Nigeria: The prophetic consequences of dining with the devil.....

President Buhari (L) and the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo (R)
CC™ Viewpoint - By Ike Amaechi

Shortly after overthrowing Muhammadu Buhari's military junta on August 27, 1985, Ibrahim Babangida set up what he called the Nigerian Political Bureau. The 17-member panel inaugurated on January 13, 1986, with Samuel Cookey, a professor of political science, as chairman was charged with the responsibility of refocusing Nigeria's political trajectory by chiseling out a new socio-political order. 

With membership cutting across academia, business and labour - Abdullahi Augie, Bala Takaya, Dr. Edwin Madunagu, Prof. Oye Oyediran, Mrs. Hilda Adefarasin, Prof. Eme Awa, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Prof. Sam Oyovbaire, Dr. Ola Balogun, Haroun Adamu, Comrade Paschal Bafyau - the bureau reached out to prominent Nigerians. At the end, it received well over 27,000 memoranda on issues ranging from religion to ethnicity and ideology from ever-willing and rambunctious Nigerians. 

But Obafemi Awolowo was not sold on the project and refused to participate.

In his rejection letter addressed to Cookey, Awo was clairvoyant and made a damning proclamation. 

"I received your letter of February 28, 1986, and sincerely thank you for doing me the honour of inviting me to contribute to the national political debate.

The purpose of the debate is to clarify our thoughts in our search for a new social order.It is, therefore, proper that all those who have something to contribute should do so. I do fervently and will continue fervently to pray that I may be proved wrong. For something within me tells me, loud and clear, that we have embarked on a fruitless search. At the end of the day, when we imagine that the new order is here, we would be terribly disappointed.

"In other words, at the threshold of our new social order, we would see for ourselves that, as long as Nigerians remain what they are, nothing clean, principled, ethical, and idealistic can work with them. And Nigerians will remain what they are, unless the evils which now dominate their hearts, at all levels and in all sectors of our political, business and governmental activities, are exorcised.

"But I venture to assert that they will not be exorcised, and indeed they will be firmly entrenched, unless God Himself imbues a vast majority of us with a revolutionary change of attitude to life and politics or, unless the dialectic processes which have been at work for some twenty years now, perforce, make us perceive the abominable filth that abounds in our society, to the end that an inexorable abhorrence of it will be quickened in our hearts and impel us to make drastic changes for the better."

But in the event that Nigerians were not attuned to heeding the advice, there was, Awolowo said, an alternative option: "To succumb to permanent social instability and chaos." Nigerians obviously settled for the alternative option and 33 years after, we are still treading that self-destructive path. No matter how anyone cuts it, Nigeria is in trouble. The country under President Muhammadu Buhari's watch is gradually but inexorably succumbing to permanent social instability and chaos. When Nigerians elected Buhari president in 2015, they believed that they were enthroning a new order. Change was the slogan. Today, not a few are terribly disappointed. Truth be told, with Buhari, we embarked on a fruitless search.

Buhari has neither ruined himself nor about to. In fact, he doesn't care. I doubt if he gets it. But Nigeria is worse off for the shenanigans of his government. And the conduct of the last governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States reinforces the prevailing pessimism.

Under President Olusegun Obasanjo, elections were a do-or-die affair. As bad as that was, Buhari has taken the ugly trend to the next level, a notch higher, where it does not really matter whether you do or you don't, being a Nigerian willing to express a contrary political opinion makes you an enemy of the state with dire consequences. Which explains why the Kogi State PDP Woman Leader, Mrs. Salome Abuh, was burnt alive in her home just because of elections.

In broad daylight, hoodlums that were not masked arrived at Abuh's house, blocked every exit, knowing full well that she was inside, poured petrol on the building, set it ablaze, stepped back and fired gunshots continuously to scare people away from rescuing her. Terrified villagers who apparently knew the assassins could only watch the gory spectacle from afar, helplessly.

Meanwhile, the murderers were having a ball - smoking, drinking and chatting away - without a care in the world while their victim was wailing and begging for mercy. The blood-thirsty thugs waited patiently, mocking their victim. They had the license to kill. Like a child sent on a stealing voyage by his father, who loudly and without a care kicks the door open, they stood there supremely confident that their bestial act will go unpunished.

That is the level Nigeria is today. To date, nobody has been punished for this horrific crime. I dare say that nobody will be made to pay for the heinous crime. Lesser incidents will convulse any other country. Abuh's tragic fate reminds me of Mukaila Abdullahi, Kano State INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, who was burnt to death at his Kano GRA residence on April 4, 2015 together with his wife and two children.

