Jonathan, Do Yourself A Favour: Keep Quiet!

By Akin Fadeyi

Each time we mouth the cliche “our heroes past”, I wonder if we dig enough into the enormity of sacrifices made and how some of those heroes moved against established norms of debauchery for which they paid dearly – the supreme price.

Each time I introspect on the events of the 1970s, I shudder at the brutal murder of General Murtala Ramat Mohammed.

Dr. Yusuf Bala Usman, a historian of repute, in his seminal 1979 book For The Liberation of Nigeria had this to say: “Muritala was casual about his security”. “He distanced himself from imperial grandeur and did not move into the official residence of the Head of State in Dodan Barracks”.

But the one that piqued me most is premised on my discovery that Murtala “came to understand the essential features of Nigerian society especially the public institutions, and acted on this understanding to change them and make them serve the common people”.

Muritala thus constructed a model of contemporary Nigeria and mustered the courage to attempt to change it. General Mohammed established a link between the accumulation of wealth and public service. He was murdered while attempting to break that linkage, having realised that “abuse of public office was central to the chaos, indiscipline, confusion and whole underdevelopment of Nigeria”.

Simply put, AN ATTEMPT TO FIGHT CORRUPTION KILLED MURTALA MOHAMMED.

Muritala wasn’t perfect. He had his issues, ranging from hot temper to risk taking in a bizarrely daring manner. He was tough and described as erratic. But seriously, it is only a positively crazy man that can rule Nigeria. For this I’m at home with these weaknesses, and they cannot blight my admiration of him as a genuine Hero.

Fast forward to our era. I can’t help being bemused each time I hear Goodluck Jonathan say no Nigerian president can match his achievements. Then I’ll check what time of the day it is and wonder if it’s a weed smoking time. What achievements? Achievement of soiled hands? Achievement of looking the other way while the treasury was being looted? Achievement of alleged exploitation of Nigeria’s dire security situation to “clean out” the arms deal budget? There’s no other definition for blood money!

Jonathan is one peculiarly fortunate individual who sprang from obscurity and poverty and leapt into the rare ascendancy of a most coveted office. Despite being a minority, he beat the odds and became president. (Whatever “minority” means in a supposed state with equality).

One would therefore have expected him to practically “kill” himself in pursuit of a well-designed ambitious growth agenda, raise the quality of life of the people, confront corruption, and etch his name in gold. I dare say, he would have won his reelection without rigour. Instead, today, he has not just been sent out office, he’s struggling in defence of a very dark impression that he allegedly helped himself to some of Nigeria’s cookie jars.

Worse still, it’s obvious he fell for the sidekick tricks of his “domestic appendage”, a civil servant who today is shamefully laying claim to multi million dollars without answering the germane question of what manner of business brought such “blessings”.

So why is this man always throwing himself into space to defend such an administration full of heaving and sighing?

If you’re good, you’re good and your work will speak for you. The only thing speaking for the past administration are eye popping tales of unprecedented sleaze. Changing this narrative is a tall order.

Because of the circumstances surrounding our ethnic sensibilities, GEJ is already “granted immunity”. He therefore ought to maintain a stoic silence to earn some respect, not throwing himself in the ring every time to advertise a continuum of sheer chicanery.

GEJ put Nigeria in a quandary. And when the various chapters of the story of “our heroes past” are being written, to deserve a place at all, he will require unheard-of historical benevolence.

Akin Fadeyi is the Convener of the Corruption Not In My Country Project.

Diezani Forced Jonathan To Sack Me- Stella Oduah

Former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, has accused former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani-Alison Madueke for being the reason ex-President Goodluck Jonathan sacked her.

She made the claim in an upcoming book, ‘On a Platter of Gold: How Jonathan Won and Lost Nigeria’, written by the spokesman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bolaji Abdullahi, who also served under Jonathan.

According to Oduah, Jonathan called her to explain herself after the news about the $1.6million BMW armored cars bought for her by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) was reported.

She revealed that Alison-Madueke and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, were present at the meeting.

“I thought she had my back. I did not know at the time that she was actually fuelling it and orchestrating all the media attacks,” she told Abdullahi.

