Super User

Super User

On Wednesday, September 6, the Presidential Election Petitions Court, PEPC, delivered judgement in the petitions filed by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Peter Obi and the Labour Party, and the Allied Peoples Movement, APM, challenging the declaration of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, winner of the February 25 presidential poll.

It is instructive that the ruling came exactly on the day the respondent, Bola Tinubu, marked his 100th day in office as President. It is also worth noting that as the judgement was being delivered in Abuja, Tinubu who ordinarily should be in the eye of the storm, was in far-away New Delhi, India, where he is representing Nigeria on an observer status at the summit of the group of 20 most industrialised nations, G20, the premier forum for international economic cooperation, on the invitation of the incumbent chairman, Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India.

I doubt if there is any Nigerian who was in doubt what the outcome of the case would be. Before he left Nigeria for India on Monday, Tinubu’s spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, told Nigerians that his principal was “not worried” about the outcome of the court matter. The braggadocio of the Tinubu loyalists in the week leading up to the judgement day pointed to the fact that they were sure of the outcome.

As the PEPC was delivering its judgement on Wednesday, a friend of mine, a senior lawyer, sent me a text enquiring if I was watching it on television. He said the judges couldn’t even have done a better job as defence attorneys. I asked him if the judiciary can ever be redeemed and his answer was a categorical No!

I was saddened. Make no mistake about it. I have never believed that Nigerian courts are capable of delivering justice particularly in matters of high-octane political value like this one. So, I was not saddened because I was disappointed. No! But to realise that many lawyers are increasingly losing faith in the ability of the courts to deliver justice is a bad omen.

I have had discussions in recent times with many politicians who have been in courts either defending their “mandates” as declared by the electoral umpire or trying to retrieve their alleged “stolen mandates”. It has been a tale of woes on both sides. The only determinant factor is money – loads of money.

But the outcome of this case should worry any well-meaning Nigerian because it impugns on our so-called democracy. For democracy to be “government of the people, by the people, for the people” as former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, noted in his famous Gettysburg address on November 19, 1863, the votes of the people must be the sole determinant of who gets elected. That is not the case in Nigeria, as indeed it is not in many other African countries, where elections are not free and fair.

In every milieu where might is right, and those who are powerful can do what they wish unchallenged, even if their action is, in fact, unjustified, woe betides anyone who stands in their way. That is clearly the case with our dear country where a few people have totally captured the state. There is everything wrong with our democracy. In a country where there is no difference between private and public purse, swearing in “winners” of a contentious election before the final determination is made in court is injurious not only to the so-called losers but the Nigerian state itself.

All the odds are against the petitioners. Attempt by the National Assembly in 2014 to make a law that would make the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, take the responsibility of proving the conduct and regularity of elections in the country before the election petitions tribunal or the court failed. If that Bill had scaled through, the resultant Act would have placed the burden of proof on the INEC, instead of the litigants. It would have also reduced the difficulties petitioners normally face while trying to get the necessary documentary evidence in support of their petitions.

In their ruling, yesterday, the five Justices blamed the petitioners for not producing enough evidence of electoral malfeasance even when they were well aware that the Mahmoud Yakubu-led INEC blatantly refused to avail them those documents, flagrantly disobeying the Tribunal’s order. While the alleged losers who, for all I care, may indeed be the winners are further stretched financially in courts, those that have been declared winners, who may indeed be the losers, make use of public funds in defending their “mandates” in court.

Not only that, they deploy the resources of the state – human and material – maximally. As it is the case in this instant case, Tinubu has been using the enormous privileges and powers conferred on him by the office of the presidency to consolidate power and entrench himself. He sacked the Service Chiefs and appointed his loyalists. In a country where the military swear allegiance to the President rather than the Constitution, and are only interested in regime protection rather than protection of the Nigerian state, wielding the coercive powers of the state makes all the difference.

Immediately the PEPC announced the judgement date, the Department of State Services, DSS, issued an ominous warning against anyone who may have the appetite to protest the ruling. Before Tinubu jetted out to India, he had a meeting with all the Service Chiefs behind closed doors. The military top brass came out of the meeting to warn would-be “troublemakers”.

While the petitioners were finding it difficult to make a headway in the case, the President was busy making juicy appointments and dispensing political patronages. Lateef Fagbemi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, one of Tinubu’s lawyers at the tribunal, is now the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice. Even presidential candidates of some political parties are seriously lobbying Tinubu for a slice of the national cake and pledging their unalloyed loyalty.

I doubt if there is any Nigerian who sincerely believed that the PEPC will sack Tinubu. And yesterday’s judgement will only be a fait accompli at the Supreme Court should the petitioners decide to go on appeal. Those who insist that what happened at the Tribunal on Wednesday is evidence that Nigeria is still groping in the dark, may not be wrong after all. Someone quipped: “After seeing this, do you still want to waste time on Nigeria’s judiciary and questionable politicians?” Some do but I don’t. Tinubu has wangled his way to the presidency and used the judiciary to legitimise his position. 

Ours is a democracy where the people have no say. As a pall of silence descends on Nigeria once again as it was the case when Yakubu declared the presidential election result in the wee hours of the morning when most people were asleep, highly distraught but subdued Nigerians will pick the pieces of their lives and move on. But I foresee danger. Aside Nigerians like myself who have vowed never to vote again in any Nigerian election and the attendant voter apathy, those who are still foolhardy to throw their hat into the electoral ring may decide that henceforth every electoral battle must be waged, won or lost at the polling booth rather than waiting for INEC to make a declaration and embark on a wild goose chase at the courts. When the judiciary wittingly or unwillingly takes the role of democracy undertakers, that is a recipe for anarchy!

