the group – an easy thing for him to do since he remains the most innovative, experimental and charismatic filmmaker in the history of Kannywood. The first filmmaker to shoot inside the Supreme Court. A second layer of storylines was led by Ɗan Azumi Baba Cheɗiyar Ƴan Gurasa, dealing with urban sociology. No singing. No dancing. Just solid storyline that talks to you and your environment.
Media coverage of the new entertainment was covered by basically fanzines, that later became magazines, giving tidbits of the film industry. No one was making much money, but what they lack in money, they made up in instant recognition wherever they go. They were feted and sought as simple socialites. No airs and graces.
he transformation came in 1999. First, a magazine, Tauraruwa, founded by Sunusi Shehu Burhan, a writer, started a column he called ‘𝗞𝗮𝗻𝗻𝘆𝘄𝗼𝗼𝗱 – making him the first person to create the term. This was a revolutionary moment in African media history. It was the first time an film industry was collectively named. Kannywood was not meant to imitate Hollywood in film ethics. Indeed, it was more like Bollywood, because the magazine, Tauraruwa, cloned an Indian film magazine called Stardust.
The name was almost talismanic – it was certainly an auspicious beginning of the film industry. Unfortunately, it also paved the way to its future. In October 1999, Sarauniya films released Sangaya. It was undoubtedly the most iconic film of its period, and for the fourteen years, it opened the floodgates of Indian cloning of choreographed singing and dancing. This was radical departure from the more sober films of the 1990s. Arewa24, a Satellite TV with heavy dosage of TV Shows delivered in Series changed the landscape of Hausa cinema when it debuted in 2014. While the Series had a suspiciously ZeeWorld veneer, the storylines harked back at the pre-Sangaya narrative – thus making them less objectionable.
So, in 1990 Tumbin Giwa Drama group in Kano released Turming Danya. There was no video film industry as we know it then. Ola Balogun, Jab Adu, Moses Olayia, Eddie Ugboma and Hubert Ogunde were pioneering celluloid filmmakers. The southern Nigerian video film industry was born in 1992 with Living in Bondage. The term Kannywood was coined in 1999. No other film industry in Africa had any name. In 2002 Norimitsu Onishi of The New York Times coined ‘Nollywood to reflect the southern Nigerian video film industry.
Enjoy the scan of the first media mention of Kannywood in Hausa film industry.
“𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗮 𝗺𝗮𝗻 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗼𝗳 𝗞𝗮𝗻𝗼, 𝗵𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗼𝗳 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲”
Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu
Is a Professor of media and cultural studies in Bayero University, Kano.
This was first published on his Facebook account.
President Tinubu: Stunts of the Salesman
By Abdulaziz Abdulaziz
It was pin drop silence. All heads turned to his side of the hall listening as the man gently, but firmly, made a case for his country to this crème de la crème of the Saudi Arabian economic bureaucracy and business community. He grabbed attention with an off the cuff speech that exuded confidence, authority, assurance and truthfulness. It was a little wonder his audience followed through and nodded all through!
The setting was the Saudi-Nigeria Business Summit and the speaker was President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. It was a forum held on the sidelines of the recent Saudi-Africa Summit held in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.
President Tinubu went into the meeting hall at the JW Marriot Hotel in upscale Riyadh as the President of Nigeria. By the time he picked the microphone he quickly wore the garb of a chief salesman for a product he is excited to market.
It was an effortless exercise in sophisticated arts of marketing and advocacy. It was a presentation from the heart that was as unpretentious as it was unscripted. He spurned out the facts and the figures, reeled out the justifications and tickled the boardroom chiefs where it mattered without appearing weak or pitiable. It was a classic case of economic diplomacy and salesmanship at the highest level.
Since the beginning of his campaign for office, one of the most frequent words on his lips has been “prosperity”. President Tinubu is a prosperous man. His life is tinged with footsteps of prosperity, from the corporate world where he was a successful businessman to the prosperous political career that was capped with his election to the highest office in the land.
It had not always been rosy for him. He had told his story again and again to motivate the younger generation and inspire the country. He had toiled to reach the top. He knew the pains of want and starvation, and the sweetness that comes with economic liberation and prosperity. It is the latter that President Tinubu is desperately working to see that all Nigerians have tested.
He had the lifelong ambition to lead his fatherland. He has fulfilled this ambition. He could, if he chooses, stay back and enjoy the pecks that come with it and pass the time in office. But because the ambition was not a vain one, President Tinubu is up and doing. “I campaigned for it. I begged for the job. I even danced to get elected. There is no excuse!” That is his mindset and the philosophy of leadership for him, and it is for this mindset that he is willing to go to any length to ensure that he bequeath to Nigerians a prosperous country that everyone desires.
It was in his quest for this objective that the President chose to use his time in Riyadh to address the country’s top boardroom chiefs. It turned out to be not just another meeting or a boring address from just another President. It was dazzling interaction that stole the minds of almost everyone in the room, by their own admission.
“We came with high expectations but you have exceeded them,” said the Saudi minister of investment, Khalid Al Falih, who moderated the three-hour session, after the rousing applause that greeted President Tinubu’s address to the Saudi business community. The minister had in his welcome address spoke about how they had followed President Tinubu’s campaign promises and how he started off with the “boldest economic reform agenda in decades” for Nigeria, likening it to happenings in Saudi Arabia.
Mohammed Abunayyan, Chairman of Saudi’s ACWA Power confessed to being “inspired and motivated” by the President promising to see how his company can make foray into Nigeria. In the same vein, Abdulrahman Alfaqiq, the CEO of Saudi oil trading company, SABIC, promised to upscale their business relationship with Nigeria due to the assurances he got from the top. They were just a few of the many who spoke in glowing terms about the President and in optimistic sense of the new business environment being created by President Tinubu for domestic and international investors.
