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Editorial

The African Spring: A Call to Action for African Leaders Amid Rising Hardship and Unrest – GMTNewsng Editorial

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▪️Chijioke Ogbodo

Introduction

The recent protests in Kenya, which compelled President William Ruto to withdraw assent from an unpopular bill, are a clear signal of the growing discontent across Africa. This incident is not isolated but part of a broader narrative of economic hardship and political disillusionment sweeping the continent. For African presidents and political leaders, this serves as a stark warning: failure to address the needs and grievances of the people could ignite widespread revolutions. This editorial aims to reshape the minds of African leaders, emphasizing the urgency of genuine, people-centered governance.

The Kenyan Crisis: A Microcosm of African Discontent

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In Kenya, the proposed bill that sparked mass protests was seen as another burden on a populace already grappling with high living costs and economic instability. Kenyans and NYnuz report that, “The proposed bill that sparked the Kenyan crisis is the Finance Bill 2024, which aims to introduce new taxes and levies that would significantly raise the cost of living. The bill includes taxes on essential goods like bread, diapers, cars, telephone and internet data, money transfer fees, and increased import duties. It also proposes higher taxes for companies and operators of digital businesses such as ride-hailing and food-delivery service.” The swift and resolute public backlash forced President Ruto to backtrack, demonstrating the power of unified civic action. According to a BBC report on June 24, 2024 (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-57694667), the protests were driven by widespread frustration over economic mismanagement, corruption, and a lack of transparency in governance.

President Ruto conceding to pressure from the Kenyan masses

This scenario reflects a broader trend across Africa, where citizens are increasingly unwilling to tolerate governance that prioritizes political elites over the welfare of the people. The Kenyan protests echo similar unrest in countries like Sudan, where public dissent toppled long-time leader Omar al-Bashir, and South Africa, where citizens frequently protest against corruption and poor service delivery.

Nigeria: A Powder Keg of Discontent

In Nigeria, the situation is particularly precarious. President Bola Tinubu faces mounting pressure from various quarters, including labor unions threatening to resume a suspended strike. According to a report by The Guardian Nigeria on June 27, 2024 (https://guardian.ng/news/labour-threatens-nationwide-strike-over-fuel-subsidy-removal/), the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) are dissatisfied with the government’s handling of economic policies, particularly those affecting wages, inflation, and unemployment.

Nigeria’s economic woes are compounded by systemic corruption, insecurity, and a lack of infrastructural development. The World Bank (https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/nigeria/overview) reports that Nigeria’s poverty rate is alarmingly high, with over 40% of the population living below the poverty line. This dire situation is exacerbated by the government’s failure to implement effective economic reforms.

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The Threat of Uncontrolled Revolution

The discontent brewing in Kenya and Nigeria is a microcosm of a larger African crisis. Many countries across the continent are experiencing similar economic hardships, exacerbated by poor governance, corruption, and political instability. The African Development Bank (https://www.afdb.org/en/news-and-events/press-releases/africas-economic-outlook-still-bright-despite-global-headwinds-african-development-bank-president-adesina-says-44598) notes that economic growth in Africa has been uneven, with many nations struggling to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The danger of uncontrolled revolution looms large. History has shown that when people are pushed to their limits, they will rise against their oppressors. The Arab Spring, which swept through North Africa and the Middle East, serves as a stark reminder of the potential for widespread unrest. In countries like Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, longstanding regimes were toppled by mass protests driven by economic hardship and political repression.

Nigeria’s President Tinubu

Lessons for African Leaders

The message for African leaders is clear: address the needs of your people or face the consequences of mass unrest. Genuine governance requires transparency, accountability, and a commitment to improving the lives of citizens. Here are several key areas where African leaders must focus their efforts:

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  1. Economic Reforms: Implement policies that promote economic growth and reduce poverty. This includes investing in infrastructure, creating jobs, and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
  2. Good Governance: Combat corruption and ensure that government institutions are transparent and accountable. Leaders must lead by example, showing integrity and commitment to public service.
  3. Social Services: Improve access to essential services such as healthcare, education, and clean water. Investing in social services not only improves quality of life but also fosters social stability.
  4. Inclusive Policies: Ensure that all segments of society, including marginalized groups, have a voice in governance. Inclusive policies promote social cohesion and reduce the likelihood of unrest.
  5. Security and Stability: Address security challenges that threaten the stability of the nation. This includes combating terrorism, insurgency, and other forms of violence that disrupt economic and social activities.

Military Rule and Poor Leadership

In addition to economic hardship, many African countries are grappling with the resurgence of military rule, a trend that further undermines democratic governance and exacerbates public discontent. Countries like Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso have experienced military coups in recent years, driven largely by frustration with corrupt and ineffective civilian governments.

In Mali, the military took control in August 2020 after widespread protests against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta’s administration, which was marred by corruption and inability to quell jihadist insurgency. Similarly, in Guinea, President Alpha Condé was overthrown in September 2021 by the military, citing rampant corruption and economic mismanagement. Burkina Faso has also seen two coups in 2022, reflecting the deep-seated instability and dissatisfaction with civilian rule.

These military interventions are symptomatic of broader governance failures. According to the International Crisis Group (https://www.crisisgroup.org/), the return of military rule is often fueled by a breakdown in the social contract between the state and its citizens, where governments fail to deliver basic services, ensure security, and uphold the rule of law.