IQ (intelligence quotient) tests aren't the only way to measure intelligence. For one, these tests evaluate specific skills like memory, logic, and problem-solving. But that doesn't encompass all kinds of intelligence or measure people's overall abilities. After all, intelligence is a broad topic and psychologists study it from many different angles.

One interesting find is the Dunning-Kruger effect. Essentially, people with low abilities tend to overestimate their competence while smart people often underestimate their brain power. So if someone is unsure about their level of intellect, it may indicate that they are smarter than they might think. At the very least, they are introspective and aware of their own limitations. Remember, intelligence isn't all about test scores. It can appear in all areas of life, sometimes in very surprising ways.

8 Types of Intelligence 

"A highly intelligent person is one who is flexible in their thinking and can adapt to changes, they think before they speak or act, and they're able to effectively manage their emotions," Dr. Catherine Jackson, licensed clinical psychologist and board certified neurotherapist. "In short, they possess several different types of intelligence, including but not limited to intellectual, social, and emotional intelligence." [2]

While some experts maintain the validity of the IQ test, some believe it can't fully measure intelligence since there are too many facets of it. Psychologist and professor Howard Gardner proposed the now-popular theory that there are eight types of intelligence:

  1. Logical – This involves the ability to logically analyze, as well as skills in math and scientific investigation.
  2. Interpersonal – Also known as social intelligence. It helps people understand and positively interact with others.
  3. Intrapersonal – This is the ability to reflect and understand oneself. It can overlap with self-awareness.
  4. Naturalist – Good recognition and classifications of different elements of nature.
  5. Musical – This is the skill of performing, composing, and appreciating music.
  6. Spatial – This is the awareness of how to use large space and smaller patterns.
  7. Linguistic – This refers to having strong abilities to use language effectively, whether written or spoken.
  8. Bodily-kinesthetic – Also known as the ability to use the body to create and problem-solve. [2]

You may already resonate with some items here. But if you are still unsure, exploring the following list of traits and abilities may help you understand what types of intelligence you have and where your strengths lie.

8 Signs You Have High Intelligence

You have a strong sense of self 

There are many keys to having self-awareness, and one of them is your perception of yourself when it comes to your goals, values, characteristics, abilities, and other defining traits. People who have a strong sense of self often feel secure in their identities, know their strengths and weaknesses, and are confident to make choices based on their beliefs.  Even then, it may take further work for people to feel comfortable setting boundaries, expressing themselves, and making choices that aligns with their values. Overall, self-discovery is a long journey but when people make noticeable progress, it's a sign of high intelligence. 

You're empathetic

Empathy is a main principle of emotional intelligence, and for good reason. This kind of intelligence involves acknowledging and understanding one's own emotions, but empathy takes that further by becoming aware of what others are feeling. People can use empathy to notice others' emotions through their behavior, body language, or tone of voice. Also, people use empathy to consider and accept others' experiences and opinions, even when they don't share them personally. It could also help with communication skills, managing impulses, controlling conflicts, and understanding how one's behavior affects those around them. If that doesn't sound like you, don't worry. Empathy isn't something innate; it's a skill people develop through learning about others and actively showing concern for them.

You value solitude

Now, don't think that intelligent people are antisocial loners. Instead, they could have a wide social network, socialize regularly, and cherish their loved ones. But they also value their alone time to recharge, introspect, and pursue personal interests and projects. Self-awareness also comes into play here. People with this trait can figure out the balance of being social and being alone. For instance, they'll know how to pace themselves so they won't feel burned out by accidentally booking too many social events at once. And they'll ensure they'll go out and recharge socially before they're stuck in a rut or feel too isolated. 

You're curious

Curious people love exploring, whether it comes to new languages, cultures, books, art, and experiences in general. They don't settle for the simple explanations; instead, they'll keep digging deeper and keep an open mind as they learn and ask questions. Concepts and inventions that most take for granted, curious people want to understand more about. They do not struggle to admit they don't know something because they are more focused on learning than pretending to be knowledgable. But their eagerness to learn is indicative of true intelligence. 

You have good observation skills

Sherlock Holmes is a famous genius known for his deduction skills. Now, his abilities are often depicted like a superpower but nonfictional people can also be keen observers. "In a world where people talk to prove who they are, highly intelligent people are the opposite," Jackson says.

Observation is a skill that can be developed and it suggests intelligence. It can come in the form of good awareness of surroundings, strong attention to detail, and an eye for patterns. People with strong empathy may use their observation skills to pick up on the behavior and emotions of others. 

You have a good memory

Working memory refers to the ability for people to store specific pieces of information and recall them to help with present experiences. For some people, this may come in the form of remembering faces, names, and lists. For others, this appears as good body memory. This means people can recall movement patterns and repeat them. For example, they could pick up on a dance routine fairly easily or they could navigate their way to a specific location even though they've only been there once a couple years ago.

You know your limits

Intelligent people don't believe they know everything. They also don't pretend that they do. Instead, they reflect on their own limitations and flaws and try to improve them. "If they can't do something they don't try and act as if they can," Jackson says. "Instead they know their limits and can admit it. This allows them to be open to learning more from others and/or situations." It also allows them to ask for help when they need it.

You're adaptable

Life throws curveballs to everyone but some people catch them more easily than others. Adaptability is the skill that helps individuals adjust to new or changing situations. It often links to resilience, the ability to recover from difficult events. People with this kind of intelligence may be unafraid of change and uncertainty, since they know they can bounce back. They may be able to keep trying even after continuous failures. 

