On Maina, Blame Buhari

By Paul Onomuakpokpo

Aside from the tragedy of the monumental failure of the President Muhammadu Buhari government, there is also that of the barefacedly audacious attempts to still project him as glowing in the halo of incorruptibility that some have associated him with. To his diehard loyalists, it is not Buhari who has betrayed the high ideals of transparency he has espoused before the public but only those whom he has given responsibilities who are prevented by their greed from living up to the expectations of their high offices.

This is the trajectory we have confronted with again as the public is scandalised by the heist and remorselessness of the former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdullahi Abdulrasheed Maina, and the complicity of high-profile officials of the Buhari government. In the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Maina was given the responsibility of bringing reform into the pension system to break the cycle of pensioners dying broke in their post-service years because of their inability to access their pensions. But the reformer soon turned away from his official assignment and became preoccupied with the looting of the billions that he was supposed to guard against pecuniary predators. Before he was caught, Maina had already allegedly stolen N100 billion. Maina was not at a loss as regards how to avail himself of this haul. He launched into a splurge and this civil servant who was an assistant director before he was made to manage the pension system became the owner of posh houses and companies in choice areas of Abuja and other parts of the country. Yes, Maina is presumed innocent until he is declared guilty by a competent law court. But he declared himself guilty before the public. Instead of making himself available to the Senate and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to clear himself of the charges of egregious corruption he fled abroad.

It was thought that Maina was still a fugitive from the law until the news broke that he had returned to the country. Worse, he was not only reinstated in the civil service, he was promoted to the post of a deputy director in the Ministry of Interior and reportedly paid all his salary arrears amounting to N22 million for the period he absconded from office and he was a fugitive from justice. Those who are beholden to their notion of the incorruptibility of Buhari are busy arguing that it is others who should be blamed for the return and reabsorption of Maina in the civil service. They want us to blame the Minister of Interior Abdulrahman Dambazau, Minister of Justice and Attorney General Abubakar Malami and the Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Joan O. Ayo. They also want us to blame the Head of Service, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita. But she has been able to assert her innocence by revealing that she, in fact, opposed the move to recall Maina and she was overruled. No, the blame should go to Buhari. How can we be convinced that Buhari did not know about what was happening despite his highly activated anti-corruption apparatus that could alert him to the corruption of judges in places like Port Harcourt which are far from Aso Rock? If he did not know, then he should be blamed for his lack of vigilance.

Even if Buhari did not know, he is by no means exonerated. This is because it means that Dambazau, Malami and others only had the audacity to commit illegalities because the atmosphere that Buhari has created in Aso Rock is not hostile to corruption. They understand that Buhari has so lost the control of his government that his aides do whatever they like. After all, the Department of State Service (DSS) opposed Buhari’s attempt to make Ibrahim Magu the substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Buhari neither sacked the DSS Director-General Lawal Daura nor did Buhari succeed in making the Senate to reverse its decision not to confirm Magu based on the DSS report.

Dambazau, Malami and others are also aware that it is the same prevalent laissez-faire morality in the government that has made Buhari not to allow the prosecution and sanction of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Lawal Bachir, and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayo Oke, who have been suspended after being accused of corruption. The state of affairs in Aso Rock where anything goes and where the cronies of Buhari are above the law is also shown in the controversy over the award of $25 billion contracts by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, without due process. It was not Baru who was accused that Buhari indicted, but Ibe Kachikwu who alerted him to the contracts that he disdained and allowed to be accused of being used by his enemies to traduce his government.

The Maina case is an indication of the many things that are going wrong with the Buhari government. It alerts us to the secret recruitment that goes on in the civil service. Without the media, there was no way Nigerians would have known anything about Maina being recalled, reinstated and promoted. Therefore, what the media might not have reported is an unbroken nepotistic recruitment in the civil service perpetrated by the cronies of Buhari.

While this is going on, the anti-corruption agencies are looking elsewhere. If the EFCC were really on the case of Maina why did they not identify his houses which are proceeds of corruption and confiscate them since? Why did the agency wait until the media exposed the fact that Maina had been reabsorbed in the civil service before it now sealed off his houses? After all, has the EFCC not been prosecuting a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and confiscating her property in absentia? Now, the EFCC may be waiting for the media before it reopens the case of its former Chairman Ibrahim Larmode. Shortly after he was removed as the chairman of the anti-corruption body, he was accused of an N1 trillion fraud. But the EFCC did not pursue this case.

