Archive for the ‘In Da Music’ Category

Read 2 Chronicles 4

Highlights:

It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord (II Chr. 5:13).

This looks to have been an exciting praise and worship service to the Lord. There was much reason to celebrate. Their enemies were all but gone. The Temple was complete. The Ark was being brought up to be placed in the Temple. It would seem all of Israel had come out for this celebration. There were plenty of reasons for this to happen. 

And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in His Tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord (Ps. 27:6).

We see in this verse the results of this tremendous session of praise. A great cloud came in and filled the Temple. The priests themselves became overwhelmed. This cloud was the glory of the Lord.

But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel (Ps. 22:3).

This scripture shows us very clearly that when we surrender ourselves in praise to God, He will show up. The nation of Israel put aside all their differences and came together for one purpose; to offer praise, worship and thanksgiving to God. Their praises brought the Spirit of God to the scene.

The same thing can and will happen today. You might say that you have been in some pretty good church services and you never saw a cloud fill the place up. That is probably true for most of us. That does not mean that we have not been in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Let me just start straight up, exactly how I see it. ​In some sense I don’t think the colonial project really ended in Nigeria. We just shifted the tyranny and extractive ethos to a local elite.

What difference is it to a Teacher in Takum, A Farmer in Otukpo or a Fisherman in Ekim,  if his faraway oppressor is in Abuja or in London, or indeed, in Jalingo, Makurdi or Uyo his state capital?

When people talk about a country growing from poor to rich, that gets lost in the jargon of income per capita and other metrics.

In fact, what that looks like is a fisherman in Ekim in 1923 has grand kids who have vastly better incomes, education, health, opportunity. It means that a fisherman’s grandchild has the opportunity to compete to be a bank manager or even CEO today. That’s progress. 

It’s about people, en masse, moving from a life where they have low productivity to vastly higher productivity. But what I think has happened since 1923 is that children of fishermen mostly became fishermen themselves, with no change in productivity. Or they moved to cities to work in other low productivity jobs. Comparing his grandfather’s life to his, it hasn’t changed much (or has grown worse).

This is the challenge. How does a society develop to ensure that each successive generation lives better and has a better shot: progress.

So many problems just vanish when people are well fed, life is not bitterly difficult, the kids are looked after, etc. People keep looking to the various governments. We expect that an omnipotent Federal Government has the resources to fix all problems: It can’t. 
Looking at the 2017 budget across Africa, it is clear that the Federal Government of Nigeria is broke. We plan to spend roughly $120/Nigerian. The Kenyan Government is spending $560/Kenyan. South Africa: $2180/SAn. That is a big difference. 

But that doesn’t tell the full tale really, because as the saying goes: ‘Every Nigerian is a Local Government’. We are paying for that budget. We are paying in hardship, in the high cost of living, the lack of opportunity, one of the lowest life expectancy rates on earth and so on.
Of course, in the middle of all this, we supposedly have one of the biggest economies in Africa. I always find that one hilarious. If we had the productivity of the average South African worker, our economy would be two or three times its current size (our labour pool is 3 times larger than theirs). Also, SA’s government is spending about 33% of GDP. We, with our unsigned budget, are spending 7%. Again, pointer that Government isn’t that big.

The Government has to start working to empower Nigerians. It cannot be this colonialist mafia that just extracts from the population. They sit in Abuja with the best roads in the country, but a man in Nnewi or Aba cannot ship his produce through Calabar or Port Harcourt. Buhari is ‘recuperating’ in London claiming to be taking made in Nigeria drugs, while doctors are being tassed in LUTH over salaries that they are actually owed. This is colonialism!

I think it is so bad that we do not EXPECT things to get better in the next 25 years, so we optimise towards the proximate next best. 

Always interesting to read about America after the war (and California in the 70s). Phrase ‘alive with possibility’ always seems to come up. What phrases come up in your everyday experience? Of course we hear ‘there is money in this country,’ but it rings hollow for most people. What tends to ring true are things like: ‘This country is finished’; referring to other countries ‘these are serious countries’ and so on. You face a self-fulfilling prophecy situation — you think the country is finished, so you behave like a person living in a finished country. You don’t inflate the contract by 20% and fix the road well, you under-engineer the road and inflate the contract by 200%. 10 people do well, 1,000,000 suffer. The same road is re-tendered in a different budget cycle and the sham is repeated. 

2019 is coming. There will be an incredible amount of energy poured into it from that 7 trillion naira budget (and other budgets to come). To what end? The person is inheriting a mess. (And the funniest part is that we are going to hear the same vacuous, platitudinous slogans!). Actor, Andy Roid in Game of Thrones described it as “focusing on the politics of the Red Keep while White Walkers, Dothraki Hordes and Dragons are coming for you”. We aren’t talking about our real problems. 

The country is broke; y’all are marrying and having babies far too much; the government is choking off progress. We need to think about how govt can become more accountable, become less colonialist, to actually work for the people. Maybe that is confederalism or true federalism, I don’t know. I’ll leave thoughts on how to change the status quo for another time. I drop my pen here. We all need to start thinking right and start acting.

Read >Ezra 8 – 9

For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek Him; but His power and His wrath is against all them that forsake Him – (Ezra 8:22).

The feelings that this man of God had were in some ways understandable and in other ways not. It is easy to see why he could have been ashamed or embarrassed. The proclamation had been made that the hand of protection of God was on all those that sought Him. It was said that God would strike down all the enemies of His people. It would seem that trust was being put in man instead of God by asking for military assistance. If this was the case, there was definitely an error to trust anything over God. 

For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe (I Tim. 4:10).

