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Why Vladimir Putin Has Already Lost This War – By Yuval Noah Harari

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Less than a week into the war, it seems increasingly likely that Vladimir Putin is heading towards a historic defeat. He may win all the battles but still lose the war.

Putin’s dream of rebuilding the Russian empire has always rested on the lie that Ukraine isn’t a real nation, that Ukrainians aren’t a real people, and that the inhabitants of Kyiv, Kharkiv and Lviv yearn for Moscow’s rule.

That’s a complete lie – Ukraine is a nation with more than a thousand years of history, and Kyiv was already a major metropolis when Moscow was not even a village.

But the Russian despot has told his lie so many times that he apparently believes it himself.

When planning his invasion of Ukraine, Putin could count on many known facts. He knew that militarily Russia dwarfs Ukraine. He knew that Nato would not send troops to help Ukraine.

He knew that European dependence on Russian oil and gas would make countries like Germany hesitate about imposing stiff sanctions.

Based on these known facts, his plan was to hit Ukraine hard and fast, decapitate its government, establish a puppet regime in Kyiv, and ride out the western sanctions.

But there was one big unknown about this plan. As the Americans learned in Iraq and the Soviets learned in Afghanistan, it is much easier to conquer a country than to hold it. Putin knew he had the power to conquer Ukraine.

But would the Ukrainian people just accept Moscow’s puppet regime? Putin gambled that they would. After all, as he repeatedly explained to anyone willing to listen, Ukraine isn’t a real nation, and the Ukrainians aren’t a real people. In 2014, people in Crimea hardly resisted the Russian invaders. Why should 2022 be any different?

With each passing day, it is becoming clearer that Putin’s gamble is failing. The Ukrainian people are resisting with all their heart, winning the admiration of the entire world – and winning the war. Many dark days lie ahead.

The Russians may still conquer the whole of Ukraine. But to win the war, the Russians would have to hold Ukraine, and they can do that only if the Ukrainian people let them. This seems increasingly unlikely to happen.

Each Russian tank destroyed and each Russian soldier killed increases the Ukrainians’ courage to resist. And each Ukrainian killed deepens the Ukrainians’ hatred of the invaders.

Hatred is the ugliest of emotions. But for oppressed nations, hatred is a hidden treasure. Buried deep in the heart, it can sustain resistance for generations. To reestablish the Russian empire, Putin needs a relatively bloodless victory that will lead to a relatively hateless occupation.

By spilling more and more Ukrainian blood, Putin is making sure his dream will never be realised. It won’t be Mikhail Gorbachev’s name written on the death certificate of the Russian empire: it will be Putin’s.

Gorbachev left Russians and Ukrainians feeling like siblings; Putin has turned them into enemies, and has ensured that the Ukrainian nation will henceforth define itself in opposition to Russia.

Nations are ultimately built on stories. Each passing day adds more stories that Ukrainians will tell not only in the dark days ahead, but in the decades and generations to come.

The president who refused to flee the capital, telling the US that he needs ammunition, not a ride; the soldiers from Snake Island who told a Russian warship to “go fuck yourself”; the civilians who tried to stop Russian tanks by sitting in their path.

This is the stuff nations are built from. In the long run, these stories count for more than tanks.

The Russian despot should know this as well as anyone. As a child, he grew up on a diet of stories about German atrocities and Russian bravery in the siege of Leningrad. He is now producing similar stories, but casting himself in the role of Hitler.

The stories of Ukrainian bravery give resolve not only to the Ukrainians, but to the whole world. They give courage to the governments of European nations, to the US administration, and even to the oppressed citizens of Russia.

If Ukrainians dare to stop a tank with their bare hands, the German government can dare to supply them with some anti-tank missiles, the US government can dare to cut Russia off Swift, and Russian citizens can dare to demonstrate their opposition to this senseless war.

We can all be inspired to dare to do something, whether it is make a donation, welcome refugees, or help with the struggle online.

The war in Ukraine will shape the future of the entire world. If tyranny and aggression are allowed to win, we will all suffer the consequences. There is no point to remain just observers. It’s time to stand up and be counted.

Unfortunately, this war is likely to be long-lasting. Taking different forms, it may well continue for years. But the most important issue has already been decided.