The Role of International Community

The international community also has a role to play in supporting African nations. Development partners, international financial institutions, and donor agencies must work collaboratively with African governments to address economic and social challenges. This includes providing financial aid, technical assistance, and capacity-building support.

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However, international aid must be conditional on good governance. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank should tie financial assistance to strict anti-corruption measures and economic reforms. This approach will ensure that aid is used effectively and benefits the intended recipients.

Case Study: Rwanda’s Economic Transformation

One notable example of effective leadership in Africa is Rwanda. Under President Paul Kagame, Rwanda has undergone significant economic transformation, becoming one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa. According to World Economic Forum (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2023/06/rwanda-economic-growth/), Rwanda’s success is attributed to its focus on good governance, anti-corruption measures, and investment in infrastructure and technology.

Rwanda’s approach demonstrates that with the right policies and leadership, African countries can overcome their challenges and achieve sustainable development. President Kagame’s model of leadership emphasizes accountability, transparency, and a strong commitment to improving the lives of citizens.

A Call to Action

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African leaders must heed the lessons from Kenya and Nigeria and take proactive steps to address the grievances of their citizens. The time for complacency is over. Leaders must recognize that the well-being of their people is paramount and that sustainable development cannot be achieved without addressing the root causes of discontent.

In conclusion, the protests in Kenya and the mounting unrest in Nigeria are clear signals that African leaders can no longer ignore. The continent is at a critical juncture, and the decisions made today will determine its future trajectory. Leaders must rise to the challenge, demonstrating a genuine commitment to good governance, economic reforms, and social justice. Failure to do so could result in uncontrolled revolutions that will sweep across the continent, reshaping the political landscape in ways that are unpredictable and potentially destabilizing.

African leaders have the power to change the course of history. By prioritizing the needs of their people and implementing effective policies, they can foster a new era of prosperity and stability. The time for action is now. GMTNewsng

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Editorial

I Am My Challenge: Embracing Growth and Overcoming Obstacles ~GMTNews Editorial

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Introduction:
Life presents us with various challenges at every step, shaping and molding our character. From the moment we take our first breath, we begin navigating a complex and dynamic world that constantly tests our resolve and resilience. However, amidst the external obstacles we encounter, we often find that the greatest challenge we face is none other than ourselves. In recognizing this profound truth, we come to understand that our personal growth and triumphs originate from within. The concept of “I am my challenge” encapsulates the idea that our inner battles and self-imposed limitations can become the catalysts for personal transformation, leading to a stronger, more resilient version of ourselves.

When we truly internalize the notion that our biggest obstacles are often self-created, we open the door to profound self-discovery and growth. This introspective journey of confronting our own fears, doubts, and vulnerabilities paves the way for a deeper understanding of our own potential. As we face our innermost struggles head-on, we unlock the power to embrace change, adapt to adversity, and cultivate an unwavering sense of resilience.

Embracing Self-Challenge:
One of the first steps towards personal growth is recognizing the need to challenge ourselves. In our journey of self-discovery, it becomes evident that true transformation and evolution stem from our willingness to step out of our comfort zones and push our boundaries. Embracing self-challenge is an act of courage and self-awareness, as it requires us to confront our fears, insecurities, and self-imposed limitations.

When we consciously set ambitious goals and push ourselves beyond what we previously thought was possible, we embark on a path of profound self-discovery. This journey of growth and expansion allows us to tap into our full potential and unlock capabilities we never knew we possessed. Each self-imposed challenge becomes an opportunity for personal empowerment and transformation, propelling us forward with a newfound sense of purpose and drive.

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Furthermore, embracing self-challenge offers us the chance to redefine our perception of limitations. As we navigate through life, we often encounter internal and external barriers that seem insurmountable. However, by actively embracing self-challenge, we not only push past these limitations but also dismantle the boundaries we unconsciously placed upon ourselves. In doing so, we expand our capacity for resilience and adaptability, ultimately fostering a more resilient and empowered version of ourselves.

Moreover, when we embrace self-challenge, we open ourselves up to a wealth of new experiences and opportunities for growth. Through each challenge we undertake, we gain valuable insights, skills, and knowledge that contribute to our personal and professional development. Embracing self-challenge allows us to continuously evolve and thrive in an ever-changing world, equipping us with the adaptability and perseverance needed to navigate through life’s complexities.

In essence, embracing self-challenge is not just about achieving specific goals; it’s about cultivating a mindset of continuous growth and self-improvement. As we push our boundaries and confront our fears, we uncover the untapped reservoir of potential within us. Each challenge becomes a stepping stone towards a more empowered, resilient, and purpose-driven existence, leading us towards a fulfilling and enriched life.

Overcoming Self-Limitations:
Self-imposed limitations often hinder our progress and prevent us from reaching our fullest potential. These limitations may arise from fear, self-doubt, or a lack of confidence, and they have a profound impact on our ability to take risks, pursue opportunities, and realize our aspirations. However, by recognizing and confronting these internal barriers, we can break free from their grasp. Overcoming self-limitations requires a mindset shift and a willingness to embrace discomfort. It involves stepping into the unknown, taking risks, and challenging the negative beliefs that hold us back.

Embracing vulnerability and acknowledging our areas of self-doubt are crucial elements in the process of overcoming self-limitations. By acknowledging and accepting our vulnerabilities, we create a foundation for growth and resilience. It’s through this acknowledgment that we can begin to challenge the negative beliefs that have shaped our self-imposed limitations, replacing them with a newfound sense of self-assurance and empowerment.