“I knew all along that Diezani could not deal with having another female around who had the kind of access I had to the president. But she went too far.

“She thought I was the one who leaked the issue of private jet that put her into trouble with the House of Representatives (Diezani was accused of spending N10 billion on chartered jets). For her it was payback time.”

“Diezani was paying people to keep the story alive. At the same time, she was whispering in [the president’s] ears that he had to take action,” Oduah said.

 

 

Goodluck Jonathan Denies Collecting Funds From Controversial Pension Fund

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said he did not receive any money from the controversial pension fund. He said there was no iota of truth in reports that he was paid N5b monthly from the money.

This was revealed by his media adviser, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, who gave the  explanation in Abuja on Saturday while reacting to a statement credited to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), published in a national newspaper last week.

The chief legal officer of the federation was said to have told a Senate ad-hoc committee that an “ex-president was taking N5bn monthly from the Pension Fund.”

Eze dismissed the claim as “a blatant lie hurriedly cooked up to divert the attention of the general public from the raging ‘Mainagate’ and other embarrassing scandals.”

He added, “We believe that the story was concocted as part of the unfolding grand design (by the Buhari administration) to always dodge responsibility and blame every evil act taking place in the present dispensation on the past (Jonathan) administration.

“In the first place, we do not believe that Malami made such a claim because he is in a position to know that it is simply not true.”

 

APC Congratulates Jonathan At 60

The All Progressives Congress, APC has congratulated former Nigerian President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan on the ocassion of 60th birthday.

Bolaji Abdulahi, the APC’s National Publicity Secretary in a statement described the former leader as a patriotic whose humbleness has contributed to the country’s socio-economic.

The party said Jonathan demonstrated love for the country during the 2015 Presidential election.

The statement reads: “The All Progressives Congress APC warmly congratulates former president, H.E. Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on his 60th birthday.

“We join well-wishers in celebrating a statesman whose life and politics have been defined by patriotism and humility.

“The APC recalls the commendable and exemplary conduct of Dr. Jonathan before and after the 2015 presidential election, which demonstrated his patriotism and love for Nigeria.

The Party urges Dr. Jonathan to remain steadfast to the positive ideals he stands for and continue to support the development of the country. The Party wishes Dr. Jonathan many more happy, healthy and rewarding years of service to the nation”.

Buhari Praises Jonathan As Ex-President Turns 60

President Muhammodu Buhari has joined other well-meaning Nigerians to celebrate his predecessor, Dr Goodluck Jonathan who will turn 60 tomorrow.

In a statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the president, Mr Femi Adesina praises the celebrant feats of rising from his humble beginning to the topmost post in Nigeria.

The former president who rose from deputy governor of Bayelsa state to become the first citizen in the country ruled for six years as president.

“President Buhari joins members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), professional colleagues, associates of Dr Jonathan, and his family in celebrating the unique history of the Nigerian leader, who within a short period rose from being a Deputy Governor, Governor, Vice President to becoming Nigeria’s President for six years”, Adesina wrote..

“President Buhari believes Dr Jonathan’s foray into politics and ascendency to the highest political office in Nigeria from a humble riverine background testifies to the greatness and inclusiveness of Nigeria’s democracy, and serves as an invitation to all those with interest to add value to the nation.”

“President Buhari prays that the almighty God will bless Dr Jonathan with good health, wisdom and strength to continue serving the country.”

An Afternoon With Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan

By Dele Momodu

In the 2011 Presidential race, President Buhari and I, and many others, lost the elections to Jonathan. It was a baptism of fire. I was somehow happy though that a quintessential minority candidate won that election. However, I became worried when the Jonathan government started floundering and waltzing from one crisis to the other. The fuel subsidy conundrum, for me, was the height of it. I participated in the demonstrations that nearly incapacitated Jonathan in the early days of 2012. Subsequently, I took it upon myself to be an unofficial, unpaid special adviser and consultant to Jonathan on political matters. I wrote copiously on how the government was frittering away its massive goodwill and equity. Of course, the Jonathan supporters did not want to listen and hearken to my sincere opinion and I was endlessly insulted for speaking out my mind.

