Adewale T Akande, Author, Educationist and Road Traffic Safety Consultant. Barcelona, Spain.
Driving is a serious responsibility with physical and mental abilities impacting on the driving activities of a driver. It is more than moving a vehicle and knowing how to use the accelerator, brake pedals and steering. Driving is at best when you have knowledge and required skills to drive competently in accordance with those rules and regulations guiding the public roads. A safe and responsible driver has responsibility which makes him a good citizen. Driving is a learned skill acquired with much practice. It is also more important to drive with due regards for safety and convenience of other road users. Driving entails concentration, calmness, and with consideration and respect for others. And at the same time, a driver should ensure proper and total control of his vehicle at all times. That means a driver must not allow anything to take their attention from the road, therefore good anticipation and concentration will help to prevent these usual incident becoming accidents on our roads. The safety of others depends on you when you are on the wheel.
Moreover, a good and responsible driver will always remember that the three most vulnerable elements at the road junctions and roundabouts are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. These people have to be recognised and respected. They should be given priority in all ramifications; in zebra crossings (pedestrians' crossings), foot paths or sidewalk or pavement, junctions and roundabouts. That is why concentration and good judgement at all times are parts of requirement needed to qualify a person as a responsible and good driver. More importantly, a driver must meet the minimum age requirement and hold appropriate driving licence and basic insurance for the vehicle being driving on public roads.
The practice of issuing driving licence to people without meeting the standard driving test and practical training is nothing less than giving out licence to kill. This is common almost all developing countries of Africa, Asia and South America. Some people will receive their driving licence without able to distinguish between a clutch and brake pedals. There is no probability that anyone that got his licence in such manner will not have an accident (let's pray to be minor) which can cause a devastating set-back to family of the accident victims. An estimated of 1.17 million deaths occur each year worldwide due to road accidents. The majority of these deaths, about 70 percent occur in developing countries. Over 10 million people are crippled or injured each year.
Meanwhile, a safe and responsible driver have responsibility in obeying and minding the rules of the road, risk perception, hazard awareness, eco-driving (frequent check-up or maintenance of their vehicle for safety and reduction of air pollution) and good driving behaviour. The first important safety guide for a driver is good condition of the vehicle in question. As we know that not only human errors or condition of the roads can lead to accident, equipment failure can also be responsible. Frequent or regular maintenance or "check-up" of your vehicle can prevent it from endangering lives. The vehicle engine, Brakes, Seat Belts, Headlights, Tyres (including spare-tyres), Wipers, Indicators, Steering-wheel, and Speedometer etc should be in good conditions. With all these in order, you have already passed an important part of safety driving.
Low seat belts wearing rates in developing have significantly contribute to automobile accidents and serious injuries. Seat belts will reduce the forces your body experiences in a crash. It keeps you from flying through the dashboard and windscreen in a sudden stop or crash. A responsible driver must put on his seat belt before moving his vehicle and must ensure that other passengers including children wear the correct and approved restraint appropriate to their size and weight. You should not risk your life and that of other with bad, loosed, fragile or fake seat belts. A properly worn seat belt protects the mother and the unborn baby in any unforeseen crashes.
Alcohol, drug and tobacco are other negative elements that cannot be "mix-up" with driving. These two elements are driving enemies and they should be avoided with much seriousness. Never drink alcohol when you have a plan to drive and never offer an alcoholic drink to someone else who is intending to drive. It is more advisable to arrange for somebody to pick you up or you go with public transport if you must drink in a party. The result of an accident through drinking touch many people, it is not just only those physically involved, but many relations, families, friends, ambitions and careers can be ruined in a split of second. Have you ever seen any human being on earth who has never been affected by accident either directly or indirectly? That is why it is collective responsibility of every living souls to participate and involve in this mission to eradicate or reduce the ever increasing volumes of accidents worldwide. Nearly one-third of teen drivers who were killed in motor vehicle accidents had been drinking according to recent world research.
Meanwhile, Alcohol affects your judgement and abilities while driving, it slows your reaction to obstacles on the roadway and it reduces coordination and total control of the vehicle apart from given a false sense of confidence. Alcohol relaxes you and increases your chances of falling asleep on the wheel. Alcohol level rises quickly on empty stomach and intensity or tolerance effects of alcohol differs and depends on a range of factors such as age, weight, gender, metabolism, current stress level, quantity of alcohol and whether the person have eaten recently. The effect of alcohol manifests its maximum point in human body one hour after the last cup of beer. So you have to take a long sound sleep after a hangover of alcoholic drinks before handling a steering. A driver should not drive under the influence of drugs or medicine which is banned and very dangerous risk to serious accident. In essence, you should not drug drive that is "don't drug drive". Some prescribed drugs you bought on chemist or pharmacy shops like sedative and analgesics (pain relievers) can result to drowsiness, blurred vision and tranquillisers like cough syrup, cold tablets and sleeping tablets can reduce driving ability. You must not take medication less than an hour before driving.
Smoking on its part cause distractions while driving, produces smoke that irritates to the eyes and can easily lead to drowsiness in few minutes as you start smoking.
Over-Speeding and Gamble Over-taking are other negative elements that a good and responsible driver should be avoided in all ramifications. It is forbidden to overtake when you don't have the best view of the road ahead or when in doubt. Drivers are prohibited to overtake on pedestrian crossing and railway or metro crossings respectively. Speed kills. Over-speeding have sent many people to grave beyond. It is basic fact without embarking on any research that "the faster you drive on the road, the more likely you are to crash". Driving is transportation and not competition or race among drivers like Schumacher, Hamilton, Alonso, Button etc. The higher the speed of a vehicle, the longer the braking distance. Besides, stopping distance is doubled on wet roads. Driver should always obey the speed limits for road and for his vehicle. Driving a vehicle without a functioning speedometer should be taken as serious traffic offence in African and Asia countries. So, it is better to late to your destination (if you cannot leave earlier) than to be the late.
Two-Second-Gap-Rule (TSGR) is another factor that can make a driver safe and responsible on the road way. There is a dictum which says; "Only a fool breaks the two-second-gap-rule" This is a safety margin that all drivers should allow as a safe separation distance between you and the vehicle in front. This have to be doubled (four-second-gap-rule) on wet roads or when its rainy. It never safe when driving too close to vehicle in front. It gives time to react. This is one of the best safe driving principles.
Telephone is an important use of communication especially in emergency period or while away from home or office, but it should be avoided while on steering. Using of mobile or any other hand-held telephones are prohibited while driving throughout the world. It is now a serious traffic offence to be communicating or sending or reading messages with your mobile phone while driving on public roads. It is better and more appropriate to pull over to a save place to receive or make a call.
Obeying all traffic rules and regulations is another important requirement to be a safe and responsible driver. Most accidents occur because some drivers fail to recognise, respect and obey some important traffic signs and road markings. All drivers must always stop at the STOP sign even if there is no vehicle coming from either sides. Red traffic triangles usually give you a warning. Red circles traffic sign tells you what you must not do. Blue rectangle traffic signs usually gives you information and Circular traffic sign with blue background tells you what you must do. Road markings are also very important as traffic road signs. Solid while lines on the road means do not cross. Broken white lines means that your vehicle can cross and triangle lines on the road junction also give you instructions such as to stop or give way. Meanwhile, yellow lines road marking are used to make some form of waiting restriction. There are two types; double yellow lines mark length of the road, where there is no waiting at any time. Single yellow line indicates a shorter period of restriction such as a day time. Besides, all drivers should obey and pay special attention to all supplementary signals and personal assigned to regulate traffic by traffic authority or road under construction which all signs have a yellow background.
Meanwhile, a responsible driver should always slow-down and give way to pedestrians on zebra crossings and when turning to a new street road and people are crossing. Driver should recognise that children and old mummies and daddies on the road. They always find it difficult to judge the speed at which a vehicle is approaching because as they are getting older, their sight, hearing and reaction times may not be as sharp as they were used to be in the "good old days". Children on their own part tend to focus on one thing at a time and as they are small in size which makes it difficult for drivers to see them. Avoid driving in poor weather such as wind blowing, night travelling and heavy-rainfall because, when it comes to vision, human eyes takes a long time to adjust to changing light. Driving a passenger vehicle with a capacity of more than twelve passengers should have a first-aid kit, a spare tyre and at least one fire extinguisher and emergency exit doors and windows. It is very important to have periodical eyes test that ensure your eyes have not deteriorated especially when you need glasses to read vehicle number plates.