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Moreover, embracing discomfort as a means to overcome self-limitations allows us to expand our comfort zones and cultivate a greater sense of adaptability. By willingly stepping into situations that test our boundaries, we develop the resilience and flexibility needed to navigate through life’s uncertainties. Embracing discomfort becomes a catalyst for personal growth, enabling us to flourish in the face of challenges and setbacks.

Through persistence and determination, we can gradually dismantle the walls we have built around ourselves, allowing personal growth to flourish. Each step towards overcoming self-limitations serves as an opportunity to redefine our capabilities and redefine our perceived boundaries. As we challenge the negative beliefs that have held us back, we create a pathway for continuous growth, resilience, and self-empowerment.

The Power of Resilience:
Resilience plays a pivotal role in transforming our challenges into opportunities for growth. Inevitably, we will face setbacks, disappointments, and failures along our journey. However, it is our ability to bounce back from these obstacles that defines our character. Resilience allows us to maintain a positive mindset even in the face of adversity. It enables us to adapt to difficult situations, demonstrating strength and perseverance.

The power of resilience lies in its ability to shape our responses to adversity. When we encounter setbacks and failures, it is resilience that empowers us to rise above these challenges and continue moving forward. By fostering a resilient mindset, we learn to view challenges as opportunities for growth, recognizing that each obstacle presents a chance for learning and self-improvement. This shift in perspective allows us to overcome hardships with determination and grace, ultimately strengthening our resolve and character.

Furthermore, resilience empowers us to adapt to change and uncertainty with greater ease. In a world that is constantly evolving, the ability to bounce back from setbacks and navigate through unpredictable circumstances is paramount. By cultivating resilience, we develop the capacity to remain steady in the face of adversity, allowing us to embrace change and unpredictability with resilience and flexibility. This adaptability not only enables us to thrive in challenging environments but also imbues us with the confidence to tackle future obstacles with resilience and determination.

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Moreover, resilience enables us to sustain a sense of hope and optimism, even in the most trying times. By viewing challenges as temporary hurdles rather than insurmountable barriers, we cultivate the mental fortitude needed to persevere in the face of adversity. This unwavering hope and optimism become pillars of strength, fueling our ability to overcome obstacles and setbacks with resilience and perseverance. In essence, resilience provides us with the foundation to navigate through life’s trials and tribulations, emerging stronger and more empowered on the other side.

Lessons Learned from Adversity:
Every challenge we encounter has valuable lessons to offer. Through adversity, we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, our strengths, and our weaknesses. Challenges push us to question our beliefs, values, and priorities, leading to personal and spiritual growth. This introspection allows us to develop empathy, compassion, and a greater appreciation for life’s blessings.

Adversity serves as a powerful catalyst for self-discovery and personal growth. During times of challenge, we are compelled to confront our innermost fears and insecurities, uncovering aspects of our character and resilience that may have remained dormant. These experiences offer profound opportunities for introspection, prompting us to reevaluate our priorities and cultivate a deeper sense of gratitude for the blessings in our lives.

Moreover, the lessons learned from adversity enable us to grow personally, professionally, and emotionally, equipping us with the tools necessary for future success. As we navigate through challenging circumstances, we enhance our problem-solving abilities, resilience, and adaptability. Each trial becomes a classroom for learning and self-improvement, empowering us to develop the skills and mindset needed to triumph over future obstacles.

Additionally, challenges provide an opportunity for self-reflection and skill development. As we confront adversity, we are prompted to identify areas for improvement and to nurture new skills that enable us to navigate through life’s complexities. By approaching challenges with a growth-oriented mindset, we harness the opportunity for continuous learning and development, strengthening our abilities and expanding our capacity for success.

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Conclusion:
In the journey of life, we are confronted with numerous challenges that test our resolve, strength, and resilience. These obstacles often push us to our limits and compel us to confront the barriers within ourselves. Embracing the profound concept of “I am my challenge” empowers us to recognize the importance of self-discovery, self-belief, and personal growth. By challenging ourselves to step out of our comfort zones, embracing discomfort, and harnessing the power of resilience, we are able to turn our struggles into catalysts for personal evolution and transformation.

As we navigate through the ups and downs of life, we realize that the true battles often lie within ourselves. It is through these internal struggles that we cultivate the inner strength and determination needed to surmount the external challenges we encounter. Each obstacle becomes an opportunity for self-reflection and growth, enabling us to become more resilient, adaptable, and empowered beings.

In the process of confronting our own limitations and fears, we unearth valuable lessons that not only shape our character but also equip us with the wisdom and experience needed to confront future adversities with grace and resilience. As we face our challenges head-on, we come to understand that they are not roadblocks but rather opportunities for growth and self-discovery. Through this transformative journey, we pave the way for a more fulfilling and meaningful life, where each obstacle becomes a stepping stone towards personal development, strength, and a deeper sense of purpose. GMTNews

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Editorial

The Imperative of Rejecting Corrupt Legal System in the Face of Daunting Electoral Fraud

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Introduction:

In every society, the legal system stands as the guardian of justice and the protector of citizens’ rights, serving as the cornerstone upon which a just and orderly society is built. It is a system entrusted with upholding the rule of law, ensuring the fair administration of justice, and safeguarding individual liberties. However, when this system becomes tainted with corruption, it transforms from a beacon of hope into a source of despair. Corruption within the legal system threatens the very essence of justice, casting doubt on the integrity of its processes and the impartiality of its decisions. As this essay delves into the depths of this issue, it seeks to shed light on the profound importance of vehemently opposing a legal system that tolerates and perpetuates corruption.

