Why I’m Not Supporting President Buhari For Second Term – Yakasai

Elder statesman and Chairman, Northern Elders Council, Tanko Yakasai, has said that he is withholding his support for President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term in office because he has failed Nigerians.

Mr Yakasai, in an interview with Punch, wondered why the president has failed to prosecute anyone in his anti-corruption war, adding that he lacks the qualities of a good leader.

Yakasai said, “There are many qualities required to be a good leader. One of them is competence.

“Another is capacity. The third one is the ability to plan and think clearly. I believe that every leader should possess these qualities.

“I have really not seen all these qualifications in our leaders in this country in recent times; that was why I did not support the second – term bid of the President, because I have not been happy with his performance in the last three years.”

“How many people have been convicted (of corruption) by this government?

“The most important case among others was that of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (Babachir Lawal), who was indicted for committing an
infraction by the report of a Senate committee, which was forwarded to the President.

“When the matter was referred to the President , he asked the Vice President (Prof . Yemi Osinbajo ) to investigate. After the investigation , the presidential panel confirmed the allegations levelled against the former SGF.

“However, up till today , the former SGF has not been arraigned in any court of law. This is
an open case of corruption where a contract was improperly awarded to a company.

“So, a government that claims to be fighting corruption cannot be found wanting in a case that concerned such individual.

“That is where this administration is incompetent . Lawal should have been arraigned before a court of law.

“I have never met the former SGF in my life, but I feel any serious – minded government should have arraigned him and commenced a full prosecution by now.”

Osinbajo: Apostle Of Peace And Driver Of Economic Rejuvenation, By Amaechi Agbo

On Tuesday, VP Yemi Os?inbajo was in Benue State to attend the burial of the 19 Catholic faithful who were killed on the 24 of April and buried on the Tuesday and also commiserate with the people of Benue State over the wanton killing going on in the state by suspected herdsmen.

Prior to Tuesday’s unscheduled visit, the VP has visited the state previously on several occasions to reassure them of the federal government’s efforts in bringing the perpetrators of the dastardly act to justice.

On the visits, as it were on Tuesday, the Vice President highlighted two major things – government’s efforts in revamping the security architecture of the country in order to bring to an end the incessant killings across the country and the need for Nigerians to live in harmonious tranquility. Retaliation never did any one good neither do two wrongs make a right.

Donned in a black kaftan, Osinbajo who tried to fight back emotion during his speech, consoled with people of the state over the unfortunate incident. He reassured good people of the state that the federal government was doing all within its power to end the senseless killings of innocent citizens in the state and other parts of the country.

“What do we owe the dead today, what do we owe those who have died, those 19 who died here in Benue and the very many others who have been killed here? We cannot bring them back, but we can provide succor and comfort for those who have been left behind.

“We can ensure justice for them by apprehending and punishing their assailants, we must rebuild the many places that have been damaged and heal the wounds that have been caused. We must revamp and rebuild our system of law enforcement to ensure that all those who live and work in this land are safe.

“Most importantly, we must, and we will stop these senseless killings.”

In one of his earlier visits to the state, the VP had said “To this end, Mr President and the Security Council have been engaging in rigorous stock taking, with a view to reengineering our security architecture to meet the challenges of the mindless killings in some parts of the country, including the threats of marauding herdsmen, cattle rustlers and bandits.” While the security agencies continue to work relentlessly to hunt down the perpetrators of these evil acts and to bring a permanent end to all of the killings going on in the name of herdsmen, Boko Haram, or in any other name, we as a body of Christ must not lose focus.”

One peculiar fact about Osi?nba?jo’s visit to Benue state on Tuesday was its unscheduled nature.

Over the couple of weeks and months, Vice President Yemi Osi?nbaj?o has traversed the nooks and crannies of the country, providing assurances and succour to distressed or displaced Nigerians who are victims of recent killings and crisis caused by herdsmen/farmers clashes in some states in the federation.

While stressing government commitment in providing lasting security to all Nigerians irrespective of their choices or residence, the VP never failed to emphasise the need for Nigerians to live in peace and tranquility.

Departing from Benue, the Vice President visited Nasarawa State where he assessed peace building efforts of the state, especially as it concerned herdsmen killings in Tiv land and some other security challenges facing the state. More than 200 lives of Tiv people have been lost in the crisis even as another 200,000 were displaced in five local government areas of Awe, Obi, Keana and Doma and parts of Lafia, as a result of the attacks.

Osinbajo also assessed the efforts and process made by the government in ensuring peace between herdsmen and farmers, especially around the border communities of Nasarawa and Benue States affected by the crisis.

On the same day, the Vice President was in Abuja to attend this year’s Direct Investors’ Summit 2018, Held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. At the Summit, the Vice President who is the chair of the economic management team detailed the policies and programmes introduced by the government so far in boosting ease of doing business in the country and stabilizing the economy for greater growth and development.

Some of the sectors the government’s has improved significantly since exiting recession include but not limited to e-commerce, financial services, retail, manufacturing, transportation, micro business, loans and agriculture. The latter of which has created over five million jobs in the country since the government came to power three years ago.

In the service sector, the VP gave an instance of MTN which operates in more than 20 countries, but earns more than half its revenues from Nigeria. He highlighted that MTN is now planning to list on The Nigerian Stock Exchange.

One of the biggest priorities and commitments of the government under this current administration has been the creation of an enabling business environment, one in which property rights and the rule of law are respected, and in which markets take the lead, while government efficiently fulfils its role as a protector and enabler.

For instance, since 2016, the federal government has launched a number of efforts in growing the economy. The most ambitious being the Ease of Doing Business Reforms, currently implemented by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), which the Vice President, not unexpectedly, is the chairman.

PEBEC has implemented a series of National Action Plans, targeted interventions aimed at dismantling specific bottlenecks around business and property registration, access to finance, payment of taxes, importing and exporting goods, entry into and exit from Nigeria.

It is on account of these reforms and policies that the World Bank recognized Nigeria as one of the top 10 most improved economies in the world in 2017, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cited Nigeria’s business environment reforms as a major contributor to lifting the economy out of recession last year.

It therefore follows that Vice President Yemi Osi?nba?jo has not only promoted peace in Nigeria but has also championed the development and growth of Nigeria’s economy.

With the management of many teams he is saddled with and his continued visits to troubled states affected by herders/farmers clashes championing the cause for Nigerians to live in peace and federal government’s resolve to enthrone lasting peace in Nigeria for the betterment of all, it is befitting, therefore, to say that indeed, Vice President Yemi Osi?nba?jo is an apostle of peace and driver of economic rejuvenation in Nigeria.

Amaechi Agbo is a public affairs analyst based in Abuja. avameche@gmail.com

Osinbajo: Trouble-Shooting In No Man’s Land, By Chukwudi Enekwechi

The security challenges in some parts of the country continues to be a source of concern to all Nigerians, as it should well be. The Buhari/Osinbajo administration is however not resting on its oars as it employs various strategies of containment. In doing so, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has assumed the role of a trouble-shooter towards ensuring that normalcy returns to the affected areas, especially in Benue state where thousands of families have been rendered homeless following unprovoked attacks by armed herdsmen.

On a recent two-day visit to internally-displaced persons’ camps in Benue and later Nasarawa states, after an on the-spot assessment of the situation in the various camps, he announced the federal government’s decision to embark on a rehabilitation programme of communities that have been affected by violent killings. With a ten billion naira price tag. He also used the opportunity of the visit to reveal other measures being put in place by the Federal Government to rehabilitate the surviving victims of the attacks and reintegrate them into society. He has also emphasised that as a responsible government justice will be done to the victims.

The Vice President has, through the visits, demonstrated that the federal government is living up to its responsibilities, especially as it relates to the protection of lives and property. One lesson to be drawn from the visit of the Vice President to Benue and Nasarawa states is that this is an administration that does not abdicate its responsibilities.

