Wednesday

Band of thieves and purveyors of ineptitude.....

"BARBARIANS AT THE GATE"
CC™ Viewpoint 

It actually does not matter what aisle of the 'political' spectrum you belong to, this rudderless leadership has failed Nigerians, more-so even worse, since the inception of the 4th Republic in May, 1999.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held sway for fifteen mostly inglorious years (1999-2015) under the stewardship of the following:

a) Rtd. General Olusegun Obasanjo (1999-2007)

b) The late Umaru Musa Yar'Adua (2007-2010)

c) Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (2010-2015).

For at least 12 of those first 15 years of the 4th Republic, corruption, by and large, became the norm while the climate created by avaricious greed, further engendered a general state of lawlessness.

Kidnappings and killing orgies became commonplace and have continued unabated, till today.

While some may say that there was a certain degree of accountability, with the accompanying restoration of some semblance of sanity during Yar'Adua's brief reign, the truth remains that his vision of a better Nigeria was never going to see the light of day, given the scavengers and marauders he was surrounded by.

For this piece, we will absolve Umaru Yar'Adua of some of the PDP misrule when one considers that he was never in charge, as the cabal (whose stranglehold on the proverbial throat of Nigeria has never been in doubt) led by the one Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo et al essentially pulled his strings. When he (Yar'Adua) then dared to think for himself, he was murdered by the demonic powers behind the Nigerian throne of oppression.

Then came Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo again, as in his quest to maintain his inordinate hold and that of his fellow 'barbarians at the gate' on the destiny of Nigeria, he ensured that the next Nigerian leader would come from his "political family tree'. Thus, the dysfunctional reign of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, an absolute and utter misfit for any public office, was visited upon Nigerians.

It remains telling that only Goodluck Ebele Jonathan could have made an ethnic and religious bigot attractive to the same Nigerians that had rejected him (Muhammadu Buhari) a resounding three times (2003, 2007 and 2011) prior to his resounding victory in the 2015 general elections.

In case some have forgotten how we got here, this was the "scorecard" of the PDP misrule, particularly under Jonathan:

a) Coffers-to-personal account accountability (or lack-there-of) where public funds were used for personal gain including the extravagant wedding of GEJ's daughter http://www.myjoyonline.com/…/goodluck-jonathans-daughter-re….

b) An aviation industry (once led by Femi Fani-Kayode and then later by the certificate forging Stella Oduah) that was nothing short of a death trap. I should know as I lost a close relative, Deji Falae (Ondo State Commisioner for Culture and Tourism at the time) to one of those unfortunate but far-too-common air crashes under the PDP misrule.

c) Fabricated economic numbers embellished masterfully by sycophants in the Finance and Economic Ministries to obfuscate the fact that the average Nigerian could not afford the most basic amenities under the Jonathan misrule.

d) Religious over-reach where Jonathan consistently employed openly the advise and services of so-called Christian Pastors and even embarrassed the country by taking his whole cabinet to Israel to "pray". Can you imagine the outcry from the same hypocritical CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) and their egunje leadership if PMB had gone to Saudi Arabia with his whole cabinet to pray?

e) Under Jonathan, the bigotry and balkanization of Nigeria was effectively set in motion as Jonathan was essentially committed to the disintegration of Nigeria; and this was made even more apparent with the systematic decimation of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Jonathan, in an act of subterfuge against the Nigerian state, then employed foreign mercenaries (former South African soldiers under the apartheid racist regime) to fight Boko Haram at the end of his unfortunate misrule. 

f) Do Nigerians also forget that Jonathan attempted to scuttle the democratic process during this period of shame and disgrace to the Nigerian nation by postponing the elections?

g) The use of the DSS to terrorize, intimidate and kill (thousands of people disappeared without trace) Nigerians in the North, the SE and the SW (in particular) with Femi Fani-Kayode, Ayo Fayose and Musiliu Obanikoro leading the assault on political opponents in the SW with the firm support of the DSS, much like the days of Nazi Germany. 

h) Nigeria became a pariah state under Jonathan and effectively lost its voice both on the African continent and globally. Anyone who underestimates the forces that are against this current administration with its stated desire to sanitize the nation must be truly misinformed. The forces are both spiritual and physical and I will caution Nigerians that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.  

And the circus has continued under the rudderless and despotic rulership of Muhammadu Buhari, who has proven himself to be just as incompetent a leader as he was as a soldier. Sadly, the teeming masses of hardworking and highly industrious Nigerians remain saddled with an unbecoming band of brigands and marauders as so-called leaders.

Nigerians need to realize that they are merely pawns in the game of high stakes chess being played by a corrupt and morally bankrupt political class. The truth is they (the political class) even intermarry and are not bothered by ethnic or religious so-called differences, while at the same time fanning the embers of ethnic and religious warfare among the desperately poor who just would like to have a fair shake in life, for once. 

As the late Sunny Okosun said in his famous song from almost three decades ago, "Which way Nigeria. Which way to go?" The answer lies squarely in the hands of the Nigerian people and the sooner they realize how much power they have to make a change, the sooner that change will come.  

Heaven, as they say, helps those who help themselves. 

Tuesday

The Human Brain - A complex but detailed assembly

Editor's Corner

The human brain is probably the most complex but unique creation present in the anatomy of humans. It would be an understatement to refer to the brain as just an extraordinary creation as I would actually go out on a limb and call the brain the most extraordinary creation in the human anatomy. 