By 2014, I was just too sure that the Jonathan government was heading for a cataclysmic fall. I wrote an article, ‘In Search of Mathematicians’, in which I analysed that the opposition Party was going to thrash the ruling Party. Again, I was called names my parents did not give me, but it was only a matter of time before my doomsday prophesy came to pass. One of the greatest tragedies of power is how acolytes often mislead the big boss. I have no doubt that Jonathan is a gentleman who meant well for our country but he was surrounded by several malevolent people who capitalised on his plain humility, abject simplicity and imagined weakness to wreak havoc on the nation.

Since then, I have longed to chat with him and ask a few questions about his tenure as President. My previous approaches had been resoundingly rebuffed. Realistically, I did not expect Jonathan to be too comfortable with vociferous members of the opposition like me. But I did not give up.

As fate would have it, I ran into one of our mutual friends, a very significant member of Jonathan’s kitchen cabinet, weeks ago. The man had wondered why I wrote an article predicting the possibility of Jonathan returning to contest the Presidential election in 2019. Most of my readers had said the notion was preposterous and that it was an impossible and unreasonable proposition. The more I watched events unfold the more I felt Jonathan’s second coming was not impossible and unrealisable. His man informed me that his former boss nursed no such ambition and promised to arrange a meeting so I could hear this from the horse’s mouth.

My thesis, though seemingly absurd, is not without reason. Firstly, I do not see the possibility of any Northerner defeating President Buhari in 2019, if he decides to run. Buhari is the most popular personality from the Northern part of Nigeria today. He is, as a matter of unassailable fact, regarded and treated as a cult hero. The North would not want to risk certainty for uncertainty by supporting someone else from outside power. If the PDP chooses to present another Northerner to run against Buhari, the Party would have presented a second term to Buhari on a platter of gold because the South would have nothing to fight for and may present a lukewarm attitude to that election. My view, is that the 2019 Presidential election would be fought principally on the account of ethnicity and religion like most of our previous elections.

Secondly, a Presidential candidate needs to lock down four out of the six geo-political regions in Nigeria. Buhari had always found it tough to do this. On his own, he can boast no more than two regions. Naturally, a strong Southern candidate will give him a run for his money, if he also commands cult followership from his zone. There are few people in this mould and, whether one likes it or not, this includes Jonathan. The Southern candidate would obviously have a decent foray in the North Central and South West zones as well as a few of the battleground States in the North West and North East. Buhari has always found it difficult to replicate a similar decent incursion into the Southern axis apart from the South West.

Thirdly, age and health will be substantial factors in 2019. Buhari would be 76 and has been very ill in the recent past though, thankfully, he is much better now. Jonathan, like most of the other strong Southern candidates, will be under 65 and seems virile. He is one of the few who can draw on his experience and achievement to offer comparative analysis to Buhari, project for project.

It was with this mind-set that I approached former President Jonathan two days ago after he personally phoned to reconfirm our appointment for that day. I was deeply humbled by this simple gesture. By the time I meandered my way to his understated but elegant office, I didn’t know what to actually expect from him. He had some visitors from the Bible Society of Nigeria who had come to present him with the biggest Bible I ever saw, written in five languages English, Hausa, Yoruba, Ibo and Efik, all in one holy book. He asked me to give him a few minutes to attend to these visitors and I gladly obliged.. When they left, I was ushered into his personal office. The first thing he said was, “Dele, I must thank you for your level of professionalism. I read your column regularly and must commend your maturity and objectivity. Even when I disagree with you, I still enjoy your style.” “Thank you, sir…” I replied. He was ostensibly excited about the visit from the Bible Society of Nigeria and showed me the massive wooden book that was jealously protected in a beautiful casket. He then lectured me (once a lecturer always a lecturer) on the history of the Holy Bible in Nigeria. That done, we settled down to serious discussions.