Apart from on-going efforts by the federal government to restore peace to Benue and other affected states, there is also a clear evidence of deployment of troops to the affected communities and this was acknowledged by the Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom.

There is no doubt that the disruption of normal life in Benue, Taraba, Zamfara, Nasarawa and Kaduna states by the activities of armed herdsmen was unforeseen and can in no way be blamed on the Buhari/Osinbajo administration, yet they have taken the responsibility to curtail and bring it to an end.

Therefore, an attempt to introduce a religious coloration to the farmers/herdsmen clashes, or blame the Vice President of abandoning Christians is uncalled for. It is an established fact that Muslims are suffering similar unfortunate fate in Zamfara state and Birnin Gwari of Kaduna state, and therefore should be seen as national challenge which the Buhari/Osinbajo administration is trying to stop. Both President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice president Yemi Osinbajo are conscientious leaders and are determined to solve the problems once and for all.

In this regard, several measures have been put in place to bring an end to the security challenges. For instance, the government has reviewed the entire security architecture and deployed the army, police, civil defence and air force to restore peace and normalcy in Benue and other restive areas.

It is also on record that on 15th January, 2018 the president had met with a delegation of Benue leaders including the governor where issues were frankly discussed and decisions reached. Before and after the meeting with the Benue state delegation, several top government officials had visited the affected areas to see things first-hand with a view to proffering long-lasting solution.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has never missed an opportunity to show empathy and demonstrate the resolve of the administration to bring an end to the killings; and in doing this his interest has been to reassure the victims and restore hope. With the various measures already put in place and the decision to rebuild the communities, there is no doubt we are soon going to see the end of these unfortunate incidents.

Therefore, to blame the Vice President or accuse him of abandoning Christians in their hour of need is unfair, tragic. As a true Christian, committed patriot and nationalist he has never shirked in his responsibilities to any set of Nigerians, regardless of faith or tribe. He keeps receiving the plaudits of the throng wherever he goes just like President Muhammadu Buhari. As a people we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to reap from the dedicated leadership of the duo of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as their sincerity of purpose is glaring and their integrity untainted.

Let us spare a moment to appreciate all the monumental projects they have embarked on towards rebuilding the country. Though the journey may appear tough, the determination to reach the destination is clear and not in doubt.

By Chukwudi Enekwechi (JP)

An Abuja Based Journalist and Politician

Kwechis19@yahoo.com

Osinbajo’s Trouble Shooter’s Role In Herdsmen Killings, By Chukwudi Enekwechi

While the security challenges which the country has witnessed in some states continues to be a source of concern to all Nigerians, it is consoling that the Buhari/Osinbajo administration has employed all humanly possible strategies to contain them. In doing so, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has assumed the role of a trouble shooter towards ensuring that normalcy returns to the affected areas, especially in Benue state where thousands of families have been rendered homeless following the unprovoked attacks by armed herdsmen.

 Recently he embarked on a two day visit to the internally-displaced camps in Benue state and later Nasarawa state. After an on the-spot assessment of the situation in the various camps the vice president announced the decision of the federal government to embark on a rehabilitation programme of communities that have been affected by violent killings with a commitment of ten billion naira. He also used the opportunity of the visit to reveal the several measures being put in place by the federal government to rehabilitate the surviving victims of the attacks and reintegrate them into society.  He has also emphasised that as a responsible government justice will be done to the victims.

The vice president has through the visits demonstrated that the federal government is living up to its responsibilities, especially as it relates to the protection of lives and properties. One lesson to be drawn from the visit of the vice president to Benue and Nasarawa states is that this is an administration that does not abdicate its responsibilities.

Apart from the on-going efforts by the federal government to restore peace to Benue and other affected states, there is also a clear evidence of deployment of troops to the affected communities and this was acknowledged by the Benue state governor, Mr Samuel Ortom.

It must be appreciated that the disruption of normal life in Benue, Taraba, Zamfara, Nasarawa and Kaduna states by the activities of armed herdsmen was unforeseen and should in no way be blamed on the Buhari/Osinbajo administration, yet they have taken the responsibility to curtail and bring it to an end.

Therefore the attempt to introduce a religious colouration to the farmers/herdsmen clashes and blame the vice president of abandoning Christians is uncalled for. It is an established fact that Muslims are suffering similar unfortunate fate in Zamfara state and Birnin Gwari of Kaduna state, and therefore should be seen as national challenge which the Buhari/Osinbajo administration is trying to stop. Both President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice president Yemi Osinbajo are conscientious leaders and are determined to solve the problems once and for all.

 In this regard, several measures have been put in place to bring an end to the security challenges. For instance, the government has reviewed the entire security architecture and deployed the army, police, civil defence and air force to restore peace and normalcy in Benue and other restive areas.

It is also on record that on 15th January, 2018 the president had met with a delegation of Benue leaders including the governor where issues were frankly discussed and decisions reached. Before and after the meeting with the Benue state delegation, several top government officials had visited the affected areas to see things first-hand with a view to proffering long lasting solution.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has never missed an opportunity to show empathy and demonstrate the resolve of the administration to bring an end to the killings and in doing this his interest has been to reassure the victims and restore hope. With the various measures already put in place and the decision to rebuild the communities, there is no doubt we are soon going to see the end of these unfortunate incidents.

Therefore, it is unnecessary to blame the vice president or accuse him of abandoning Christians in their hour of need. As a true Christian and committed patriot and nationalist he has never shirked in his responsibilities to any set of Nigerians, notwithstanding the faith or ethnicity hence he keeps receiving the plaudits of the throng wherever he goes just as President Muhammadu Buhari. As a people we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to reap from the dedicated leadership of the duo of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as their sincerity of purpose is glaring and their integrity untainted.

Let us spare a moment to appreciate all the monumental projects they have embarked on towards rebuilding the country. Though the journey may appear tough, but the determination to reach the destination is clear and doubtless.

By Chukwudi Enekwechi (JP)

An Abuja Based Journalist and Politician

Kwechis19@yahoo.com

Holistic Health And African Traditional Medicine Approach, By Walid Moukarim

Treating ourselves or relatives when afflicted with an ailment is a necessity, it is thus wise to seek information on the choices of health care available, to understand their pros and cons, and thus make an informed choice in seeking health and good health care.

The light here is on African Traditional Medicines, be it Islamic, Christian, or Traditional Culture Based.

History has shown African traditional medicine is the oldest and perhaps the most assorted and richest of all therapeutic systems.

Africa is seen to be the cradle of mankind, abundant with a rich biological and cultural diversity marked by regional differences in healing practices, from religious and faith based to the yet unexplainable but workable.

African traditional medicine in its varied forms is holistic, involving the body, the mind, spirituality and the environment.

The traditional healer typically diagnoses and treats the psychological basis of an illness before prescribing medicines, be them spiritual or physical, tropical or oral, to not only treat the symptoms but the cause inclusive, with a view to restoring the patient to good health and healing.

Traditional medicine practitioners in a holistic manner focus on taking the whole person into account when they carry out their health services.

This is centered in the belief and knowledge that optimal wellness is created when the unique needs of each and every person are looked at in depth.

Here we find a holistic health approach that digs deep to find the root causes of health problems you might be having, while having a clear understanding of how interwoven and inseparable the various elements of health are (e.g. physical, mental, spiritual).

While Treating patients, traditional healers holistically offer information, counselling, treatment to patients and their families in a personal manner while having at the fore an understanding of their patient’s environment, cultural and religious needs.

It is important to note that in African Traditional medicine as in Islamic and other traditional medicines, sickness is not limited to the physical body, but is seen as anything that affects the balance of harmony in the mind, body, soul and emotions.

Traditional medicine is the sum total of knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures that are used to maintain health, as well as to prevent, diagnose, improve, or treat physical and mental illnesses [WHO].