The court, often hailed as the last hope for the common man, plays a pivotal role in upholding justice, especially in instances of electoral fraud. It is the sanctuary to which citizens turn when their rights are violated and when they seek recourse for injustices. The court’s decisions can determine the fate of nations, the legitimacy of governments, and the protection of individual rights. Consequently, when corruption infiltrates the legal system, it not only erodes trust in this last bastion of justice but also jeopardizes the very essence of democracy, particularly in cases of electoral fraud. Thus, the need for society to unite against such corruption becomes not only a moral imperative but a safeguard for the very foundations of a just society.

Destructive Force of Corruption in the Legal System:

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Corruption within the legal system is a cancer that eats away at the principles of justice, equality, and the rule of law. It is a malady that sows the seeds of injustice and undermines the very essence of a fair and democratic society. When individuals within the legal system, including judges, lawyers, and law enforcement officers, engage in corrupt practices, the consequences are dire. However, these consequences are magnified when corruption occurs in the context of electoral fraud, an offense that strikes at the heart of a nation’s democratic process.

The corrosive impact of corruption in the legal system is felt most keenly when electoral fraud appears evident. Elections are the lifeblood of democracy, the mechanism through which the voice of the people is heard, and the will of the nation is expressed. When these democratic processes are subverted by electoral fraud, it not only undermines the sanctity of the vote but threatens the very foundations of a democratic society. In such cases, the legal system should serve as a bulwark against injustice, ensuring that those responsible for electoral fraud are held accountable and that the voice of the people is upheld. However, when corruption infiltrates the legal apparatus itself, it becomes a double-edged sword, striking at the heart of justice in a society.

In the presence of apparent electoral fraud, the stakes are high, and the expectations of justice are paramount. Corruption within the legal system not only allows the guilty to escape unpunished but can also result in the victimization of innocent individuals, who may be wrongly accused or convicted. When the legal system, which should act as a beacon of hope for the common man and a defender of justice, becomes a tool for the powerful and corrupt, it leaves the most vulnerable in society without recourse. This not only damages the lives of those directly affected but also shakes the very pillars of trust in the legal system.

The erosion of public faith in the legal system is particularly profound when corruption taints the handling of electoral fraud cases. In such situations, the very legitimacy of elected officials and the democratic process itself can be called into question. The people who should find solace and confidence in the legal system instead find themselves disillusioned and skeptical. The consequences of this erosion of trust are far-reaching, extending beyond the immediate victims to encompass the entire society. The sense of betrayal and disillusionment can lead to a breakdown of civic order, unrest, and a loss of faith in the institutions that should protect the rights and interests of the people.

In conclusion, corruption within the legal system is a grave threat to justice and the rule of law. Its impact is most acute when apparent electoral fraud occurs, as this strikes at the heart of democracy. In such cases, the legal system should stand as a steadfast protector of the democratic process and the rights of the people. When it fails in this duty due to corruption, the consequences are profound, with innocent lives affected, the guilty escaping justice, and public faith in the legal system eroded. The imperative to say no to a legal system that endorses corruption, particularly in cases of apparent electoral fraud, is not just a matter of principle but a safeguard for the health and integrity of a democratic society.

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Erosion of Trust:

Trust in the legal system is the bedrock upon which a just and functioning society is built. It is the confidence that individuals place in the fairness, integrity, and impartiality of the legal processes that underpin their social contract. When this trust is eroded by the specter of corruption within the legal system, the repercussions are profound and extend far beyond the confines of courtrooms and statutes.

The legal system, at its core, is designed to provide citizens with recourse, protection, and justice. It should be a sanctuary where disputes are settled equitably, rights are safeguarded, and wrongs are righted. However, when the perception of corruption takes root, it taints every facet of this institution. People begin to doubt whether the legal system can deliver on its fundamental promises. They question the fairness of trials, the impartiality of judges, and the ethics of lawyers.

This erosion of trust is particularly troubling because it undermines the social contract that binds citizens to their legal system. A functioning society relies on the belief that justice will be served, and that wrongs will be addressed through legal channels. When this trust is compromised, individuals may lose faith in the system’s ability to protect their rights and uphold the rule of law.

The consequences of such a loss of trust are profound and wide-ranging. In the absence of faith in the legal system, individuals may resort to alternative means to seek justice, potentially leading to a breakdown of law and order. Vigilante justice and a sense of lawlessness can take hold when the formal legal system is perceived as corrupt or ineffective. This not only threatens the stability of the society but also compromises the safety and security of its citizens.

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Moreover, the erosion of trust in the legal system can breed social unrest. When people believe that the system is rigged in favor of the corrupt and powerful, they may become disheartened and disillusioned. Protests, civil disobedience, and even violence can erupt as a result of this disillusionment. The breakdown of trust can polarize society and strain social cohesion, leading to a state of perpetual unrest.

Furthermore, when trust in the legal system is lost, a sense of helplessness can pervade society. Citizens may feel powerless in the face of corruption and injustice. They may become resigned to the idea that they are at the mercy of a system that works against their interests, and this sense of helplessness can have profound psychological and emotional consequences.

In this context, the importance of saying no to a legal system that endorses corruption becomes evident. It is not only a matter of upholding principles of justice and fairness but also a means of preserving the very fabric of a just and functioning society. Without trust in the legal system, the social contract crumbles, leading to the erosion of law and order, the potential for social unrest, and a pervasive sense of helplessness among citizens. Society must unite to reject corruption within the legal system to ensure that trust is not just a concept but a lived reality for all its members.

