Femi Fani-Kayode: In Desperate Search For Relevance, By Akinloye James

Femi Fani-Kayode needs help urgently. His immediate family, friends and political associates need to act promptly to save this mentally distressed man-child before he becomes completely unhinged and enters the market. In Yoruba belief and tradition, a mentally challenged person can still be saved if he/she is attended to promptly before displaying madness in the market. Once the sick fellow enters the market, there may be no way back for him.

In Fani-Kayode’s case, there will be no way back for him if his family members and friends fail to act promptly and let him commence treatment, once again. It is an open secret that the ex-minister has a history of mental illness, having to travel to neighbouring Ghana to receive treatment years ago.

While everybody assumed that he was well, especially since he had held public office in the not too distant past, his ceaseless unwarranted and unprovoked attacks on the ruling All Progressives Congress and the person of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) that has since become his pastime, are proofs that he needs help.

Though from an honourable family, he has since proved with his intemperate and dark language that he did not take to the lessons of his father; the late Chief Remi Fani-Kayode. Despite the millions of naira spent on his education in schools abroad, Fani-Kayode has refused to leave the gutter where he snugly fits. What a shame! He has shown with his foul-mouthed rants time and again that he is an attention seeker who won’t keep quiet until he gets his comeuppance.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and his principal, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan won’t be the first or last to lose an election but rather than move on and get a life, this deviant/moron is still smarting from the crushing defeat meted out to him, his party and principal in the 2015 general elections. Rather than engage in ennobling activities while awaiting the 2019 general elections just around the corner, he has been busy heaping all sorts of invectives on Professor Osinbajo. Yes, he is well within his rights to disagree with some of the policies of the APC government and comments credited to the professor of law and pastor, but you don’t have to deploy disagreeable words in expressing your position.

Given his background and age, he should be well above this crass display of foolishness, intolerance and hatred. Sadly, that has not been the case since that disappointing 2015 defeat. He has since then become a self-appointed rabid and raving defender of Christians and the south, all sorts of garbage spewing forth from his hate-filled and jealousy-poisoned interior.

In fact, it’s surprising that the man facing trial for the humongous amount he stole under Dr. Jonathan and who has resorted to infantile tactics to escape justice, has not been long consumed by his hatred and jealousy of the Vice President. He has abused the man several times but not once has Osinbajo or any of his staff replied. Could this be what is furthering emboldening Fani-Kayode? Or is he rather pained that the nation’s Number Two Citizen does not dignify his unrelenting attacks with a response? As the Holy Bible, which he has resorted to quoting copiously from to disguise his angst against the VP notes: “What fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion has light with darkness” (2 Corinthians 6:14). Osinbajo is simply not in Fani-Kayode’s class! Unlike Fani-Kayode, he had a proper upbringing, upholds the highest moral ideals and won’t enter the gutter with him. Fani-Kayode is a man that would laugh in the face of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ when there are billions to pilfer from the public till and get away with the heist. Why should one choose to joust with such a low life?

Fani-Kayode’s saving grace for now is that the VP is not minded to be like Elisha who called out bears to devour ill-trained children who were making jest of his bald head. If Osinbajo was so minded, he would have since issued the appropriate dessert to the juvenile attention seeker just to show him that he is a real servant of God.

Really, Fani-Kayode needs to get a life. He should spend more time with his young son and teach him to be a real man, not the joyless, hate-wrought, bitter man he himself has become. Hitting viciously on Osinbajo to provoke an official response won’t just wash. Nobody will turn him into a martyr by ordering his arrest for the ill-conceived libellous pieces he writes. If he likes, he can write till kingdom come. He will get his just reward in the fullness of time.

#NotTooYoungToRun: How President Buhari Can Make History By Hamzat Lawal

If there is one thing on which political thinkers all over the world agree on, it is the idea that a leader has no glowing legacy or historic impact unless he or she has a robust successor plan. The baton of personalized political principles must be transmitted to a prepared protégé.

However, present day democratic realities has made the world reach a consensus that the best replacement plan is via institutions and policies. The best leaders, therefore, are the ones who, while in office, molded these factors in a way that the next generation finds in them tools that make service to country a seamless exercise.

Now that the Age Reduction Bill, popularly referred to as the Not Too Young To Run Bill, has received affirmative votes from more than twenty-four State Assemblies of the Federation, there is no person on a better advantageous footing to leverage the historic significance of this momentous bill than our own President Muhammadu Buhari.

For those that are yet to know, the Not Too Young To Run bill seeks to reduce the age for running for elective offices in Nigeria. It was first passed by the National Assembly in a celebrated vote in July 2017. Thus, the amendment as passed by the National Assembly and State Assemblies reduces the qualifying age of the President from 40 to 35; House of Representatives from 30 years to 25 years and State House of Assembly from 30 years to 25 years. The age for the Governor and Senate was retained at the current 35 years.

Undoubtedly, the passage of the bill by the states is very significant, not only because of the extraordinary speed, but because of its legal and moral implications.

With this passage, the bill has met the constitutional threshold prescribed by Section 9 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). The Section stipulates that any amendment to the constitution must be approval by at least 24 State Houses of Assembly.

Moreover, given that the chambers of the State Assemblies are the very representatives of the thousands of village squares and the decisions that emanate from them in the nooks and crannies of the nation’s localities, we can assume that the grassroots have spoken. Truly, the masses of Nigeria are on the side of the youth!

What is more, a particular incident in one of the State Assemblies demonstrated that #NotTooYoungToRun is a movement that holds the best of promise not only for young people, but for every guardian of our young democracy. The interesting development transpired at the Taraba State House of Assembly when, having earlier voted against the Bill on 20th December, the House reversed itself on Monday 19th February, and passed the Age Reduction Bill. It was an overwhelming turnaround, as 22 members voted YES while 2 abstained.

I believe, therefore, that it is as gladdening to every Nigerian as it is to me, that we as a people have written our name in gold by showing that political inclusion is possible in our clime.

Nevertheless, with the unprecedented feat recorded so far, the world now seems to be holding its breath as it watches the ball roll over to President Buhari, who is expected to assent to the constitutional amendment. Once the President gives his assent, the bill becomes law. Young people can then run for political office even in the next general elections in 2019.

To be candid, because of #NotTooYoungToRun, President Buhari has a date with destiny. Throughout generations past, men and women in positions of power have rewritten history by singular acts of valor not with the sword but with conscious offerings enacted simply to build bridges that ushered in a new paradigm in socio-political fundamentals.