The human brain is home, one can say, to everything that makes us tick. In addition to the human mind as well as our various intricate personalities, the brain is the abode of human consciousness, passion, emotion and purpose.

This article marks the beginning of my attempt to find answers to some of the puzzling questions I have always had as to why people do some of the things they do and what the primary triggers for their action or inaction might be. One case that came to mind for me was that of the Vietnamese father in the news a couple of years ago, for killing his four young children. What could have motivated this man to take the life of his own children? The human brain is an organ that essentially is built to learn, hence was this man’s action as a result of some form of defective learning behavior? 


While nature may play a dominant role in our lives, does nurture (one’s environment and learned experiences) however have a more defining role in how we see, interpret and react to events or episodes in our lives? In asking all these questions and having read the details of this particular event, I started to wonder as to what part of his brain cell may have ‘misfired’ and why to lead him to ‘rationalize’ taking the lives of his own children.

In learning to become familiar with our brain, we look to understand not only how its various parts work, but more importantly how we nourish, protect and develop it. I would propose that the human brain in its most basic as well as most complex element is constantly changing and evolving with each experience we encounter. Did the Vietnamese father above therefore ‘readjust’ his notion of what was rational as a result of certain negative experiences in his life or was his action merely a projection of his own self-worth due to a defective processing of information by his brain. 


Was there a critical disconnect between the two hemispheres thus resulting in this defective ‘rationalization’ or was his behavior more as a result of systematic desensitization to what’s wrong as a result of observational learning (modeling) of deviant but admired behavior within the larger American society?

In a society where serial killers, rapists and murderers are ‘revered’ and gain notoriety even over their victims, does the nurture aspect of human brain development through information processing then cloud the Grey area between what is socially acceptable behavior and what is deviant or anti-social behavior? I would hazard a guess that in his native Vietnam, such behavior would lead possibly to immediate execution of the perpetrator or some form of punishment that aims to discourage such anti-social behavior. 


I would also presume that in his native Vietnam, serial killers, rapists and murderers would never be ‘revered’ like the Charles Mansons and Jeffrey Dahmers of the United States; people who actually had movies made about them as well as books written about them.

Therefore it seems as though the human brain, although home to everything from a nature perspective that makes us tick, is however subject to the varying complexities of an individual’s environment and how the same individual reacts or relates to varying stimuli within the said environment. So, while we may nourish our brain by eating the right kinds of foods, getting the right amount of sleep, while also engaging in physiological exercises aimed at maintaining the brain structure at optimum capacity and productivity, the environment might be perhaps the most critical deciding factor as to whether or not information is processed constructively or defectively. 


I would suggest that this might however be open to debate as there are several instances where we can probably show that although the influence of the environment might be a very strong one, how an individual actually processes information on a consistent basis as well as having the right chemical balance within the brain structure may be more of a deciding factor as to the ultimate state of our minds.

Thus, the question arises again. How well do we really know our brain? But more importantly, how do we do our part in ensuring that this most delicate and intricate part of the human ‘anatomy’ remains an asset to the human mind and ambition. The search for answers continues and we are all a part of the process.


© 2021 2CG MEDIA. Coker Confidential™

Monday

Perceptual Organization - Making sense while thinking

Editor's Corner

In a recent article, I had stressed the fact that the human brain, in addition to being the most extraordinary creation of the human anatomy was also the epicenter of thought, conviction, emotions, consciousness and purpose. In this particular article, the subject/topic of perceptual organization will be the focus of my discussion.

It therefore seemed appropriate to start this discussion with a reference once again to the human brain, as perceptual organization would ‘naturally’ be a part or component of the intricate but detailed functionality of the human brain.

Knowing fully well that learning may play a significant role in perception, there is the school of thought that perceptual organization does reflect innate properties of the human brain. 

More recent work in perception seems to infer that studying perception is basically studying the human brain. In particular, there seems to be more and more, an alignment of such school of thought with physiological observations of the human brain.

What is Perceptual Organization and even more importantly, how does one organize raw sensory stimuli into meaningful experiences that would ultimately make sense (at least to a recipient of the experience generated by the said stimuli)?

Furthermore, in the process of making sense of the ‘sensation’, is the thinking process an evolving one and subject to an individual’s perceptual organization of his or her experiences? Also, what set of mental activities are involved in this organizational process and how ’influential’ are they in the process? Perception involves organization and grouping as well as distinguishing objects from their surroundings.

I do believe and will state that the organization of raw (sensory) stimuli into experiences that make sense and are meaningful to an individual or larger society would normally involve some cognitive functionality. This cognitive functionality would comprise processes such as thinking, knowing, remembering and in some cases, forgetting. This would seem to be a logical sequence as it makes for an organizational process that would ultimately seek to incorporate that which is favorable while through the forgetting process, eliminate that which the senses deem unfavorable.

Throughout this process, the importance of knowledge and experience will ultimately be established as knowing as a result of thinking generates a learned experiential state which whether favorable or unfavorable would ultimately help develop a perceptive frame of reference for the individual concerned. Now, I am not sure if I am making that much sense here, but I am simply stating what I think is in essence the obvious, based on my own perceptual organization.

In asking some of the questions I asked in the second paragraph of this article, I did not do that with the aim of necessarily answering the said questions. I did that in the hopes of asking even more questions by creating a forum for intellectual conversations as to what perceptual organization really is all about; without seeking to necessarily narrow down its definition. What seems to be rather clear however is the realization that knowledge and experience are probably the most critical components of the perceptive process since those two factors may in fact help us better make sense of the input to our sensory systems.