Moral and Ethical Imperative:

Saying no to a corrupt legal system is not merely a matter of personal preference or choice; it is a moral and ethical imperative that strikes at the very heart of a just and equitable society. Corruption within the legal system represents a betrayal of the principles that underpin the concept of justice itself. It is a departure from the ideals of fairness, impartiality, and the rule of law that the legal system should embody.

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At the core of any legal system is the obligation to uphold justice. This entails ensuring that the guilty are held accountable, the innocent are protected, and the law is applied equitably to all. Corruption in the legal system subverts these fundamental principles. When individuals within the legal system prioritize personal gain over the pursuit of justice, it not only contradicts the ethical norms that society expects but also perpetuates a culture of impunity.

Ethical norms, which serve as the moral compass of the legal profession, require professionals to act with integrity, honesty, and an unwavering commitment to justice. When corruption takes hold within the legal system, it not only deviates from these norms but also corrodes the very foundation of trust upon which the legal profession rests. It damages the reputation and credibility of lawyers, judges, and all those involved in the legal process.

In essence, corruption within the legal system compromises the essence of justice and the ethical ideals that society expects from those entrusted with upholding the law. It blurs the lines between right and wrong, favoring personal gain over the principles of fairness and equity. Such a situation is not only morally indefensible but also undermines the very fabric of a just society.

Saying no to a corrupt legal system, in the name of justice and ethics, is not just a moral duty but a societal necessity. It is a call to restore integrity, honor, and accountability within the legal system. By standing up against corruption, society sends a powerful message that justice, fairness, and ethics are non-negotiable values. It is a collective refusal to allow corruption to fester within an institution that should stand as a bastion of truth and righteousness. Society must unite in this ethical imperative to ensure that the legal system operates in line with the highest moral and ethical standards, upholding justice and fairness for all.

Role of Civil Society:

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The importance of civil society in rejecting a corrupt legal system cannot be overstated. In the complex web of governance, civil society organizations, activists, and concerned citizens serve as the conscience and driving force of a just and accountable society. They play a pivotal role in advocating for transparency, accountability, and essential reforms within the legal system. These entities, acting as vigilant watchdogs, are crucial in exposing corruption, amplifying the voices of the marginalized, and pushing for the necessary changes that will ensure the legal system operates in the best interests of the public.

Civil society organizations, comprising a diverse array of advocacy groups, nonprofits, and human rights organizations, are instrumental in holding the legal system accountable. They bring together experts, legal scholars, and dedicated individuals who tirelessly work to identify and address systemic issues, offering vital expertise and resources to drive reforms. By shedding light on cases of corruption, these organizations serve as catalysts for change, pushing for the enforcement of existing laws and the creation of new legislation where necessary.

Activists within civil society play an equally essential role. These passionate individuals often put themselves on the front lines of the battle against a corrupt legal system. They mobilize communities, organize protests, and raise awareness about issues that might otherwise remain hidden. Their unwavering dedication can bring injustices to the forefront of public consciousness, catalyzing broader movements for reform.

But the power of civil society doesn’t end with organizations and activists. Concerned citizens are the backbone of this movement. Their collective voices are a testament to the strength of a society determined to uphold justice. Through petitions, public awareness campaigns, and civic engagement, everyday citizens contribute to the push for change. They ensure that the corrupt elements within the legal system are not shielded from accountability.

In the battle against a corrupt legal system, it is this collective effort of civil society that can make the most significant impact. By serving as a counterforce to corruption, civil society not only exposes wrongdoing but also demands systemic changes. It acts as the bridge between the people and the institutions they rely on for justice, ensuring that those institutions remain true to their intended purpose.

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Through their unwavering dedication and tireless advocacy, civil society organizations, activists, and concerned citizens challenge and transform a corrupt legal system. Their work is a reminder that the fight for justice and accountability is not the sole responsibility of legal professionals or politicians. It is a responsibility that falls on the shoulders of every individual who believes in the principles of fairness and equity. Together, they form a formidable alliance that is essential in the battle against corruption within the legal system.

Legal Reforms and Accountability:

Efforts to combat and reject a corrupt legal system must encompass a dual-pronged approach: the pursuit of legal reforms and the enhancement of accountability measures. These two elements are essential in addressing the deep-seated issues that corruption within the legal system presents and in ensuring that justice and fairness are upheld.

Firstly, legal reforms play a pivotal role in dismantling the foundations of corruption within the legal system. These reforms should focus on creating transparent processes and procedures that allow for greater scrutiny and public trust. Transparency is the antithesis of corruption, as it exposes wrongdoing to the light of public scrutiny. Reforms aimed at transparency can include requirements for clear and open court proceedings, accessible legal documents, and the publication of judicial decisions. Furthermore, they can help ensure that judges and lawyers are selected and appointed based on merit and qualifications rather than political or personal connections, thereby strengthening the independence of the judiciary.

An independent judiciary is vital in safeguarding the integrity of the legal system. When the judiciary is free from external influences and can make impartial decisions, it acts as a safeguard against corruption. Legal reforms should be crafted to reinforce the independence of the judiciary, granting it the autonomy needed to uphold the rule of law without fear or favor.

