Your President is Working Hard- John Oyegun

The National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Oyegun, commends President Muhammadu Buhari for his hardwork in making things better. He also urges all Nigerians to give the needed support.
Oyegun spoke in Uyo on Saturday while flagging off the APC local government election campaign in Akwa Ibom, slated for Dec. 2.

“Your president is working hard to turn things around for better. APC needs people of vision, people with passion to bring about a new Nigeria,” he said.

Oyegun said that the APC was poised to reposition Nigeria on the path of progress by sweeping away corruption and the evil of the past.

He said that he was overwhelmed by the crowd at the rally ground, describing it as an indication that the Akwa Ibom people were ready to embrace change.

Oyegun, who received formally some defectors from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Sen. Nelson Effiong, representing Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District, said that APC was proud of the state.

He described Sen. Effiong as a gentleman; a man of vision and integrity, who could look into the future.

The national chairman commended the defectors for seeing the new Nigeria which APC had promised to deliver to all Nigerians.

Speaking on behalf of the new entrants into APC, Sen. Effiong, said that he had the vision of change 10 months ago and took the decision to join the party.

Effiong commended President Buahri for taking Nigeria to the promised land and assured the APC National Chairman that the party would win the forthcoming council election convincingly.

“I assure you sir, that we are here in the party with open mind and we will take the state to the main fold of Nigerian politics in 2019,” Effiong said.

In his welcome address on the occasion, the APC State Chairman, Dr Amadu Attai, said that the Akwa Ibom people were committed to supporting President Buhari because of his sincerity.

Attai, who applauded the Social Investment Scheme of the Federal Government, also thanked the APC-led government for taking Nigeria out of recession.

He commended the quality and purposeful leadership of the party at the national level and promised that APC would work hard to win the local council election in Akwa Ibom.

In his goodwill message, the chairman of APC Governors’ Forum, Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo, commended APC in Akwa Ibom for presenting a very strong opposition in the state.

Okorocha said APC was the way to follow in Nigeria because the party was the antidote to corruption in Nigeria.

Wise Men Still Come From The East By Femi Adesina

At His incarnation, wise men gifted in astronomy came from the East, all the way to Bethlehem, in the south of Jerusalem, to worship Jesus Christ. They are today known as the Magi, who gave the newborn gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

There is a lot to say on the significance of each gift item, but that is not the purpose of the writing today. Maybe, another day, as the need arises. What we need from that nativity story is that the wise men came all the way from the East, following a star that led them to Bethlehem. In our country Nigeria, we have the geo-political zone called the South-east, and wise men still come from there. In plenty numbers. This week, it was brought out in bold relief.

President Muhammadu Buhari was in two states of the South-east on Tuesday and Wednesday, and what a delightsome, myth-shattering visit it has become. It is one visit that has torpedoed the negative narrative deliberately conjured by some mischief makers over the years, that President Buhari does not like people from the East, and neither do the people like him.

Now, that assertion is fiction, pure apocryphal, conjured and concocted by some people to serve narrow political ends. In his first shot at the presidency in 2003, who was Buhari’s running mate? Dr Chuba Okadigbo. Where did he come from? Ogbunike, town of the famous cave, in the South-east. And in 2007, candidate Buhari looked towards the East again. He picked Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Second Republic, as running mate. And in 2011, I remember very clearly. Buhari was on the march again, and needed a running mate. Socio-political leadership of the South-east forbade any of its sons from being running mate to anyone. Their candidate, they said, was Goodluck Jonathan, who then was completing the term of Umaru Yar’Adua. So, Buhari looked westward, and picked the cleric, Tunde Bakare. But did he demonstrate any animus towards the East? Not at all.