According to Gestalt laws of grouping, there is the school of thought that the whole differs from the sum of its parts (Ehrenstein, W. 1930). The Gestalt theorists for the most part in the 20th century sought to single out the brain processes that would ultimately be responsible for the organization of perception. They argued that while simple sensations essentially consisted of organized percepts, the percepts themselves could be said to be basic to experience. There are also various arguments out there that seek to identify whether or not these experiences are for the most part private (Ehrenstein, W. 1930).

As I had stated earlier, perception, in addition to involving organization and grouping, also involves the process of distinguishing an object from its surroundings (Ehrenstein, W. 1930). There is the notion that the moment we perceive an object, the surrounding area around the said object is then the background. Gestalt psychologists are the biggest proponents of this school of thought. That would seem to suggest a concept of separating the figure from the ground and according to the Gestalt school of thought, this process is replicated throughout the various experiences of the percepts themselves (Ehrenstein, W. 1930).

There is no question this is probably one of the most difficult (if not the most difficult concepts - perceptual organization) for me to chew on, but I am of the school of thought that a thorough understanding of the subject itself is an evolving one in as much as the knowledge and experience of the percepts themselves, as part of the complex make-up of the human brain.

References:
Ehrenstein, W. (1930). Figure-Ground Segregation. Current Psychology of Cognition, 117, 339-412.

Friday

Laura Ingraham: An epitome of hypocrisy and a walking contradiction of privileged ignorance

Fox News Host Laura Ingraham aptly 'salutes' her fans 
CC™ Editorial - By Deji Fashola (Contributing Editor)

One of the most consistent things in life is time. Time never fails to tell the story. The story of the day, the story of your life and the events that have shaped that very life; but even more importantly, time never fails to remind us of our past, with historical and poignant markers that speak to how our past actions ultimately determine where and who we are, or will become.

For Laura Ingraham, a talk show host of Fox News and someone whom I had never heard of until she name dropped basketball superstar, Lebron James, a couple of years ago by telling him to shut up and dribble, time has essentially encapsulated the very essence of her being, as it relates to her place in the evolving but contentious conversation about Americas contract with people of African descent, in particular.

I am not a consumer of American news as a matter of principle, be it CNN, Fox, MSNBC or any other alphabet news organization, but one thing I will say having had a glimpse of Fox news in particular, is that the latter (Fox news) is the most brazen attempt at instituting State-run TV in a country that is supposed to be the very epitome of democracy.

Time and time again, we are inundated with the Republican mantra that seemingly serves to eschew the tenets and principles of so-called conservative values. But, what exactly do these values entail. 

According to Laura Ingraham et al, conservative values seek to:

a) Preserve the sanctity of life pre-birth but seemingly abuse and devalue it after birth, especially if the life in question is of the wrong hue.

b) Promote avaricious greed that encourages limitless profit by a very limited few to the detriment of the overwhelming majority.

c) Encourage and promote governmental interference in the lives of others with the exception of those who profess a divine following of a God, whose commandments and ordinances they (the so-called conservatives) never abide by, but project and force on others who merely seek to live and let live.

d) Bully, vilify, slander, defame, abuse and in some cases, seek to intimidate with threats of violence those they disagree with, including defying constituted authority even though the latter's conduct and ordinances are within the framework of the laws and statutes of the land.

A perfect example of this vilification is the Republican messaging of referring to those who ask why the wealthiest nation on earth has more than half of its population without basic healthcare, as socialists.

These same conservatives (Republicans) have no problems though with the government giving away billions of dollars in corporate welfare to big corporations, deemed too big to fail. To them, the average American is too irrelevant and too small to succeed or be cared for, so long as Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Tom "call in the troops" Cotton, Josh "inordinate ambition" Hawley and the always opportunistic Rafael Ted Cruz line their pockets and those of their corporate benefactors.

e) Extol the virtues of democracy and civility when in the majority or win elections but then turn the same institution on its head, refusing to concede when you lose, and then seek to undermine and subvert the will of the people by judicial fiat. And when the latter fails, incite a violent insurrection against the duly elected leadership of the country, namely the Vice President and Congress, a co-equal branch of government, by a sitting President of the United States of America.

The four years of the Trump misrule of incompetence, laced with brazen nepotism, cronyism and racism, as well as unbridled corruption, was undoubtedly egged on by State TV (Fox News), with Sean Hannity (the former construction worker and high school dropout) and Laura Ingraham as the unofficial spokespersons of the Trump-led civilian junta. 

It remains to be seen if the resulting socio-political scars remain embedded in the mental and institutional psyche of the nation, for decades or even generations to come.

Wednesday

The art of managing people

Editor-in-Chief 

Organizations struggle everyday with the germane issue of what the effective management of people, an organization's most prized asset, actually entails. The effective management of people within an organization requires a thorough understanding of the following: 
  