Finally, a responsible, confident and safe driver have responsibility in obeying and minding the rules of the road, risk perception, hazard awareness, eco-driving (frequent "check-up" or maintenance of their vehicle for safety and reduction of air pollution) and good driving behaviour. And most importantly, you should have total control of yourself, the vehicle and your immediate environment to ensure a safe and responsible driving habit. It is definitely not a joking matter as there is no replacement for a life lost or permanent disability due to road accidents. Always remember that a minute patience or endurance with other road user can safe a life.
Adewale T Akande
Author and Road traffic safety consultant.
Barcelona, Spain. Tel:0034-600877296
The first principle of unalienable rights recognises that everyone is naturally endowed by their Creator with certain rights that cannot be infringed or given away. Amongst these rights are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. In order to secure or safeguard these vital rights, "...government are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from consent of the governed" as declared by Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), who was elected as the third President of the United States of America (1801-1809). Constitutions are also made for the purpose of securing, protecting, promoting good governance, accountability and welfare of all citizens-the governed. The government instituted among men is the elected representatives who are also known as the politicians. These politicians are required to implement social reforms and policy measures that contribute to the general welfare of the populace.
My little Oxford dictionary defines politician as "person engaged or interested in politics" and politics as "science and art of government; political affairs or life or principles etc." Politics consists of "social relations involving authority and power". A politician is defined as one who is actively involved in politics or one who holds or seeks a political office. A politician is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making in government. Politicians play a central role in our lives. They are the concentrated voices of the people that make all efforts to improve their constituencies and peoples' welfare. Good and dependable politicians are delight to serve the people and consider themselves as servants and people their paymasters. They represent the hopes, aspirations and the interests of every citizen in the state.
A politician's qualities are his characters that are natural, while some of the qualities are as a result of external influences. Promising politicians qualities are often backed by skills, experiences, intelligence, integrity, with instincts -all combined together to achieve their goals. First and foremost, the best quality of a politician is honesty, God fearing and loving. A faithful and effective politician is trustworthy and reliable. He must capture the essence of truth, display sincerity, candour and practices what he preaches. He makes decisions and accepts responsibility for his actions and his words. The same is true in his dealing with his people. He makes promises and keeps those promises. Somebody that people may be relied upon. Loving people with all his heart, might, mind, soul and striving to help them as a true mark of responsible politician.
Moreover, a fake politician, will after taking the oath of office with the Holy book and lousy thanksgiving services, use their power as an end in itself, rather than for public good, making them indifferent to the progress of their citizens. A good politician becomes the image of his creator. A good and responsible politician will give high regard for morality, law abiding with no tendencies to corrupt even a single cent or kobo. The greatest strength of good politicians is deriving joy in serving people and not to steal tax payers money. They know that a fulfilling and meaningful life is created through service to others. To be an effective politician, your followers must have trust in you. And the very best way for a politician to build trust is to display good sense of characters and qualities composed of values, beliefs, traits and skills.
Another important quality of a good politician is integrity and technical skills to handle those challenging assignments, fiscal matters, policies, plans, projects, ideas and initiative solutions to problems. Integrity is consistency of actions, methods, measures, values, principles, expectations and outcomes. It is doing what is right, both legally and morally at all time even when no one is looking. Since politicians play very significant roles in the administrative processes, especially having hands in thousands of important laws and policies to their communities and country, they should be well-educated, modest, with experience in social welfare, volunteering or should have done some good work for the society. A politician should have a thorough knowledge and up-to-date information about the constituency where he is going to contest an election.
Sir Winston Churchill, a famous British politician who served as Prime Minister twice (1940-45) and (1951-55) once said that " a politician must have "the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen". Hence, a political career is meant for the people of high integrity and additional skills to achieve results and finding better ways of making life better
for the people they represent. Politics are not meant for dropped-outs, area fathers, thugs, assassins, criminals, illiterates god-fathers, inept, dubious and corrupt politicians. These person, apart from being greedy doesn't know the importance of education and can never invest properly on it. Good governance, transparency and accountability will be eluding states and nations where these above mentioned set of people found themselves in the corridor of power.
An incompetent and irresponsible politician will make people to hang around his house like bees to honey to feed them with "amala", "tuwo" or "eba"just for days. He prefers to give out expensive gifts, donations and bribes from tax-payers money to win elections. An achiever will not need to do such things to win elections or people to their side in all ramifications. That is why you will hear people saying "Politics is a bad game of deceit and hatred", "Politics is a do or die affair", "Politics is a dirty business", "Politicians are very sick people" and so on. It is those politicians of limited merits and capabilities that are bad and not politics. They cannot do more than their moral and intellectual capacity. A true democratic government is the best concept for the growth of any nation. A good politician enriches lives and feeds souls of many people and not making them to become beggars, touts, kidnappers, armed-robbers and fraudsters.
A good politician should be of a well disciplined personality with selfless service to make live better for his people. This should be reflected in the community where he lives in all ramifications. Discipline is necessary for an orderly society and political life, without it, the social life would become miserable. A selfless service is putting the welfare of the people you're representing before your own. Winston Churchill described it as "the first of all human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others". A good politician firmly believes in taking care and maintaining the community of his people. He believes that community service is about giving back. According to Theodore Roosevelt, "the most successful politician is he who says what the people are thinking most often in the loudest voice". A person or politician who is with criminal background, or any links with criminals or whose allegations on corruption have not been cleared by the law court should be disqualified to participate in elections.
Responsibility and party loyalty is another quality of responsible politician in a democratic state. A transparent politician is nearer to his people and meeting them to understand their problems. Only fake politicians are seen by voters when an election is near or change parties as footballers change clubs. As every parent has its responsibility to teach their children the principles of moral, culture, truth, sincerity to be self- responsible, so politicians need to integrate its citizens with importance of political responsibility and democratic values. A politician leads by example and knows his minimum responsibilities as an elected representative. A politician comes to politics to work for his constituents and not to work against them. He is the beck and call of the people and ready to listen to everybody. All these build a strong foundation for a dynamic society which will create solutions for any challenges, and finally develop strategies and political systems that will help implement those solutions automatically. He is quick to give hand to his fellow man. A reliable politician should be very loyal and committed to his party which shares his vision and goals. The value of loyalty simply depends on trust. A citizen should belong to a party with most brilliant, skilful, patriotic and dynamic people with common goals and aspirations. Team work best when they have common goals, mutual respect and understanding of each party member's strength. Politics is to unite and reach consensus and not to divide or create enmity among people. Power is only a product of collective action.
Finally, to become a great politician or statesman, you have to use your talents, skills, experiences, honesty, integrity, challenges and constraints with the positive effect that we can have in touching other human lives. Politician must leave his constituency better than before elected. Greatness is within reach of a politician who consistently do things they out to be doing. He learns from mistakes and criticisms. It is a bad politician that will see that all the good is in his side and that all the bad lies with his opponent or just because someone does not agree with him, does not mean that all their ideas and solutions are bad. Good politicians show respect to the views and experience of others. Nobody has a monopoly of wisdom. He who aspires to be a great politician should have the ability to find and analyse problems in their constituency and find the best solutions for all these problems. There is no problem in this world without solutions. A good politician knows that simply giving consistent effort in the little task of services, social reforms, kindness or sacrifice in day-to-day life leads to true greatness of a nation. If all politicians make it a point of responsibility to develop and make life better for people in their units, wards, constituencies, states and regions-we will definitely have a great country.
First of all, I will thank the almighty God for helping me to reach the highest level of my career and also thank the Presidency and the entire Nigerians for giving me this opportunity to serve as the 16th Inspector-General of Police of the most populous black nation of the world since the appointment of the first indigenous Inspector-General of Police in 1964 in person of late Mr.Louis Orok Edet. I am aware of the task ahead of me to be the I-G of a nation which characterized by diversities and contradictions arising from population heterogeneity, urbanization, industrialization and conflicting ideologies on religion, socio-political and economic sectors. A country that is seriously and urgently in demand of the minimum elements of democratic policing which include accountability, efficiency, equality and justice.