The peculiarity of a government that came riding on the mantra of “Change” is that Providence has offered it an opportunity to prove its own spirit, as change is a word that signifies an age-input parameter. Posterity can only be kind to soldiers who never reneged on their own revolution. Could it be, that The Almighty has offered this Administration a reason to properly hoist its own flag?

Of course, the #NotTooYoungToRun is a movement that enjoys an emotional and political acceptance across all divides. Hence, in signing the Age Reduction Bill, Buhari could find his finest hour.

But importantly, there are three reasons why President Buhari must take advantage of this opportunity. Firstly, he was recently crowned as Africa’s Anti-Corruption Champion by no other than the African Union. What I see in this momentous coronation is the potential for an apotheosis when the president takes advantage of the Nigerian youthful population. Nigeria, being the most populous country in Africa, has a ready-made field for Buhari to mainstream his anti-corruption ethos when he looks towards tomorrow and the youths he will raise to continue the battle he has initiated today.

In signing the Age Reduction Bill, I believe the president will be saying to those that made him the African Anti-Corruption Champion, “I am ready to make politics in Nigeria as inclusive as it can be, because I need to catch them young and train them when they are still trainable. I want to show other African leaders who are still hesitant, that the real Anti-Corruption fight is in the political selection process.”

Secondly, President Buhari served Nigeria as a former military Head of State at the youthful age of 42, and so could easily become the poster boy for generational political transition.

By assenting to the bill, he will be birthing a new era in Nigerian politics, in scoring the psychological goal that his comeback to politics which he was forcefully ushered out decades ago is, perhaps, a mission to reignite the youthful patriotism that motivated him to intervene in politics in the first place. This time around, by signing the Bill, he would be taking the pains to fulfil the democratic and legal processes that mainstreams Nigerian youths with similar patriotic drive, for good.

Thirdly, immediately after the passage of #NotTooYoungToRun Bill in over 24 States as constitutionally required, something remarkable happened as the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright immediately took to his official Twitter handle to urge President Buhari to assent to the bill as soon as it was transmitted to him by the National Assembly.

What I saw in this development is that all eyes are on Nigeria. Given that many countries of the world do not give young people the opportunity to play a part in political governance, Nigeria is surely becoming a bastion of modern democratic best practices, with leaders that are determined to make a difference. The diplomatic community, and the global society are now waiting for our president to put an icing on the cake by demonstrating a commitment to inclusive democratic ideals. This is because by taking concrete steps to address political inequality and harnessing demographic dividend, the president sets the stage to take advantage of our country’s teeming youth population which if not properly and creatively engaged could equally turn into a demographic disaster.


Hamzat Lawal is an activist and currently the Co-Founder/Chief Executive of Connected Development [CODE]. He is working to build a growing grassroots movement of citizen-led actions through Follow The Money for better service delivery in rural communities. He is also a Leader of the Not Too Young To Run Movement. He tweets via @HamzyCODE


Osuntokun: How Not To Be A Blind Critic Of President Muhammadu Buhari, By Bernard Omomia

One time media aide to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr Akin Osuntokun had hate and vile in mind as he turned his last Column published by Thisday newspaper into an arsenal for denigrating the Person of President Muhammadu Buhari, while attempting to bring his government into disrepute. It was all for obvious political reasons.

Mr Osuntokun was probably working in concert with co-haters of President Buhari, all in a seeming resolve to obviate the popular will by Nigerians to have the President return to power in 2019 and continue his good work towards lifting Nigeria from doldrums and imminent collapse. That bid seems to have hit a brick wall already.

Given the tone of his diatribe, Osuntokun betrayed the status of a moral ranger he ascribed to himself. He also betrayed the experience he had garnered in pubic service, more importantly as a presidential aide on media. For calling a sitting President names and writing him off as a non-achiever without a modicum sense of balancing, Osuntokun exposed himself as a blind and implacable critic who, any day, will identify with falsehood rather than pitching tent with facts and reality.

The misconceptions he had bandied against President Buhari have, in no small measure, deconstructed him as a loafer, not really meriting a serious attention. All the same, he should be told the truth and the high value that President Buhari represents for Nigeria.

Osuntokun the critic, attempted to impress it on his readers by translating public criticism of President Buhari to meant that he has been ‘demystified’ as a mystic. While doing that, he failed to take into reckoning the groundswell of support the President continues to draw from all parts of the federation, most especially from those who appreciate the revolution launched by his government of three years to re-invent Nigeria. Indeed, it is not possible for a ‘demystified’ President to be greeted with mammoth crowd as witnessed during his visits to some states of the federation lately.

In what appeared as a desperate search for a dart to cast on President Buhari, Osuntoku ran to the archives of the defunct Petroleum Tax Fund, (PTF) and with ruptured sentiment, linked the name Buhari with some misgivings allegedly booked against the interventionist agency.

He failed, however, to establish that President Buhari was never named in any wrong doing as the head, just as he shifted gaze away from the landmark achievements the PTF recorded on infrastructural development, anchored on construction and repair of poor road network across the federation under the regime of late General Sani Abacha. Here, the hypocrisy of the writer stuck out like a sore finger.

Again, Mr Osuntokun did not get his facts right even as he quoted Junaid Muhammed to accuse President Buhari of nepotism. He missed the point by failing to note that till date, President Buhari has not fixed any of his children or family member in appointive positions.

None of them is known to be profiting from juicy contracts, dropping the family name for that purpose. It is also trite to remind Osuntokun that the south-west where he hails from is not doing badly on patronage by the President on Federal appointments. What could have been more profiting for a zone than to be part of the real deal in the
management of the nation’s economy and being in control of key cabinet appointments?

By alluding to the controversial poor rating of the present government by the Transparency International on fight against Corruption as a hard stick to pummel President Buhari, Mr Osuntokun a supposed professional again faltered. It is more surprising that he failed to properly dissect the issues raised by the TI to sift out the incongruities in its assessment of Nigeria and come out with unsalable facts.

The question now is; why would a media guru like Osuntokun feign ignorance of the unequalled attention placed on the fight against corruption by the government of President Buhari and the great results trailing efforts in that regard? What about the attention on loot recovery and seizure of ill-gotten wealth and proceeds from corruption
made so far by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption agencies?

It amounts to treachery for any critic not to take into cognizance the infectious puritanical disposition by an agency like JAMB to fund management and its ability to return a total of N7.8 billion unspent finds into the Federation account when indeed, similar remittances by same agency during past administration did not amount to N5 million.

In truth, Osuntokun and other critics should know that the spirit of probity and accountability infused into governance by President Buhari has been impactful, prodding agencies like FIRS, the Nigeria Custom Services and others to keep remitting trillions of naira into the federation account on quarterly basis, an improvement from what
obtained in the past.