  • Motivation - Whether intrinsic or extrinsic and the importance of positive triggers....
  • Job design and environment....
  • Company's rewards system and how it is structured and also possibly layered....
  • Group influence as a function of Group-think and other allegiances....
Motivation
Human beings are creatures of habit and by that, I mean it is natural to expect that individuals will have different triggers within their genetic and socio-cultural make-up, that ultimately control what their motivations are, where they originate from or worse still, whether or not they have any at all.
Of course, as a business owner or a leader, you would hope you haven't hired someone or lead a group of people on the bottom rung of the Motivation Trigger Index™ (MTI).
Usually, one finds that most people with intrinsic motivation tend to have a higher MTI. They are the high achievers and are usually not driven to succeed or excel necessarily as a result of positive external triggers, but do so because it is just in their make-up. It is however important to note that for these group, the Positive External Triggers (PETs) only serve to further elevate their MTI scores. As for those, whose Motivational Intelligence (MI) require external triggers, they tend to be either in the middle or the lower rung of the Motivation Trigger Index™. People in this category tend to require an appreciable amount of Positive External Triggers (PETs) and ironically, if they have quite a bit of this, they are bound to excel at their tasks, in some cases, even with distinction. However, unlike the first group, their MTI scores tend to vacillate between just above average to poor, as a function of the amount of PETs they are exposed to in their work and related environment.
Job Design and Environment
Over the years, scientific management has sought to strip workers of their initiative, thus ridding the work environment of key intangibles such as skill set diversity, autonomy and most important of all, feedback, constructive or otherwise.
A perfect example of empowering employees and creating an environment that engenders optimum productivity and creativity is to seek input from your employees, even when you, as a leader, know what the solution to a problem is. They may even suggest the solution you have in mind and you can give them credit for it.
Rewards System
The rewards system must be one that does not give rise to suspicion or insinuations of favoritism. While majority of organizations, big or small, insist on building a "team atmosphere", it is imperative that top performers, particularly those that most closely espouse the company's core principles within the framework of its corporate culture, are duly rewarded and recognized as such.
This process should however be carefully monitored and managed, so as to ensure that everyone (including the non-monetary contributors) feels a sense of belonging to the organization, through their own respective contributions.
It is a well-known fact that the successful execution of a company's business strategy must involve everyone on the ship.
Group Influence
This can either be a "good thing" or a "bad thing", but it depends on how you look at it. Now, while it can create a negative work environment due to its potentially divisive and mostly political nature, it is an unavoidable phenomenon.
Most organizations have learned to not only exist but also flourish with just the "right amount" of group-think, as it actually may engender a spirit of collaboration towards reaching the ultimate objectives of the organization.
The overriding attitude becomes one where the conclusion is that if the company wins, then everyone wins. 

© 2021 2CG MEDIA. Coker Confidential™

Tuesday

The 21st Century Marriage


From a recent study done in the United States of America, about 49% of all marriages end in divorce and you might think the odds of failure of marriages will be much less for couples heavily involved in the church but I am sorry to shock you, it is not quite so. Ministries today reports the divorce rate up 279% in the last 27 years! This, if anything, is frightening!

Taking a survey of all ministers in all denominations, 50% of their marriages will end in divorce. A recent ABC News broadcast also reported that the divorce rate in the "Bible Belt" is 50% higher than in other areas of the US. The Christian-Based Research Group reported in January 2000, that 21% of atheists and agnostics will or have experienced divorce while 29% denominational Christians and 34% of non-denominational Christians will or have experienced divorce. This is a rebuke to the church! Where are we getting it wrong?

Most marriages are predicated on faulty foundations and marriages with such foundation cannot last. People get into marriage for the wrong reasons for some it is the wealth that will be available at their disposal, others for reasons other than genuine love entrenched in God's approval.

I read a story about Tony Toto, of Allentown, PA. He operated a pizza parlor there. Tony Toto survived at least 5 attempts on his life, all arranged for or carried out by his dear wife, Frances & her lover. Twice she arranged for assailants to beat him over the head with baseball bats. On one occasion she put a tripwire across the basement stairs in their house, hoping that he would trip over it & plummet to his death.

She also arranged for him to be shot, at least on two occasions. The first time she drugged his chicken soup so he would sleep soundly; he was shot in the head, but miraculously survived. The 2nd time he was shot in the chest, but only sustained minor injuries.

Even more miraculous than Tony's survival was his attitude toward his wife once he found out she was responsible for all of this. Tony said that he held his wife blameless.

When she was found guilty and sent to prison for arranging for his murder, he took their 4 children and visited her every week - every single week. Then when she was released from prison, she went back to their red brick home to resume her married life with Tony.

With his arm around her, Tony said, "We're more in love now than ever before.Wow! What a man! This is one very rare case, but how many people can live up to this? I am sure a lot of people would have thrown out the woman at the first attempt or probably kill her in the process. What is happening to our homes and marriages today?

Is your marriage going through a strain? Are you so stressed and worked up and thinking of calling it quits? Divorce should not be an option, you can work this through. During my counseling sessions, I have asked couples 'what attracted them to each other in the first place and if that object of attraction is still present.'

Most marriages get into murky waters when there is a downward shift in the relational disposition of either or both partners. When the gifts stops coming, the communication becomes brief and formal and the romantic sparks becomes extinguished…you had better watch out, you are standing on a divorce time-bomb waiting to explode!

Let me share with you some secrets that I have shared with my audience. It is embedded in the four letter word L.O.V.E. I am not saying love by mouth but this is love from the very depth of your soul, it's a connection you must have with your spouse, if anything comes in between this connection then you are on a dangerous path. Let's look at this together:

L - Living for One Another: Living for one another is one of the strong keys to living together till 'death do you path.' It means your spouse becomes the reason for your living. When you live for another it means you are dead to self, it means you are broken. At this stage, it is not about your qualification nor is it about how much money you earn more than your spouse…the moment you begin to see yourself as the more important part of the relationship then you are digging the grave for your marriage. When you live for one another, then you will grow in each other.