"Rather than being rigid about what must happen, they remain mentally flexible, open-minded, and can easily adjust to life, no matter what gets throw their ways," Jackson says. Facing adversity with a sense of humor is another sign of intelligence, since studies have connected an appreciation of dark humor with creativity and intellect.


Secret Life of Mom

Thursday, 07 September 2023 03:45

PEPC upholds Tinubu's presidential victory

Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC) on Wednesday rejected challenges by opposition rivals to Bola Tinubu's win in February's disputed vote, following a pattern seen in previous election years in Africa's most populous country.

No legal challenge to the outcome of a presidential election has succeeded in Nigeria, which returned to democracy in 1999 after three decades of almost uninterrupted military rule and has a history of electoral fraud.

Atiku Abubakar of the People's Democratic Party and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, who came second and third respectively, had asked the court to cancel the election, alleging irregularities.

Justices of the five-member tribunal, taking turns to read out judgements for more than 11 hours, rejected Atiku and Obi's individual petitions point-by-point.

Haruna Tsammani said Obi's petition was "unmeritorious" and had "not led any credible evidence sufficient enough" to back claims of irregularities.

Tsammani said Atiku's allegations of vote fraud were "so lame" and dismissed his argument that Tinubu was not qualified to run for president.

"The petitions are hereby dismissed," said Tsammani.

Obi and Atiku, who were not in court, could not be immediately reached for comment. Obi's Labour Party in a statement rejected the judgment and said it would announce its next steps after a meeting with lawyers.

In a statement from India where he is preparing to take part in the G20 summit, Tinubu welcomed the tribunal ruling and urged his rivals and their supporters to support his government.

European Union observers had said in June that the elections were marred by problems including operational failures and a lack of transparency that reduced public trust in the process.

Atiku and Obi can appeal to the country's Supreme Court to strike down the tribunal's ruling. Any appeal must be concluded within 60 days of the date of the tribunal judgment.

While favourable to Tinubu, the tribunal's ruling was unlikely to generate any particular euphoria or momentum for the president after an election marked by record low turnout of 29%.

In a nation of more than 200 million people of whom 87 million were registered to vote, Tinubu garnered just 8.79 million votes, the fewest of any president since the return to democracy, limiting the goodwill towards him.



Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has approved an increase in the prices of prepaid electricity meters.

NERC made the announcement on Tuesday in a circular marked NERC/2023/020, and jointly signed by Sanusi Garba, the commission’s chairman and Dafe Akpeneye, its commissioner, legal, licencing, and compliance.

The commission said a single-phase meter will now cost N81,975.16k, instead of the previous price of N58,661.69k.

Similarly, the price of a three-phase meter was increased to N143,836.10k from N109,684.36k.

According to the NERC, the new charges will take effect from Wednesday, September 6, 2023.

The agency said it increased the costs of the meters to ensure fair and reasonable pricing of meters to both meter asset providers (MAP) and end-user customers.

The commission said the price increase would aid MAPs’ ability to recover reasonable costs associated with meter procurement and maintenance, ensuring that their pricing structure allowed for a viable return on investment.

The approved meter prices are exclusive of value-added tax (VAT), NERC added.

“The approved meter prices are also inclusive of the revised Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (“NEMSA”) sealing cost,” the notice reads.

“All MAPs shall adjust their prices to reflect the approved rates. All Maps shall supply meters previously paid for by end-use customers prior to the commencement of this Order at the prevailing rate when payment was made by the customers without additional increase in cost.”

In addition, NERC directed all electricity distribution companies and MAPs to develop/implement customer enlightenment campaigns on the price review along with a schedule for the implementation of their meter-rollout plans.

The federal government had, in November 2021, announced the price hike of prepaid meters for single-phase meters and three-phase meters.


The Cable

The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, has said that public spending in the country is among the lowest globally.

He said this while delivering the keynote address at the annual banking and finance conference in Abuja on Tuesday.

His presentation noted that “Nigeria’s government capital expenditures are the lowest globally.”

According to Chaudhuri, “Public spending by the Nigerian government, both the federal and subnational levels, have been very low.”

He added that government spending is insufficient to close the infrastructure gap.

His presentation document read, “At the current rate of capital spending, it would take 300 years to close Nigeria’s infrastructure gap.”

The World Bank leader for Nigeria also noted that public investment spending in Nigeria lags those in other countries like Indonesia, Ghana, Egypt, and Kenya, and this has led to poor quality of and access to infrastructure.

Chaudhuri also said that government revenues are one of the lowest in the world between 2015 and 2021, and low revenues are the key risk to fiscal and debt sustainability.

He further noted that access to finance is abysmally low, which further restricts the private sector’s ability to invest, grow, and generate jobs.

Chaudhuri emphasised that for Nigeria to achieve steady growth and prosperity, both federal and state governments must take critical steps to ensure the country’s security, political stability, and the rule of law.

The bank also called on authorities to invest in human capital, particularly in children, unleash the potential of private investment, promote job creation, and ensure access to finance.

Also, at the conference, some stakeholders reiterated the need for the financial sector to make deliberate efforts towards increasing its contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Bagudu, challenged the financial sector to move from 3.6 to about nine per cent growth of GDP.

Bagudu said, “To grow Nigeria’s economy, we must empower our youthful population and this can only be achieved by having an inclusive and sustainable financial services industry, adding that the biggest threat to retaining our best brains today is emigration and our country’s talent is being sought after in the more developed countries in Europe and North America.

‘’Emigration is a personal choice for the person and his family, our country cannot and will not forcefully stop anyone from legally pursuing their dreams and ambitions. If they choose to leave Nigeria, all we can ask is for them to be good ambassadors for our country in their adopted homes.”