I was thinking of how to proceed with the conversation. I decided to start by telling him my mission. I just don’t want to write abstract articles anymore. I want to use the incredible access God has given me to virtually everyone, low or high, to set a roadmap for our dear beloved country. It is my duty to give my readers authoritative information as much as possible. I’ve taken it upon myself to go behind and beyond the regular news to educate and entertain my passionate followers.

I started with harmless, innocuous and easy questions. How has he been coping outside power? He said he was fine because he never expected to be in government forever. He was particularly proud that he left power without any bloodshed. He appreciates the intervention of very influential and well-meaning people who brokered the democratic initiative. He feels good and at peace with himself for honouring his word and his bond.

Does he feel harassed by the Buhari government? He said he expected some of the unfolding events since the government came into being on the platform of anti-corruption mantra. “You do not abandon a winning formula easily…” He said he accepts his foibles and weaknesses and has learnt very useful lessons from those shortcomings. “But we did very well on the whole…” he insisted.. I was touched by his candour. He believed that if he had won his second term in 2015, he would have consolidated on the gains of that “imperfect” first term. But that did not happen. He says his love for Nigeria would never make him wish failure for Buhari or any other future government. “I have had the rare opportunity of leading our country at very critical moments and did my best. I’ve left the rest to posterity to judge,” he said matter-of-factly.

Now to the delicate terrain. “Sir, will you run in 2019?” I fired the shot from the hip. I’m not sure he anticipated this important question at the time it came. “Contest again? No. People come to me every day saying they want me back. I’m always moved to tears whenever I go out and see the huge crowds shouting GEJ, we want you, even in the North. Instead of getting swollen headed, I actually reflect on my achievements and mistakes and feel humbled and feel very sober… I have never been a man of inordinate ambition. I’m a man of very modest means. I hardly travel because of the logistical costs. I’ve played my part and I have moved on.”

“What if your party decides to invite you again?’ I probed deeper. “Are you not aware that our Party has zoned the Presidency to the North, and the Chairmanship to the South?” he queried. I gave him my permutations but he insisted that the two major Parties are highly inclined to produce candidates from the North. “Even Fayose that has declared his interest may face big challenges because of the decision of our party…” he opined.

“So there is no way you can ever contest again?” I fired again and he returned the fire instantaneously, “I’m not God but I sincerely doubt the possibility…” he said with finality. I dropped the subject as it was not my intention to put him on the spot, like that.

“How will you rate the Buhari government so far?” another tricky question, I felt. “What do you think Dele?… You are their friend…” I kept mute “Honestly speaking, they have tried in the area of security and fighting corruption, even if they’ve tilted more towards us… But we did a lot in our time in the area of agriculture, transport, managing the economy, rule of law, free and fair elections… Only Nigerians can judge… It won’t be fair of me to pass verdict so soon on my immediate successor… I knew they would hit brick-walls on some of their promises, especially the school feeding program and the payment of N5,000 to unemployed graduates… We worked on feasibility studies on them in the past and realised Nigeria could not afford it… It is always the job of opposition to over-promise but reality of governance is always different…”, he said, animatedly.

I could see and feel this was his forte. He spoke confidently and eloquently about the art and science of governance. He said the figures are still fresh in his memories. I decided to digress again. What does he think about Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s chances. “He can’t get the APC ticket. If Atiku gets our party ticket, he would compete well. He’s always a passionate politician. But he would have to reach out to our boss, Baba OBJ, the boss of all bosses. We’ve all learnt at different times that you ignore OBJ at your own peril. OBJ has the magic wand, respected at home and abroad…” speaking like a penitent student. Experience, they say, is the best teacher.

If PDP picks a Northern candidate, where does he expect the running mate to come from, I asked. “Strategically, since Professor Osinbajo is already running with Buhari, the South South and South East, remain the most fertile grounds. And there are many brilliant people there waiting for the chance. The Governors control some of the richest states in Nigeria except Lagos…” he posited.

With time far gone, I requested for some pictures with him. He accepted with his usual equanimity. I invited my protégé, Mr Ohimai Godwin Amaize, aka Mr Fix Nigeria, who was a prominent member of the PDP Youth Wing, who was really elated to meet Jonathan again, to do the honours. We took several pictures.