In 2015, the man, easily the most colourful politician, greatest crowd puller of this season in Nigeria, threw his hat into the ring again. The East was still in bed with Jonathan, completely besotted, vowing to swim or sink with their brother, Ebele Azikiwe.
Buhari looked westward again, picked Professor Yemi Osinbajo, as running mate. A large part of the East was dug in, not minding to play what may be called ‘poor politics’ in the process. When the dust of the elections settled, Jonathan was holding the shorter end of the stick. Buhari coasted to the presidency, but the entire East had given him just about 180,000 votes, less than what some local councils gave in other parts of the country. To make matters worse, the East had refused to re-elect its own son, Dr Chris Ngige, as senator. If Ngige had been given a mandate, he would have effortlessly emerged Senate President, and see what the region would have benefitted. But the large number opted for self-immolation, voted Ngige out, and later began to scream marginalization. But if you ask me, it was a self-inflicted wound. Result of poor politics.

That was the background that some people twisted, and used to paint the scenario that President Buhari does not like the South-east.

But happily, there had been voices of reason from the region, pre-2015 presidential election. The Ralph Obiohas, Chris Ngiges, Festus Odimegwus, Fr. Ejike Mbakas, Orji Uzor Kalus, Osita Okechukwus, J.C Ojukwus, and many others, had warned their people not to put their eggs in one basket. And they have turned out to be wise men, being joined today by thousands of other wise people.

You know what the mistakes of 2015 did to Ndigbo? It consigned them to perpetual opposition politics, playing in the periphery. For such an illustrious and enterprising people, that was unfortunate, if not tragic. If they continued that way, there was no silver lining in the sky for the future.

Nigeria is configured in a way that the person who builds the largest coalition is the one who can emerge President. The Igbo should naturally produce the President one day, that is what fairness demands. But how would that ever happen, if they continued to play poor politics? If you continue to swim in small pools, you stand the risk of being submerged in bigger waters. But now, things are changing. The wise men are making a difference.

Back to Ebonyi, the famed Salt of the Nation, where we arrived last Tuesday. Governor Dave Umahi is of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and he is also Igbo. If he were to play narrow politics, he should have nothing to do with President Buhari. But the Ebonyi State helmsman has proven himself a wise man from the East. He has cultivated a good relationship with the President, and achieved the feat of being the first state in the South-east to host the President on a State Visit.

President Buhari consented to the visit, thus showing him to be a pan-Nigerian leader, true father of the nation. If overriding sentiments had prevailed, then the President would not have chosen a state controlled by the opposition PDP for his visit, and definitely, not a state in a ‘hostile region.’ But not President Buhari, who has always maintained that no part of the country would be treated unfairly under his watch.

Landing at Enugu airport, before proceeding to Abakaliki, capital of Ebonyi State, by chopper, was the first breath of fresh air. The airport was gaily decorated, with banners, billboards and posters of the President and Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, who was also on hand to receive the President. He is also of the PDP, but a wise man from the East. You don’t play the politics that shuts you out of the national grid, lest you get sentenced to perpetual half current, or no current at all. The reception at Enugu airport, and , indeed, in all the places we visited, Abakaliki and Awka, would make you relish and savour the aroma of brotherhood and national cohesion.

Before the visit, there had been attempt by those behind negative narratives, to frighten the President away. They forgot he was a General, and such people don’t scare easily. However, the reception and applause all round gave a true picture of what subsists in the country. This is a President widely and massively loved-in the North, the South, East and West.

Not only is Gov Dave Umahi a wise man from the East, the royal fathers in his state are of the same mind. They gave President Buhari the traditional title of Enyioma 1 of Ebonyi, meaning Trustworthy Friend of Ebonyis. Commendable.

Also joining the train of wisdom, are the traditional rulers of South-east, as a body. They gave the President the title Ochioha Ndigbo, meaning Leader of Igbo People. I tell you, this is the way to build a cohesive nation, promote brotherliness, and guarantee fairness and equity, rather than the poor politics of the past. More than at any other time, the wise men from the East have given a handshake across the Niger, and only the future will show the positive impact of that initiative.