On the mounting loans obtained by President Buhari’s administration, one fact that should not elude attention is that such loans as planned, are channeled towards the productive sector. The loans have been disbursed to boost infrastructural development, visible through railway, power, roads and other ongoing projects across the
federation. So far, there is no evidence to suggest that the loans are being misappropriated.

For instance, the southwest is the first beneficiary of the bumper Lagos-Kano rail projects already awarded by the Buhari’s government. Electricity generation has risen from less than 3, 000 megawatts to 7.1 megawatts all within a spate of 3 years, while network of roads are being constructed and rehabilitated in all the geo-political zones
of the federation at the moment.

Critics should also not forget that the national economy, which was deeply recessed as at 2015 when President Buhari assumed power, has bounced back. Foreign investments have also started to trickle in following the stability attained on economy. Nigeria’s external reserve has risen to N46 billion while Agriculture is increasingly rising in prominence as an alternative to oil, creating millionaires out of the present day Nigerian farmers. With agriculture on the drivers sit of economy diversification, Nigeria is now on record as an importer of rice and other produce, defining Nigeria now as a foreign exchange earner.

*Bernard Omomia, APC Chieftain and Public Affairs Analyst wrote in From Auchi Edo State

Osinbajo Erred On Magu’s Portfolio In EFCC

By Ajayi Bamidele

The attention of notable Nigerians has been drawn to a statement credited to the Nigerian vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, describing Mr. Ibrahim Mustapha Magu as the most senior staff of the Economic and Financial crimes commission, which is false.

The lies in the position of the vice president who is expected to uphold the true tenets of democratic principles; to represent the desires of the people in the fight against corruption and injustice – being the scourge that is ravaging the nation’s political system, should be exposed in the interest of the citizenry.

The much-expected protection of the rule of law and respect for the three arms of government should prevail over the jaundiced comments of the vice president, who has compromised himself with his tenacity to protect the embattled acting chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Maju.

The statement of the vice president was an indication that the present administration was bent on sticking with an individual who the Nigerian Senate declined to confirm as the substantive Chairman of the EFCC.
Contrary to what the vice president said, Mr. Magu Mustapha Ibrahim happens to be the most senior police officer posted to serve in the EFCC on secondment, but that does not make him a staff of the commission.

Setting the record straight, the EFCC is an establishment of an Act of the National Assembly, and the Commission has 3 internationally recognized and trained serving directors – position that is equivalent to Assistant inspector General of Police (AIG) in the Federal civil service ranking.

Suffice to say as well that the Commission has at least 20 serving deputy directors who are staff of the EFCC, a rank that is equivalent to that of a Commissioner of Police (CP) in the Nigerian police Force.

The Commission also has additional 20 Assistant Directors who are equivalent to the rank of a Deputy Commissioner of Police in the Nigerian Police Force, that is the category where the embattled Acting Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Mustapha Magu belongs to.
Social commentators now wonder why the federal government should leave out over 43 personnel senior to Magu, according to the federal civil service ranking and appoint a junior rank as the chief executive. Perhaps, to spite his superiors working in the Commission.

Another school of thought also argues that why were these people trained with taxpayer’s money without being given the corresponding leadership responsibility to practicalise for the benefit of the country the knowledge acquired from their oversees’ trainings? Doesn’t it mean that the investment in their training was a waste?

The EFCC has come of age. I suggest that the 3 internationally respected directors who are at the rank of AIG, and 20 deputy directors and additional 20 assistant directors, should henceforth be allowed to start piloting the affairs of the Commission.

I make bold to say that the continuous posting of police officers who are supposed to be assisting their colleagues in the fight against insurgency in the North-east and maintaining law and order – to head the EFCC should stop. They should concentrate on their constitutional responsibility, rather than posting them to the anti-graft agency that has more capable hands to produce the much-needed results in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

I suggest further that the Act of the National Assembly that establishes the EFCC should be reviewed to allow professionalism to prevail so that core technocrats in the field would be allowed to man different positions without prejudice.

My advice goes to the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to reconsider his position on Magu.

It is high time the Commission’s capable hands were allowed to lead in the executive carder, because I know the VP is a promoter of due process and someone that would not ordinarily support injustice.

In as much that I know it is not a crime to labour and become a senior personnel in an organization, so do we expect the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government to allow peace to reign in the EFCC and allow one of the 43 senior personnel to Magu who is even not a staff of the Commission to start piloting the affairs of the anti-graft body.

A thought echoed in my mind that what’s so special in the EFCC that Mr. Magu refused to return to his core employer’s duty: the Nigerian police force. I want to suggest if Mr. Magu Mustapha Ibrahim likes the EFCC, he should resign from the Nigerian police force and apply to be a staff of the EFCC.

I urged the National Assembly to amend the act that established the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to enable it function effectively whereby the position of the chief executive of the Commission would be ceded to one of the most ranked officers in the Commission.

This would bring about dedication and commitment to the cause and reduce grumblings among the staff where a junior officer from another agency would be brought to superintend the operations of a Commission that has internationally acknowledged technocrats in crime fighting and anti-corruption.

The Presidency and the National Assembly are hereby called upon to act fast and address this injustice meted out to the top officers of the EFCC, who have served and contributed immensely to the growth and development of the Commission.

I Am An Angry Fulani Man, By Babayola Toungo

I am a Fulani man and a very proud one; I am also an angry Fulani man.  Angry because there seem to be a collusion between the government, politicians and the media to vilify and demonise the fulbes.

The orgy of violence, physical and mental visited on the fulbe and the ferocity of the attacks leaves one thinking whether there is any drop of humanity left in us.  The hypocrisy of it all is lost on those calling ‘herdsmen’ murderers.  Who are the real murderers?  Has it occurred to the hate mongers that they are stoking a fire that may ultimately consume them?  Have we so soon forgotten in Rwanda in 1994 when the majority Hutus put the Tutsis under the knife?  Lest we forget, the media was the chief catalyst of the Rwandan genocide.

I just finished reading a reaction to Dr. Aliyu Tilde’s article on the recent killings on the Mambilla plateau by Mambilla militias – monsters unleashed on the fulbe herders by their cowardly masters.  The response to Dr. Tilde’s piece was by a pseudo-intellectual on USA-Africa Dialogue Series, a platform supposedly for intellectual discourse, but is fast turning into a market place of insults and tribal denigration.  The reaction is typical of our neo rabid ethnicists who will only be satisfied with one of theirs running the show from Abuja.