As we exchanged goodbyes, I looked back at President Jonathan and wondered what fate might have in store for him in the future.

UN Commends Jonathan For Promoting Peace In Africa

The United Nations, UN, complimented the former President Goodluck Jonathan for the electoral reforms he initiated during his tenure, and for the good works he has been doing to promote peace and stability in Africa.

Explaining Jonathan’s achievements, the UN prayed that the institutions he built and the high standards he established in organizing credible and peaceful elections are maintained and sustained in Nigeria.

Jonathan the global organization made this known during a courtesy call on Jonathan by a delegation led by Ambassador Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, and Chairman of the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission (CNMC).

Speaking of the 2015 general elections, Chambas who was accompanied by the UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Edward Kallon, commended ex-President Jonathan’s roles in stemming the tide of agitations which threatened Nigeria’s unity ahead of the elections.

He said: “What we noticed in 2015 was that there was a display of maturity in the way the elections were handled.

There was hardly any major incident between the then ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC). The problems were mostly internal to parties.”

According to him, the delegation came to express appreciation to Jonathan for the good works he has been doing to promote democracy, peace, and stability in Africa, noting that the ex-President

“still continues to do good with his decision to serve as the leader of one of the election observation missions to the forthcoming presidential run-off in Liberia.”

Chambas further told the former President that the UN was seeking his support to ensure the success of a scheduled all party stakeholders forum similar to the inter-party peace forum which held under the Jonathan Administration.

In his response, Jonathan commended Chambas and his team for the initiative and congratulated the special envoy for moving up to a higher platform, after serving as the President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Ex-President Jonathan also commended the UN for its support in election processes in West Africa and in all of Africa, noting that the efforts of ECOWAS leaders had ensured that West Africa had remained relatively peaceful. He said further:

“First let me welcome you and your team. I believe this is a familiar environment for you because you had been with us in ECOWAS. I am happy that you have now gone higher than the ECOWAS level.

Let me also, through you and your team, commend what the UN is doing in terms of its proactive approach in sanitizing election processes in Africa.”

Jonathan also noted that electoral processes in Nigeria were getting better compared to what it was in the Second Republic when widespread irregularities forced the military to topple elected civilian leaders.

The former President further made a case for credible elections in Africa stressing that tensions arising from poorly conducted elections and other leadership issues were at the heart of most crises on the continent. He noted:

“Elections must be credible. They must not just be free and fair but must be seen to be transparent and credible. That way peace will reign and sustainable development can take place.”

If You Picked Buhari Over Jonathan In 2015, You Did No Wrong, By ‘Fisayo Soyombo

There are numerous disgruntled Muhammadu Buhari supporters straddling the social media space. Worried by a series of controversies in a government they placed high hopes in, many of Buhari’s supporters are penitent.

“Throwback to when I used my bike to campaign for Buhari preaching change. God forgive me,” one named ‘Hur’ recently wrote on social networking site Twitter, accompanied by teary emoticons.

Did people like Hur really have a choice in 2015?

The Jonathan Years

It was always clear to the neutrals that Buhari was not Nigeria’s best-possible presidential proposition in 2015. But weighing him against Goodluck Jonathan, he was the perceptibly better choice. Two disappointing Buhari years are not enough to exorcise the ghost of the Jonathan years. A quick rundown, for those who have forgotten.

What collective progress would Nigeria have made under a man who personalized and institutionalized corruption? This was a man, who, speaking of his aversion to asset declaration for public officials, as mandated by the Code of Conduct Bureau, said: “The issue of public asset declaration is a matter of personal principle. That is the way I see it, and I don’t give a damn about it, even if you criticise me from heaven.” That was in 2012.

Two years later, at a presidential media chat, he made a woeful attempt to separate corruption from stealing, saying: “Over 70 percent of what is called corruption, even by EFCC and other anti-corruption agencies, is not corruption but common stealing.”

Under Jonathan, common stealing was the norm — left, right and center. It was so bad that a returning minister, seeing the scale of looting all over the place, would say in private circles: “I have not come to Abuja this time around to count the bridges; I must get my share.”