Abdullahi presided over the presidential and National Assembly elections. He didn't live to superintend over the governorship and state Assembly elections. His remains were buried in his home state of Jigawa even before investigations started. To date, there has been no serious attempt to unravel the mystery. Why should there be when the police concluded without any investigation that the entire family "suffocated after inhaling black smoke emitting from the split air-conditioner hose that caught fire after an electrical fault." To date, Kano residents and Abdullahi's neighbours dispute that account.

The Kano State police commissioner who made the announcement, Ibrahim Idris, became the Inspector General of Police, IGP, shortly after. Under Buhari's watch, Nigeria seems to have succumbed to permanent social instability and chaos. The homes of Nigerians are routinely burnt down and innocent citizens murdered in cold blood for daring to assemble as was the case of Ifeanyi Ejiofor, lawyer to leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, this week.

The government cherry picks which court order to obey. The National Assembly has become a mere rubber stamp with lawmakers misconstruing patriotism to mean allegiance to the president rather than the Constitution of the country. Nigerians have been cowed into silence. A Hate Speech Bill that prescribes death penalty is hanging over the heads of naysayers like the axiomatic sword of Damocles. There is also the Social Media Bill. The ominous warnings are back. Mere protest is a treasonable felony that must be firmly and ruthlessly put down. Any act of dissent is a potential banana skin.

On Tuesday December 3, 2019, the Department of State Services, DSS, sounded an ominous warning, claiming to have uncovered plots by some undesirable groups to cause a breakdown of law and order in parts of the country by instigating protests, mass action and violence. "These predetermined actions have been designed to take place simultaneously in the major cities across the geopolitical zones in the coming weeks," DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, announced in righteous indignation.

"Considering the implications of these on public safety and national security, the Service wishes to warn the anti-democratic elements responsible for these heinous plots to desist forthwith from their inglorious acts. Consequently, parents are advised to rein in their wards and enjoin them not to allow themselves to be used to foment trouble. Similarly, heads of academic and public institutions are to warn their students and employees respectively from engaging in any untoward activity against public order. The Service and other sister agencies are at alert and will ensure that peace and security are maintained in all parts of the country before, during and after the festive periods." 

Recently, the world also watched as Nigerian soldiers shot at innocent #EndSARS protesters as the latter were demonstrating against the activities of the murderous Special Anti-Robbery Squad Unit, accused of murdering innocent Nigerians, mostly the youth, in cold blood. There are also reports from inside sources that the Buhari administration is in a clandestine alliance with Boko Haram as the Northern leaders, namely the Sultan of Sokoto (who is the standard bearer of Fulani Jihadism), Nasir El-Rufai, the tyrannical Fulani irredentist Governor of Kaduna State and the Aso Rock Northern-Muslim Cabal surrounding President Muhammadu Buhari, seek to hold that as a dark horse over the country, even beyond the 2023 elections. 

The gloves are off. Buhari claimed he was a born-again democrat. Nigerians believed him. But can the leopard actually change its spots? Hardly! Buhari is exactly who we thought he was and Awolowo was right. He saw this coming close to four decades ago.


3 Risk Management Functions for Secure Cloud Governance.....

CC™ Technocrat

The method of managing risks on cloud has witnessed a big shift as the pressure on governance model to track variants of risk has become high.

While risk formats have changed in the industry, business continuity is said to be affected with the ushering in of cloud model. The pressure on cloud service providers is increasing in terms of identifying and tracking new risks emerging out of this trend, which sometimes has an adverse impact on the business. 

Sethu Seetaraman, VP/Chief Risk Officer, Mphasis, says that risk management basics do not change with cloud. However, the way in which a control is implemented and monitored is what has changed. “As far as BCP/DR is concerned, the organisation owns BCP/DR in case of Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service. Service providers will own BCP/DR in case of Software as a Service. 

You must build or take these services from the cloud service provider based on the availability risk,” avers Seetharaman. 

Why 3 functions of Risk Management are Key to Governance.....

Just as with IT governance, risk management in cloud governance must fulfill three functions argue most CISOs.

Atul Pandey, The ICT Rainmaker: GRC, GSD, PMO & BPM, mentions the three functions: a) Assessing risk b) mitigating risk, and c) measuring the success of that assessment and mitigation.

Pandey says that this is not a static scenario. Risk shifts continually, and the cloud governance model must be able to track these shifts.

Stating facts established by Thomas J. Betcher in his report on a clear analysis of risk and cloud in Cloud Computing: Key IT-Related Risks and Mitigation Strategies for Consideration by IT Security Practitioners,’ Pandey puts forth the type of risks to be managed under the cloud model. 

They include:
  • Policy and Organisational risks: Lock-in, loss of governance, compliance challenges, loss of business reputation, cloud service termination or failure.
  • Technical Risks: Availability of service, resource exhaustion, intercepting data in transit, data transfer bottlenecks, distributed denial of service.
  • Legal Risk: Subpoena and e-discovery, changes of jurisdiction, data privacy, licensing.

