Hauwa Liman: Man’s inhumanity to man
So, Hauwa Liman is murdered after all! A mercy worker mercilessly cut down. It was the second of the killing of aid workers within a month. The Boko Haram insurgents carried out their threat despite national and international concerns and pleas. The acts are man’s inhumanity to man at its worst. There is another mercy worker still in their captivity as of now. Miss Liman, a midwife, and the one before her, Saifura Khorsa were both staffers of the world renowned humanitarian organization, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The third lady in the hold of the terrorists is Alice Loksha who works with UNICEF, the UN children’s agency.
These organizations are always present at the theatre of war or regions and plains of natural catastrophes. With abundant milk of human kindness flowing in their veins, the young ladies stepped forward courageously to give succour to victims of conflicts, to tend the sick and the needy.
The aid workers were seized in March when Boko haram terrorists raided the remote town of Rann in Borno State, the epicenter of the insurgency. During the raid they killed three aid workers and eight soldiers. President Buhari did well in promptly calling Mohammed Liman, father of Hauwa to express the nation’s revulsion over the killing which Lai Mohammed described as “dastardly, inhuman and ungodly.” Buhari also spoke reassuringly to Peter Maurer, president of the Red Cross. He praised the Red Cross for what he called their great work in providing healthcare services to victims of the insurgency. He urged them not to be discouraged nor give up despite the unfortunate and painful loss of their staff. According to Shehu Garba, his senior special assistant, he regretted that Hauwa’s commitment to helping victims of the insurgency ended in such a brutal manner.
All said, however, we cannot continue like this. Leah Shuaibu is there, her fate hanging in the balance. The Chibok girls, numbering more than 100, are still in captivity of Boko Haram for more than four years now. They are living with the horror of uncertainty of their daily living. Each day, they see death staring at them full in the face. Any misstep, any miscalculation, they are gone. They are pleasure objects of their captors. Many of them must have become mothers, a role for which they are least prepared. Just imagine for a while, babies being born in conditions deaths and bloodletting do not mean anything anymore. The babies are born into brutality and harm; they grow up living with it. Their fathers are merchants of deaths, brandishing weapons of horror on a daily basis. What becomes the future of such children and the future of Nigeria? Where are the girls now? Are they still being kept in Sambiza forest? Are they scattered?
The country really needs help. If we admit we do, why do we fight shy of contacting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the hawk? Incidentally his elder brother, Yonatan was the leader of the 100-man commandos that carried out the raid on Entebbe at the time of Idi Amin, the famous 90-minute raid on Entebbe –the Uganda Airport— to which Palestinian hijackers diverted a France-bound flight that took off from Tel Aviv on 26 June, 1976. The Air France had 248 passengers on board. They hijacked the flight pressing for the release of 40 Palestinians in Israeli prisons and 13 in four other countries in exchange for the hostages. The hijackers released 148 non-Israelis and held on to 94 Jews and the 12-member flight crew, making 106 hostages in the end. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin would take no such affront. He put Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, to work and by 04 July, the hostages were freed in the battle codenamed Operation Thunderbolt. There were four casualties altogether. What I am getting at is we must get these children back home to their parents at all costs and back to school from where they were abducted. Soothing as they may be, unceasing words of consolation to the parents do not endure as they are no substitute for the lives of the girls.
In the end there can be no running away from recognizing the danger in which the entire world has been plunged. It cannot be an exaggeration to say millions are perplexed by increasing chaos and confusion overtaking the world. There is bewilderment with fear as its inevitable accompaniment. Events and the harrowing experiences are not only intensifying but accelerating. They are what those who care see, observe, hear, read about and perceive—hourly, daily, weekly or yearly. The hurricane Florence that swept through America about two weeks ago brought serious storm gusts from Thursday to Sunday. In its trail it left 17 persons dead as it pounded everywhere from Virginia to New England. As all these bring distress and hopelessness, questions must necessarily arise: What is the cause of all this? Is there no one to stop the increasing distress and fear? Is the world sorrow and disaster bound? How can we banish sorrow and enthrone joy, happiness, peace and prosperity?
