The Serving Overseer of Latter Rain Assembly and now known as Citadel Global Community Church (CGCC), Pastor Tunde Bakare, has cautioned those calling for stricter regulations of social media to desist from such, warning that any political group that takes the social media savvy Nigerian youth for granted does so at its own risk or peril.
Bakare gave this warning on Sunday, while delivering an address on the State of the Nigerian Youth at the church auditorium, themed: ‘The Youth of A Nation are the Trustees of Posterity- (Benjamin Disraeli).’
The occasion was to mark his 66th birthday and that of his wife, who clocked 60th.
Bakare, also the convener of Save Nigeria Group (SNG), who spoke on the heels of attempts by the government to regulate the use of social media aftermath of #EndSARS protest, contended that the fact that some persons had deployed the social media tool in ways that had been less than honourable does not justify the attempted clampdown on freedom of speech by some legislators who, he said “major in minors.”
This was just as the cleric frowned at such recent policy actions, including the freezing of the accounts of young Nigerians who reportedly sponsored the protests, targeting and arresting citizens on trumped-up charges, deploying court probes as a tool of intimidation, among others, describing them as deeply worrisome signs of regression, calling for the immediate reversal of these actions in order to calm raw nerves and fast track peace in the land.
“To extend the olive branch to the youth in one breath, and to deprive the youth of the right to freedom of movement and property as enshrined in our constitution in another breath, will send confusing signals to them and cast doubts in their minds regarding the sincerity of the government.
“The immediate reversal of these actions, therefore, will calm raw nerves and fast track peace in our land,” he said.
Bakare, while giving the warning, said the Nigerian youth with the power of social media remained the ninth power bloc that must not be taken for granted, advising strongly the power blocs in the country, including the South-West governors who were calling for stricter regulation of social media, to desist from doing so.
According to him, eight other political power blocs in the country that take precedence from Nigerian youth with the power of social media are: The Council of State and the 36 state governors, retired Generals, Traditional Institutions, Political Dynasties, The Private Sector (including the media), Religious Leaders, the Nigerian Labour Congress/Trade Union Congress (NLC/TUC), and Foreign Partners, saying that his position had always been that any individual or group that sought to be reckoned with politically in Nigeria must not take any of these for granted.
The cleric, who recalled that he had once been a victim of social media abuse, said what ought to be done to combat the abuse was to provide incentives for the proper usage of this tool through reward systems that would encourage the honour code, promote responsible conversations, and discourage dishonourable use.
He argued that the young Nigerians who had found their voices on social media were not the enemies of the country, describing them as “the hope of our nation,” who he said were “simply expressing the character of our DNA and the virtues that gave us independence.”
He listed other virtues to include the audacity to assemble as communities, including online communities, and to voice their opposition to corruption and oppression, noting that were social media to have been invented in the days of the country’s founding fathers, the Nigerian youth would have deployed the tool in resisting colonial rule and fighting for the nation’s independence, just as they effectively deployed conventional media such as newspapers to achieve these objectives.
“I, therefore, state without equivocation that these young Nigerians who have found their voices on social media are not the enemies of Nigeria. They are the hope of our nation.
“They are simply expressing the character of our DNA and the virtues that gave us independence- virtues such as the audacity to assemble as communities, including online communities, and to voice their opposition to corruption and oppression.
“I assure you that if social media had been invented in the days of our founding fathers, they would have deployed the tool in resisting colonial rule and fighting for our independence, just as they effectively deployed conventional media such as newspapers to achieve these objectives,” Pastor Bakare said.
“I made this point earlier in the year and I reiterate this position. Every medium, from radio to television, to Twitter and WhatsApp, can potentially be abused in amplifying our basest instincts, but this in no way implies that these outlets should be repressed or clamped down on.
“I would never align myself with the violation of freedoms, including the freedom of speech. Progressive governments the world over continue to grapple with how to maintain a fine balance between upholding freedom of speech and curtailing the spread of misinformation, which can have dire consequences.
“I note, for instance, the creation of the ‘EndSARS Fact Check’ handle on Twitter intended to checkmate the spread of fake news. A possible way to address this holistically- and I am open to other suggestions- is for the youth of Nigeria, with their track record of self-governance during the #EndSARS protests, to spearhead conversations in conjunction with local and international civil society organisations, with a view to adopting best practices elsewhere and innovating in the light of local realities, and ultimately working with such media platforms as Facebook and Twitter to flag dangerous content.
“This could minimise the concerns around government regulation or repression and places the power and responsibility squarely in the hands of the vast majority of end-users, the Nigerian youth.