Any other person not affiliated with them either by religion or ethnicity is not acceptable to them.  These same shameless people who pontificate on the virtues of democracy but run back to their ethno-religious laagers once they miss the boat.  While the world is moving forward, their vehicles are permanently engaged in the reverse gear – doing all they can to pull the country back to the middle ages.

As “intellectuals and progressives” you expect sound and reasonable argument from such a crowd, but no, you only get to read verbiage from their addled brains. All they are good at is condemning others while living in the comforts of another country, whose proud citizens developed with patriotic fervour.

The often repeated argument is that cattle business is private business and therefore government doesn’t have any business assisting pastoralists with anything – even the land to graze their herds.  Yes, cattle business is private business – what about haulage, airline, farming and other businesses that the government assist the operators one way or another?  I cannot remember seeing any road built by a haulage company for its use, nor any airport built by any of our airline operators.  Governments at all levels provide everything from financial incentives to the provision of inputs and machinery for our farmers.  But the pastoralists are not entitled to any form of assistance including the protection of their lives and herds.  If it weren’t tragic, it would have been ironic.

Thousands of pastoralists are killed between Plateau, Southern Kaduna, Mambilla Plateau in Taraba State, Adamawa and Benue states but not a word from either the governments or our media warriors, both mainstream and the social variant.  Those reminding us of the sanctity of life, fail to let the country and the world know whether pastoralists are robots meant to be disposed with at the discretion of our “enlightened” betters sitting in front of their computers in the comforts of their offices and homes.  Pastoralists do not deserve government protection, period.  Their lives and economic activity meant nothing to our “progressives”.

While governments at all levels keeps silent whenever pastoralists are killed, their cattle rustled or maimed, the media go to town whenever and wherever a corpse is discovered.  Every crime committed anywhere in the country is automatically ascribed to ‘herdsmen’ even before an investigation starts.  The ubiquitous herdsman that we grow to know has been effectively “tutsinised” by an indolent media and a complicit lazy elite.  Why do we refuse to listen to the herdsman’s story before condemning him?

Is it because they don’t have access to the media and the internet?  The Rwandan genocide was a product of media hype, so also was Hitler.  With governors like Ortom of Benue playing the role of Himmler’s storm troopers and the likes of Wike and Fayose playing the roles played by the likes of Goebbels, I wonder if the country is ever going to be the same again.  And in all this, the federal government keeps mum giving the impression that the life of the herder is not worth that of a single electoral ballot.

I am a Fulani man and I am very angry. I do not support the killing of a single human being whatever tribe or creed he belongs to; neither do I support the non-punishment of aggressors no matter who they might be.  Most sponsors of the violence that took hold of the northern region are known – Boko Haram in the northeast, farmer / herder conflict in the north central and banditry in the northwest.  The federal government, the guarantor of peace, projects a non-challant attitude while the criminals are having a field day.  The sponsors are walking free while the likes of Ortom are making political capital out of the unfortunate situation by organizing mass burials.  Why the very public burials? Why close the coffins if the aim is to draw maximum emotional capital?

The governments of Benue and Taraba states passed a law banning open grazing without making any provision for ranching and our “intellectuals” and “experts” are asking the pastoralists to just comply.  In Taraba where ranching has been practiced for more than half a century, the ranchers are killed by government functionaries.  In Benue, the government is insisting that ranching permits will only be issued for one year to be renewed at the discretion of the governor.

We all applauded and played dumb about the constitutional rights of every Nigerian to reside and conduct his economic activity in any part of the country without let or hindrance.  When some northern youth issued a quit notice on Igbos living in the north in the heat of the Kanu insults hurled at northerners, we all became constitutional experts and reminded one and all what the constitution says about the right of the Igbo itinerant trader to live and undertake his economic activity, wherever he choose to do so.  Not the pastoralists who shouldn’t and couldn’t be allowed to enjoy such rights.  And you wonder why they take retaliatory actions when they are attacked?

I am a Fulani man and I am angry.  Words have failed me just the like our federal and state governments.  I will be back when I feel more coherent.

Anti-Corruption: The Not Too Tidy TI Report On Nigeria, By Idowu Samuel

The Transparency International (TI) last week exposed its marked biased and less ultraistic disposition against Nigeria. It returned a damning report on the anti-corruption war by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, which rattled bookmakers across the globe who, hitherto, agreed that the war on corruption by the President
government has been result oriented.

TI, from indications, played the ostrich, putting only into reckoning incorrect perceptions and views by critics as expressed in local newspapers as yardstick for gauging the effects of the war against corruption in Nigeria. The NGO in the process shut its eyes on the integrity of the Nigerian President, his incorruptible disposition to governance, his time-tested policies aimed towards stamping out corruption and the visible gains, which his fight against corruption
has so far recorded in many areas.

In its report, the TI claimed that the perception of corruption in Nigeria had worsened between 2016 and 2017. Its report placed Nigeria 148 against 180 countries assessed in 2017 on the perception of corruption in the annual Corruption Perception Index, CPI, thus creating a buzz against established facts, while many viewed the report as grossly incorrect.

On the contrary, Nigeria has been doing well in majority areas of Report on fight against corruption except one. For instance, in all of the nine categories of the evaluation, Nigeria fell back in only one, performing slightly better in some and maintaining stability in others.

The index, published last week Wednesday, showed that out of 100 points signaling maximum transparency on corruption war, Nigeria scored 27 points. In the 2016 Index, Nigeria was ranked 136th out of 176 countries with a score of 28. Nigeria’s score also slightly improved from 26 to 28 between 2015 and 2016.

In contrast to TI report, Nigeria had improved significantly in key indexes between 2016 and 2017, taking into reckoning the Bertelsmann Foundation Transformation Index which gave Nigeria 5-point improvement; African Development Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment, 2-point improvement; 1-point improvement in the World Justice Project Rule of law Index Expert Survey and World Economic Forum Executive Opinion respectively.
Also in the 2016 World Justice Project Rule of Law Index, Nigeria and Burkina Faso were the biggest movers among the 18 countries indexed in the region, climbing 11 and 10 spots respectively.

Findings have also revealed that Nigeria remained stable in the following indexes: World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment, Global Insight Country Risk Ratings; PRS Group International Country Risk Guide and Varieties of Democracy Project.

The only Index the country fell short was in the Economic Intelligence Unit Country Risk Service, on which basis is the sole reason for Nigeria’s decline in the overall Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index of 2017.
Indeed, the TI faltered by its failure to take into consideration, immediate efforts by the government to pull Nigeria out of the jaw of corruption in 2015, starting with committed implementation of Treasury Single Account (TSA). In less than two years, TSA has put the sum of almost N8 trillion in federation account. In the past, government
officials would have pilfered such humongous amount.

