Posted in THEY SAY IT BETTER

AN EVALUATION OF THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT, 2011. BY EKPO UDUAKOBONG S.

Abstract

Freedom of Information Act
Source: isdmg.org.ng

The freedom to express one’s self includes the freedom to receive ideas without interference. Access to information is highly invaluable in a democracy hence, the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act by the Nigerian legislature.

The era of shrugging over details we are unsure of is long gone. The Freedom of Information Act now guarantees our access to information of public relevance. Since the enactment of this statute, there has been a very low level of compliance and awareness of its novel provisions. Despite the existence of landmark provisions, there are some areas of this law that need judicial clarification in the court room.

The purpose of this study is to appreciate the Act through its legal and legislative framework an increase the awareness of the public on its right of access to information and recourse to the court in an instance of wrongful denial of such access.

Continue reading “AN EVALUATION OF THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT, 2011. BY EKPO UDUAKOBONG S.”

Posted in THEY SAY IT BETTER

MACRON AND THE LESSONS OF POLITICAL PARTICIPATION AND LEADERSHIP IN CONTEMPORARY NIGERIA

flag, young boy, Nigeria
photocredit: Nigeriagalleria.com

Joshua Onuekwusi Esq.*

For France, 7 May, 2017 will remain a historical date for a country that prides itself in its great history and enlightenment. Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron, a 39 year old relatively unknown political figure hitherto never elected to a political post has been saddled with the momentous responsibility of dragging a nation out of the brim of hostile Islamist insurgency and terrorism, a failing economy and a youthful population that yearns to play a greater role in its national affairs.

The lessons of this political development can be quite enriching to our contemporary Nigeria where in their forties the vast population of its citizenry still questions their role in a society that has self-perpetuated men of yesteryear at the helm of affairs even amidst constant failures in every segment of the fabric that makes up the nation. There has always been the case for youth inclusion in politics and governance. Ironically, while the youths control the majority of votes cast during elections and events leading up to elections, they are actually left with nothing when elections are over.

However a close reflection on Nigerian history will show that the youth has not always been at the back seat of political vehicle in Nigeria. But down recent memory lane, the story is not exactly the same. Yakubu Gowon became a military head of state at age 31, Richard Akinjide became Minister of Education at the age of 32. Audu Ogbeh was a Minister at the age of 35. He is still serving today as a minister of Agriculture under the Muhammadu Buhari government who himself served as a petroleum minister at the age of 35. Continue reading “MACRON AND THE LESSONS OF POLITICAL PARTICIPATION AND LEADERSHIP IN CONTEMPORARY NIGERIA”

Posted in THEY SAY IT BETTER

RE: PRESIDENT APPOINTING THE VEE PEE AS COORDINATOR IS AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE – A REJOINDER BY CHARLES ADEKUNLE ESQ.

flag, young boy, Nigeria
photocredit: Nigeriagalleria.com

I have read the statement credited to Lagos based Lawyer and Activist , Mr. Ebun Olu Adegboruwa calling for the impeachment of President Buhari on the ground of gross misconduct.

The gross misconduct according to him was occasioned by the letter transmitted by the President to the National Assembly in which President Buhari purportedly appointed the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, as the Coordinator of government affairs in his absence as he embarks on medical vacation in London.

The full statement is available here.

With all respect due to my learned friend, I think his position is untenable and even against the spirit and letters of the Constitution particularly on the issues of acting presidency and impeachment. It is simply making a mountain out of a molehill.

To start with, I am of the firm view that President Buhari’s letter is in accordance with section 145(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
For purpose of clarity, Section 145 (1) provides that:
“whenever the President is proceeding on vacation or is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, he shall transmit a written declaration to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to that effect, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, the Vice President shall perform the functions of the President as Acting President”.

I am also of the opinion that the President does not even have the power to choose who will become the Acting President in his absence. The Constitution has already taken care of that, hence the ascendancy of Vice President Osinbajo to Acting President Osinbajo is automatic. Continue reading “RE: PRESIDENT APPOINTING THE VEE PEE AS COORDINATOR IS AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE – A REJOINDER BY CHARLES ADEKUNLE ESQ.”