Also, the acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Folashodun Shonubi, said the sector’s economic contribution to the nation was low and needed improvement.

“Can we promise them that instead of 3.6 per cent, we will be contributing a lot more than that. And we will sit down and find what the drivers are that we can influence and do.

“I don’t want to put a number in front of us but it is what I will like to see at the end of the conference. I don’t think we contribute a lot of ourselves, we as bankers need to be more conscious, a bit more active on advocacies that are actionable,” he said.

Similarly, the Chairman, Body of Banks’ CEOs, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, urged for a deliberate effort by stakeholders towards growing the country’s economy.

He said, “We have enormous potential, the biggest potential we have is in our market. Our market is depleted by the number of people we have.

In his remarks, President of the Chattered Institute of Bankers, Ken Opara said the event which has grown to become the largest gathering of banking and finance professionals in Africa, provides the platform for professionals to come together to drive conversation on topical issues that are critical to the growth of the Nigerian economy.

He praised the reform initiatives of President Bola Tinubu, noting that “the reform initiatives such as subsidy removal, unifying the foreign exchange regime, investing in infrastructure, promoting agriculture, supporting SMEs and tax reforms, among others, if well implemented will unlock the economic potentials of the country.”



Thursday, 07 September 2023 03:43

What to know after Day 560 of Russia-Ukraine war


Russian attack kills 17 in east Ukraine as Blinken visits Kyiv, officials say

At least 17 people were killed and 32 wounded in a Russian attack on a crowded market in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kostiantynivka on Wednesday as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Kyiv, Ukrainian officials said.

Footage circulated online by presidential officials showed people falling to the ground or running for cover after a huge explosion in front of them, seconds after some looked up to the sky when they heard what sounded like a missile approaching.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy condemned the attack, saying a market, shops and a pharmacy had been struck in the industrial city close to the battlefield.

"This Russian evil must be defeated as soon as possible," Zelenskiy said on the Telegram messaging app.

"When someone in the world still attempts to deal with anything Russian, it means turning a blind eye to this reality. The audacity of evil. The brazenness of wickedness. Utter inhumanity."

He later told a press conference in the capital Kyiv that he believed it had been a deliberate attack on "a peaceful city".

Reuters video footage after the attack showed shattered store fronts, gutted cars and a street littered with debris and twisted metal. Emergency services picked through the rubble.

"I only saw a flash and then shouted to my colleagues: 'Lie on the floor. All the customers lay down on the floor ... I heard things falling over, then everything was covered in smoke and fire started," said Diana Khodak, an employee of a pharmacy hit in the attack.

"One woman walked into the pharmacy on her own. Her arm and leg were bleeding, she had a big wound on her arm. Another woman was carried inside by soldiers. She had an open fracture and her bone was sticking out from her leg," Khodak said.

Kostiantynivka, which had a population of about 70,000 before Russia's invasion 18 months ago, is about 30 km (19 miles) from the devastated city of Bakhmut, where fighting has been heavy for months.

It is about 560 km from Kyiv, where Blinken met Zelenskiy and other Ukrainian leaders on a visit intended to show support for Ukraine against Russia's invasion.

Blinken said Ukraine had made important progress in its three-month-old counteroffensive against Russian forces and announced a new package of U.S. wartime assistance worth more than $1 billion.

Russia did not immediately comment on the attack, and has denied deliberately targeting civilians. The Kremlin had earlier on Wednesday said of Blinken's visit that Moscow believed Washington planned to continue funding Ukraine's military "to wage this war to the last Ukrainian".


Wednesday's strike followed a series of Russian attacks on cities in eastern Ukraine in which civilian infrastructure has been hit, including a popular cafe, a hotel and shops.

It also followed air strikes hours earlier on Kyiv and the southern region of Odesa. No casualties were reported in the capital but officials said one person was killed in the Odesa region.

Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said the search and rescue operation in Kostiantynivka had been completed.

"As of 18:00 (1500 GMT) 17 people were killed and 32 were injured as a result of Russian shelling," he said.

Police said the market had been crowded when it was hit at around 2 p.m. (1100 GMT), and that nearly 30 shopping kiosks, an apartment block, a bank and cars were damaged.

A video released by police showed rescuers searching through the kiosks and, as bodies were taken out in black sacks, people shouting: "Who have you found?"

The video also showed the pharmacy, its floor covered in blood.

"At the moment of the strike civilians were here, they were buying medicines and this is what happened. People died here, the entire floor is covered in blood," a police spokeswoman is heard saying in the video.



Russia’s Aerospace Force hits Ukrainian saboteur training base — defense ministry

The Russian Aerospace Force has carried out a night-time strike with high accuracy weapons on a training base of Ukraine’s sabotage groups, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a daily bulletin of the special military operation.

"Last night, the Aerospace Force launched a group strike with long-range high accuracy weapons on a training base of Ukraine’s sabotage groups. The goal of the strike was achieved," it stressed.

Here are the details of this and other combat actions that happened over the past day, according to the bulletin.

Donetsk area

The Russian forces repulsed ten Ukrainian army attacks in the Donetsk area, eliminating roughly 285 enemy troops over the past day in the special military operation in Ukraine, the Defense Ministry reported.

"In the Donetsk direction, units of the Battlegroup South operating jointly with aircraft and artillery repulsed ten attacks by assault groups of the Ukrainian army’s 80th air assault, 110th mechanized and 59th motorized infantry brigades in areas near the settlements of Kleshcheyevka, Orekhovo-Vasilyevka, Khimik, Neveleskoye and Maryinka in the Donetsk People’s Republic [DPR]," the ministry said in a statement.