The TI again failed to put into consideration huge amount of stolen funds and ill-gotten properties recovered by the government from officials of past administration, improvement in revenue collection, use of biometrics to stop stealing in government and which had exposed over 50, 000 ghost workers within the Federal Service and recovery of N120 billion, payment of backlog of salaries owed government workers, bail-out the government offered to state at critical times, and many more.

The principle of probity and accountability put in place by the government made, had at a point, made an agency like the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), to remitted not less than N7.8 billion unspent funds to the government’s account in 2017 alone, a stark contrast to the paltry N3 million that was the highest remitted by the agency in the past.

It is a thing of regret that the TI was silent on efforts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to uncovered more than N13 billion naira cash in local, foreign currencies in an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos State, while it ensured that the sum $43.5m stolen from the government was forfeited.

Succinctly, a government that fought hard to roll back economic recession which overwhelmed Nigeria all through 2015, the year of take over of government by President Buhari, putting in place robust measures for ensuring economic prosperity for the country should not have been accused of failing in the fight against corruption. It is
the same government that has set aside a whooping sum of N1.3trillion for capital expenditure in 2016, a historic highest budget spend on capital projects.

Notwithstanding, the government of President Buhari by dint of right measures, caused a revolution in agriculture, which has been piloting its economic diversification agenda. Suddenly, Nigeria stopped being a major importer of rice, as the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme raised millions of local farmers to grow rice to become instant millionaires. The initiative has placed Nigeria in the right index of rice exporters in the world.

In all, Nigeria is now recognised as one of the top 10 most improved economies in the world by the World Bank. The country has also moved up 24 places to 145th position in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ going by a Report. The report indicated that Nigeria had moved up by 24 points from the 169th position in the 2017 ranking and also the 170th position in the 2016 ranking to 145 in the World Bank’s 2018 report. Not all, the World Bank also admitted that Nigeria made the greatest stride on improving access to Getting Credit.

Also on Paying Taxes ranking, Nigeria moved from the 182nd position in 2017 to 171 in 2018 and on Enforcing Contracts, it moved from 139th to 96th position in 2018.

Seemingly, the TI played to the gallery in an attempt to pummel the government of President Muhammadu Buhari in a pre-election year. It is however, instructive that its efforts to achieve the sinister objective failed to score a point, this time. The TI is advised to move to another clime for its blackmailing business next time.

Idowu Samuel, a journalist and public affairs analyst sent this piece
from Abuja

Tackling ‘Hate Speech’ As A Key To Achieving Sustainable Development In Nigeria, By Suraj Bamalli

Hate Speech is indeed a menace in our Society. Hate Speech is defined as any speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of attributes such as religion, race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability or gender.

Before dwelling on some vital issues with regards to the subject matter, I’d like to lay a background on some of the basics or rather major factors that leads to Hate Speech.

In my Opinion, Hate Speech never evolved from the skies, it’s as a result of wanting to denigrate someone or a group whom you feel is doing better or in competition with you, but in real sense, just because you’re competing shouldn’t be an excuse to calumniate someone but rather improve on oneself. Majorly, Persons or group who feel defeated seem to only paint black as a revenge.

Hate Speech is rampant in our present society and needs to be looked into with all sense of urgency. In an era of digital world where someone can comfortably sit at the comfort of his couch and fabricate stories just to feel relevant or score some cheap political points as the case may be, it is a duty bound our relevant agencies to checkmate this issue of Hate speech and Fake News.

It’s not a coincidence that we live in a country where our constitution guarantees every citizen to share his view(s) on contemporary issues, alas, this freedom is abused on a daily basis. Nonetheless the Vice President while acting as the President months ago vividly labeled Hate Speech as “Tantamount of Terrorism”.

In Nigeria’s Constitution, we virtually have laws that only need to be enforced in order to tackle this menace called Hate Speech. Section 42 talked on fake news just to cause mayhem and also Section 86 talked on threatening Violence, So also Section 88. Our Institutions needs to seriously stand up to this task.

Looking at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goal 16 which is all about Promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels is targeted  at Promoting the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all amongst others.

For Nigeria as a country to fully committed towards achieving the 2030 Agenda, we have to ensure that there is Peace. Peace can only reign if we strengthen our institutions to tackle issues like Hate Speech so as to actualize “The World We Want”.

As we all know, everyone is a stakeholder towards achieving the SDGs, young people have greater roles to play in achieving the SDGs. It is however unfortunate that some of these youths are the same set of people undermining the actualization of the 2030 Agenda.

Nowadays, when you check our social media platforms, you’ll be left in tears seeing how young people work effortlessly to bring their fellows down, defame personalities, ethnic groups or even religions. This is coming at a time when young people are expected to be formidable as one and work together towards achieving a stronger and United Nigeria of our Dream.

I recently shared my views with young people in Gombe during a program organized by Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development. I believe everyone must play his part towards tackling the issue of Hate Speech before it harms us severely as a Nation.

We as a people must at all cost condemn Hate Speech regardless from who or where it comes from, we must also end any form of impunity against hate crimes and bring perpetrators to book, this can only be achieved if victims and witnesses report any hate related crime to the necessary law enforcement agents.

More also, rigorous awareness should be made on social, political and cultural rights of individuals and Groups.

Let’s All Stand and Say NO to HATE SPEECH.


Suraj Bamalli

Youth Activist

SDGs Advocate

Twitter Handle: @SurajBamalli




Dear Graduates, Are You Certified To Be Lazy? By Ganiyu Bamgbose

The present socio-economic reality of Nigeria offers unemployment as a persistent problem. The surprising and unfortunate thing however is that this unemployment characterizes the world of those with formal education.

The most likely problem of apprentices or those who have acquired informal education is how to secure working tools to go about their work. When they cannot find help to procure these tools yet, they are found in others’ shops rendering their expertise and being paid daily or weekly by the shop owners. They are at such times called join man. It is pathetic that the reverse in such productivity has become the norm for those with formal education: graduates.

Education, has among many other definitions, been said to be the ability to meet up with life expectations. The end goal of education is to produce individuals who would remain functional members of the society and not those who hope to be fed by the state.

To recall, graduates in the 1960’s were offered jobs immediately after. The Nigerian  government has awaken to the present reality of the country by introducing the Skill Acquisition and Enterprenurial Development (SAED) programme into the agenda of the National Youth Service Corps and encouraging the entrenchment of this into school curriculum at all levels.

What is left is for our prestigious graduates not to see themselves as being larger than life and too sophisticated to use their hands. Education is the acquisition of knowledge, skills, attitude and values which make one a functional member of the society. Certification should not prohibit anyone from living in line with the socio-economic reality of his or her country: soil your hand!