Traditional medicine that has been adopted by other populations (outside its indigenous culture) is often termed complementary or alternative medicine (CAM) [WHO]

A holistic health practitioner will usually offer or recommend alternative/complementary health therapies where and when necessary.

These might include things like acupuncture, herbalism, prayer or naturopathy to name a few, depending on the healer’s inclination.

Holistic health practitioner will respect when there is a need for conventional medicine too and they will support an integrative approach.All holistic health practitioners will have a slightly different approach. However, the holistic way to health’, has a number of paths which must all be free flowing to have good health or to be said to be healthy.

These include prayer (religious rituals and to dos), exercise, nutrition, stress control, sleep, thoughts and relationships, to mention a few. When one lane is blocked it will eventually have a significant effect on all the other lanes.

For example, if you haven’t eaten all day your body will be crying out for a “feel better quick” fix, your body will signal with headaches, pinching in the tummy, with loss of a concentration and won’t be able to handle normal work routine.

Perhaps you weren’t able to eat because there was a blockage in the paths of your finances or relationship or stress, in your holistic health cumulative.

Whatever your situation, once the main culprit is found, the whole path way will flow a lot more easily and good health restored.

The holistic health approach is firmly based on the foundation principles of traditional medicines, Islamic (Unani), Ayurvedic, TCM or African Traditional.

All of these medical and health practices far precede the allopathic (western) medicine.

These traditional health providers see medicine as any thing that solves mans problems and see sickness or disease as anything that affects the body, mind, soul and emotional balance. Their knowledge predates writing and has been handed down over the years orally and now both orally and well written.

Their holistic approach to health care and their use of nature’s inputs is seen to be that which gives them the power to cure and not manage disease or symptoms.

The world today is turning to herbal and holistic health, this so evident in the need seen by the WHO to set up the Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023, based on the World Health Assembly resolution on traditional medicine (WHA62.13)

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 80% of the emerging world’s population relies on traditional medicine for therapy. During the past decades, the developed world has also witnessed an ascending trend in the utilization of CAM, particularly herbal remedies.

Herbal medicines include herbs, herbal materials, herbal preparations, and finished herbal products that contain parts of plants or other plant materials as active ingredients.

We find that in the African continent the most common traditional medicine in common practice to all the various religious and traditional healers across board is the use of medicinal plants, primarily because medicinal plants are the most easily accessible health resource available to the community, this is often laced with practices linked to belief and others ancestral.

They too have Specialization in their various fields like the traditional bone setter (a highly priced and sort after personal), mental health, exorcists, those into Hijama (cupping) and so on.

The traditional medicine understanding of the human body is completely different from that of the allopathic medicine, the concept of hot or cold temperament, dry and damp temperaments of the core organs come to play and tell the whole story, where there is an imbalance sickness comes, and is treated with items and methods that compliment the temperament of the ailment and parts of the body affected.

In other climes we have the ying-yang balance, the acid alkaline balance, chi and qi, all generally saying the same thing about the body.

The holistic health care givers have their ways of bringing peace, harmony and good health within their societies, some of their methods “modern science” is just beginning to understand.

Ongoing research has shown how many ailments once thought by allopathic medicine to have no cure, have been treated successfully by use of herbal medicines. With claim of successful cures to Cancer, HIV, Malaria, Typhoid and a host of other ailments.

In some climes a marriage between traditional medicine and allopathic medicine is giving birth to Naturopathic Medicine seeking the best of both worlds.

Walid S. Moukarim

Shifahhhc@gmail.com

@ShifahHolisticC

Facebook – @walidsmoukarim

Reference

[1] WHO, Fact sheet N134, 2008, http://www.who.int/mediacentre/ factsheets/2003/fs134/en/

[2] A. Gurib-Fakim, “Medicinal plants: traditions of yesterday and drugs of tomorrow,” Molecular Aspects of Medicine, vol.27, no. 1, pp. 1–93, 2006.

[3] V. Chintamunnee and M. F. Mahomoodally, “Herbal medicine commonly used against infectious diseases in the tropical island of Mauritius,” JournalofHerbalMedicine, vol. 2, pp. 113–125, 2012.

[4] Dr. M.I. Jawa (PhD) lectures

[5] Aone Mokaila, 2001, http://www.blackherbals.com/atcNewsletter913.pdf.

[6]A.Gurib-Fakim,T.Brendler,L.D.Phillips,andL.N.Eloff, Green Gold—Success Stories Using Southern African Plant Species, AAMPS Publishing, Mauritius, 2010.

[7] A. Gurib-Fakim and M. F. Mahomoodally, “African flora as potential sources of medicinal plants: towards the chemotherapy of major parasitic and other infectious diseases- a review,” Jordan Journal of Biological Sciences, vol.6, pp.77–84, 2013.

Diary Of A Disgruntled Arewanist, By AbdulYassar AbdulHamid

“Pardon me, Abdul, but it is through what should be termed as the triumphant moment in the history of our democracy, when an opposition party’s presidential candidate unseated a sitting president through ballot papers, that Buhari came into power.

Now the Buhari-led administration has clocked three years. We have been with him through thick and thin moments, we have moved from slippery dales to steep hills and from debilitating recession to economic growth – first in Africa today with $47.37 billion net foreign reserves as at Match surpassing that of South Africa which has $43.15billion. It is great.

It is true that our prayers have been answered; and now the year 2019 general elections are fast approaching. What the future has in store for us? Only God knows.”

“Abdul,” Dan Kano called.

“Yes, I can hear you, Dan Kano,” I answered.

“I am not trying to refute what you have said about the ubiquitous security upheavals in the country particularly in the northern states of Zamfara, Bunue , Kaduna State and the north east where there are calamitous security challenges, the total number of 149,669 Nigerians graduate receiving their N30,000 monthly stipends through Npower scheme or the recent N9 billion Hadejia Irrigation Valley Scheme (HVIS) rehabilitation project the president launched in Auyo Local Government Area of Jigawa State.

Look, I say a big  thank for that. The credit goes to him.  Of course, I have read of how more than 5,870 illegal arms and ammunitions have been destroyed by security agents this month in Zamfara State and many arrests made in Bunue State, Taraba State and Birnin Gwari. I am in the know of Aminu Tashaku’s arrest.

“I have a question – just a question. This question is rooted in the belief that President Buhari has come into power purposely to fix the serious damage done to this country. I have invested all my hope – so also my kins – in this government from the very moment the president flagged off his campaign to date. I don’t have to tell you of the swarms of supporters I joined on Zangeru Road, Kano, to welcome Muhammad Buhari’s campaign team to the state. So was with almost all the northern States. You can ask why. It is because the people have so much entrusted in him, knowing how in his short-lived administration he had fought indiscipline and corruption with the last ounce of his power that led to the overthrow of his government and earned him imprisonment. This is a clear sign of corruption fighting back. War between the forces of evil and that of good is as old as the world itself. Excuse me for a moment.

“Two years later malam, we are still waiting for the clouds to gather – clouds that will even the score of our investment in this government for it has rained in other regions, with the South West witnessing the highest number of downpours in the form of infrastructural projects, followed by the South East.

“Remember South West has gotten its recompense from its investment in bringing APC into power in 2015. Just take even a cursory glance at Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta N56.701 billion road project, the ongoing Oyo-Ogbomoso dual carriage way, and Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail.

These projects once completed, no doubt, will transform south west political zone into a gigantic economic hub in recent future. This is perhaps because they have clear-cut agendas for their region, someone told me after listening to my unending complaints. Should this be the reason I should have written one for the north.

“Hold on. Albeit all this, on 6th December, 2017 – still waiting for the rain – I arrived at the two-carriage, mighty Hadejia Road, Kano, at 8:30am. I met sea of heads there patiently waiting for the president’s arrival. To me, to them too, no amount of campaign of calumny will eclipse the president’s star in my heart and theirs too. As his motorcade poked its nose, people made hedges of themselves. Some were pushing through the hedges and the security agents were restraining them. The gathering was on a mission. The people wanted to say something – an idea. They could not let go of the urge. In unison they said, “Sai Baba“, raising their fists. Why? Because they so much believe he can do it – some have been nourishing this strong belief in him since 1985.