Former Ebonyi State governor, Sam Egwu, immediate past governor, Martin Elechi, former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, former Culture Minister, Ambassador Frank Ogbuewu, former senator, Julius Ucha, and many others, were part of the healing process in the East. Ogbuewu said President Buhari, by the visit, had proven that he was not truly for some people, but for all Nigerians. Egwu, on his part, disclosed that Gov Umahi had charged those of them currently in the National Assembly from Ebonyi, to always give support to policies of the Federal Government, despite belonging to different political parties. That’s the way to go.

The traditional rulers of the South-east, through their leader, Eze Eberechi Dick, commended the President for fighting insecurity, for fighting corruption, promoting agriculture, and generally bringing hope of a better future.

“You are a great leader. We love you so much. We are solidly behind you,” the monarch said.
Trust the President to throw in a wisecrack. After being decorated with the paraphernalia of chieftaincy, he said:”I will tell my personal photographer to frame the picture, and I will put it in my sitting room in Daura, where I will eventually end up.” That’s a man who knows the transience of power and official positions. East or West, home is the best. Daura would always be home.

When the President entered the township stadium in Abakaliki, the applause was inspiring. One was tempted to ask, is this not in the South-east, where they say they don’t like Buhari? The same thing was to repeat itself in Awka, when the President entered the Alex Ekwueme Square, where the campaign for Anambra governorship holding this Saturday was being concluded. It was applause all the way, signposting the fact that the East was ready to jettison poor politics, and return to the mainstream. It was a roll call of who is who in Nigerian politics from the South-east, who have now teamed up with the All Progressives Congress (APC). Emeka Ojukwu junior, son of Dim Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, who used the occasion to publicly join the APC, summed it all up, by pointing out that when his father came back from exile in the early 1980s, he did not join a regional party, but opted for a national one. He concluded: “It is time to stop operating in the periphery. It is time to leave the shadows for light.” Home truth for all Nigerians, and for Ndigbo particularly, if you ask me.

There is no way you can tell the Igbos not to aspire for presidency of Nigeria at a time in future. It will be contrary to fairness and justice. But then, the region must start playing astute politics. It must leave the shadows for light. It must sustain the hand of fellowship it has extended to the rest of the country, as shown in the warm reception for the President in Ebonyi and Anambra states. Wise men abound in that region, I say again.

During the reception in Ebonyi, Gov Umahi announced a gift of 2,000 bags of rice, 2,000 tubers of yam, and a white horse for the President. I saw the Enyioma 1 of Ebonyi open his mouth in amazement. While thanking his host for the gift, he promised to send the cargo to Daura, his hometown, for the people to share. Trust me, I told Mohammed Sarki Abba, the President’s senior aide, seated beside me: “I’ll ask Mr President for 50 of those bags of rice, before you send them to Daura. I’ll then distribute them to my own friends in the name of Ochioha Ndigbo.”
And that’s exactly what I’ll do. The Enyioma 1 would surely oblige. Lol.

Adesina is Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari

Police Intensify Efforts As IPOB Threatens President Buhari’s Visit

The Ebonyi State Police Command on Monday warned the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra and political parties’ supporters against disruptive acts during President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the state on Tuesday.

IPOB had early on Monday told President Buhari not to come to the South-East, which it referred to as ‘Biafraland,’ or else he would not leave the geopolitical zone alive.

However, the Ebonyi State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Titus Lamorde, who gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abakaliki, assured the people that the command was well equipped to deal with all forms of security challenges before, during and after the President’s visit.

According to Lamorde, any individual or group of persons that foment trouble before, during and after the visit would be severely dealt with, as people are advised to conduct themselves well.

“I will not disclose the number of personnel we have drafted for security reasons, but I assure citizens that enough personnel have been deployed across the state to ensure a hitch-free visit.

“The President’s visit is a welcome development as the citizens should cooperate with security agencies to make it a successful one,” he said.

He stated that his officers had been adequately trained to relate well with the citizens during the visit and advised people to conduct their activities within the confines of the law.

“We would not meddle in political issues as a security outfit, but the visit is development-oriented because of the numerous projects the President would inaugurate.

“My officers would not intimidate or harass individuals or groups as the duty of ensuring a hitch-free event is a collective one,” he said.