The enemy lost "as many as 285 Ukrainian personnel, a tank, two infantry fighting vehicles, five motor vehicles, a Gvozdika motorized artillery system, a Rapira gun and a UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] control post," the ministry specified.

South Donetsk area

The Russian armed forces have destroyed up to 180 Ukrainian servicemen, as well as five tanks in the South Donetsk area, the Russian Defense Ministry reported.

According to the ministry, the Battlegroup East has repelled an attack of the 38th Ukrainian mechanized brigade in Novodonetskoye of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

"In addition, the Russian units hit the enemy manpower and equipment near the DPR’s Urozhaynoye and Novodonetskoye. The enemy lost: over 180 servicemen, five tanks, two armored fighting vehicles, two cars, a Polish-made Krab self-propelled artillery system, a Gvozdika self-propelled artillery system and a D-20 howitzer," the ministry added.

Zaporozhye area

The Russian forces operating in the Zaporozhye Region have repelled four Ukrainian attacks near Verbovoye and Rabotino, so there have been no changes in the tactical position of the Russian troops, the Defense Ministry told the media.

"In the Zaporozhye area, Russian troops, supported by aviation, artillery and heavy flamethrower systems, repelled four enemy attacks in the areas of Verbovoye and Rabotino in the Zaporozhye Region. There have been no changes in the tactical position of the Russian troops," the Defense Ministry said.

Up to 40 Ukrainian servicemen, one tank, two armored fighting vehicles, two pickup trucks, two US-made M777 artillery systems, three US-made M109 Paladin self-propelled howitzers, a British-made FH-70 gun, two Msta-B howitzers, two D-30 howitzers and two Gvozdika self-propelled artillery systems were destroyed in this area in one day.

Kupyansk area

The Russian Battlegroup West, involved in the special military operation, over the past 24 hours improved tactical positions in the area of Sverdlovka in the Lugansk People’s Republic, the Russian Defense Ministry told the media.

"In the Kupyansk area, units of the Battlegroup West with the support of aviation and artillery conducted active defense operations to improve the tactical situation in the area of Sverdlovka in the Lugansk People’s Republic," the Defense Ministry said.

Two counterattacks by assault groups of Ukraine’s 95th Airborne Assault Brigade were repulled near Sergeyevka in the LPR.

"During the past day the enemy lost up to 40 men, 2 vehicles, one self-propelled artillery piece M109 Paladin of US manufacture, as well as a D-30 howitzer," the Defense Ministry said.

Krasny Liman area

The Russian forces wiped out roughly 50 Ukrainian troops as they repelled two Ukrainian attacks in the Krasny Liman direction in the past day, the Russian Defense Ministry reported.

"In the Krasny Liman area, the Battlegroup Center, in cooperation with aviation and artillery, repelled two attacks by assault teams of Ukraine’s 12th Special Operations Brigade and 63rd Mechanized Brigade near the locality of Chervonaya Dibrova in the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) and Serebryanka forestry, eliminating roughly 50 Ukrainian soldiers with accurate fire," the ministry said in a report.

Kherson area

The Russian armed forces have eliminated up to 65 Ukrainian servicemen in the Kherson area, the Russian Defense Ministry reported.

"In the Kherson area, the Russian units destroyed up to 65 Ukrainian servicemen, two cars and a Msta-B howitzer," the statement said.

Russia’s tactical and army aviation as well as artillery and missile troops have delivered strikes on the Ukrainian army’s personnel and hardware in 103 districts over 24 hours, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

"Tactical and army aviation, missile and artillery troops of Russia’s Armed Forces delivered strikes on the enemy manpower and military hardware in 103 districts," the statement said.

Russian air defense forces intercepted 12 rockets of the HIMARS and Uragan multiple launch rocket systems and shot down 17 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles in the past day during the special military operation in Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

"During the last 24-hour period, air defense capabilities intercepted 12 rockets of the HIMARS and Uragan multiple launch rocket systems," the statement said.

Additionally, radio-electronic warfare systems jammed and eliminated 17 Ukrainian drones near Makeyevka, Novonikolskoye, Melovatka in the Lugansk People’s Republic, Berestovoye in the Donetsk People’s Republic, Pshenichnoye, Semenovka in the Zaporozhye Region, Olshana in the Kharkov Region and Krynki in the Kherson Region.

In all, the Russian Armed Forces have destroyed 467 Ukrainian warplanes, 248 combat helicopters, 6,426 unmanned aerial vehicles, 435 surface-to-air missile systems, 11,696 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 1,148 multiple rocket launchers, 6,253 field artillery guns and mortars and 12,749 special military motor vehicles since the start of the special military operation in Ukraine.

Do I drop it in your venerable chambers

   Or carry the heavy booty to your immaculate mansion

Shall I bury it in the capacious water tank

    In your well laundered backyard

Or will it breathe better in the septic tank

     Since money can deodorize the smelliest crime

Shall I haul it up the attic

    Between the ceiling and your lofty roof

Or shall I conjure the walls to open up

    And swallow this sudden bounty from your honest labour

Shall I give a billion to each of your paramours

    The black, the light, the Fanta-yellow

They will surely know how to keep the loot

     In places too remote for the sniffing dog

Or shall I use the particulars

     Of your anonymous maidservants and manservants

With their names on overflowing bank accounts

     While they famish like ownerless dogs

Shall I haul it all to your village

     In the valley behind seven mountains

Where potholes swallow up the hugest jeep

     And Penury leaves a scar on every house

My lord

     It will take the fastest machine

Many, many days to count this booty; and lucky bank bosses

     May help themselves to a fraction of the loot

My lord

     Tell me where to keep your bribe?