One year later – still waiting for the rain – the federal government is investing N16.6 billion out of N100 billion Sukuk proceeds in road rehabilitation in the south east. Perhaps you have not heard of Port Harcourt-Aba Road, Abriba-Arockuwu-Ohafia Road, Orji-Achi-Obeagu-Mbaku-Awgu-Ndeabor-Mpu-Okpanku Road, the Ikot Ekpene Border-Aba-Owerri Road or Second Niger Bridge projects.

I hate that debate of their being anti-Buharists or they had voted against him. I do not care whether they have cast their votes for him or not. As long as they are Nigerians they deserve much more than this; and remember his saying, “I belong to everybody, and I belong to nobody”. He is right as true leader should feel duty-bound to serve everyone. All I care is I canvassed 1,903,999 votes for him in Kano, 885,988 in Jigawa State, 1,345,441 in Katsina State and 1,127,760 in Kaduna for instance. I think I deserve something in return.

“With all that Jane B. Singer would call “agenda-setting mischief of both the mainstream and online media”, the on-going slandering against the president aimed at giving his government a bad name in order to hang it, and mistrust of our security forces created by media-hype, I have seen how my kiths and kins in Jigawa State – on May 7, 2018 –  came out in droves, during the president’s two-day working visit to the state, to welcome him and pay their allegiance. They were all smiling. They would not be cowed.

“Thousands of them left their businesses, farms whatnot, to entrust him once more with the resources and the future of this country.  I could see ants of supporters – young and old, men and women – drawing nearer. They were mumbling something by the movements of their lips. You could see their upper and lower lips coming together and parting. As they came nearer in accord they uttered resonantly, “Sai Baba“. Why? Because they too believe he can do it.

“Back to my question; as Professor Abdussalam Umar Jibia would say ‘it is true the love Buhari enjoys amongst his people is still there’.. They have that unwavering loyalty for him. All I need – everyone too – is some explanation on why things are not going the way I expect them to be.

Why other geo-political zones are benefitting much more than I do despite the incomparable number of votes I cast for him? For God’s sake when will the hour hand of the clock of national resources distribution point at the North? Answer me,” Dan Kano asked this impossible question at last.

“It is a pity, Dan Kano. I have listened to your clamouring; it is far better to be blunt than mealy-mouthed. No amount of words will aptly placate your saddened heart, but my fear is rash actions. Had you listened to the president’s speech during his working visit to Jigawa State you would have taken the same stand as I. After repositioning the economy, I envisage an entirely new system. I picture a secured and poverty-free north, network of roads dotting its expansive landscape, sustaining agricultural activities at their peak, the flag of jobs creation waving and educational opportunities flowing like water,” I replied.

Abdulyassar Abdulhamid wrote this piece from Kano and he can be reached at abdullahiyassar2013@gmail.com

 

 

Social Media And Its Effect On The Use Of Punctuation Marks, By Ganiu Bamgbose

Shall we start with an analogy? Look at these:
a. Let’s eat, children.
b. Let’s eat children.
Sentence A is a call to the kids to come eat while sentence B is a call to some person(s) to come eat children.
a. Mikel Obi, the captain, is here.
b. Mikel Obi, the captain is here.
In this also, sentence A informs some persons of the presence of Mikel Obi who is the captain while sentence B informs Mikel Obi of the presence of the captain.
Punctuation marks are to writing what pauses, tone, tune, gaze and gesture are to speaking. All of the misinformation that can be generated by the use of pitch and tone in speaking can be generated by the poor or inappropriate usage of punctuation marks in writing.
 In recent times, the problem with punctuation marks is not so much that we do not know how to use them. It is however the laxity which comes with social media interaction that hinders people’s ability to use punctuation marks. Chat is a quasi-conversation which shares features with face-to-face communication and many assume that constant and consistent use of punctuation marks will hinder the spontaneous flow of discussions. Unfortunately, an average person spends a greater time reading and writing on different social media and this has tremendously affected our use of punctuation marks in official writings, hence, the poor performance in writing tasks in schools and workplaces.
It is essential to use punctuation marks appropriately even in our chats. If for no other reason, remember that you have nothing to lose if you use punctuation marks in chats, in fact it makes you a more proficient user of the language, but you have so much to use if your letter misfires due to the inappropriate use of punctuation mark(s). The rest of this essay will however briefly discuss the major punctuation marks and we will be doing ourselves a whole of good if we apply the knowledge to all forms of writing, chats inclusive.
FULL STOP(.): It performs the following functions:
1. It is used to mark the end of a sentence: Gani loves to teach.
2. It is used to indicate abbreviations (initials, degrees, tittc) e.g., Feb., Rev., Prof., Ph.D., Bamgbose G.A.
Note: When the first and last letters of a word are used to form abbreviation, one can either put a full stop or omit it: Doctor, Dr or Dr.
Full stop should also not be used for acronyms which are abbreviations for professional, business and governmental organisations: NBA, INEC etc.
COMMA (,): It performs the following functions:
1. It is used after a formal salutation or complementary close: Dear Sir, Yours faithfully,
2. It is used in addresses, dates and figures: 2, Bello Road, July 29, 2015. 46, 000.000
3. It is used to separate a cluster of words: the handsome, tall, fair, Nigerian man.
4. It is also used to show a short break in a statement: For the first time, actually, surprisingly,
5. It is used to separate a direct quotation: ‘Don’t say a word’, screamed his father.
6. It is used to separate names of business partners, degrees and other qualifications: Bamgbose G.A.,                     B.Ed (LASU), M A (Ibadan).
7. It separates words that are used in apposition(possible replacements) to nouns: Vincent Enyeama, the Nigerian     goalkeeper, is diligent.
Colon (:):The colon performs the following functions:
1. It is used after a speaker’s name in a dialogue, especially in a written play. Lakunle: A very good morning to you sir!
2. It is used to introduce formal listing. I found the following in the bag: her wallet, passport, a bunch of keys and some cash.
3. It is used to introduce a formal quotation. According to Fakoya (2008): ‘The only variety of English available to Nigerians is Nigerian English.’
4. The colon is used to separate chapters from verses in biblical references. John 3:16.
5. To indicate time. 9:25am.
6. It is also used to separate a title and a subtitle of a book. Everyday English: A compilation of Common Errors.
Semicolon (;): The semicolon performs the following functions:
1. Use a semicolon in place of a period to separate sentences where the conjunction has been left out: Call me tomorrow; I will give you my answer then.
2. Use the semicolon to separate units of a series when one or more of the units contain commas: This conference has people who have come from Boise, Idaho; Los Angeles, California; and Nashville, Tennessee.
3. Use the semicolon between two sentences joined by a coordinating conjunction when one or more commas appear in the first sentence: If she can, she will attempt that feat; and if her husband is able, he will be there to see her.
HYPHEN (-): The hyphen performs the following functions:
1. When two or more nouns are used as adjectives, a hyphen is sometimes used to link all the nouns: A three-man committee. However, to check whether a compound noun is two words, one word, or hyphenated, you may need to look it up in the dictionary. If you cannot find the word in the dictionary, treat the noun as separate words. Here are the three forms discussed: eyewitness (one word compound), eye shadow(two word compound), eye-opener (hyphenated compound). Again, phrases that have verb, noun and adjective forms should appear as separate words when used as verbs and as one word when used as nouns or adjectives: The engine will BREAK DOWN. We suffered a BREAKDOWN in communication.
2. The hyphen joins some prefixes to the main words: co-education, anti-climax
3. It is used to split a word at the end of a line such that the part that cannot be contained is taken to the next line. It is important to break a word at the edge of a line on a syllable and not just in between a syllable: accommo-dation (right) intimidat-ion (wrong)
4. A hyphen is also used between compound numbers from twenty-one to ninety-nine.
Dash(__): This is often mistaken for a hyphen. The hyphen and the dash are not the same. The dash is longer than the hyphen and they perform different functions. Here are the functions of dash:
1. It is used to introduce a list: The group of companies is into so many things__ housing, furniture, cosmetics and farming.
2. It is also used to mark a break or an additional information in a speaker’s line of thought: My brother-in-law__ the proprietor of Tendermate School at Oyedeji __believes in giving out quality.
3. It is also introduced before a repeated word: The University of Ibadan~ the first and the best university in Nigeria~ was founded in 1948.
Quotation Marks or Inverted commas( ‘ ‘ or ” “) – The single quotation marks is British-oriented while the double is associated with the Americans. However both are allowed provided one is consistent.
The following are the functions of the inverted commas:
1. It is used to mark or indicate a quotation: Achebe once said, ‘ Proverbs are the oil with which words are eaten.’
2. To show words used in special or technical sense, slang, vernacular, etc: So you mean you didn’t come with ‘kola’ for oga and you want to have your way? Note: Kola is either money or any gift in this sense.
3. To encolose names of songs, titles of poems, essays, stories, articles, etc.: My recent paper is titled ‘A critical discourse analysis of the Oyo State gubernatorial debate.’
Ellipsis (…): It is used when omitting a word, phrase, line paragraph, or more from a quoted passage. There are many methods for using ellipses. The three-dot method is the simplest and is appropriate for most general works and many scholarly ones. The three- or four-dot method and even more rigorous method used in legal works require fuller explanations that can be found in other reference books.
Caret(^): it is used to show that something is missing from a sentence or text. It is used instead of having to cancel or cross an entire line or sentence because of a single omission.
Write well; use punctuation marks.
(C) 2018 Ganiu Abisoye Bamgbose (GAB)
22/05/2018

