#KogiDecides: Why Kogi Needs Change, By Abubakar Sidiq Usman

Kogi State is inarguably Nigeria’s most blessed state. With human capital in ample quantity, a wide array of mineral deposits and enviable land mass, Kogi is one of those states that one would naturally expect to thrive and to prosper. After the creation of the state in August, 1991, many were filled hope about new prospects made possible by the realisation of this dream; this hope was fulfilled for a while, then dashed terribly.

Kogi’s relationship with those who have led her has been on two extremes; it is either the state is led with utmost accountability, transparency and a sense of responsibility towards the people, or the person entrusted with the affairs of the state desecrates the democratic covenant of good governance and rules with flagrant disregard for the people. In the case of the latter, the past 12 years refer.

In 2003 when Prince Abubakar Audu, then in the ANPP, handed over the reins of leadership to the then ruling party, Kogi was an oasis in Nigeria’s dessert of bad governance, giving not only the people of the state but Nigerians as a whole, an idea of what could be achieved through purposeful leadership. The sum total of his initial 1992-1993 and the second 1999-2003 tenures was job creation, infrastructural development, improved healthcare and good quality education. His efforts yielded good results in virtually every aspect of life within the state and his achievements remain a reference point up until this very day.

Since 2003, however, Kogi has experienced that type of “change” that literally reversed the hands of the clock and sent the state back a number of years in terms of development. Infrastructure is fast decaying and the state university which was once ranked among the best in the country is no longer known for the quality which it possessed at inception. The battle to improve education in the state has also been momentarily lost as students study in conditions which are no longer conducive. Youth unemployment has assumed an upward trend and Kogi, which was once the destination of choice for investors, is currently battling the scourge of endemic unemployment. So much is wasting away in a state which is blessed with abundant resources.

The truth that we must all acknowledge is that Kogi state has been battered by years of bad governance and lacklustre leadership, and that this time around, we have a golden opportunity to correct this. As the APC has proven in many states in which they govern, the welfare of the people comesfirst. Also, as Prince Abubakar Audu has proven with his unmatched record in the state, it takes a person with clarity of thought and sincerity of purpose to make Kogi State work.

Kogi state needs positive change desperately because our home cannot continue to occupy the lowest rungs of the ladder of development while other states climb ahead in giant paces, despite the enormous natural endowments at our disposal. Kogi State needs the right type of change because the problem is not one of lack of resources, but the absence of effective management. Kogi state needs change because our people have remained at a spot for the past 12 years when their journey into glory was abruptly truncated, and because the current stagnation being witnessed is a result of the fact that leaders who assume office without having the people’s mandate do not feel accountable and feel no atom of responsibility for their actions.

It is, therefore, imperative that all eligible Kogites vote on November 21 and entrust the future of our great state to the APC’s Prince Abubakar Audu. We need to speak to our loved ones about the need to vote on this day because the decision we make is what will determine whether this giant will continue in its slumber, or whether we can, once again, begin to realise our full potential.

We must not pay any attention to those sowing the seed of division and discord; a greedy few cannot be allowed to throw a permanent cog in the wheel of our collective progress. Let us – sons and daughters of Kogi State – reflect on the urgent need to attain independence from bad governance and retrogression and come together to reclaim our state.

God bless Kogi State.

God bless Nigeria.

Abubakar Sidiq Usman (@MrAbuSidiq) is a blogger and a member of the Buhari Media Support Group.

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Amaechi An Asset To Buhari, A Strong Voice For Rivers As A Minister – APC

….Faults Wike’s opposition to Ex-Governor’s nomination

The Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has described immediate past Governor of the State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, as the best possible choice for ministerial appointment from the State, saying that President Muhammadu Buhari was on point for nominating him for consideration by the Senate.

“Going by his antecedents, Rt. Hon. Amaechi will be an asset to the Buhari Administration and also a strong voice for Rivers State as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Rives APC said in a statement signed by the Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, and issued Friday in the state capital, Port Harcourt.

The party said it was eagerly looking forward to the confirmation of Amaechi’s ministerial nomination by the Senate on Tuesday.

“Judging Amaechi by the much he achieved as governor of Rivers State – from education to proper management of the State’s resources, road construction, agriculture, security, tourism, transport, commerce, human development, etc – one can safely conclude that when he becomes a minister, Amaechi will do everything humanly possible to protect the interests of Rivers State and improve the lot her people,” the party said.

Rivers APC, however, noted that as a minister, Amaechi would have all the 36 states of the country and Abuja as his constituency. It assured that “while he will not allow what is due to Rivers State and her people to elude them in any form, Amaechi as a first class patriot will fully collaborate with other members of the Federal Executive Council to make a big difference in the Buhari Administration and thus take Nigeria out of the woods in which it has found itself as a result of 16 years of visionless administration by the Peoples Democratic Party.”

The party berated the State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for opposing Amaechi’s ministerial nomination and working hard to scuttle its actualisation. “We are confident that wise counsel will prevail and the patriotic men and women that constitute the Nigerian Senate will ignore Wike and his machinations and confirm Amaechi on Tuesday since Wike’s opposition is based solely on selfish reasons and his desire to prove that he can pull down the man who brought him out of obscurity and gave him the platform to become whatever he is politically today,” the statement said.

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“I Won’t Resign, I Will…Stay And Fight It Out”, Buhari Speaks To Aljazeera About Boko Haram

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari speaks exclusively with Al Jazeera English’s Mehdi Hasan:

• Declares he “will not resign” if he doesn’t fulfill his promise to defeat Boko Haram by December. “I will…stay and fight it out.”

• Says he’s willing to do a deal with Boko Haram to free the kidnapped Chibok girls: “We said it and we meant it.”

• Denies any support for “sharia” law: “Nigerian law does not allow for that.”

• Claims he has never seen Amnesty International’s June report highlighting abuses by the Nigerian military: “I haven’t received that report personally.”

In a wide-ranging and exclusive interview with Al Jazeera English’s flagship current affairs show, UpFront, Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari pledged to defeat Boko Haram by December but also acknowledged he would be willing to negotiate with the group to secure the release of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls.

“They have to prove to us that they are alive, they are well, and then we can…negotiate with them,” President Buhari told UpFront host Mehdi Hasan. “We said it and we meant it. If we are satisfied that the girls are alive.”

When asked whether he would offer financial payments, or a prisoner release, to Boko Haram in return for the girls, Buhari did not rule out either option. “Well it depends on the negotiations with the leadership of Boko Haram.”

The president has pledged to defeat Boko Haram by the end of 2015 and told Hasan: “As soon as the rainy season comes, which is by the end of the year […] Boko Haram will virtually be out of their main stronghold and that will be the end of it [….] Attacks by Boko Haram on townships, on military installations, will certainly stop.”

If Boko Haram isn’t defeated by December, however, Buhari said he “will not resign.”

“I will be determined to stay and fight it out.”