Leaders in politics and religions, scholars as well as concerned individuals, have over the ages pre-occupied themselves with the foregoing questions. The search for the answers has, in fact, been intensified today in the face of daunting problems and consequent helplessness confronting the world, nations and families. (See the next article below). This heightening restlessness and horror manifest in the explosion in the population of those seeking relief in political leaders who have surreptitiously cornered a huge junk of resources of their nation, those seeking support from charitable organizations, dare-devil resolve to cross the Mediterranean, and in those thronging prayer houses and crusade grounds. Only an insignificant few, it would appear, are seeking to know the truth behind it all. Is it true for example, that there is no justice in the world? Since there is such all-pervasive sorrow and despondency on the one hand and restlessness on the other, in practically all lands, is not possible that in spite of all efforts, within national frontiers and international organizations, the world has still not found the fundamental causes and the right answers? The Venezuela economy for instance is on the verge of total collapse with inflation galloping at a speed of 1000 per cent, like, if we recall the intractable inflation in Zimbabwe during Mugabe years. What then is the truth of the matter with our world? What lies behind it all?
The future is here!
A FRIEND forwarded the following to me, drawing my attention to what the future portends in the Real World. He credits the information to Wapda Administrative Staff College—Official. I seek the indulgence of readers to reproduce it verbatim.
“Just 17 years ago, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85 per cent of all photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they were bankrupt. This will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 years—and most people in those industries don’t see it coming.“It will happen with Artificial intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs. Software disrupting 90 per cent of traditional industries within 5-10 years. It is amazing to think that Uber is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world. Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties.
“In the US, young lawyers can’t get jobs. Because of IBM Watson, you can get legal advice within seconds, with 90 per cent accuracy compared with 70 per cent accuracy when done by humans. Watson already helps nurses diagnose cancer, 4 times more accurate than human nurses. Facebook has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.
“In 2019, the first self-driving cars will appear. By 2022 most of us won’t own a car any more. You will call a car with your phone; it will show up and drive you to your destination. Our kids will never get a driver’s licence, and will never own a car. Cities will have 90-95 per cent less cars, parking space can become parks. We now have one car accident every 60, 000 miles; autonomous driving will drop that to six million miles and save a million lives each year. Many car companies could become bankrupt. Without accidents, insurance will become 100 times cheaper; the car insurance business will disappear. Real estate will change, because working while you commute will enable people to live better further away.
“Cities will be less noisy because cars will be electric. Electricity will be cheap and clean: last year, more solar energy was installed worldwide than new fossil installations. The price for solar will drop so much that coal companies will be out of business by 2025. With cheap electricity comes cheap and abundant water. Desalination now only needs 2kWh per cubic meter. Imagine what will be possible if anyone can have as much clean water as they need, for nearly no cost.“One of the major beneficiaries will be health: There will be companies that will build a medical device called the “Tricorder”, that works with your phone, taking your retina scan, your blood sample and when you breathe into it, it analyses 54 biomarkers that will identify nearly any disease. It will be cheap, so in a few years, everyone on this planet will have access to world class medicine, nearly free.
“The future is already here.”
Indeed, it is here. And it is welcome. Mankind is taking yet new giant scientific strides. Like technological wonders before these which came and have been sweetly facilitating life, the new strides will undoubtedly fire our longing for a new world. Whether all this will teach us to live at peace with ourselves and our neighbours and banish sorrow and distress remains to be seen. Indeed, as it is revealed in higher knowledge, the master pieces for mankind are yet to come as indeed there are no inventions as such, but revelations. The revelations come from beyond the earthly shown to simple and natural people who receive in their dreams. Today, however, they are closed to the arrogant man!
Signs of things to come?