According to Pandey, one particularly important observation in the Betcher report relates to risk and frequency. Many traditional IT governance models are designed around IT life-cycles of around three years. 

Within these cycles, IT audit leaves a detailed trail of version and upgrade information.

With the cloud, this changes. Not only does the cycle shrink massively (change can now be measured in hours and weeks rather than in years), the actual versioning of the technology behind the service can remain completely hidden from the consumer. 

As a result, cloud governance models must be able to assess risk from this entirely new perspective.

How Continuity is affected.....

Pandey believes that continuity in itself is solicited as the USP of cloud, at least in comparison with traditional infra.

Business continuity management (BCM) is the result of critical functions and processes assuring that a system performs its mission without incidence, and that the entity responds to all acts or events in a planned, consistent manner. 

Business continuity planning is rehearsed through scenario analysis which:
  • Targets new, evolving or projected risks affecting business operations.
  • Simulates and evaluates the effect of disruptions in information systems support and response time delays.
  • Provides the ground for experimenting on effective solutions to every type of BCM disruption entering into the scenario.
“The analysis to which reference is made is instrumental in elaborating BCM clauses in service level agreements (SLAs) with cloud computing providers,” says Pandey and adds, “Sound governance assures that business continuity studies are part of the evaluation process preceding any top management decision in adopting cloud computing; it also constitutes a factor in choosing a cloud provider.”

Reprinted/Republished with permission from:


Preventing future attacks like those of Boko Haram

Dr. David Leffler

Violence and conflict have plagued mankind throughout history, and the terrorist attacks by Boko Haram are just a current manifestation. 

How can Nigeria protect itself from future attacks? Ideally, the best way to guard against emerging terrorist threats would be to have no enemies. No enemies = no terrorism! 

An unfamiliar but effective human resource-based approach called Invincible Defense Technology would help the military of Nigeria to begin creating a lasting peace by preventing such enemies from arising, both internally and externally.

Invincible Defense Technology (IDT) is a scientifically validated solution to conflict and violence. There are over 50 published studies confirming its effectiveness. This recently revived method of preventive defense promises to end terrorism and conflict. Its adoption in Nigeria can set an example of peace-based defense for the rest of the world - something all military leaders would value.

Militaries have tried to quell violence and conflict through a dynamic approach, i.e., with weaponry and military personnel. But, interestingly, even with advanced weapons, they cannot eliminate problems like terrorism. New terrorist threats constantly emerge, and the number of terrorist cadres and cells continues to grow. 

Even with more fully equipped police and paramilitary forces, militaries cannot eradicate them. More alarming, defense experts predict that terrorists will soon start using portable, easily concealed weapons of mass destruction to launch their attacks around the world.

Imagine the dire ramifications for Nigeria if a dangerous terrorist group like Boko Haram could obtain such devastating weaponry.

So the question remains: Can war and terrorism be prevented with the military methods used in the past? Again and again, history shows that the answer is "no." War, conflict, violence and terrorism are human problems. Therefore, they require a human solution. 

Their underlying cause is accumulated stress in society's collective consciousness. If the collective consciousness is full of tension and fear, then disorder is more likely to erupt into some specific act of violence than if the prevailing mood is one of contentment. Social injustice and unfavorable economic conditions thrive in and contribute to chaotic environments. 

Unresolved religious, territorial, political, and cultural differences further add to the unrest.

Thus, a dissatisfied and frustrated population contributes to its own instability. The buildup of this sort of tension is dangerous to any nation's sovereignty, producing an unstable government that is prone to war. However, if the collective social stress driving these problems is prevented, negative manifestations would cease. Thus, zero collective stress ultimately means no war and no terrorism.

Invincible Defense Technology is rooted in the ancient Vedic knowledge of India, which describes the best approach to prevention as Heyam duhkham anagatam (Yoga-Sutra 2.16): "Avert the danger before it arises." Similarly, Yoga-Sutra 2.35 affirms Tat sannidhau vairatyagah: "In the vicinity of Yogic influence - unifying influence, integrating influence, coherent and harmonious influence - conflicting tendencies do not arise." These ancient principles were effectively applied in past, and they have already been successfully applied in today's world, with commendable results.

According to Vedic tradition, conflict results from ignorance - ignorance of how to prevent the buildup of collective stress through the harmonizing influence of coherence. For example, the Ramayana states that "...ignorance will have no access within eight miles from [the Yogi's hermitage]." The Ramayana describes the ancient city of Ayodhya, whose name means "Invincible." Certainly, Ayodhya relied on the conventional defense technologies of its time. 

