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Task before the Super Eagles in the ongoing 2024 AFCON, expectations of Nigerians



Since 2013 when the Nigerian Super Eagles lifted the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) Championship trophy in South Africa, it has been tough or near impossible to clinch the trophy again.

The closest being their outing in 2019, where the Super Eagles lost narrowly to the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon through penalty shootouts.

Since then it has been near-miss upon near-miss. No thanks to mother luck, or perhaps poor maskmanships of the trainers.

Whatever be the case, we think Nigeria deserves another victory in the AFCON football fiesta and possibly in the ongoing edition in Cote d’Ivoire.

We wouldn’t say that the competition for the Super Eagles has not started well, with 1-1 apiece in the first game with the Nzalang Nationale of Equatorial Guinea,it was not a bad start. Though soccer pundits and well-meaning Nigerians expected the Super Eagles to have tucked in the three maximum points in that game, they got a draw instead.

Head Coach for the Nigerian National Team, Jose Peseiro attributed the draw to hard luck, noting that his team played well, but filtered away reasonable chances that would have changed the narrative.

Well, there will always be excuses or reasons for failure, but we won’t want such excuses to endure. What Nigerians want is victory and anything short of that may not be acceptable.

As we progress into the AFCON, 2024 football championship, let the coaching crew put their house and arse in order. Nigerians are more interested in victories, instead of trying to defend failures.

Failures or poor performances could be attributed simply to lack of adequate preparations, incentives of even owed backlog salaries and allowances.

Others are poor coaching strategies,or outright incompetence on the part of the trainers, not forgetting lack of commitment by players and possibly undue focus on proceeds accrueable from the tournament.

In the past, our National team players used to devote more time to patriotism and national pride,but today the only language our youths understand is money, so their interests in most cases are divided or outrightly diverted to monetary gains, instead of glory.

This syndrome has not augured well with our football over time.

So it is important for us to recreate the spirit of nationalism while prosecuting any match such as AFCON 2024, holding in Cote d’Ivoire. The ideology of underdogs and group of death should be completely discarded from the players’ minds. It should be stressed and seriously too that there is no underdog in sports competitions like the AFCON. Reason being that all the teams competed in their various zones during the qualifying stages and duly qualified before coming to the finals of a competition of this magnitude. Therefore it will be full-hardy  to regard any team as an underdog.

Again, some people tend to describe some groups as groups of death, which is erroneous in the first place. We want to categorically state that there is nothing like that, such a concept only exists in the minds of its mooters. Though Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Morocco and Egypt have been tipped as favourites that may lift  the trophy. This can only materialise when the teams and their trainers do what is expected from them.

At this juncture, it is important to look at the deliverables for possible breakthroughs that will lead to winning the trophy at the end of the tournament. First and foremost improved packages for coaches and players cannot be ruled out in achieving such results. It is on this premise that we are doffing off our hats for the President of Nigeria, Sen. Ahmed Bola Tinubu for approving the payment of the backlog of salaries owed to the German Tactician of the Super Eagles, Jose Peseiro, amounting to millions of Dollars to further motivate him to action. Though salaries are not supposed to be owed to that tune,it is plausible to note that the President had at least hearkened to the cries of the people to save the situation.

The President should therefore do more to ensure that such anomaly does not occur again. As for the coach and his team they should step up their game. Their second game with the host, Cote d’Ivoire is must win, no matter how difficult the encounter might be. This must be so to reposition the team for the task ahead. Eleven years down the line since the Super Eagles won the AFCON cup is not two days, therefore everything humanly possible should be done to re-enact the feat.

As the Super Eagles gear up towards the final strategy to move to the next stage in the ongoing AFCON Football Competition and possibly win the trophy, all we owe them is support. The Coach on his part should inculcate into his boys the fact that every match brings them closer to the cup. That they should therefore eschew complacency or under-rating any team, bearing in mind that it is not over, till it is over.


Nigeria’s National Identity Card initiative: A misguided venture



The recent announcement by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) regarding the launch of a new national identity card with payment functionality epitomises folly.

