Malam Abba Kyari: A Great Public Servant – A Tribute by Malam Mamman Daura

Corona virus is a law, yet lawless unto itself. As of yesterday it has claimed 183,424 lives worldwide and 28 Nigerians. 

One of those lives lost was Malam Abba Kyari’s, Chief of Staff to the President. Malam Abba succumbed to complications after contracting and recovering from Corona Virus a week today. 

Malam Abba Kyari was a man blessed with mountainous gifts and uncommon attributes of intelligence, diligence, hard work, loyalty to friends and worthy causes. One could exhaust superlatives to do him full justice. 

I first set eyes on Malam Abba about 47 years ago. I was at my desk at the New Nigerian newspapers office scribbling something or other when the gate messenger brought a chit of paper with a name “Abba Kyari Chima” wanting to see the Editor. When he came in he looked winsome and slightly diffident. After pleasantries I wanted to know his reason for coming to New Nigerian. He said he read and liked an Editorial in the paper a few days earlier headed: “Solution looking for a Problem” and he resolved to work with us. After swift enquiry, I was told there were no vacancies in the Newsroom nor in Sub-Editing. But a lowly position existed as proof reader as someone had just left. I was about to apologise to him that what was available was beneath his station. Malam Abba quickly said: “I will take it.” After formalities he was enrolled as a staff of New Nigerian. 

By “taking it” he was taking a sizeable cut from his previous teaching job’s pay as the salary scales in the New Nigerian where Malam Abba and I worked were historic in their frugality. You couldn’t get fat on the wages of the New Nigerian in the mid -70s. 

Anyway within weeks Malam Abba had moved to the Newsroom and was an articulate member at the daily editorial conferences. Moreover, he and I became 


firm friends ever since. If I recall correctly, we both left the services of New Nigerian within a short time of each other. 

After New Nigerian, Malam Abba worked at NNDC and Zamfara Textiles – a state- sponsored investment company and a private manufacturing outfit – valuable experience in later life – and soon grew out of those jobs. 

Constantly striving to improve himself he went to Warwick University in England – where General Gowon also attended after leaving Nigeria as Head of State – and acquired an Honours Degree in Sociology and thence to the world-famous Cambridge University where he graduated in Law before returning to Nigeria. 

When a group of sponsors including Malam Ahmed Joda, Mr. Philip Asiodu and Malam Isma’ila Isa Funtua floated a new newspaper, The Democrat, Malam Abba was nominated and unanimously accepted as its Editor. His previous experience in the New Nigerian and his quality education enabled him to run the newspaper with aplomb. 

Malam Abba served as Company Secretary with the burgeoning African International Bank. But as I said Malam Abba grew out of every job he held hitherto. 

And when Mr. Hakeem Bello-Osagie assembled a team of investors and managers to help revive the collapsing UBA, Malam Abba was persuaded to join the group and after weeks of diligence the group acquired UBA and Malam Abba joined the Bank as a Senior Executive. Needless to relate, he eventually became the Bank’s Chief Executive and on retirement was persuaded to remain as non-executive Vice-Chairman. 

These times coincided with the country’s return to democracy and Malam Abba was among those enthusiastically espousing the cause of General Obasanjo. On his selection as PDP candidate, a group of women and youths in the PDP lobbied Obasanjo to pick Malam Abba as his Vice Presidential running mate. After heated debates, Obasanjo eventually picked Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. 

In the 2003 elections, Malam Abba was in opposite camps with President Obasanjo. General Muhammadu Buhari had declared his intention the previous year to contest the presidency and Malam Abba joined his team and worked wholeheartedly in all the campaigns through the drudgery and injustices of the 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections without losing hope or sight of the ultimate goal. 

Perseverance paid off and in 2015 General Buhari under the banner of APC (an amalgam of CPC, ACN, ANPP and break away factions of the PDP and many other smaller parties) won the Presidential elections. To his great surprise, the President appointed Malam Abba as the Chief of Staff. 

Fortified by the rigours of a Cambridge education and varied experience in Banking, industry, investment and journalism, Malam Abba set himself the task of defining the role, functions and status of the Chief of Staff. He started by consulting previous incumbents of the position he could reach as a way of educating himself of the challenges ahead of him. 

All future Chiefs of Staff will henceforth be judged by the benchmark of Malam Abba Kyari. Next, he assembled a team of very competent staff who worked incredibly long hours, 7 days a week to analyse, itemize, disaggregate knotty problems and advise the President. Malam Abba was an exacting taskmaster and his staff were relieved if he travelled outside the country. But to a man they valued, respected some even liked him. 

Malam Abba was at odds with many senior members of the government on economic policies. Many Nigerian elites tend to lean towards the Bretton Woods one-size-fits-all solutions long discredited and demonstrably failed in so many so- called Third World countries. Malam Abba tended to look inward for solutions and was not an ideologue. He was heavily influenced by two Nobel Laureates, the great West Indian Economist, Professor Arthur Lewis and the eminent Indian Professor Amartya Sen, the latter Malam Abba frequently called to exchange views. 

Despite holding firm views, his advice to the President was dispassionate, even- handed and did not hide unpleasant facts, in the best traditions of public service. 

In point of intellect, he stood above all Ministers and Special Advisers in this government. But personally he was modest, ever willing to learn, ever willing to help others. 

Malam Abba leaves a widow, the estimable Hajiya Hauwa and four children, Aisha (Amma), Nuruddeen, Ibrahim and Zainab. The children have all been well educated and are able to pursue their own careers. 