On the other hand, things can always be looked at in a different way. It is true that God often works in supernatural ways. We see that clearly in select parts of the Word of God. There were healings, resurrections from the dead and many other miracles done, especially during the time that Christ lived in human form. Many seek after God for this very type of work in their life.

Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world (John 6:14).

However, God will work, often, in other ways. God will use natural means to meet the needs within our lives. When we need comfort, He may send it through a dear friend. When we need healing, He may send it in the form of a doctor. And when we need protection, God may send an army of humans or an army of angels or whatever he chooses. The choice must be left up to the Lord.

The Lord could very well do exactly as this verse said using either a human army or an angelic one. God can use either to crush the enemies of Him and His people.

I personally never thought anyone would actually say, “sell me this pen” in a sales interview. I was wrong. It will happen to you too. And to avoid panic, you should know exactly what to say back.

I am going to give you the right sales framework to respond perfectly every time.

On a quick side note, did you know this sales interview question has been around for millions of years? Its origins date back to the earliest of cavemen. Selling slingshots cave-to-cave. Except back then, they asked, “sell me this bowl of crushed berries.”

Anyways. The point is, one day it will happen to you and I want you to be prepared.

Because if you start to describe how smooth the pen feels and how shiny the pen looks, just like you saw in the Wolf of Wallstreet…

You probably won’t get the job.

 Why it matters to sell me this pen

At first, I didn’t realize why it mattered. It just seemed like a silly question. But, you’ll see.

When you become good at answering this question, you actually become one hell of a salesperson.

And that’s why people still ask it in interviews. It shows your creative approach and how good you are at actually selling product (not just reading your resume).

There are exactly four sales skills the interviewer is looking to see when you answer:

  1. how you gather information
  2. how you respond to information
  3. how you deliver information
  4. and how you ask for something (closing)

Now, since I had a lot of sales interviews lined up at the beginning of last year. I thought, I better practice my response just in case.

The “just wing it” strategy is best for making pancake mix, not for sales interviews.

So let’s go through exactly what you can say to address each sales skill. Because when you do it right, you will blow their mind!

Here’s exactly what you can say

Just to back up for a second, I had 26 sales interviews in a period of three months. Someone was bound to ask me.

Ok. The Director of Sales stood up and said, “it was great meeting you Ian. Let me go grab the CEO to come in next.” Moments later, the CEO of the 30 person startup walked in the small conference room.

Shortly after initial greetings, the CEO wasted no time to start the interview.

I practiced my answer beforehand. I made sure my answer displayed the four sales skills the CEO needed to hear.

Now you can read it for yourself. And then use it for yourself.

At the bottom, you can see a simple sales framework to memorize that will make this work for you in any situation.

You can memorize the script, but more importantly, memorize the sales framework at the end.

Here you go…


CEO: Do me a favor, sell me this pen. (reaches across to hand me the pen)

Me: (I slowly roll the pen between my index and thumb fingers.) When was the last time you used a pen? 

CEO: This morning.

Me: Do you remember what kind of pen that was? 

CEO: No.

Me: Do you remember why you were using it to write? 

CEO: Yes. Signing a few new customer contracts.

Me: Well I’d say that’s the best use for a pen (we have a subtle laugh). 

Wouldn’t you say signing those new customer contracts is an important event for the business? (nods head) Then shouldn’t it be treated like one. What I mean by that is, here you are signing new customer contracts, an important and memorable event. All while using a very unmemorable pen. 

We grew up, our entire lives, using cheap BIC pens because they get the job done for grocery lists and directions. But we never gave it much thought to learn what’s best for more important events. 

This is the pen for more important events. This is the tool you use to get deals done. Think of it as a symbol for taking your company to the next level. Because when you begin using the right tool, you are in a more productive state of mind, and you begin to sign more new customer contracts. 

Actually. You know what? Just this week I shipped ten new boxes of these pens to  Elon Musk’s office. 

Unfortunately, this is my last pen today (reach across to hand pen back to CEO). So, I suggest you get this one. Try it out. If you’re not happy with it, I will personally come back next week to pick it up. And it won’t cost you a dime. 

What do you say? 

CEO: (picks jaw up off floor) Yes.


See how simple that was. The CEO loved it. Why?

Because all four sales skills were displayed.

Here’s the simple sales framework I used to answer “sell me this pen”. Memorize it for yourself.

  1. Find out how they last used a pen (gather info)
  2. Emphasize the importance of the activity they last used a pen (respond to info)
  3. Sell something bigger than a pen, like a state of mind (deliver info)
  4. Ask for the buy (closing)

 Does that make sense? Yes. Ok, good.

Conclusion

Remember, it’s not about actually selling a pen. It’s about showing how well you can sell a product.

And even though there are an infinite number of answers to this interview question, it’s easy to memorize a simple formula.

Now that you have a formula, next time you need a quick, go-to answer, remember this. 

Take 15 minutes today to practice the script above. I promise you will benefit.