However, IPOB has vowed that Buhari will not go back alive if he decides to go ahead with his plans to visit the zone.

The President is billed to visit Ebonyi State on Tuesday (today) his first visit to the South-East since he assumed office in 2015.

IPOB said “blood will flow” if the President failed to heed the warning by going ahead with the trip.

The pro-Biafran group, which gave the warning in a statement by its spokesman, Emma Powerful, referred to Buhari as ‘Jubril of Sudan.’

In the statement, entitled, ‘Jubril of Sudan masquerading as Buhari must stay away from Biafraland or else blood will flow,’ IPOB claimed that an alleged impostor, one Jubril from Sudan, was actually the person parading himself as President Muhammadu Buhari, who it referred to as the “late dictator.”

The secessionists, in the same vein, said Buhari’s visit to the South-East would amount to an insult to the memory of all Biafran activists who died at the hands of federal troops since the President assumed power in 2015.

The group warned that the South-East Governors’ Forum and the leadership of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo were provoking violence and bloodshed by allegedly inviting Buhari to the zone.

“This is tantamount to an Israeli politician inviting Adolf Hitler to visit Jerusalem to mock the Jews he slaughtered in concentration camps during the holocaust,” the statement said.

Warning the President to stay away, the statement added, “It is with a heavy heart and grave sense of responsibility that we IPOB worldwide under the supreme command of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, announce to the world that those who are completely committed to provoking bloodshed in our land may have finally succeeded.

“The consequences of any fallout from the visit of the impostor Jubril to Ebonyi State will rest squarely on the head of Chief John Nnia Nwodo (President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo) governors Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Rochas Okorocha (Imo) and the rest of the South-East governors.

“Bringing this version of ‘Buhari’ to insult the memory of those killed at Enugu, Nkpor, Igweocha, Aba, Onitsha and lastly Umuahia will not be tolerated by IPOB and every right thinking Biafran.

“Tuesday, 14th November, 2017  will be recorded in history as a very bloody day should that Jubril masquerading as Buhari attempt to land on Biafran soil.

“We have remained passive and peaceful but it appears that the Hausa/Fulani slave politicians in Igboland are hell-bent on provoking us to become violent.

“Whoever advised Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Igbo governors to embark on this suicide mission does not wish them well.”

IPOB also alleged that Buhari’s planned visit to Anambra State on November 15 was meant to finalise plans by the All Progressives Congress to rig the November 18 governorship election in the state.

Threatening the President with death, the pro-Biafran group said, “Our message is short and simple. Jubril a.k.a. Muhammadu Buhari will be exposed to the world as the impostor he is by making sure he never goes back alive.

“We will die with him should he set his foot on the sacred land of Biafra. He will not go back alive.”

The group further claimed that Buhari ordered soldiers to kill its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, whose whereabouts is unknown.

“He (Buhari) played a key role in all the theatres of genocidal mass slaughter of the Nigerian/Biafran War (1967-1970). He instructed soldiers to kill Nnamdi Kanu at his Afaraukwu, Abia State residence two months ago. We are yet to know our leader’s whereabouts or that of his parents.

“They (Hausa/Fulani) hate our people with a passion, they love killing us, so his coming is only to celebrate what he sees as the final defeat of our people. He will not go home alive.”

IPOB warned that those who invited Buhari to the South-East would pay dearly.

“All those who plotted this visit will pay dearly. When the time for vengeance comes there will be no forgiveness.

“We are going to perish together with this ‘Buhari’. It’s a promise,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, an election observer group, Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement, on Monday asked security agencies and other stakeholders in the Anambra State governorship election to address the “vote-and-die” threat issued by IPOB before Saturday’s governorship poll.

The Project Manager of YIAGA, Cynthia Mbamalu, stated this in Awka, the Anambra State capital, at a press conference to update newsmen about the group’s activities towards the poll.

Describing the threat as serious, the group said it could lead to voters’ apathy if their fears were not allayed.

It said YIAGA’s investigation showed that there was palpable fear among citizens, especially voters, about the threat.