The president claimed not to have seen the Amnesty International report from June 2015, ‘Nigeria: Stars on their shoulders: Blood on their hands’, in which the human-rights group documented abuses, torture and unlawful killings by the Nigerian armed forces and urged the government to prosecute a group of officers and senior commanders. “I haven’t received that report personally,” said Buhari. “If I get those documents… I assure you that I will take action as Commander in Chief.”

In the past, Buhari has been quoted as saying he supports “the total implementation of the sharia in the country” but he told ‘UpFront’ that “Nigerian law does not allow for” so-called sharia punishments, such as stonings and amputations, adding: “I cannot change it. I haven’t been voted by [a] majority of Nigerians to change Nigerian constitution.”

Asked about his record as a military dictator in the mid-1980s, and the alleged human-rights abuses which occurred on his watch, Buhari said: “If there is any injustice that can be proved against me when I was there, I will gladly apologize.” The president refused, however, to concede that his now-notorious ‘war against indiscipline’ in the 1980s featured any such “injustice.”

The full interview will be available to embed from YouTube and watch online at: www.aljazeera.com/upfront


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The Dangers Of Reading UBEC Books By Its Cover, By Ugo Jim-Nwoko

Apart from the incursion of the military into politics and national life in the late 1960s, which eventually led to the Civil War, no other social crisis has threatened and weakened the social and moral fabric of the Nigerian society like the crises at every level of our educational system.

Every society is as good as its educational system. So, the anti-corruption war and moral rearmament crusade of the President Muhamamadu Buhari government will not be effective and result oriented in the long term, if the searchlight fails to be on the education sector and the new transparent order instituted in our curriculum of studies and management of public affairs.

The Nigerian education is riddled with unbridled corruption. This situation has affected negatively every aspect of our national life. The sector over the years has been managed in a manner most unbecoming of a system with a responsibility for the building up of young minds and empowerment of the society for technological advancement and breakthrough. It is a cesspool of malfeasance to the extent that the masses of the Nigerian people who ought to benefit from an efficient and good standard of education from public schools have been short-changed. Private citizens who have had the privilege of occupying public offices have used the opportunity to loot the public resources meant for the education of the children of the poor, while theirs patronise private academic institutions mainly because such individuals have the capacity to pay based on their ill-gotten wealth.

President Buhari needs to direct his anti-graft searchlight on the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC). It is the most abused public institution; among all others, set up for the educational good of the poor and the ordinary citizens. The UBE Act 2004 makes provision for basic education comprising of Primary and Junior Secondary Education. The financing of basic education is the responsibility of States and Local Governments. However, the Federal Government has decided to intervene in the provision of basic education with 2% of its Consolidated Revenue Fund. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo flagged off UBE on 30th September 1999 in Sokoto. The UBE Programme is Nigeria’s strategy for the achievement of Education for All (EFA) and the education-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

This is why the event of Thursday, the 7th of June 2012, wherein the Federal Ministry of Education through its then Ministers, Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufai and Nyesom Wike told the Nigerian people that a total sum of N68.6 billion was to be spent by the Federal Government in the purchase of text books for the Universal Basic Education Programme still baffles Nigerians. It was the national flag-off ceremony held in a government-owned secondary school in Maitama, Abuja for the distribution of primary one and two text books and library resource materials for junior secondary schools nationwide. From an innocuous point, this policy appeared well thought out, intended to advance the cause of the poor.

However, the painful fact is that public policies like this were used under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan as channels of looting public resources by the occupants of public offices in the education sector. Going by the 68.6 billion naira which the ministry claimed was spent on UBE books for primary and junior secondary schools nationwide, when the UBE statutory allocation in 2012 was 68 billion naira; one wonders why and how the federal government was spending more than the budgetary allocation and only on books?

In 2012, development workers in the country raised relevant budgetary and transparent issues concerning this project and the issue of other sources of revenue to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), which may have come mainly from the development partners without the commission showing due disclosure as required by the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007. Civil society groups also questioned the logistic framework for the implementation of this seemingly laudable programme for the improvement of standards in the much scandalised and violated educational sector in Nigeria.

Since the inception of UBEC, statutory transfers are made to the commission without any breakdown in their budgetary allocation for the Nigerian citizens interested in monitoring the spending of public resources and the work of the Commission to effectively follow up. This was violations of the relevant sections of the Freedom of Information Act and the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007. Specifically, Section 48 (1) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007 requires the Federal Government to ensure that its financial and fiscal affairs are conducted in a transparent manner and accordingly ensure full and timely disclosure and publication of all transactions and decisions involving public revenues and expenditures and its implications for its finances.

President Buhari’s administration should endeavour to investigate financial transactions in most educational agencies of the federal government with the aim of revamping the sector especially as it concerns public educational institutions. Federal and State government owned institutions on annual basis have more budgetary allocations , be they primary, secondary or tertiary institutions than the privately-owned ones but despite this fact, the resources meant for the public institutions are looted by those who have the responsibility to ensuring judicious use of these resources in the interest of the common good. Private academic institutions are more efficiently and effectively managed with lesser resources because of the optimal use of available resources. That way they attract better patronage while public institutions are prostrate leaving the masses of the Nigerian children with poor quality education.

On the implementation mechanism of most UBEC policies and programmes like the notorious Purchase and Distribution of textbooks for Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme Nigerians were worried that a project that guzzled up to 68.6 billion of tax payer’s money and meant to uplift the standard of education was kicked off in a high brow school in Maitama, Abuja where only the Nigerian elites’ children have access to.

According to the then minister of education, Professor Ruqayatu Ahmed Rufai, “the distribution of books and library resources and materials to primary and secondary schools had become imperative as basic education was a guaranteed entitlement for every Nigerian child…basic education can be costly and discouraging especially for socio-economically disadvantaged parents hence the policy thrust of the federal government to procure text books in the core subject areas of the basic education curriculum and library resource materials to primary and secondary schools nationwide.” The, then, Minister of State for Education and now Governor of Rivers State, Ezenwo Wike, noted that scarcity of appropriate text books and instructional materials remain one of the most serious impediments to the quality of education as the books would complement the efforts of state governments in addressing the challenges of basic education.
I was worried by the superlative claims of the Federal Ministry of Education to the extent that the Nigerian taxpayer may have ended up buying books for the elite children under the guise of supplying books to UBEC for distribution to schools. We, in the civil society movement in Nigeria did not see the school children in Kaura-Namoda, Ehime Mbano, Nsukka, Iseyin, Ngor-Okpala, Michika, Ahoada, Zungeru, Nembe, Boki, Owu, Iseyin and in several other communities in Nigeria have access to these books beyond the drama that were acted in Maitama, Abuja and other state capitals in Nigeria.

The Ministry of Education and its policy makers did not ensure transparency in their spending habits and the award of contracts so that the people can have the full benefits of their commonwealth.

Ugo Jim-Nwoko, development policy and budget analyst writes from Abuja

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Buhari’s Victory Would Have Failed Forensic Analysis If We Had Gone To Court– PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has said 2015 presidential election was far from perfect and that forensic and scientific analyses of the result would have exposed its deficiency.