Be a farmer, be an okada man, earn twelve thousand as a private primary school teacher. Someday, some close day, the dignity in labour will reposition you to where you really belong. If you remain too big to do the little things, you will remain too small to do the big things. Do not pray all day.

Hasn’t the Lord told you already that he would bless your handiwork? Don’t nurse dignity in poverty. We can’t all get a space in the few offices at the same time. You are not certified to be lazy!

©2018 Ganiu Abisoye Bamgbose (GAB)

University of Ibadan


No Country For Sick People – The State Of Mental Health In Nigeria, By Aisha Salaudeen

Amanda Anene spent most of October 2017 locked up in a Pentecostal church in Awka, Anambra. Her parents had her isolated in a store room in a church in a bid to deliver her from what they felt was a demon ‘making her mad’.

“The pastor said I was possessed by demons and needed deliverance. I was isolated in a church room for three weeks. It’s not that I don’t believe in religion or miracles, I was just certain that I was not possessed” she said.

After 21 days in the room, Amanda signed herself up to see a psychiatrist where she was diagnosed with Clinical depression. “I have been seeing a clinical psychologist for about three months now and it feels good talking to someone that understands” she told me in a voice tinged with relief.

“My parents are still getting used to all of this, they say the healing process did not work because I don’t have enough faith. They’d rather carry on the religious way but I am no longer having any of that” she said.

For many people living with mental health disorders in Nigeria, Amanda’s tale will feel a tad relatable as there’s a good chance their illness has been dismissed or labelled spiritual.

What do the numbers say?

There is not enough data on Mental health in Nigeria. However, the available figures are nerve racking. The federal neuropsychiatric hospital, Yaba, Lagos, estimates that over 21 million Nigerians live with mental health disorders. Many people are unaware that suicide, depression, eating disorders, anxiety and drug abuse are all linked to mental health.

According to a 2015 report by the World Health Organisation (W.H.O), Nigeria has 20.3 suicides in 100,000 people per year. The same report found that 4 in 10 Nigerians suffer from clinical depression. This seems small but when we consider that there are less than 10 mental health facilities in the entire country, it becomes alarming. Mental illness is covered up, ignored or countered by religion as opposed to medical attention – a lot of times out of shame and the fear of being stigmatised

Religious belief system.

Part of why anything linked to mental health is tagged religious is because of the deeply entrenched religious and cultural beliefs in Nigeria. Religion splits the human experience into physical and spiritual. God and demons for example, are spiritual while food and the planet are physical. When something isn’t obviously physical, it is quickly interpreted to be spiritual or out of the ordinary.

Hauwa Ojeifo, a mental health coach and founder of She Writes Woman, a not for profit organisation giving mental health a voice in Nigeria, says one of the biggest challenges in creating awareness around mental disorders is the belief system of the average Nigerian.

“When it comes to physical illness with obvious symptoms, everyone’s ready to see an expert, you find people rushing to the hospital. But when it comes to the mind being ill, there’s suddenly an issue. The belief system is faulty, it assumes that the only form of illness or disorder is obvious or physical. If you cannot see it, it does not exist” she told me.

“There isn’t a lot of awareness regarding mental health and illness so a lot of people are ignorant to what it actually entails. The way religion is being translated does not help either” she explained.

On what religion says about mental health, Abduljaleel Olori-Aje, Imam of the association of Muslim professionals (AMP) in Nigeria says Islam recognises mental health disorders and proffers preventative and curative measures.

“There are mental health disorders that Islam provides cure for. For example, ‘Ruqya’ which is a form of spiritual healing can be a solution to bipolar disorder and depression” he told me. “I think the root of the problem is with certain people that don’t have proper understanding of the religion. They make it look like Islam does not recognise medicine or the need to see a psychiatrist.” he clarified.

Esther Zamani, a ministering Pastor in one branch of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Nigeria shares a similar opinion. She says for those who believe in God, the possibility of being cured when faced with a mental Illness is on the high side.  “Sometimes mental disorders like psychosis can be caused by the evil eye. This is when someone is so envious of another person he goes through an unnatural[ [voodoo] way to harm the said person. In such a case, a believer of Christ needs to lean to religion to break free.” she explained.

Esther says that overtime religion has been abused “Where people get it wrong is that they think religion is the only solution. Many times God leads people to the solution of their problems but because it is not within the walls of the church, they miss the signs”. She said.

The core issue is that many Nigerians who uphold religion believe it is the only way to prevent or cure any form of illness, including mental illness. There is not enough awareness on mental health and the need to speak to an expert when symptoms occur.

Mental health awareness.

For the Nigerians living with mental health disorders, they wish for more people to be educated on the importance of seeing a mental health specialist when faced with symptoms. A lot of the time, it is not enough to speak to a religious leader. Hassanah Alimi [not her real name], says more agencies need to take up the campaign to encourage people to speak up and seek help. “I was initially indifferent about mental health till I got diagnosed with Bipolar disorder.” she told me.

Knowing first hand the implication of incomplete information around mental health, Hassanah places emphasis on the need to seek medical help and not only religious solutions when confronted with mental health issues. “I know now that the mind can get sick just like the body. I think it is key to transmit the correct information about mental health to people” she said.

While it may take take a while to change how Nigerians relate with mental health, it is important to uphold and start conversations about mental illness and disorders – and ways to move forward from the misconceptions around it.  



Aisha Salaudeen is a Journalist and Features Writer. When she’s not drinking coffee, her pens is spilling human interest stories.

2019: Everyone Wants To Be President, By Victor Terhemba


The 2019 presidential elections is less than a year away, there is high anticipation, more than ever the citizens want to participate- some want to vote in the right leaders, and the others want to be president.

Everyone wants to be president like the myriad of problems plaguing this country start and end at the presidency. No one is talking about going to the national assembly to question and correct some legislative abnormalities. It is almost a consensus that there are some defects with our laws, surprisingly none of the new political entrants are interested in that.

As at the last count, 12 politicians had declared their intentions to run for the office of the president of Nigeria under various political parties, while some are yet to reveal which political platform they will be running on. KOWA party leads with four aspirants which includes a retired Professor of French and Applied Linguistics, Prof. Oluremi Sonaiya (who happened to be party’s flag bearer and the only female presidential candidate in the 2015 elections); a former country-director of DFID-UK, Adeshina Fagbenro-Byron, is also in the race to clinch KOWA Party’s presidential ticket. Both Oluremi Sonaiya and Shina Fagbenro will have a Nollywood Veteran, theatre practitioner and farmer, Ayo Cyril Lijadu, and Alhaji Dan-China, a businessman and farmer, from Borno state to contend with.

