Atiku’s Desperation Going Too Far, By Senator Babafemi Ojudu

PDP and Atiku are desperate. Their desperation is however going too far and they are capable of doing anything now .They are resorting to all manners of puerile strategy to win, to get the South West in particular .

In conjunction with their foreign allies and consultants and a band of ethnic bigots they are even circulating a fake news that Osinbajo has resigned. It was the same set of people who blamed God for not killing him when his helicopter crashed.

They were agog with all manners of inhuman and ungodly postings on social media after the unfortunate incidents. We know them they are king and queens of FAKE NEWS.

PDP and it’s agents have become so irresponsible. They can do anything now, even assassinate Osinbajo to achieve their purpose. But God forbid! They know Yoruba states will be key decider in this election.

They are doing everything possible in the South West to cause confusion. They are sending money to pastors ( quote me on this )to tell their congregation that Buhari want to Islamize Nigeria and some pretenders in cassock are doing their biddings.

When your pastor or Bishop preaches that Buhari want to Islamize Nigeria ask him or her how much he or she has collected from Atiku and PDP? How I wish the pastors know the source of the money they are collecting from Atiku? We are up to them as we shall continue to expose them.

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The Osinbajo That I Know, By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, Esq

This is not a campaign effort, but rather a personal testimony of my own personal experience, of what I know, about Professor (Pastor) Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, hereinafter referred to as Pastor Prof.

Very amiable person, unusually humble, intelligent and God-fearing, a people’s man. I’d observed him more closely, after his appointment as the Attorney-General of Lagos State, given the bold policy reforms that he was pioneering, within the Lagos Judiciary, focusing more on accountability, transparency and good governance. I also knew him as head of a transparency initiative, committed to abolishing all forms of corrupt practices and abuses, in the public service.

During his tenure as Attorney-General of Lagos State, he facilitated electronic recording in the courts, spearheaded the radical amendment of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, which has since been copied in most other states and indeed by the federal government, through an expanded ACJA. He created new judicial divisions for the courts and revolutionised the welfare packages of judges, magistrates and judicial staff. I can go on and on, but that is not all about the Osinbajo that I know.

He is a thorough bred intellectual, with profound knowledge of the Nigerian Law of Evidence, running a very successful legal practice, in Lagos. In no time, he was promoted a professor of law and was also elevated to the Inner Bar, as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. 

The real Osinbajo that I know is Pastor Prof, a thorough bred Christian of the old breed, committed to the work of social engineering and human transformation, through faith based projects. At the time, he was an Area Pastor of Jesus House, Ikoyi, which had become more like a haven for the transformation of the down trodden of the land. His wife, the ever youthful Mummy Dolapo, was always busy running an orphanage in the building next to the church, where teenage girls who have been abandoned and abused, were daily being impacted, transformed and rehabilitated. Jesus House had also become a place of transformation for prominent citizens in government, at the time. It was like a small family church. Believe me, Pastor Prof is a grassroots man, always so easily blending with the crowd.

Pastor Prof took the job of the Servant of the Lord, opted to be just the protocol officer of Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseer of RCCG, and was always on ground as one of the comperes at major programmes in RCCG camp. He was so transparent and clean that at the time of his glorious exit from the service of Lagos State, the Governor had to convene a special executive council meeting, to deliberate on the kind of gift suitable for a man without any record of blemish. It was then decided that a plot of land be procured for him in a private estate in the Lekki area.

Pastor Prof is a consummate prayer warrior, always fasting and on his knees, most times. All the times that I met him in his modest apartment in the Redemption Camp at the time, he was always upstairs, praying, and I had to keep going and coming, for hours, in order to be able to catch up with him, on most occasions. Then I used to wonder in my mind, what else is this man praying for? But now I know much better.

Pastor Prof is a gentlemen to the core, so very natural and simple, with no taste for allurement and the mundane. Very sincere and open-minded. In his very modern chambers in Victoria Island, I had cause to work with him on some cases, and he is so very tolerant, even to a fault. On a particular day when he was to have his lunch, he called me inside his office, to join him. And I looked at the food, boiled potatoes and smoked fish! I was just thinking aloud in my mind, wondering if Prof knew that I could just empty the whole bunch in my system all at once! It was then I got to know that Prof thrives on fasting and prayers. Just that.