Rather, Lamorde has been ensconced in Ikoyi, Lagos as the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) Police Commissioner. Still, Buhari may be waiting for prompting from the media before he suspends the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, so that he clears himself of the allegations of financial and libidinous sleaze. Or is the EFCC waiting for the media before it reopens the case of Ahmed Gambo Saleh who as the Registrar of the Supreme Court allegedly stole N2.2 billion of the apex court? He was arraigned but the case was immediately withdrawn by the government without an explanation to the public on how it quickly established his innocence after initiating his prosecution. And for being harassed for allegedly stealing billions he remains compensated with the position of the Secretary to the National Judicial Council (NJC). In the reckoning of the government, even this compensation is not enough. He has also been made the secretary of the committee monitoring corruption trials. Yet it is the same Buhari government that has defied court orders for the release of a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, from his about two years’ detention for allegedly misappropriating official funds.

With this recent development, Nigerians wonder if Buhari still believes that none of his aides is corrupt. But he could still insist on their innocence since he did due diligence that lasted over six months before picking them to work with him. However, Buhari can no longer keep on deluding himself about the lack of corruption of his ministers and others. And in this case, it is not enough for him to sack Maina. He should deploy his security agencies to arrest him wherever he has gone to hide and prosecute him. He should also relieve Dambazau, Malami and others who are complicit in the case of Maina of their duties and prosecute them.

But more importantly, what is Buhari still doing in the presidency since he has lost its control? Perhaps, his case would have been mitigated if the so-called cabal he has relinquished the reins of his office to were honourable and patriotic and they were willing to do only what would conduce to the wellbeing of the nation and the citizens. Since neither Buhari nor his proxies are fit to be in the presidency, the honourable path for him to take now is to resign and give way to somebody who can restore probity in governance. Nigerians can no longer tolerate the cocktail of scandals that assail them from Aso Rock. Nor can they bear being saddled with another four years of the Buhari misadventure after 2019.

Super Eagles’ Victory, Independence Gift to Nigerians- Buhari

Following Alex Iwobi’s sterling goal to secure Nigeria’s place in the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament, President Muhammadu Buhari through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, has described the victory as “very sweet, soothing and a 57th Independence Anniversary gift to the nation.”

The statement read, “As he joined millions of football-loving Nigerians in rejoicing with the players and their coaching crew, President Buhari called on all Nigerians to apply the values of perseverance, resilience, discipline, hard work and team-spirit which propelled the footballers to excel since the beginning of the qualifying matches, to all sectors of national life.

“The President promised that the Federal Government will continue to support the team within available resources so that the nation will maximise the unifying potentials of sports in general and football in particular.

“He enjoined the entire team and Nigerian Football Federation officials to remain steadfast and focused when they begin preparations for the global football fiesta in order to make Nigeria proud.

“President Buhari urged public, private organisations and well-meaning Nigerians to continue to assist the Super Eagles as the team heads for a sixth appearance at the summit of football competition.

“The President also appreciated the government of Akwa Ibom State for the invaluable support it has been rendering to the football team, describing it as worthy of emulation.”

Buhari Celebrates Independence with Troops

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday charged the Armed Forces to remain loyal to the Nation in the face of agitations from various sections of the county.

The President, who addressed troops fighting the Boko Haram terrorists in the North East as part activities marking the Nation’s 57th Independence anniversary, said such loyalty was imperative to sustain the nation’s peace and unity.

“Even for selfish reasons, your loyalty ought to be to the centre, first.

“The security of this nation is in the hands of God and in the hands of the security.

“If you don’t stand firm, I assure you if Nigeria doesn’t exist, the first to be insecure are the security agencies because no matter how many parts Nigeria will be divided, nobody will take another General to preside over his country,” Buhari said.

On those agitating for separation, Buhari dismissed them as noise makers, adding that he knew much about the nation, having participated in the 30 months civil war which began in 1967 and ended in 1970.

“I was involved in civil war for 30 months, I know much about this country.

“Those making noise about the stability of this country were not born then. They don’t know what it means to be a nationalist,” he said.

To the troops, he said: “I thought the only honour I can present to the military and other stakeholders on this great day is to come and address you, who are in the frontline.

“I am pleased with the Nation and responsible opinions from all over the world, congratulating this administration for the progress we have made.