Few people knew that over ten years ago, he turned his house in Maiduguri (since he no longer resided there) into accommodation for IDPs. At some stage there were 75 people whom Malam Abba was feeding, clothing and looking after; in addition to their children’s education. Later, the numbers got larger. Malam Abba never said a word to anybody about this. Amma and her siblings are not the only orphans Malam Abba left! 

He lived a fairly simple life and habitually wore a red cap, white clothing and black shoes. He had to be forced by his friends to change the cap and he wore the shoes to the ground before buying a new pair! 

According to hospital reports, his body fought hard in face of deteriorating complications, but his time had come. We remember him with sadness in our hearts and tears in our eyes….. 

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Now that Abba Kyari Is Innocent, Can We Allow Mammal Daura To Rest, By Alwan Hassan

With the recent revelations that have come to light after the demise of the former Chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari; it makes sense to conclude that countless Nigerians may have to seek forgiveness from God for branding the man what he was not. This is because, for many years now, columnists  and public analysts that report on activities going on in the corridors of power successfully led many Nigerians into believing that the late Abba Kyari was the ‘devil’ that we must all battle against. However, recent revelations from those who really knew the man have since proven that Abba Kyari was never our enemy — he was the gatekeeper who kept the vultures at bay.

Personally, I have always noted that the late Kyari’s accusers have never validated the many accusations levelled against him. There was never any proof of wrongdoing. All the Nigerian public have been treated to were a bunch of unverified claims, grandiose allegations and manufactured political propaganda; all for which late Abba Kyari was criticised, vilified, abused, insulted, hated and even cursed. Now that the curtains have dropped and the truth is surely but gradually coming out, Nigerians must now begin the process of actually seeking out the truth.

I would like to also observe that each and every time the name of Kyari was mentioned in relation to any shady deals or corruption of any type, the name that has always served as a natural accompaniment to that of the late Chief of staff was that of Mamman Daura. Like coffee with cream, and peanut butter with jelly, both men were always packaged into the same box. However, it is important to note that if Kyari has been shown to be innocent of all the alleged atrocities that were levelled against him, common sense demands that his ‘supposed accomplice’, Maman Daura, is also not culpable to any of the false accusations.

Having said this, those who led Nigerians into crucifying the late Abba Kyari are not showing any signs of quitting their mischief. Presently, they have thrown the name of Mamman Daura into the list of likely replacement for late Abba Kyari as Chief of staff. 

Personally, considering the age and social standing of Daura, coupled with his bloodline ties to the President, the mere suggestion of Daura as the Chief of Staff is an insult to the old man for which he deserves an apology. 

Having come a long way in life, Mamman Daura has no doubt paid his dues and it’ is therefore beholden on all Nigerians of good conscience to allow the septuagenarian  to enjoy the remainder of his years — and practice restraint when sharing or participating in the unnecessary political propaganda and slander that has plagued him since Buhari assumed office in 2015.

Alwan Hassan writes in from Abuja.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Ahmad Lawan: Giving succor to the needy, By Abubakar Sidiq Usman

Yobe North Senatorial district witnessed a breath of fresh air last week with the unveiling of the Free Medical Outreach and Mass Animal Vaccination by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan.

Lawan took time off his busy schedule of his office to launch what will remain indelible in the hearts of his constituents. The Free Medical Outreach and Mass Animal Vaccination is sponsored by the Senate President to provide medical treatments and services to his constituents to enable them enjoy good health.

While the mass animal vaccination will commence this month and is expected to take care of one million animals of various types, the free medical outreach has taken off with attention given to persons with medical needs requiring eye services, surgical services, gynecological checking and surgeries for hyena, fibroid and many others. About 800 people have been screened and are to receive the free medical treatments and services.

This is not the first time the Senate President has given out free medical and veterinary services to his people. A similar exercise was conducted last year where over five hundred thousand animals were vaccinated and hundreds of people given free medical services. The exercise was planned to be a one-off programme, with the belief that all those with such medical challenges would be taken care of. However, it turned out that more persons that required medical attention could not be attended to, therefore necessitating another outreach with a promise that the free medical services will continue to be rendered to the people who require such services.

At the launch of the current medical outreach, plans were made to provide free eye, gynecological and surgical services for only 400 persons, but those who were confirmed to be in need of the treatment after screening were nearly 800, half of whom were asked to come back next year when another free medical outreach would probably take place again. 

Understanding the implication of this development, Dr. Lawan, in his magnanimity, graciously directed that the nearly 800 persons who have been screened and found to be in need of one medical care or the other be attended to. This goes a long way to show that Lawan was willing to go out of his way to do anything humanly possible to put smiles on the faces of his people. 

The free medical services and the attendant costs notwithstanding, Distinguished Senator Ahmad Lawan is not done with his people. As an academic and well read politician, he understands and appreciates the importance of education and the role it plays in individual and national development. He has stated clearly that he does not support the idea of people looking for employment after secondary school education when they can still further their education just as he did to become a Phd. degree holder. To correct this anomaly, the Senate President offered to purchase UTME direct entry forms for 1000 qualified applicants and also offered to pay the tuition fees for successful candidates. All for his constituents in Yobe North senatorial district.

To underscore his desires for easy access for his people to sit for the UTME, Lawan pledged to provide computers for the Atiku Abubakar College in Nguru so as to make the place a computer based centre for the exams. The promise is currently being implemented to ensure that the place is ready for use as a JAMB centre.

The gesture being extended to the people of Yobe North Senatorial District by Dr Ahmad Lawan is not surprising. Since his election as a legislator, first in the House of Representatives and now in the Senate, he has embarked on numerous uplifting and life saving programmes and projects in his constituency, a move that has consistently earned him victory since the return to democracy in 1999.