The situation in Nigeria now is so serious that the conventional ways of doing things can no longer solve our problems judging the fact of the numerous police Inspectors General we have had since independence (fifty-one year ago) and the image, trust and reputation of the police which have been soiled by the “bad eggs”. I will like to re-write the history of Nigeria Police force by making self-sacrifice, take personal risks, not minding stepping on “bad toes”(as done by Nuhu Ribadu) and will be ready to lay down my life for the nation in order to create a new Nigerian Police force with patriotism, integrity, confidence and trust. Uniformed police officers are a visible part of every community. I will create a police force with attitudinal powers to relate with the people thereby making them to play important roles in sustenance of order, legality, development and democracy and not the present 20 naira notes beggars in uniform.
Meanwhile, going back to history, in 1829, Sir Robert Peel established the London Metropolitan Police Force with its headquarters at Scotland Yard on great mission of policing and securing compliance with existing laws and conformity with precepts of social order necessary in all societies for the preservation of order, safety and social relations. The establishment, organisation, control, command and management of the Nigeria Police Force are governed by a colonial legislation (Police Act. CAP 359 of the Laws of the federation of Nigeria 1990) and the 1999 constitution of Nigeria, section 4 of the Police Act provides that “The police shall be employed for the prevention and detention of crime, the apprehension of offenders, the preservation of law and order, the protection of life and property and the due enforcement of all laws and regulations with which they are charged and shall perform such military duties within and without Nigeria as may be required….”
The vision of the Nigeria police is “making the country safer and secured for the attainment of national aspiration” and the mission is “to deliver qualitative and efficient security and law enforcement services to the citizens of Nigeria.” Police work involves a variety of tasks and responsibilities which involve a lot of self -discipline, patriotism, dedication and hard-work to prevent crime, manage crises and practice their skills. As rightly said by Chinua Achebe in from (The Trouble With Nigeria )-“Leaders are in the language of psychologists role models. People look up to them and copy their actions, behaviours and even mannerisms. Therefore, if a leader lacks discipline, the effect is apt to spread automatically down to the followers” Also one of the world most outstanding actors Clint Eastwood once said:“it takes tremendous discipline to control the influence, the power you have over other people’s lives”.
Frankly speaking, we have been witnessing a contrary motive of the establishing police force in the last two decades. It is not an exaggeration that there is a widespread abuse and corruption in the force to the extent of acquired the reputation of the most corrupt public institution in the country.
The inefficiency of the Police force regarding maintenance of law and order became obvious with the widespread terrorism, kidnappings, institutionalised bribery, extra-judicial killings, unwarranted searches, recurrent waves of brutalities, election malpractices, torture, harassment and loss of personal liberties, frequent armed robbery involving the use of sophisticated weapons, and high casualty just recorded from the previous communal and ethno-religious conflicts that spread across the country.
Most recently, the Human Rights Watch researcher, Eric Guttschuss in his recent research work on Nigeria police titled “Everyone is in the game “ levelled a shocking allegations that :”innocent people are regularly detained and a fee demanded for their release…the rank-and-file police officers are often forced to pay their senior officers a share of the money extort from the public…people who are assigned to lucrative posts such as roadblocks or working traffic are given monetary targets that they must meet and give back to their superiors…officers who did not meet those monetary targets, Study And Work Abroad by Adewale T. Akandethey would be punished with a transfer to a less lucrative post” .All these allegations will be looked into critically.
My first agenda is to face squarely the issue of bribe and corruption among police officers. I will make a follow-up of what the Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Adamu Wasiri said in Makurdi recently on the federal government consideration to increase the salaries and allowances of officers and men of the Nigerian Police and also to embark on massive facelift and rehabilitation of all police barracks and offices across the country. After this is in progress, I will make a live broadcast (in both radio and television) to announce abolishing of all road blocks and check points throughout the country and that no police officer must receive or extort from any motorist henceforth. All police vehicles will now be used for detaining, patrolling and transporting instead of mounting an illegal road-block.
Fines and any legal transaction of money involving public must be paid to the police accredited or designated banks with appropriate receipts. Any police office taking bribe either at police station or on the road will be summarily dismissed with his or her name and pictures appearing on national dailies, police websites and that person will never be eligible to be voted for in any federal or state government elections. I will seek the cooperation of all members of public and implore them to make necessary voice and photograph recording of any policeman in the act and send it with necessary details to the new Police Force Watch Box to be placed in all federal post offices throughout the country.
Moreover, as crime prevention is a major concern in Nigeria, my second agenda is equipping the police force with modern technologies in sophisticated arms to match with any armed-robbery bandit in the world. I will make sure that only the specialists unit of the police are allowed to carry firearms. Provision will be made for non-lethal weaponry, particular for riot controls which include batons, rubber bullets, electroshock weapons, more handcuffs to restrain suspects, whistles, flash-lights, police notebooks and citations otherwise known as ticket-books. I will provide more new patrol vehicles to all stations and introduce the use of special motorcycles which will now be used to control potential public and escort duties-two police riders at a time. I will double our efforts in the use of specially trained dogs for detecting illegal drugs or substances and also in tracking down of criminals fleeing on foot. All these patrol vehicles will be marked with appropriate police logos, and well equipped with sirens and light-bars to aid in making others aware of police presence.
Meanwhile, as modern police forces throughout the world make extensive use of radio communication equipment, this will be carried both in the person and installed on all police patrol vehicles .Effective crime and operational information management will be institutionalised with good storage and retrieval facilities. I will make it a point of duty or delegate my public relations officer to make press briefing every fortnightly and frequent publication of criminal statistics will be given to public every day. No Police officer should be on duty without walkie-talkie or handie talkie (two-way radio transceiver). Communications will be highly organised with wireless equipment while network of telephones extends to all police stations in the country. This will help officers to coordinate their work, share information and get help quickly. I will change the current Police Emergency numbers (08032003913, 08061581938, 07057337653) to only three digit number like 055 or 777 to make people to remember and dial within a second.
This number will be free of charge with twenty-four hours service to be manned by diligent operators. In order to achieve our goal of reducing crime rates with communication and information dissemination, I will liase with the presidency to make national identity card free and compulsory for all living souls in Nigeria and abroad (through Nigerian embassies oversea), computerization of vehicles and cycles plate numbers, and speed-up to complete the exercises of the accreditation of mobile telephones subscribers in Nigeria (Globacom, Etisalat, Multilinks, Starcomms, Zain, etc) to have authentic personal data of all their customers who bought telephone lines from them all on or before 31st of December this year. To curb the waves of increasing crime in this country, everybody must be involved; everybody must have identity, including all foreigners to be issued with resident and working permit respectively. This method is now in use in developed and developing countries of the world. Apart from making the job of policing very easy for identification and investigation, it will serve the objectives which population census is meant for. The country needs to know the numbers of people catering for. People’s identification will help in use for criminal background checks in persons of interest to be completed in just matter of seconds, even, on all police patrol vehicles.
Bureaucratically, in my strong effort to improve police manpower both in terms of quality and quantity, I will make all effort to build a disciplined, trusted and professional police force. This fourth agenda is to emphasis on in-service training and professional recruitment to make the police more accessible to the concern of the society under the law of the land. I will establish a non-partisan police board to manage the affairs of recruitments and promotions on strict merit, recognition and reward for outstanding performances and promotions. As a lover of sport, the will force will be given open recruitment for those outstanding Nigerian sportsmen and women. We will give them support to the greater heights as it was done in the olden good days. I will make sure that Police force soccer team features in the professional league division one and some of our outstanding youth soccer academy players will take the place of those “forty-something years” average-age Eagles sent to South Africa world –cup. Nigeria is the most blessed country with talents in Africa. Lest I forget, after the short courses, I will start the national rotating of officers from state to state to protect Nigerian citizens and see to the end of this inhuman terrorism. This new salary increment will attract qualified officers for forensic science laboratories which will be staffed with more experts and professionals in biology, pathology, physics, zoology, microscopy and photography. Concerted efforts will be made to rehabilitate and equip (both in human and materials) all Police colleges in Orji River, Maiduguri, Kaduna, and Ikeja respectively. The same thing will be done to the Police Mobile Force Training School in Guzuo, south-western of Abuja, the Police Detective College at Enugu, the Police Dogs Service Training Centre and the Mounted Training Centre.