“The existence of this ‘honour code,’ which I alluded to in January of this year, may effectively foreclose the need for bills that infringe on freedoms and thus understandably generate suspicion and concern,” he counselled.
Bakare further called on Nigerian youths to begin to channel their enormous energy into an organised movement for a New Nigeria, saying they should employ every resource at their disposal, and especially social media to achieve such dream.
The SNG convener recalled that he had six years ago, on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday, while articulating the Nigeria of his dreams, predicted then that the Nigerian dream “lives on in the hand-held devices of young Nigerians on social media who keep on the front burner of public consciousness those issues that affect the Nigerian people in the hope that one day a movement for positive change will be ignited.”
According to him, that day has come, urging all young leaders from across the length and breadth of the country to join hands with the progressive forces in order to build a New Nigeria where it is everyone’s destiny and birthright to breathe to life.
“Dear youth of our nation, I announce to you that that day has come. I, therefore, urge all our young leaders from across the length and breadth of our nation, North, South, East and West, to join hands with the progressive forces in our polity for a New Nigeria, the dream nation that it is your destiny and birthright to breathe to life,” he said.
“I described the possibilities in my last State of the Nation broadcast: A Nigeria where the right to life is sacred and no one is brutalised or extrajudicially murdered; where no one goes to bed hungry and no child is left without access to quality education; where our homes, schools, streets, villages, highways and cities are safe and secure, and Nigerians can work, play or travel with their minds at rest, and go to bed with their hearts at peace; a Nigeria where our hospitals are life-saving institutions and every Nigerian has access to quality healthcare; where no youth is unemployed and our young men and women are job creators; where businesses thrive on innovation and made-in-Nigeria goods can compete anywhere in the world; where homes and businesses have access to uninterrupted power supply, and ideas are facilitated by functional infrastructure and cutting-edge technology; where no part of our nation- North, South, East or West- has a reason to feel marginalised, and where every Nigerian is proud to say, ‘I am a Nigerian;’ a Nigeria that is a model for Africa and a beacon of hope to the world,” he recalled.
“I believe that now is the time to build this dream nation, and that one of the first steps towards this is the wholesale acknowledgement of every level of government that suffocating the spirit, creativity and liberty of Nigerian youth is both counterintuitive and counterproductive,” he admonished.
Nasarawa LG Election: NASIEC Earmarks N600m For The Conduct Of February 27 Council Poll.
The Nasarawa State Independent Electoral Commission ( NASEIC) said it has earmarked N600 million in the 2021 budget proposal for the conduct of the state Local government election slated for February 27th, 2021.
Barr. Ayuba Usman Wandai, the Chairman of the Commission made this known when the Commission appeared before the State House of Assembly Committee on NASIEC, Multilateral Cooperation and Community Development to defend its 2021 budget proposal.
Usman Wandai said that the commission is working hard towards ensuring the conduct of the local government poll in the state.
” We have proposed N600 million for the conduct of local government election which by God’s grace will hold on February 27th, 2021.
” We are still within the law to conduct the local government poll in the state.
” We have planned to train the 13 local government Chairmen and 147 councillors if elected during the election, ” he said.
Usman Wandai appreciated the committee for supporting the activities of the commission and called for its sustenance.
Earlier, Hon Mohammed Okpoku, the Chairman of the Committee assured the commission of the House support.
Okpoku urged the management of the commission to continue to be up and doing in taking the commission to the greater height in the state.
The chairman also assured the commission of continued support to succeed and to conduct the best LG poll so far in the country.
Meanwhile, the management of UNICEF led by Yakubu Mohammed, Nasarwwa State Coordinator of UNICEF Assisted Programme also defended the agency 2021 budget proposal as he assured that UNICEF would continue to intervene in health, water sanitation, basic education and child protection among others for the overall development of communities in the state.
The management of the Nasarawa state Community and Social Development Agency ( NSCDA) led by its General Manager, Ahmed Saidu Ey-Shaa, appeared before the committee to defend its 2021 budget proposal.
Saidu Ey-Shaa said that NSCDA is a world bank assisted projects aimed at reducing poverty and improving on the health and standard of living of the rural dwellers.
The general manager solicited for the support of the committee to enable it succeed in the tasks ahead of them.
Collapsed Central Pilot Science School Ugya: APC Councilor Aspirant, Ozimama Calls On Gov Sule For Urgent Intervention
By Yahaya Idris, Toto.