“I personally thank the Governor of this state, Borno, Kashim Shettima for his courage throughout the crisis – Boko Haram insurgency.”

The president gave the assurance that under his leadership resources would be made available to support the Armed Forces.

He said that unless the nation is secured nobody would be able to pursue his or her business.

“I expect in return from you to be loyal and loyalty is from the bottom upward, from private to Lance Corporal, Corporal, up to Sergeant, Generals, Service Chiefs, otherwise the centre will not hold.

“But this centre is determined to hold,” the President said.

NAN

Nigeria Won’t Break Up Under Me- Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has promised that despite the fragile unity of the state and calls for secession from certain quarters, Nigeria would not “break up under me.”

The President said, “In the past two years, Nigeria has recorded appreciable gains in political freedom. A political party at the centre losing governorship elections, National Assembly seats and even state assemblies to opposition parties is new to Nigeria.

“Added to these is a complete freedom to associate, to hold and disseminate opinions. Such developments clearly attest to the country’s growing political development.

“Recent calls for re-structuring, quite proper in a legitimate debate, has let in highly irresponsible groups to call for dismemberment of the country. We cannot and we will not allow such advocacy.

“As a young army officer, I took part from the beginning to the end of our tragic civil war costing about two million lives, resulting in fearful destruction and untold suffering. Those who are agitating for a rerun were not born by 1967 and have no idea of the horrendous consequences of the civil conflict which we went through.

“Government is keeping up the momentum of dialogue with stakeholders in the Niger Delta to keep the peace. We intend to address genuine grievances of the communities.

“Government is grateful to the responsible leadership of those communities and will pursue lasting peace in the Niger Delta.”

“The APC government’s rallying cry to restore security, rebalance the economy and fight corruption was not all rhetoric.

“The country must first be secured. The economy must be rebalanced so that we do not depend on oil alone.

“We must fight corruption, which is Nigeria’s number one enemy. Our administration is tackling these tasks in earnest,” he said.

The President highlighted some of the achievements of his administration in the last two years in the areas of security, economy, and the fight against corruption.

He said as the nation entered the second half of his four-year term of office, he intended to accelerate progress and intensify his resolve to fix the country’s challenges and problems.

On security, he said Nigerians must be grateful to the nation’s Armed Forces for rolling back the frontiers of Boko Haram’s terrorism, defeating them and reducing them to “cowardly attacks on soft and vulnerable targets.”

He thanked the country’s neighbours and the international community for the collective efforts to defeat terrorism.

“Government is working round the clock to ensure the release of the remaining Chibok girls, as well as other persons in Boko Haram captivity. Government will continue to support the Armed Forces and other security agencies to fight not only terrorism, but kidnapping, armed robbery, herdsmen/farmers violence and to ensure peace, stability and security in our country,” he added.

“Since December last year, this administration has produced over seven million 50kg bags of fertiliser. Eleven blending plants with a capacity of 2.1 million metric tons have been reactivated. We have saved $150m in foreign exchange and N60bn in subsidy. Fertiliser prices have dropped from N13,000 to N5,500 per 50kg bag.

“Furthermore, a new presidential initiative is starting with each state of the federation creating a minimum of 10,000 jobs for unemployed youths, again with the aid of CBN’s development finance initiatives.

“Power remains a huge problem. As of September 12, production of power reached an all-time high of 7,001 megawatts. Government is increasing its investment, clearing up the operational and financial logjam bedevilling the industry. We hope to reach 10,000 megawatts by 2020.

“Key priorities include better energy mix through solar and hydro technologies. I am glad to say that after many years in limbo, the Mambilla Power Project has taken off.

“Elsewhere in the economy, the special window created for manufacturers, investors and exporters and foreign exchange requirements has proved very effective. Since April, about $7bn has come through this window alone. The main effect of these policies is improved confidence in the economy and better investment sentiments.

“The country has recorded seven consecutive months of lower inflation, naira rate is beginning to stabilise, appreciating from N525 per $1 in February this year to N360 today. Broad-based economic growth is leading us out of recession.

“Furthermore, in order to stabilise the polity, the Federal Government gave additional support to states in the form of State Excess Crude Account loans, Budget Support Facility, and Stabilisation Fund Release to state and local government as follows: N200bn in 2015; N441bn in 2016; and N1tn in 2017, totalling N1.642tn.