My fifth agenda will be launching of an Independent Police Complaint Commission as we have in the United Kingdom to act as checks and balances (Ombudsman) to the activities of the Nigeria Police Force. This is a separate body or organisation outside the police force that will be dedicated to investigating crimes committed by the police themselves. This body would be responsible for investigating circumstances involving police and civilians that resulted in serious injury, allegations of sexual assaults and death. This commission will receive vital information and tips from the general public on crime without fear, intimidation and anonymity if needed. This Independent Police Complaints Commission will only have access to the keys for all the Police Force Watch Boxes placed at all the government post-offices throughout the country. All people found with irregularities on information given will be prosecuted by the law court with dispatch.
Lastly, I will now increase the Police detectives to make up roughly 15-25 percentages of the police service personnel. I will assign the police detectives department to despatch out “plainclothes” officers to all states of federation to start now to investigate on crimes, terrorism hide-out and election malpractices. Terrorists, kidnappers, and armed robbers does not live in isolation. They live with us and we must “fish” them out and be prosecuted. Personally, I do not like the present black police uniform at all, as there is not time for changing now because of the present situation of the country, I will make sure this uniform is changed later and change the name Nigeria Police Force to Nigerian Police Service. I will make sure that before I leave as the Inspector-General of Police, all living souls would have restored their confidence and trust in the Nigeria Police force again. All individuals will be treated fairly, with their rights respected making them sufficient to feel safe in their community and regard police as patriotic agent of government and a friend indeed.
My dear countrymen and women, I am using this urgent and important open letter to congratulate all Nigerians from all ethnic and religious individuals, groups, associations, and communities living outside the shore of Nigeria for a Happy New Year, 2012. I pray that this new year will bring peace, love, unity, freedom, safety and sustainable development to the citizens of our fatherland that are no doubt in a critical and undeserved situation that calls for immediate action.
Fellow Nigerians, history is the memory of mankind and philosophy of history is the analytical ability of man to distinguish correct from incorrect. Philosophy of history helps to know the reasons for the rise and fall of nations. There is nothing I will like to tell you now about the present situation of our fatherland that you don’t have first hand information on. Is it about the leadership recycling (tired brains) and failure, pervasive corruption, violence and insecurity of lives and property, treasury looting, elusive kidnappings, death-trap highways, hospitals without drugs, inept civil service and triumph of mediocrity, lip service rule of law being violated with much impunity, fading national sports, high level unemployment and poverty, sophisticated armed robbery, notorious 419 letters, prisons congestion, epileptic infrastructure, religion fideism and terrorism, devlish political crisis, recent fuel hike from 65 naira to 141 naira per litre (130 % increase), all which are making development impossible. It is time for positive change, unity, and progress in Nigeria. Progress, according to George Bernard Shaw “...is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”
Meanwhile, I quite understand how these problems and the image of our country has been affecting us either directly or indirectly in our entire daily life endeavour. The country has not made any practical progress due to selfish, corrupt and incompetent representatives in the corridors of power. Everybody is very disturbed, sad, irritated, demoralised and angry about the worsening situation. Infact, it got to a stage that anytime I ring my co-Nigerian friends here in overseas, after the first normal greeting exchanges, they always ask me; “Wale, I hope you ‘re not calling again to discuss about the Nigeria issues?”. Sometimes, I don’t even blame them. Being human, I was almost fed-up if not for the motivating responses got from one of my favourite published articles title :”Time to vote for a New Nigeria” in which I got more than hundred telephone calls and forty-six text messages from unknown Nigerians (though, few considering the nation’s population), Also, the few positive changes in the last year general election organised by Prof. Jega brings a ray of hope for Nigerians before the notorious islamist Boko Haram’s bloody strikes that have sent many citizens to their early grave.
My dear brothers and sisters, without wasting your precious time, firstly, am not writing as a member of any Nigerian or foreign political party or organisation, nor demanding for any fund, money or materials for any movement. The main reason for writing this letter is to seek for the full support of all Nigerians living abroad to unite, coordinate, educate, mobilize. invest and participate physically, emotionaly and spiritually in the ongoing political processes in Nigeria as from the beginning of this new year. We are among the best and brightest in virtually in all profession or everything that we are involved in. Nigeria is falling and we have to join hands to lift her up to retain her lost glories. The giant of Africa is sinking. Working together, we can do more. We are the solution to our country’s problems and nobody, and no country can do it for us. If we refuse to do something now, our children and future generation will definately regard our generation as a total failure. I know Nigerans associations have been making effort for a very long time, but now is the time for more serious and practical involvement before our country collapse. Posterity will never forgive us if we fail to act now and save the present critical situation. It is time to amend our “military drafted” constitution to allow for dual-citizenship participation in politics and end the senseless disenfranchisement of Nigerian intellectuals and adults of voting age abroad. Time for new political system of success.
My fellow countrymen, your active intervention will be in political participation and sharing of your ideas and thougths on good governance, good practices through writing articles, poems, educational and professional books, organising, conferences, seminars / talks to all students from nursery / primary schools to the students’ unioinism associations in all disciplines of all public and private Nigerian colleges, polytechnics and Universities. Today is a gift, that’s why it is called –the present. Life is also a gift. Whatever you give out will return to you tenfold or more. This is time to use our gift not only to develop other coutries but to develop our own country no matter what it takes. Human beings are to meet the need of other, to assist other through a difficulty, to provide guidance and support, to aid physically, emotionally or spiritually.This is time to share your gift which is more valuable than money.
Dear sons and daughters of Nigeria, we must not remain silent or folding our hands in defeat. The time to be involved is now before it will be too late. It is now time for all Nigerian professionals both at home and abroad to come together and bring the country back to the right part. Time is like a river, you cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. This is the time to build a world class human resource base in Nigeria, develop and implement a lifelong learning education policy as more and better education is a prequiste for rapid economic development, provide professional orientation to prospective entrants in the labour works, provide world class quality products and services for the global market.
Fellow Nigerians, there is nothing wrong with our land. It is rich, vast and fertile. Human beings have the ability to create ways to live better and even change the environment to suit their needs and wants. Amalgamation of the country is not our real problem. Though to some, it is the genesis. The real problem from my own analysis, is the failure of leadership, and I see it as “the burden we are living with” till today. This is a problem that has a solution which has to be solved together as soon as possible. Both Nigerians at home and outside need one another to make a new Nigeria. Pa Chinua Achebe is correct when he says “...the resources are so huge, and we are wasting it”. To be honest, we are very far from where we should be. With this asset, 80 percent of Nigerians do not deserve to be living at this abysmally very high poverty level.
Finally, my brothers and sisters, let come together from every nook and corner of the world where we are and join hands together. It is time to share your joy with those who are less fortunate than us and share your joy with those who need encouragement, share your laughter with those who have not heard any in such a long time, share your tears with those who have forgotten how to to cry, share your faith and hope to those who have none and at the end we come up with a New Nigeria of our dream. We shall win and laugh last to be proud Nigerians.
Thanks and may God bless you all. God bless Nigeria.
Adewale T Akande, road traffic safety consultant,
Without mincing words, I am using this opportunity to console the souls of innocent citizens that lost their lives, commiserates with the families of those who lost their loved ones and wish those injured speedy recovery from the “absurd” (according to the White House) and “senseless” bomb blasts by the islamist group called Boko Haram. It was the first bloody Christmas ever experienced by Nigerians since 1960. Albert Einstein, the German-born physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, have this to say on the life of individual. He says; “The life of the individual only has meaning insofar as it ails in making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful, life is scared, that is to say, it is the supreme value to which all other values are subordinate”. The idea of human society is generous, encouraging you to see yourself as living among other people, and to identify yourself as one of those people, with common purpose and problems.
Great evil is achieved by abnormal few. Therorists embrace actions that will contribute to human suffering, never give chance or opportunity to develop an egalitarian society, individual freedom, particularly freedom of thought and expression. They harm another people due to lack of intelligence choices, behavious and actions. They always pick what seems most comfortable and not what is realistic. Their behaviour undermines the civilities of ordinary life. They always result to violence which is anti-thesis of democracy. Violence is a creed of uncivilized and weak people with mental and spiritual bankruptcy. Violence is brutish. It is anti-social, anti-national and also anti-international. Undoubtedly, violence is a sin against humanity.