The President of the Senate has made it a point of duty to distribute food materials worth millions of Naira to his constituents every year. Similar gestures were extended to those in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State and the Federal Capital Territory. Lawan has also constructed and still constructing several culverts across various parts of his Senatorial district to allow easy access to and from different villages and communities.

Provision of portable drinking water is one area where Dr. Lawan has also recorded landmark achievements. Hand pumps and boreholes especially those powered by solar have been provided across the Senatorial zone. In the previous year, the umbrella body of cattle breeders known as Miyetti Allah was given the opportunity to nominate locations for the provision of hand pumps in the North East zone. During his last visit to his constituency, Lawan directed that the number provided in the previous year be doubled while 36 solar powered boreholes which the herdsmen did not enjoin until now be constructed in selected RUGA settlements chosen by the herdsmen themselves.

As part of measures to ensure the provision of electricity to the people of his constituency, the Senate President purchased and distributed several numbers of transformers across Yobe North Senatorial District. Many locations are also enjoying night illumination as a result of solar powered street lights provided across the local government areas that makes up the Senatorial zone.

The Mother and Child Hospital currently under construction and nearing completion along Yusufari road in Gashua was facilitated by Lawan. In no distant time, the hospital will be commissioned to provide adequate healthcare for mothers and children both within and outside the environs.

There are other numerous projects that Senate President Ahmad Lawan has embarked on for the people of his constituency. One may not have heard much of them in the media because SAIL, as he is fondly called, is a silent achiever and a man of little words but plenty action. He has shown love to his people and his constituents have reciprocated by constantly returning him to the National Assembly to represent them. Only very few lawmakers in Nigeria have attained this feat and it cannot be out of sheer luck. It’s with the people.

God bless His Excellency, Distinguished Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, President of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly.

Abubakar Sidiq Usman

Special Assistant on New Media 

Office of the President of the Senate

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

EFCC Bars 1,500 Students Of Rochas Foundation College From Gaining Access to School

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, Enugu zonal Office on Tuesday in an unsanctioned raid led by a team of unidentified agents barred about 1,500 students of the Rochas Foundation in Imo State from gaining access to the school.

The students, who are children of the poorest of the poor in the society who are catered for academically and welfare-wise absolutely free of charge, were harassed as they tried gaining entry to the facility.

Several eyewitness accounts also confirmed the development, saying the EFCC officials assisted by state officials forcefully gained entry into the premises and molested those on ground in the facility.

“Several students sustained varied degrees of injuries and are now currently receiving treatment, with a female student on her monthly period reportedly kicked in the stomach” one of the witnesses said.

The situation quickly escalated as staff of the Foundation who attempted to help the girl were also said to have been severally beaten.

It took the intervention of the principal of the school to calm frying nerves as many could not understand the reasons behind the unfortunate ordeal they had just been subjected to.

The Rochas Foundation since inception in 1998 has graduated about 3,000 students of the vulnerable in the society who have contributed immensely to the development of the country.

According to reliable sources, Agents of the Imo state government are using the EFCC to intimidate and deny the most vulnerable Nigerian kids free education because of political differences with the founder of the foundation.

Calls to the media aide of Senator Rochas Okorocha for a reaction were not answered as that the time of going to press.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Jibrin: Undisputed Kingmaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, By Idris Omolabake

The story of the emergence of former Speaker Yakubu Dogara and his successor, Femi Gbajabiamila, will be incomplete without adequate mention of the exploits of Abdulmumuni Jibrin, an influential member of the House of Representatives from Kano State.

Jibrin has succeeded in ‘installing’ two different speakers of the House of Representatives in two different circumstances, first through a rebellion against the establishment; and the other in enforcing the position of same establishment.

In 2015, the youthful Jibrin who only joined the House in 2011, played prominent role in the leadership tussle between then ‘Equity Group’ headed by Yakubu Dogara and the ‘Loyalist Group’ headed by Femi Gbajabiamila. That struggle eventually produced Dogara as Speaker, thereby causing a major rift within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Fast forward to 2019, Jibrin who served as the Campaign Director General for the election of Gbajabiamila like he did for Dogara in 2015, has also delivered the incumbent Speaker. This is a feat exclusive to him as no one person has delivered two speakers consecutively in the history of Nigeria’s House of Representatives.

Who is Abdulmumuni Jibrin?

Abdulmumin Jibrin is a Nigerian politician and a 3rd term member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives from Kofa, Bebeji LG, Kano state. He is 42 years of age. He was at various times chairman House Committee on Finance, Appropriation and Land Transport with oversight on Nigeria’s revenue, expenditure, railways and rail projects respectively. 

He is a globally trained business executive, academician turned politician. He holds a BSc, MSc and PhD in Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations from University of Abuja and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He was at various times trained at the London Business School, Harvard Business School and SBS- Swiss Business School- Zurich Switzerland where he obtained SEP, PLD and MBA respectively. He is an Alumnus of the Harvard, London and Swiss business schools. 

Prior to joining politics, Abdulmumin played an active role in the private sector as Chairman/ CEO Green Forest Group LTD running a Nigerian conglomerate in diverse fields.  He served as Chairman (Nigeria) of Turkish construction giant Tasyapi and Chairman Abuja branch of Nigeria-British chamber of commerce. He also lectured at the university with publications to his credit. 

A consummate mobiliser, Abdulmumin was the Director, Media and Strategic Communication of the Women and Youth Presidential Campaign Team and most recently, Director General of Femi Gbajabiamila for Speaker campaign council. He is a public finance and foreign policy expert and has shown significant interest and contributed to improving Nigeria’s revenue and expenditure process. He has won numerous awards and he is a fellow of many professional bodies including the Chartered Institute of Finance and Control. 