Buhari’s Food Self-sufficiency Drive is the Real Independence by Garba Shehu

President Muhammadu Buhari undertakes the political ritual of Independence Day broadcast to the nation this Sunday morning, in a speech that highlights major strides in the pet themes of the administration: anti-corruption, war against terrorism, economic revival and infrastructure development.

The President comes before the nation with a better result than he had shown the year before.

This is an important year for Nigeria, not only because the economy has just exited recession. The fight against terrorism has turned the corner with Boko Haram pushed to the fringes of the Lake Chad, restricted to hit-and-run strikes. In this fight, Nigeria is no longer standing alone. We are being supported by our neighbours and the international community.

On the war against corruption, the President, in a story he told the cabinet, illustrated how far the war had come.

Fifteen years ago, he said, someone hinted to him that a day will come in Nigeria when they will show a man a house he owned and he will say “no, it is not mine,” denying thereby its ownership. Knowing Nigerians, the President himself did not apparently believe this will happen in his lifetime. But we are already there.

Nothing confirms this more than the eerie silence in the courtroom when the Lagos High Court judge, Justice Chuka Obiazor asked the question: “who owned that Diezani Allison-Madueke USD 37.5 million Banana Island property?” No one stepped forward to claim it. It was thereafter forfeited to the Federal Government. In the same way and manner several others are being so forfeited.

With serious efforts being made to improve the ease of doing business, government just instituted a visa-on-arrival scheme at our major airports. We may not be clearing goods in 24 hours at the ports just yet, but things have changed so much, to the point that importers no longer wait for eternity to remove their goods from the Lagos Harbour.

Violence in the name of religion and ethnicity is being tackled as effectively as can be done. The success against Boko Haram in the North-East is being matched with success in the North Central, troubled by farmers-herdsmen. There is now a gradual return of calm and order, in turn paving the way to the return of workers to the farmlands and increasing food production.

In the South-East, the proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra has removed tensions in much of the country, bringing with it relief that the nation is not up in flames as its promoters had planned.

​The President comes before the nation against the backdrop of a bumper farm production that hit a new record high, impacting positively on the economy by hammering away at food price inflation.

In his speech, while presenting the 2017 ‘Budget of Recovery and Growth,’ President Buhari restated his abiding belief in the adage that a nation that cannot feed herself is a slave nation. He described this period as one of great opportunity.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) defined this as thus: “If you had to sum up our vision for the Nigerian economy in a few words, these would suffice. Grow what we eat, produce what we consume.’’

Speaking on the same issue, the Minister of State, Agriculture Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, who frowned at the nation’s $22 billion annual food import bill, said: “We are at a very critical time in our nation building. The cardinal objective of this administration is to see how we can feed ourselves in the shortest possible time because we can no longer afford the import bill of $22 billion on staple foods. So the objective of this government is to be able to produce enough food for ourselves and export.”

It will not amount to an overstatement to say on this day, October 1, the real independence we must be celebrating is freedom from enslavement to foreign food sources and the arrival of that moment that has seen us feeding ourselves as a nation. Government just won a major victory against food importation and food price inflation. It is a critical battle won with a direct bearing on the budget of all citizens. As a saying goes, the touchstone of a good administration of any government lies in the benefits that accrue to the last person.

The economic situation in 2015 when he took power was broken, characterised by mismanagement and corruption; a primitive type of corruption that weakened the ability of government to tackle poverty, at the same time holding the nation from the race towards development. At a time when oil earnings had dropped significantly, President Buhari inherited a country heavily dependent on food imports but he realised soon enough that for things to change, he needed to usher in an era of expansion in agricultural production.

Nature herself became more generous. The rains were good this year and last year and this, combined with government policies on local fertiliser production that is about to deliver 10 million bags by the year’s end and delivering credit to farmers on low interest. All these, coupled with the supply of improved seeds have together led to increases in crop and cereals production, fisheries, eggs, poultry and these are still getting better.

Local fertiliser production has led to annual foreign exchange saving of more than USD200 million and eliminated annual subsidies in the region of N60bn. The cost per bag of widely-used NPK brand dropped from N11, 000 to the current price of N5,500. Growth in agriculture has in turn translated to good fortune not only for farmers but also for producers of consumer goods due to increase in purchasing power. The National Hajj Commission said 80 per cent of this year’s pilgrims were farmers. In many of our towns and villages, young men are abandoning the occupation of driving okada and taking to the farms.