Why Atiku’s Proposal To Sell Refineries Is Callous, Anti-People

By Austin Braimoh and Cassidy Madueke

We shouldn’t be responding to the hysteria masqueraded as a response by the Atiku All Support Group (AASG) to our published stand on the callous, anti-people  proposal by People’s Democratic Party’s Presidential aspirant, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, to sell off the country’s oil and gas assets in the name of privatisation. However, we are determined to educate these fellows on basic social economics and why the Nigerian people should always be at the centre of all economic policies and considerations.

We excuse their use of uncivil language to advance their spurious positions, it is understandable; we know how desperate they are to hoodwink Nigerians, but let us state here that we won’t go into the gutters with them.

At issue is the privatisation of Nigeria’s refineries as proposed by Alhaji Atiku, former Vice President in the administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, (1999-2007). We notice that the AASG sought to rouse base sentiments by alleging that NNPC’s operations are shrouded in secrecy to justify the predicates of their principal. While not holding brief for that corporation, it yet behoves us to amplify the giant strides recorded by the NNPC in matters of public accountability under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. Since 2016, the NNPC has made it a matter of policy to circulate its financial and operating report every month plus its year-end report of same qualification at the end of each year. We wonder why Alhaji Atiku, and of course, his principal between 1999 and 2007, Chief Obasanjo, ignored this all important NNPC’s accountability connect with the Nigerian people. It would seem as if Alhaji Atiku is just now experiencing an epiphany in that regard, 11 years after.

It is convenient for politicians of the knowledge redundancy types to mouth, albeit glibly, the condemnation of subsidy in the pricing of petroleum products, especially, the widely-used Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). We assert here that government is premised on delivering services for the good of the mass of the people, a flip back to history shows that for more than 47 years, starting in 1973, PMS price had consistently been increased with the rationale of either reducing or removing subsidies on the product.

This had led to a state of generic and generational inflation on the Nigerian economic template, in other words, every price increase historically lingers into the economy of the future. Of particular interest was the movement of PMS price during the Obasanjo/Atiku presidency, when, between June 1, 2000 and May 27, 2007, price moved from N20 a litre to N75 a litre a more than 250 percent price increase. Yet, nothing was done to the efficiency of the refining processes in those years except a desperation to sell them off to cronies and fronts just as the nation’s educational system were brought to its knees so the duo of Obasanjo and Atiku could make gains of it by establishing their respective universities.

If President Buhari had increased the price of PMS in May 2016, it was apparently to finally place a ceiling on possible increase on PMS price while insisting, at the same time, on the operational resurrection of the then moribund refineries. We can report that today, there had been no further PMS price increase since the only increase to N145 per litre. And subsidy payment associated with sustaining the social price of the product has shifted away from the awful rackets of few friends of the government diverting, inflating and pocketing subsidy claims to NNPC domiciled operational management of subsidy. Again, the NNPC’s monthly report is available to all and sundry to track subsidy management, not subsidy payment, as the AASG ignorantly claimed.

On the current performance threshold of the refineries, we gracefully invite the AASG to the 30th edition of the NNPC monthly report which gave the total crude oil processed by the local refineries for the month of January 2018, at 204,877 metric tonnes. Recall that as at 2015, the refineries were officially comatose at zero production. For us, this is what government should be about; transparently managed resources of state for the good of the larger majority of the people while conserving the public assets for the use of future generation.

We insist, once again, that whoever wants to own a refinery should go and build his or her own. The nation is experiencing the benefits of the GSM revolution not because NITEL was parceled out for sale but because investors secured operating licenses and independently funded the realization of their respective telecommunication companies. And by the way, among the telecommunication companies, what is the operating status of NITEL, the public telecommunication company sold off when Alhaji Atiku was the Chairman of the Privatisation Council Of Nigeria, the council that parceled out public enterprises for sale. Associated to that query is the worrisome reality to the effect that most of the companies privatised under the supervision of Alhaji Atiku have little to show in terms of operational efficiency and direct impact on the economy.

We should correct the spurious generalization of the intended sale of the Saudi Arabia oil company, Aramco, as so gleefully flaunted by AASG, obviously, in consequence of limited education. Saudi Arabia is selling just five percent of its holding in Aramco and this is limited to its upstream activities not the refineries. In addition, the five percent holding is to be sold to the public not operators. It is of course, a growing polemics to fraudulently assert unrelated examples to make a point. AASG is further enlightened that at no time did Brazil Petrobas or Malaysia Petronas sell any of their refineries to private operators.

Of course, we acknowledge the fact that Alhaji Atiku has an unwieldy track record in cornering national assets and expropriating them to his personal financial advantage. We point to the scandalous diversion of Nigeria’s wealth through Intel, the Alhaji Atiku controlled company that had to be forced to pay back $48million dollar by the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in what has been described as an exploitative partnership between Intel and the NPA, apparently so skewed because Alhaji Atiku used his political influence when the contract was consummated.

We like to remind the AASG that privatization is not a single fit-all solution to an inefficiently run entity, this is why the International Monetary Funds and its conditionalities had become particularly odious to Nigeria and some other developing economies. But of course, we acknowledge Alhaji Atiku’s proclivity for IMF policies and conditionalities, when applied, it opens the economy to all manners of vulnerabilities that allow the very rich to cherry-pick at will, national assets that would be disposed.

This is in contrast to what President Buhari stands for. The preservation of our collective patrimony for the economic good of all, and even, the Bretton Wood Institution are applauding him for this in the short span of time he has occupied the office of the President. It is the World Bank that rated the Nigerian economy, for the first time since 1999, as one of the world’s four best improving economies. It is also the World Bank that returned the great verdict of Nigeria moving up 24 places on the Ease of Doing Business Global ranking. Besides, two weeks ago, the IMF sent a team of its Directors to Nigeria for on-ground review of economic policies, the team excitedly announced that the government economic policies, as encapsulated in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, were impressive and realisable. These are commendable international applauses for the home-grown, ingeniously coupled economic policies.