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Additionally, mechanisms for reporting and addressing corruption within the legal system must be established or strengthened. These mechanisms provide channels through which individuals can bring allegations of corruption to light without fear of retaliation. Whistleblower protections, for instance, can encourage those within the legal system to expose corrupt practices, ensuring that such actions do not go unreported. These reporting channels should be clear, accessible, and confidential, safeguarding those who wish to speak out against corruption.

Moreover, legal reforms should bolster accountability measures. Accountability mechanisms serve as the deterrent against corrupt behavior, ensuring that those who engage in such practices face the consequences of their actions. This includes robust internal disciplinary procedures within the legal profession to address misconduct and corruption. It also involves cooperation with external oversight bodies to investigate and adjudicate allegations of corruption. These bodies should have the authority to recommend sanctions, disciplinary actions, or criminal prosecution as necessary.

Efforts to say no to a corrupt legal system demand that society collectively pushes for these legal reforms and accountability mechanisms. Legal reforms, geared toward transparency, independence, and accountability, aim to dismantle the structures that enable corruption. Accountability measures, in turn, send a clear message that corrupt practices within the legal system will not be tolerated. By advocating for these essential components, society can contribute to the restoration of public trust in the legal system, ensuring that justice and fairness prevail.

Importance of Unity:

In the battle against a legal system tainted by corruption, the importance of unity cannot be overstated. It is through the power of collective action that society can effectively combat and challenge the prevailing culture of corruption. When individuals from diverse backgrounds, irrespective of their differences in beliefs, unite with one voice to reject corruption within the legal system, they become a formidable force for change. A united front sends a resounding message to those perpetuating corruption that their actions will not be tolerated.

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A central tenet of unity in this context is that it transcends individual interests and prejudices. It emphasizes the common goal of eradicating corruption, a goal that should resonate with all members of society. Corruption’s insidious effects know no boundaries, affecting people from all walks of life. Therefore, the call for unity transcends political, religious, and cultural divisions, as it unites individuals under the banner of justice and fairness.

The power of collective action is particularly potent in the context of challenging a corrupt legal system. Corruption often thrives in the shadows of silence and apathy. When individuals come together, their collective voices pierce through the darkness, exposing wrongdoing and demanding accountability. The sheer volume of these voices magnifies their impact, making it impossible for corruption to continue unchecked.

Moreover, a united front exerts substantial pressure on the institutions and individuals responsible for upholding a corrupt legal system. It sends a clear message that the status quo is unacceptable. This message challenges the very foundations upon which corruption rests, eroding its influence and authority.

Historically, many significant social and political changes have been achieved through unity and collective action. Movements that fought for civil rights, democracy, and justice have often succeeded because of the unyielding unity of their supporters. In the face of overwhelming numbers and unwavering determination, those who seek to perpetuate corruption find their position untenable.

The call for unity is a call for strength, resilience, and determination in the face of adversity. It is a reminder that the fight against a corrupt legal system is not the responsibility of a select few but a collective endeavor. It is a demand for a society that stands as a bulwark against corruption, preserving the principles of justice and fairness that underpin a just society.

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The importance of unity in the battle against a corrupt legal system cannot be overemphasized. A united front, comprised of individuals from diverse backgrounds and beliefs, becomes a powerful force for change. It exposes corruption, demands accountability, and challenges the very foundations upon which corruption rests. Through unity, society sends a resounding message that it will not tolerate corruption within the legal system, reaffirming its commitment to justice and fairness for all.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the importance of saying no to a legal system that endorses corruption cannot be overstated, particularly in the context of electoral fraud. Corruption within the legal system erodes trust, violates ethical norms, and undermines the very principles of justice. The ramifications of corruption within the legal system become even more pronounced when the nation’s election body becomes partial and connives with one political party to rig an election. In such circumstances, the court is expected to right the wrong by taking a neutral stand and upholding the truth to restore people’s confidence.

It is not merely a matter of principle but an ethical and moral duty for all members of society to stand against this corruption. A society that tolerates or turns a blind eye to corruption within its legal system ultimately jeopardizes its foundations and the trust that its citizens place in the rule of law.

Unity is the key to challenging and dismantling a corrupt legal system. Only by joining forces, regardless of individual backgrounds or beliefs, can we hope to reject a system tainted by corruption and strive for a society where justice prevails. The power of collective action is formidable, and it is through this unity that we can send a resounding message to those perpetuating corruption that their actions will not be tolerated.

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The call to rise up and reject corruption within the legal system is not a call for anarchy or chaos but a call for a return to the foundational values of justice, fairness, and accountability. It is a reaffirmation of the moral and ethical principles that should underpin the legal system. By collectively standing against corruption, society can work towards a legal system that is just, transparent, and accountable, ensuring that the rights and interests of all its members are safeguarded. It is through this resolute and united voice that we can strive for a society where justice is not a mere concept but a lived reality for every citizen. GMTNews

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Editorial

Niger’s War of Blood and Water ~ Editorial

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Nigeria 🇳🇬 and Niger 🇳🇪 flags

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One of the bitter lessons Bola Tinubu may have learnt in his abortive war against Niger Republic’s military junta is that with northern Nigeria, blood will always be thicker than water. In this matter, Niger Republic is blood; Nigeria, especially the part of it outside the Muslim north, is water. Northern Nigerians will not sacrifice their brothers and sisters in Niger for anything, not for a nebulous concept called ‘democracy’ and definitely not in defence of Western interests.