Faith and violence are opposite. Faith according to my little oxford dictionary is “ trust, belief especialy in religion” but this sect or cult belief is “not resting on logical proof or material evidence”. This group are set of fideists with the believe that reason cannot achieve certain kinds of truth, which must instead be accepted only by faith. They are set of people which Mencius, the Chinese Confucian-philosopher says “...act without clear understanding, to form the habit without investigation, to follow a path all one’s life without knowing where it really leads-such is the behaviour of the multitude”.
Meanwhile, being very ignorant and naive of their religion ethics, they undersatood that real change can only come about through coercion or violence and not through education, dialogue and a change of heart. They don’t even know that the purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one from the words of Horace Mann. This set of people does not realise that all life is interelated in one way or the other. At a century when the people are working hard to change the world for a better place to live, they are turning themselves to masters of destruction. Boko Haram cult have killed more than five hundred people and injured many with their bloody bomb blasts in 2011. More than five hundred creation of God have been killed for religious reasons or excuses! People that kill other fellow human beings for any reason are murderers and should be dealt with and disciplined by the iron fist of the law.
Boko Haram have been operating and killing innocent people since 2009 and the weak central government have not found a solution to protect their citizens. The country police and security system have failed woefully. Despite huge investments in terms of votes and wages for Nigerian seven hundred and seventy-nine “think-tank” representatives, and duplicated cabinet / executive officials, who are draining the economy with their wages and allowances, have not come out with good ideas and strategies to save the lives and properties of its citizens. Armed robbery strikes today, kidnappings tomorrow, and bomb blast near the secret police headquarters next tomorrow. Everybody lives in fear in a sovereign entity. Are we not living in a state of nature where human life becomes “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” according to Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679). I hope it would not take the government again much time before realising to make positive changes in the Nigeria Police and the whole security operatives as done with the EFCC. I hope calling FIB to investigate for us will not extend to seeking just returned USA army to save Nigerians from the enemies within.
Religion is a concept of a life, love and friendship.The goal of any religious evolution is the oneness of man and man, and of man and God. Organisations with a religious background are actors and partners in relief, reconstruction and development programmes and projects Boko Haram members, to me, are not real or devot muslims. One of the ideals of muslim life is the attainment of peace on all fronts. But, this people are heartless hired therorists sponsored by disgrunted leaders to derail the foundation of democratic process in Nigeria. They are being paid for political interest. They lied to the world with fake requests of “turning Nigeria into Muslim state” and the “western education is sinful” stuff. Where would they be without western education? They have been brainwashed with the notion of Jihad (which means struggle). It is just a mission impossible for a secular nation like Nigeria to yield to those absurd requests. Haram members are doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons and at the wrong time.
Human society is to unite, organize for common goal. It is a community of human beings with different religions and cultures, showing warmth, sympathy, respect and love to each other. It is not a place where people are desperate to split blood of innocent people because of religion or political differences. A human society is to be run for the benefits of all people in all nooks and corners of a nation without fear, threat or prejudice. Human beings are the best creation on the earth as we have made progress in many areas of, science, technology, sports, arts, cultures, and so on. If the people are not save, nothing can be achieved. The country’s vision to be among the league of the first twenty industrialised economies of the world by the year 2020 will be just a dream with insecurity of lives. It is only when we do the right thing, with determination combined with opportunity and intelligence, then can make things happen-in an exceptional way.
The government of every nation is established to make use of men of integrity, honesty and patriotism to integrate all social, political, economical and environmental systems in a plan for all citizen.Good leaders produce dynamic society. The government should know that when an institution beomes inactive, less and less democratic, the obligation to abide by its decisions diminishes. Nigerians will not tolerate a society with one set of safety standards for those with money and a set of inferior standards for those without.The government of a country has a responsibility to ensure the well-being and security of its citizens as well as being good steward of country’s resources in all ramifications. Democracy simply means “getting things done” and not crazy for power.
Adewale T Akande, a road and traffic safety consultant,
Driving is a means to achieve objectives associated with everyday life in our society. At the same time, driving requires a serious responsibility that determines the driver’s safety and that of the other road users within the vicinity. We drive to work, visit friends and relations, and travel to different places-short and long distances-for personal or public activities. A person that cannot plan, organise and manage his precious time effectively and efficiently, he then result to do all things in a hurry. As a result of this, many people drive faster without minding the speed limit and caution signs posted on the road. This reckless driving behaviour becomes an habit which is very dangerous for our live and the lives of other innocent roads users.This bad driving habit has its toll on the state economy because of the huge waste on public health.
Speed in its simplest meaning is an act or state of moving swiftly; swiftness; velocity: rapidly; rate of motion. Speed is defines as exceeding the posted limit or driving too fast under stipulated or normal condition. Speeding is deemed to have occured when an individual is travelling above the accepted legal speed limit on any city or urban road. Speed limit varies between roads. It is an obligation by the law of any sovereign country, that its traffic authority (lead agency) whose their principal objective is to save lives and reduce related road traffic accidents and trauma have to signify any change in speed between roads. Speed limits are introduced to promote greater road safety and prevent environmental pollution such as noise and smoke.
In a safety research conducted by the Centre for Automotive Safety Research at Adelaide University in South Australia few years ago, it was found that for every 5 kilometres per hour increases in vehicle speed over the limit in a 60 kilometres per hour zone have the risk of crashing doubles. The research explains further that, a driver travelling at 70 kilometres per hour faces four times the risk of a driver travelling at the speed limit. More researches on excessive speed states that, when the stopping distances increases and other manoeuvres to avoid crashes become more difficult and complicated. The findings goes further to states that the gravity or severity of an impact or crashes increases with higher speed and the possibilty for other road users to communicate and perceive the intentions of the road-users in time to react appropriately decreases as does the ability to detect hazards.
Excessive speed is an important factor in one third of all fatal crashes or accidents on our roads. Speeding has been researched to be a deliberate and calculated behaviour where the driver knows the risk but ignores the danger that might be involved. It is just at a point, where speed-driver displays a wanton disregard for the rules of the roads which often causing accidents and other damages. Some drivers have been used to the habit of overspeeding due to effect of taking alcohol, drugs and other prohibited substances. Overspeeding has contributed to major fatal road accidents in developing countries as most of the roads are bad and unmarked or signed. The traffic laws on overspeeding should be enforced without any bias or exceptions. Traffic laws have been put in place for a reason to save lives and not for decoration in the archive.
Speeding is one of the common offences under road traffic law that have to be taken with seriousness as many people have lost their lives each year due to careless speeding. While many people have been handicapped or injured for the rest of their lives due to overspeeding. Speed laws have become a Penal Code in some countries in which a dangerous or reckless driver can be charged for a huge fine, loss all points from his driving licence or liable to many years in imprisonment if found guilty. The developing countries traffic authority has a vital role to play in order to accomplish their mission of saving lives on roads. According to Elvik ( 2008), road safety management implies systematic work to ensure continous improvement in road safety. Most of developing countries in Africa are now adopting the United Nations Decade of Action on Road Safety (2011-2020), with the goal to reduce the number of fatalities caused by RTC by 50 percent by the year 2020. This is a welcome development, but we have to be sincere with ourselves to make it a worthwhile investiment and not wasting fund and finding jobs for political collaborators and their cronies. If something is worth doing, it is worthdoing right.
Meanwhile, in order to achieve the goal behind this action plan, the road traffic lead agencies in developing countries have to rely on the expertise and experiences of a rays of individuals, including relevant government departments, public health, legal affair officers, independent researchers in the field, non-governmenntal organisations and the road users organisations. This is likelihood team that can achieve the reduction goal with a serious and practicable programme that addresses possible objectives which are acceptable to as many parts of the society. African population is growing rapidly and if the important issues of construction, rehabilitation and maintenances of roads, obligatory examination to obtain driving licence, national identity cards, payments of fines to designated banks, national electronic number plates, erecting and placing of speed limits sign posts, camaras or radar equipment (for photograpic evidence of the vehicle and its speed) and increased numbers of traffic officers controlling on highways and expressways and not extorting motorists, the investment on a decade of action plan would be just a mere dream and waste.
Adewale T Akande
Author and Road Traffic Safety Consultant.