The party said it would have challenged the outcome of the election had it not being because of the states manly approach by former President Goodluck Jonathan. PDP also said it is determined to return to power come 2019 by exposing the hypocrisy of the ruling party through checks and constructive criticism.

At a well attended National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the party, the first since the general election, PDP also adopted the Senator Ike Ekweremmadu Post Election Fact Finding Committee, which recommended way forward for the party.

According to statement by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the recommendations include sanctity of the zoning principle of the party, biometric membership registration, introduction of direct primaries (to guarantee internal democracy) as well as reconciliation.

Speaking at the event, PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus called attention of Nigerians to what he called selective implementation of the anti-corruption fight.

He said: “It would be morally repugnant to target PDP members while seemingly protecting APC members.

“All we are calling for is an equal and fair treatment of all Nigerians under the law. Government should prevent the slide of our dear country into a police state by controlling some of the brazen acts of the security agencies against state institutions as exemplified in the invasion of the Akwa Ibom Government House by some officers of the Department of State Service, DSS.

“In the same vein, we call on the Federal Government to come out straight with Nigerians on the state of our economy, which is gradually sliding into recession.

“It appears that the lack of an economic direction and remedial actions from the government is having a debilitating effect on the economy – jobs are being lost and small businesses a closing shop as a result of the lack of constructive economic engagement from the APC government,” Secondus said.

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Why World Powers Are Supporting Buhari – Carrington

FORMER American Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Walter Carrington, yesterday said the American government and other world powers were prepared to assist Nigeria regain its position as the giant of Africa because of their confidence that President Muhammadu Buhari was an honest leader and “tough enough to turn this country around.”

He spoke while delivering a lecture titled Nigeria and the future of the Black World, at the First Eminent Lecture Series of the University of Benin, UNIBEN. He asserted that President Buhari would make life uncomfortable for the few Nigerians who corruptly enriched themselves to the detriment of the vast majority of the people.

He said: “As a private citizen Buhari lived modestly and since taking on the duties of president, he has set a refreshing example of financial transparency which all public officials should and must emulate. I believe that having been elected democratically as a civilian president, President Buhari will fulfil the third of Abraham Lincoln’s prepositional triad making his a government for the people, a government which cares more for the welfare of the poor majority and disadvantaged than for the unjust enrichment of the privileged few and their enablers who too often in the past have looted the national treasury.”

Ambassador Carrington, who reiterated his love for Nigeria which led to his decision to marry Dr Arese, an indigene of Edo State, lamented that Nigeria, with its rich potentials, ought to be a leading light in the world economy, rather, the world leaders always referred to Johannesburg in terms of business instead of Abuja.

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NYSC: Contemporary Realities, Challenges And The Way Forward By Suleiman Ahmad Ya’u?

There has been a sudden upsurge in the debate over the years as to whether the NYSC scheme which was introduced by the Gen. Yakubu Gowon led military administration in 1973, after the civil war, to help in uniting the nation is still relevant or not. While many are of the view that the scheme had outlived its usefulness and the purpose for which it was introduced had since been defeated and hence called for the total and outright abrogation of the entire scheme, others on the other hand argued that the scheme is still very much relevant and it still serve some cardinal role which they believe are vital in nation building and caution against scrapping it as, according to them, it could be counterproductive.

Whatever side of the argument one may alienate with, one fact that both side unanimously agree on is the fact that the NYSC of today is not the same as that of 1973 and some of the facts are crystal clear for everyone to see while some are hidden except for those that are within the system or have recently partook in the scheme activities. The idiosyncratic choice of corps members to redeploy to another state is enough to send a message of discontent to the government that the scheme is actually losing touch with one of its intended goal- Promotion of national unity.

Let the bitter truth be told. The NYSC scheme of today like many other national scheme has been deeply contaminated with endemic and insidious corruption. It has turned into an avenue through which some few cabals make so much money through dubious means and inflated contracts. Many Nigerians have continued to raise their concern over the years as to the actual amount being budgeted for each corps member throughout his one year mandatory service. Some argued that the amount is almost up to a Million Naira but the NYSC officials have kept mum over the issue; they are yet to acknowledge, debunk or make public the figures for every Nigerian to know. The management should expeditiously make the figures available as Nigerians have the right to demand for it since the F.O.I Bill is signed into law.

The NYSC Zonal/Local governments inspectors are now are now smiling with the spate of abscondment in the NYSC as they have found a lucrative business through which they extort huge amount of money from those corps members that abscond. The reason for the abscondment of corpers may be due to ill-health, fear of insurgency, marriage and even shear laziness. No matter the reason of abscondment by corps members, what matters to the Zonal/Local government inspectors is just what you will give them to put in their avaricious pocket. They charged corps member an amount ranging from N5, 000 – N11, 000 monthly illegally for clearance while some corps members are even forced to forfeit the entire N19, 800 monthly allowances to them. Only God knows the total amount these so called Zonal/LG inspectors take home monthly through these illegitimate act. That may be why a lot of new faces miraculously appear on the day of collection of certificate and one continues to wonder where they have hidden for a year, who has been signing their monthly clearance form and on which planet they are holding their weekly CDS meetings.

Another worrisome factor is the overdependence on the corps members who have no teaching qualifications, aptitude or even any form of crash program on teaching skill by schools especially those in the rural areas. It is worthy of note to mention here that the incumbent Director General of the NYSC, Brig. Gen. Johnson Olayumi in an interview he granted in march 2015 acknowledge that they had cases where corps members are made acting Vice Principals in some schools/colleges because there are no classroom teachers. This may be the reason why some people argues that the scheme had instead of reducing, succeeded in exacerbating the already existing high rate of unemployment in the country. According to them, the employers of labor like schools and organizations have found corps members to be a source of cheap, if not slave, labor and therefore prefer to be using them instead of recruiting permanent staffs. This argument may be right, verifiable and substantiated considering how some private schools use corps members to teach their students several subjects only to pay them a paltry amount of as low as N2, 000 per month despite the huge amount they taxed or extort from the parents of their students. These need to be address.

Other criticism against the scheme that was initially designed to mobilize graduates that are less than 30years is how it has now been suddenly chunked up with graduates far above the maximum age of 30years. There are instances where even people above the age of 45 are been mobilized. How some corps members are being camped for three weeks in horrendous conditions, with horrible feeding arrangements, worse sanitary conditions and the schemes ineffectiveness to empower graduates for self-employment and entrepreneurship has also been a major challenge.

Despite all the shortcomings of the NYSC scheme, we must at least, in the spirit of justice and fairness gives it its due where it has earned it. The NYSC has no doubt succeeded to some extent in instilling some salient societal norms and values in corps members and has made appreciable impact on the social and cultural spheres of life.

The NYSC had also succeeded in giving Nigerian youths the opportunity to know more about other parts of the country. Many youths from certain part of the country would never have known other parts of the country without the scheme. Even President Muhammadu Buhari, during a visit by a delegation of the ministry of youth led by its permanent secretary in August 2015, acknowledged this when he said that “Whenever I go home to Daura, I look out for corps members from Lagos, Aba and other parts of the country. I am always thrilled to learn that except for the NYSC, some of them have never left their states of origin to visit other cities of the country.