While touted as a solution to streamline identification and financial services, the collaboration between NIMC, the Central Bank of Nigeria, and the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System appears to be a misaligned endeavour.

In a nation burdened by limited resources and an array of urgent challenges, Nigeria’s pursuit of grandiose projects with questionable benefits is a luxury it cannot afford.

Despite its surface appeal, closer scrutiny reveals a troubling trend of duplication, bureaucratic inefficiency, and a glaring gap between governmental aspirations and citizens’ realities.

This venture echoes previous attempts to overhaul the national identification system, notably the ill-fated 2006 concession awarded to Chams.

That endeavour, marred by allegations of collusion and technical sabotage, squandered over $100 million, leaving a bitter legacy of failure. In light of this history, skepticism abounds regarding the prospects of the current initiative.

As Nigeria grapples with pressing socio-economic issues, including poverty, insecurity, and inadequate infrastructure, it is imperative that resources be directed towards initiatives with tangible benefits for the populace.

The proposed national identity card, with its payment functionality, appears to be a misplaced priority in this context.

Rather than embarking on ventures with dubious returns, Nigerian authorities must prioritise accountability, transparency, and citizen-centric policies. The nation cannot afford to repeat past mistakes at the expense of its long-suffering populace.

Furthermore, the purported justification for the new card – facilitating access to “multiple government intervention programs” for the financially marginalised – falls short when juxtaposed with the formidable hurdles Nigerians encounter in simply linking their National Identification Number (NIN) to vital services like mobile phone accounts or bank facilities.

The pandemonium and exasperation prevalent in these endeavours, resulting in citizens squandering valuable time and resources, should stand as a stark warning regarding the government’s competence in executing such extensive identity management schemes.

Moreover, if the concern is the proliferation of identification documents in Nigeria – from international passports and driver’s licenses to voter cards and the existing national ID card – this newspaper holds that this mosaic of identification systems not only spawns unnecessary confusion and bureaucratic headaches for citizens but also casts doubt on the government’s capacity to efficiently orchestrate and amalgamate these diverse platforms.

Instead of tackling these persistent issues head-on, the introduction of yet another identity card appears to be an ill-conceived effort to reinvent the wheel, with scant consideration for the practical challenges confronting Nigerians in their daily lives.

In a nation grappling with limited resources and a plethora of pressing needs, the decision to allocate billions of naira to this new card project is both confounding and deeply concerning. Many would argue that the government’s time and financial resources could be more effectively directed towards enhancing existing infrastructure, fortifying public services, and confronting the numerous socioeconomic challenges plaguing the country.

From the dire state of the healthcare system to the ongoing insecurity that has resulted in significant loss of life, there exist far more urgent issues warranting the government’s attention and, critically, its constrained financial resources.

Moreover, the assertion that the new card will facilitate access to “government intervention programs” for the financially marginalised raises concerns about introducing yet another bureaucratic barrier for vulnerable Nigerians.

Instead of introducing a new identification system, the government’s focus should be on refining and strengthening existing social welfare programs, ensuring they are accessible, efficient, and tailored to meet the needs of the populace.

The government’s ambition to distribute the new card to approximately 104 million citizens is cause for concern. Undertaking such a monumental task without a clear and comprehensive plan is likely to result in further delays, logistical complexities, and a considerable squandering of public funds – resources that could have been channeled towards making tangible improvements in the lives of Nigerians.

In essence, the rollout of the new national identity card with payment functionality reflects a recurring pattern in Nigerian governance: the inclination towards grand, top-down initiatives that often fall short of addressing the underlying issues fueling the country’s challenges.

Instead of pursuing this dubious venture, the government’s focus should shift towards strengthening existing identification systems, fostering better coordination among government agencies, and prioritising investments in areas directly impacting the lives of Nigerians.

As a nation, we must resist the temptation of embracing flashy new projects that promise quick fixes to complex problems.

Achieving genuine progress demands a nuanced, collaborative, and evidence-based approach that acknowledges the distinct needs and challenges of diverse communities.

