“How to Win Friends and Influence People”

By Odimegwu Onwumere

One of the canons my grandparents and the entire Onwumere Dynasty set as a system-of-belief when I was growing was, you must chew your words before using them. Some persons, who do not observe this creed, were said to have unbridled tongue (ona ekwu orighoro onu). They are still around today.

I grew up with this and people that know me today would attest to this training in my life. Some say that I do not probe into issues affecting me, whether I am right or wrong. Others say that I am a very quiet person. They say a lot of things — a recluse, introvert. In short, they say that books have retarded me.

I have heard a lot of things. But one thing remains sacrosanct with me, I have the inner peace not minding some punches on my mind, on how to be who I have always wanted to be, without knocking on the neighbour’s door for help. Well, onye ka ozuru? the Igbo would ask.

While I endured what was taken then as a harsh training from my grandparents and my people, it is paying off today when I look around, how people behave and talk anyhow, without any form of maturity. The worse is betrayal in the name of politics or another.

People no longer have shame. Remember that it was as a result of the same training like my grandparents’ that made Lieutenant Colonel Francis Adekunle Fajuyi (26 June 1926 – 29 July 1966) not to abandon his friend, General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, the Head of State and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who had arrived in Ibadan on July 28, 1966 to address a conference of natural rulers of Western Nigeria but was assassinated by, according to Wikipedia, the revenge seeking counter-coupists led by Major T. Y Danjuma on July 29, 1966.

If it were today, Fajuyi would have abandoned Ironsi on the premise of politics just as a Gbenga Daniel, a Nigerian politician and ex-Governor of Ogun State from 29 May 2003 to 29 May 2011, according to the source, making him the longest-serving governor of the state, has abandoned Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for the lucre of material acquisition.

Daniel was of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Director-General of Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation in the just concluded 2019 presidential election. Today, Daniel has barefacedly genuflected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) without any expression of shame, except his unbridled tongue on how he would pull his supporters to his new party.

My grandparents and their contemporaries did not read “How To Win Friends And Influence People” authored by Dale Carnegie before they inculcated values and integrity in us.

We had a concept which was our way of life before we derailed to believe that one can do whatever that pleases him or her and after, should go on his or her knee and ask for forgiveness. We showed integrity before people in every of our conducts because of the immediate consequences that evolved around us then.

After reading the famous book by Carnegie in 2010 as an adult, I remembered my grandparents for their hyper-sincerity in every of their conducts. They shared whatever that could be shared with their contemporaries without reservation. Gossip was not in their dictionary and they hardly criticize or condemn people. They did everything possible to win the affection of their beloved ones and people from far and near, by showing honest and sincere appreciation and in so doing, people flocked around each other without a blink. There was love!

Today, love is dead. And people do not know how to win people around them anymore, because they are not genuinely interested in other people. They do not value their fellow human beings, even when you are very honest and sincere to them.

Amongst many things that Carnegie taught me is that, I should show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.” How many people care about this in the modern times? We have people who don’t care how they hurt you with their gutter words and statements. Theirs is to open their mouths and see words running out of them.

We have many people who do not admit they are wrong immediately and ardently. They hardly begin a conversation with you in a friendly way and they are not sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires. Carnegie strongly warns against such behaviour.

Have you not read a famous quote by Thomas Carlyle which states, “A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men”?

To sum this piece up, Carnegie says — On dealing with people — “let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.”

It is hoped that mankind would learn that, “If there is any one secret of success, says Carnegie, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”

Let’s learn how to influence people with kind words, right attitude, and eschew pride and vanity that make people talk to people carelessly. I remember my great grandparents a lot!

Odimegwu Onwumere is a multiple-award winning journalist based in Rivers State. E-mail: apoet_25@yahoo.com


Atiku: Buhari’s Bootlickers Say All That Hitler Did Was Legal

By Odimegwu Onwumere

An immeasurable axiom states that to make crime pay, become a lawyer. This could be what is playing out in Nigeria where Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s move to the Tribunal to challenge the outcome of the February 23 presidential elections has been condemned by some lawyers. The worst is that they have been lengthening their unsolicited advise to Atiku through the mainstream and social media to refrain from going to court. They also have said that he would face untold hardship at the court.