Following closely behind is the PDP with three aspirants so far. These include the present governor of Ekiti state, Mr Ayodele Fayose, former governor of Jigawa state, Alhaji Sule Lamido and not forgetting the perennial presidential hopeful, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Meanwhile, Ibrahim Dakwambo and Ahmed Makarfi are being rumored to be interested in the presidency too.

Others who have indicated interests to contest include, Fela Durotoye under ANN Party, Mrs Olufunmilayo Adesanya-Davies, Adamu Garba, Ex-CBN deputy governor and political economist, Kingsley Moghalu, and Omoyele Sowore, the publisher of Sahara Reporters.

All the aforementioned aspirants have boasted to possess the requisite expertise, knowledge and skill to save Nigeria from the precipice of self destruct, to untagle Nigeria from the tight wrap of corruption, to chatter a new course for the country, etc.

I have come to see that the professionals and technocrats who have joined the race either do not appreciate the enormous task or personal egos does not allow them see them, or are not being serious, or it is the combination of all of the above.

The ultimate goal is to have a better Nigeria where institutions are stronger than men, where justice systems guarantees justice for every citizen irrespective of political, religious and tribal affliations, where things work for the general good and welfare of the citizens. The chief objective is to move Nigeria away from the system of kakistocracy to a system of meritocracy; where only the best, the fit, the competent will be in positions of authority. The aim shouldn’t be about becoming a president!

Pre-2015 elections, 5 political parties came together and formed a merger with the sole objective of removing the PDP and Goodluck Jonathan from power. They succeeded and this was because they found a unity of purpose and identified a common enemy- the PDP. These oppositions parties realized earlier on that the only way to usurp power from the PDP was to form a coalition and fight together as a unit. These people who replaced the PDP are no better than the PDP; in fact, about half of them were former members of PDP.

These people that replaced the PDP, we later realized, alas were no different from the PDP we just voted out. The corruption, mismanagement, plundering of national wealth, insecurity, deterioration of the economy, falling quality of education, injustice, impunity, corruption, etc continued unabated and in some cases reaching no new heights.

Long before the merger of the APC that replaced the PDP, it was clear to the discerning mind that that was about the only the only thing to do to ensure victory. It is not different now as it is even now a more arduous task to replace the current status quo. In fact unity, genuine, commitment and sustained intent of purpose is very crucial and of urgent necessity.

If the self-aggrandizing politicians could come together in unity for selfish ambitions, it beats me why the experts, professionals and technocrats coming in now cannot come together under one umbrella in unity of purpose and a common goal- which is to save Nigeria. A wise man said these “presidential wannabes” are most egocentric and are either unwilling to learn from past experiences are not interested in being part of the solution.

We shouldn’t kid ourselves, if the professionals and technocrats turned politicians cannot collaborate and work with the same synergy to channel their energy, finances and resources to dispel the established corrupt politicians, we will continue to have the same very politicians we are trying to remove continue to rule Nigeria in the many years to come and until we may get to the time when Nigeria will be no more.

I suppose that these new players are not in the race for selfish goals and desires, if they are true to their gospel they would understand the need to join forces with others. I read the declaration of Fela Durotoye and I was convinced his ideals resonates with that of KOWA Party and ANRP, somehow he decides to join a new political party called the Alliance for New Nigeria party. I wonder if these newcomers really want to be president or just bear the title of “Former Presidential Candidate”.

In the coming weeks and months, we would be seeing more people presenting themselves forward for elections into the presidency. But until the right thing is done, APC and PDP will continue to be the alternative we despise but can’t dispose of.


Victor Terhemba

Is a talent manager, political and social commentator.



2018: The Governor Osun Needs, By Abiodun Komolafe

Osun governorship election is some few months away. In a way, the interplay of forces between ‘Continuity’ and ‘Change’ will soon come to the fore; even take its toll on the state. While the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) might have been scratching its head on how to present a candidate that’ll be acceptable to the generality of the people, pondering the opposition’s foray into another charade of unrealistic fantasies and false utopias may also not be out of place.

As September 22, 2018 nears us by the eyelids therefore, we need to interrogate where we are coming from before taking a decision on our next course. Conscious of our recent experience in Rivers, Kano and Kaduna States, we also need to peep into the fortunes of our desired paradise and the profiles of our candidates in order to avoid falling victim to the nominal, hot-and-cold “political dealers” who always explore the people’s gullibility for vicious, ridiculous, hippomaniac and megalomaniac purposes.

Well, that Nigeria is currently at war with herself is no longer news! Like Prophet Isaiah’s Israel, Nigeria seems to be on a moral and spiritual decline, with a lot of anger taking the better part of the land. From Boko Haram and herdsmen terrorism, to a bastardized economy which nosediveness has practically taken food off the table of the ordinary man, the country stinks and the opportunists rejoice! Quite unfortunately, Osun has been deeply affected by the misfortune which previous administrations wittingly or unwittingly unleashed on the country. But while the buck undoubtedly stops on Muhammadu Buhari’s table, the president’s shortcomings – real or imagined – may be excused on the fact that the government he currently leads was an emergency contraption, prepared, packaged and contracted to the retired General who didn’t weigh its contents or asked for appropriate prescriptions for the ostensibly bitter capsule. Little wonder we are where we are!

Coming back to the forthcoming Osun governorship election, our major challenge as Nigerians is that we always consider politicians who can deliver votes without factoring-in the electorate who do the real job of voting. This is why we are always bent on zoning as if it is one-size-fits-all thing. The way I see it, zoning is an unconstitutional but a party arrangement which, in most cases, only ends up robbing the electorate the chance of choosing the best candidate. While the last Osun West Bye-election has again demonstrated some of the incalculable inconsistencies inherent in such an arrangement, religion, on its part, has only succeeded in adding its own flavour to our political psyche as a people.

Poverty does not recognize the politics of zoning, seeds of ethnicity or the politicization of religion. That a governor comes from a zone is by luck, not design. For instance, I doubt if the judicial processes that eventually delivered victory to Aregbesola was on the basis of his being from the East Senatorial District of the state. Aregbesola became governor and the East adopted him as its representative in ‘Bola Ige House’. Even with his administration’s demonstrable spread of infrastructure development across the nooks and crannies of the state, Aregbesola is arguably the most misunderstood political leader from that zone at the moment, especially, going by some people’s misreading of the politics of capital city. But will Osun Central Senatorial District forget his contributions in a hurry?