President Muhammadu Buhari also said “I firmly believe in NYSC and I think it should remain a national program to promote integration”. It’s now 42 years down the line since the scheme was introduced in 1973; the question that is still been raised is that has the NYSC scheme succeeded in bringing about the national unity and integration that it is primarily designed to achieve?

The way out of this is not, however, an increment of the monthly allowance from N19,800 to N49,800 as many graduates have recently been agitating for or the monthly job seekers allowance that Dr. John Kayode Fayemi made mention of recently during his ministerial screening at the senate chamber, I rather prefer instead that the N19,800 be maintained and the corps members be given a substantial amount of start-up capital of N250,000 or more at the expiration of their one year mandatory National assignment as many graduates who wants to create career as entrepreneurs face the hurdle of lack of funds for capital, thus unemployment and its related accomplices remain the status quo. I believe this empowerment scheme that will engage fresh graduates out of school with resources to enable them pursue their ideas and execute them in an environment of support and guidance will help in no small measure in drastically reducing the astoundingly growing rate of unemployment, boost the rate of production in the country and reduce the demand for white-collar jobs.

I also recommend that if the NYSC scheme is decided to be sustained, graduates should be assign to organizations where their skills will be very effectively utilized and the issue of posting most corps members to schools without them having any teaching qualification, aptitude or even any form of crash program on teaching skill should be addressed. Many corps members circumvent the scheme because they believe that they are redundant and not productive in their place of primary assignment (PPA) and they therefore prefer to bribe the officials in order to abscond from the scheme only for them to be fraudulently issued with completion certificate at the end.

I wish to call on the Director General of the NYSC, Brig. Gen. Johnson Bamidele Olayumi to ensure discipline among his staffs and anyone found wanting on any act of corruption especially among the Zonal/LG inspectors should be severly dealt with accordingly so as to serve as deterrence to others.

Finally, I wish to call on President Muhammdu Buhari to expeditiously set up a committee to thoroughly review the activities of the NYSC scheme and come up with feasible recommendations that will help in radically reforming the scheme to solve the astoundingly growing rate of unemployment beyond its initial purpose of only National unity and integration in order to be in tandem with the Presidents vision and mission of significantly increasing the number of jobs created annually, boosting the rate of production and creating wealth for a robust economic growth.

Suleiman Ahmad Ya’u is a Political scientist and Public affairs analyst based in Kano.



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James Faleke, Kogi State APC Deputy Gubernatorial Candidate; The Man And His Many Achievements

James Abiodun Faleke was born on 25th of December, 1959 in Ekinrin Adde, Ijumu Local Government of the old Kabba province, a Yoruba speaking area of Kogi State of Nigeria, where he had his Primary and Secondary School Education.

While in Secondary School at the prestigious Abdulazeez Atta Memorial College, Okene, a School that has produced  a number of  leaders in the Country, he distinguished himself  in the  school curriculum activities; it is worthy of note that he was the House Captain of the largest House “OHIMEGE HOUSE”, where he excelled as a leader.

Thereafter he got admission into Kaduna Polytechnic in Kaduna State, where he obtained Higher National Diploma in Purchasing and Supply Management with Upper Credit in 1986. He received Best Student Award.

James Abiodun Faleke was involved in sporting activities in all schools he attended, and he played for the schools at the state and national levels. For instance, he was the playmaker of the school’s volleyball team and the Captain of the Table Tennis and Handball Teams as well as a strong member (Striker) of the School Football Team. He was in the Volleyball Team that represented the Higher Institution at the NIPOGA games in 1985 and he won several medals for the Institution.

Hon. James Abiodun Faleke was posted to Lagos State for his NYSC program   in 1986/1987 Service Year, at the joint Orientation Camp held in Ibadan for the Four States of   Lagos, Oyo, Ogun and Ondo, where Hon. James Abiodun Faleke emerged as the Parade Commander for the entire NYSC members of the Four States. This function he performed creditably well to the admiration of all and was thus recommended for an award  by the camp Commandant, which later saw to his Posting to the National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi  for his primary assignment.


He had his community development Service in Ikeja LGA and was also a group leader.  As part of his service to the community, he constructed dustbins to assist with waste collection and management in Ikeja LGA during his Service in 1987, and thus got a letter of commendation from the Local Government. Ever since then he has not relented in his service to the community.

As it is often believed that every good work earns its own reward, Hon. Faleke later became an elected Chairman in Ojodu LCDA of Ikeja Local Government Area.


In pursuance of his educational and Professional Career, Hon. James Abiodun Faleke has a Master Degree in Business Administration, (MBA) with Management as his field of specialization from Imo State University, Owerri Imo State.

In 1992, he sat and passed the Professional examination of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, (CIPS) London. He was thus awarded the full Professional Membership of M.C.I.P.S to be used after his name. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration (FIPA).


From 1986 to date,   James Abiodun Faleke has worked in different management capacities of procurement, clearing and forwarding, warehousing, distribution and construction. In 1986/87  he worked as the Purchasing Expediter in National Orthopedic Hospital in Lagos State, he also worked as a Material Manager at Kayo Foods Limited Ilupeju in Lagos State, he then furthered his employment career as a Purchasing, Clearing and Distribution Manager and Commercial Manager  in Tate Industries PLC,  Purchasing Manager  in Air Liquid PLC, Purchasing Manager in Aluminum Manufacturing Company of Nigeria (ALUMCO) PLC, and finally worked as a Commercial Manager at Crown Agents Ltd. in year 2000 to 2003.



In 2011, he emerged as a federal legislator representing Ikeja Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives. He was duly re-elected in March 2015. 


Ø CHAIRMAN-House Committee on Anti-Corruption, National Ethics and Values.

Ø Member House Committee on Public Procurement.

Ø Member House Committee on Millennium Development (MDG).

Ø Member House Committee on Interior.

Ø Member House Committee on Public Accounts.

Ø Member House Committee on Science and Technology.

Ø Member House Committee on Petroleum Subsidy Probe.

The Public resultant benefits are as follows:

v Creation of public awareness.

v Exposure of monumental fraud in the petroleum sector.

v The establishment of the SURE –P by the Federal Government.

v Creation of employment opportunities for Nigerian Youths.

v Increase in Federal Allocation to States and Local Government Areas.



1. N.Y.S.C. ACT Amendment Bill: To provide Life Assurance coverage for NYSC members.

2. Legal backing for newly created 9 Federal Universities.

3. Prohibition on the sale and use of Military uniforms.

4. The construction of pedestrian bridges at Berger and Onilekere bus-stop, Ikeja Federal Constituency.

5. The construction of Lagos Ibadan Expressway.

6. The replacement of Soldiers with Civil Defence Corps at NYSC camps.

7. The need to put on holds the re-introduction of Toll gate on Federal roads.

8. Motion on the need to clamp down over 1,400 Illegal border routes to curb insurgence.


James Abiodun Faleke was the Pioneer Executive Secretary of Ojodu Local Government Development Area from November 2003 to April 2004.

