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SILVER LINING

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari’s may not be savvy in macro economy management, but there is a general consensus that his government is winning the war on terror. This is reflected in the virtual decimation of the Islamist terror sect Boko Haram. The President had on several occasions vowed to rescue over 200 female school girls kidnapped by the sect in April 2014 even if he had to negotiate their release with the devil itself.

On 13th October the government recorded a significant achievement in this direction when 21 of the girls were released by the terrorist sect. The girls were picked up by military helicopter from Banki area of Borno state where they had been dropped off, thus raising hopes that the remaining girls would soon regain their freedom. The release of the 21 girls came on the heels of President Buhari’s three-day trip to Germany to seek assistance for the rebuilding of the northeastern part of Nigeria devastated by Boko Haram.

While Mr. President was in Germany however, his wife, Aisha, dropped a bombshell. In an interview with the Hausa service of the BBC, Aisha shocked Nigerians when she declared that her husband’s government had been hijacked by a cabal who knew nothing about his journey to Aso Rock. According to her, this cabal had made her husband’s government unable to deliver on some of his campaign promises. She hinted that should the situation continued, she would not endorse her husband for a second term in 2019. Aisha’s public criticism of her husband’s government threw many Nigerians aback thus fueling speculation that all was not well in the First family.

buhari

A week before the Aisha Buhari bombshell, media space was dominated by news of the raid by the Directorate of State Security Service, DSS, on the homes of some Justices of the country’s Judiciary in what was tagged a “sting” operation. The DSS alleged that the judges were corrupt, and had demanded and received gratification to pervert justice. Over N360 million in local and foreign currencies and other material evidence were said to have been recovered from the homes of the judges during the raid. The judges affected were Adeniyi Ademola, Nnamdi Dimgba (both of the Federal High Court, Abuja), Kabiru Auta (Federal High Court, Kano), A. I. Umezulike (Chief Judge of Enugu State), Muazu Pindiga (Judge of Gombe State), Justice Samia (Judge of Sokoto State), Justice Mohammed Liman (Appeal Court Port-Harcourt), Sylvester Ngwuta and John Okoro (both Supreme Court Justices). The raid on Justice Mohammed Liman’s home was however thwarted by Rivers State Governor Nyesom Nwike. The DSS says it will charge the judges to court. 

In another development, Nigeria’s former Foreign Affairs and two-time Minister Finance Minister, Dr. (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been appointed a member of the international advisory panel of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). She joins 10 other appointees on a panel that would provide “impartial, objective and independent advice” to the Bank on the development of its strategy. The multilateral international Development Bank was set up in December 2015 with one million shares and an initial paid-up capital of US$20 billion.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is a highly respected and influential global leader and policy maker on Finance and Economic Development.  The former Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the World is also Chair of the Board of the African Union’s African Risk Capacity, Board Chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, board member of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Center for Global Development. She has been listed 5 years consecutively as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World by Forbes Magazine

Another Nigerian based in the US is also in the news for good reasons.  Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye of Texas Children’s Hospital performed a miracle of sorts when he successfully carried out a critical operation on an unborn female baby.

The unborn child, aptly named LynLee Hope was 23 weeks old in her mother’s womb when she suffered from a tumor known as ‘sacrococcygeal teratoma’. Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, working in collaboration with Dr. Darrell Cass, had the fetus extracted from the mother’s womb, operated on and then returned to the mother’s womb where she healed and continued to develop until subsequently born a healthy child through C-section on June 6. She weighed 5 pounds and 5 ounces. Sacrococcygeal teratoma is a tumor that develops before birth and grows from a baby’s coccyx, the tailbone.

 

Dr. Olutoye is co-director of the Texas children’s fetal center and fetal surgery team member. He received his medical degree in 1988 from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He later proceeded to Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, United States of America where he got his Ph.D in Anatomy in 1996.

One of Africa’s oldest and most revered Kingdoms, the Benin Kingdom, has a new King. Hitherto Crown Prince and Edaiken N’ Uselu, Eheneden Erediauwa has mounted his father’s throne following his coronation as Oba Ewuare II of Benin Kingdom. He becomes the 40th Oba of the Kingdom. The colourful ceremony was witnessed by Vice President (Prof) Yemi Osinbajo among other international and local dignitaries.

And in Canada, the Public Health Agency has launched its Universal Influenza Immunization Program (UIIP) for 2016/2017 influenza season. The program aims to immunize free of charge high risk groups with influenza vaccines through community-based influenza immunization clinics/pharmacies. High risk groups include children (age 6 months to 18 years) undergoing treatment with acetylsalicylic acid for long periods, individuals with neurologic or neurodevelopmental conditions, adults 65 years of age and older, individuals of any age who are residents in a long-term care home (LTCH) or other chronic care facilities, individuals with health conditions (such as cardiac/pulmonary disorders, renal disease, morbid obesity, diabetes and cancer or weakened immune systems), Aboriginal People, pregnant women, and swine and  poultry industry workers.

Team Canada has emerged world champions in the Enactus World Cup 2016 competition held in Toronto. The Enactus World Cup is the world’s largest competition of business innovation and entrepreneurial action for social impact.  The completion enables entrepreneurial students around the world to make a massive impact in their communities, using their ideas to deliver sustainable change    

 

This year, the Cup featured teams from 33 countries, qualified from 1,700 campuses and 69,000 student participants. Kaduna Polytechnic represented Nigeria at the event held in Toronto between September 28 and 30, 2016.

Finally, as the United States of America prepares to elect her 58th President on Tuesday, November 8 2016, one cannot but observe the striking similarity in the campaigns to that of Nigeria’s presidential election of 2015. Both Democratic presidential flagbearer Hilary Clinton and her Republican counterpart, Donald Trump have been reaching for each other’s jugular in a campaign remarkable for its controversies and absence of discussion of real issues. 

The controversy surrounding Hilary Clinton’s alleged mishandling of her official email while serving as Secretary of State is threatening to torpedo her ambition to occupy the White House. For Donald Trump, it is his often vulgar, crude, abusive and ultra-conservative hardline views on Blacks, Muslims and Latinos that may stand in his way.  Trump is also accused of having abused women in the past in addition to his generally perceived opaque tax returns.

 Instructive is that of all five living former US Presidents, not one has endorsed Trump. Even the 128 year old Harvard Republican Club (HRC) which traditionally endorses Republican Presidential nominees has rejected Trump, saying he is lacking in the qualities required of the would-be occupant of White House. This is the first time in its 128-year history the HRC would withhold support for a Republican presidential flag bearer. Trump’s recent comment that he may not accept the outcome of the polls if he loses the race to the White House only succeeded in pushing his image further south. Opinion polls favour Hilary Clinton, but even that could change any time even as both candidates intensify their campaigns in the traditional fringe states.