Obviously, what President Buhari has done is to commit himself to a serious reflection on the Nigerian economic challenges, and evolved, in partnership with his cabinet, Nigeria’s own solution to Nigeria’s economic challenges. Not a lazy embrace of policies designed without considerations for the socio-political realities of Nigerians.

Right before us, we are witnessing a truly all-Nigerian stakeholder economy growing out of the rots engendered by the selfishness and recklessness of the past. Despite the pains of changing the national economic template from a rent-seeking one to a production-based template, the country is recording more numbers of millionaires in the agriculture, manufacturing and general entrepreneurship segments of the economy. This is unlike the past which Alhaji Atiku belonged, where a few with access to power abuse their offices to corner resources of state to step out as emergency billionaires right before a bewildered, frustrated populace, who know that these nouveau riche had no  roots and linkages to the economy.      

 Braimoh and Madueke are Chairman and Secretary respectively of Buhari Media Organisation.

Many Benefits of President Buhari’s Visit, By Chukwudi Enekwechi

With the recent visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to the United States at the behest of President Donald Trump, Nigeria is once again returning to global reckoning and applause. Firstly, it is important to acknowledge that the trip threw up a lot of positives about Nigeria, and this was adequately acknowledged by the United States President Donald Trump.

 Apart from boosting Nigeria- US bilateral relations, the trip offered an opportunity for the Nigerian community in the United States to warmly welcome President Buhari and praised him for the good job he is doing back home. It is also common knowledge that President Buhari used the opportunity of the visit to seek for the economic growth of the country as he met with some potential investors and business leaders in various sectors like agriculture, ICT among others.

 Based on the reactions across the world on the US visit, it was obvious that President Buhari has earned the confidence of the global community as amplified by the eulogies President Trump heaped on him for fighting corruption and terrorism in Nigeria. From his disposition, it was evident that President Trump considers Buhari as a reliable partner in realising the goals of eradicating corruption and terrorism across the globe.

For example, bearing in mind the sincerity that President Buhari has brought to bear in the fight against official graft and governance generally, the United States President obliged to assist Nigeria repatriate $500Million that was stolen from Nigeria and stashed in the United States and other jurisdictions across the world. Already the two countries’ attorneys general have swung into action to actualise the return of the slush fund to Nigeria.

Similarly, the resolve of the United States to offer assistance in the areas of training, military assistance and the sale of Tucano jets to Nigeria is a demonstration of their inherent faith in the Buhari administration, and this calls for celebration by Nigerians. It is also worthy of mention that the president was able to boost Nigeria’s trade with the US as well as opened opportunities in the aviation sector. For example the United States Boeing Company is in a discussion with the Nigerian government on ways to bring back our national airline.

Furthermore, President Buhari during the trip signed a historic interim agreement which will enable a consortium led by the General Electric to invest about $2Billion in the Nigeria railways sector with the upgrade of the narrow gauge line. This agreement will also facilitate the availability of two hundred wagons and ten coaches to boost Nigeria railways operations.

It was also the finest hour for Nigeria as President Trump acknowledged Nigeria’s leadership role as frontline democratic country in Africa. President Buhari’s superlative performance in the fight against corruption and terrorism also came into focus as he received deserving ovation from President Trump.

These recognitions coming from a United States President is a great boost to Nigeria’s image, and will no doubt boost the confidence of the international community, especially foreign investors in making Nigeria their preferred destination.

The applause which President Buhari’s visit to the United States attracted to Nigeria is a welcome development considering that corruption and insecurity had greatly eroded the goodwill of Nigeria across the globe, and all hands must be on deck to support the President.

President Buhari’s committed leadership has opened a window of opportunity for Nigerians to reclaim their country from the thieving set of looters who devoured our resources and left the country bleeding. There is no gainsaying that prudent management of scarce national resources will play a significant role in delivering the democracy dividends to Nigerians.

Having assumed office in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari is still focussed on restoring the pride of Nigeria, especially with the huge investment on the country’s infrastructure like roads, railways, power and housing. There is no doubt that in the fullness of time Nigerians will reap bountifully from his people-oriented programmes and policies.

Nigerians therefore have a reason to repose confidence in the Buhari administration as his antecedents in following through with his promises are well known.  If all the projects already awarded are completed, and this can only happen over a period of eight years definitely Nigeria will be on the path to rejuvenation.

It is also remarkable that the United States has pledged to support Nigeria in different ways including training of the armed forces personnel, selling of the Tucano jets to combat Boko Haram terrorists and providing other relevant equipment.

These commitments actually reflect the confidence the Trump administration has reposed in President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigerians have cause to celebrate it. The trip to the United States by President Muhammadu Buhari is therefore a win-win for both countries.

By Chukwudi Enekwechi

An Abuja-Based Journalist

Kwechis19@yahoo.com

Lessons From The Royal Wedding, By Reuben Abati

I could not resist the temptation to watch the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.  The symbolism of the event was too compelling to be ignored – a Windsor marrying a bi-racial lady, a divorcee, an American and an actress, from an obviously dysfunctional background.

When King Edward VIII chose to marry an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson in 1936 – the British royalty kicked, the government and the Church demurred. the public was scandalized. Edward VIII followed his heart.  He abdicated.

The British monarchy has been much transformed since then. Queen Elizabeth II presides over a modern, if not post-modernist monarchy; by granting the enabling order for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markel, the Queen dug a hole through the walls of race and prejudice and offered hope.  A future English prince or princess would end up having black cousins, aunties and uncles!

This symbolism was most felt at the wedding ceremony- with an all black cast of the Kingdom choir, wearing natural hair, buns and African hairstyles singing “Stand by Me”, Sheku Kanneh-Mason on the cello, and an impassioned sermon delivered by Bishop Michael Curry of the US Episcopal Church. Curry practically took Chicago to London, as he sermonized about the power of life, the fire of love, slavery…. Martin Luther King. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had asked the congregation to stand and sing a chorus or if he asked whoever wanted to give his or her life to Jesus Christ to step forward and be blessed…Bishop Curry’s performance will be long remembered.

The wedding was orderly, simple, classy and elegant. The bride carried herself with grace and dignity – not even a trace could be seen of the pressure that had been piled on her, a few days earlier, by her father who was not too sure if he would attend or not, and her uncouth half-brother and half-sister who chose her moment of glory to bring out dirty family linens.  She had to walk alone half the way, before Prince Charles took her arm and walked her down the aisle – without giving her away, though.

The guests arrived according to schedule, and every one knew where to sit. I did not see anyone running up and down trying to greet people, and generally seeking attention. The Queen and Prince Phillip did not come late, not even for a second.  The Queen carried her own bag and she didn’t have a retinue of noisy courtiers attending to her.

In Nigeria, “big men and women” routinely arrive late to their own events, usually so noisily. All the celebrities at the royal wedding did not have barrel-chested bodyguards. I was at a wedding event in Lagos recently, the comperes – Ali Baba and IK Osakioduwa – spent so much time begging uniformed bodyguards to allow their bosses to be human for once. Nobody listened. At another event, Bisi Olatilo kept assuring every one that no VIP at the event will come to any harm. He was ignored. Six gun-wielding policemen accompanied one state Governor into the hall and they stood behind him throughout!  When he was invited to the stage to make a speech – they followed him!

Social events are thus, indeed, iconic. They reflect a people’s level of socio-economic and cultural development. The church service in London was solemn. There was nobody shouting “Amen” and “Halleluyah somebody” on top of their voices.  The church did not solicit for offerings or donations. There were no politicians hugging the limelight.  Heads of State were not invited. Some of the richest persons in the world would have been glad to be in attendance, but only a few were called. Ha, I forgot: there were no photographers running up and down, sweating and disrupting proceedings, pushing their cameras in people’s faces, with flashy, blinding lights – photographers can be such a nuisance at Nigerian events!