Elected Executive Chairman of Ojodu Local Government Development Area from 2004 to 2011(Two-Terms).

Chairman, Conference 57, body of Local Government Chairmen in Lags State. (ALGON), 2006 to 2011.

Member, Lagos State Electoral Reform Committee.

Member, Governor’s Advisory Committee, Lagos State.

In December 2014 to April 2015 James Abiodun Faleke was the Lagos State Campaign Coordinator for Buhari/ Osinbajo Campaign Group.


In recognition of James Abiodun Faleke’s educational achievements philanthropic gestures, people and result – oriented services to humanity within and outside his political constituency , he received several worthy Awards from Corporate bodies , NGOs, various communities , the media, students and so on.



Purchasing and Supply Management 1984/86 Best Student Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna state.

2. Lagos State N.Y.S.C MERIT AWARD. 1986/87 service year.

3. HONOURARY FELLOW AWARD. By the Bible Society of Nigeria, Ojodu

4. LEADERSHIP AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE, 1994: By the Leadership Trust Organization an NGO.

5. MERIT AWARD OF EXCELLENCE: By Okun Youth Solidarity Front (O.Y.S.F); 2004.

6. PIONEER EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN: Odo –Eran Plank and Building Materials Association.

7. CLEANEST LOCAL GOVERNMENT AWARD: 1st Runner up in the 3rd Quarter, 15th of September, 2005.


9. INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER AWARD: Excellence in Local Government Administration 2005.

10. BEST CHAIRMAN IN HUMAN DEVELOPMENT: By Harmony Media Communication Meritorious Award.

11. OUTSTANDING CHAIRMAN OF THE YEAR 2007: By Daily Independence Newspaper.

12. AWARD OF EXCELLENCE FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, 8TH Dec., 2007. By Video Rental Operators Association of Nigeria, Ikeja Central Zone.

13. AWARD FOR VALUABLE CONTRIBUTION TOWARDS STUDENTS DEVELOPMENT. By National Association Polytechnic Accountancy Students (N.A.P.A.S)



16. AWARD OF EXCELLENCE PERFORMANCE: By Nigerian Union of Tailors. 2009.

17. Committee of Police and Friends, Area G Chapter in area of Combating of the order of Community Policing Excellence Award 2009.


19. PANEL AWARDFOR EXCELLENCE IN GRASSROOTS ADMINISTRATION. For his contribution as on if the architects of a new Lagos. 18th Dec., 2009.

20. AIT In conjunction with GOLDEN PICTURES Communications Ltd., Merit Award for his Selfless service to humanity 2009.

21. LEADERSHIP SUMMIT EXCELLENCE AWARD 2009, for outstanding efforts and contribution to the Socio- Economic Development generally.

22. All Christian Leader & Ministers Forum , Ojodu Chapter, A.C.L.M.F MERIT AWARD in recognition of your activities in Ojodu Local Government Development Area and Lagos State In general.

23. AWARD FOR OUSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO YOUTH DEVELOPMENT. By National Youth Council of Nigeria, South- West Zone.

24. GOLD AWARD OF EXCELLENCE in recognition of contribution to the development and growth of L.C.D.A and support for LASU MBA. 13th March 2010.

25. DISTINGUISH AWARD OF EXECUTIVE by Nigerian Society of Engineers (Lagos Branch) for outstanding contributions towards sustaining the  upliftment of the Nigerian Society of Engineers and project execution in Ojodu LCDA. 1st April, 2010.

26. PERFORMANCE AWARD for outstanding performance in grassroots government in Lagos State. April 19th, 2010.

27. Officer and soldiers of the Formation: Brig. Gen. JAO OCHQGA DSS PSC FEWN MSC command 9, Brigade Nigeria Army, Ikeja.

28. Nigerian Union of Journalist (Lagos State Council), Best Local Government on Infrastructure in Lagos. 2010.

29. RECOGNITION AWARD Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management of Nigeria, June 2010.

30. GRASSROOTS DEVELOPER AWARD by Celestial Landlord Association, Power line, Oke- Ira Dec., 12th 2010.

31. EXCELLENCE AWARD: By Core Media Ltd., Dec., 2010.

James Abiodun Faleke is happily married with children, and is currently Prince Abubakar Audu’s running mate for the upcoming Kogi state gubernatorial election.

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Of Benue Probes And Witch-hunting, By Ati Terkula

Explaining the concept of witch-hunting,  a friend once told me that without a witch there will be no witch hunter being that the duty of the witch hunter is to hunt witches. The Samuel Ortom led Benue State government had on the 11th of August, 2015 inaugurated two committees to investigate the transactions of the preceeding administration which has been accused of gross financial maladministration and graft.
The two committees were tasked with the duty of assessing government financial transactions from the period of 2007-2015. The mandate stipulated  verification of funds accruing/ received and the utilization; to identify all revenue resources and total amount of revenue which accrued to the state, including Federal Allocation from Federation Account, local government funds, internally generated revenue, IGR, bonds and loans, excess crude account, small and medium Enterprises, SME funds, ecological funds, VAT, SURE-P funds, SUBEB, MDGs any other funds.
The commission is also to ascertain in quantum of shares/stock owned by the Benue State Government in Dangote Cement Compay PLC, Benue Brewery Limited, and other companies and enterprises, ascertain the circumstances that led to the sale of such shares/stock and their worth or value, identify the investors who bought these shares/stock as well as determine whether the transitions followed due process of law, ascertain the where about of the proceeds of the sale.
Similarly, the commission is to determine if the government has any equity left in the said companies and the value of such equity while ascertaining if the funds realized in all the above stated were appropriated, ascertain too, the application and utilization of such funds, establish misappropriation if any and identify the person or persons involved and recommend appropriate actions to, the government.
Inaugurating the committees the governor informed that the objective of the commissions are not meant to witch hunt anyone but to set records straight, urging them to uphold the rule of law and due process in the discharge of their assignment.
Upon the constitution and announcement of the commissions the former governor, Gabriel Suswam expressed his willingness to cooperate with the commission, even as he described it as a witch hunt. Suswam in a statement through his media aide, Chief Anawah Joseph, said he was not afraid of the multiple panels set up by the All Progressives Congress (APC) government to probe his administration, but expressed surprise at the level with which the ruling party considered him as a project for persecution.
“Dr. Suswam has no problem with probes. The multiple probe panels limited to his administration is however beyond politics, it is vendetta and witch-hunting”, the statement read in part.
The commission which is led by Justice Margaret Kpojime has since began executing its mandate, probing all state government financial transactions within the period, as well as the position of government owned stakes and bonds.
In the several sittings which take place at the premises of the High Court 4, Makurdi,  summoned so far are the heads of several parastatals and Departments which include, the General Manager of the Benue Investment and Property Company ( BIPC ), Mrs. Brigid Sheidu, Chairman Benue State Independent Electoral Commission ( BSIEC ), Prof. Philip Ahire.
The appearance of the duo have however began throwing up questionable revelations bordering on sleaze and financial maladministration regarding the sale of government shares and negligence on government parts.
The BIPC probe which is ongoing revealed that the company had raised nearly 9 billion Naira from the sale of state owned stock at the Benue Cement Company (BCC). The General Manager further revealed that only one billion out of the total sum was paid into BIPC account while the then Finance Commissioner,  Omadachi Oklobia had directed that the money be domiciled into two other accounts : 1013852648 and 1013677218 all operated at Zenith Bank.
As this probe was ongoing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC ), quizzed the former Benue State Commissioner for Finance, Omadachi Oklobia who according to sources made revelations which caused the commission to invite his boss, Gabriel Suswam.
Suswam who was a visitor of the EFCC for over nine hours, until he was granted bail came out again with a challenge to the state government to extend its probe to the administration preceeding his own (one he saw no wrong in its management and thus refused to probe), he once again blamed his ordeal in the hands of the commission on a witch hunt.
In a similar vein, the former governor through his lawyer, Bar. Dave Iorhemba,  a former Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, who had filed for a stay of proceedings to stop the proceedings of the probe panels had his application granted in Makurdi by the state Chief Judge, Justice Iorhemen Hwande .
It is now rife to query thus why has Suswam all of a sudden decided to look for ways to circumvent the probes when he knows the only way to clear the weighty allegations levelled against him and his government is to allow the probe continue and end with him having a clean slate since it is only a witch hunt and he is no witch as such there will be no witch for the hunter to hunt.
It will also be an impossible task to overlook the obvious irony in his outbursts calling for the investigation of the George Akume administration which in his eight years of governance, gave a clean slate only to turn back after sixteen long years to call for a probe of it because he is also being probed.
Why did he not probe Akume when he took over the mantle of leadership and had the power to do so? Why has he all of a sudden remembered that Akume also looted as much as 2 billion Naira in one day?
Is this not the case of an adulterer who when caught refuses to apologise but chooses to divert attention by calling others who have been sleeping with the same woman?