The last few days have proved to the entire world that Ukraine is a very real nation, that Ukrainians are a very real people, and that they definitely don’t want to live under a new Russian empire. The main question left open is how long it will take for this message to penetrate the Kremlin’s thick walls.

  • Yuval Noah Harari is a historian and author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Opinions

None Of Tinubu, Atiku, Obi Can Solve Nigeria’s Problems – Prophet Olagunju

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The General Overseer of the popular Divine Seed of God Chapel Ministries, Ibadan, Prophet Moses Wale Olagunju was during the week featured on Parrot Xtra/Ayekooto On Radio anchored by Olayinka Agboola and broadcast live on Splash 105.5FM.

During the interaction, the man of God who said he has not had a bath for almost 21 years or had any intimate relationship with his wife revealed the causes of Nigeria’s problems and why some pastors are into fraudulent activities…

Excerpts

How easy is it to serve God?

It is easy when you have a genuine call from God because with Him all things are possible. When I received the divine instruction from God to separate myself for a special assignment, I was not obstinate about it. For with God all things are possible, formerly, I used to take my bath in the morning and in the night because of heat, but when I heeded the divine instruction not to take my bath, it became very easy for me and I have not had a bath for close to 21 years now. I have also not moved close to my wife.

We can all see that churches and mosques are increasing in our society and yet, corruption and other vices are also on the increase too. What do you think is really happening sir?

Poverty is the reason why there are numerous churches in Nigeria today. It is really difficult to differentiate those who were genuinely called by God and those who decided to call themselves because of their selfish interests. We now have numerous pastors who jumped into ministerial work because of poverty and joblessness and this has increased the number of thieves and fraudsters in today’s churches. We now have thieves and pen robbers parading themselves as pastors in many of our churches today because when someone calls himself a prophet and cajoles members of his church to buy him a car or ask them to empty their account in the name of giving offering, what do we call such pastors? Are they not also indulging in the fraud known as ‘Yahoo Yahoo? Church members are also indulging in fraud to satisfy the so-called men of God; all these are the reason why indiscipline is increasing in our society today.

So, how do you normally raise offerings and funds in your own church sir?

I only rely on offering that members willingly and joyfully contribute. We do not force them to pay tithes unlike what we are now seeing nowadays whereby our pastors now neglect the issue of salvation and focus their attention on tithes and offerings. This is definitely not right. A true Christian must know that it is his/her duty to pay tithes without being forced.

You once prophesied that Nigerians will face hardship, what is the way out?

We have been confronted with the reality that famine and hardship will increase in the nation. I have foretold it and it is still happening and it will still increase. Part of the situation, which our people do not understand, is that Nigeria has been destroyed. If any politician is promising to salvage the situation of things in the country, such a person is a liar even if one of Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar or Peter Obi wins the presidential election, none of them will be able to salvage the country from its current predicament. Things are spoilt beyond redemption. The only solution to Nigeria’s problem is restructuring.

You were also quoted in some newspapers as saying something about Governor Seyi Makinde’s Second Term in Office?

I fasted for Governor Seyi Makinde for forty-five days and nights for him to emerge as the governor of Oyo State, some important personalities in his government are quite aware of this even though they did not even bother to appreciate. I can mention Senator Hosea Agboola, Niyi Farinto and others.

I predicted that Engr. Seyi Makinde will eventually emerge as the Governor of Oyo State as far back as year 2009. I have all the prophesies written in a document even when he went to Social Democratic Party (SDP) I was one of the people that encouraged him to go, likewise when he joined People Democratic Party (PDP) before he eventually emerged as the Governor.
God told me things, problems that will unfold in his administration but they refused to take my message with seriousness. He will not return for a second term.

Ha, because he did not give you his attention sir?

No. The prophecy is based on what God said and not because of what his government did to me.

Many of our politicians swear with the Holy Books of Quran and Bible yet corruption persists?

As Christians, the bible does not support swearing. God said our ‘yes’ should always be our ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ should equally be our ‘no’. God knew that man is liable to error that is why He did not support swearing of an oath with the Bible. Most people are just going about with the Bible, it does not have any meaning to them but whosoever wants to make Heaven should always know that his or her ‘yes’ must be ‘yes’ and ‘no’ should be ‘no’.