When you attend most weddings in Nigeria, so much flesh is also often on display: from the bride to her bridesmaids, there is usually a nudity competition – bare legs, bare boobs, with some of the latter even threatening to break loose. This at a point became such a serious problem that some churches now inspect wedding gowns or offer specifications. No wedding is complete these days around here without heavy make-up either. You could run into a lady whose wedding you once attended and not recognize she was the one.  In an attempt to be beautiful by force, every Nigerian bride engages the services of a make-up artist, and when the make-up is done, you’d think the bride is taking a role in a movie.

Nigerian weddings provide an opportunity for the guests to show-off and steal the show. Some people even go to weddings, to as they say, network, or advertise their new wardrobe, or dance crazily, some even end up dressing better than the groom and the bride. The wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex provided good lessons in taste, etiquette, elegance and the triumph of love. I enjoyed the wedding very much – on television of course.

The Impending Implosion Of APC, By Reuben Abati

Just take the phrase: “impending” in the title above with a pinch of salt.  I use the word because in politics as in life, things happen – as seemingly absolute situations become redeemable and what originally appears impossible could be the catalyst for fresh opportunities.  Otherwise, the truth is that the ruling Nigerian political party, the All Progressives Congress is already imploding, it has in fact imploded; the party is in the throes of a debilitating illness. The implosion began almost as soon as the party assumed power in 2015.

The APC emerged as a special purpose vehicle – composed almost entirely from second hand, used groups from the CPC, the ACN, APGA, ANPP, and a break away faction of the PDP, known as new PDP (nPDP) – even if there was nothing new about it, with the sole objective of taking power from the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the then incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.

Pro-APC persons described the APC as a child of necessity. They were convinced that 16 years of being in power had made the PDP complacent, arrogant and that its members had lost focus.  They also argued that the Jonathan government needed to be changed by all means possible. Political coalitions often work when for one reason or the other, the ruling party loses either credibility or legitimacy, and the coalition gains the support of the people but the extent of the coalition’s success depends on its level of preparedness for office, and the quality of consensus among the partners.

The APC coalition is not the first in the history of Nigerian politics, but it is perhaps the most impactful- even if driven by hate speech, populist propaganda and mass hysteria and hypnotism. It was a question of politics meeting with the public mood, and an unstoppable moment anchored on the symbolism of a strong man coming to “rescue” Nigeria. The electorate that bought into this narrative and turned it into votes is today full of regrets.

The APC began to unravel from day one, particularly at the centre. It took the government that emerged about six months to put a cabinet together, and almost two years to make some other critical appointments.  Members of the coalition struggled for space, influence and power among themselves, and almost immediately, there were issues over the choice of the leaders of the National Assembly. The drama of the choice of the Senate president and the Speaker of the House of Representatives left many power brokers out in the cold.

If there was any power sharing formula among the partners, somehow this was ignored by the CPC arm of the coalition led by the President, all made worse by the domination of the levers of government by CPC and Buhari loyalists.  Non-Fulani members of the APC soon began to sound as if they had been attacked by a band of imported herdsmen. Party members including Governors and Senators, and party officials expressed frustration openly.

In less than three years, some of the bitterest criticisms of the party have come not from the opposition but from within the party itself: Timi Frank perpetually complaining about party processes, Shehu Sani and other Senators from Kaduna State at loggerheads with their State Governor, personality conflicts in virtually every state, most notably in Adamawa, Imo, Kano, Rivers and Lagos state, Governor Ortom of Benue openly accusing the Federal Government of negligence, Governor El-Rufai, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and  Senator Shehu Sani at various times sounding notes of warning, Senator Dino Melaye assuming the role of an in-house critic, and members of the ACN and the nPDP alleging that they have been used and dumped.

The APC wing of the National Assembly is divided among its ranks, and has posed more threat to the Executive arm of government than the opposition. The APC is also the biggest challenge to its own promise. In 2015, the party promised to tackle three main issues: security, the economy and corruption. It has since found itself in the uncomfortable situation of disowning some other promises it made. It even took more than two years to launch an economic blueprint.  The party over-promised and under-delivered.

It is possible to argue that differences and contestations are part of the democratic process and that this is the only way political parties can grow.  Except that in this case, the conflicts are not ideas-based, even members of the APC themselves have no idea what the party really stands for, but they all seem so sure of their personal ambitions, hence the obvious lack of order and coherence. Knowing this to be so, President Muhammadu Buhari, who is also the leader of the party, had set in motion a reconciliation process, and appointed Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to lead it.  This has not worked as Tinubu soon found himself in the heat of acrimony with the party Chairman, Chief John Oyegun and some of his own former protégés.

The extent of this implosion became more evident during the party’s recent state congresses. Parallel congresses were held in more than 10 states, there were reports of boycotts, violence and general confusion. Given the tone and nature of the conflict, it seems obvious that the APC is a victim of its own lack of three things – internal democracy, originality and sincerity of purpose.

It is a familiar scenario. The APC leadership should learn from the example of the PDP and how that party lost the 2015 general election. The first major crisis faced by the PDP was the failure to manage the exit of the five Governors in 2013, and the subsequent mischief over the 2015 campaign process. Powerful forces within the party for their own selfish reasons caused disaffection among members particularly at the grassroots level. Internal democracy was frustrated at all levels by those who regarded themselves as powerful Abuja forces, the same drama that is now being played out in the APC.

The PDP went into the 2015 elections, as a divided party, with fifth columnists among its ranks. The APC now faces the same challenge. The nPDP wing of the APC has already served what looks like a quit notice. There are cases in court. The usual attitude is for those who emerged triumphant in the state congresses to insist that whoever wants to leave the party should do so. It was this same attitude that messed up the PDP.

Failure has taught the PDP a bitter lesson: the party is only now just in the process of reinventing itself. It is ironic for example that the same PDP in the face of likely crisis in Ekiti state recently ended up having a peaceful party primary, with the defeated congratulating the winner and promising to work for the good of the party.

In Kaduna state, the PDP also put up an impressive performance in the recent local government elections. It is important however that the PDP does not begin to see the crisis within the APC as its own gain. It still has a lot to do to convince the electorate that it can be taken serious again.  In 2014, PDP strategists worked on the permutation that the APC, being a community of strange bedfellows would soon fall apart to the advantage of the PDP.  It was a bad strategy which did not work then and which is also not likely to work in 2019.

As things stand, the APC appears as desperate for power today as it was in 2014, and those who have sworn that the Buhari government cannot be replaced would do as much as they did last Saturday, to impose their will on the Nigerian people.  Politics remains warfare in Nigeria because it is the surest ticket to power, cheap money and easy life. For the Nigerian politician, winning is therefore everything.