Following increased efforts by the security agencies particularly the Customs, this county’s agriculture is emerging from the strangulating competition of foreign food suppliers who have swamped our markets with foreign food at prices that are subsidised by foreign governments. When country neighbouring you with a population of less than 1/20 to this country’s becomes the world’s second largest importer of parboiled rice, you know that a new game is in play.

As we celebrate the 57th year of our political independence, which many radicals had derisively called flag independence, it is apt that the nation steps forward to mark the freedom from the political and economic shortsightedness of the past that tied Nigerians to the consumption of imported food.

With every day, month and year, government under President Muhammadu Buhari is unravelling problems that have absorbed the public mind for years without solutions in sight.

Government policy of economic diversification is leading to a multiplication of wealth and riches for those who have seized the moment.

As the President said in that budget speech, “Across the country, our farmers, traders and transporters are seeing a shift in their fortunes. Nigerians who preferred imported products are now consuming made in Nigeria products. From Argungu in Kebbi to Abakalaki in Ebonyi, rice farmers and millers are seeing their products move. We must replicate such success in other staples like wheat, sugar, soya, tomato and dairy products.”

Although Nigeria is not the only country to face the problem of food price inflation, the Buhari administration had in the past two years come under unprecedented attacks by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party. However, now that the administration has overcome that volley, this talking point has suddenly disappeared from their lips. Month after month, the National Bureau of Statistics reported government as having put in place good policies and actions that are taming the monster of inflation.

The News Agency of Nigeria correspondents recently visited markets in Plateau, Benue, Nassarawa, Kogi, Niger and Taraba states and found that food costs have gone down. NAN found that nine tubers of yam, which used to cost an average of N3,000 were sold for between N1,300 to N1,500 depending on their sizes.

​The price of Garri, Cassava flour, according to NAN had come down from N380 and N400 per measure to between N220 to N260.

A farmer in the region attributed this change of food prices to good rains, return to farming by the youth and the security situations (which) has improved, making it possible for farmers to go to their farms.

Elsewhere in the country, reports show that a 100 kg bag of Guinea corn, maize or millet which cost N16,000 a year ago now sell for as low as N8,000. One hundred kilogram bag of home grown rice is down to N20, 000 from N32, 000. One hundred kilogram of beans is down to N26,000 from more than N30,000 a year ago.

What all these tell you is that government is aware of the problems facing the citizens and is working day and night to solve them.

President Buhari has a vision of building a new nation which resents and fights corruption, free of terrorism and a nation in which the poor have food to eat and a roof over their heads; a country in which the youth are job creators, not job seekers.

What it means to achieve food self-sufficiency is that the scarce foreign exchange available to the country can be used to procure plant, equipment and industrial machinery to drive the industrialisation of the country; that we will not be spending all the money we earn on food import but spare much of it to develop infrastructure as the administration is already doing with power, railway and roads.

The strive for the achievement of food self-sufficiency in two years of the Buhari administration is gradually ushering in the real independence for the people of Nigeria without any dramatic flair. In the coming years, government policy as manifested by the school feeding programme will take us from food security to nutrition security and hopefully, to a country in which no one is hungry. A country in which the people grow what we eat, and eat what we grow.

Shehu is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity

Buhari Writes Paul And Peter: The Unity of P-Square Is Non-Negotiable By Emmanuel Ugwu

Dear Paul and Peter,

I have just been informed that one of you unilaterally announced the ‘split’ of the crisis-prone P-Square. That’s an act of self-determination. It is treasonable and worthy of classification as terrorism.

I recall that your late mother paid me a visit at my Daura home a couple of years ago. We shared dinner and discussed late into the night. And we agreed that the unity of P-Square would forever remain non-negotiable.

My aides told me that you ‘separated’ sometime last year, tasted uneventful solo musical careers, reconciled, and went back to making great music. I missed the story. Nigerian newspapers conspired to leave me in the dark by not doing cartoon impressions of the development. But you can’t try that secessionist stunt on my wide-awake watch.

You were made a group by fetal amalgamation. You were created twins. Your unity is a settled matter.

I am aware that your relationship has been dogged by rancor, discord and spite for a long while. You barely manage to function as one singing unit. Yet, you must endure the attrition and accept that you have been trapped by fate. You must continue to collaborate and conjure love songs from your shared bitterness.

None of you can go his separate way. You must stay together even though your group can hardly agree on anything except that you both mutually resent each other and can’t address the root cause of the contention.