O - Open Up to One Another: Secrecy is a silent and gradual terminator of the peace and joy within the home. Many homes have been destroyed as a result of secrets that were believed to have been kept but later came to the fore. Your spouse has the right to know everything; that is why you are married. You owe each other that obligation. Open to one another and you will enjoy the peace that passes all understanding. Many individuals have held back secrets from their spouses which later inflamed them and their marriage never was the same again.

Openness rides on the wings of a healthy communication within the marriage. Couples, if when together are at lose of what to discuss or say to each other are already exhibiting symptoms of 'communication wilt.' Communication must be fun, informal and sincere. Openness is the first defense against external infiltration into your marriage. Be open about everything. Genesis 2:25 says "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed." There is no shame in being open. These should include our finances, sex, relationships and every other area.

V- Value for One Another: Value means worth. When you value your spouse then he/she is worth more than all the valuables of the world put together. A man that values his wife will not treat her as a slave. Learn to appreciate your wife. Treat her as the queen that she is and let her feel that sense of worth. How do you treat your husband? Do you discuss her with your friends and by extension make him a laughing stock before them. Do you disrespect each other before extended family members? Value means you are sensitive to the needs of your spouse and that you hold each other in high esteem. Do you value your spouse?

E - Encourage One Another: Your spouse should be your first pastor. It is not every problem or misunderstanding you take to the church or your parents. Be the shoulder upon which your spouse can lean on. There is power when you agree on something together. Rather than place curses on each other, make positive declarations of a better life together.

There are women who bathe their husbands with curses and true to their word, the man will never make progress and you cannot expect to have peace in return in such situation, the devil will succeed in turning that home to a battle field. Encourage and pray for another.

The success of one should be the joy and success of another. Don't take your spouse to the threshing floor of the public, since when he/she is ridiculed you will also be humiliated in your home. Make Jesus your focus. 

Face that challenge together and see God come out strong on your behalf. Your family will be beauty to behold and a reference point in the comity of families.

God bless you mightily! 

Gbenga Owotoki, is the founder and Presiding Coordinator Hephzibah Network International Ministries; a Ministry committed to stirring up the 'sleeping giant' in people for end-time exploits. A US trained Business and Change Management Strategist. He is widely known as the 'Change Driver' for his simple but yet unique ways through which he initiates changes that are rejuvenating lives and organizations and helping to restore hope in individuals who had completely given up. A widely travelled international conference speaker and Convener of the annual Giant Conference and Life Summit that have been a blessing to many.

Saturday

CC™ Investigative: The Northern "usual suspects" behind Boko Haram as Nigerians search for answers to the violent insurgency

CC™ Investigative

When the late National Security Adviser, Rtd. General Andrew Owoye Azazi  blamed the rise of insurgence by the fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram in the country on the internal wranglings of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and other political parties (see video below), he naturally made many in the corridors of power uncomfortable, at the time.

Not surprisingly and rather mysteriously, he was "killed" when his helicopter exploded over the skies of Bayelsa State after having been let-go by then President Goodluck Jonathan.



The late General Azazi was obviously privy to information regarding the real details behind Boko Haram. His position as the National Security Adviser at the time, put him at the head of that information. If anyone were to be in the know regarding the real truth behind the upsurge in the Islamic sect's violent insurgence, it had to be someone like Azazi as the nations top security head.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan had on several occasions admitted that they knew who was behind Boko Haram, and these were top level officials, mostly of Northern extraction.


Gen. Azazi explicitly declared to his audience, who was behind the unrest. He narrowed it down to the result of ‘unconstitutional’ PDP convention regulations, which determined who could run for President vs who could not run.


He went on further:

"The extent of violence did not increase in Nigeria until there was a declaration by the current president that he was going to contest. PDP got it wrong from the beginning, from the on-set by saying Mr A can rule, Mr A cannot rule, Mr B can rule, Mr B cannot rule, according to PDP’s convention, rules and regulation and not according to the constitution {applause} and that created the climate for what has manifest itself, this way. I believe that there is some element of politicization. is it possible that somebody was thinking that only Mr. A could win, and if he did not win, there will be problems in this society. Let’s examine all these issues to see whether the level of violence in the North East just escalated because Boko Haram suddenly became better trained, better equipped and better funded, and in any case how did they get it all done…{warning of Boko Haram becoming snipers – who could potentially target elite}
But, then I must also be quick to point out that today, even if all the leaders that we know in Boko Haram are arrested, I don’t think the problem would end, because there are tentacles. I don’t think that people would be satisfied, because the situations that created the problems are not just about the religion, poverty or the desire to rule Nigeria. I think it’s a combination of everything. Except you address all those things comprehensively, it would not work."
Intelligence sources have informed CC™ that although former President Jonathan knew (and still knows) exactly who the sponsors of Boko Haram are, he lacked the courage and political will to bring them to task as the "usual suspects" were actually aligned with Jonathan on ensuring that he got re-elected in the 2015 elections as long as he (Jonathan) "played ball".

One name did however stand out of the three "usual suspects" CC™ was able to gather credible information about. It was that of then Minister of Defense, Rtd. General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau. 


Gusau was always an ambitious man and those who know him very well not only say he is very "loyal", but they also pointed to a rather glaring trail in his professional dossier - he (Gusau) had always been in the "thick of the action" in just about every administration in Nigeria, from Babangida (a serial coup plotter himself) to Jonathan.


However, one thing always stood out, more-so in the administration of Nigerian Christian leaders from the South, namely Obasanjo and Jonathan; there was always insecurity of a religious nature that he (Gusau) although placed in charge of managing, had seemingly always found a way to allow spiral out of control. 