Plus, would you mind doing me a favor. Share this with ONE person in sales. It could save their career

One thing about the ongoing Big Brother Naija reality TV show is the fact that whether you watch it or not, it’s in your face. As such, the concern of many over it’s value to the Nigerian society cannot be pushed aside. Unfortunately, the show has thrived on catering to the naughty or vice instincts in most people, with rated and raunchy scenes being the order of the house. Not surprisingly, many had called for a government action against broadcasting such content to a Nigerian audience in the future. Expectedly, that threw up mixed reactions from the Nigerian populace. While some find the entertainment exciting, other more serious folk are concerned about how the content affects values. Either way, the show has continued.
But perhaps more compelling in the argument against the continued airing of the show is one of the housemates, Tboss’ inability to recite the Nigerian National anthem in a routine truth or dare game. Since then, social media Nigeria cannot seem to recover from the shock that a potential winner of a show which is purportedly meant to be won by representing Nigerian values cannot recite something as basic as the national anthem. Shame!
More annoying to many is the fact that rather than own up to the goof and find a more intelligent way to placate her fans, the said housemate, Tboss, went on a tirade against her fellow contestant, Debbie-Rise, who posed the harmless kindergarten question to her, blaming her for the negative blowback her failure would do her chances of winning the show! Unbelievable. But then, nature has its own ways of shaming misfits. As it is, Tboss’ goof clearly, barring any miracle or organisers scam, makes the coast clear for other show favourites Efe or Bisola, who those following the show say are more deserving.
But much more than expose Tboss’ detachment from her country’s ideals, her national anthem disaster does also expose an aspect of our general failure as a people without deeper values for what is truly important. The national anthem of any country is the soundtrack of national existence. Footballers cry out of passion for their countries when singing before a game. Soldiers too. Great political leaders world over do too. The anthem is the soul of the country. But obviously not here in Nigeria. Only last year, two ambassadorial nominees, Alhaji Ibrahim Bida from Niger State and Mrs Vivian Okeke from Anambra State couldn’t recite the anthem at a Senate screening. Still, they were screened. The message is clear, it doesn’t matter whether you are passionate about the country or not, once you’re connected you have your way!
At the end of the day, beyond all the fuss about Tboss’ national anthem fiasco, Bisola’ blowjob on Thin Tall Tony, Kemen’s violation of Tboss’ womanhood, the free kissing sessions, the boobs baring moments and all the bad drama that Nigeria has been made to see on the road to creating a Big Brother model, we must all ask ourselves Olamide’s poser: who did the show epp? Apart from the organiser making loads of money off subscribers and voters, what else? Thin Tall Tony says he can make the prize money in three months on his own, meaning he or the others don’t necessarily need the show to make it!
As a final word to Tboss and all those who are privately guilty of this crime of passion for country, go on YouTube and find American singer Beyonce to teach you how to sing the Nigerian national anthem
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ty-bello-jpg

Gospel Sensation and prolific photographer, TY Bello, releases a new song titled, Holy Ghost Air. It is a free flowing medley of sounds, chants and affirmations. This song features Nathaniel Bassey and his dexterity on the horns. It brings an atmosphere of sonic perfection to the composition.

This is a revelatory song of worship, with intense amplitudes, which gives access to the throne of grace at first listen.

It is a song that can make you pray and find ease in connecting to the realms of the spirit.

Its a must have and must listen kind of song. It is exactly what your need to prayerfully usher yourself into the New Year.

 

Song Credit

  • Song written by TYBello
  • Produced by MELA
  • Co-Produced by George Ade-Alao
  • Mix and Mastered by Samjazzy
  • Bass by Felix Uyime
  • Guitars by Segunfunmi Olasehinde
  • Background Vocals: Blessing Irorere, Soyemi Oluwafemi, Adejumoke Oshoboke and Mela.
  • Trumpet by Nathaniel Bassey

Click here to Download

A Synopsis:

The much derided immunity inherent in Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution is not applicable once the individual protected under the section ceases to function in an immune capacity. Period. Also, in rendering our judgment on whether to amend or expunge Sec 308 from our Constitution, we should take cognizance of the fact that not all Governors are corrupt. Adding to that, the section does not protect or immunize serving members of the National Assembly from criminal or civil prosecution for unlawful conduct committed while in active capacity as a legislator. Finally, Section 308, as written and intended, does not extend to Legislative or Parliamentary Immunity, referred to as Speech and Debate protection. Therefore, the section should be left intact. Executive immunity enhances harmony in a democratic political system that would, no doubt, be eroded, if the President and Governors are exposed to the vagaries of our judicial system. Most importantly, arrest and trial of those protected under the section, would paralyze activities in the affected states or at the federal level, as the case may be. That was the rationale and legislative intent of section 308 of the 1999 Constitution – defined as the thinking of the drafters based on public policy considerations. On the question of whether the immunity follows a Governor to the Senate or House of Representative, the answer is a capital NO. Immunity, for all intents and purposes, is office specific. It is neither perpetual nor inalienable. An ex-Governor who is presently a Senator or a member of the House of Representative is subject to investigation, indictment, or prosecution to the full extent of the law for any fraudulent conduct authorized by him or executed at his command. In sum, corruption, embezzlement of public funds and squandering of riches in Nigeria are seemingly insurmountable, because of the unwholesome and, if I may add, unwritten collaborative resolve of those in the judicial branch – a monumental national crisis compounded by the inability of those vested with law enforcement power (AG, Police, EFCC, and ICPC) to develop new mechanisms with a view to combating abuse of discretionary power (adjournments and injunctions) by judges, as well as, the procedural rigmarole (delay tactics) perfected by defense counsels. We must be bold, resolute, and creative in our search for real justice. And our approach to assets forfeiture and recovery must be purposeful and nondiscriminatory.

 

To Amend or Not to Amend:

At the just concluded retreat organized by the Ad-Hoc Committee on Constitutional Reform in Port Harcourt in River State, on May 27, 2012, Sec 308 of the 1999 Constitution that deals with immunity came up for discussion, and as expected, there was a demand for its review, amendment, or a total repeal.  For the purpose of record, Sec 308 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, does not by any stretch of the imagination shield or immunize any serving member of the National Assembly from indictment or prosecution for any crime committed before and during his or her term of office. 