I am told both of you are talented dancers. You must quickly return to the normal of hostile partnership. You don’t want my troops to teach you a lesson in Python Dance.

 

Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR)

President and Commander-in-Chief

Federal Republic of Nigeria.

2019 And The Battle For A New Nigeria By Udenna Orji

THE fierce and divergent reactions in the corridors of power over Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan’s profession of support for former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, instead of President Muhammadu Buhari, are the fall-out of a deep-seated political schism now ravaging Nigeria.The sharp disagreement is between two schools of thought, two political divides, seeking control of Nigeria.

 

What we are witnessing is a battle between fascists and liberals, a battle between the hawks and the doves, between ancient mindset and modern mindset, between those who oppose restructuring and want the status quo to remain and those who want to alter the status quo through restructuring of Nigeria.

Atiku, a detribalised, liberal, cosmopolitan and far-sighted leader, is struggling to build a coalition to alter the status quo for a truly united and prosperous Nigeria, founded on restructuring, and devoid of the ominous agitations in the South and Middle Belt of Nigeria. These are the two groups battling to control Nigeria now and there are fundamental and noteworthy differences between the them.

While the fascists have an ethno-centric view of Nigeria, how their ethnic group can remain dominant and how their ethnic group can best other ethnic groups in cornering national resources, the liberals have a globalised view of Nigeria, how all ethnic groups can be fairly treated and how Nigeria can rise and take her place in the comity of great nations of the world.

 

While the fascists focus on indigenes of their ethnic group and adherents of their religion as their sole concern in politics, the liberals focus on all Nigerians, equity and justice for all. The fascists see their ethnic group as their only constituency. Liberals see the entire Nigeria as their constituency. What is unfolding before us, as we head into the 2019 general election, is a battle between those with an ancient mindset who oppose restructuring and want the status quo to remain, and those with a modern mindset who seek to alter the status quo through restructuring for a new Nigeria to emerge.

While Buhari is leading the former, Atiku is leading the later.

 

From the pronouncements of leaders of the South-West, South-East, South South and Middle Belt, restructuring is the only condition that is guaranteed to hold Nigeria together. What we have in Nigeria now is unity at gun point which is unsustainable as people in the southern part of Nigeria and the Middle Belt have been unequivocal that the only condition for their remaining in Nigeria is the restructuring of Nigeria and enthronement of true federalism.

 

Agitations for Biafra Republic in the South-East, Oduduwa Republic in the South-West, Niger Delta Republic in the South South and the visible moves by the Middle Belt to enter into a political union with the entire South should worry any leader who truly wants a united and prosperous Nigeria founded on equity and justice. The agitations for separation have become heightened, contributing significantly to erosion of economic growth and show clearly that the status quo can no longer hold the nation together.

 

If genuine efforts are not made to restructure the nation, Nigeria may be heading for inevitable dismemberment, for the handwriting is already boldly on the wall. While Atiku favours the use of restructuring to stop Nigeria’s slide into disintegration, the fascists believe they can stop the slide through force of arms. Atiku’s acceptability cuts across the length and breadth of Nigeria’s ethnic and religious divides.

 

There is clearly a national consensus that over-centralisation of power is the cause of the increasing agitations and that only the restructuring of Nigeria to make it a truly federal state can guarantee sustainable peace, unity and progress of Nigeria. Restructuring Nigeria is the only panacea for the unity, peace and progress of Nigeria. This is what the times we are in demand.

 

Throughout history, events and circumstances have served to throw up leaders whose qualities galvanise their nations from disunity to unity, from poverty to prosperity and from failure to success. Such leaders may have been lurking in the background, but a series of events that task the welfare and safety of citizens help to thrust these leaders forward. These are leaders made for the times.

Leaders thrown up by circumstances, who rise to the occasion to re-set their nations on the path of prosperity and great nationhood. In Britain we had Winston Churchill, in the United States we had Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt, in China there was Chairman Mao Zedong and in Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew.

Nigeria is now in dire need of a leader in this mould. A leader who is foresighted enough to read the future, fair and courageous enough to do the needful and a leader who is at the same time compassionate and acceptable across the length and breadth of Nigeria’s ethnic and religious divides. Considering Atiku’s pedigree, Nigerians should begin to look his way now.