Buhari and Atiku

These lawyers have offered their dim-witted advise without allowing the court to decide the fate of Atiku. No. From calculation, they invariably do not pity Atiku but mocking the porous legal system that he would see or they are behind the scene supporting whom Atiku wants to challenge in the court. They want Atiku to chicken out for the exaltation of Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari for their obvious marooned interest.

Some of the lawyers are in the rank of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN). They forgot that the Buhari they were defending had during the years he lost in presidential elections of 2003, 2007 and 2011, taken his cases to court. It is therefore ethical for Atiku to head to court having the right to do so and it is right to do.

There is nowhere in history where an innocent man is condemned for the praise of the guilty. This is very appalling in Nigeria where men are bent to telling lies for the singular purpose of their stomach. It is aplomb to state that SANs do not make law but the authority which in sane climes is the occupation of the constitution and not political party’s decision.

We are talking of the safety of the people both at the economic, political and social level which are no longer guaranteed under a Buhari government given the untold bloodshed here and there recorded under his leadership which were characterised by Fulani herdsmen. The records are there.

The highlight of Atiku going to court is to make the law respectable since he has shown that he has obedience for the law and this is the foundation of such a renowned business man.

Buhari as a leader, his obedience to lawful authority has been in doubt. An instance is Sambo Dasuki, who upon many court orders directing for his release, Buhari has paid a deaf ear to lawful authority as the judiciary. One Nnamdi Kanu came out of dungeon under Buhari government through the whiskers upon law order to the contrary. Yet, Buhari’s bootlickers invariably remind Nigerians to understand that all that Hitler performed in Germany was legal and right. Hooey!

If there is sound legal system in Nigeria, those advising Atiku not to go to court should know that no one has a monopoly of wisdom and truth. At every meeting place which the court is not different from, progress can only be attained when participants listen to each and are also given a fair ground to do so. What those advising Atiku should do is to remind Buhari of a statement credited to Plato, which states that (sic) Justice in the life and conduct of the State is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens. Does justice reside in the heart of Buhari? Many Nigerians doubt, because certain degrees of his actions were laced in autocracy even though this is democracy.

In Nigeria, the duty of the government has become to interfer in every aspect of businesses for the purpose of self-centeredness. The government here does not leave legal pursuits to the judiciary without interference. The recent removal of a Chief Judge of the country is a case study. And you wonder where fairness which was supposed to be the real essence of justice is.

Atiku going to court is a fight against segregation in justice equation in the country where fairness is given to some party loyalists but opposition parties should go to hell. Atiku is not going to court to listen to what lawyers will tell him but what justice has in its coffers. It is very bad that in a country when government holds a legal monopoly and recruit touts to scout for who should go to court or not.

Odimegwu Onwumere writes from Rivers State. Tel: +2348057778358. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

When PDP Takes Nigerian Army To United Nations For Unprofessionalism

By Odimegwu Onwumere

The Nigerian Army has been in the news in the recent times not for the brevity of taking up its constitutional roles of defending the territorial borders of the country, but for molestation and intimidation of the citizens it was meant to protect.

some PDP stakeholders

In the news recently was that the Nigerian Army played unprofessional role in the just concluded February 23 presidential and National Assembly elections. While the military had been severally fingered of taking occupation in brutal activities in some parts of the country with heavy presence in the South-East and South-South and was going free from such supposed nefarious activities that included extortion from motorists, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had vowed not to leave any stone unturned in making sure that the military faced its music by the drum beat of those it can listen to. Hence, the party had at the party’s Abuja secretariat during its caucus meeting on March 4 geared up to petition the United Nations (UN) over the role played by the Nigerian Army during the said elections.