And on a more disturbing note, the habit of Governors who have already completed their two terms, rigging and buying their way to the Senate or the Lower House with a view to evading civil or criminal prosecution for fraudulent conduct committed as Governor is outright ludicrous. Because there is no immunity covering past misconduct. Simply put, the immunity as it is in Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, is not about the person or the conduct. It is specifically speaking, about the office. In other words, the beneficiary of the immunity clause is subject to investigation at the cessation of the protected period – as long as there is probable cause to do so on the part of law enforcement agencies. And the conduct can be revisited and reviewed to the extent of its inconsistency with established laws and orders governing the office.

Similarly, the over-hyped immunity allegedly enjoyed by serving members of the National Assembly from criminal or civil prosecution for criminal wrongdoing or fraudulent engagement is a complete fiction. Because the immunity, in the context in which it is perceived by Nigerians, is non sequitur – it does not exist as such. Therefore, the brouhaha surrounding the alleged immunity enjoyed by “lawmakers” is grossly misplaced, and the assault on Section 308 is unwarranted.

Our law enforcement agencies (Attorney General, ICPC, the Police and EFCC) should wake up to their responsibilities. Section 308 does not shield any member of the National Assembly from prosecution. Period. This is not a matter for debate; it is a statement of fact. Executive immunity is unrelated to Speech and Debate related Parliamentary Immunity. Also, it does not preclude law enforcement agencies from investigating those protected under the section (President, Vice President, Governor, and Deputy Governor) for involvement in unjust enrichment.

At this juncture, it is worth restating that Section 308 protects only serving President, Vice President, Governor or Deputy Governor when they are in office. MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DO NOT ENJOY ANY IMMUNITY FROM CIVIL OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION UNDER SECTION 308. THE ONLY IMMUNITY THEY ENJOY IS SIMILAR TO WHAT OBTAINS UNDER THE SPEECH AND DEBATE CLAUSE IN THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTION – THAT IS IMMUNITY ON THE BASIS OF WHAT THEY SAY DURING DEBATES OR DELIBERATIONS IN THE HOUSE OR IN THE SENATE OR IN THE PREPARATION THEREOF. IT DOES NOT COVER THEIR UNJUST ENRICHMENT, FRAUDULENT ENGAGEMENT OR CRIMINAL CONDUCT OUTSIDE OR INSIDE OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.

For ease of understanding, I would like to reproduce the entire Sec 308 of the 1999 Constitution verbatim. The Section provides:

(1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Constitution, but subject to subsection (2) of this section –

(a) No civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against a person to whom this section applies during his period of office;  

(b) A person to whom this section applies shall not be arrested or imprisoned during that period either in pursuance of the process of any court or otherwise; and

(c)  No process of any court requiring or compelling the appearance of a person to whom this section applies, shall be applied for or issued: Provided that in ascertaining whether any period of limitation has expired for the purposes of any proceedings against a person to whom this section applies, no account shall be taken of his period of office.

(2) The provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to civil proceedings against a person to whom this section applies in his official capacity or to civil or criminal proceedings in which such a person is only a nominal party.

(3) This section applies to a person holding the office of President or Vice-President, Governor or Deputy Governor; and the reference in this section to “period of office” is a reference to the period during which the person holding such office is required to perform the functions of the office. 

From the language of Sec 308 above, there is no part of it that tends to shield a member of the National Assembly from indictment for crime committed while in office as a member of the National Assembly or in a previous office as Governor or Deputy Governor. Specifically, Sec 308 (3) reads: “This section applies to a person holding the office of President or Vice-President, Governor or Deputy Governor; and the reference in this section to “period of office” is a reference to the period during which the person holding such office is required to perform the functions of the office.” Emphases mine.

That is Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution for you! The Section applies only to “period during which the person holding such office is required to perform the functions of the office.” In other words, a Senator or a member of the House of Assembly is not that “person” and does not need to perform the functions of a Governor while serving as a member of the National Assembly. Therefore, Sec 308 does not by any stretch of the imagination shield any of them from prosecution for criminal wrong doing that took place while serving in an earlier immune capacity or while they were in office as Governors or Deputy Governors.

The same is true of President and Vice President. In that case, you could conveniently, and rightly so, indict and prosecute any of the today ex-Presidents or Vice Presidents, if you have probable cause to do so. But first, a prima facie case for unjust enrichment must be established. That’s it. It doesn’t take rocket science to accomplish that, knowing full well the antecedents of Nigerian thieving Governors. So, the problem is not the law or the constitution, but application and the attitude of those vested with power of enforcement.

Rationale and Public Policy Arguments:

In spite of everything, the immunity under Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution is well-meant. The President, or as the case may be, a Governor, is not suitably placed to enjoy the luxury of time defending lawsuits, whether frivolous or meritorious, while in active duty as Governor or President.

Our proclivity for lawsuit knows no bounds; removal of that immunity clause from our constitution would in all probability end up doing more harm than good to our fragile constitutional democracy. Every Ademola, Usman, and Okechukwu, as well as members of the opposition parties would, through frivolous lawsuits and spurious petitions, incapacitate sitting President, or Governors as the case may be, without regard to judicial ethics or the concerns of Nigerian voters. And in the process, take them off course from real and purposeful governance.

In essence, executive immunity enhances harmony in the political process that would, no doubt, be eroded, if Presidents and Governors are exposed to the vagaries of our judicial system. Adding to that, arrest and trial of those protected under the section, would paralyze activities in the affected states or at the federal level, as the case may be. That was the rationale and legislative intent of section 308 of the 1999 Constitution – defined as the thinking of the drafters based on public policy considerations.