Gusau's history with Boko Haram is a rather interesting one. According to  TheNationOnline, 01/01/2012, "hardline allies of Jonathan’s went further, suggesting that northern rivals within the PDP – such as Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Aliyu Mohammed Gusau – have covert ties to Boko Haram." Ironically, Jonathan however continued to have the ear and vice-versa of Ibrahim Babangida and Aliyu Gusau.


Earlier as the NSA under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Gusau had told Obasanjo that "there was no evidence of such a group as Boko Haram in 2006 although there had been evidence to the contrary as far back as 2005. 


Here is an excerpt:

PMNews, September 14, 2011: Sources, however, indicated that the Azazi’s predecessor as NSA cannot be absolved of blame. It was gathered that the the issue of al-Qaeda affiliated cells in the North-East part of the country was pointed out to former President Olusegun Obasanjo as far back as 2006. It was noted for instance that Boko Haram, termed the “Nigerian Taliban”, had been operating in the clear since 2005 when General Aliyu Gusau (rtd.) was NSA. The former president was said to have in turn asked Gusau to investigate the issue. But Gusau, according to reports, told Obasanjo that no such group existed in the country.It was gathered that the same issue of Taliban presence in Nigeria was raised with the late President Umaru Yar’Adua in July 2007. “Goodluck Jonathan became President of Nigeria upon the death of Umaru Yar’Adua in May 2010. Former NSA Aliyu Mohammed Gusau was once again made National Security Adviser. Gusau could not possibly have missed the threat of Boko Haram. If his security operatives failed to raise the matter in their reports then the public statements released by Boko Haram and printed verbatim in Nigeria’s national newspapers should have raised questions from the NSA, if not alarm,” said Steven Davis, a public commentator. “The handling of the Boko Haram matter while Gusau was NSA resulted in a dramatic escalation in the conflict to the stage that it threatened the nation’s security,” he added.
Many media articles accused Aliyu Mohammed Gusau et al of being the terror mastermind(s) behind Boko Haram. 

An arms cache at the time in Kano with Hezbollah agents was linked to him and according to sources, he was under investigation with the result once again swept under the rug. 


It was under Gusau as NSA that Boko Haram acquired all their weapons and reigned terror. Gusau did nothing to check these terrorists. He even, according to Steven Davis as reported in PM News on Sept. 14, 2011, protected Boko Haram by telling then President Obasanjo that the group did not exist. 


This, despite series of attacks by the group. Gusau did not make any security report on the group, then called “Nigerian Taliban,” the paper alleges and Gusau even ordered the release of captured terrorists on the request of some Northern leaders, namely the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa'ad Abubakar III, a former security detail of former dictator, Rtd. General Ibrahim Babangida. 


This is not surprising as Sultan Abubakar is on record as having condemned the crackdown on Boko Haram.


In his capacity as NSA (three times to be precise) in Nigeria’s history, Gusau failed woefully and invariably assisted Boko Haram in becoming the menace they now are, with hundreds of thousands of deaths to their credit to date.
It remains puzzling that Jonathan appointed a man who actually retired as NSA to contest for the Nigerian Presidency against him (Jonathan), as Defense Minister when everything pointed to the fact that Gusau, in addition to being grossly inept (as his record had shown), had a history of being "soft" in his response to Islamic militant insurgencies in the past and was therefore not the logical answer to ensuring the outright defeat of Boko Haram.
Gusau and his Northern mischief makers, who are nothing short of avaricious predators, are now witnessing the proverbial chicken coming home to roost, with the recent trend of events.
The fact remains that Northern feudalism and its staunch protagonists remain the secret hands behind Boko Haram, the Fulani Herdsmen terrorists and all Islamic fundamentalist movements. President Buhari, the Sultan of Sokoto and Nasir El-Rufai, just to name a few, are the incumbent facilitators of these violent and murderous terrorists.
Asking the thief to watch the house is essentially what Nigerians are doing, by expecting this current administration to safeguard the lives and property of Nigerians.

Friday

The toxic legacy of the Confederacy and why the monuments remain a painful vestige of its sordid past

Caroline Randall Williams
By Caroline Randall Williams

I have rape-colored skin. My light-brown-blackness is a living testament to the rules, the practices, the causes of the Old South. 

If there are those who want to remember the legacy of the Confederacy, if they want monuments, well, then, my body is a monument. My skin is a monument. 

Dead Confederates are honored all over this country — with cartoonish private statues, solemn public monuments and even in the names of United States Army bases. It fortifies and heartens me to witness the protests against this practice and the growing clamor from serious, nonpartisan public servants to redress it. 

But there are still those — like President Trump and the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell — who cannot understand the difference between rewriting and reframing the past. I say it is not a matter of “airbrushing” history, but of adding a new perspective. 

I am a black, Southern woman, and of my immediate white male ancestors, all of them were rapists. My very existence is a relic of slavery and Jim Crow. 

According to the rule of hypodescent (the social and legal practice of assigning a genetically mixed-race person to the race with less social power) I am the daughter of two black people, the granddaughter of four black people, the great-granddaughter of eight black people. Go back one more generation and it gets less straightforward, and more sinister. As far as family history has always told, and as modern DNA testing has allowed me to confirm, I am the descendant of black women who were domestic servants and white men who raped their help. 