The move by the PDP might not be in the wrong direction given that elections were supposed to be a civil matter and not a war. The spate of killings recorded here and there during the elections was uncalled for. Many pointed accusing fingers at the Nigerian Army of being at the forefront of the killings. Before the elections, Maj. Gen Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president, had mandated the military to shoot at sight anyone found in underhand practices during the elections. This statement raised public uproar that many Nigerians had to charaterise the command by Buhari, by dictatorial tendencies.

They did not like Buhari’s hindsight over the elections, which they saw as a “do-or-die” affair on his side for the singular purpose of winning elections for the APC. This was what took place in Ekiti last year, where the hunger for conquest to throw the PDP out of government in that state was all that Buhari wanted. And he succeeded by enthroning APC leadership in that state through his party’s bigotry of which a sitting governor of the state then was purportedly molested by federal security apparatuses and he wept like a baby before national televisions and media men.

The leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wanted inner peace, hence on February 19, it called on the Nigerian Army not to carry out what the party characterised by “unlawful orders” from Buhari. The party took its stance at the 84th National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party. The party’s resolve was against Buhari’s earlier statement thus, “I am going to warn anybody who thinks he has enough influence in his locality to lead a body of thugs to snatch boxes or to disturb the voting system, he would do it at the expense of his own life.”

Former vice president and PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara and the party chairman, Uche Secondus, who spoke discretely at the party’s summit, frowned that the Nigerian Army or other security agencies were not instituted to obey conflagrating order no matter who issued it. Buhari who was a military, did not care to listen to the voices that told him that his dictatorial comment that soldiers should shoot at sight any ballot box snatcher negated the Electoral Act which had stipulated measures to treat ballot-vote offenders. Nonetheless, the Nigeria Police Force immediately reiterated its commitment to protect the lives of the citizens during the elections and not to kill them (even though the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is the worst in the world, as according to the 2016 World Internal Security and Police Index (WISPI).

IGP Adamu, Acting Inspector General of Police, stated this Friday, February 22 2019 in Abuja during a chat with some stakeholders in the electoral issue. But the Nigerian Army insisted on perfecting the order from Buhari. The Nigerian Army on February 19 had lengthened its voice that such directive would however be guided by its (Army) rules of engagement. Before then, the arrowhead of what has become the most fraudulent presidential elections in Nigeria,  Professor Mahmood Yakubu, their Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, chairman, had insisted that anyone found wanton during the elections would be treated according to provisions of the Electoral Act.

In the words of the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col Sagir Musa, “The Nigerian Army has made it sufficiently and consistently clear that none of its personnel will be involved in political campaigns, escort of VIPs for political missions and above all, aiding or supporting any political party as has been circulated in noticeable media platforms…Our Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct have not assigned any political role to the Nigerian Army in this regard.

“Nigerian Army’s involvement starts and ends with the provision of peaceful and secured environment for the conduct of 2019 general election; therefore, any insinuation or assertion against this declaration is mischievous and politically motivated which the Nigerian Army under the command of Lt Gen T.Y. Buratai has strongly and severally warned against. Members of the public are please requested to judge the Nigerian Army on this declaration.”

But did the Nigerian Army’s promises hold water during the elections? The same Army that said it was neutral and wouldn’t involve in the elections had earlier warned through the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, that it was ready to deal with any person or group involved in any act of security breaches during the elections.  In acting according to its “Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct”? the spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Col. Sagir Musa explained why soldiers killed 6 civilians in Rivers state during the elections.

Did you hear that 6 civilians were killed during the elections? Later, Army gave its spurious reasons for doing so. But the question is, what was the Nigerian Army doing in the field of elections when the country had Police? As if that was not enough, some soldiers in Yola reportedly killed three persons in the Numan Local Government Area of Adamawa State. These persons were said to be celebrating the electoral victory of Buhari. Then-again, during the early days of struggle to attain Biafra by peaceful means, according to Wikipedia, the South-East Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs) estimated that (sic) about 80 members of the pro-Biafra group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and their supporters, have been killed by Nigerian security operatives under the directive of the Nigerian government between August 30, 2015 and February 9, 2016.