He is a Paul Harris fellow of Rotary international.  He holds the traditional tittle of Jarman Bebeji conferred on him with the approval of the Kano Emirate Council. It is a tittle reserved for the courageous and generous.

Political Career:

Prior to his emergence on the federal parliamentary scene, Jibrin had been involved in national politics especially during the presidential campaigns in 2003 and 2007. In 2011, Jibrin won election to represent Kiru/Bebeji Federal constituency under the Platform of the PDP, and later decamped to the newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014. It is worth noting that he led the first set of 37 lawmakers who defected in a massive swoop that shook the political landscape. Not surprisingly, he won re-election into the House under the new platform in 2015.

2015 speakership election…

In 2015, the APC just like in 2019, zoned the position of Senate President to the north-east geo-political zone and specifically chose Ahmed Lawan while the post of Speaker, the south-west zone was favoured with Gbajabiamila anointed. However, the rebellion against the party’s position led by immediate past Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the Equity Group in the House of Representatives where Jibrin played prominent roles, eventually led to a defeat of the choices of the party. Suffice to say that it was same Jibrin who nominated Dogara for the post on that historic day thereby culminating months of chaperoning an arduous campaign that eventually paid off.  

In the political preambles to the election, Jibrin reportedly led a walk out of the mock primary organized by the party at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. This much was amplified in an apology letter he wrote to former APC national chairman, John Oyegun in 2018, when he needed forgiveness and a relaunch into reckoning after a political drought that almost ended his public life. He wrote then: “I recollect with deep regret and pains and can still hear the echo of your voice in the make-or-mar meeting at the ICC shouting “sit down Jibrin, sit down Jibrin, Jibrin sit down” ” you dare not walk out of this hall Jibrin”! Sen Lawali Shuaibu watched helplessly with the box of ballot meant for the mock elections as I forced myself up, stood my grounds, made my points, held the hands of Yakubu Dagara, and pulled him out of the hall.”

Jibrin and his group were able to garner votes across the two political parties to pave the way for Dogara to emerge speaker. After the election, he was offered the chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee of the House, a position that became the springboard to the travails that bedeviled him for much of that 8th assembly.

Budget controversy and suspension from the House…

Jibrin’s journey into the wilderness kicked off with his resignation as the Chairman House Committee on Appropriation as announced by the Speaker on Wednesday, 20th July, 2016. He described the speaker’s speech announcing his exit as the chairman of the committee as “a misrepresentation of the facts, false, mischievous, unfair and a calculated attempt” to bring his name to “disrepute.” That disputation led to weeks if not months of rancorous exchanges between him and the leadership of the House.

Between late July and early August, 2016, Jibrin visited several law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies of government including, the Department of State Services (DSS), the economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Nigeria Police with a wounding petition that contained purported gross misconduct on the part of the accused lawmakers. But it was unclear if any of the agencies acted on the documents submitted with so much fanfare.

Before he was eventually banished by the House, Jibrin was left in the cold as 10 principal officers of the House rallied in support of Dogara and denounced Mr. Jibrin. Incidentally, Femi Gbajabiamila, then Majority Leader who was at the time thought to be a political enemy of the Speaker as a result of the previous, bitter speakership battle that lead to the emergence of Dogara, also joined the body of principal officers in denouncing Jibrin. It is however, worth noting that the Lagos lawmaker now speaker, had spoken against the suspension of his Kano counterpart, describing the decision as illegal and unconstitutional.

Furthermore, Jibrin’s party, the ruling APC warned him to ceasefire but Jibrin was defiant and continued his onslaught against the House leadership. He even refused to appear before a disciplinary committee set up in September, 2016 to investigate his claims of budget fraud against the leadership claiming the investigation was a witch-hunt. On September 28, 2016 the grand finale of the Jibrin saga played out as the House Committee on Ethics, Privileges, and Public Petitions swiftly concluded its investigations and submitted its report a week after the commencement of the probe.

The Committee’s recommendation that Jibrin be suspended for 180 legislative days was adopted by the entire membership of the House in plenary. He was also barred from positions of responsibility in the House till the end of the 8th assembly. Like the fighter that he is, Jibrin filed an action in court to challenge his suspension.

Whistle-blower banished to the cold…

Despite his suspension and subsequent ‘relocation’ to London, Jibrin refused to pipe down on his attacks on the leadership of the House and maintained forthrightness on the matter. 

Even when Jibrin completed his suspension, he still could not resume his duties as a federal lawmaker as the House insisted on an apology which he bluntly refused to offer.

However, on Tuesday, 13th March, 2018 Jibrin finally decided to end his long drawn battle with the House leadership. The following day he was ushered into the green chamber in a manner that demonstrated conciliation and mutual forgiveness. On his return, Jibrin said: “Lessons were learnt by both parties; the leadership and the victim. Lessons on the part of leadership and lessons on the part of members.” Incidentally, the court at about this time, ruled that his suspension was unconstitutional. He was subsequently appointed as Chairman of the House Committee on Land Transport and his entitlements hitherto withheld, paid in full. 

2019 elections and the Parliamentary Support Group…

Upon resumption at the House in 2018, Jibrin convened the Parliamentary Support Group PSG, with the mandate of full loyalty to President Buhari. Notably, the group was already in existence in the Senate. It was seen as a demonstration of courage by his colleagues. Thus, Jibrin even led over 100 members of the House to pay solidarity to the President in 2018 at a time when the National Assembly Joint executive session issued a 13-point demand to the President. Jibrin had earlier described it as a “PDP executive session” prompting a reproach from the House. Former member, Sunday Karimi moved a motion calling for sanction against Jibrin who just returned from suspension.