Barcelona, Spain. Tel:0034-600877296
On behalf of all Nigerians in heaven, we are using this forum to congratulate you for winning the recently concluded general elections that will usher you as an elected President of Federal Republic of Nigeria on the 29 th of May. We are also congratulating those newly eleceted representatives and leaders to be part of the crew in making a new Nigeria a reality. This infact a new beginning of a new Nigeria of our dreams we have been waiting for. A Nigeria where the people approve to the government operating the nation. A Nigeria where all elected representatives are liable in many ways to the yearnings of the people who voted and elected them to implement those pledges and promises made before elections with much transparency, accountability and good intention. We are at the same time congratulating Nigerians and other stakeholders involved in making this year generation elections a successful exercise. They have all exhibited their good citizenship and civil responsibility with their impressive turnout to make the whole exercise free, fair and credible apart from stage managed riot from the usual naive individuals that caused loss of lives. Nigerians have spoken with their votes.
Your excellency, there is no doubt that you are having a great opportunity to make your mark in sands of time in leading a country which is complex with several diversity of two hundred and fifty ethnic groups, with four hundred distinct languages. The country with over one hundred and sixty population that makes her the most populous and largest democracy in Africa. With update information we lay our hands on in heaven, non out of the forty-seven countries that make up Europe and non of the all fifty-four African countries and a couple of disputed territories (Western Sahara and Somaliland), and South Sudan-the Africa’s newest “baby” officially born on July 9, 2011 can withstand what God have blessed this country in terms of abundant natural and human resources. With all these in place, Nigerians does not deserve to live in poverty, darkness, fear, stress, complexity, confusion and frustration, unemployment and underpaid. Even Denmark, which is regarded as the happiest country in the world according to the U.S. government-funded World Values Survey cannot boast one-quarter of Nigeria’s human and natural resources. It is now your responsiblity as the new leader of this crippling giant to make something happens to get her back to its feet.
Dear President Jonathan, in order to make something happens in this Africa’s hardest job of burden of responsibilities or scopes of duties, you need to be smart, tough, organise, vision of what you want to accomplish in four years (just 1,460 days). You should have integrity driven with more talents and specialists to effect changes that the million of Nigerians are looking for. As a lucky boy that rose from assistant school prefect to senior prefect in your secondary school days, also elevated deputy Governor of Bayelsa state to the Governor, and from Vice-President to the President of Nigeria, so you are lucky as your name implies (Goodluck) with abundant human and natural resources at your disposal to break the jinx of the past “accidental leaders”. It is now left with your ability without fear or favour to influence, motivate and provide the tools and environment to others so that they can best contribute towards the successful attainment of your goals and pledges made before the elections. You should remember the words of Prof. Chinua Achebe that the major problems of the nation “...is simply and squarely a failure of leadership...there is nothing basically wrong with the Nigeria character”
Another person that gives vivid description of the country’s past leaders is the new INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, who actually perfomed brilliantly well in the conduct of the recently concluded general elections. He said in a lecture in Abuja that; “If the truth be told, past Nigerian leaders with few exceptions were self-serving rulers, not leaders. Some were even despots... They have generaly lacked vision, focus and selflessness and even enlighted self-interest. Many in leadership positions are unimaginably corrupt, they are greedy, they are vindictive, they are reckless and in many fundamental respects,senseless. Virtualy, whoever has access to power attempts to abuse it.” This year general elections have given bith to a new Nigeria with responsible leaders with integrity, patriotism and accountability. Leadership is about getting things done, getting results and improve performances.
Your excellency, we do not say that you can change Nigeria in a day, but priority must be given to those needs of Nigerian citizens in order to have a successful term. Abraham Maslow’s needs pyramid explains the levels of human needs pshchological and physical that helps in long way for their survival and in pursuit of happiness. Nigerians need simple things, that is, the basic amenities to give the best quality of life. The very first issue we are appealing you and your Cabinet to find solution to before celebrating the next 51 st independence anniversay is the problem of electricity. This problems have complicate the lives of Nigerians. Electricity has a greater share on the present problems of Nigeria. Everything on earth is interconnected with everything. If the country’s electricity is undistrupted for months, then the citizens today’s complex lifestyle will give way for necessary soci-political development and economic growth.
Mr. President, another important issue we are much particular about is the educational sector which the past regimes have not been given necessary priority. Education is the only sector that makes a successful transition from childhood to adulthood where they will become “an impresively confident, knowledgeable, charming, resourceful, problem solver”. Education according to Chris Ormell. The editor of “Prospero” journal is “...pleasant maturation suprises..the young people who emerge should occasion such pleasant suprises, because they will actually enjoy displaying the disciplined envisioning and empathetic mental powers which today’s world so urgently needs, both in relation to things and people”. Education should be made compulsory for all school age children from primary to university level as from the 1 st of October, 2011. New law should be made to prohibit all the school age children from street hawking, loitering or begging for alms during the school hours of specific time. The only solution to poverty is functional and qualitative education. The more educated people are the less they are prone to illness and squalor.
Your excellence, we have been witnessing widespread abuses, corruption and insecurity of lives and property of Nigerians. The mission of Nigeria police force is “to deliver qualitative and efficient security and law enforcement services to the citizens of Nigeria” and not extort the poor citizens of hard earn money. The inefficiency of Police regarding maintaining law and order became obvious with the widespread extortion of money from motorist, riotings, kidnappings, killings, institutionalised bribery, election malpractices, frequent armed robbery, torture, harassment and loss of personal liberties and properties. All these problems can be changed if you take the bull by the horn by setting up a committee now to investigate, recommend, and implement within three months on better ways to recruit, train, motivate, renumerate and kit the police force to international standard. Then abolish all illegal road blocks or check points throughout Nigeria and that no policeman or traffic agent must extort or collect money from motorist in any way or any form as from next independence anniversary speech. Hencefort, all fines and any legal transaction of money involving them with the public must be paid to the government accredited or designated banks with appropriate receipts. The use of mobile telephones to record voice and photographs policeman will be at great advantage. Any policeman or group of policemen collecting or found with large sum of money while on duty after all said and done will be summarily dismissed.
Dear Mr President, another area we jointly agreed for you to look into is the transportation sector. Available, accessible and effective transportation system is an improvement to the quality of life in any community regardless of size and location. Rail transportation is a colonial legacy in Nigeria which your regime have to revive and manage well. With the country’s population, the returns from effective and well managed railway transportation system can provide a free qualitative and functional education to every Nigerian children up to university level to save oil or even gas returns for other investment. Besides, your regime should embark on a National Road Safety Action Plan to be implemented over the next ten years. The aim of this safety plan should be concentrated on four “E” s: engineering, education, enforcement and emergency medical services to reduce roads accident in all our roads. Any expenditure on road safety improvement should be seen as an investment. The country’s growing population needs other new tansportation alternatives. The best ways to touch the people lives at the grass-root level in moving from one area to another is rehabilition, construction and managing of all roads. If all the seven hundred and seventy-four ( 774 ) local governments chairmen newly elected in Nigeria should embark and maintaining a genuine roads facelift in their areas, then country will be saved to all motorists.
Finally, President Goodluck Ebele Azikwe Jonathan, the history of great men are often backed by skills, experiences, intelligence, integrity, with the instincts- all combined together to achieve their goals. This last general election has finally put an end to “amala”, “tuwo” and “ogbono” politics in Nigeria. It is now the era of competent, reliable and patriotic politicians. Fighting of corruption have to start with you by declaring your assets, your new ministers and all elected representatives throughout the country. The only way to fight corruption is through transparency and accountability. A smaller, and more focused Cabinet has the possibility of minimizing cost, social complexity and human imperfection. There is also a need for a Sovereign National Conference to address the great issues facing Nigeria as a nation. You have to embark on wide scale projects on agriculture, turism, oil and gas to boost employment opportunities and find a lasting solutions to Niger-Delta imbroglio. Let all Nigerians know that with love and unity among the Kanuris, the Igbos, the Gwaris, the Yorubas, the Fulanis, the Ijaws, the Hausas, the Urhobos, the Ijaws, the Nupes, the Edos, the Tivs and the Ibibos, we can build a new Nigeria of peace, unity, progress, harmony and development with which no country of the world can withstand.
God bless you and all the people of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Driving is a very demanding activity that requires a serious responsibility, attitudes with physical and mental abilities for safety. The most important steps to be taken in order to stay out of trouble on the road are to; continously observe the roads around you, anticipate what may happen that could be a risk to you and other road users, and respond by taking appropriate quick step or action before the risk increases. Driver’s attitudes on the road determines his safety and others around. Alcohol and drugs are among the most causes of fatal road accident on our roads.