And eventually Pastor Prof was appointed a provincial pastor of RCCG, in high brow Banana Island, but Prof just remained Prof, nothing moving him, nothing changing him. Prior to that time, I had occasion to invite him as guest speaker, in the church where I pastored in Alagomeji area and later on in Lekki Phase 1. He was always dutiful, very humble and always so cheerful and full of jokes. And once he gets to like you, you just become more like his family. So on a particular day on one of those visits, I invited him on a tour of my area. Prof just jumped in and we drove off! I was shocked. Just like that? When he narrated to us in the church the amazing story of how Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN became Governor, we were thoroughly amazed. Prof is so very clinical in his presentations, both in court and on the pulpit.

He is fulfilled in virtually all areas of his endeavour. The dream of every academician is to become a professor, the highest position in any ministry is the Commissioner, the highest rank in the RCCG is that of a pastor and the highest office in Nigeria is that of the President, for which he served most creditably well, in acting capacity, on a few occasions. And of course the best an individual can be is to have a real relationship with Christ. And this is the Prof that I know; a child of God with incredible love and devotion to the kingdom assignment. Surprisingly, Prof does not believe in kingdom business as excise for non-performance, always stressing the need to balance the equities, in the interest of all.

Eventually Prof was nominated and elected Vice-President and I didn’t get to see much of him again save from a distance. It then happened that legal officers of RCCG were having a conference at the Redemption Camp and Prof was our guest speaker. I was trying to avoid him in a way, not sure of the protocol and security around him. Prof just strolled in and stayed in our midst, bantering away and throwing his usual jokes. And it was time for photographs after the seminar. As I was approaching, Prof just exclaimed and threw me a hi five, making himself available for a selfie! I was just wondering in my mind that this Prof just won’t change! So down to earth and humble!

However, since his sojourn in office, there’s been all manner of talks here and there, mostly political jabs and I will just be wondering in my mind if it’s the same Pastor Prof that people write and talk about. Most often times I’ll just call my wife and urge prayers for Prof, knowing how uneasy it can be, for the head that wears the crown.

Do I talk about his incredible energy and power for performance? May be another day, just may be. 

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The Fall Of The Dubai Strategies And The Wailing, By Ussiju Medaner

We had known and categorically asserted before now that the only reason Atiku and his cohorts went to Dubai to plan their way into Presidency was because they already knew that they had no chance of winning a free and fair election, at this moment, against President Buhari or in the nearest future against any serious contender.

The Dubai meeting was a concoction of schemes to collectively rob the entire Nigerian electorate and win the presidential election through devilry, cheating, deceit and unholy manipulations of the electoral processes.

The major strategies produced by the evil propositions from Dubai contain three elements. The first was the grand plan to internally disrupt the entire country with lies and unfounded propagandas against the sitting president. They were so good at it but the problem is that Nigerians have become more enlightened and able to sieve the lies and discard mendacities. This is responsible for the ineffectiveness of the very many lies from Atiku, his running mate and their many pawns. That is the reason the Amina Zakari issue, the ownership of 9-mobile and the very many other fabrications from the campaign council of Atiku Abubakar were all dead on arrival. We all remember the vice-presidential debate and the myriad of unnecessary concoction of figures and lies to deceive Nigerians to accept the candidature of Atiku and the good jobs Nigerians did after the program to rebuke PDP for reducing itself to such a trifle.