By June 19 2018, the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, Intersociety, disclosed the names of 150 pro-Biafra activists in a peaceful protest allegedly massacred by the Nigerian Army. And the number of IPOB members extra-judicially killed by apparent soldiers was in the increase.

However, by March 5, the death toll In Rivers was reportedly up to 30 in Abonnema Town, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area, Rivers State. Residents were pleading that Army should be withdrawn from the March 8 guber election across the country, with fear that they lack words to express their displeasure in the hands of Army. Women and children were in apprehension mood and protested over the presence Army in elections, yet Army was calling on the PDP that the party’s stance that Army was unprofessional during the elections was an act to blackmail the Army.

Whichever, with these and other underreported anti-social activities carried out by the Nigerian Army, the PDP in its resolve to take the Army to the UN, was a mission long overdue. Nigerians and groups of goodwill cannot allow the unprintable behaviours of the Nigerian Army destroy the citizens’ inner peace in the name of applying “Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct”.

Odimegwu Onwumere writes from Rivers State. Tel: +2348057778358. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com


Buhari’s Handmaidens Against Atiku Going To Court

By Odimegwu Onwumere

It is on public notice that there are people and groups frightening the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 2019 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Buhari and Atiku

Their tactics is by asking him to sheathe the legal battle he is instituting to reclaim the supposedly mandate given to him by the Nigerian electorate that was brazenly robbed by the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.

It would be disservice to hundreds of millions of Nigerians if Atiku gets down not to reclaim this mandate that the APC is brandishing whereas there are posers suggesting that the party knew nothing about success in the election. No matter how hard they push Atiku, one thing remains sacrosanct, there is no man who knows his onus that will allow himself to be intimidated by the will of others, especially in a political arena. And Atiku can be trusted that he will not betray the prospects of the electorate who gave him their maximum support.

Nonetheless, Buhari has become a spirit that attacked Nigerians in an election he invariably was not positioned to win. Hence, many of the persons and groups calling on Atiku to eschew his legal stance were economical with the truth. Some were saying that they did not want war in Nigeria, and you wonder when a legal battle was defined as a war.

Maybe, those calling on Atiku to sheathe his legal sword were machineries to the presidency and the APC but acting like peacemakers. Then-again, they could be positioning themselves for political appointments under Buhari and therefore airing their convoluted and polluted voice to Atiku to step-down his legal stance against their boss in-the-making.

They could also be buying unmerited favour from Buhari. Whichever, no man in his right senses asks a person who wants the court to interpret his case to withdraw from doing so. Is it when such a person takes up arms that he will be supported? Do you beat a child and at the same time ask the child not to cry?

Even one popular lawyer who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Olisa Agbakoba was among the persons who had thrown their weight against Atiku’s resolve to contest the outcome of the election in a competent court. Could it be that Buhari and the APC are reaching out to prominent Nigerians and groups to lobby Atiku to soft-pedal?

Agabkoba’s call on Atiku was contained in a paper titled ‘2019 Presidential Election: Ethnic Consideration vs Governance Consideration’ on Wednesday, February 27 2019, where he said amongst other things, “I understand the PDP is aggrieved at the outcome of the election and alleged massive irregularities. I urge former Vice President Atiku Abubakar not to approach the Election Petition Tribunal.”

Another person was a former Minister of Information, Prince Tony Momoh who asked Atiku to accept defeat and congratulate with Buhari. While Agbakoba relayed his relatively hazardous advise to Atiku through a paper, Momoh made his known through a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, the same day Agbakoba threw in his weight against Atiku.