Thousands of people die or suffered from physical or mental disability every year due to drunk driving and drugs taking. These are the things that can increase the chances of getting an accident even on a very good road. Alcohol is a major factor directly or indirectly contribute to the cause of high percentage road accident in both developed and developing countries. Alcohol distrupts the driver’s skills and abilities when it goes into the bloodstream and spreads throughout the body system, affecting mainly the brain and the eyes. Alcohol is specifically does not affect everyone equally.The intensity is differ from one person to another. It depends on the factors like age, the body weight, gender, (women are mostly affected), the amount taken either with food or empty stomach (worst).
Meanwhile, it is possible to detect alcohol five minutes after consuming it but the Blood Alcoholic Content or Concentration (BAC) reaches it maximum concentration between thirty minutes and an hour after the last cup. Alcohol is eliminated more slowly when the person sleeps than when they are awake. Most countries set their legal BAC level and making it illegal to driving or operating under the influence of alcohol or intoxicated. Some instruments like Breathalyser, Etilometro or Intoximeter are mostly used to test driver’s consumption of alcohol.
Alcohol impairs cognitive functions which include planning, vision, perception and decision making when drunk driving. It affects judgement of speed, distance and ability to evaluate risks on the road. It makes simple task more difficult and reduces your ability to do more than one thing at a time. It reduces ability to react and concentration on the wheel. Sometimes, it relaxes you and increases your chances of falling asleep on the wheel. Apart from this, a drunk driver tends to be less prudent, aggressive and traffic offences are more likely to be committed with ease thereby increases the risk of getting accident. You can see the danger a drunk driver will put his passengers, motorcycle riders, bicycle riders, school pupils and the rest of the pedestrians on the road.
The influence of drugs in road accident is another factor claiming more lives on our roads. Drugs are medications prescribed or unprescribed may impair driving abilities and skills. All traffic laws strictly forbidden to drive under the influence of drugs, medication or other substances that can alter one’s physical or mental state. Some kind of drugs can cause your reactions to slow down, reduce your ability to make decisions and process information quickly while on the wheel. It is very advisable not to take any medication less than an hour before operating or driving a vehicle. This is because most medicines prescribed by your doctor and those bought without prescription have side effects such as sedative and analgesics (pain relievers) medication can cause drowsiness, blurred vision or dizziness, nausea, undue aggression, shakiness and inability to concentrate. It is very vital to always read your medicine label carefully and obey direetions and warning -they are there for your protection.
Moreover, the effects of other ban drugs and substances like cannabis (marijuana or hemp plant), cocaine, LSD, Amphetamines, Extasis etc are inimical to safe driving. The psychoactive chemical in Cannabis or Marijuana is called Tetrahydrocannabinol THC which has different effect from alcoholic drinks and it is worst when combine with alcohol. This THC can be detected in the body for up to four weeks. It affects driver’s perception on surrounding, time and space and loss of concentration capacity. Cocaine is a drug from coca used as local anaesthetic and as stimulant. It over-estimate driver’s capabilities when consume at high doses. It also bring impulsiveness and aggressivenes. Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) is a semisynthetic psychedelic drug. Its psychological effects can include altered thinking proceses, closed and open eye visuals, distortion of reality and hallucination. Amphetamines increases violent conduct and psychomotor alterations. It is better to avoid all these ban drugs in all ramifications.
On a last note, it is more dangerous to mix alcohol with other drugs. The effect is severe and can reduce your ability to drive safely thereby putting your lise and the lives of other passengers or road users in danger. If you are planning on drinking in a party, it is advisable to plan not to drive. Plan and arrange for other alternatives such as asking a relation to pick you up, getting a lift from somebody who doesn’t drink, taking a taxi or public transport or even stay overnight. The life is too precious to be wasted on alcohol and drugs. Remmber that accident can ruin a life in a split of second. It is better to late to your destination than be the late person. It is our collective responsibility to eradicate or reduce the ever increasing volume of road accidents worldwide.
Spain, to my own view as an immigrant living here for the past one decade, is specially created by God as the Galilee for the the world people to see and feel the beauty of nature. This natural endowment makes the country, one of the greatest travel destination in the world with its largest number of world heritage cities surrounded by outstanding beaches on the coastline. It is the second most visted country in the world, with more than fifty million tourists visit annually. A land full of opportunities for all and sundry. The country is blessed with rich cultures and traditions with non-stop festivities throughout the year. The architectural designs of the buildings and roadways are second to non in Europe. The people in this large geographical and cultural diversity country are kind and friendly in all ramifications. Spain has the most best weather in the whole of Europe.
Spain is the most accomodating of all European countires visited by me. Spain has suprise the whole world with her spontaneous economic growth, rapid credit growth, and the real estate boom between 1995 and early 2008. By mid-2008, the cronic recession emerged from the collapse of housing sector when the Spanish banks were unable to raise sufficient fund to provide the mortgages needed for the houses bought by the people. This led to four million, three hundred and thirty-three thousand people out of jobs, as at March, 2011, according to the Labour Ministry, for the first time in the history of this great nation. As at now, thousands of families were evicted from their homes, over one million families with not a single employed in the family and forty-five percent unemployment among Spanish youth. The present crisis is rendering Spanish companies financing more expensive and continue to lose ranking among world bussiness circle as recently published by the Fortune Magazine's annual ranking of the 500 largest global companies.
First and firmost, working so hard since I got to Spain, the country has given me everything to make me fulfil all my desire in life. I will be an ungrateful if I should close my eyes at this trying time of the nation acute recession and not provide my token contributions with my pen in finding solutions to the present economic crisis. I strongly believe that all the indigenes (Spaniards) and immigrants are part of the problems, and all should be part of the solutions. Everybody must unite, contribute, support and endure to make government additional measures and reforms to put people back to work, restore economies to sustainable growth and fiscal development. It is only a collective effort from all and sundry that will bail the country out.
The issue of Spain crisis is not new. There is no country in the world that have never suffered from economic crisis since its inception in one form or the other going by the world history. Shifting blames will never do the country any good. The two political parties Popular Party (PP) and Socialist Party (PSOE) have to unite to bring back the country on its feet. The case of Spanish crisis is something temporal that will make the country to correct her past mistakes and create better opportunities for bright future. Obviously, the present recession has contributed in a negative way to the welfare of the citizens, most especially the old working families who are out of job due to the economic crisis. Most of them have been driven from their houses for not been able to meet up with the monthly mortgage (hipoteca) bills.The government have to look into this issue. Most people that have resulted to survive living from the remnants of the roadside dustbins are now indigenes and immigrants out of jobs. This unemployment problem has increase the rate of crime in most cities. The government have to give great attention to the issue of working and non-working families, making it easier to balance work and family, so that they can climb to the ladder of success and raise their children with security, opportunity, and great hope for the better future. Excessive tax extortion from the citizens, especially the working families at the expense of privileged few and special interests make them to work for government and banks all their life
Meanwhile, on the issue of the present political leadership and good governance. Spain has enjoyed a progressive and vibrant democratic system since the ratification of the 1978 constitution after the death of Franco. Leadership decision should be decided by the people with their sacred votes. The people are well informed about the situation of the country and should be well informed about political leaders of technical capability, integrity, patriotic, accountability, transparency and good governance to lead them out of this crisis. The incidence in many regions of Spain where a particular regional president or local government chairman (alcaldes) stays in power for twenty or twenty-five years is inimical to democratic principle and breeds corruption. Effort should be made to improve political participation and close the gap between the govenment and the citizen..
The fraud in the social security system has contributed to the lean purse of the government. Thousands of small scale bussinesses employ without contract agreement talk less of paying their employees social security (seguro social) to the government. On domestic employment, out of over million of Spanish households that have help at home, less than one-third pay social security for their employees. The government should take a drastic step and provide effective control, monitor and reduce to minimal the social security for private entreprenuers and domestic employers to avoid exploitation and non-payment of the social security to the government.
Moreover, on the issue of Bureaucracy and Corruption. The government should improve on the present stifling and red-tape in bureaucracy, challenge conventional thinking and worn ideas for necessary growth and development of the country. The government should take a bold step and wage war against corruption in all sectors. Greater transparency at government agencies and asset-declaration of some political leaders should be looked into at inception of duty. Corruption is dangerous to democratic growth and progress. It undermines the welfare and well-being of the people. The issue of corrupt leaders top the news agenda of the most Spanish news media agencies in the last few years. The high level of human development in a country depends upon low levels of corruption. The same as the government workers salaries was reviewed few months ago, so also is very important to cut down some expenses of some politicians ranging from additional benefits, supplement pensions and privilege allowances. The ultimate goal of participation in politics is to give service and enhance the common good of the citizens, recourse to extra-legal mechanism to bring peace and progress.