For instance, "It was enclosed by strong fortifications and a deep moat, which no enemy, by any expedient whatsoever, could penetrate." Also, "Ayodhya abounded in warriors undefeated in battle, fearless and skilled in the use of arms, resembling lions guarding their mountain caves." However, the descriptions of the enlightened, stress-free life of the inhabitants of Ayodhya indicate that its first line of defense was the city's freedom from collective stress. According to the Ramayana, this low stress level, based on life in harmony with Natural Law, made Ayodhya worthy of its name.

In today's modern cities, however, social stress gets generated by countless violations of natural laws (i.e., crimes are committed every day). People's weakness results in an inability to find positive and life-supporting ways to fulfill their desires. Crime contributes to a growing cloud of negativity for a city and for a nation. When the stress from crime, frustration, unhappiness and lack of national fulfillment grows beyond a certain limit it spontaneously erupts into terrorism and war. 

Therefore, ignorance, or lack of understanding of how to act in accord Natural Law, is responsible for suffering in human affairs.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi revived the practical components of this silent approach for national defense. They are all-known around the world as the Transcendental Meditation® and TM-Sidhi® program. These programs are evidenced-based solutions, with a substantial amount of published, peer-reviewed research that has accumulated since 1970. 

Because they are human resource-based technologies, they are easy to implement and practice. It is important to note that they do not involve religious belief or practices. Members of many faiths worldwide have practiced these meditation techniques. Extensive scientific research documents the ability of the TM and TM-Sidhi program to dissolve stress on the individual and collective levels.

Could the ideal of Ayodhya's preventive defense again be accomplished by militaries today?

Yes! It is already starting to happen now. Military-related leaders in the USA, Latin America, and Africa, are applying TM because peer-reviewed scientific papers have confirmed that regular practice produces many other wide-ranging, measurable benefits. 

These include increased intelligence, creativity; reduced stress and improved health; and more fulfilling and harmonious interpersonal relationships. Most importantly to warriors, TM increases resilience, mental clarity and physical strength as well enhancing mind-body coordination (See Defense and Security Alert, Vol. 4, Issue No. 8, pages 34-39). Also, from a practical standpoint, the TM program is easy to do and has no religious philosophy attached.

For nearly sixty years it has been taught to millions of people (including schoolchildren and their teachers) around the world from every race, cultural background, religion, ethnicity and educational background.

Are soldiers willing participants in such an unusual endeavor? Again, yes! A study was conducted by Ecuadorian army psychologists to assess the value of the IDT preventive defense program after its soldiers had been practicing it for one month. The results? Over 96% of the soldiers thought it was a very practical activity. Why are these warriors convinced? As the study showed, 92% felt their performance in activity had improved and they were better able to deal with stress; 96% declared their relationships with others had improved; and 95% said their practice of IDT was completely satisfying.

The operative part of IDT requires having a Prevention Wing of the military. This wing is comprised of a small portion of the armed forces of a country. The rest of the military carries on with their usual duties. The Prevention Wing of the military creates societal coherence by practicing the TM and TM-Sidhi program in large groups morning and evening. Their collective practice produces positive benefits for both themselves and their adversaries. Peaceful overtures increase from all sides.

Similar coherence-creating groups have been deployed in many war zones and conflict-prone areas with great success. Extensive scientific research indicates that when the square root of 1% of the population practices the advanced TM-Sidhi program in a group, a "field effect" is created. Scientists call this field effect the "Maharishi Effect." Many carefully controlled studies have documented and validated positive social trends such as reduced conflict and lowered crime rate resulting from the Maharishi Effect. These studies have been scrutinized and published in respected peer-reviewed journals such as Social Indicators Research, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Mind and Behavior and Journal of Crime and Justice.

This coherence-creating effect has also been documented on a global scale in a study published in the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation. When large assemblies of practitioners of the TM-Sidhi program exceeded the Maharishi Effect threshold for the world (about 7,000 at that time) during the years 1983–1985, international conflict decreased 32%, terrorist casualties decreased 72%, and violence was reduced in other nations without intrusion by other governments.

IDT is a force multiplier because it creates coherence for the entire military and the whole country, thus making everyone's jobs easier. While the majority of the military continues with the dynamic approach (weaponry, equipment, training), the minority implements the silent approach of Invincible Defense Technology. Defense of the nation is perfect, thus invincible, when both these approaches are combined.

The military of Nigeria cannot solve the problem of terrorism by standard military means alone. It also needs a silent approach that will help people focus more on peaceful means of settling differences. Nigeria needs to deploy Prevention Wings of the Military immediately to prevent terrorism, and achieve true invincibility and permanent peace. The authors urge Nigerian leaders to immediately adopt this evidence-based approach.

Major General (Ret.) Kulwant Singh, U.Y.S.M., Ph.D., leads an international group of generals and defense experts that advocates Invincible Defense Technology. He was awarded the Uttam Yudh Sewa Medal, the second highest decoration for senior officers during operations in Sri Lanka as part of IPKF (Indian Peace Keeping Force).