It’s high time for the government to abandon this latest identity card scheme and redirect its efforts towards more impactful and sustainable initiatives that truly serve the citizens it is sworn to uplift.

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Articulated vehicles and the scourge of avoidable deaths



Nigerians across the country continue to die utterly preventable deaths thanks to a lack of political will on the part of its leaders. It is an ugly fate thrust upon its citizens to live in a country whose economy is built upon the blood of the ordinary people, not out of sacrifice, but nonchalance. Articulated vehicles wipe out families, dreams, and human capital in one fell swoop. Press statements from the leaders are not enough. We need the May 2024 immediacy of the Tinubu administration in this sector too.

Last week, a falling container killed a woman in the Ogudu area of Lagos. The woman was inside a car when the fully loaded 40ft Mack articulated truck fell on it, leading to her instant death, according to the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA).

In October 2023, a businessman identified as Akuma Kalu, was crushed to death by a 40-feet container that fell on his car along the failed portion of Etche-Ngokpala road in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers state.

In September 2023, five women died in a fatal accident that occurred in the early hours of Friday at Odumodu Junction, Nteje, Oyi Local Government Area along Awka Road, Anambra State. As usual, the container of the truck fell upon the bus carrying these people, killing them. We could go on and on. The story remains the same: tragedy upon tragedy.

Every year, the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, does sensitisation with little result to show for it because the arm of the law is too short to punish offenders at the root of the problem. The constant assault on the senses has led to a desensitisation on the part of the populace. Month after month, another story of a truck that erases a family, or multiple families because its brakes fail, or its container is overturned. The combination of the death of empathy on the part of leaders and the emotional exhaustion of the citizens will lead Nigeria down the path of a dystopia.

The governors of each state have a responsibility to institute laws to protect the indigenes. This, the Federal Government must also do nationwide. The FRSC has rules and regulations for trucks. The Government needs to only enforce these rules. Enough of blaming the trucks themselves because they are not the evil entities. The lack of accountability and a weak system perpetuates the dilemma.

The political class should not wait until Nigeria happens to one of their own before acting as is usually the case. Most cases bear the mark of immediate fatality. By the time a family member experiences it, it would have already been too late. We have hope that this administration will do what it takes to restore hope to the common man. Time to act is now.

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Renewed Hope Initiative: Beating back inequality in all spheres



Nigeria is full of inequalities that its leaders contend with administration after administration. With every President comes a partner who shares in the vision, and does her part to alleviate the pains of the citizens. Oluremi Tinubu has etched her name in the annals of history as one of such compassionate ones.

Recently, in Abeokuta she flagged off the Renewed Hope Initiative for women in agriculture and people living with disabilities nationwide in a bid to achieve this noble goal of equity in Nigeria.

“We are supporting 20 women farmers per state with the sum of N500,000 each. To this end, a draft of N10 million per state for the South West zone will be handed over to the first ladies of Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and Oyo states who are the Renewed Hope Initiative (RHI) state coordinators for onward disbursement to all beneficiaries in their respective states,” she said.

“The Renewed Hope Initiative Social Investment Programme will be empowering 100 persons with disability, small business owners in Ogun State with a sum of N100,000 each to recapitalise their existing businesses.”

In Kebbi, represented by the Wife of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Fatima Tajuddeen Abbas, in Birnin Kebbi, she said, “Agriculture plays a pivotal role in achieving sustainable development and food security. Consequently, we are introducing ‘Every Home a Garden’ competition to encourage each Nigerian woman to cultivate a garden at home to feed the family and share with neighbours, we want to see food on every table.”

We commend the forward thinking and passion for national growth required for such a herculean task. If emulated in all quarters, it will stimulate the economy at the grassroots. It is well acknowledged that the government cannot do it alone. Private individuals who are capable must rise up to contribute to national growth.

It isn’t alien to the Nigerian condition, after all. The country was able to survive the assaults of the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to the joint efforts of private individuals under the umbrella of Coalition Against COVID-19, CACOVID, a Private Sector task force in partnership with the Federal Government, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The Renewed Hope Initiative joins the tradition of programmes committed to national improvement. History will look upon it kindly.


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