Perhaps more importantly, what Osun needs at a time like this is a man with scientific approach to issues of governance who understands where the state is coming from in terms of development and what the Next Level truly means in the life of the state. Our next governor must be one who appreciates the worth of coaches whose traits revolve around discipline, hardwork, confidence and competence. He must also show love to bystanders, meanderers, even cheerleaders. Otherwise, politics may be said to have lost its essence.

Osun needs a governor who will not take away the electorate’s responsibility, thereby rendering them irresponsible. Preferably, he must be an astute administrator with popular connection that can extract and maximize capital with greater efficiency. God forbid our state is hit by economic challenges! It will require the expertise and ingenuity of an upright governor to galvanize available resources within as well as tap into the critical threshold of competent global leaders to mobilize funds and investment opportunities to the state.

So, who shall APC send as its candidate to the battle of September 22? Anyway, this is where the ruling party has to read the signs right. In many ways, the greedy power elite as represented by the opposition has no future in the new world order. But its feigned docility or inactivity should not impose a weird veil of quietness on the ruling party. Those of us who once accused the late Sani Abacha of recklessness failed to realize that he, like Napoleon Bonaparte, saw “an empty throne” and “the urge to sit on it fell on him.” Abacha capitalized on the weakness, the incompetence, the incapacity and the illegality of the Ernest Shonekan-led Interim National Government (ING) and the uncoordinated approach of Nigerians to the issue at stake and the rest is history!

In my considered opinion, the accident of coming from the same political party should unite the aspirants within the APC fold against defeated thinkers and habitual moaners who always end up succumbing to the vagaries of socio-economic hazards. Moving the state to its pride of place shouldn’t just be in mouthing platitudes but in the practicalities of delivering dividends of democracy. It is only by voting Aregbesola to succeed Aregbesola as governor that Osun can continue on the threshold of a new era. It is by so doing that there can be a total triumph for democracy and a historic victory for the temporal and moral good of Osun people. After all, the sound and the taste of a bitter kola do not mean the same thing. Candidly, if food is all that matters, then, one has no justification for leaving his parents in the village in search of any Golden Fleece in the city.

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!

*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk)


abiodun KOMOLAFE,

O20, Okenisa Street,

PO Box 153,

Ijebu-Jesa, State of Osun.


Open Letter To Bauchi Gov Mohammed Abubakar, By Shamsuddeen El-Shams

Anything your mind can think of, you can achieve it. There is no limit to what we can achieve in this life; all we need is faith and hope.

We, the youths especially, tend to listen to other people’s opinions instead of our inner selves, we tend to put our whole trust in others’ judgments or analysis on our own affairs or dreams; forgetting the fact that only you and your Creator knows yourself fully and truly.

Aim high and always believe in yourself and know that no one can give you success but yourself through hope, faith and hard-work and prayer.

I remember a quote by Pamela Vaull Starr, she said: ”Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal”.

No one can teach you how to dream or what to dream, its connected to your inner soul, it’s what you really want deep inside. Your inner-soul knows exactly what you want and knows your capability, don’t let anyone discourage you, you should be the master of your dreams and life. Do not let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do because that someone doesn’t know anything about you or what you can achieve.

Your Excellency, I strongly believe you are a believer in your dreams and self-worth. You always aim for the stars. You are strong in mind, body and spirit. Had you, Your Excellency Governor Mohammed A. Abubakar paid attention to the whispers of the doubting Thomases and critics, you wouldn’t have contested for the seat of the Governor of Bauchi State let alone becoming one. You couldn’t have made it to becoming the 15th Governor in the series of governors that governed Bauchi State, you wouldn’t have become the first Makama Babba of Bauchi or the Sarkin Bauran Katagum.

As a sitting Governor, had you hearkened to the distractions caused by distractors and naysayers, you couldn’t have been able to construct 19 fully equipped Primary Healthcare Centers across the state with VIP toilets, Doctors’ Residence, borehole and ambulance. You wouldn’t have been able to construct 6 roads in Azare, 1 in Jamaare or Design and construct 9 township roads in Misau or the 22 KM Darazo – Gabchiyari road.

Your Excellency, were you mindful of their jaundiced behavior you couldn’t have been able to construct one of the longest roads in the region i.e. the over 100km Misau – Udubo – Gamawa road (including 2 large, standard bridges), you couldn’t have embarked on these gigantic infrastructural development revolution; dualization of Miri-Zaranda-Gidan Mai-Awalah roundabout, dualisation of Awalah-Giwo Academy, repair & resurfacing of Awalah roundabout to Central Market roundabout, rehabilitation of Awalah to Central Market, resurfacing of Kofar Gombe to House of Assembly, construction of Tafawa Balewa Housing Estate roads, construction of Ibrahim Bako Housing Estate roads, construction of Entrance & other link roads at Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic (ATAP), and Rehabilitation of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University’s Permanent Site link road.

Under your administration, more than 800 Primary and JSS buildings are being renovated and more than 600 constructed. Additionally, more than 10,000 desks have been provided to the schools in the first batch of distribution under the Ministry of Education and about 18,000 were provided under SUBEB.

Your Excellency you have resuscitated the ailing Bauchi Fertilizer Company which was on the brink of total collapse abandoned by the previous administration. The company now provides job to hundreds of youths and it is a source of IGR for the state. The company provides fertilizer to neighboring states like Gombe and it will soon start exporting to neighboring countries. Farmers in Bauchi especially, no longer have difficulty in having access to qualitative fertilizer.

Your Excellency, you’ve paid the backlog of 4 months workers’ salaries which the immediate past administration refused to pay. You are currently one of the few Governors in the country to successfully settle all outstanding salaries of workers in their states and constantly able to pay salaries promptly as early as the 25th of the month. Were you not the Governor, probably the story might have been totally different today.

They have called you many derogatory names yet, here you are steering the affairs of the good people of Bauchi State and doing fantastically well. They have concocted many lies and slanderous allegations against your person yet, your star is shining brighter and brighter by the day. They attacked you (and still attacking you) yet, you are ever patient, lenient and tolerant. You have repeatedly warned your aides and supporters not to attack anyone even if they attack your personality.

My simple message to you, Your Excellency, is to continue blocking your ears, eyes and mind from paying attention to distractions by naysayers and distractors. That’s their job, to distract you. But your job is to make our dear Bauchi State great again, and you are perfectly sailing in that direction. You have more great plans for our dear state, fulfill it sir. I believe in you, we all believe in you.

May Allah Almighty continue to be your guide and protector.

I will conclude with this: “Set out each day believing in your dreams. Know without a doubt that you were made for amazing things.”

Josh Hinds – Motivational Speaker, Author

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