Of the numerous corruption cases under his watch, one was particularly problematic for Jonathan. Stella Oduah, his aviation minister, was found guilty of procedural breaches in the purchase of two bulletproof cars for $1.6 million — about $1.2 million more than the market price. Still, Oduah prospered under Jonathan and in fact played a big role in his 2015 campaign; he only dispensed with her when he sensed her baggage could hurt his re-election bid.

Let’s not even talk about Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, the Bayelsa ex-governor convicted for multi-million-pound corruption who disguised as a woman to jump bail from the UK but was eventually granted state pardon by Jonathan. In that administration, the nation’s treasury was a national cake and anyone bold enough to approach it with a knife was free to have his cut! That is why there is nothing to show for the periods in his reign when crude oil prices were favorable; Buhari nevertheless ended up inheriting an economy in tatters, with many states unable to pay their workers’ salaries.

How can we forget Jonathan’s handling of the Boko Haram insurgency? For so long, he viewed it as a plot of the opposition to hunting him down. And the Chibok girls’ abduction? As former President Olusegun Obasanjo would eventually reveal, Jonathan, for 18 days after the kidnap, insisted that no abduction took place. By the time he finally accepted he had the largest-scale abduction since the start of the insurgency on his hands, the girls’ captors were well and truly beyond overhauling.

That wasn’t just an odd error of judgment; it was the archetypal Jonathan. Remember when more than 80 people were bombed to death in Nyanya, Abuja, in April 2014? Two days later, the president was dancing away at a PDP rally in Kano. And only a day after at least 48 were killed in a blast in Potiskum in November 2014, Jonathan still organized a colorful ceremony to announce his re-election ambition. What about parents of the abducted Chibok girls? The president refused to meet with them — until Malala Yousafzai, a 17-year-old, came here to beg him. Security of lives is one of the simplest responsibilities of a government. And when a government cannot guarantee this (and its head literally rubs it in), thereby leaving the people in a perpetual state of panic, such a president deserves to be shown the exit door.

It Will Be Déjà Vu In 2019

Why is it so important to harp on the talking points of an election that was staged two years ago? Because we’re inevitably going to find ourselves in a similar situation in 2019.

Like the litany of unfulfilled promises under Jonathan, Buhari has underwhelmed in that office. He promised to fight corruption but he didn’t tell us he would only fight it in the camp of his personal and political enemies; he didn’t tell us his cabinet members were immune from the much-vaunted anti-corruption campaign, that the war would be restricted to the PDP and the Jonathan regime. We didn’t expect that the economy would regress under his watch or that the administration would be so disjointed that government agencies would overtly and covertly antagonize one another. We didn’t expect that the regime of Buhari, a former military strongman, would be hijacked by a cabal.

Buhari has brought a new dimension to the people’s dissatisfaction with governance. To his credit, Jonathan assembled a fairly technocratic cabinet but Buhari’s is inferior by a distance. Buhari made enormous progress with limiting the Boko Haram damage but cronyism and ethnocentrism are some of the hallmarks of his reign. We chased Jonathan away and got rid of his problems; with Buhari, it’s – freshman, fresh problems.

The rising disillusionment with the current administration means Buhari’s long-time and newfound haters will likely be fixated on getting rid of him in 2019 — not necessarily finding the best possible replacement. That would mean we haven’t learnt a thing from the desperation to eject Jonathan and the disappointment of electing Buhari. It would also mean that rather than upgrade our political leadership from one election cycle to another, we’re only stuck in the vicious cycle of unseating one underwhelming government to make room for another.

Looking Ahead To 2023

For all the attention that the 2019 election has been recently generating, I’m struggling to see how it can become a watershed in Nigeria’s political history. Any serious challenge to Buhari’s reign will likely come from the PDP — a party still in tatters more than two years after losing power.

All those who have so far shown interest in the PDP ticket is the usual suspects — regular faces that have graced the political scene for years or sometimes decade; same old, same old! As it stands, none of the other registered parties is strong enough to gatecrash the PDP-APC hegemony. In 2019, the options will be either returning to the messy way of old or sticking with the sticky patch of now. Neither is an attractive prospect. We’ll be torn between the devil and the deep blue sea like we were in 2015.