 

For in the light of our present socio-economic and constitutional challenges, the man has all it takes to re-set this nation on the course of prosperity and great nationhood. If the truth must be told and sentiments set aside, surely Atiku Abubakar is the leader Nigeria needs for these challenging times. Atiku’s traducers who have vowed to truncate, by fair or foul means, any presidential bid by him should stop playing God.

For God who gives power to whom He pleases is watching the deception, injustice and inequity in the land. And God, being the God of justice, will not neglect those who fight for truth, justice and equity as Atiku is doing.

As we head into the 2019 elections, Atiku’s most potent weapon is that he is on the side of truth, justice and equity. Power brokers, power mongers and backstabbers should be wary of men like Atiku for God always fights for them.

Only Government Can Save Nigeria

(This article first published on June 27, is republished hereby by popular demand even as Operation Python Dance II is underway in the South-East).

The way the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan saved Nigeria from a predicted implosion in the wake of the announcement of the results of 2015 general elections, is the way the Buhari-Osinbajo administration should save Nigeria now from threats of imminent disintegration. There is no need pretending that all is well when, from all indications, the country is under threat.

The fact that Nigeria survived much turbulence in the past is no guarantee that it will always survive. Things have changed. The Nigeria of the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s is not the Nigeria of today. There is much enlightenment and information flow now is a matter of pressing the button.

Jonathan did not hold onto the stereotyped belief that no incumbent president in Nigeria had lost the election. Nothing is absolute. If Jonathan held arrogantly to that false belief as he was being prompted to, perhaps, by now, we would be talking a different story.

Although, Jonathan knew that he had the federal might – the military and their arsenal, police and other arms of security with which to confront an uprising if he had been declared the winner of that election, he put the survival of the country first. He toed the path of wisdom to the chagrin of the world. There has to be Nigeria before anyone could talk about governance.

By holding unto his own personal conviction, which made him declare that he would not want any person’s blood to be shed because of him, he made history in Nigeria and, indeed, Africa by wholeheartedly accepting to relinquish power, which saved the country. May it be well with Goodluck Jonathan for that singular act.

The turn of events at present is worrisome. Since the coalition of Arewa youths issued an ultimatum to the Igbo resident in the North to leave the North or be forced out from October 1, 2017, tension has risen in the ceaseless ethnic consciousness and agitations that bedevil Nigeria.

Regrettably, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) did not hide their support for the anti-Igbo quit notice. Prominent northern leaders like Professor Ango Abdullahi and Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, openly backed the youths. But these are the same elders that were expected to call the youths to order and save the country.

The only thing comparable to these eruptions was the days preceding the pogrom in which the Igbo and other Easterners in the North in 1967 were massacred, which led to the Nigeria civil war. The crux of the Arewa declaration is that with effect from October 1, 2017, the North will cease to be part of Nigeria union with the Igbo. In effect, the North has announced its cessation from Nigeria beforehand.

Expectedly, the leaders of the Biafra separatist groups under the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) readily welcomed the declaration as oil that would lubricate the wheel of their march towards Biafra. IPOB called on all Igbo in the North to return en masse without wasting time.

Reports say a coalition of Niger Delta militant groups, in a sharp reaction, rose from a meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State ordering all northerners to quit the oil-rich region. The militants threatened to attack all oil wells owned by northerners in the Niger Delta before October 1, 2017.

The Afenifere of the South-West zone, which appeared to be the only reconciliatory group, so far, that has not adopted a combative stance, condemned the quit notice. It went ahead to hold an emergency parley with leaders of the South-East and South-South, threatening that any attack on the Igbo would be deemed as an attack on the entire Southern Nigeria.

The Afenifere described the action of Arewa youths as tragic and called on the northern elders to call the youths to order. Unfortunately, the posturing of the same elders has been anything but the pacifist.

From the foregoing, it is obvious that the stage is set for Nigeria’s implosion except government takes immediate action to prevent it. The responsibility rests squarely with the Federal Government. The Federal Government should do something urgently to save Nigeria from disintegration.

Whatever action government decides to take must be measured to ensure that it will help to douse the tension rather than escalate it.

Some people want the government to arrest those behind the threats. While this may be in order, legally, the question is will the arrest of these people help to solve the problem? The government should not make the same mistake it made in arresting Nnamdi Kanu of IPOB, which, instead of suppressing the Biafra agitation popularized it and made Nnamdi Kanu a celebrity.