With recent sad development leading to total collapsed of an aged long Central Pilot Science School situated in Ugya community, Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State. The hopeful Councilorship aspirant in the area, Hon Umar Muhammed Ozimama has voice out to relevant stakeholders and Nasarawa State Governor, Alhaji Abdullahi A. Sule to urgently come to their aids by reviving the only school facility where children used for educational programs.
Ozimama in a message on Thursday, he made available to the Newsmen in Toto, the LG headquarters, said the call became necessary in view of importance attached to the facility urging the government to urgently come to their aids to fix it in the interest of their people.
Hon. Muhammed Umar Ozimama is aspiring to represent the good people of Ugya ward praised the government for addressing the ravage security challenge in Toto LG and expressed optimism that with the incumbent Governor it will soon be thing of the past.
Ozimama also appreciated the Rt. Hon. Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Alhaji Abdullahi Balarabe Ibrahim for his impact on the people of his constituent urging him not to relent.
Recall the collapsed school was founded in 1957 to provide educational program to pupils who travel a long distance accessing to acquired knowledge.
Hon. Ozimama used the medium to appealed to people of Toto LG and especially Ugya electoral ward to continue to gives all their support to His Excellency, Governor Abdullahi A. Sule and Speaker Balarabe in order to do more for the people of the area.
He assured the people of Ugya ward that if given him the chance to serve he will be their voice in the council where dividends of democracy will be his watch words. He said.
How My Father’s Killers Captured Hm In Toilet After Heavy Gunshots – Son Of Slain Nasarawa APC Chairman
My honeymoon of 35 years terminated, says widow.
With tears streaming down his cheeks, 20 years old Samuel Shekwo, son of the assassinated APC Chairman in Nasarawa State, could not fathom why unknown gunmen would cut short his joy by sending his father into early grave.
The late Philip Shekwo was abducted by some gunmen last Saturday at his Lafia residence opposite Peace House on Kurikyo Road, Bukan Sidi in Lafia before his lifeless body was found the next day a few metres away from his house.
Narrating his father’s ordeal in an interview with our correspondent, Samuel recalled that the late politician was captured by his killers in the toilet after searching extensively for him in the house.
He said: “On Saturday night, we were all at home. My father went to play golf and came back in around 8 pm, and I went to the parlour to greet him. He had just finished eating and was telling us how the game went when I went into my room and left him in the parlour with others as they were watching the news on television.
“A few minutes before 10 pm, one of my course mates at Nasarawa State University called me and we were discussing the whole strike issue. Then from nowhere, I started hearing gunshots all over the house.
“I dropped my phone without even ending the call and rushed out of my room. I went into my parents’ room first to see whether they were fine, and I saw my father coming out from his room. I started switching off the lights because I noticed that we were under attack, so that they (attackers) would not be able to see through the house.
“I went to the parlour and was looking at them from the window. They were shooting from outside the fence. Then one of them jumped the fence into the house and used the butt of his gun to heat the gate’s padlock. He then rolled the gate to the end and the rest members of the gang started trooping in.
“They surrounded the entire house and were shooting from different directions. While four of them were trying to gain entry into the house through the front door, another four were at the backdoor trying to gain access into the house.
“When my father rushed to the palour, I followed him. I told him, ‘Daddy, you are not supposed to be here. These people are looking for you,’ He now told me that he was looking for his phone, and his phone was just by the side stool where he used to sit in the parlour.
“I took the phone and gave it to him, and I escorted him back to his room. He started making calls to security agencies but nobody responded.
“I was also making contacts to see if help could come. I called a friend, Mr Dominic Bako’s son, who is actually a close friend to my father and I am friends with his son too. So, I called him and he told his father that we were under attack.
“When I called him the second time, I could hear his father making contacts, saying that the Chairman was under attack.
“My cousins who were staying with us were also terrified. I told them to go back to their room, lie down and stay calm. But they were worried, so I took them to my room and asked them to lie on the floor while I went back to see what was happening.
“Throughout this period, my father was in his bedroom. But when I noticed that the pressure was much, I thought that they were armed robbers. So I went back to my room and started picking certain valid items and documents to hide. I also took my car key and laptop and hid them.
“Later on when I started hearing their voice, I locked my door and lay down together with my cousin sisters and we were just praying. Later on, I heard two gunshots in the direction of my parents’ room. I thought they had gained access into my parents’ room and I started crying and praying.
“That was when I started hearing voices inside the house. I also noticed that one of them was opening the back door, and I started hearing more voices inside the house. I couldn’t come out at that time because I had locked my door already.