My lord

     Tell me where to keep your bribe?

The “last hope of the common man”

     Has become the last bastion of the criminally rich

A terrible plague bestrides the land

     Besieged by rapacious judges and venal lawyers

Behind the antiquated wig

     And the slavish glove

The penguin gown and the obfuscating jargon

     Is a rot and riot whose stench is choking the land

Behind the rituals and roted rigmaroles

     Old antics connive with new tricks

Behind the prim-and-proper costumes of masquerades

      Corruption stands, naked, in its insolent impunity

For sale to the highest bidder

    Interlocutory and perpetual injunctions

Opulent criminals shop for pliant judges

     Protect the criminal, enshrine the crime

And Election Petition Tribunals

     Ah, bless those goldmines and bottomless booties!

Scoundrel vote-riggers romp to electoral victory

     All hail our buyable Bench and conniving Bar

A million dollars in Their Lordship’s bedroom

     A million euros in the parlor closet

Countless naira beneath the kitchen sink

     Our courts are fast running out of Ghana-Must-Gos*

The “Temple of Justice”

     Is broken in every brick

The roof is roundly perforated

     By termites of graft

My lord

     Tell me where to keep your bribe?

Judges doze in the courtroom

     Having spent all night, counting money and various “gifts”

And the Chief Justice looks on with tired eyes

     As Corruption usurps his gavel.

Crime pays in this country

     Corruption has its handsome rewards

Just one judgement sold to the richest bidder

     Will catapult Judge & Lawyer to the Billionaires’ Club

The Law, they say, is an ass

     Sometimes fast, sometimes slow

But the Law in Nigeria is a vulture

     Fat on the cash-and-carry carrion of murdered Conscience

Won gb’ebi f’alare**

     Won gb’are f’elebi***

They kill our trust in the common good

     These Monsters of Mammon in their garish gowns

Unhappy the land

     Where jobbers are judges

Where Impunity walks the streets

     Like a large, invincible Demon

Come Sunday, they troop to the church

     Friday, they mouth their mantra in pious mosques

But they pervert Justice all week long

     And dig us deeper into the hellish hole

Nigeria is a huge corpse

     With milling maggots on its wretched hulk

They prey every day, they prey every night

     For the endless decomposition of our common soul

My Most Honourable lord

     Just tell me where to keep your bribe.

* Large, extremely tough bags used for carrying heavy cash in Nigeria

** They declare the innocent guilty

*** They pronounce the guilty innocent

Anyone who has seen enough of Nigerian history and politics would have known beforehand how Wednesday would unfold. Despite all the build-up of anticipation in some quarters, the procedure of presidential electoral petition tribunals is standard: they deliver their judgment (expectedly in favour of the incumbent), analysts will dissect the verdict for days (maximum, a week), and all the while regular life will go on without missing a tempo. Every presidential election since 1999 has been a subject of litigation, and each has unfurled in virtually the same way. If the tribunal does not rule on substance, they will do so on technicalities. Either way, there was no dislodging an incumbent.

Going to the tribunal for Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party was thus tricky right from the start. There is virtually no reasonable person who did not see the defectiveness of the election. Nigerians saw it; foreign observers affirmed as much. Yet, going to court does not mean a receiver of stolen goods would be dispossessed of their loot. Presidential election petitions are adjudged, not based on the integrity of their conduct, but on the presumption that the declared winner would still have won despite the irregularities. Contesting an election in court, even when you are unsure of victory, does no more than officially register your discontent. If you do not formalise your grievance, the declared winner (and their followers) will take the acquiescence as proof of the legitimacy of the election. They would have publicly reasoned that if their opponents had any worthwhile evidence to the contrary, they would have challenged the results in the courts. At the same time, by litigating, contenders risk looking like bitter losers. My attitude to these things is that it does not matter either way, you might as well do it anyway.

Yet one wonders why this time feels so different that some members of the judiciary and government officials thought it was worth undercutting the public expectations one way or the other. Partisans would, of course, write off the dissidence of a section of the public as mere delusions but discerning minds will probe why people became overly invested in the election petition process even when our history is instructive enough. My thought is that what people are looking for is not just judgment but justice, a sense that what is wrong with the polity can still be righted. But what about the present political atmosphere making people look for a breakdown of the existing order?

Looking beyond Nigeria for a moment, one finds that the “miracle” of bringing an abrupt end to the existing oppressive political order that people wanted the presidential election tribunal to perform is what the coups springing up on the continent are currently achieving. There is a good reason no one, except political elites of course, is bemoaning the erosion of democracy in different parts of Africa where the military has taken over. The ousted President of Gabon, Ali Bongo, gave himself away as another out-of-touch-with-reality political elite when he made a video asking people to protest on his behalf. Other than himself and his cronies, for whom is the coup that has stripped him of his privilege and power a loss? Say what you choose about the abomination of coups, but they satiate the desire of those who want cosmic justice in a socio-political arrangement that does nothing more than diminish them. Take away the partisanship of religious and tribal sentiments in Nigeria, and you will find that most of us are similarly disillusioned.

That is because our politics no longer represent our political identities or aspirations. It has morphed into a monstrosity, feeding on our hopes, dreams, and collective potential, all the while acquiring a strength that makes it difficult to dislodge. That ordinary citizens saw judicial intervention as a means to end the present political arrangement suggests they are yearning for—as far as democratic institutions go anyway—a force of power that can upturn the ongoing oppressive order. I wonder if the judiciary, in writing Wednesday’s judgment, apprehended the nature of the discontent or this all was just for them a technical procedure of interpreting the law?