In the voice of Momoh, “A beautiful thing happened shortly after the results were announced in the 2015 general elections: Jonathan called the winner (Buhari) and congratulated with him. That singular act not only made Jonathan a respected national figure, but also an international figure. Therefore, as a national leader, I will call on our friend, Atiku to call Buhari and congratulate him.” Apart from Agbakoba and Momoh; from labour organisations, Arewa Consultative Forum, ex-Governor and their ilk in the international community, the call on Atiku to extend a handshake to Buhari and congratulate with him was deafening.

While these persons and groups and countries were entitled to their opinions, it will be a firecracker to make it clear that it is not every opinion that is acceptable. The issue is not on Atiku congratulating with the Buhari, but in correcting the method with which Buhari emerged as president-elect. The persons and groups acting as Holy Nweje for Buhari forgot to question him why he did not sign the Electoral Act amendment bill, 2018, but returned it to the National Assembly.

When this happened, Nigerians of goodwill were agape that Buhari, who had claimed he was a man of integrity, had something up his sleeves in the 2019 elections. And they were right! Where were the modern days’ peacemakers when Atiku had in January this year fingered Buhari and the APC of messy abuse of the Constitution and the Electoral Act 2010 through unchecked deployment of state resources and apparatuses for this year’s presidential campaign? Remember that Buhari returned the draft of that Bill to NASS several times to add or subtract one clause or the other from it, of which the Honourable House did only for Buhari to avoid that Bill on December 9 2018, to this day.

It’s not about Atiku but about what is written in one Donna Goddard’s ‘The Love of Devotion’ which is, “It is not possible to be seduced by the lure of ego-gratification or intimidated by the tyranny of imposters when we know that we are as the angels. We are loved beyond comprehension. So, we must claim our rightful inheritance and live with the confidence of protection.” Thank goodness, Atiku rejected the outcome of that election on February 27 2019, while addressing a news conference in a statement entitled, “Democracy will not be emasculated in Nigeria”.

At the press conference, Atiku did not say that he was heading for a gun battle, but a legal battle with Buhari and perhaps the APC. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had at 4.39 a.m, February 27, declared the APC candidate in the person of Buhari, winner of the election at the International Conference Centre (ICC) in Abuja, days after the election was conducted.

For record purposes, in the brave words of Atiku, “Consequently, I hereby reject the result of the February 23, 2019 sham election and will be challenging it in court, because with regards to the presidential elections that took place on February 23, 2019, it is clear that there were manifest and premeditated malpractices in many states which negate the results announced.”

Just as Buhari and his co travellers were not bothered to release the result of the election immediately it was conducted but preferred days to do so, the ramshackle Presidency followed Atiku up by announcing that it was not bothered by his decision to challenge the February 23 Presidential election in court. It’s essential that Atiku contested the outcome of the election in the court given the APC proud and vain way it handled the collation of results with Atiku saying there were too many irregularities here and there.

Buhari’s significantly kangaroo emergence as the winner of that election does not in earnest represent the whims and caprices of about 95% of Nigerians. Conduct a survey on Buhari and be surprise that he is the most hated leader in Nigeria. These statistics of Nigerians did not want Buhari again. Even if Atiku withdraws from court, hundreds of millions of Nigerians are in court with Buhari in their hearts. They are sentencing him for nature to take preeminence on how he emerged again as president. Nigerians have suffered a lot of prejudices in Buhari’s first tenure in legion ranging from hardship and blatant lies and blame-game which oozed out from Buhari government at will for the purpose to cover up its inept features.

Nigerians are not sure if the APC will continue with its ‘change’ mantra having Nigerians known now that it was a ruse. This government should stop celebrating its rising prejudice motivated by pride and greed.  However, Agbakoba and co might not be illegal (except in the tonality they used) calling on Atiku to withdraw from his legal move, given the APC body language which has suggested that the party was not perturbed with the Nigerian legal system and was not disturbed about it. If not there would have been some decorum in reacting to Atiku’s statement and not arbitrary use of the phrase — “Not bothered”.

Odimegwu Onwumere writes from Rivers State. Tel: +2348057778358. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com