David Leffler, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Center for Advanced Military Science (CAMS). He served as an Associate of the Proteus Management Group at the Center for Strategic Leadership, US Army War College. Dr. Leffler is the author of "A New Role for the Military: Preventing Enemies from Arising - Reviving an Ancient Approach to Peace." 


The Psychology of Power: A Nigerian Experiment

CC™ ViewPoint

Power is "the ability to satisfy one's wants through the control of preferences and/or opportunities" [Kuhn, 1963] In writing this particular piece, I intend to delve into the issue of the power of psychology as it relates to the psychology of power. I have always been one to believe that you must claim in other to possess and once you possess, you must establish your position in the scheme of things, through personal conviction and resolve…that can only be sustained by an irrefutable air of palpability, requisite for the maintenance of that ‘power’ you now possess. But now the game has just begun. 

Why? Simple, your claim on power must remain forever productive, workable, adaptable, attractive and progressive that inevitably, it begins to shape decisively your ‘domestic’ and ‘foreign’ sphere of operation; and just what do you intend to accomplish by this? Shape your immediate and larger environment of course! As a student of philosophy and psychology, I have always been fascinated by the affinity of westerners for political expediency over morality.

 Yes, the end as they say does justify the means. How exactly do you get what you want in the midst of so many competing and sometimes conflicting ideas, philosophies, principles, ideologies and interests. Simple, or is it! The intricacies and complexities of human behavior and nature require more than anything else, the utmost in psychological and emotional aptitude/intelligence when dealing with foe and friend alike. I have always been one to take the approach of figuring out who my friend or foe is so as to better lay out a plan of 'attack' or 'defense' as the case may be. Actually, I believe it is also prudent and advisable to have a 'neutral' strategy as part of one's modus operandi. This then brings us to the issue of The Psychology of Power. What exactly is it and how does it manifest itself. Also, another rather logical question to ask would be how does it manifest itself in a particular setting? Be it politics, relationships or daily life. 

I intend to stick with how this phenomenon manifests itself in the ‘political sphere’. Why? Because everything is politics and politics is everything! The ‘Nigerian laboratory’ would seem to serve as a viable medium for such an ‘experiment.’ In doing this, I will stick primarily to the three main nationalities, HausaFulani, Igbo and Yoruba that for all intents and purposes have dominated the Nigerian political landscape (albeit to varying degrees) for close to a hundred years! For close to 50 of Nigeria’s 61 years of independence, the Hausa-Fulani (through their leadership apparatus) have ruled Nigeria (note that I said ruled and not led).

Why where they able to do this? Simple. They incorporated another formidable Nigerian sectional interest (the middle-belt, comprising the Tiv and others) into their fold, as they, and not the Hausa-Fulani possessed (at least at the time) the skilled military personnel (mostly combatant) requisite for the control of their immediate and larger environment. Thus the theory of the ‘monolithic north’ was sold to the rest of the country (the south) and rehashed (rather successfully) along with the much-vaunted ‘indivisibility of Nigeria’, to the Yoruba towards a ‘successful’ prosecution of the bloody civil war. The truth is, the north (the Hausa-Fulani in particular) saw the defeat of Biafra as the defeat of the whole south. That, however was where they were wrong! That, without question has been the bane of the Hausa-Fulani political set-up till today. The north mistook power gained through military conquest for real power. 

They also failed to take into cognizance the political wizardry of Chief Obafemi Awolowo in not getting the Yoruba dragged into a war they were not ready for…thereby positioning the Yoruba to be in a unique position politically once the war was over. Chief Awolowo knew from the onset that the decks were stacked against the south in the event of a military conflict. He had worked so hard and was continuing to work tirelessly to position the Yoruba through education, commerce, technology and industry, the true hallmarks of power…real power that is! He was therefore not going to let the inordinate and misguided ambition of a neophyte like Ojukwu, lead to the destruction of everything he had worked so hard to build. 

One could therefore say that the late Yoruba sage and tactician chose political expediency over 'morality' when it came to the survival of his people (since most Igbo claim till today he left them high and dry by not going along with the east at the time). The north also underestimated the will and resilience of the Igbo people. It is amazing, even till today how quickly the Ndigbo recovered from a devastation of such magnitude, as was the Nigerian civil war. They (the Igbo) however had no choice. It was either grow from the ashes or die! And grow from the ashes they did!

 The recovery of the Igbo (no doubt due to their ingenuity and adaptive nature) was more than facilitated and enabled on the one hand by the infrastructure and institutions Chief Awolowo had built in the old western region (talk about an irony of all ironies), and on the other by the hospitable nature of the Yoruba towards their brethren from the east; as the north for the most part still harbored intense hostility towards them for the events leading up to and during the civil war. Politically however, the Igbo were in a state of flux and have been ever since. With the end of the civil war, the stage was now set for the power play to begin. 