Last week, I looked at the geography of West Africa, its map and where Niger stands. I queried the rigour (or, even the wisdom) in ECOWAS slapping border closure on Niger when it should be clear to the leaders there that you cannot close a door you do not control: Benin Republic and Nigeria which are in Niger’s southern borders have frontier populations that would do anything to protect their brothers and sisters in Niger. Niger’s northern borders are shared with non-ECOWAS members, Libya and Algeria, who share very strong Muslim brotherhood ties with Niger. The other borders are with Burkina Faso in the southeast, with Mali in the west, and with Chad in the east – all under military rule, like Niger.

The last five days have been very testing for Nigeria. Tinubu last Thursday sent Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar (a retired Brigadier General) and General Abdulsalami Abubakar to Niamey to negotiate with the coup leaders. They came back empty-handed. That very day, northern Nigeria issued a carefully worded warning to Tinubu’s government to back off the course of attacking Niger. The north spoke through its umbrella group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), which described a military action against Niger as “certainly not an adventure to be led by Nigeria.” The people on the other side, the north said, are “our brothers and sisters.” It reminded Tinubu that Nigeria and Niger “share a long historical border of more than one thousand five hundred kilometers with families and communities sharing common facilities including farmlands, markets, cultural bonds, and languages for many centuries predating the Trans Saharan Trade and colonial times.” Still, the president did not appear to have read the North. On Friday morning, Tinubu sent a letter to the Senate asking for approval to carry out ECOWAS resolutions on the Niger crisis. Military intervention is one of those resolutions. On Friday night, northern senators released a statement urging their colleagues from other parts of the country to join them to reject that call for war. The Senate on Saturday afternoon voted against the war plans of ECOWAS. Its chair and our president, Tinubu, can now smile away from the odious shame of defeat.

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Because of Niger Republic, the North was restive throughout Friday and for much of Saturday its volcano was humming. Northern Nigeria was saying that it wouldn’t have Nigeria fight Niger, a country with which it had been one family before the British created Nigeria. Uthman dan Fodio was born in Maratta in the Tahoua region, present-day Niger; he died in 1817 in Sokoto, present-day Nigeria. Read Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History. Nothing, not Nigeria, not democracy, neither coup nor pressure from any patron abroad would make northern Nigeria cut its family tie with Niger. What clever leader walks so headily into a trap as Tinubu has done? He is, however, lucky; he has a Senate of night soil men that has helped him to clear the mess. But why did he think he could pull off a military campaign against Niger by Nigerian forces? Who would have helped him pull the trigger and fire the tanks? Why did he write the Senate? Why did he not look carefully at the ethno-religious demography of the Senate before unleashing his war whim on that chamber? He should have weighed the options he had.

Talking about weighing options before actions are taken. Reports say our North was/is not just against military action against Niger; it is also against plunging the neighbouring country into darkness by the Nigerian government. Watching your brother’s back is what family means. We supply about 75 percent of Niger’s electricity. This was disconnected some days ago on the orders of Tinubu. How wise was that option?

Long after this coup flood would have dried off, its tributaries will continue to ravage Nigeria-Niger relations. How right (or righteous) was that act of disconnection of electricity from Niger? Or how legal or illegal was it? The use of international waters is governed by international law moderated by bilateral/multilateral treaties, agreements and Acts. For River Niger (post-colonial), there are about six of such, starting with the Act of Niamey of 1963, the Agreement of November 1964, the Niamey Agreement of 1973, the 1980 Convention, the Protocol of December 1982 and the Water Charter of 2008, among others. These laws lay out “general principles for equitable and reasonable participation and use of the water of River Niger” and obligated parties “not to cause harm to other states” in accordance with the laws. A key agreement here was the decision not to have River Niger dammed by any of the upper-course states so as not to injure downstream Nigeria’s hydroelectric dams while Nigeria undertook to supply electricity to the upper riparian countries. Until last week, Nigeria kept to that agreement; but Niger Republic has long violated the pact. Our neighbour is building an ambitious dam,
Kandadji Dam, with a height of 280m, a length of 8,780m and a reservoir covering an area of 282 hectares. The dam, 489km away from Nigeria, should be ready by 2024 – next year- or 2025, but the injury envisaged in 1963 is already taking its toll.

The Niger Basin Authority manages River Niger for all its riparian states. Its National Focal Structure (NBA-NFS) meeting of 14 July, 2017 discussed what it described as “the dwindling flow of the River Niger, the development of Kandadji Dam project upstream of River Niger and other related issues.” Whatever that meeting decided did not stop Niger from going ahead with the project. In September 2021, the now deposed President Bazoum visited the construction site, he sounded upbeat and said that “all the obstacles have been lifted..in a few months you will see the project taking shape.” He explained that the dam was aimed at addressing dependence on Nigeria for electricity supply. Bazoum’s predecessor, Mahamadou Issoufou, who started the project, was also quoted as explaining the dam’s objectives: “It is not only a question of producing electricity, but also of regenerating the river’s ecosystem, while creating the conditions for local development.” What has happened to the treaties and their implications? Article 17 of the 1964 Agreement says “The Act of Niamey together with this Agreement may be denounced by any one of the riparian states after the expiration of a period of ten years from the date of its coming into force.” The Agreement goes further to prescribe the procedure for the denunciation. Did Niger Republic follow that process before starting the project in 2017? If it did, what did our government do? Because blood is thicker than water, Niger’s negative activities and their ‘injurious effects’ went on under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari without a word of protest from our leader. He, instead, feted Issoufou and his successor, Bazoum; they feted him so much also that he publicly announced that he would relocate to Niger if Nigeria became unliveable for him.