Ati Terkula is a journalist and Blogger , he writes from Makurdi


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Tasking The Basis Of Boko Haram’s Islamic Faith, By Ahmed Salkida

This opinion piece was first on 12 December, 2011

The fear of Boko Haram by nearly everyone has led to an unprecedented lack of public debate amongst politicians, traditional and religious leaders, especially in Northern Nigeria and in the National Assembly, despite the great danger the phenomenon poses to Nigeria’s fragile unity.

This deepening silence by leaders in the ‘Muslim North’ and commentators has created a wrong assumption by many in the South and Christians all over the country that the inability of the ‘Muslim North’ to out-rightly denounce the activities of the sect is proof positive that the region wants to undermine the Jonathan Administration because he is a Southerner and an intolerable infidel.

Apparently there is the political Boko Haram that uses the name of the group to carry out the assassinations of some of their political opponents in the North- East. And again, there are some politicians and security contractors both in the North and South that have grown tall on the crest of the Boko Haram catastrophe to develop their personal estates.

This article is not about the North or South or about Christians or Muslims, it is merely an attempt, on account of my un-shaking belief in the obligations that a journalist owe society, to break the silence.

At the risk of sounding immodest, I can claim to have distinguished myself as the most credible source of news about the sect. However, this ‘feat’ has not come without the misconception by many within government that I am the Boko Haram with a pen as a weapon.

Suicide bombings and armed robberies in the name of religion in Nigeria was started by the Jama’atu Ahl-Sunnati Lil Da’awati wal Jihad otherwise known as Boko Haram in the early hours of June 16, 2011. Since then there have been several instances of suicide bombings in Nigeria this year, and several instances of targeted bombings of public places such as churches, beer parlours, banks and police stations, which have so far led to the death of hundreds of persons including women and children.

The impact and depth of their killings and destruction to the institutions of government and public psychology is unparallel.

The platform of all these violence by Boko Haram remains religion, specifically the Islamic faith, from which sect leaders and followers push for suicide bombing on assumption that it offers perpetrators’ martyr status as well as instant access to paradise.

I have discussed the suicide bombings and armed robberies (Fai’u in Arabic and Ganima in Hausa) in the name of Jihad with several Islamic scholars. The first question I put to these clerics is; what is the concept and criteria for waging Jihad. They’ve all said Jihad literally means putting in all effort in carrying out tasks. Technically, it carries different meanings based from the Quran and Hadith perspectives. Some scholars interpret this to mean waging war against the unbelievers; e.g. Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 25. V.52 ‘So do not follow the unbelievers, and strive against them a mighty striving with it’.

Others, however, think that ‘with it’ here means not waging war, but instead using the words of Allah to argue, debate and ultimately prove to them the truth. He further states in Surah Tahrim of the Holy Quran 66: 9 ‘O Prophet strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them’. Here too, Allah urged the Prophet to handle unbelievers and hypocrites sternly. In the case of the former, waging of war was acceptable but in the case of the latter i.e. hypocrites, the Prophet did not wage war on them.

A case of Abdallah Bin Ubay bin Sullul and his likes are replete in Islamic History. Also, in Surah Al Qassas of the HQ 28:6 Allah says ‘whosoever striveth, only for himself for Lo! Allah is altogether independent of His creatures’. Similar instances abound a lot in the Quran but do not strictly means waging of war (Jihad). And in many situations the Holy Prophet used the concept Jihad but did not explicitly refer to waging of war.

From Bukhari & Muslim, two popular sources for Hadith, performance of pilgrimage and the lesser pilgrimage were referred to as Jihad. The Prophet also referred to jihad as feeding of the needy, the less privilege and taking care of the orphans.

According to many accounts in the course of writing this article, the following criteria must be met before executing one form of jihad, which is waging of war. The attainment of a ruler (Amir) full-fledged, an Islamic State (independence) strong and capacity for self defence, well trained and highly educated followers, the existence of disbelievers and enemies as neighbours and their refusal to accept the Islamic faith.

According to these scholars, apparently, Boko Haram did not meet all these criteria. But, clearly, the sect’s lawful religious activity came under constant stalking and assault by security agencies in Maiduguri and at Bauchi, and according to these scholars, Boko Haram have a right to defend themselves in these circumstances.

However, the big question today is, does the suicide attacks on UN House or recently in Damaturu and several places that led to the deaths of over 150 persons including women and children amount to a self defence?

The Holy Quran teaches us in Chapter 5, Verse 33 that “Whosoever killed a person – unless it be for killing a person or for creating disorder in the land – it shall be as if he had killed all mankind.” One scholar further explained here that, “a person who kills another person unfairly or who kills someone who had neither rebelled nor became a source of violating peace amongst the people nor created disorder in the land, it is as if he has killed the whole of mankind. In other words, to kill a person without any cause is, according to God Almighty, like the murder of the entire human race.”