The north, either as a result of a lack of political sophistication or plain lack of foresight, rather than seize the opportunity presented by their 'ascension to power', instead bungled the opportunity. An opportunity that will never come their way again…at least not the way they had it for 50 years! Not only did they not influence their larger environment, their claim on power (the military and a moribund aristocracy) was unattractive, unworkable, utterly unproductive and so regressive that it was unable to influence its own immediate environment…hence the abject poverty in the north and the resultant relative backwardness in comparison to the south. To make matters worse, their descent into the abyss of religious bigotry might yet prove to be the final nail in the coffin regarding the political and economic future of the north. 

On the other hand, while the northern power structure persisted with its defective plundercracy (in cahoots with quite a few individuals of questionable character and integrity in the south, the southwest in particular, of course), the sense of adventure that had always been part of the southern psyche, continued to manifest itself by way of greater accomplishments in the fields of education, the arts, sciences, business and industry. The reasoning (and quite a proven one at that) being as Sir Francis Bacon once said, ‘knowledge is power.’ This is why real power will never reside in the north! The capital of Nigeria can be moved to Gusau for all they want, it will never improve the lot of the average northerner in as much as the mentality of the leadership structure in the north remains the same. 

As the example of the Jews has shown and continues to show, a good head is a function of a developed mind…and a developed mind will forever be a veritable source of innovation and creativity, the indisputable hallmarks of true and sustainable growth; it is he who values and encourages such a concept that inevitably is able to influence his immediate and larger environment. The Jews make up only 3% of the American population but control the entertainment industry, the law and medical professions, business (in particular banking) and industry…the list goes on. Mind you, the U.S. has never had a Jewish president! 

The stage, I believe is set for a politics of coalitions in the Nigerian political arena…coalitions that will be shaped by the pervading north-south dichotomy. The bottom line…control and manage your resources (both human and natural) in addition to your immediate environment, and you will unquestionably influence the larger environment. Also, it is imperative that political expediency be your guiding principle when deciding who to align yourself with...remember, no one can go it alone! Hence, when you align yourself with a group, they must have something tangible, workable and complimentary to bring to the table. Shared (but workable) interests, principles and ideals are without question the recipe for true growth and development. 

This is The Psychology of Power! “Everybody strives to become master over all space and to extend its force (its will to power:) and to thrust back all that resists its extension. But it continually encounters similar efforts on the part of other bodies and ends by coming to an arrangement ('union') with those of them that are sufficiently related to it: thus they then conspire together for power. And the process goes on”…. [Nietzsche]. 


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.



Special education clash: Supreme Court sides unanimously for student with disability

CC™ Legal Buzz

By Linda Jacobson, The 74

Students can seek monetary damages even if they accept a settlement under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the court said....

A deaf man can sue his former school district in Michigan for monetary damages because he was denied appropriate services and left unable to communicate in school, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday. 

The justices reversed a decision by the Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit that prohibited Miguel Luna Perez from seeking financial relief under the Americans with Disabilities Act because his family accepted a settlement under special education law.

“We clarify that nothing in that provision bars his way,” Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the opinion, referring to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. He added that the court took the case because it has consequences for “a great many children with disabilities and their parents.”

In a statement, Roman Martinez, Luna Perez’s attorney, said the family now plans to pursue a lawsuit against the Detroit-area Sturgis Public Schools under the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

The “court’s ruling vindicates the rights of students with disabilities to obtain full relief when they suffer discrimination,” he said.

The case focused on whether Congress intended for families to relinquish their rights to sue for monetary damages when they agree to a settlement under IDEA to get their children services as quickly as possible. But advocates for school districts, such as AASA, the School Superintendents Association, argued that districts could be facing multiple lawsuits from the same family.

“This is a significant ruling, and an unsurprising decision based on the oral argument,” said Sasha Pudelski, advocacy director for AASA. “We have deep concerns with injecting a legal battle over money into the IDEA process and how this ruling may undermine parents’ willingness to collaborate with districts in crafting an appropriate special education program for a child.”

Luna Perez, whose family emigrated from Mexico, entered the Sturgis schools in 2004, when he was 9. He didn’t know American Sign Language or English. The district assigned him an aide who couldn’t sign, invented hand signals to communicate with him and often left him alone for hours. 

He received good grades, but before graduation in 2016, the district told his parents that he would not be eligible for a high school diploma — only a certificate of completion. The family sued under IDEA, which resulted in a placement in the Michigan School for the Deaf. But the family also argued that their son should be compensated for being left without the skills to get a job. IDEA includes a number of procedural steps before a case can go to court and doesn’t provide financial relief. 

The only remedy available under IDEA is compensatory education services. But Rebecca Spar, a special education attorney with the New Jersey-based Education Law Center, said that’s less important to an adult who needs to support himself.  