If northern Nigeria needs to throw the south of Nigeria into the Atlantic to save Niger Republic, it will. This should not rile us. A former US Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, once noted that “the Niger-Nigeria border is artificial.” He said “it was drawn in the colonial period by London and Paris…to check German expansion in West Africa rather than recognition of ethnicities or other indigenous factors.” Niger’s population is 25.25 million. The Hausa share of that figure is 13.07 million – more than half of the total. We have Fulani, Kanuri, Tuareg Arabs in our northern population; Niger has them too. So, the people along that axis share much more than geography; they see no border, what they see is family. An American political scientist, Williams Miles, about 18 years ago looked at what he called “local versus external perceptions of Niger-Nigeria boundary” and submitted that “for the border-line Hausa, identity is not zero-sum: feeling more and more Nigérien/Nigerian does not result in diminution of their ‘Hausa-ness’”(see Williams F. S. Miles, 2005: 297). Their ethnicity and religion are their country, not Nigeria, not Niger. In that corridor, you can’t define the concepts of citizenship and nationality and get them right. Each person there belongs, daily, to the country where dawn meets them. Miles (2005:307) says that in 1998, the Nigeria-Niger Border Commission identified eight ‘Nigerian’ villages in Nigerien territory and nine ‘Nigerien’ villages on Nigerian soil. He adds that there are tens of villages halved between the two countries and that there are “inhabitants with farmland straddling the boundary (who) had to choose one colonial side or the other. French subjects were not supposed to farm on ‘English’ territory, and vice versa. As a result of ‘intermarriage’ (e.g., a ‘French’ Hausa man marrying an ‘English’ Hausa woman) and ensuing inheritance
complexities, it has become quite possible for a son to claim his family and heritage in Niger, even if he himself grew up in Nigeria and is a citizen thereof.”

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If Tinubu did not appreciate these facts before he started his Niger misadventure, he should now. His teacher is the torrent of negative vibes from northern Nigeria because of its twin brother- Niger Republic.

Can we leave Niger alone to decide what it wants? It is not the first (and won’t be the last) to suffer a military coup. My people say that it is with one’s mouth that one rejects what one does not want to eat. When Nigerians wanted democracy, we were in the trenches for almost two decades fighting for it. We’ve not heard a word of condemnation of the coup from inside Niger. Al’ára ní ara ò ro òun; why are we taking analgesic on behalf of neighbours who insist they feel no pain? Nigerians are hungry, they are talking food; their president is talking war. Should it be like that? Why the undue interest in Niger’s affairs by Nigeria and its ECOWAS? We can understand the superpowers and the unease around them that almost threatens a world war. There is something in Niger for them. Canadian news agency, Reuters, last Friday gave a further hint. It wrote that Niger Republic has strategic significance for the United States, for China, Europe and Russia given its uranium and oil riches and pivotal role in the war with Islamist rebels in the Sahel region. Niger has one of the largest uranium deposits in the world. It, in fact, accounts for about five percent of global uranium supplies. United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) statistics shows that France, with 56 operable nuclear reactors, has one of the largest nuclear power programmes in the world. Its nuclear reactors generated 361 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2021 – 68 percent of the country’s annual electricity generation. That feat is from Niger’s high-grade uranium. Niger gives electricity to rich France, but because Africa has leaders who sleep on their brains, uranium-rich Niger has no reactor – and cannot have a reactor; over 80 percent of Niger is in darkness and the country itself is one of the world’s poorest.

So, why is the world in turmoil because of a tiny, poverty-ridden country in backwater Africa? The drivers of global politics do not get serious to benefit others. In international relations and politics, national interest is an instrument of political action; it justifies anything and everything. And, because Africa’s husbands’ national interest must prevail at all times, sometimes without their footfalls being heard, they use, misuse and misgovern our leaders; they send them on slave errands. That is very manifest in the current Niger debacle. Tinubu and his brother West African presidents should reread 17th-century poet, Jean de La Fontaine’s tale of The Monkey and the Cat: “shrewd, wily monkey convinces unwitting (or downright stupid) Cat to pull chestnuts from a hot fire. Cat scoops chestnuts from the fire one by one, burning his paw as he does so; Monkey eagerly gobbles them up, leaving none for the Cat.” They should also read about Vladmir Lenin’s “useful idiots”, a ‘simple’ people routinely used cynically by their lords and masters to push a cause they know little or nothing about and is of no benefit to them.

What will Tinubu look like after this time out? Studies upon studies have shown that leaders who drag their nations into unnecessary war expose themselves to a condition that threatens their retention of political power. Luckily for our president, his puny Senate has saved his face for him with a soft landing. But let him stop acting Reagan without the depth of Ronald Reagan. As Emeritus Professor Toyin Falola said in a private group discussion yesterday, Tinubu’s friends should tell him to recalibrate: “His handling of the coup in Niger is terrible: he forgets the large Hausa population; he forgets the Yoruba-Sabarumo alliance in Niger which can cause genocide to his Yoruba people…he forgets refugees; he forgets the pipeline passing through Niger to Morocco; he even forgets the rams needed for Ileya. His friends should tell him to recalibrate. As Mr. Macaroni would ask: “Are you normal?” Is Tinubu normal? In my only public piece on him, Adán, I explained the danger he represents, using the bat as a metaphor: a shifting character that feeds on its environment, destroys it, and moves away.”

Because Tinubu is famed to be smart and wise, this final word should be enough counsel for him.

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