Interestingly, the new group also had a subtle leadership tussle with Gbajabiamila who in his position as the Leader of the House, was automatically leader of the APC caucus. The PSG reportedly made attempts to undermine Gbajabiamila, even though jibrin, in a tweet attempted to diffuse the tension by saying: “Against the back drop of the media reports, I wish to state that there is no crack in the APC caucus. We have internal issues, and there is nothing unusual about it. However, the issues will be resolved internally. We have one caucus, and Femi is the leader.”

2019 election and Jibrin’s declaration not to re-contest

Jibrin won his re-election in a resounding fashion. He took to Twitter to declare that he will not be re-contesting the post of House of Representatives member again, saying “victory against all odds…the hardest in all elections I ran. Exhausted and utterly worn out! It’s additionally an emotional exit as this shall be my final contest for the House of Representatives.” For Jibrin, the 2019 election was not without some controversy as he was arrested in connection with an alleged attack on Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso’s convoy.

The 2019 speakership election

Jibrin supported the aspiration of the current Speaker and was promptly offered the position of the Director General of the Campaign, in recognition of his knack for political dexterity, hard work and antecedence of success. Off to work he went, canvassing, persuading, and deploying carefully crafted political strategies that eventually paid off on June 11, 2019.

Jibrin perhaps gave the longest nomination speech ever when nominating a Speaker, engaging in a charm offensive to woo members across party lines on the day of election. Although many pundits predicted the 2019 tussle for speaker would replicate the 2015 scenario, but it turned out the rebellion had lost a fighter in Jibrin.

The same manner he was at the forefront of the action in 2015, he was at the forefront of action in 2019. Bringing energy, doggedness and organization to the Campaign, something probably missing in 2019.

Maybe learning from the 2015 election of speaker, Jibrin in an interview with Channels Television, disclosed that he had no agreed compensation deal with Gbajabiamila. He even ruled himself out of the post of Leader of the House, the next most powerful position after Speaker and Deputy Speaker. In a further show of humility and modesty, he related his feeling in a tweet thus: “Twice lucky…it’s fair to say hard work, courage and commitment BUT honestly I have been so many times lucky…really nothing special about me. Just your regular guy! Best wishes to Yakubu Dogara and congrats to Femi Gbajabiamila. God has been so gracious…humbled!”

Political future…..

After the emergence of Gbajabiamila as Speaker, all eyes have been on Jibrin. What does he want? What will he be offered? Insiders in the Gbajabiamila camp revealed that everyone is confused about what to do with Jibrin. He has held the two most important committees of Finance and Appropriations consecutively with a wide scope of oversight covering almost every sector. The two committees are even referred to as the 11th and 12th Principal Officers in the House. There is also strong whispering within the House that the Kano Born politician may consider an immediate return to his private business or the university to pursue his professorial ambition. The next few days or weeks will tell.

In the long term however, there are other options for Jibrin: maybe he would seek to be governor of Kano or choose to go to the senate. Whatever choice or moves he makes, one thing is certain: opponents will only underestimate him at their own peril.

Omolabake, a public analyst, writes from Abuja

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Health Ministry Signs MoU with NI-ABAE To Continue Conditional Cash Transfer Beyond 2020

The Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and New Incentives-All Babies Are Equal (NI-ABAE) Initiative, an organization registered in the health sector has signed an Memorandum of Understanding to continue implementation of its conditional cash transfer (CCT) program to increase demand for routine immunization in North Western Nigeria beyond 2020 dependent on outcome of randomised control trial that assess the impact of the CCT program.

NI-ABAE Initiative had last month signed a similar agreement with the government of Nigeria through the Ministry of Budget and National Planning where it was agreed that NI-ABAE Initiative among other things will support routine immunization system by engaging in conditional cash transfer, social mobilization and defaulter tracking to raise demand for immunization in primary health care facilities.

The organisation is also expected to support the State Primary Health Care Development Agencies (SPHCDAs) in Jigawa, Katsina and Zamfara States by supporting in community mobilisation, vaccine supply review, aiding top up vaccine transportation and other requested support by the agencies.

The MoU with the FMOH, which is for a period of 2 years and expected to elapse in 2021, has the endorsement of the Federal Ministry of Health to continue the implementation of the CCT program beyond 2020.

Under the new arrangement, the Federal Ministry of Health and NI-ABAE Initiative will collaborate and work together to achieve greater accountability and ensure greater coordination of NGOs registered with the ministry, support NI-ABAE Initiative programme and potential scale-up in 2020 dependent on study outcome and share information on cash monitoring procedures, data and results.

The MoU also stipulates that the parties shall encourage the exchange of information and develop cooperation in many areas which includes relevant knowledge and data sharing between the ministry and NI-ABAE Initiative support to NI_ABAE initiative to map NGOs working in the health sector in Nigeria and support to host national review meetings on health based NGO governance. NI-ABAE Initiative had gone ahead to support the review meeting even before the signing of the MoU and recently donated office items to strengthen the setup of the NGO technical working group.

Both parties will also agreed to develop cooperation in the support of monitoring of NI-ABAE Initiative conditional cash transfer program at implementation locations by the FMOH team as well as the support at no financial or staff cost for NI-ABAE Initiatives such as written recommendations to relevant government and non-governmental organisations.