The second plan was the engagement of the services of Mr Brian D. Ballard of the BALLARD PARTNERS, INC., a US-based firm which was believe to have lobbied for diplomatic waiver to enable Atiku enter United States, is planning to manipulate the electoral system electronically the very way they did for Trump in the last election in the US. Mr Brian and his office are said to be placed on a contractual agreement worth $90,000 (?31.5m) monthly which shall also last for as long as the contract would, came under the obligation to pave way for Mr. Atiku to enter US despite a long standing ban on him. According to reliable information the firm also has the task of organization and perfection of a cyber-attack in Nigeria to aid his victory at the polls. It was for this purpose that the PDP insisted on passing of the electoral law that will approve only electronic transmission of election results from the field. The company’s responsibility was to import the technology and train the manpower to use it locally. The proposed software would have jammed INEC system and automatically replace several documents during transmission. It therefore creates little wonder that until about two weeks ago when INEC came out to categorically state that all results will be manually transmitted, PDP was still busy pushing its luck by blackmailing the commission to abandon manual transmission of results. PDP would have created a serious unprecedented integrity issue for INEC Ann the electoral process . How will INEC explain out the existence of a near legitimate result favouring the PDP as against its own authentic result in favour of another candidate? There would be cry of rigging and possibly grounds for litigation and finally an opportunity for PDP to go down gracefully as the cheated one instead of as a villain that has been disgraced.
With the exposure and failure of that plan, PDP has decided to go ahead with the plan of arresting communication in specific locations on the day of the election while they perpetuate their rigging plan. Pre-empting the possibility of the ruling party’s reaction and Nigeria’s rejection, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, speaking for his principal is already trying to divert attention from themselves when they eventually implement their plan of jamming all communications around selected regions.

It calls for serious questioning how Mr Fayose got the information that APC jammed telecoms networks 3Km around the Government House and other locations during the Ekiti Elections and yet did not cry out as has been his manner until now. We must also be prepared to stop PDP from disrupting the election and change the will of Nigerians in the forthcoming elections.

Nigerians must collectively be prepared for the PDP grand plan to create integrity issues against INEC by collating and projecting fake election results to the public and claim it is the authentic result. The plans may include breaking into INEC server to manipulate information and results transmission. This is part of their pact with some election pundits on their payroll. This will give them grounds to accuse the ruling party of rigging the elections in favour of its principal. Earlier, we raised the issue of PDP establishing command centres across the nation for this purpose.

A covering letter and report alleged to have originated from the Brian Ballard Company was immediately denied by both PDP and Mr Ballard as expected. Will he accept that the letter originated from him and truncate all chances of his principal winning the election? It is expedient of common sense to think that their first reaction should be denial. For what purpose would such a letter emerge from elsewhere at this material time? Unlike PDP, the President and his party are very sure of victory at the polls and have no reason to resort to unbecoming, disparage and diminishing acts as projected by PDP. Nigerians know better.

The third devilish agenda from Dubai was the strategic placement of the suspended CJN Walter Onnoghen. Perhaps the reason behind PDP outcry on the issue was for the singular expected duty of the then Chief Justice as defined was to await the day the presidential election litigation would get to his court and simply throw all caution to the air as he faults the victory of President Buhari and declare Atiku winner of the election and President-Elect. The fact remains that after such pronouncement, Nigeria will be turmoil; there would be chaos yet the pronouncement, like the word of gods, stands. We must all have providence to thank for exposing the suspended CJN and prevent such theft of our franchise. You would imagine the vehemence with which PDP responded to the suspension and threatened to upturn Nigeria if the decision is not rescinded. As soon as it was confirmed that Onnoghen is gone forever, Atiku started to mull losing and what would happen after that.

It is now lurid that the entire Dubai plan is a fiasco because it lacks the basic elements of healthy participation in the game of electioneering; it was filled with devilish arrangements intended to usurp power in the country. Nigeria has grown beyond manipulation, cohesion to unhealthy submission, and acceptance of lies. PDP lost contact with reality; the party was of the opinion that Nigerians were the same people they manipulated for 16 years and had their way all through but no, it has seized to be business as usual.

The worst scenario, though not coming from the Dubai template is the element of desperation currently being exhibited by PDP. After failing in its entire plan, the party has now resolved to impede smooth running of the election by preventing the use of card readers in every region possible. They have been against this all along, knowing it was singularly responsible for their loss in 2015 and would still stand as the major obstacle to whatever plan of rigging and result writing they plan. They tried without success to hand twist INEC to reject the use but the failure of the President to assent to their new electoral bill make that impossible. Now they have resolve to setting INEC offices on fire across the country. The only reason anyone would carry out such demeaning act would be to prevent the use of the card reader; so there is no way a president and a party who is a proponent of the use of the system and stand to benefit more from transparency of the system through the use of same will act in a way that endangered the system.