Meanwhile, it is no more news that the Spanish youth facing high jobless rates and dim prospects demonstrated in all city squares across the country. It was indeed a grass-root movements. Their grievances was about the soaring rates of unemployments in the last two years and low family economic and social security. The "indignant ones" or the 15-M Movement as it was called clamoured for series of measures aimed at reactivating the economy and curtailing high unemployment from the government. The youth are definately the leaders of tomorrow as they will fill the vacant posts in the nearest future.The government should addressed critically to creating jobs and family economic security.
The issue of immigrants that came to Spain in search of a better life has been a major controversy issue that have divided the nation since the beginning of crisis. There is no doubt that influx of illegal immigrants also aggravatated the crisis further. There is no country of the world that there is no immigrant. Immigrants has contributed so much to the development of this country's economy and culture. Immigrants with genuine intentions, professional inclined should be given opportunity to come to Spain, work hard, contribute to the nation and realise their dreams of living in freedom and providing a brighter future for their children. And those who come here legally or illegally with criminal intentions and human trafficking should be dealt with the law of the land and shown the way out if found guilty.
On educational sector, the first thing I noticed on my first job here in Spain was the increased numbers of youth that left school for colar jobs. The government should provide all Spaniards the opportunity to get a competitive, world-class education from cradle through to adulthood.More investment should be made on education with goals to march twenty-first century skills,good character and well informed citizenship.More investment on science and technology, bringing more responsibility and values to classrooms, encourage additional learning time and recruit, prepare and reward teachers accordingly. Chris Ormell, defines "education is pleasant maturation suprises...the young people who emerged should occasion such pleasant suprises, because they will actually enjoy displaying the disciplined mental powers which today's world so urgently needs, both in relation to things and people". There is no doubt that a highly educated and skilled workforce will be critical not to individual opportunity, but to the overall success of economy as well. It is a known fact that education responsibilities are being transfered to the Autonomous Communities, but some of them are not doing far better in areas of pupils discipline, courses reduction, shortage of staff and materials.
Finally, the Spanish health sector is the best in Europe. Effort should be made to recrut more Spanish health professionals and save the country enormous bills paying to private hospitals. This is time for the government to shift activity to invest more on world-class education, long term investments in science and technology, domestic research, provide legal permanent-resident visa programms and temporary programm to attract skilled professionals, strengthening social security, engage in export-oriented activities, enhancing labour market flexibility, promote energy independence, protecting workers' pensions and boosting potential output to get families back on their feet. These additional vital reforms will boost the economy and launch the country back not only to its old position of the most fast economic growth and price stability in the Europe, but to the super power of the world soonest.
This is the time to re-organise a blessed land with a repeatitive leaders of selfish motives. It is undemocratic and detrimental for leaders to think more about themselves as individuals or about their small families, clans or tribes and do not think at all about the people they are representing. Humanism means proper regard and compassion for people.We just have to do something to bring the country back to its feet. We have all witnessed the remnants of the long fruitless military regimes that failed to lay good and solid foundations to the development of this great country. We are now witnessing the fall-out of twelve years of (un) democratic governance that failed to erect democratic institutions and values for transparency, good governance and accountability. Past elections were rigged and bought. The only hope which was the last general elections that was adjudged free and fair by the international observers is being threatening by those illiterate sect of unbelievers who are doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason.
Selfish and corrupt godfathers, inept politicians, military cabals and their cronies have taken control of leadership positions for many years. Their wrongdoings have led to a profund corrupt society which increase poverty level. Leaders are meant to set good examples. The essence of leadership is to make postive things happen. Leaders have to be firm, decisive and responsive. We are now living in a society without morals, goals, values or vision. (not vision of the mouth). Hardwork, good skills and intelligence are no more rewarded on merit. It is time for a change as we have waited long to enjoy dividends of democrcy . It is now time for basic principles of ethics, integrity, responsibility, respect to the laws and rules of the land. Time to protect and respect the rights of citizens to live a fulfilled life. It is time to rebuild and re-orgarnise our public institutions to standard of moral and ethnic value. This is time for actions that will increase the supply of human happiness and not human suffering and poverty.
Meanwhile, apart to cater for the wellbeing of its citizens, the first priority of any sovereign government is the security of lives and property of its people. The whole security set of the country has been in shamble for the very long time. Have we forgotten how a minister of justice on duty was murdered in his bedroom? What of the cases of armed robbers and kidnappers here and there? It is very difficult to explain that a 51 year old country security forces can not handle a fanatical sect that are not more than five hundred people before doing so much damage. They murdered and wasted the lives of our youth corps brothers and sisters, killed 32 people in Adamawa state, also killed four policemen at a checkpoint in Abuja. This group claimed responsible for the August 26 bombing of United Nation building in Abuja, where more than sixteen people were killed and sixty people injured. Are we have to wait for another strike before re-organising and equipping the whole security sector? Is it not sad and shameful if at 51, we have to be relying always on foreign security assistance on internal crisis?.
The mirads of corruption has increased hardship for the majority of Nigerians. You cannot name a sector where there is no corruption. Everybody have taken it as a way of live. From the gate-man that wants to get a tip before opening for you, to the messenger that promises to move your file to Oga’s table and obligatory bribe or the 10 percent or “kickbacks” that director will demand in order to approve your contract. The anti-corruption body have to be re-organised as it was before with the same effective and efficient people that started it. This is not the time for total party allegiance for sensitive recruitments. It is time to have the best people in all postions in order to have the best result. The essence of this body is to have the right people to effect changes in our effort to reduce corrruption that is weakening all our democratic institutions. It is very ridiculous to read on the pages of newspapers that EFCC have arrested a politician that stole billions of naira from the treasury, released him on bail on the second day, he was later arranged to court to say “He is not guilty” of those fifty charges against him. The next thing we will hear about him is that he is now a free man enjoying his loot. It is time for all the present Nigerian elected representatives to declare their assets. This should start with the honourable President Jonathan to show he is genuinely interested in fighting corruption. The Nigerian constitution ammendment committee have to address this and others vital issues threatening the existence of our great nation.
The judicial institutions that is required to be independent, impartial and fair in its procedure are found wanting. Arbiter, the only hope of an organised society is now questionable and no longer to be trusted. They have all forgotten that the ethics of this great profession. It is now difficult to enjoy “the right to justice” with all these few scoundrels and goons in power controlling the wit and wigs of our respectable lawyers and judges. The democratic principles encompasses an independent of judiciary, equality of citizens before the law, the requirement for government to base their actions on legal authorities and citizens having the right to seek legal remedies against their government are no more practical in my fatherland. The judicial system have to be re-organised themselves with media playing the role to check excesses behaviour of the bench and the bar. It is very difficult to find peace where there is injustice.
Politics concern with general issues affecting the entire populace. It is the production, distribution, and the use of scarce resources to better the lives of citizens. It is not wasting of resources, nor stealing from treasury. Politics is not meant for two-faced politician that will promise heaven and earth during campaign and do nothing while in office. That after twelve years of democratic government, paying 469 representatives over 150 million naira (about 1 million dolar) each every month and we cannot boast of basic ammenities like undistrupted electricity and water supply, there are no good road network, our hospitals are in a mess. This is definately a huge waste every year without tangible things to show for it in the last decade.What of the unaccountable state Governor’s security votes allowances? We just have to re-organise and trim down this colosal waste for posperity sake. This is time to plan and organise our workforce to make economic sense and commensorate their existence.
Lastly, there is urgent and drastic need to address the problems of state of education in Nigeria before the situation gets out of control. The case of recent mass failure of students in this year’s June / July examinations conducted by NECO where about 25 percent of the candidates got credit in Mathematics and English Language have to be taken serious. The present government have to invest greatly on early childhood education during infant and toddler years as highly educated and skilled workforce will be vital not only to individual opportunity, but also to the overall success of our economy as well. Parents, families and schools have to be part in this re-organisation exercises of instilling in our children our best shared values and informed citizenship.