NI-ABAE Initiative CCT program gives mothers of eligible infants you receive routine immunization the sum of N500 for the first four mandatory immunization visits and N2,000 for the last visit.

Nearly 500,000 cash transfers has been disbursed to the caregivers of over 100,000 enrolee infants eligible for routine immunization in their intervention clinics worth over N350,000,000 since the commencement of the program in 2017.

The cash transfer compensates for transport, loss trading income and waiting time. NI-ABAE Initiative said will continue to raise demand for routine immunization through innovative means like CCT.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

@abikedabiri Denies Accusing Ethiopia, Egypt Airlines Of Running Drug Cartels In Nigeria

The Chairman/CEO of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa has denied accusing some foreign airlines of running drug cartels in the country.

Hon. Dabiri-Erewa appeared before the Senate ad-hoc committee investigating the circumstances leading to the arrest of Zainab Aliyu, a Nigerian student in Saudi Arabia over allegations of drug trafficking was reportedly quoted as saying that the airlines working with syndicates at the countries airport plant drugs in the bags of unsuspecting passengers.

But a statement in Abuja on Thursday by the Media aide, Abdur-Rahman Balogun stated that the headline is totally incorrect and not a true reflection of what she said during the Senate committee public hearing chaired by Senator Kabiru Gaya on Wednesday.

“Dabiri-Erewa had during the hearing stressed the need for those two airlines to ensure compulsory baggage identification as all cases recorded on issue of drugs had been from both airlines,” the statement said.

Balogun added that “Luckily enough, the representative of Ethiopian Air, who was at the public hearing, promised that baggage identification would be strengthened.”

“The Senate public hearing was geared towards probing the circumstances surrounding the framing up and eventual arrest of Zainab Aliyu in Saudi Arabia over allegation of carrying tramadol drug in her baggage.”

“Members of the public are hereby urged to discountenance previous publication that is contrary to this clarification.”

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

APC Primaries: I Conducted A Free And Fair Election In Edo – Farida Suleiman

Farida Suleiman, who presided over the State and National Assembly Election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State has said that she conducted a free and fair election in the state.

In a statement personally signed by her, Mrs Suleiman, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ignore the open letter by the Coalition of Concerned Members Of APC Edo State which asked the President to call Adams Oshiomhole, the national chairman to order.

According to Mrs Suleiman, the allegation by the Coalition of Concerned Members Of APC Edo State is not only baseless and unfounded but a figment of the imagination of the group, whose hatchet job for the embattled State Governor is visible to the discerning.

The statement reads in part; “When the Primaries Committee members and I arrived Edo State, an obviously concocted primaries had been conducted a day before and attempts were made by Gov. Obaseki and his aides to persuade us to adopt the results of the jaundiced primaries. We stood our ground that due process must be followed and that the guidelines for the primaries as directed by the APC National Working Committee (NWC) will be carried out to the latter.

“This, I restarted at a press conference that was aired on major TV stations in Edo State. At the conclusion of our assignment, the results were also announced via a press conference in Benin city and not in Abuja as fabricated by the discredited coalition. It is therefore pertinent to state that I followed my conscience and performed the assignment to the best of my ability. Indeed, I stood my ground and turned down overtures made to us by the Governor and his emissaries to manipulate the process in favour of his anointed candidates.

“Under my watch as Chairperson of the APC primaries committee in Edo State, I make bold to say that all candidates emerged through a free, fair and transparent process. The said the younger brother of the National Chairman, Seid Oshoimhole which the authors alleged was imposed on the people of Etsako West 1 for House of Assembly was unanimously elected by APC members in that constituency. There were no manipulations, whatsoever, in his favour. Those crying wolf are sore losers who are disconnected from the people at the grassroots.

“No wonder they lost their zones and Senatorial districts to the opposition while their object of slander, the Comrade Chairman swept his own Edo North Senatorial zone for your great party.

“Prior to my deployment for the party assignment in Edo, I have never met with Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. Indeed, my nomination to serve was facilitated by a reputable party leader from the North. The attempt to impute personal relationship with Oshiomhole as the motive for alleged malfeasance in the conduct of the primaries is a ploy to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it.

“I consider the publication with respect to myself, malicious and a veiled defamation of character. I ask that the so-called “Coalition of Concerned Members of APC Edo State” retract the mention of my name in its open letter and tender an unreserved public apology within 7 days. Failure of which, I will be left with no option than to seek legal redress.

“The campaign of calumny against the party chairman orchestrated by sponsored groups will fail as our reformist leader will not be distracted in his mission to assert party supremacy and restore internal democracy whilst also ensuring that only performers get the party ticket at all levels.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

UBA Premieres most Anticipated Men’s Club Season 2 Trailer

Lagos, Saturday 18th of May, 2019 was the definition of entertainment success. From the lights to setup, the atmosphere was filled with the euphoria of excitement. The wait was finally over, almost 6 months after the first season hit YouTube, The Men’s club, season 2 is set to launch.

In anticipation, a private screening was held at the IMAX Filmhouse cinema, Lekki. In attendance were the cast, crew and industry supporters. A little waiting room held a re-enacted set from the show’s opening montage, signature cocktails, mock tails  and delicious canapés were served. The Crème-de-la Crème of Lagos entertainment elites including Kemi Adetiba, Noble Igwe, Eku Edewor, Ashionye Raccah, Bola Atta and guests mingled and re-lived their favourite scenes from Season 1 through pictures and interviews.