It is an extraordinary truth of my life that I am biologically more than half white, and yet I have no white people in my genealogy in living memory. No. Voluntary. Whiteness. I am more than half white, and none of it was consensual. White Southern men — my ancestors — took what they wanted from women they did not love, over whom they had extraordinary power, and then failed to claim their children. 

What is a monument but a standing memory? An artifact to make tangible the truth of the past. My body and blood are a tangible truth of the South and its past. The black people I come from were owned by the white people I come from. The white people I come from fought and died for their Lost Cause. And I ask you now, who dares to tell me to celebrate them? Who dares to ask me to accept their mounted pedestals? 

You cannot dismiss me as someone who doesn’t understand. You cannot say it wasn’t my family members who fought and died. My blackness does not put me on the other side of anything. It puts me squarely at the heart of the debate. I don’t just come from the South. I come from Confederates. I’ve got rebel-gray blue blood coursing my veins. My great-grandfather Will was raised with the knowledge that Edmund Pettus was his father. Pettus, the storied Confederate general, the grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, the man for whom Selma’s Bloody Sunday Bridge is named. So I am not an outsider who makes these demands. I am a great-great-granddaughter. 

And here I’m called to say that there is much about the South that is precious to me. I do my best teaching and writing here. There is, however, a peculiar model of Southern pride that must now, at long last, be reckoned with. 

This is not an ignorant pride but a defiant one. It is a pride that says, “Our history is rich, our causes are justified, our ancestors lie beyond reproach.” It is a pining for greatness, if you will, a wish again for a certain kind of American memory. A monument-worthy memory. 

But here’s the thing: Our ancestors don’t deserve your unconditional pride. Yes, I am proud of every one of my black ancestors who survived slavery. They earned that pride, by any decent person’s reckoning. But I am not proud of the white ancestors whom I know, by virtue of my very existence, to be bad actors. 

Among the apologists for the Southern cause and for its monuments, there are those who dismiss the hardships of the past. They imagine a world of benevolent masters, and speak with misty eyes of gentility and honor and the land. They deny plantation rape, or explain it away, or question the degree of frequency with which it occurred. 

To those people it is my privilege to say, I am proof. I am proof that whatever else the South might have been, or might believe itself to be, it was and is a space whose prosperity and sense of romance and nostalgia were built upon the grievous exploitation of black life. 

The dream version of the Old South never existed. Any manufactured monument to that time in that place tells half a truth at best. The ideas and ideals it purports to honor are not real. To those who have embraced these delusions: Now is the time to re-examine your position. 

Either you have been blind to a truth that my body’s story forces you to see, or you really do mean to honor the oppressors at the expense of the oppressed, and you must at last acknowledge your emotional investment in a legacy of hate. 

Either way, I say the monuments of stone and metal, the monuments of cloth and wood, all the man-made monuments, must come down. I defy any sentimental Southerner to defend our ancestors to me. I am quite literally made of the reasons to strip them of their laurels. 

Caroline Randall Williams(@caroranwill) is the author of “Lucy Negro, Redux” and “Soul Food Love,” and a writer in residence at Vanderbilt University. Ms. Williams' oped piece was originally published in the New York Times

Thursday

FLASHBACK: This is MAGA America - The White Privilege to terrorize

Armed White Michigan protesters of COVID-19 lockdown
CC™ Introspective - By John Pavlovitz 

As a white man watching the Michigan protests of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders, all I could think was: Black people don’t get to do this. Muslims don’t get to do this. Latinos don’t get to do this. People who look different in any way don’t get to do this. 

They don’t get to swarm American capitol buildings in tactical gear with high-powered weapons, screaming in close proximity to police officers. 

They don’t get to dress up like Call of Duty cosplayers and attempt to physically intimidate politicians into bending to their wills. They don’t get to get to stop traffic in city streets decked out like they work at the Death Star and brazenly wield semi-automatic rifles. They don’t get to terrorize decent people and walk away. 

Only white people get to do this. This violence is a singular privilege afforded to caucasian men in America. 

People of color aren’t afforded this luxury. They can’t even get close to such ugliness. Heck, they barely get to breathe. 

No, they’re shot as 12-year olds walking through the park with toy guns. They’re choked out selling cigarettes on street corners. They’re assassinated while unarmed in their cars during routine traffic stops. They’re gunned down in their homes by uninvited police officers. They’re driven into the pavement by overzealous security guards. They’re demonized as mothers declaring that their murdered children’s lives mattered. They’re publicly vilified by white presidents for silently kneeling on NFL sidelines. 

Black people don’t get to to wear menacing masks or flash handguns on courthouse steps or accost strangers looking like dollar store stormtroopers, in an attempt to frighten people. They frighten people by simply existing in their blackness. 

They frighten people by lingering in coffee shops. They frighten people by eating lunch in their cars. They frighten people by standing in front of their own homes. 

In those places where they are simply and lawfully living, they are met with disapproving side-eye glances, greeted with clutched purses, and assailed by an army of terrified Karens, whose itchy text trigger fingers easily dial 911 when non-white young people congregate in a park or crowd their favorite Chick-Fil-A dining room. 

This privilege has always existed, but it’s been decades since it’s been afforded this wide a birth, this long a leash, and such kid gloves from leaders. The threatening displays of white rage around the country lately, are happening with such frequency and ferocity, because participants know that they have in this president, a dedicated advocate, a willing partner, a powerful accomplice. 