You also prophesied that prominent Kings would die in Oyo State in 2022? And your prophesies came to pass…

When God revealed a vision to an individual, it is not to frighten but to warn the persons involved to be watchful and be prayerful but so many people believe that the moment a prophet releases a prophecy he is only seeking after popularity and wealth. I do not release prophecy to frighten people or to gather wealth.

I have also said that there are some principalities that are making it difficult for this country not to move forward but I will not mention them, for they know themselves but very soon they will pass away.

It is only God that can restore the fortunes of Nigeria, no man can do it, if any politician says that he can do it, tell the person that he is a liar, how can he repair something that has been destroyed completely.

The price of fuel has risen to N190 naira per liter; can he bring the price down to N30 naira? We only need God’s intervention for Nigeria to be restored again.

Let’s consider the ASUU and federal government brouhaha, the FG said they need billions to settle them, but where will they get such huge amount of money from? At the end of the day, we all know that corruption is a major problem we have in the country.

What advice do you have for Nigerian politicians?

I just want our politician to permit the fear of God in their hearts so that God can lead this country by Himself, if politicians have the fear of God, the country will be peaceful and prosperous.

Sometimes, even their followers too are not helping matters because when a leader decides to govern very well, some people might be bent on destroying it.

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Education

Cruelty To Students, Poor Info Management And Partisanship Hurting ASUU – Farooq Kperogi