This is why, ahead of 2023, the electorate need to gravitate towards selection rather than election. There is an urgent need for a non-partisan movement to identify a genuine presidential material among us, and subsequently, raise a partisan platform with which the selected material can challenge the PDP or APC. It is a long-term project, and it is far more difficult to achieve in reality than it looks on paper. But something is no longer difficult to see: we can no longer be satisfied with picking one of the two candidates thrown at us by the APC and PDP. It’s time we picked our candidate and threw it at them!

Omokri Is Suffering From Multiple-Personality Disorder

By Kikiowo Ileowo

My attention has been drawn to the rant of one Wendell Simlin, better known as Reno Omokri, disparaging the person of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola over facts revealed by the Osun governor on how former President Goodluck Jonathan and his cronies pillaged our national resources before he was eased out by vigilant Nigerian voters.

Reno’s outburst against Ogbeni does not deserve a response and the reasons are not far-fetched. Recall Omokri in a desperate bid to justify the petro-dollar looted under his boss, or perhaps diverted to his office, had lied by taking up the now infamous Wendell pseudonym to slander the former governor of Central bank by accusing him of sponsoring the Boko Haram terrorist group. It goes without saying that, for anyone with a multiple personality disorder, nothing is off limits in their books to justify their pay; hence, the end justifies the means.

For ease of understanding, multiple personality disorder is a severe form of dissociation, a mental process which produces a lack of connection in a person’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity. Omokri is obviously dissociated from reality; living a lie, surrounded by unseen forces, and believes in a distorted historical fact of a government he once actively participated in.

For the sake of clarity, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola whilst hosting a team of delegates from the Federal Government on the Digital Switch Over project explained how Nigeria got into this sorry state. Three indisputable facts given by the governor for the payment of modulated salary in his State are the following; economic downturn induced by brazen corruption, wanton theft of crude oil and mismanagement of the country’s resources by the Peoples  Democratic Party (PDP) led Federal Government under Goodluck Jonathan.

Has Reno forgotten so quickly that at least $20bn disappeared into thin air under his master’s watch? Lest we forget, never has Nigeria’s resources being plundered like was witnessed during the Jonathanian era. The brazen theft of cash and unprecedented looting of public funds under Goodluck Jonathan is an historical one since the entity called Nigeria was created. Obviously, Jonathan and his gang of thieves were obviously trying to outdo the colonial masters and all his predecessors combined. The Goodluck Jonathan led administration single-handedly redefined corruption in government.

Lest we forget, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala went on a borrowing spree to pay salaries of federal government workers shortly after she revealed over 400,000 barrels of crude oil was being stolen daily by government protected-plunderers, whilst her colleagues in other ministries busied themselves with thieving what was left in the treasury.

In fact, one of the notorious bandits that made up Jonathan’s cabinet was said to have chartered private jet at will to cater for her housemaid, whilst another abused her office by instructing agencies under her to purchase multi-million naira armoured vehicles for her leisure ride.

I will not belabour the issue of the ruin and destruction the Goodluck Jonathan era brought our way; however, my prayer is that may Nigeria never have to be governed by another president whose singular objective in leadership is to balkanize Nigeria.

Since Reno lacks the requisite knowledge on how governance works in Nigeria, let me take a moment to school him. Theoretically, Nigeria practices federalism. Except the Nigerian Constitution is amended, States within its domain will continue to depend on the federal government for sustenance, except for a few. Many of the resources are locked up in the hands of the federal government. Interestingly, there are 68 items in the exclusive list, with just around 30 on the concurrent list in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Osun for example has enough gold deposits, whose income can cater for a minimum of 50 years budget, is forced to go cap in hand to the federal government because the constitution acts as a major impediment to achieving our dreams as a State.