In another Hadith narrated by all narrators except Bukhari, it is said that “the prophet used to advise the commanders separately and the whole group together to fear Allah and adhere to the rules of engagement specified by Allah and further enjoined on them to fight in the name of Allah for the purpose of proclaiming the words of the Creator; fight those who reject oneness of Allah; do not be unfaithful, do not deceive; do not renegade on any agreement reached; do not mutilate the corpses; do not kill children, women, elderly; and do not kill those engage in worship except if they fight you.”

The application of the concept of jihad is incumbent on all Muslims, but the one that has to do with waging of war is incumbent only on meeting the following criteria: When the unbelievers ambush Muslim settlement, it is incumbent on all to defend it. Apparently, Boko Haram were armed bushed and shot-at with life bullets during a funeral procession in 2009 by Security Agents in Maiduguri for their refusal to abide by traffic laws, and this according to them, is a ground for them to wage ‘Jihad’.

When the ruler assigns the task of waging war, once in the war front, it is forbidden to abandon it. Boko Haram believe that in response to the 2009 attacks against them, their ruler, late Mohammed Yusuf waged ‘Jihad’ and therefore they can never abandon it until every single one of them is death.

Whether or not the current Jihad being waged by Boko Haram meets the Islamic standard can best be imagined here and must to be a subject of public debate by the ‘Muslim North’ if only we can damn the bombs and AK47 of Boko Haram because everyone of us must die sooner or later.
What is the popular position of suicide bombing in Islam? There is no suicide bombing in Islam. Allah had said in Chapter 2: 195 “Spend your wealth for the cause of Allah and be not cast by your own hands to ruin and do good, Lo! Allah loves the doers of good.”

But indeed there is the concept of martyrdom in Islam which is always misconstrued as suicide bombing. A member of Boko Haram before embarking on a suicide bombing quoted a verse in the HQ “Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur’an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.”

And the dark-eyed virgins which Mohammed Mangga, the person that bombed the Police Force Headquarters in Abuja believed await him after blowing up himself at the Louis Edet House, are mentioned in several verses in the HQ verses 44:54 and 52:20. For those who swing the other way, there are “perpetual youth” verse 6:17, otherwise known as “boys” verses 52:24 and 76:19. However, virtually all the scholars I have spoken with say this is a misconception of the Qur’an.

The question here is did Boko Haram meet the criteria of Jihad and are they waging it under strict Islamic standards? If yes, then they can claim martyrdom. But suicide is forbidden in the Qur’an. “O ye who believe!… [do not] kill yourselves, for truly Allah has been to you Most Merciful. If any do that in rancour and injustice, soon shall We cast him into the Fire…” (Qur’an 4:29-30).

The taking of life is allowed only by way of justice (i.e. the death penalty for murder), but even then, forgiveness is better. “Nor take life – which Allah has made sacred – except for just cause…” (17:33). It is important to note that the predominant theme in the Qur’an is forgiveness and peace. Allah is Merciful and Forgiving, and seeks that of His followers.

In the fight against terrorism of all forms, it is important to understand who is a terrorist, what is the motivation for such terror acts. We can only fight against this horror if we understand its causes and motivations. What motivates Boko Haram to lash out in this violent, inhumane way?

Many belief it is the deep rooted corruption and injustices that have become strong pillars of bad governance in Nigeria. Many expert accounts conclude that religion neither causes nor explains suicide bombings. The true motivation of such attacks is something that all of us must understand and address squarely.

Another contentious issue is, is it lawful for Boko Haram to engage in arm robberies? They called their actions fai’u. Fai’u means to return or give-back. Technically, fai’u is a process whereby ownership of wealth of the (unbelievers) enemies comes to the Muslims without waging war. In Chapter 59:6; Allah says ‘and that which Allah gave as spoil fai’u unto His messenger from them, ye urge not any horse or riding camel for the sake thereof, but Allah giveth His messenger lordship over whom He will’.

In the history of Islam, there came a time when the people of Bani Nadhir abandoned their abode and everything within it for fear of Muslims conquest. What they left behind was known as fai’u and was used for weapon procurement. But it is important here not to mix up the term fai’u and robbery because there is a sharp contrast between what occurred in Bani Nadhir and what obtains today, said the scholars.

However, it may be confusing to non-students of Islamic history that the people of Mecca had severally forcefully collected the wealth of the Muslims before migration; and at a point the Muslims tried to collect back what belonged to them, an act that sparked off the main battle of Badr. In contrast, when peoples’ wealth, even those of the unbelievers who did not fight you, is forcefully collected is viewed as robbery and in this case the punishment of robbery is to chop off the limbs diagonally, or hang to death or imprisonment if the robbery involved murder.

What is the position of wasting human life like the killings of Islamic clerics by Boko Harm? Killing of human being, especially that of the believer is not only heinous but one of the gravest sins said all the scholars. The Holy Qur’an 4: 93 says ‘whosoever slayeth a believer of set purpose, his reward is hell forever. Allah’s wrath against him and He hath cursed him and preferred for him an awful doom.

In a Hadith narrated by Tirmidhi and Nasai reported by Ibn Umar ‘the prophet said Allah may forgive any kind of sins, except one who dies as Mushrik or intentionally killing a believer’. In the narration of Nasai he said, it is easier for Allah to see the earth disappeared than a believer killed’. If the whole humanity come together and killed a believer, Allah will not mind sending them all to hell fire.

According to Boko Haram the clerics and other Muslims they killed are either working or sympathetic to the government of the day and they promote or support democracy in some ways. Therefore, since democracy is Kufr they are unbelievers especially when most of them pinpointed or kept mum during arrests and executions of their members over the years.

Scholars said, once a man proclaims oneness of Allah, his wealth, life and dignity are secured. Or if he agrees to live with Muslims without troubling them, even in war times, he is also secured. Osama bin Zayd reported by Muslim and Abu Daud that ‘while we were at war, when we reached the enemies they fled away and a man appeared to us and proclaimed the Shahada, but I did not spare him and when we reached the Prophet, he angrily inquired of me thrice ‘after he said the Shahada! , what will you tell Allah?’ I responded saying he proclaimed it out of fear of me! The prophet responded again thrice saying ‘did you open his heart and see it whether he was sincere or not?’

Did Boko Haram open the hearts of several clerics and many Muslims to know whether they are true believers or not before they killed them? Miqdat bin Aswad said in a Hadith narrated by Muslim, Abu Daud and Tirmidhi ‘I inquired O, prophet of Allah, assuming we are in a war and an unbeliever chopped off one of my hands and as I intend to strike him he proclaimed the Shahada, do I kill him or let go?

The prophet answered, “Let him go.”
“But he chopped off my hand!”
“Let him go! For if you kill him, your positions would have switched,” the Prophet said.

The scholars concluded that the members of Boko Haram have switched places with those they have killed, adding that “We urge Boko Haram to please take the path of reconciliation and forgiveness.”

Ahmad Salkida is a freelance journalist based in Abuja and can be reached at salkida@gmail.com.