Judging by how retired Supreme Court judge Mary Odili tried to school everyone on the issue at a Sunday event, I am unsure this reads to them as anything more than what subsists in a day’s work. While speaking regarding the presidential election tribunal, she expressed hope that “when the seasons (of elections and attendant litigations) are gone, the court gets back to their natural and regular duties of adjudication regarding the affairs, and rights of all persons irrespective of their status in life.” Well, while the people her speech targeted will expectedly move past the verdict, the cynicism with which they have regarded the judiciary in the past months (and which culminated in the #AllEyesOnTheJudiciary campaign the government tried to repress) will keep corroding trust in the institution. There is really no “moving on” here.

Some other examples do not show that judicial officers are taking the public criticism they have received in good faith. In February for instance, when some critics took up the Supreme Court on some curious judgments it had delivered in recent times, the institution responded with an arrogant, condescending, and—unfortunately too—a tawdrily written piece that called the professionalism of that institution into judgment.

Roughly a month ago too, the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria ordered that the #AllEyesOnTheJudiciary billboards be pulled down. ARCON went as far as suspending top officials who approved the billboards and disbanding their unit. The overkill suggests that the moral pressuring the billboard sought to achieve was effective. The ARCON director-general who ordered the measures, Olalekan Fadolapo, claimed that the campaign is “considered a blackmail against the Nigerian judiciary, the presidential election petition tribunal and particularly the justices of the tribunal who are expected to discharge their judicial functions without fear or favour over a matter that is currently jus pendis.”

In a society where government agencies and officials routinely flaunt court directives, who really is in a better position to “blackmail” judges? Is it the faceless people who put up a billboard or those with actual political power who can cow judges to submission? Fadolapo must have been on vacation out of the planet when a senator, Adamu Bulkachuwa, stood up in the hollowed chamber of the National Assembly and indiscreetly confessed that, as Appeal Court president, his wife extended favours to his lawmaker colleagues.

Bulkachawa openly admitted what everyone knew all along: judicial outcomes are about the network of influence and not necessarily the law. Female judges, especially the ones married to politicians, are particularly vulnerable in this respect because there is a limit to which they can resist political pressure from their own husbands. Mrs Bulkachawa, of course, disowned her husband’s loose mouth but his unprompted statement already gave them away as influence peddlers.

In a country where the law is studiously observed that faux pas would end their careers. She would face a judicial panel, and every case she ever presided over would be subjected to review. In Nigeria, nothing happened. Mind you, the people who got away with such egregiousness are those Fadolapo thinks can be “blackmailed” by a mere billboard!

Rather than merely moving on, the judiciary owes it to itself to at least make some effort to understand that setting all eyes on the judiciary is a search for justice, for meaning, and for righteousness. Ignoring it will not make it go away. It just means a time will come when they take their eyes off the judiciary and become a law unto themselves.



Thursday, 07 September 2023 03:39

5 simple ways to be a more commanding speaker

Time- and experience-tested methods of improving your image and drawing more attention in meetings and other public settings.

Do you feel people at work aren't always paying attention when you speak, or that your word seems to carry less weight, even if you're right? Due principally to evolutionary factors, humans tend to respect and hold in higher regard those who portray strength, confidence and poise.

Here are methods I’ve found that can boost all those qualities in a public speaking setting.

1. Unqualified speech

“I feel like, maybe, we should try X instead of Y. Is that ok with you guys?”

Examine that sentence. How watered-down does it feel? It’s natural to be cautious about expressing an opinion, especially if it’s controversial or if there’s a high price for saying something wrong.

But consider this alternative statement: “Based on its merits, I believe X is a more cost-effective idea than Y.” In this version, a lot less doubt is conveyed and there’s both an evidence-based argument made and a specific motivating principle (i.e. cost) as the basis for your viewpoint. This balances concern of being wrong with the need for being more direct.

2. Active versus passive voice

As a listener, explore the differences between “The project is going pretty well” versus “Our team is executing the project very well.” By giving credit to the actor (the team) and not starting the sentence with the subject (the project), a sentence is made more dynamic, while also offering team kudos. The second statement is in the active voice, which adds to the power of speech generally. Passive voice, by contrast, is better used when we don’t want to point out people involved, and is often applied when something has gone wrong and/or an attempt is being made to protect someone from blame (but also not holding them accountable, which is a different problem).

3. Reducing fillers, and breathe

“Um.” “Uh.” “Like.” “So.” “Maybe.” Words like this are referred to as “fillers,” since they are taking up space that might otherwise be an awkward silencewhile we think of a response. Of course, everyone knows we should use fewer of these, but the question is how? One simple technique is to make yourself comfortable with that silence. Another is to go slow; when we speak too quickly, we outrun the speed at which our brain can conjure the next word. Finally, concentrate on breathing: Speaking is a physical activity as much as it is a mental one, and breathing deeply and regularly will result in stress reduction, and gives you an opportunity to consider the next statement.

4. Use shorter sentences and punchier keywords

This is a no-brainer. Including punchy phrases and sticking to the point helps an audience focus on the main ideas. Stuffing more words into a sentence is like putting more clutter on a table: the user can’t find what he or she is looking for. When it comes to keywords, emphasize the things that should be remembered — maybe even come up with slogans like “short lines, clear minds.” (See what I did there?)

5. Self-confidence

This factor seems like simple common sense: If you don’t believe in yourself, how can an audience? But again, the question is how to boost such a critical need?

First, wear smart clothing. It might seem superficial, but try giving a speech in a T-shirt and then do so again wearing a suit or pantsuit. Makes a world of a difference. Secondly, practice your stance and gestures in front of a mirror. Looking good is great, but moving great is even better. Keep your chest out and your back straight, with shoulders as broad as possible and feet as far apart as the shoulders. Finally, give the audience a smile (but no teeth) to put them at ease.