Few Nigerians know those behind the Kaduna declaration. I can bet that arresting them will create another set of celebrities in the North and then worsen the anti-Igbo sentiment in the north. Besides, there are also agitators in the South-East and South-South. Who do you arrest and leave the other? Where are the prisons to keep them? What about the poor legal system that crawls like snail and also corrupt?

Rather than arrest anybody, the government should act strategically. The government should invite leaders of the agitators to a roundtable discussion. Another word for agitation is a disturbance. Something is disturbing something somewhere. The disturbance is everywhere. What is this? This is what government has the duty to find out. It will be dangerous for the government to refuse to act.

The prediction that Nigeria was to disintegrate in 2015, though, unfulfilled, to me, remains prophesy. While the source of this prophecy could be questionable and not acceptable to many, it should not be ignored or swept under the carpet. The prophecy could be averted as President Jonathan did in 2015 but the right conditions must be instituted to perpetually neutralize it. But Prophesies have a time element. The time is open-ended. It may take quite some time for a prophecy to be accomplished.

 

 

 

Source: The Guardian

Buhari Travels to London Next Week – Presidency

After attending the United Nation’s General Assembly in New York where he will deliver the national statement, President Buhari will travel to London on his way back to Nigeria.

This is according to the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina. In a statement by Adesina, “President Buhari will join other world leaders at the welcoming reception to be hosted by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, and also hold a bilateral meeting with the UN scribe.

“Equally, the Nigerian leader will hold a lunch meeting with President Donald Trump of the United States of America, along with other world leaders.”

During the General Assembly, Nigeria will participate in high level meetings on ‘Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse: Building Momentum for Change,’ the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, a High Level Event organises by the African Union under its theme of the year: ‘Roadmap on the Demographic Dividend: from Commitment to Action,’ among others.

It added, “Nigeria’s commitment to global peace, security and development will also be reaffirmed and where necessary, the need for increased international cooperation in the fight against corruption.

“Other priorities for the Nigerian delegation at UNGA 72 include strengthening human rights institutions; the rule of law; support for Internally Displaced Persons as a result of terrorist acts and recent flooding, and mitigating the effects of climate change.

“The Nigerian delegation will also canvass the support of UN member states for the Buhari administration’s efforts towards combating illicit financial flows in order to foster sustainable development.”

The President will be accompanied by the governors of Zamfara, Ebonyi and Ondo states, and key cabinet ministers.

Nigeria’ll Be Leading Black Nation – Buhari

At the Presidential lunch organized by the Wife of the President as part of activities to mark the 2017 Eid-el Kabir, President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigeria would become the preeminent black nation in the world.

President Buhari, who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the event said “The message today for our nation from the obedience of Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac is that our nation’s elite, Muslims, Christians and all ethnicities must recognise that we also must make sacrifices that are necessary to attain the destiny that God has purposed for our country. I’m one of those who is extremely confident that our nation will remain united because I am convinced that God’s plan and purpose for Nigeria is that we will be the preeminent black nation in the world.

“Our energies and resources shouldn’t be spent again on debates about division; our manifest destiny is to be a great nation not to be talking about division. We must focus our time, energies and resources on being that great nation that God wants us to be.”

Earlier while welcoming guests, the wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, who was represented by Minister of Interior, (Rtd) Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Danbazau, thanked all those who prayed for the healing and safe return of President Buhari from his medical vacation. She also commended the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo for holding forth so well for the President while he was away.

Buhari’s New Order To Military

Upon his return over the weekend, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the military chiefs and heads of other security agencies in the country to immediately tame threats to the peace and unity of the nation. He made this statement in a three hour closed-door meeting with the service chiefs.

He gave the directive during a three-hour closed-door meeting with the service chiefs, including the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonishakin; ‎Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar; and Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas who was represented.

Also at the meeting were the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris; National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen. Babagana Mongunu (rtd) and the Director-General of Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, Gen. Olonishakin said the directive by President Buhari was for the military to checkmate the Boko Haram menace in the north east and the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the South East. He said they were further directed to protect the unity of the country as well as lives and property of Nigerians wherever they reside.

Specifically, he said, the security chiefs were charged by the president to enhance their operational strategies and ensure that troops carry out their assignments diligently.

On whether there was a directive from President Buhari on the activities of IPOB, the CDS said: “All security threats were treated one after the other, ranging from terrorism to kidnapping, herdsmen/farmers clash and IPOB issue. Comments were made as to what to do as regards those issues.”