At 7:30 pm, all guests were ushered into the main screening hall by the Creative Director of REDTV, Obinna Okerekeocha, intimating fans and guests present that the new Season was about to bring on a different dimension. ‘REDTV has taken drama to a different level and we aren’t scared to push the boundaries. Our vision at REDTV is to continually produce premium content for entertainment. The new season of The Men’s Club is real. Its aspirational and relatable. The cinematography and scores are top class and its wonderful to see how the lead actors have grown. This is going to be a bigger hit than Season one’ said Okerekeocha. He reminded everyone to spread the message and invite friends to subscribe on the REDTV.

As end credits from the show reeled on the screen, the room was filled with a resounding applause. In a thank you address, Bola Atta the Executive Producer expressed her uttermost joy as the show more than surpassed expectations. She thanked the United Bank for Africa(UBA) for the endless support to ensure the success of REDTV and congratulated Tola Odunsi and Akins Akinkugbe, co-producers of the The Men’s Club.

The curtains drew with a final address from Tola Odunsi and Akins ‘AK’ Akinkugbe returning immense gratitude to every single actor and crew behind the scene reminding guests that ‘it’s easy to see the finished show but every single person who contributes to the show makes the job worthwhile’.

The Men’s Club starring Daniel Etim Effiong, Ayo Ayoola, Efa Iwara, Baaja Adebule, Mimi Chaka, Sharon Ooja, Segilola Ogidan, Enado Odigie. This season hosts some new faces including Shawn Faqua, Ijeoma Aniebo, Somto Akanegbu as we follow the lives of 4 young men in Lagos, discovering love, breaking hearts and trying to find meaning to life through their daily experiences and encounters.

The new season drops on YouTube this Thursday 23rd, May on the REDTV channel.

REDTV is a fast paced lifestyle channel that puts Africa on the global stage. Proudly powered by the  United Bank, UBA.

The network is here to entertain and inform with rich content that feature the very best of Africa focused on entertainment, fashion, news, design,
music, sport, movies and travel and much more. 

REDTV collaborates with the most talented visionaries, creative minds daring to believe in a New Africa, putting together content that reflects it. Feel the Heat on REDTV.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

President Buhari’s Trip Creates No Legal Or Constitutional Incident – BMO?

The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has admonished the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to desist from its unwarranted and frivolous media attacks on President Muhammadu Buhari over his recent private trip to the United Kingdom.

The pro-Buhari group gave the admonition in its reaction to a press conference addressed by Mr Uche Secondus, National Chairman of the PDP where the party had descended heavily on President Buhari for a private visit to the UK without informing the National Assembly.

In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO averred that President Buhari’s has created no legal or constitutional incident and that  he is in fact the first Nigerian President to adhere to the Nigerian Constitution in that particular respect.

“We are constrained to remind the Peoples Democratic Party that throughout its sixteen years in power, Nigerians cannot recall any particular time a president transmitted letters to the National Assembly while embarking on vacation or any foreign trip.  

“In fact President Buhari is the first President to start adhering to the constitutional provision on the transmission of letters to the National Assembly whenever embarking on vacation.

“For the avoidance of doubt, President Muhammadu Buhari in deference to the constitution has always transmitted a letter to the National Assembly when embarking on vacation or medical trip and this is in line with his belief in the rule of law.”

BMO therefore enjoined the opposition party “to always stick to constructive engagements as an opposition party, and refrain from overheating the polity with careless statements.

“Even on the position of the law, we make bold to say that Section 145 sub section 2 allows the President twenty one days window within which to transmit a letter to the National Assembly. In this particular case the president will only be away for ten days, and this indicates that no section of the Constitution has been breached.

“We condemn the tendency of the PDP to always drag the country into needless controversies. Perhaps we need to once again remind the PDP that President Buhari was in the forefront of the patriotic Nigerians who supported the transfer of power to then vice president Goodluck Jonathan during the absence of late President Umaru Musa Yar’dua.

“He is therefore not averse to transmission of letters to the National Assembly. We wish to reassure Nigerians that the President remains committed to diligent adherence to the rule of law and the Constitution of the country,” the group added.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

UBA Partners Mastercard To Reward Customers With All-Expense Paid Trip to UEFA Champions League Semi’s & Finals

Leading Pan-African Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) PLC in partnership with leading global payments and technology company, Mastercard, have announced they are giving away all-expenses paid trips to the Semi-Finals and Finals of the 2019 UEFA Champions League to 12 lucky UBA Mastercard holders and their plus ones. 

Open to all existing and new UBA Platinum Mastercard holders, this amazing giveaway is an opportunity to pamper customers and give them a unique, unforgettable and priceless experience including flights, visas, 5-star accommodation, tickets to watch either the semi-finals or final matches of the UEFA Champions League and so much more with their MasterCard Platinum Access. 

 A total of 12 UBA Platinum Mastercard holders from Nigeria and 11 other African countries will share the enthralling experience of watching the finals live with a loved one as well as enjoy the great ambience of host city of the Semi-Finals or Finals (Madrid). The participating countries are Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia. 

“As we celebrate our 70 years of Banking and excellence, this is our way of rewarding customers for their continued patronage to the UBA brand. There will be many more this year as we want to continue to appreciate all our customers … for now. Customers who qualify should get a UBA Platinum Mastercard and spend a minimum of $10,000 or its equivalent in his or her local currency to stand a chance to win the all-expense paid package. To get your UBA Platinum Mastercard at any UBA Branch, a customer simply needs to contact his or her relationship manager at any UBA branch office” the Group Head, Marketing, UBA Plc, Mrs. Dupe Olusola said.

She said, “The UEFA Champions League is the most sought-after trophy in club football competition, and one of the most followed sporting spectacles in the world. To this end, we decided to partner Mastercard and UEFA in bringing the most iconic and cherished moments in the history of football to our esteemed and loyal customers who are the reason why we are so successful.