Posted in PERFECTLY LEGAL, THEY SAY IT BETTER

NONVIOLENT PROTEST AND THE LEGALITY OF THE PUBLIC ORDER ACT IN A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT

By Joshua Onuekwusi Esq*

In light of the brouhaha generated over the planned protest by popular Nigerian musician Innocent Idibia known as “2 face” attributing the reasons for the protest under the following subjects: Education, Health, Transparency, Cost of Governance, Power and Unemployment which are, according to him, fundamental problems plaguing the Nigerian nation and in view of the censure of the planned protest by major government interest and security agencies; I took out time to explore and ponder on what the role of non-violent protest is in a democratic setting and the legality or otherwise of the Public Order Act under Nigeria extant laws.

Permit me to take brief detour of some historical nonviolent protest from the early 1930’s.

When Mohandas Gandhi began his famous Salt March on March 12, 1930, he could not have known the influence it would wield on the history of India and the world. Not only did it play a major role in India’s eventual freedom from British rule, but it also went on to inspire future protestors to incredible acts of nonviolent. Under British rule, Indians were prohibited from collecting or selling salt—Britain had a monopoly on that staple product, and taxed it heavily. Gandhi assembled his supporters in 1930 to march from his ashram to the Arabian Sea to collect salt from the ocean. The crowd snowballed along the way; more than 60,000 Indians were arrested for breaking the salt law. It was an ideal method of protest, because collecting salt was a completely non-violent activity and involved a commodity that was truly important to Indians. The protest continued until Gandhi was granted bargaining rights at a negotiation in London. India didn’t see freedom until 1947, but the salt satyagraha (his brand of civil disobedience) established Gandhi as a force to be reckoned with and set a powerful precedent for future nonviolent protestors, including Martin Luther King Jr.

By 1963, African-Americans had been freed from slavery for a century yet continued to live lives burdened by inequality in every realm of society. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was intended to push lawmakers to pass legislation that would address these inequalities, and its organizers were so successful that more than 200,000 supporters turned out for the action—double their estimate. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered perhaps the most famous speech in American history, his “I Have a Dream” address, at the base of the Lincoln Memorial, and the leaders met with President Kennedy afterwards to discuss their goals. The march was credited with helping build support to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Occupy Nigeria was a non-violent sociopolitical protest movement that began in Nigeria on Monday, 2 January 2012 in response to the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government of President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday, 1 January 2012. Protests took place across the country, including in the cities of Kano, Lagos, Abuja, and at the Nigerian High Commission in London. The protests were characterised by civil disobedience, civil resistance, strike actions, demonstrations and online activism. The use of social media services such as Twitter and Facebook was a prominent feature. Protesters shut petrol stations and formed human barriers along motorways. Nigeria’s main trade unions also announced an indefinite strike and mass demonstrations from Monday, 9 January 2012 unless the removal of a fuel subsidy is reversed which was eventually addressed by the then government. Continue reading “NONVIOLENT PROTEST AND THE LEGALITY OF THE PUBLIC ORDER ACT IN A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT”

Posted in ATTEMPTED POETRY, THEY SAY IT BETTER

BEAUTIFUL SOULS (On my sick bed in August 2016)

by Okoroafor Chinonso

soul leaving the body
source: enchantedmind.com

I have seen them
Pure sweet souls
They live on the distant hills
In the old house by the glittering river
Where time stands still
They are the beautiful souls.

Like the cold harmattan wind at night.
They wriggle through life’s window
Leaving you clutched to your body
By the awe of their simplicity.
Subtly etching words on your unlistening heart,with every passing day
They are the beautiful souls.

Fate took its course
And like the feel of ether to touch they vanish
The words they etched now clearer
Like the engraving on an epitaph, they constantly remind you of those beautiful words you allowed linger between your lips.
They are the beautiful souls

But beautiful souls go nowhere
They lurk around somewhere behind our heavy hearts,
In memories we unlock.
Bringing tears to our eyes, and smile on our lips
They smile back
Because theirs are the souls where beauty live
They are the beautiful souls

P.S Chinonso’s previous poem can be found here