ONE thing we can hardly deny Atiku Abubakar is the gift of headhunting. As Vice-President, he head hunted Professor Charles Soludo, the wizkid who transformed our banks and put them on the path of predictability, sustainability and flourish, a notable figure and vibrant voice in Olusegun Obasanjo’s Economic Council. Atiku it was that attracted Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, two-time Minister of Finance. Such was her expertise that Jonathan could not help throwing her upstairs, as this in the corporate world, as the co-ordinating minister, a euphemism for Deputy Prime Minister, and Nasir el- Rufai who became Minister for Capital Territory and Abuja after a stint at Privatization Council of which Atiku was chairman. El-Rufai courageously, backed by Obasanjo, corrected the distortions brought on Abuja Masterplan. He brought orderliness to the development of Abuja to save it from becoming a slum. It was the administration under him that initiated the Abuja Metroline now in operation. He was fortunate he worked with Obj. who gave his ministers free hands. All you needed do was to bounce your ideas with him. Another person with the gift of spotting the right people for the right assignment is Bola Tinubu. Forget his peccadilloes. Professor Yemi Osinbajo was his Commissioner for Justice and the Attorney General who brought tangible reforms to the Lagos judiciary. Babatunde Fashola, the star Lagos State Governor whom Kayode Fayemi joyfully described as “the captain of our class” (the class of governors at the time), was his chief of staff as Lai Mohammed was. Indeed, Fashola succeeded Lai Mohammed. Tinubu’s cabinet boasted of Professor Idowu Sobowale, for education; financial guru Wale Edun; Dele Alake, a competent information gatekeeper and disseminator; Rauf Aregbesola, his task master; Femi Pedro from the bank as Deputy Governor; Architect Towrey and some more.
It was, therefore, no wonder that there was uproarious jubilation when news swept through the land upon the announcement that Peter Obi had been chosen by Atiku as running mate. It was widely speculated that Charles Soludo was on the cards as well. Atiku had made up his mind on Peter Obi since November, last year. Why the jubilation across the land? Peter Obi represents the new culture of governance. That Anambra State today leads in WAEC every year is traceable to his thinking out of the box and his practical efforts as governor of the state. He returned schools to the missionary owners and was giving them yearly subventions. Willie Obiano is continuing with the policy. Here is also a man you can hardly recognize at the airport. Peter Obi is on the queue and checks in his luggage by himself. Indeed, he carries his luggage by himself. He was renowned for prudence. He cleared debts and arrears of pensions. With his style of governance he exposed his colleagues from the East who are more concerned with personal aggrandizement and public acknowledgement than service, which is why, not surprisingly, they are up in arms that Obi should not be the Vice President.
Obi has proven that certain cultures among leaders which we read about from other lands are practicable in Nigeria, too. Putin, the Russian President drives his car personally to a gas filling station to refuel. The President of Netherlands was seen the other day reviewing his notes seated by the roadside before going into UN hall for his session in the just-ended meeting. Theresa May has only one outrider and a security man by her driver. Mr. Trump carries his bag and umbrella, proving the verity of George Orwell’s words when he said, “An average millionaire is an average dishwasher dressed in a new suit.” Peter Obi was a millionaire before going into politics. He is the face of the much-longed-for new . He is a breath of fresh air from the suffocating filth. He is widely read, punctuating every sentence of his with facts and figures. With his presence by Atiku’s side, he has infused with his aura credibility into Atiku’s integrity concerns even if the concerns are without informed foundation – concerns practically every materially endowed person suffers everywhere at the hands of his fellow men.
The Afenifere leaders are looking at the bigger picture, not the short-term scrambling for ephemeral offices. Hence they did not press that the Vice President should go to the South West. The focus of Yoruba leaders for now is Restructuring which they are convinced is the permanent solution to the myriads of Nigerian problems. Atiku has been the constant Northern star in the matters of restructuring an issue also so dear to Peter Obi’s heart. Peter Obi’s emergence undoubtedly is a master stroke. The 2019 elections promise to be battle royal indeed.