If anyone thought 2015 was a major turning point in Nigerian politics, the 2019 general elections may even prove to be more eventful, and while the PDP may not fully resurrect, the APC may suffer worse fate, paving the way for Nigeria’s new beginning…

The Real Price Of “Changing The Change” (1), By Garba Shehu

Top opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members have been granting press interviews and addressing zonal political rallies talking about “CHANGING THE CHANGE” in next year’s general elections, without defining what exactly that means.
As the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) gears up to celebrate the completion of three years of the Buhari government in the centre on May 29th, Nigerians need to be reminded of what the reversal of the achievements of this administration will amount to.
The real meaning and cost of the “Changing the Change,” is that if they win the next election, they will not take us back to where we were in 2015, they will mostly reverse the progress the APC has brought to the nation. The main reason for the defeat of the PDP in 2015 was corruption. The present administration at the centre led by President Muhammadu Buhari has so far presented a corrupt-free image of itself. It has also succeeded in abolishing grand corruption at the top and as attested to by the American President, Donald Trump. The government has significantly brought down the level of corruption in the whole country. It has, however, warned over and again that corruption was fighting back.
Many who are discerning would have read this from President Buhari’s speech when he inaugurated the impressive new headquarters building of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) a week ago. He narrated how and why he was overthrown as a military Head of State in the 80s.
In that speech, he said not only was he kicked out because he fought corruption, the ones who took power freed all those that he had jailed, and whatever they stole was returned to them. He took their place in prison and stayed there without trial for 36 months, until that day when a journalist in Benin, now in Edo, broke the story that he had lost his mother. That was when he was allowed to go home.
The real difference between the PDP and the current APC administration is that although they mouthed a flood of rhetoric against corruption, in fact rightfully lay the claim of founding the institutions now in the forefront of fighting corruption as a government, the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, they had intended to keep them as toys, or bulldogs which teeth had been removed. No, they never intended that the war against corruption would be taken this far.
To change the change would mean that the teeth of the bulldog will be removed. It would then only bark but not bite.
In this country, politics is often considered as synonym of corruption. The previous government came under huge criticism for scandals like that discovered in arms procurements in the office of the National Security Adviser, NSA which transformed itself into a major source of funding of the PDP; NNPC crude oil thefts, broadband spectrum licensing scandal, oil subsidy scam and so many others but the present government has not faced any such corruption allegations.
Although he said he was unafraid and would not bend, the President’s concern, and fear on the part of many is that if a corrupt leader takes over, it will be happy days all over again for former Oil Minister Diezani Allison-Maduekwe who has so far forfeited USD 153 million, N23.4 billion, and USD 4m and USD 5m in separate accounts. “Change the Change” would mean she will get the money back. So would the former Managing Director of the maritime agency, NIMASA get back GBP 578,080 seized from him and the Ikoyi apartment owners have back their USD43.4m; N23m and GBP 27,800.
The hidden owner of the Lagos cash shop may then step forward to reclaim their N449.6 million; the ex-Naval Chiefs will have returned to them the already forfeited N1.8 billion; the Governors Forum paid back their N1.4 billion and the major oil marketers, from whom the EFCC has so far seized N328.9 billion will smile their ways to the bank.
The banks themselves will equally join the party, happily getting back N27.7 billion they “ate” from taxes they failed to remit; the scion of the Akinjides, Jumoke will have N650 million awarded to her while those scammers in INEC who coughed out N1 billion will equally get money back and charges standing against them in court may be dropped.
But the happiest of them all will be Mrs. Jonathan, who will get the first priority when the refunds start coming for obvious reasons. The former First Lady would not anymore need lawyers to keep her mountain of gifts, counted in huge millions of dollars, billions of Naira, hotels and buildings.
The list of people who oppose the Buhari government and yearning to ‘‘change the change’’ include a number of parliamentarians, policemen, customs officials, immigration officials, civil servants now rooting for other political parties, not leaving out those various businesses and platforms owned by these political parties directly or indirectly.
The Buhari win in 2015, and the possibility of four more years have crumbled their dreams of endlessly looting the state and the growing list of achievements of the administration is not doing any good for them.
“Change the change” means also that the biggest tax revolution since independence, the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) now being implemented, and about which many of our rich citizens are unhappy may be scrapped. A recent report shows that there are four million new taxpayers, including companies and individuals, resulting in N700 billion increase in tax revenue in 2017.
The early casualties of ‘‘changing the change’’ may include initiatives like the Whistle Blower policy by which the government is able to recover stolen or concealed assets through information provided by citizens. This has changed the ethical and moral tone of the business transaction space in the country. The whistle blower is entitled to between 2.5%-5.0% of amount recovered.
Sometime last year, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, told the world, “we are going after those who have stolen our money. We have put in place a very successful whistle-blower programme that is delivering results and allows those who report illicit activity to receive up to five per cent of any funds that we recover.”  The response has been so fabulous that in just four months, it yielded N17bn, as revealed by the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.
Another formidable group unhappy with the change and wish it reversed are the importers of diesel and generators. Nigeria ranks as the second biggest importer of generators all over the world.
Buhari is bad business for them because he has raised electric power availability from 2,600 MW in 2015 to 7,000 MW and is targeting 10,000 megawatts by the year’s end. Increased power availability means less purchase of generators and less consumption of diesel. Noticeably, they are rooting for parties that are bent on changing the change. Rooters of ‘‘Changing the Change’’ campaign also include the beneficiaries of the malaria economy which costs Nigeria N132 billion and 300,000 lives annually, an economy now threatened by the administration’s National Malaria Elimination Programme, NMEP, by which tens of millions of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (ITN) are being freely distributed. A part of this order is now made in Aba, Nigeria.
The government’s moves on ease of doing business which has attracted international attention and investment and significantly improved the ranking of Nigeria as a place of doing business, in fact achieving a place in the World Bank’s top 10 reforming economies would suffer a hit from those bent on proving that on-going change is not working. But this is how the World Bank saw Nigeria: “Overall, the 10 top improvers implemented the most regulatory reforms in the area of getting credit, starting a business, dealing with construction permits and paying taxes,” the report said.
It’s really hard for the beneficiaries of the old order to see and appreciate what the Buhari government is doing considering that they ran an economy based purely on oil, the price of which was as high as US$140 per barrel. They reticulated oil revenue through personal spending and corruption, wasteful expenses and salaries. Nigeria did not record a single major infrastructural project in the 10 years before the Buhari administration. The money was mismanaged. No savings were made. To compound the problem, they borrowed heavily and owed contractors, and international oil companies.
The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II and Professor Chukwuma Soludo, both eminent former Central Bank Governors had had occasion to warn the government of the day about the wrongful way of doing things and the accompanying wastage but they were clobbered. The dire warnings of the dangers to economic health and the wellbeing of the people were both ignored.
Increase in government spending in infrastructure which is beginning to show results with sectors like employment, and returning growth to the recessed economy may equally suffer. Under the 2017 appropriation budget which is about to lapse, government’s capital spending is expected to hit N1.5 trillion. In the PDP years, the highest this got to was N450 billion or 21 per cent of the capital allocation in 2014. Doing more with less.
The Railways, on which the common man travels, is being changed for the better. The 3,500 monorail that had existed has been leased to the American company, General Electric. They are to refurbish it and are bringing new locomotives and hundreds of coaches. All trains and coaches are being modernized. New standard railway tracks are being laid linking Ibadan and Lagos. Kaduna-Abuja, partly completed when President Buhari took over is now in use and contracts for the entire stretch, Lagos to Kano have been awarded. Lagos-Port Harcourt will follow and by the Presidential directive, all state capitals are to be linked by the new, standard gauge railway.
“Changing the Change” means that we will go back to the old ways of doing things. A strong and diversified economy has been on top of President Buhari’s achievements. Key drivers of the economy such as agriculture and solid minerals have been progressing with over 7% growth rate, an indication of positive signs for the future. Is everyone happy with this? No. We cannot say this of the importers of rice who have seen their import business go down following the tremendous success of the home-grown rice schemes. Over two billion USD have been saved as a consequence.
Then, you must also count those who got USD 200 million every year from the Central Bank and ended up bringing in low standard fertilizers. They lapped a government subsidy of N60,000 annually and sold a bag each for between N10,000-N13,000. Now, a government-approved price, by the common consent of local producers is N5,500 per bag. Those who fed fat on the perennial shortages and the subsidy regime would desire nothing but “Changing the Change.”
There are many today who take for granted the declared victory over the Boko Haram terrorists, forgetting the reign of the bomber who made it almost impossible for regular attendance in markets, Churches and Mosques in many of our cities, including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
But again, as we have seen from the heist in the national security establishment, even Boko Haram was an industry from which money was scooped. Boko Haram was the hallmark of a flourishing business of corruption. The beneficiaries won’t like that the security threat is eliminated. Yes, for them, “Changing the Change” is an opportunity for a resumption of business as usual.
Garba Shehu is Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity)
May 20, 2018

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