“It was the kind of case where appropriate education going forward could not remediate the harm to the student,” she said.

Advocates for English learners said there are lessons in the case for how districts serve immigrant families whose children have disabilities. Schools need to ensure immigrant families understand their rights and provide interpretation and translation services, said Cady Landa, a researcher at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign who has studied the obstacles facing such families.

In the Sturgis schools, things have changed since Luna Perez was a student, said Superintendent Art Ebert, who has been with the district since 2018. The district has an interpreter and is expanding its special education department. Depending on their needs, some students with disabilities attend programs offered by county-level intermediate districts if local schools can’t provide the services.  

“I do believe that every experience provides us with an opportunity to learn and grow,” Ebert said.

This story was produced by The 74, a non-profit, independent news organization focused on education in America. 


A nuclear attack would most likely target one of these 6 US cities — but an expert says none of them are prepared

RS-24 Yars Russian ICBM - MITT

CC™ Spotlight

By Aria Bendix and Taylor Ardrey

The chance that a nuclear bomb would strike a US city is slim, but nuclear experts say it's not out of the question.

A nuclear attack in a large metropolitan area is one of the 15 disaster scenarios for which the US Federal Emergency Management Agency has an emergency strategy. The agency's plan involves deploying first responders, providing immediate shelter for evacuees, and decontaminating victims who have been exposed to radiation.

For everyday citizens, FEMA has some simple advice: Get inside, stay inside, and stay tuned.

But according to Irwin Redlener, a public-health expert at Columbia University who specializes in disaster preparedness, these federal guidelines aren't enough to prepare a city for a nuclear attack.

"There isn't a single jurisdiction in America that has anything approaching an adequate plan to deal with a nuclear detonation," he said.

That includes the six urban areas that Redlener thinks are the most likely targets of a nuclear attack: New York, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. These cities are not only some of the largest and densest in the country, but home to critical infrastructure (like energy plants, financial hubs, government facilities, and wireless transmission systems) that are vital to US security.

Each city has an emergency-management website that informs citizens about what to do in a crisis, but most of those sites (except for LA and New York) don't directly mention a nuclear attack. That makes it difficult for residents to learn how to protect themselves if a bomb were to hit one of those cities.

"It would not be the end of life as we know it," Redlener said of that scenario. "It would just be a horrific, catastrophic disaster with many, many unknown and cascading consequences."

Nuclear bombs can produce clouds of dust and sand-like radioactive particles that disperse into the atmosphere — what's referred to as nuclear fallout. Exposure to this fallout can result in radiation poisoning, which can damage the body's cells and prove fatal.

The debris takes at least 15 minutes to reach ground level after an explosion, so a person's response during that period could be a matter of life and death. People can protect themselves from fallout by immediately seeking refuge in the center or basement of a brick steel or concrete building — preferably one without windows.

"A little bit of information can save a lot of lives," Brooke Buddemeier, a health physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, told Business Insider. Buddemeier advises emergency managers about how to protect populations from nuclear attacks.

"If we can just get people inside, we can significantly reduce their exposure," he said.

The most important scenario to prepare for, according to Redlener, isn't all-out nuclear war, but a single nuclear explosion such as a missile launch from North Korea. Right now, he said, North Korean missiles are capable of reaching Alaska or Hawaii, but they could soon be able to reach cities along the West Coast.

Another source of an attack could be a nuclear device that was built, purchased, or stolen by a terrorist organization. All six cities Redlener identified are listed as "Tier 1" areas by the US Department of Homeland Security, meaning they're considered places where a terrorist attack would yield the most devastation.

"There is no safe city," Redlener said. "In New York City, the detonation of a Hiroshima-sized bomb, or even one a little smaller, could have anywhere between 50,000 to 100,000 fatalities — depending on the time of day and where the action struck — and hundreds of thousands of people injured."

Some estimates are even higher. Data from Alex Wellerstein, a nuclear-weapons historian at the Stevens Institute of Technology, indicates that a 15-kiloton explosion (like the one in Hiroshima) would result in more than 225,000 fatalities and 610,000 injuries in New York City.

Under those circumstances, not even the entire state of New York would have enough hospital beds to serve the wounded.

"New York state has 40,000 hospital beds, almost all of which are occupied all the time," Redlener said.

He also expressed concern about what might happen to emergency responders who tried to help.

"Are we actually going to order National Guard troops or US soldiers to go into highly radioactive zones? Will we be getting bus drivers to go in and pick up people to take them to safety?" he said. "Every strategic or tactical response is fraught with inadequacies."

In 1961, around the height of the Cold War, the US launched the Community Fallout Shelter Program, which designated safe places to hide after a nuclear attack in cities across the country. Most shelters were on the upper floors of high-rise buildings, so they were meant to protect people only from radiation and not the blast itself.