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On Thursday, Education Minister Adamu Adamu told news reporters that the federal government had resolved all outstanding disputes with ASUU and that the federal government’s insistence on withholding the salaries of lecturers for the period they’ve been on strike was the only reason ASUU said it won’t call off its strike.
It has turned out that Adamu lied about his first claim. (I’ll return to this shortly). Curiously, however, ASUU, ignored Adamu’s first claim and reacted only to the second claim.
In responding to the second claim, ASUU’s president basically confirmed what Adamu said and then directed viciously unvarnished cruelty to poor, lowly, helpless, and traumatized students who did ASUU no wrong; most of whom, in fact, support ASUU.
He told Channels TV that if lecturers aren’t paid salaries that they didn’t earn during the period they’re on strike, they’ll punish students by making them repeat the academic session all over again (many universities were on the cusp of completing their sessions when the strike started) and that the admissions granted to new students will be rescinded.
This threat would have made partial sense if the children of ministers and politicians were enrolled in public universities. But none of Adamu’s children is enrolled in a public university. His daughters attend private universities in Abuja and his son, I understand, attends an Iranian university.
Neither Adamu nor any high-ranking bureaucrat would be affected by ASUU’s planned cruelty to students. These monsters of depravity in government couldn’t care less if public universities are closed forever.
So, why would ASUU propose to punish innocent, powerless, and defenseless students because of the actions of thoughtless, out-of-touch government officials?
That was where I drew the line, and my attitude toward ASUU changed. My sympathies are always and will always be with the oppressed and the underdog. Punishing students with undeserved “spillovers” and arbitrary cancellation of admission is cruel, unusual, tyrannical, cowardly, and unjustifiable. I’ll oppose it with every resource I have.
For far too long, undergraduate (and postgraduate) students at Nigerian public universities have been treated like expendable rags by their lecturers. It’s this knee-jerk, age-old derision for students that the ASUU president betrayed in his outburst.
Well, if ASUU is able to convince the federal government to make exceptions for it—like it always did in the past—and exempt it from Section 43 of the Trade Disputes Act, which says, “where any worker takes part in a strike, he shall not be entitled to any wages or other remuneration for the period of the strike,” that’s fine. But they shouldn’t punish students if they fail.
Nonetheless, after the publication of my column yesterday, ASUU members said, contrary to Adamu’s claims, no agreement had been reached between ASUU and the federal government, and that the federal government merely told ASUU that it would add an additional 60,000 naira to the salaries of professors and 30,000 to those of others, which won’t materialize until next year when the life of the current government would have expired.
That’s unacceptable, and I wholeheartedly support ASUU’s opposition to this fraud and condescension from the government.
But why didn’t ASUU immediately disclaim Adamu’s lie that the government had resolved all disputes with it instead of being hung up on making the case for why its members should be paid for work they didn’t do and threatening to punish innocent students?
For me, it betrays both incompetence and defective prioritization on the part of the ASUU leadership. A union of academics should have mechanisms for real-time, rapid-fire responses to issues that concern it in moments like this.
I read an article by Abdelghaffar Amoka Abdelmalik, an ASUU member, bemoaning the absence of ASUU on social media.
ASUU has no official handle on any social media platform, and people have taken advantage of this to crowd the space with fake ASUU handles.
The union periodically issues press statements saying it has no social media presence. Who does that in the 21st century? And we’re talking about a union that has among its members professors of communication!
When I wanted to write my column, I searched the internet for ASUU’s reaction to Adamu’s claim that the federal government had resolved all disputes with ASUU. I didn’t find anything.
All I saw was the ASUU president sulking because Adamu said lecturers won’t be paid for the period that they’re on strike.
Based on my knowledge of Adamu as someone who isn’t flippant, who isn’t given to lying—and the fact that ASUU hadn’t denied his claim—I chose to believe him. Now, I’m as disappointed with Adamu’s disgraceful, undignified lie as I am with ASUU’s 24-hour silence over the lie.
I have a strong suspicion that Adamu’s recent viciousness toward ASUU is inspired by the ASUU president’s venture into partisan politics.
On August 12, for example, he said to young people on AIT: “For all those who have subjected them to this [strike], they should vote them out. It’s their right. They should use the Permanent Voter Cards (PVC).”
“We are mobilising [the] Nigerian people,” he continued. “We are educating [the] Nigerian people to know that the present set of leaders have no feelings for Nigerian students and have no feelings for Nigeria as a country.”
Many people, including the Premium Times, interpreted this as a call to not vote the APC in the forthcoming 2023 election. Honchos of the Buhari regime also now see ASUU as politically partisan and are treating it like they would treat opposition politicians.
That’s why although I agree with the ASUU president’s sentiments, I think his political partisanship is counterproductive to ASUU’s cause. ASUU should steer clear of partisan politics.
The ASUU president also said people should not vote for people whose children either live abroad or went/go to school abroad. But that’s an impossibility. There is hardly any Nigerian politician running for office today who can pass this muster.
Most of Atiku Abubakar’s children went to school abroad. Bola Tinubu’s children went to school abroad, too. And Peter Obi’s children went to school abroad and live there.
Just like Bola Tinubu’s APC has allowed ASUU strikes to linger, Atiku Abubakar’s PDP was no different. Months-long ASUU strikes took place when Atiku was Vice President.
And, as governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi allowed a strike by lecturers at the Anambra State University to last for more than 5 months and even sacked the school’s vice chancellor “because of his alleged romance with the striking workers of the university,” according to the Daily Sun of January 19, 2011.
So, the top three contenders to the presidency all have the same attitude toward university lecturers, which makes the ASUU president’s partisan recommendations pointless.
Finally, it’s now clear that the government is both unable and unwilling to fund public universities. We must find alternative sources of funding them.
There are not many countries in the world where universities are closed for more than half a year because of a strike. That isn’t sustainable. There has to be another way.
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Opinions

Tokunbo Wahab: An uncommon legal eagle soaring daily to a greater place in history – Victor Ojelabi

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It amazes many how some politicians quickly gather court-like followership that often transcend their generation.

Why would the likes of Winston Churchill, D. Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela and the sage himself, Awolowo still command so much respect, many years after their death? Beyond oratory, these figures have an underlining nature of selflessness, deft wisdom and uncommon abilities to get things done and always for the greater good of the society.

Politicians in this class live their lives pursuing the dream of a fair and prosperous society so much that it becomes the only image the people hold of them.

One Nigerian political figure that is fast assuming that status is the Special Adviser on Education to the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Barr. Tokunbo Philip Wahab, whose partisan political journey is only short of a decade.

Like the Legends of People Service that were mentioned above, the endearment to the TW brand cascades from his many years in legal practice and private business.

And those very close to him often attest that it is his unsatisfied desire to scale up the impact of his programmes for the betterment of the lots of the majority that drove him into active public service.

The TW brand that is fast becoming associated with landmark long-term sustainable development projects is one that both the masses and the political class have become connected to.

Though, political kinship these days, particularly in a nation like Nigeria, has been commoditized.