This was not the first time and certainly not the last. In September, the President’s participation at the G20 Summit in New Delhi, India, was a potpourri of achievements. He maximally used the time to network with the right people and seek out investments for Nigeria.
It was, in every sense, a bumper harvest for the country as the President came back with a basket full of goodies amounting to billions of dollars in investment pledges. Most of the commitments are in areas dear to the heart of the President and at centre of our quest for development. These include the $3 billion promised by Jindal Steels for iron ore processing to aid Nigeria’s drive for industrialization, Skippersells’ plan to invest $1.6 billion in the power sector by building 2000MW power plants across the country in 4 years, Indorama’s pledge for $8 billion expansion of their petrochemical facilities in Rivers State, a billion
dollars secured by the Defence Industry Corporation Of Nigeria (DICON),
The President’s last trip to Germany for the G20 Compact with Africa Summit also garnered as much fruits with the signing of the $500 million gas and renewable energy pact with the German government, among others.
As a young man, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was trained as an accountant. He was a very good student, his records show, who finished from the Chigaco State University with flying colours. In the aftermath, he pursued strings of career opportunities in Accounting and Auditing. He left his job on his own volition and ventured into politics. But in his new job President Tinubu is demonstrating that beyond his training in Accountancy, as omo iyaloja he has imbibed not a few skills from his revered mother and notable businesswoman to apply in his bid to market Nigeria to investors and the larger international community.
Abdulaziz is Senior Special Assistant to the President on Print Media. He’s on X @AbdulFagge
MTN Scholarships: Transforming Lives of Nigerian Students
In the corridors of Bayero University, Kano, two exceptional students from the Department of Chemical Engineering, Abdussalam Ojoshobo Adejo and Obeyemi Adebiyi, are shining examples of the transformative power of the MTN Scholarships.
Initiated by the MTN Foundation, these scholarships, have become a beacon of hope and opportunity for Bling students and those pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses across Nigerian universities, polytechnic and colleges of education.
MTN set up the Foundation in 2004, and commenced operation in 2005, with the goal to provides platforms and opportunities for their scholars to connect to their aspirations and realise their potential from which the nation will benefit.
MTN made it a point of duty to have youth development as a pillar for the Foundation, and one of the ways to express the commitment is through scholarship.
The Foundation Executive Secretary, Odunayo Sanya said “Till date we have given about 12,700 scholarships, expended the sum of N3 billion for indigent students who are science-based in the last ten years.”
Telling the success story, Abdussalam Adejo, currently in his fourth year of study, hails from Kogi State. His journey with the MTN scholarship began as a dream nurtured during his secondary school days.
Witnessing a senior student receive the prestigious scholarship at the Federal University Minna, Niger State, fueled Abdussalam’s determination to strive for academic excellence and secure the coveted award.
After completing his second year at the university, Abdussalam navigated the rigorous application process, ensuring he met the required Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) threshold of 3.5.
The competition, as he describes it, is fierce, with an estimated three thousand or more applicants annually from various institutions nationwide.
“Despite the competitiveness, I was lucky to be among the less than five hundred selected applicants,” Abdussalam adds.
Abdussalam’s dedication paid off, earning him a spot among the select few who received the scholarship in 2022.
“The offer comes with a payment of two hundred thousand Naira every semester from the year of award till your final year, and for you to renew that scholarship, it’s not an automatic payment; you have to maintain a certain CGPA of 3.5 above for the subsequent levels,” says Abdussalam.
Additionally, MTN sponsors specific courses, offering opportunities for students to enhance their skill sets without financial constraints.
“Some of those courses that we have taken open my eyes. I participated in an Internet of Things, I also took a course on cybersecurity, I took a course on soft skills development.
Basically, it has really contributed positively to my life, and I am happy to say that there has been a lot of improvement after the scholarship,” Abdussalam emphasizes.
Reflecting on the impact of the scholarship, Abdussalam attests to its life-changing nature. Financial burdens were alleviated, allowing him to focus on his academic pursuits and excel in his studies.
The scholarship served as a catalyst for personal growth, eliminating the need to seek financial support from his parents.
“Once you remove financial challenges from students, fifty percent of his problem has been taken care of,” Abdussalam states.
“It has been 80 to 90 percent motivation to my life both in academic and career growth,” he concludes.
He extends a heartfelt thank you to MTN for bringing smiles to the lives of students through the foundation’s commitment to education.
“I am happy to say that there has been a lot of improvement after the scholarship. I am grateful to MTN for putting smiles on the faces of students through the scholarship from MTN foundation.”
Obeyemi Adebiyi, another beneficiary from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Bayero University, shares a similar sentiment.
Originating from Osun State and residing in Jigawa, Obeyemi echoes the narrative of how the MTN scholarship has profoundly influenced his life.
“Actually, having the scholarship and been expose to the opportunities that has come with the scholarship, because for you to even renew your scholarship there is skills you need to obtain which you need to submit result of that skill, may be you take programming course you need to submit the certificate like at least two, which is part of the requirement.” Obeyemi stated.
“Now gaskiya, I am energise after the scholarship, I feel like sky is my limit, because I don’t have that monetary worry that will limit some of the I can do, it has been a life changing experience after the scholarship, I am super charge.” He emphasizes.
The MTN Foundation Scholarships continue to serve as catalysts for academic excellence, breaking barriers and fostering a brighter future for BLIND and STEM students in Nigeria.
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𝗞𝗮𝗻𝗻𝘆𝘄𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝟭: 𝗡𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗚𝗮𝗺𝗲
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