The incidences of fire outbreak at various INEC offices across the country must be duly investigated and perpetrators brought to book but much more, INEC must refuse to be cowed into abandoning the use of card readers in those affected areas. If need be, election should be postponed in such areas until Smart Card Readers are available. Burning offices of INEC would not give them the victory they desire, not even setting INEC headquarters on fire would, it would only postpone the doom hovering over them.

As it has always been, in all humility, I welcome constructive criticism to the above submission

May Nigeria Succeed!

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Buhari v. Atiku: The Inconvenient Truth, By Azu Ishiekwene

If you walk by sight you cannot help approaching Saturday’s presidential election with a heavy heart. The candidates of the two major parties, Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have been presented in the worst light possible.

One foreign newspaper said Nigerians have to choose between a former dictator and an alleged kleptocrat.  Another one, International Guardian, was not so diplomatic. It said Nigerians have to decide between “a stingy rightwing dictator and an established thief.”

In the same article, the newspaper said, “without a doubt, this race might boil down to a choice between Buhari, a timid, nepotic but stingy rightist who would sit down on the national wealth without a clue about how to invest, and a lavish an irresponsible spender called Atiku, who could share the national treasury with the wolves that currently surround his candidacy.”

The local news menu is not very different, only fouled up a bit more by the sour taste of partisanship. But as I prepare to vote on Saturday, I choose to have my omelette sunny side up, and here’s why.

Whatever may be the shortcomings of Buhari and Atiku, their parties believe they are the best candidates they can produce at this time. Buhari was pressed into the race by APC kingmakers who not only regard him as the party’s best bet to retain the centre, but also as their own insurance to keep the spoils, getre-election or both.

Atiku’s candidacy, on the other hand, is a child of aconvenient marriage between a few influential PDPold soldiers feed up with Buhari’s obtuseness and an extremely wealthy business class used to easy money and unhappy with Buhari’s old school economics.

Neither candidate is easy to warm up to. But that appears to be a modern-day problem with politics, the post-modern variety that produced the fantastically ineffectual Theresa May in the UK, the bombastic Donald Trump in the US, and the reprobate Rodrigo Roa Duterte in the Philippines.

On Saturday, we’ll have to choose from what we have or sit on our blistered backsides for another four years.Things are far from perfect but this time, more than ever before, public scrutiny has been reasonably robust in putting the candidates to the test.

For me, that’s part of the sunny side up. In the five national election cycles in 20 years, no set of candidates has been dragged across more public debating floors, questioned and inspected as closely as have candidates Buhari and Atiku, especially.

The two – and other distant runners – have been forced to appear at live debates or townhalls organized by different groups and when they failed to show up, their empty stands have been mocked as evidence of disdain, incompetence or both.

The candidates have been forced to reconnect with different parts of the country, however superficially, and in a few instances, compelled to confront, face-to-face, situations that they had been shielded from in their comfort bubble.

Smaller parties that were shut out of the debates have protested or gone to court for redress, insisting, quite rightly, on fairness and greater transparency.

The fact-checkers have been tracking the exaggerations and outright lies, holding candidates to higher standards and forcing voters to take notice. Twenty years ago, when candidate Olusegun Obasanjo of the PDP was requested to debate Olu Falae of the AD-APP, the latter turned up only to debate an empty stand.

Even if the organiser’s fantasy had been realised and the debate had taken place,the country had no single mobile telephone line at the time for the sort of community and instant engagement now possible.

Thanks to the ubiquity of technology also, we can joke about Buhari’s awkward moments during his Kadaria interview or wince at the audacity of the audience member who pulled out his phone and aimed a devastatingly ugly reference from Obasanjo’s book at Atiku during a live interview.

Those who insist that the cup is half empty must also remind themselves of how the outliers may have set off a momentum that would change politics as it was. It’s not the first time that a host of smaller parties will seek to wrest power from the more established parties.

But I cannot remember any other time when over 90 parties, comprising mostly determined young people, from Omoyele Sowore to Tope Fasua and from Fela Durotoye to Oby Ezekwesili, Kingsley Moghalu and Datti Ahmed, would mount a sustained challenge to the status quo at great personal cost and with very limited resources.

The significant number of young people – 51 per cent – registered to vote in Saturday’s election is not only a reflection of the growing frustration with geriatric politics, it is a result of the rallying cry of the new crop of young politicians.