It called on traditional rulers, president-general of town unions, the police, the Independent National Electoral Commission and other stakeholders to address the issue and allay the fears of voters before the poll.


EDITORIAL: As FG Presents The 2018 Budget

If there is anything to be said of Tuesday’s laying of the estimates of next year’s budget at the National Assembly table, it is that the exercise may have finally responded to the imperative of the moment in terms of early preparation by the executive branch. As against last year when it was presented on December 14, 2016, barely 10 days to Christmas after which the lawmakers broke for their yuletide vacation, the expectations this time are of its early passage.


Just like last year’s, there is a lot of good things that can be said of the overall thrust of the budget. First is the size. Although, a far cry from what is required to match the yawning infrastructure deficit , the total figure – N8.612 trillion –a 16 per cent increase above the 2017 figure of N7.441 trillion– largely mirrors the expectations of Nigerians for a big pie to jumpstart the economy and now beginning to crawl out of a recession.


The second is its clear-headed realism.


As against last year’s benchmark price of $44.50 of crude oil per barrel, the federal government quite sensibly, put the reference price at $45. The same could be said of oil production with a modest increase of 100,000 barrels per day increase over the 2017 target of 2.2 million. In a topsy-turvy political economy of crude oil, it is the least the federal government can do to tamp down on expectations.


Third – and we consider this just as important – is the bold push to get big ticket projects ongoing. We refer to the Mambilla Hydro Power project, the power transmission projects, the railways and other critical projects designed to put the economy on a sustainable path of growth. All of these are, no doubt, important to give the economy the much needed fillip. How far the federal government can deliver on these as well as bring to completion, on-going projects, particularly those to be rolled over from previous years will go a long way to determine its overall efficacy as a governance instrument.


Of course, we must in equal measure admit to some of the flaws that have since become a recurring feature of the budgetary process. One of these is the disproportionate allocation to recurrent expenditures particularly the huge wage bill and the other costs of running the government on one hand and the humongous cost of debt servicing on the other. Although, a vast improvement from what obtained in the past, that the federal government would spend two-thirds of the entire budget on running the bureaucracy and the government continues to be a measure of how skewed the exercise is. Were things to be normal, it should be the other way round.


As it is, the ball is now in the court of the National Assembly. In other words, the real job has only just begun. A good way to start is to inquire how the 2017 budget went. What is the state of implementation? What are the challenges? Were the revenue targets met, if not why not? Admittedly, the President alluded to the shortfall during his presentation. Nigerians of course deserve to know the specifics – which ministries, departments and agencies were involved and what is being done about it. This process must go with the understanding that the era when agencies earned the revenue and spent as they liked is gone forever.


And what do Nigerians want from the budget?


Most certainly – it is nothing of the arcane world of esoteric figures that the budget has come to represent and which have come to mean nothing in practical terms to the man on the street. For the ordinary citizen, they want to see the living proof of the budget in the visible improvements to their lives and living conditions: in good roads, in vastly improved security environment, in cheap and efficient public transportation system, and steady electricity supply to their homes and businesses. To the extent that an early passage of the budget can only be a good step towards delivering on those objectives, the National Assembly has a bounden duty to make it happen. And urgently too.


Accelerating Nigeria’s Progress By Rasak Musbau

Who is denying that Nigeria has structural problem? It is quite evident that the major issues with our country revolve round our disheveled structure, weak institutions and scrawny values. The country has proved too large and inefficient for the centralized management of many of our institutions. Central control of many vital institutions and major sources of revenue have stifled the democratic context within which federation thrives best.



 It is this anomaly that defines the mismanagement of our institutions and infrastructure. To correct the anomaly and ensure efficient working of the nation’s institutions, every patriotic Nigerian wants a true federal system, where each component unit or region is imbued with attributes of a semi-autonomous entity.



 At this point in time, however, beyond restructuring and true federalism, there are certain attitudinal problems which have to be addressed simultaneously if we want real growth and development. All too often we show no sign of understanding that we are, each and every one of us, relevant and important to the fate of our country. Instead of drawing on our own resources, we are forever looking up to someone else, forever searching for good leaders to see us through.