There is no doubt that the benefits of the Immunity Clause outweigh the defects. The defects, if at all, are traceable to the inability of those empowered with law enforcement obligations to make the Constitution live up to its true purpose as the supreme law of the land.  To that extent, it requires diligent performance (prosecution) as expected of true fiduciary (EFCC, the Police, ICPC, and the AG). It’s all about the interpretation, audacity, and genuine intent to fight and surmount the ills of corruption and unjust enrichment that irredeemably wrecked a supposedly great nation-state.

We should not act on the impulse of the moment and abrogate a constitutional framework that is imbued with the right ingredients to serve worthy national purpose – growing our democracy and  simultaneously, ensuring stability in the political system.

Granted, our core leadership team is made up of some of the most vile, greedy and shameless opportunists you could ever find on the face of the earth; be that as it may, we cannot embark on constitutional amendment just to accommodate our idiosyncrasies and every unfortunate aberration. That’s retrogressive political evolution. What would you do, if God willing, we are fortunate to have selfless and honest leaders at the helm of affairs? Amend the constitution once again to align with the new reality? No. We can do better.

We must be proactive, creative, and sincere in our approach to war against corruption and assets recovery or forfeiture. Those who are known to be corrupt should be apprehended, prosecuted, and made to forfeit their illegally acquired wealth to the state as soon as they cease to function under the protection of Section 308. According to the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), “Many criminals are motivated by greed and the acquisition of material goods. Therefore, the ability of the government to forfeit property connected with criminal activity can be an effective law enforcement tool by reducing the incentive for illegal conduct. Asset forfeiture takes the profit out of crime by helping to eliminate the ability of the offender to command resources necessary to continue illegal activities.”

Today, there are thousands of fraudulent Nigerians out there on the street, including former Governors and former Deputy Governors, as well as former Presidents and former Vice Presidents, known to have fraudulently enriched themselves with public funds. They are living free and living large on our wealth. And we watch. They have no immunity and they enjoy no immunity. But we watch. They are yet to be apprehended and prosecuted by the law enforcement agencies, in spite of the fact that these fraudulent Nigerians and ex-political leaders do not enjoy any atom of immunity.

It is indeed very sad that some sections of the Nigeria political establishment, including opinion leaders and public affairs commentators so gotten embroiled in that perverted notion that once a Governor or Deputy Governor ceases to function as Governor or Deputy Governor, or is elected to the Senate or House of Representative,  he or she is still immune from arrest and trial for the unjust enrichment perpetrated as Governor or Deputy Governor. That is complete baloney. The immunity is office specific – it is over at the end of the protected period. The same rules apply to President and Vice President.

Therefore, the Section should be strengthened in order to serve the intended purpose, and not diluted by any means. Immunity and unjust enrichment are mutually exclusive. That we want to strengthen our democratic values via some constitutional mechanisms doesn’t translate to encouraging official misconduct. The rationale was to engender purposeful governance, to ensure uninterrupted governmental activities at the state and federal levels consistent with fundamental principles of democracy and rule of laws. The major constraint is the nonchalant culture prevalent within the judicial branch bordering on procedural rigmarole – unnecessary adjournments and frequent injunctive orders, without reasonable excuse or a show of irreparable harm or injury to the defendant.

Moving Forward:

Fellow Nigerians, whatever we do, we must not lose sight of the underlying imperative, designed to engender consistency and robust democratic values in our troubled political system that Section 308 represents. Therefore, we must be bold about consolidating those democratic values, without regards to the race or the social status of the culprits before and during trial. That is the first step to renewing Nigeria. It is about equal rights and justice.

You steal, you steal! Period! Availing your client with the defense of interim or permanent injunction in a clear-cut case of embezzlement as perfected by our reputable and highly respected lawyers is overtly aiding and abetting malfeasance. Injunctive relief is a discretionary (equitable) remedy – it is not a judgment on the merit with respect to the substantive case. He who comes into equity must come with clean hands, goes a legal maxim. Not exactly in Nigeria. What is so irreparable a damage about standing trial to defend allegation of fraudulent engagement against you?

If your hands are clean, and you rightly believe that you are innocent as charged, then, be willing to stand trial and defend the allegation of unjust enrichment instituted against you, instead of resorting to procedural mumble jumble to circumvent real justice. And that, my friends, is our real problem; not Section 308. This is the time we should all stand up and demand for curtailment in the grant of injunctions and other discretionary reliefs by our Judges. It is now left to EFCC to train its lawyers on how to surmount any of such motions in our regular courts. Because there is a threshold that the movant must meet to sustain any motion for injunctive relief. That, of course, is outside the scope of this essay.

As an addendum, I want to make it abundantly clear that I am not against capitalism or private ownership or private acquisition of wealth. However, I am unequivocally against over-leveraged capitalism and the prevailing culture of impunity and blatant abuse of political office by those vested with political power. To keep enriching yourself with public funds that you and your children cannot exhaust, buying cars you cannot drive or landed property you barely use shows stupidity. It is not fair. It is not right. And it is morally repugnant. If you have no idea of any capital project deserving funding; let education be free at all levels, because quality education, by any standard, is the best investment in the life of a child. Or, if that is not good enough, connect Marinna, across from Tafawa Balewa’s Square, linking Apapa and Mile Two to the Lagos/Badagry Expressway in Lagos State by an over-head bridge or an underground rail system. That is a bold project. ‘A good transportation network is important to all societies and it is vital in sustaining economic success in modern economy.’ 

Thank you.