Beyond the rhetoric, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola continues to deliver on key infrastructural projects that will shape Osun’s landscape for the next 50 years. The Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola administration met a State in comatose, but will be leaving it come November 27, 2018 better than when he took over the reins of power. When he was sworn in, the IGR was an abysmal N300m; now, the State generates around N1bn monthly. Can things be better? Yes, and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola’s administration is working tirelessly to ensure that his Six points integral action plan is realised in order to improve the standard of living in the State of Osun.

Jonathan Still Owes Us N24m – Campaign Printer

A company says it is still being owed N24 million for printing campaign posters for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.

The Paste Poster Company Limited stated this on Wednesday through its Managing Director, Olusegun Idowu, when he appeared before the Federal High Court in Lagos.

The Director of Media and Publicity of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Femi Fani-Kayode, is standing trial before the court over alleged involvement in a N4.9 billion fraud.

Standing trial along with Mr. Fani-Kayode is a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenadi Usman. Other defendants in the case are one Danjuma Yusuf and a company, Joint Trust Dimensions Limited.

The defendants were arraigned before Justice Rilwan Aikawa on 17 counts bordering on conspiracy, unlawful retention of proceeds of theft and money laundering.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Mr. Idowu was the first witness called by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to prove its case against the defendants.

While being cross-examined on Wednesday by Mr. Fani-Kayode’s lawyer, Norrison Quakers, the witness told the court that his company got the poster printing job from the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation through referral by a member of the organisation, Aderemi Ajidahun.

Mr. Idowu, whose company’s office is on Lagos Island, said one Mr. Oke related with his company on behalf of the campaign organisation.

He said his company received cash payments of N24 million and N6 million from the said Mr. Oke.

He said the N24 million the company was being owed was outstanding from the N54 million it was to be paid for poster pasting and consultancy jobs.

Mr. Idowu said his company was paid N30m cash in tranches of N6 million and N24 million, while N24 million remained outstanding.

When asked by Mr. Quakers whether he had any direct dealing with Mr. Fani-Kayode, Mr. Idowu said he did not.

The case was adjourned till November 20, 21 and 22 for continuation of trial.

In the charges, Mr. Fani-Kayode was accused of conspiring with the other defendants to directly and indirectly retain various sums, which the EFCC claimed they ought to have reasonably known were proceeds of crime.

The EFCC said they allegedly committed the offence between January 8 and March 25, 2015 ahead of the 2015 general election.

Mr. Fani-Kayode has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing.

Attempts to get the reaction of Mr. Jonathan’s spokesman, Ikechukwu Eze, to the claims were unsuccessful, as he did not pick several calls to his phone.

Source: Premium Times

Jonathan Cautions Buhari Against Taking Operations To Specific Areas

Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan has cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari in a statement yesterday by his aide Reno Omokri, against extending his military expedition to the South-South and South-West geopolitical zones.

He faulted the military for labelling the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terror group, insisting that it lacks such right.

He stressed that since the country was under military rule, the armed forces ought to be separated from the police in a democratic setting. According to him, the soldiers were trained to contain external aggressions.

Responding to the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, for alleging that the activities of the agitators began after he lost the 2015 polls, Jonathan challenged him to identify, arrest and prosecute sponsors of the group.

His words: “We want to advise the Buhari administration, which has announced plans to extend the military show of force to the South-South South-West through Operation Crocodile Smile, to tread with caution.

“Nigeria is no longer under military rule. In a democracy, you separate the military from the police. The military is not meant to fight criminality within a nation because they are trained to fight a nation’s external enemies.

“It is the police that are trained to fight crime internally. When the military starts doing the job of the police and fighting what they call a ‘show of force’, the effect will not be to reduce crime. The effect will be to intimidate people.

“If the government in which Lai Mohammed serves knows which opposition members are sponsoring IPOB, then they should identify, arrest and prosecute them.”

“Ever since Lai Mohammed made his ill-advised statement, a principal member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government and Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has come out to say that the actions in the Southeast are troubling and some of it are unconstitutional. Is he also sponsoring IPOB too?

“It is our suspicion that Lai Mohammed is talking from history as he criticised my government for banning Boko Haram in a statement he released on June 10, 2013, even though our administration had gone through due process before proscribing that murderous sect.”