Read more at: http://www.thenigerianvoice.com/news/77362/1/tasking-the-basis-of-boko-harams-islamic-faith.html

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#OduahGate And Fashola’s $450k Boreholes: Is Nigeria A Nation of Hypocrites Or A Hypocrite Nation?

By Peregrino Brimah

In October of 2013, on the 15th of the month to be precise, Nigeria was lit up with the Stella Oduah scandal. The so-named #OduahGate. Our then minister of Aviation under the Jonathan administration was hounded and eventually forced out of office for a “scandal” SaharaReporters broke of her purchasing for N255 million two bullet proof BMW’s that according to PremiumTimes should cost tops, N128 million. In effect Stella fleeced Nigeria of about N100 million; that’s about $625,000!

We saw all holier than thou activists, newspapers, bloggers and the like screaming to the high heavens about Stella’s misappropriation. She was called all sorts of names and eventually she was rightfully kicked out of the government by a reluctant Jonathan. Indeed this scandal was one of the main factors that fueled angst against the Jonathan administration and sent it packing.

Fast forward to now, 15th of October, precisely two years later. A newly nominated and now confirmed minister, the former governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Raji Fashola was accused of misappropriating N139 million ($870,000) for the dredging of two boreholes, according to Lagos state government and as contained in all main media outlets.

The cost of a borehole around the world is about $1000 [PDF].

In essence, new minister Fashola’s government spent what could drill give or take, 800 boreholes to drill just two. Or we may say,his government misappropriated/looted/coveted $868,000! Over $230,000 more than we stoned Stella for.

And we just supervised his nomination, confirmation and as we all observed, those same “activists,” those same media…we have reviewed comments by all the many names of 100k+ fans and likes popular activists, the same people that cast the stones at Stella and the common reaction is, “Fashola slammed it.” PremiumTimes gave him an 8 or 9/10 for performance despite recognizing and criticizing his lackadaisical response to serious queries of the gross abuse of the funds by his administration which in their words he gave an “obfuscated” response to.

Fashola’s response to the tribunal was a slight to the panel and Nigeria as a whole. He put his finger up the “Change” act’s nose. He said, “I am a Lawyer and so I should not be expected to do the numbers.” This was the height of recklessness and political office-holder insolence. He further said, “I do not personally sign the cheques.”

Well Stella Oduah does not sign the cheques either. Diezani never signs the cheques. The response Fashola gave was elitist, condescending, averse and insultingly perverse. “I hope my loyalty will not be questioned,” he further said in honesty.

Is this what we are? A nation of hypocrites? Is it about “loyalty” for all the activists and media that hounded on Stella but praise and positively appraise Fashola?

Of course the Senate loves him and confirmed him. They need the likes of him to protect them and their extravagant ways as well as his and their coterie of cabal: cement, phone and oil monopolist bed-mates.

So aloof and unabashed of his grievous crime as executive governor of the state whose reckless spending was under review, does this not mean that as a new Minister, millions of dollars / billions of Naira will likewise be formally looted and a straight-back, raised chin political-position-dependent Fashola will again tell us that he does not sign the cheques under his ministry?

I am lost for words. I hope I got something wrong here. Perhaps he did not spend the acclaimed sum on just two boreholes. Perhaps it was ultra-efficient, acres cooling water fountains and farm rigging systems. Perhaps this is why he brazenly slighted us in response. Hopefully he knows it is semi illegal for his government to be drilling boreholes when it should be providing pipe-borne water. I must be wrong. Of course, If I was wrong, he would/should have told us the correct thing at the screening…no? Please correct me if I am right [RO].

$12,500 beds, $450,000 boreholes and $400,000 personal websites?

I have said enough. 2019 cometh.

Nigeria will make it!

Dr. Peregrino Brimah; http://ENDS.ng [Every Nigerian Do Something] Email: drbrimah@ends.ng Twitter: @EveryNigerian

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#KogiDecides: Why Youths Should Vote APC, By Tolu Adeniji

The last elections re-defined youth participation and involvement in the process of governance. Many youths took it upon themselves to serve as campaign agents for the APC and Muhammadu Buhari, not because they thought that campaigning would be fun, but because as young people, they had suffered the effects of a directionless and rudderless leadership for long enough and needed change. That situation can be compared seamlessly with the current circumstances in which Kogi youths find themselves.

While youths in Kogi took up odd jobs irrespective of their level of education, others in states such as Osun and Ekiti benefitted from programmes put in place by their APC governors to address unemployment. One of such programmes was YCAD, which was introduced during Dr. Kayode Fayemi’s tenure as Ekiti state governor, and was aimed at generating interest in agriculture by providing hectares of land, farm machinery and funding to youths who were interested in agriculture. The state also helped in getting their produce across to consumers. In addition to this, there was yet another programme in Ekiti which equipped young graduates with work skills, then placed them as interns in various agencies and provided a monthly stipend.

In Osun, there was the O’YES programme which did something similar to that in Ekiti, and through which unemployment in Osun reached a record low of 3%. It is also on record that the majority of the top ten states with the lowest unemployment rates are APC states. Unemployment is a problem which afflicts young people the most, and it therefore follows that if indeed, Kogi youths desire quick and effective solutions to the unemployment challenge, voting for the APC is the way to go.

Also, still on unemployment, Prince Abubakar Audu demonstrated the capacity to tackle this during his previous tenure as not only did he invite investors, he also provided infrastructure which enabled the growth of economic activities and initiatives in specific areas greatly impacted the economic lifeline of the people.

Another issue which is of premium importance to young people is education; the unemployment situation is sometimes hinged on the poor state of our institutions and the substandard level of education which produces thousands of “half-baked” graduates. There have been steps taken towards improving education in APC states (good examples of these include Kano, Rivers during Amaechi’s tenure, Edo, Lagos and Osun, among others). Therefore, in order to increase the chances of our youths being employed and having sufficient knowledge to start and sustain their own businesses, we also must choose a party with an established tradition of paying attention to and improving education. Luckily for the youths of Kogi state, Prince Abubakar Audu also made much progress in this area while he was governor, as the Kogi State University and the Polytechnic bear witness to.

The youths in Kogi state also need a leader they can look up to and view as a role model in every sense of the word. The era of lacklustre leadership and a total lack of accountability must end, and we must be the ones to end it if truly, we desire a brighter future. Many of our parents have complained endlessly about salaries not being paid and it is our duty to ensure that we do not allow an irresponsible administration perpetrate itself against the wishes of the people.

Youths in Kogi state must know that the time to make our numerical strength translate into something meaningful is now; together, we must ensure that we work hard to usher in a new era of progressive governance, accountability and tangible results. We yearn for the Kogi which was once the fastest developing state in the federation, the Kogi which others came to for leadership advice, which filled us all with pride and hope for the future. We yearn for the good old days of Prince Abubakar Audu, the ONLY leader in the history of our state who has gotten results and delivered the dividends of democracy to the people.

I urge every single one of us to ensure that we get our PVCs and do right by our state by voting for Change.

Tolulope Adeniji writes from Lokoja.

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