If they do not despair – and there’s no reason why they should – what they have started will impact our politics more in four years than have the last 20 years of alternating between indifference and moaning. Donald Duke even challenged the nonsense that zoning in a party’s constitution is superior to a citizen’s constitutional right to contest. And he won.

Can the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), be trusted to do its job? I believe it can. No matter what you read on social media, INEC is not playing origami with the ballot; it appears far more prepared for the vote than it has been credited. Politicians know this, that’s why they have been inventing new ways to cheat or doing their best to discredit the commission.

From the time in 2015 when 80 election results were nullified by the courts we have moved to the point where only three court-ordered cancellations occurred out of 178 conducted as at February last year.

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, has done more since then, regardless of the multiple social media executions he has suffered. Apart from prosecuting over 100 staff of the commission for various electoral offences, he has scrapped the “incident form”, which the commission’s field staff routinely used to fraudulently bypass the card reader.

But we can’t leave the job to INEC alone. Better voter awareness and more widespread use of technology will also help greater citizen vigilance.

We don’t need to approach the polling booth with a heavy heart. Apart from Buhari and Atiku, there are over 70 other candidates on the ballot, presenting one of the most delightfully confusing crises of choice for voters in recent times.

My prediction is unchanged. Don’t let the surfeit of scientific, non-scientific and pseudo-scientific forecasts from home and abroad compound your misery. In an article widely published in the first week of January, I predicted, among other things, that Atiku will lose and gave reasons: my reasons stand.

When all is said and done, when the name-calling, slander, and scaremongering are over, and the voter is alone in the booth, face-to-face with the ballot paper, it will all come down to this central question: which candidate, given what I know, can I trust to have my back for another four years?

Atiku will not lose on Saturday. He already lost in 2006 when he fell out spectacularly with Obasanjo and suffered a Humpty Dumpty’s fall. The sum of the ongoing feverish endorsements and lobbying, the extravagant claims of momentum and the fantasy electoral maps would be insufficient to stitch his candidacy together forever again. He’s done.

Atiku would lose marginally, not because voters are overdosed on Buhari love, but because when trust is at stake – man-to-man – Buhari is the lesser of two evils. This is the inconvenient truth.

Ishiekwene is the managing director/editor-in-chief of The Interview and member of the board of the Global Editors Network.

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The Fall Of The Dubai Strategies And The Wailing, By Ussiju Medaner

We had known and categorically asserted before now that the only reason Atiku and his cohorts went to Dubai to plan their way into Presidency was because they already knew that they had no chance of winning a free and fair election, at this moment, against President Buhari or in the nearest future against any serious contender.

The Dubai meeting was a concoction of schemes to collectively rob the entire Nigerian electorate and win the presidential election through devilry, cheating, deceit and unholy manipulations of the electoral processes.

The major strategies produced by the evil propositions from Dubai contain three elements. The first was the grand plan to internally disrupt the entire country with lies and unfounded propagandas against the sitting president. They were so good at it but the problem is that Nigerians have become more enlightened and able to sieve the lies and discard mendacities. This is responsible for the ineffectiveness of the very many lies from Atiku, his running mate and their many pawns. That is the reason the Amina Zakari issue, the ownership of 9-mobile and the very many other fabrications from the campaign council of Atiku Abubakar were all dead on arrival. We all remember the vice-presidential debate and the myriad of unnecessary concoction of figures and lies to deceive Nigerians to accept the candidature of Atiku and the good jobs Nigerians did after the program to rebuke PDP for reducing itself to such a trifle.