“They were searching round the house but they could not find my father, so they went out through the back door and were lamenting. They appeared frustrated that they could not find my father. That was when they got our security guard who normally sits at the back of the house before moving to the security post at the gate.
“When they got the security guard, they started beating him. We were hearing them from the room as they were asking him where is Oga. He told them that Oga had travelled but they said it is a lie, that Oga was around. They were actually beating him with their machetes because even from the sound, we could hear it.
“Later on, they asked what about the children. We heard he has a son. They were speaking in Hausa. From their ascent, you would know that they were Fulani, and they were not covering their faces.
“When they came to my room and noticed that it was luocked, they pushed the door and forced their way in. They saw us lying down together with my cousin sisters, because my blood sisters were not around.
“They now asked us to stand up. They asked the security guard, ‘Is this Oga’s son?’ He reluctantly nodded his head in the affirmative. Their leader now held me by my shirt and dragged me up. The other one now said since they couldn’t find my father, they should just go with me.
“They asked me to stand up and follow them; that my father must give them the money he was enjoying from the government. As they were about going out with me, one of them with a gun noticed that one of the rooms was locked, so their attention shifted to the place.
“They now detailed one of them to keep an eye on me and the security guard, that if I moved, he should shoot.
“They broke the door and entered but they did not see anybody. On their way out of the room, they decided to check the toilet and noticed that it was locked. That was when they forced their way into the toilet. There they saw him and my mum.
“Even when they had broken the toilet door, they still were not able to enter because my father was pushing from the back and they could not push their way in. Their leader now said since the door was not opening, they should shoot. One of them was about to shoot when my father released the toilet’s door and they got him.
“One thing that baffles me is that they did not manhandle him. They were not even sure if he was the one. They were calling him Moses. They assured us that they were not going to harm him; that it was just money they wanted. He was pleading with them, begging them. My mum too was begging and pleading with them, but they said there was no need begging, it was just money they wanted.
“They left with him and we were at home throughout that night, praying and hoping that they were going to call since they said it was money they wanted, only for us to get the sad news on Sunday afternoon that they had found his body.”
Samuel added: “Aside my mum, I think I was the closest person to my dad, so it is even affecting me more than my sisters. I’m not grieving today because my dad died; I am grieving because someone killed him.
“Already, he has prepared me for it. He told me so many things, though I feel with my age and everything, I’m not ready to take responsibilities. But I learnt courage and wisdom through my dad. I don’t need anybody to tell me about him.
“I know my dad so well. He used to tell me so many things. We travelled together most times and he took me to political activities because I actually told him I wanted to be a politician and he said he was going to support me in whatever I want to do. But he said I must make a difference if I want to be a politician.
“You must be a politician with a difference,’ those were his words to me. So I miss him more than anybody. But I learnt to stop crying because I know my dad is in heaven. He was a righteous man and someone that was close to God. I am praying to take over from him politically by God grace.”
A widow in agony
Seated in the parlour and surrounded by sympathisers at the residence of her late husband, Mrs Larai Shekwo gazed into the ceiling, murmuring some inaudible words as the reporter approached her.
Her eyes glistened wit imminent tears as she told the reporter that she spend 35 years in marriage with the late APC Chairman before his untimely death at the age of 62.
She said their marriage is blessed with five children, noting that her husband gave her a life that can best be describe as a fairly tale, and that she has no regrets whatsoever marrying him.
She said: “On that fateful night, around 10:30 pm, I left him in the parlour as he was watching the news and went into the bedroom to sleep. Shortly after, I started hearing gunshots. He ran and met me in the bedroom, saying armed robbers. But from the sound of the gun, I told him they were hired killers
“We started praying and he was making calls to the police for help. We went round the house and were running helter-skelter within the house, looking for where to hide for ourselves.
“They broke into our bedroom but they couldn’t find us. They later found us in the toilet and we were pleading with them. They went away with him. I wanted to go with him but they flung my hand.
“They were asking him whether he was Moses, and he said he was not Moses. They asked him are you the Chairman of the party, he said yes. So they went with him. We thought it was a normal kidnapping, so we were waiting for them to say what they needed.
“While they were going with him, they assured us that they were not going to harm him; that it was only money they wanted. We were thinking that by daybreak, we would hear from them. Unfortunately, we only found his dead body.
“I will miss him. I will not stop missing him till the end of the world.”
She said her husband’s untimely death is only a temporary separation as she hopes to see him again in the bosom of the Lord.
She said late Shekwo was a wonderful husband and father.
“He was my best friend. My marriage was a honeymoon cut short,” she added.
Source; The Nation
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