Alex (Ehimhantie’Aiyo) Aidaghese

CONGRATULATION: 

If you are here reading this very paragraph, it means you are now one of the thousands intellectually curious Nigerians who made this article the number one on this Blog – the most searched and the most read piece of legal opinion and constitutional review piece within the Nigerian social media scene in the past three years. On October 21, 2014, the Conference Committee of the National Assembly on Constitutional Review retained Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution as it was originally written. We made the case – a compelling case for retention – you spread the news, the Conference Committee concurred, and the rest is now history.  AA May 15, 2015

Addendum:

INTRODUCTION TO JUDICIAL ACTIVISM: Making a Distinction Between Criminal Wrong Doing and The Profits of Crime, Otherwise Known as Unjust Enrichment

(By the way, what you are about to read is not part of the article. It is simply an academic exercise for those who care. For a start, the likelihood of its happening in real life or in this generation in Nigeria is very remote).

The question is: Can we indict and prosecute a sitting President, Vice President, Governors and Deputy Governors for fraudulent and unjust enrichment perpetrated while in office under the premise of “a nominal party” pursuant to Sec 308(2)?

The answer is not absolute. But first, you must be ready to engage in semantic war with the presiding judge and the defense counsel (the lawyer representing the defendant) with respect to the definition or meaning of a nominal party.

We could, in all sincerity, institute a civil action to recover or recoup the fruits of crime or unjust enrichment, if we are, applying preponderance of the evidence standard, able to prove that the owner of a specific property or bank account (e.g. President, Vice President, Governor or Deputy Governor) is only a nominal party – someone not directly involved in the case. But he or she is nevertheless connected to the case by virtue of his or her ownership of the property or bank account in question.

In other words, they are immune, but not their illegally or fraudulently acquired wealth. EFCC is within its power to seize and forfeit their properties and bank accounts to the State as long as we can prove that they are fruits of corrupt enrichment. Thus, it is probable to conclude that Sec 308 (2) does not shield or immune a sitting President, Vice President, Governor or Deputy Governor from forfeiting to the Nigerian people, landed properties or Bank accounts fraudulently acquired, if a civil action is instituted against such landed property and bank accounts. Once again, Sec 308 (2) provides: “The provisions of subsection (1) of this section [that is the immunity] shall not apply to civil proceedings against a person [that is President, Vice President  Governor and Deputy Governor] to whom this section applies in his official capacity or to civil or criminal proceedings in which such a person is only a nominal party [not directly connected].”  Emphasis mine. It is the same thing as arguing: since you are not directly connected (a nominal party), invariably your houses and bank accounts are not immune from seizure and forfeiture, because the suit is after your property, and not you as a person. 

To that extent, owners of a fraudulently acquired property or bank accounts – for example, President, Vice President, Governor and Deputy Governor – cannot avail themselves with the defense of immunity under this section, if they are only indirectly or tangentially connected to the action – a nominal party. Thus, Subsection 308(2) provides cover for EFCC, ICPC, and AGF, if they want to go after the loots of a serving President, Vice President, Governors, or Deputy Governor. Provided the action is in rem (property) and not in personam  (the person).

I want to reiterate that the action is only after the fruits of crime and not the crime itself. Adding to that, the case is not against the perpetrators of the crime or fraud, but just the loots. If you want to call it prosecutorial activism, so be it. As I said earlier, you must be ready to do battle in English Language regarding who “a nominal party” is. So it is not just establishing a prima facie case for unjust enrichment, but being able to establish by preponderance of the evidence the extent of the disconnect between the perpetrator and the unjust enrichment (bank accounts and property) that would justify civil trial or forfeiture.

Finally, given that it is a civil trial, you do not need to prove anything beyond reasonable doubt. Even if that is the standard (proof beyond reasonable doubt), you do not need to crack your brain worrying if you can prove your case beyond reasonable doubt, when trying to convict a Nigerian thief. Evidence are readily available. He is a stupid thief who rightly or wrongly believe that he cannot be convicted, even when caught in the act – he has substantial accumulation of your money – our money – to hire the best of lawyers to pervert the justice system through laughable motions for adjournment. 

(Be that as it may, it requires legal erudition and a willing court to be able to argue a motion based on the above premise. By the way, this is simply an intellectual voyaging or a fishing expedition, because no Attorney General or IGP would in his right sense institute a case against a sitting President or Governor in Nigeria to recoup illegally acquired wealth).

Thanks once again for coming this far.

Mr. Alex (Ehimhantie-Aiyo) Aidaghese*

President & CEO Alex and Partners

Skype: ehi samuel (Skype)

FB: Alex Ehi Aidaghese

Tel: =1 234 708 695 1511

Abuja Nigeria

trip-lee

Trip Lee is a 27-year-old rapper, husband, and father of two. He’s also planting a church in Atlanta — yes, he’s a pastor — and late last year he released his fifth studio album, Rise, which quickly hit #1 on the iTunes charts. And he’s just published his second book.

Rise: Get Up and Live in God’s Great Story, the companion book to his latest album, comes out today, January 27. I caught up with Trip to talk about Millennials leaving the church, his relationship with John Piper, and why he felt like he had to write about sex, lust, and porn.

You released an album by the same name late last year — how are the two connected? Do the two serve distinct purposes?

I thought of the concept for the book first because when I was thinking about doing a project I thought about what I wanted to communicate to the people that I have influence with, and one of the things I really wanted to communicate was the need for us to not wait until later to take our lives seriously.

With the album, what I wanted to do was introduce those things, and then with the book, that’s where I really wanted to dive deeply. A song captures emotions in unique ways, and a song helps you to celebrate things in unique ways, but at the same time, you only get three or four minutes, so you can only communicate so much. So I wanted to use the songs to do the celebrating, to connect emotionally, to really get people excited about those things, and then use the book to go really deep into those things and help people think about it further.

Trip-Lee-Rise-Release-Date

Who has inspired you as a rapper, pastor, and author?