 Our bane is our resignation to being eternally passive objects of other people’s will, begging on our knees for our rights and entitlements. We want government to stop corruption and yet continually urging motorists to settle corrupt police officers on the road because we cannot sacrifice five minutes delay. We beg, induce and compromise public institution for all form of things and yet still wonder why things are not changing.



Second, we need serious and practical commitment to sharing the burdens and the rewards of citizenship with equity. We often think we are getting justice only when persons from our region are in a position to dominate and oppress others. Once in that position, we hardly ever muster the discipline and objectivity to allow that others have rights. Those who complain vociferously that they are oppressed by the regional distribution of power have no qualms about being oppressive in states that they control; those who complain about being oppressed in their state dish out oppression in generous doses in local government areas under their jurisdiction.



The implications of these tendencies are very grievous. Since for us, political relations invariably reduce to domination and subordination, defeat in political competition is unthinkable, and by the same token, restraint in the pursuit of political power is anathema. Consensus-building and peaceful coexistence are impossible for they demand a disposition to share and a willingness to submit to the demanding discipline of justice.



Thirdly, we must do away with parochial loyalty if we want the country to move forward. Many are more committed to lobby the political executive to ensure that their sons and daughters in the public service get undue favour. Also erring public officials are sometimes protected on the basis of connection with highly placed personalities. This practice therefore has not only served as an incentive for unethical conduct in the public service, but has also de-emphasized the issue of competence and merit. This accounts for lopsidedness in appointment into crucial national institutions and agitation for restructuring.



Fourth, we have to beat the habit of preying on others and consuming without producing. Most politicians view politics as a major industry and a main route to power and wealth. How to make the state or local government under them viable economically is of less concern to them. Invariably, the ruling class is committed to the decadent existing social order which though furthers their class interest, marginalizes the people.



It has now become imperative for us to have renewed education and new attitude to overcome our national problems. We have been turned into perpetual blamers. We blame government, them ‘up there,’ over us ‘below.’ No matter how much less power we feel we have, we are not utterly without power. What we need now is for every one of us to become a leader. We have to start doing the right things and insisting public officers adhere to basic tenets of ethics.



We must educate ourselves that democracy is not just about election but what we do every day. It is not about what is done for us, or done to us, but what we do daily. We must discard all dangerous tendencies of mutual distrust and total lack of confidence in our nation and seemingly inbuilt attitude by many to hate the country. It is dismaying seeing fellow citizens putting up dispositions that show absolute hatred for the country in the guise of fighting those in government. One is not saying that identifying with one’s nation is synonymous with blind followership, but we must embrace basic patriotic inclinations.



26th President of United States of America, Theodore Roosevelt once explained that: “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country.”



The solution to Nigeria’s problem is neither in sabotaging its economy under any guise, nor in blind loyalty to kinsmen or brethren in faith at the helm of public administration. These are unpatriotic acts. It is however important for one to admit that it is not possible to ignite fire of commitment from citizens whose welfare has become nobody’s business.



This is why Nigerians should always insist on good governance while also putting on creative cap of self-empowerment. The family unit, social organisations, schools and colleges and the media must help people to overcome the shackles of helplessness in the face of our daunting problems.



The media should start projecting models of real powerful people in their news reporting. Here, one is not referring to celebrities, or politicians and CEOs of the corporate world, but real entrepreneurs who started small and grow progressively. These are what will ignite power of, if he can, I can rather than sustaining culture of powerlessness arising from celebration of looters, political and social impostors.



Finally, the following words of anonymous Chinese poet are quite instructive: ‘Hope cannot be said to exist, nor can it be said not to exist, for it is like the roads that cross the earth. In the beginning, there were no roads, but when many people pass one way, a road is made.’ In our case, when many are ready to let the change begin with them, we shall see real change. We should all be the man that will be proud of this country, and the man that this country will be proud of. This is how to move the country forward.

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.


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.