Whereby wealthy individuals purchase crowd of supporters and induce loyalty with cheap gifts and bonded favours with thousands chanting their praises because of basic handouts without a deep relation with their values, vision and personality, the soaring followership of TW is by every yard organic, because there is value-based image and his personality, vision and performance easily command bountiful followership.

Leadership positions, the finality of politics and politicking, is a basic output of a life that is predisposed to the nature of selfless service, where the pursuit of the happiness and fulfillment of the other person is always the focus of the leader.

This naturally makes more and more people voluntarily put their interests, goals, aspirations, voice and rights in the hands of that individual. The growing attraction to Tokunbo Wahab is easily traceable to his natural ability to indeed lead, gaining tremendous trust and support from all corners and strata of the society!

TW is an amiable leadership brand in the eyes of a lot of people who follow the development of Lagos State. His outlandish impact in the last 3years have drawn a lot of people to him, placed him the radar of progressive governance watchers, sparked curiosity amongst the gentlemen of the press, endeared validity amongst educationist and futurists, placed dignity in the office he occupies, which hitherto was not a highly reckoned position in the large scheme of things in the state.

In 2019, when Babajide Sanwo-Olu struck the right chord by calling TW to join his team in pursuing the THEMES agenda with a major emphasis on education, no one could have imagined what the next three years held for Lagos educational sector.

Here are we in 2022, with accelerated transformation, modernization and diligent purposing of all the fundamental aspects of education in Lagos State to meet the immediate needs and drive the future development of not only the state, but the entire West African region. Now at the brink of another election, if all BOS’ government will judged by are the successes in this sector, a second term ticket will not only be deserving but worth championing by the common man.

Education is said to be an organized mechanism through which society develops its human resources by equipping them with desirable knowledge, skills, attitudes and values which will enable them operate the social institutions of a given country or nation effectively. The state and future of a state is directly proportional to the investment put into quality education of her people.

By TW’s standard, quality means global competiveness. Hence, the use of his office to design and promote a new benchmark and objectives for the substructures of the sector and their managed institutions.

LASU’s sporadic climb to the top tier lists of universities in the world, first-of-its-kind training of the heads and management of the state top educational institutions at the University of London, future-proofing programme to digitize libraries across primary, secondary and tertiary institutions across Lagos state are products of a resolve to put Lagos at an advantaged position now and in the future of a rapidly changing and globalised world.

William F. Buckley once said, “I would rather be governed by the first 2,000 people in the telephone directory, than by the Harvard University faculty.”

Of course, this speaks to elitism and how the common person in many ways is superior and better at politics for the good of the people they govern. The philosophy around this is the associative tendencies of experiencing the worst of a society, where the common person can relate with plight of the ordinary man.

A Tokunbo Wahab would perfectly fit into the class of an elite, having enjoyed world-class education in the prestigious Harvard Kennedy School of Governance and Wharton University of Pennsylvania, amongst other things. Just like majority of the ruling class, he’s expected to be classist in approach to leadership and governance – more given to personal ambitions and protecting of the power block.

But for his aggressive drive for the liberation of the people through quality education, one is easily reminded of his humble beginnings and attestable progress through life’s success mountains. From public schools in Epe to polytechnic in Ogun, University of Benin and with such experiences which has apparently formed his appreciative disposition to power, TW connects the divide between the government and the governed, the powerful leader and the common man in many ways deserving of a case study in political science.

So it was quite deserving when Wahab emerged the Most Outstanding Thought Leader in Education at the maiden edition of TheFLEA Awards.

According to the awards organisers, the desire to create thought leadership category in key sectors is to acknowledge exceptional personalities making real impact in the lives of the common man in the society.

“In our consideration of suitable candidates in education, we made deliberate effort to review the roles of several non-mainstream political figures – elected office holders, whose major projects are often powered by behind-the-scenes think tanks. Our very vast team indexed quite a number of public servants who fit into our model and after several considerations concluded on awarding it to you based on Eko Digital Initiative and Overall Transformation of Lagos Education,” the award committee revealed.

As Tokunbo Wahab turns 50, majority of his adherent supporters across the world, those he has impacted directly through his programmes, and those he has inspired by his performance and personality, firms up their gaze to the sky to watch this soaring legal eagle glide higher in the ranks, for the sake of our future as a people.

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