In terms of music, I would say probably the most influential on the way I approach the art form is Jay Z. He’s a guy who is arguably the best rapper of all time. The way he uses metaphors and double entendres and the way he’s able to connect with an audience — he’s just really good at what he does. But, obviously, I do it differently than him, because I have a different worldview. I would disagree with some of the things he says, but really respect him as an artist.

In terms of as a pastor and preaching, John Piper is a pastor in Minnesota who I heard a lot of his sermons early on that really inspired me to really want to continue to preach and proclaim God’s word.

As an author, that’s really hard. I would say one: C.S. Lewis. He’s a guy whose writing doesn’t read like sermons, but they’re so engaging and he answers questions before you even ask them and he argues so well and he understands culture well and understands scripture well. He’s a guy who’s influenced me a lot as an author.

How have you been able to blend, as John Piper writes in the introduction, reverence and relevance? The two can seem almost oxymoronic.

I think the main way I do that is just by trying to be myself. So, one thing I could’ve done is I could’ve read John Piper books and I thought, “Man I need to write like him. I need to preach like him.” That’s not me. He’s a white dude in his sixties and I’m a young black dude, a rapper, in my twenties.

I think it does Christianity a disservice if we feel like, “Hey, if I’m going to be serious about my faith, I have to look like this and dress like this and talk like this,” as opposed to, “Hey, when I put my faith in Jesus, he changes me from the inside, so that who I am culturally can stay the same, but I can still talk about deep things.”

Though God is going to call us to grow and change, it’s not going to be change like you have to wear suits now and you have to speak in King James language. No, no. You can still be yourself and be young and be cool, all those things — some people ain’t cool to start with, so you don’t get cool — but God can take you where you are, you can be yourself and you can be changed in a way that matters.

Speaking of, there’s this unique relationship between veteran Reformed guys like Piper and Mark Dever and younger rappers like yourself. Can you talk about that?

I do think it’s unexpected. I think what we’re seeing there is that even though we don’t have a lot in common culturally or age-wise — and maybe these are guys I never would’ve even known or had any kind of relationship with — what we do have in common is that we believe in the same Jesus and that makes us passionate to see the same things happen in the world.

And those are guys who I think get it in a way that they want to pour into people who have influence in different realms. For instance, John Piper, he’s always been incredibly kind, he sought to understand what we do, and then he’s gone out of his way to be really kind to us and love on us.

I think that’s powerful even as we think about some of the racial issues going on. I want people to see that there can be unity, and I’ve seen that unity come in Jesus. We believe in the same Lord — there are a lot of different things that are different about us, but we believe in the same Jesus and that’s what brings us together.

You call out a lot of people — kind of the lukewarm Christians, especially — in the book. Were you nervous about that or do you think it just needed to be done?

I think one of our core values as a culture right now is not ever making any comment on anything anybody else does. The only scripture passage that a lot of people know is that Jesus says, “Don’t judge lest ye be judged,” though of course we know from the context of that passage and other passages, he’s not saying never make any judgment. Scripture commands us to help each other along. I don’t think it does anybody any good if we are afraid to help each other grow.

That’s part of what it means to be a Christian, is to let other people in your life in such a way that you can help each other to grow. I think the problem comes when we’re very self-righteous about it. What in the book I always try to be very open about the fact that, even from the introduction, I do not have it all together. I have issues. I am a Christian not because I have it all together but because I need Jesus desperately.

You write about sex and porn and lust — you don’t really hold back. Were there parts you struggled to write or that were particularly uncomfortable?

Yeah, I mean, I know I’m going to get some emails this week saying, “Hey this may have been a little too real for my teenager,” but these are issues that, especially when you begin to talk about porn, plague us as a culture. It is very rare for me to meet a young man, Christian or not, who hasn’t at some point or is presently looking at porn regularly. And I thought, if I’m writing a book for young people, I cannot not address this particular issue because it’s such an epidemic for us, and something that so many of us struggle with, something that I struggled with in the past.

And then thinking of sex and temptation, I mean that’s such a huge thing for us while we’re young, even more than when we get older. So I just didn’t see a way that I could write an honest book that tried to speak to the unique challenges of following Jesus while we’re young without touching on those topics. And I think, because we don’t have a lot of honest discussion about those things, I think those will end up being some of the chapters that help people the most, because we try to ignore it like it doesn’t exist sometimes, and I don’t think that’s a helpful way to move forward.

Trip

I saw you perform at BET Music Matters in New York. What’s it like when a guy on stage before you is rapping about strip clubs and then you come on and rap about Jesus?

I love that stuff, man, I love that. I love when I get to do at a church and everybody there’s a professing Christian, but I love doing stuff like BET Music Matters because it’s an opportunity for people who normally wouldn’t be exposed to it. I love that, because one, their brain explodes for a second. Because they think Christians could not possibly be good rappers. They’re assuming that I’m about to come up there in choir robes and my rap name is going to be Kanye Blessed and it’s going to be something real corny.

Then I love the fact that they’re getting exposed to something different even if they weren’t expecting it. It’s an opportunity for me to be a light in places where there’s often not a lot of light.

There’s much written about Millennials leaving the church. Why do you think that is — and what do you think the church can do there?

There is one chapter where I talk about this very briefly in the book. It’s a chapter about going deep with God. I think one of the reasons so many people leave is because they’ve only been given really shallow ideas of the faith. When the only thing you know is “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so,” and when you’re only around people who also believe that, it’s not really challenged. But then people go off to college and then they’re getting challenged in class and they’re being exposed to other things, and because no one’s ever helped them to dive deep into scripture, they’re not firmly rooted. Some don’t really even understand what the gospel is, so it’s very easy to be knocked over. It’s nice to give folks pizza and high fives, but that’s not going to be enough if we want to give them the kind of faith that will be sustained.