Cities were responsible for stocking those shelters with food and sanitation and medical supplies paid for by the federal government. By the time funding for the program ran out in the 1970s, New York City had designated 18,000 fallout shelters to protect up to 11 million people.

In 2017, New York City officials began removing the yellow signs that once marked these shelters to avoid the misconception that they were still active.

Redlener said there's a reason the shelters no longer exist: Major cities like New York and San Francisco are in need of more affordable housing, making it difficult for city officials to justify reserving space for food and medical supplies.

"Can you imagine a public official keeping buildings intact for fallout shelters when the real-estate market is so tight?" Redlener said.

Redlener said many city authorities worry that even offering nuclear-explosion response plans might induce panic among residents.

"There's fear among public officials that if they went out and publicly said, 'This is what you need to know in the event of a nuclear attack,' then many people would fear that the mayor knew something that the public did not," he said.

But educating the public doesn't have to be scary, Buddemeier said.

"The good news is that 'Get inside, stay inside, stay tuned' still works," he said. "I kind of liken it to 'Stop, drop, and roll.' If your clothes catch on fire, that's what you should do. It doesn't make you afraid of fire, hopefully, but it does allow you the opportunity to take action to save your life."

Both experts agreed that for a city to be prepared for a nuclear attack, it must acknowledge that such an attack is possible — even if the threat is remote.

"This is part of our 21st-century reality," Redlener said. "I've apologized to my children and grandchildren for leaving the world in such a horrible mess, but it is what it is now."

Source - Business Insider



Lagos State Governor coasting to victory while Seyi Makinde is re-elected in a landslide…..

CC™ Global Watch

Chief Editor’s Desk

Incumbent Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu appears to be coasting home to victory against his Labor Party opponent, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour.

Also, incumbent Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde seems to have reaped the fruits of excellent leadership, as he has been re-elected with almost 70% of the votes. It appears a landslide victory was always a possibility for the PDP standard bearer, in light of how popular he has been over the last four years.

See more real time results here


UPDATE: Sanwo-Olu’s ‘victory’ has been officially ratified by INEC, Nigeria’s electoral body. His victory is however extremely tainted unlike that of Seyi Makinde, the incumbent Oyo State governor. There are widespread (and documented) reports of killings, voter suppression through intimidation, as well as various well documented irregularities related to the snatching of ballot boxes and manipulation of results before being uploaded onto the INEC portal

The Labor Party candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour has refused to congratulate Sanwo-Olu, and has indicated he will mount an aggressive legal challenge to  ‘reclaim the people’s mandate’.


Goodbye, Google Maps: Apple’s “New” Alternative Quietly Launches for More Users

CC™ MobiliTech

By Bogdan Popa

The rollout of the new so-called Detailed City Experience is taking place in stages. On the other hand, Apple never seemed to be in a rush to reach the broad availability stage, especially as the company seems to focus particularly on delivering an upgraded experience.

The new maps come with an impressive level of detail. They include road markings, trees, elevation, crosswalks, and everything else you typically find on the road.

3D landmark models play a major role in the new Apple Maps version. Apple has been working around the clock on the 3D makeover, and the release in Boston embraces the same direction.

Fenway Park, the Museum of Fine Arts, and other landmarks in Boston are all part of the new Apple Maps with 3D versions. They can be explored on both the iPhone and Mac using an up-to-date version of Apple Maps.

The navigation provided to drivers is also getting a facelift. The 3D component is expanded on this front as well, so users can see further road details, including the approaching crosswalks and the nearby buildings. So, figuring out which way they need to go is more straightforward given the Apple Maps version accurately reproduces the real world.

The new Apple Maps also includes traffic lights and stop signs as drivers approach an intersection.

The debut of Apple’s new-generation Google Maps alternative in Boston is living proof the company is committed to building a better mapping service.

This incredibly slow rollout seems to be the main shortcoming that prevents Google Maps users from jumping ship. Google typically releases new features at a faster pace, and as such, Google Maps adopters get a chance to try them out quicker.

In the case of Apple Maps, the Detailed City Experience was announced in 2021, whereas the “new” version of the service based on Apple’s own maps was confirmed in mid-2018. Since then, the company has been working mostly on expanding the availability, but a big part of Europe is yet to get the new experience.

Apple needs to continue the work on improving Apple Maps from a feature perspective. Apple Maps is lacking essential features that are otherwise available in competing products like Google Maps. 

Oddly enough, Apple Maps does not sport satellite map navigation, despite the satellite maps actually being available in the app. Offline maps are missing as well, so right now, the only way to get route guidance with Apple’s solution is to keep your device connected to the Internet all the time. Apple has so far remained tight-lipped on whether it plans to add these features to Apple Maps in the long term or not.