“We realize that, a lot of our customers love football and we feel giving them this treasured experience while they are pampered in far-away Spain is the way to go. These are the moments that make football such a passionate sport and we want to share these moments and experiences with our loyal customers across Nigeria and Africa,” Olusola said.

United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading pan-African financial services group, operating in 20 African countries, as well as the United Kingdom, the United States of America and with presence in France.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

KOGI 2019: Babatunde Irukera Fits The Bill, By Bala Haruna

Kogi, the confluence State is presently groaning under the abysmal leadership of incumbent Governor, Yahaya Bello. While workers are being owed several months of salaries, decrepit infrastructure dot the landscape of the State with no visible projects in almost 4 years. It is generally discussed in hushed tones across the State that Kogi has never had it so bad. The yearning for change has literarily become a movement, and not a few people are looking in the direction of this very refined gentleman – Babatunde Irukera, to salvage the State.

Babatunde Irukera is the Director General/Chief Executive Officer, Consumer Protection Council (CPC). He is responsible for the daily management of the Council and leadership in fulfilling its mandate to protect consumers and secure remedies when consumer rights are violated. His record of advocacy and cases in favour of consumers is outstanding and provides the clarity that both the Council and industry need in ensuring due regard for customer service and protection of consumer rights.

Irukera has to his credit key sector related consumer protection advancements including advising the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority with respect to its role in sector consumer protection. He led the initiative in developing current aviation consumer protection regulations as well as the Passenger Bill of Rights. He also led the team that revised existing aviation economic regulations and superintended a comprehensive regulatory and parliamentary investigation into anti-competitive behaviour by foreign airlines. He has also provided capacity-building and advisory services to federal agencies and other clients with respect to competition/antitrust issues. He co-authors the Nigerian chapters in a range of competition/antitrust related widely regarded international publications.

Born on the 4th of September 1968 in Kaduna state, Irukera hails from Egbe, Yagba West. He studied law from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife and upon graduation in 1989, he proceeded to the Nigeria Law School in Lagos in 1990.  In 1995 he proceeded to the United State of America, where he carved a niche for himself as a successful Immigration expert in 1996 after passing the Washington State Bar examination at first sitting, a year after arriving America. In 1997, he started a partnership ( Thomas & Irukera) which ultimately become Partners, Attorneys & Counsellors, both in Chicago.

The legal luminary returned to Nigeria in 2006 to continue his professional career and became a founding and Managing Partner of Simmons Cooper Partners, now a leading law firm in Nigeria. So far, he has had a very successful career, winning many leading and landmark cases. Many of which are in the U.S, where he handled a case for black workers who were subjected to racial discrimination and a hostile work environment in a Fortune 500 company. The case went on appeal, he succeeded on appeal and the case ultimately settled in favour of his clients. It’s a major case and a reference point in employment discrimination cases in the U.S.

In Nigeria, Babatunde  Irukera represented the Federal and Kano state government in a major case against Pfizer for using Nigeria children in Kano as Guinea Pigs to test run a polio drug which caused deaths and other unbearable consequences on the affected children in 1992. The pharmaceutical giant, because the overwhelming evidence established against it by Irukera and his team, pleaded and secured the largest settlement in the history of Nigeria by compensating the victims and constructing a world class infectious disease hospital in Kano.

In another landmark case, Irukera represented a class of investors against one of Nigeria largest bank and secured judgment that subscribers should be fairly treated. Very important case as it was the only class action in the judicial process and it provided remedy for every single subscriber. The list of his success story as a lawyer is endless, his tenacity of purpose in that regard and in his present assignment as DG CPC is the reason the Kogi people are looking in his direction for exemplary leadership. 

One of his celebrated case was which the Nigerian government launched a $43-billion lawsuit against three multinational cigarette manufacturers it accuses of trying to hook young Africans on tobacco, to replenish a market that is dwindling in the West and and attempts to influence lawmakers to keep tobacco sales unregulated, the companies are the British American Tobacco (BAT), Philip Morris and International Tobacco. Babatunde Irukera  was the  Federal Government lawyer in the case. The companies questioned the massive sums demanded by the government and say the case “has no merit”.

However, Irukera proved them wrong and went ahead to establish a case against them with a dossier of evidence that runs to 3,000 pages consisting of internal company e-mails discussing how to target children and influence lawmakers in Nigeria. “If this case gets to the evidence stage, the companies are dead on arrival,” says Babatunde Irukera, the case eventually settled out of court in favour of the government.

He successfully handled the complex multi jurisdictional cases of firms in the United States and England in establishing a broad based practice in Nigeria, focusing primarily on public interest litigation to protect society from injurious conduct and unscrupulous behaviour.

He routinely conducted oral arguments before the United States Court of Appeals and the Nigerian appellate courts with reported “locus classicus”, passages more authoritative and known, that are currently of worthy presidential value

It is believed therefore that with his wealth of experience as a litigator and seasoned administrator, Babatunde Irukera is the breath of fresh air that Kogi desperately needs to neutralise the suffocating stench oozing out of the State as a result of Yahaya Bello’s maladministration. A proverbial round peg in a round hole, widely believed to be imbued with impeccable character and leadership acumen, It is widely acclaimed that he holds the ace for an All Progressives Congress (APC) victory in the November Gubernatorial polls. For Kogi to prosper again, give us Irukera! 

Bala Haruna, is an APC chieftain and concerned Kogi State Indigene

Views expressed are solely those of the author and does to necessarily reflect the views of Abusidiqu.com or its associates

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]