We’re also just at a time in culture where it’s not respectable as much to be a serious Christian anymore. So, I think what it’s going to take is just the regular thing that God calls Christians to do in the Word: to love people and to tell them the good news about Jesus.

Can you talk about the Christian rapper label?

It’s so funny to me this has become such a huge conversation because normally this is almost always a question that we’re asked, not that we bring up most of the time. I want people to see me as a rapper. It’s very clear I’m a Christian from the way that I live my life and the music that I do — you hear it in my music. I just don’t want people to think of Christian hip-hop as its own genre, like there’s regular hip-hop and then there’s this hip-hop over here for church people.

Instead, I want people to say, ok, here’s a rapper. Is his music dope? Ok, I’ll check it out. And he’s coming from a particular perspective in his worldview. I just don’t want people to put it in a corner somewhere like it’s its own genre. I do hip-hop. I’m a Christian man. So that’s going to be clear in my music. So I think it gives people an idea about the music that’s not true. That’s why I don’t prefer it.

Rappers don’t know what to make of you guys and some Christians don’t know what to make of you guys. You’re kind of stuck in the middle.

Exactly. I think it’s ok to be kind of stuck in the middle. That means we get to carve out our own trail, which in some ways is cool, because there’s nobody who does it quite like we have.

All of you avid Hillsong United followers will know and love this song already. It is called Oceans (Where Feet May Fail). It is a beautiful and breath-taking song. Not only is the music a masterpiece, but the lyrics paint a vivid picture of the way Peter felt when he walked on water. Here is the story if you do not know it…

Matthew 14:25-33

25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”  28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

There are a couple things I get from this story. The first is that Peter had the faith and trust in God to walk out on the water… WOW. That is scary and intimidating and unknown. And of course he walked out into a storm. It was windy and the waves were coming from all directions, but he still decided to take a step of faith trusting that God was going to guide his steps. I felt like this most times in Years past. I felt like I was walking into something scary, intimidating, and unknown. So I had to trust God with all my heart and know that He was going to take care of me along the way. Are you taking a step of faith towards God’s will for your life? Are you trusting him as you walk on the uneven water?

oceans-2

The second thing I get from this story is that when Peter walked amongst the waves and the wind, for a split second, he lost sight of Jesus. He lost sight of the one who was keeping him above the waves, and that is the moment he started sinking. But as soon as Jesus came back into Peter’s vision, Peter was lifted to the place of calm and security again. Are you keeping your eyes on Jesus? Are you keeping your gaze above the waves? If this is true in your life, then your persective should be shifted. You are no longer focused on the scary-intimidating-unknown around you, but you are focused on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ.

Put yourself in Peter’s situation… ask yourself some hard questions…

Firstly, I hope Goodluck Jonathan had a great cup of coffee or whatever his enemies say he drinks as he watched Bukola Saraki sitting in the dock. That should be the price of disloyalty.

According to Dwight Eisenhower, there is a difference between honest dissent and disloyal subversion. Saraki subverted PDP.

If not for Saraki and the PDP Governors that decamped, APC would never have smelt the seat of power, so, I couldn’t care less, really. And I love what Steward Jonsen wrote: Who got into the dock first- Bukola or Jonathan?

Secondly, what PMB is doing is good for our democracy. Let people know they will account
for their actions- whether it happened in 2003 or 2013.

Thirdly, even though I’m fully in support of this prosecution, I also know this prosecution is a sincere persecution. We all know that if Saraki had belonged to the right side, the powers that be, would have conveniently forgotten that he ‘wrongly’ filled a form in 2003.
If he had worshipped at the temple of Asiwaju, his British passport would never have shown
up on Sahara Reporters. His case file would have gone missing the same way Fashola’s contract awards got missing on Lagos State’s website.

It is actually a witch hunt. The only difference is that Saraki may truly be a witch. So then, he has a choice to bow or to burn.

Fourthly, nothing is going to come out of this charade. It is simply a telenovela, a short-running soap full of intrigues and comedy. The
final episode has been written already. It’s a Nollywood film but it’s not going to be a block
buster. It will end similarly to AY’s dry and predictable ’30 days in Atlanta’. Many people will hiss the way I hissed after seeing the over-hyped movie.

If you think Saraki can be removed this way, perish the thought. Bukola Saraki is more
politically savvy than most people give him credit for. Be careful of the man who betrayed his father and sent him to political Siberia. The older Saraki never recovered. He went down to the grave in disbelief. The old fox was outfoxed.

Bukola is Absalom. Absalom cannot be killed by deceitful wiles or snares set by human beings. Absalom knows how to fight. Absalom had watched his father fight from when he was small. Absalom grew up with a spear in his hands. Those who should know said that Bukola Saraki sponsored either in part or whole those who are in the Senate for the first time- irrespective of party or regional affiliation. He has a bunch of serious loyalists and you could
see that in the number of people who followed him to the CCT. Even Kwara State was shut down.

Has it ever occurred to anyone why Saraki did not appear last Friday? It was not the fear of being docked or put in jail over the weekend- like so many erroneously thought. And I know
he knew the Appeal Court would not rule in his favour. But he needed time. To negotiate and
sort things out. And that is what he got between Friday and Tuesday when he appeared. Time! Time! So much happened between that Friday and Monday.

Head or tail, APC loses. If Saraki is booted out by chance, who heads the Senate? Ike Ekweremadu!

And this is the first time I’m seeing a party in power being in opposition to itself. There is nowhere APC can push Saraki
to- he belongs to them warts and all. APC cannot accept the good and reject the bad. He is their burden and responsibility and they must live with it.

:::Culled:::