It’s no coincidence that in the middle of the fight to oppose stay-at-home protections by Blue governors choosing humanity over commerce, Trump tweeted out seeming non sequitur invocations to LIBERATE several cities and warned of second amendment encroachment. Though on their surface the subjects seemed unrelated to stopping the spread of the virus, these tweets were clear dog whistles for his snarling white base to suit up, strap on weapons, and provide the free muscle in his reckless push to reopen American in the throes of a pandemic, knowing they’d never be held accountable. 

This is MAGA America in its dawning renaissance of outward racism, showing us what is at stake as we approach another election. We aren’t just choosing a president or party to steward us through the coming years, we’re making a statement on what we will and will not tolerate as a people. 

What we witnessed in Michigan was an act of terrorism, by the very definition of the word. We have seen many such acts this week, and if November allows this malevolence another four years, they will seem tame. The self-appointed soldiers in the army of the lord will grow more brazen and become more violent in their holy war to make America whiter—so decent white people need to resist them in the streets, on social media, and at the polls. 

I fully suspect people of color will oppose this presidency in large numbers, because they see the disparity. 

What I hope and pray, is that more white people, especially those who claim to be Christian, will also stand to reject the supremacy and racism that yields such willful homegrown terrorism; that we will use the unearned currency of our privilege to declare this violence un-American and inhuman and unacceptable. 

White terrorists can no longer have a friend in the White House — not if we really want to make America great. 

Source/Credits: Jеff Kоwаlsky and Senator Dаynа Pоlеhаnki; Milwaukee Independent and johnpaplovitz.com

Tuesday

The saga of transactional sex on the campus of Nigerian universities

CC™ Editorial By Oludayo Tade 

Transactional sex among female undergraduates in Nigeria is a social reality. The practice has been reported on regularly in the mainstream media and explored in various research papers

This cross generational relationship is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, and across the world where sponsors are commonly known as “sugar daddies”.

In our study on transactional sex in Nigerian universities, my colleague and I looked at the symbiotic relationship between some female Nigerian undergraduate students and aristos – wealthy, married or unmarried men. The students have transactional sex with the aristos in exchange for financial, social or educational support.

Because a great deal of these relationships happen undercover, there are no solid figures on the number of women involved in them. But there are many reasons that these relationships happen. It’s a practice that’s driven by economic hardship, a desire to network socially, and peer influence.
To understand more about these relationships we conducted 30 interviews with female undergraduates – commonly known as “runs-girls”.
We found that the students engage in transactional sex for pleasure and money. Typically, wealthy students would be with an aristo for pleasure, while those who needed financial support did it for the money. Most of the women we spoke to viewed it as a critical survival life investment strategy and rejected the “prostitution” label.
Although these relationships could offer the students economic, emotional, and political support, their effects can also be negative. The students expose themselves to sexually transmitted infections, physical violence and academic setbacks, because the relationships can distract from their studies.
Those with sexually transmitted infections risk spreading these to their boyfriends, while also suffering economic losses seeking treatment.

Finding clients

Aristos are usually wealthy postgraduate students, lecturers, politicians, business people and military personnel. They are people with wealth and authority.
The students looked for these clients on and off campus, using connections and referrals. They then familiarized themselves with the potential client’s routine, aiming to eventually manufacture an encounter.
There’s usually a generational gap between the “runs-girls” and the aristos. The students often refer to their clients as “uncle”, “daddy” and, more recently, “aristo”. All of these bring connotations of the person’s expected role: to take care of the student.
If the students don’t have much financial support from their families, these relationships provide them with that security. Some started as a one-off “date”, for which they got a sum of money. But longer-term relationships also developed in some instances.
In return for sex, the women were given luxury possessions, like cars and mobile phones; investments for businesses they might start; or work placements when they finish their studies.
As one female student said:
The type of connection I have with politicians, lecturers, and military men cannot be purchased with money. At times, when I have problem, all I do is to make a call, depending on the nature of challenges…
In Nigeria, about 23% of young people are unemployed. These connections, with people of influence, may be a ticket to employment. As one “runs-girl” revealed:
One of my clients who happened to be a commissioner connected my senior sister to get a job at immigration even without any much stress…
Transactional sex isn’t limited to financially strapped students. We spoke to rich female students who engaged in it for sexual fulfillment. One 24 year old student said:
I am from a rich home, my father is even a Major (in the army), and my mother a nurse, but I’m involved in campus runs because of sexual satisfaction, although nothing goes for nothing, because sex is for enjoyment. I have a guy that I help financially, and on the long run he pays me back with sex.

Challenges

In this research we identified a few challenges.
Some “runs-girls” accepted offers of unprotected sex for better pay. This put them at risk of catching sexually transmitted infections and, consequently, the cost of treatment. As one student said:
I am always scared of having naked (unprotected) sex. Most times I use (a) condom because one can never know a man that has HIV/AIDS. Although sometimes some men always want naked sex and in that case, they will have to pay triple than what is earlier bargained. Part of the money realized as a runs-girl are used in revitalizing the body, in which I go to the hospital once in a month to examine myself.
Other risks are that the women could be physically harmed. This is particularly true if the clients choose not to pay an agreed amount.
Their education could also suffer as they may choose to engage in “runs” rather than go to class.

Action needed

Getting the government or even universities to take action will prove difficult because our evidence suggests that policy makers, politicians and the business class are involved, as aristos.
Nevertheless, given the risks associated, something ought to be done.
One possible solution might be to establish part-time jobs for vulnerable students, and to institute courses about running businesses so that young women can earn money independently.
In addition, institutions should put together and roll out communications campaigns that teach young people about the implications of transactional sex.