Lastly, remember what brought you to this point — all the hard work and hours you’ve put in and the accolades you’ve earned. You deserve to be here, no question about it. The audience genuinely wants to hear something good from you today, so give them great ideas and insights and show how much you believe in them. If you do, there’s a good chance they will, too.



There was heavy security deployment at the Presidential Election Petition Court and other flash points and dark spots in Abuja on Tuesday ahead of the delivery of the judgment on the election petitions challenging the election of President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday (today).

This was as the supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party standard bearer, Atiku Abubakar, Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, and President Tinubu awaited the verdict with earnest expectations.

In preparation for the judgment, scores of armed riot policemen, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, and other security operatives in plainclothes were deployed at strategic locations in the Federal Capital Territory in a bid to prevent a breach of law and order that might arise after the judgment.

The judgment will be delivered by the Chairman of the tribunal, Haruna Tsammani, assisted by other members of the panel-Stephen Adah, Monsurat Bolaji-Yusuf, Moses Ugo, and Abba Mohammed.

The proceedings will be held at the Court of Appeal, Three Arms zone, Abuja.

Chief Registrar, Court of Appeal headquarters, Umar Bangari, had disclosed in a statement on Monday that the tribunal verdict will be delivered on Wednesday and aired live on television stations.

This, he noted, was to promote transparency and openness and for Nigerians to watch the proceeding.

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, had on March 1 declared Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress as the president-elect after polling 8.8 million to defeat the PDP standard bearer, Atiku, who scored 6.9 million, the LP candidate, Obi, who polled 6.1 million and 15 other candidates.

However, five of the 18 political parties that participated in the elections challenged the outcome of the polls.

Besides the PDP and the LP, other aggrieved parties included the Action Alliance, Action People’s Party, and the Allied Peoples Movement.

The major contenders-Atiku and Obi asked the tribunal to nullify the ex-Lagos governor’s victory in the February 25 presidential election.

Ahead of the proceedings, the authorities Monday carried out heavy deployments of security personnel across the FCT.

At about 6.50 pm, truckloads of policemen were brought to the Court of Appeal, and the police vehicles were used to barricade the court entrance while several policemen were also patrolling the city in vehicles.

A police team was seen taking instructions from their superiors shortly after they were brought to the court premises.

A court worker noted that in the memo sent to the staff informing them not to come to work on Wednesday, it was stated that there would be a heavy presence of security operatives around the court premises.

The official said, “Part of the reason workers were told not to come tomorrow (today) was that there would be a heavy presence of security operatives in strategic locations at the court premise.’’

Our correspondent gathered that lawyers and litigants may be frisked before entering the courtroom while access to the premises would be tightly controlled.

Scores of agents were seen at strategic locations in the Three Arms Zone, Julius Berger, Area One, Wuse, and other parts of the city.

Police patrol vehicles were also seen moving around along the Federal Secretariat, Muhammadu Buhari Way, and Ladoke Akintola Boulevard.

Meanwhile, all major roads leading to the Court of Appeal would be also barricaded by the police before the court proceedings commence, it was gathered.

A senior security source revealed that the acting Inspector-General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, had ordered all police commands and formations across the country to secure all major hotspots under their jurisdictions to ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order.

It was further learnt that the police made both covert deployments of operatives and equipment across the nation, especially in Abuja and Lagos State.

The authorities were said to be concerned about a possible eruption of protests which may be instigated by disgruntled political elements.

“Everyone is concerned. The police, military, DSS, and others are concerned. There’s an ongoing strike, and the PEPT judgment is expected to be delivered tomorrow (Wednesday), which puts a lot of pressure on all security agencies.

“This is because some politicians and groups may want to use the opportunity to sponsor protests or cause violence if the PEPT judgment doesn’t favour them or their choice candidate,” a senior officer said.

In preparation for the possible aftermath of the judgment, the police said they had put in place all necessary deployments and security measures.

The force also disclosed that its officers and men were fully prepared to maintain order and enforce the laws while respecting the rights and freedoms of all citizens.

The Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumiyiwa Adejobi in a statement on Tuesday cautioned “mischief makers and political gladiators to be cautious in their actions and statements.”

The NPF further noted that it would not condone activities capable of inciting violence or causing a descent into anarchy, adding that all citizens must embrace peace and maintain calm, regardless of their political affiliations, to ensure a peaceful and secure environment.

Adejobi said, “In its bid to fortify security architecture and forestall any breakdown of law and order across the country as a result of the forthcoming Presidential Election Petition Tribunal Judgment scheduled to be passed on Wednesday, September 6, 2023, the Nigeria Police Force has strengthened its deployment across the length and breadth of Nigeria.

‘’The Police wish to reiterate the commitment to ensuring the safety of lives and property before, during, and after the judgment. The NPF has diligently emplaced all necessary deployments and security measures during this critical period as officers and men are fully prepared to maintain order and enforce laws while respecting the rights and freedoms of all citizens.

“Furthermore, the NPF strongly cautions all individuals, including mischief makers and political gladiators, to be cautious in their actions and statements as the Force will not condone activities capable of inciting violence or causing a descent into anarchy.

‘’It is imperative for all citizens to embrace peace and maintain calm, regardless of their political affiliations, to ensure a peaceful and secure environment. The Nigeria Police Force is dedicated to its duty of protecting and serving the Nigerian people and is committed to carrying out these roles with professionalism, impartiality, and utmost dedication. Together, we can ensure a peaceful and secure environment for all during this period.”



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