The second plan was the engagement of the services of Mr Brian D. Ballard of the BALLARD PARTNERS, INC., a US-based firm which was believe to have lobbied for diplomatic waiver to enable Atiku enter United States, is planning to manipulate the electoral system electronically the very way they did for Trump in the last election in the US. Mr Brian and his office are said to be placed on a contractual agreement worth $90,000 (?31.5m) monthly which shall also last for as long as the contract would, came under the obligation to pave way for Mr. Atiku to enter US despite a long standing ban on him. According to reliable information the firm also has the task of organization and perfection of a cyber-attack in Nigeria to aid his victory at the polls. It was for this purpose that the PDP insisted on passing of the electoral law that will approve only electronic transmission of election results from the field. The company’s responsibility was to import the technology and train the manpower to use it locally. The proposed software would have jammed INEC system and automatically replace several documents during transmission. It therefore creates little wonder that until about two weeks ago when INEC came out to categorically state that all results will be manually transmitted, PDP was still busy pushing its luck by blackmailing the commission to abandon manual transmission of results. PDP would have created a serious unprecedented integrity issue for INEC Ann the electoral process . How will INEC explain out the existence of a near legitimate result favouring the PDP as against its own authentic result in favour of another candidate? There would be cry of rigging and possibly grounds for litigation and finally an opportunity for PDP to go down gracefully as the cheated one instead of as a villain that has been disgraced.
With the exposure and failure of that plan, PDP has decided to go ahead with the plan of arresting communication in specific locations on the day of the election while they perpetuate their rigging plan. Pre-empting the possibility of the ruling party’s reaction and Nigeria’s rejection, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, speaking for his principal is already trying to divert attention from themselves when they eventually implement their plan of jamming all communications around selected regions.

It calls for serious questioning how Mr Fayose got the information that APC jammed telecoms networks 3Km around the Government House and other locations during the Ekiti Elections and yet did not cry out as has been his manner until now. We must also be prepared to stop PDP from disrupting the election and change the will of Nigerians in the forthcoming elections.

Nigerians must collectively be prepared for the PDP grand plan to create integrity issues against INEC by collating and projecting fake election results to the public and claim it is the authentic result. The plans may include breaking into INEC server to manipulate information and results transmission. This is part of their pact with some election pundits on their payroll. This will give them grounds to accuse the ruling party of rigging the elections in favour of its principal. Earlier, we raised the issue of PDP establishing command centres across the nation for this purpose.

A covering letter and report alleged to have originated from the Brian Ballard Company was immediately denied by both PDP and Mr Ballard as expected. Will he accept that the letter originated from him and truncate all chances of his principal winning the election? It is expedient of common sense to think that their first reaction should be denial. For what purpose would such a letter emerge from elsewhere at this material time? Unlike PDP, the President and his party are very sure of victory at the polls and have no reason to resort to unbecoming, disparage and diminishing acts as projected by PDP. Nigerians know better.

The third devilish agenda from Dubai was the strategic placement of the suspended CJN Walter Onnoghen. Perhaps the reason behind PDP outcry on the issue was for the singular expected duty of the then Chief Justice as defined was to await the day the presidential election litigation would get to his court and simply throw all caution to the air as he faults the victory of President Buhari and declare Atiku winner of the election and President-Elect. The fact remains that after such pronouncement, Nigeria will be turmoil; there would be chaos yet the pronouncement, like the word of gods, stands. We must all have providence to thank for exposing the suspended CJN and prevent such theft of our franchise. You would imagine the vehemence with which PDP responded to the suspension and threatened to upturn Nigeria if the decision is not rescinded. As soon as it was confirmed that Onnoghen is gone forever, Atiku started to mull losing and what would happen after that.

It is now lurid that the entire Dubai plan is a fiasco because it lacks the basic elements of healthy participation in the game of electioneering; it was filled with devilish arrangements intended to usurp power in the country. Nigeria has grown beyond manipulation, cohesion to unhealthy submission, and acceptance of lies. PDP lost contact with reality; the party was of the opinion that Nigerians were the same people they manipulated for 16 years and had their way all through but no, it has seized to be business as usual.

The worst scenario, though not coming from the Dubai template is the element of desperation currently being exhibited by PDP. After failing in its entire plan, the party has now resolved to impede smooth running of the election by preventing the use of card readers in every region possible. They have been against this all along, knowing it was singularly responsible for their loss in 2015 and would still stand as the major obstacle to whatever plan of rigging and result writing they plan. They tried without success to hand twist INEC to reject the use but the failure of the President to assent to their new electoral bill make that impossible. Now they have resolve to setting INEC offices on fire across the country. The only reason anyone would carry out such demeaning act would be to prevent the use of the card reader; so there is no way a president and a party who is a proponent of the use of the system and stand to benefit more from transparency of the system through the use of same will act in a way that endangered the system.

The incidences of fire outbreak at various INEC offices across the country must be duly investigated and perpetrators brought to book but much more, INEC must refuse to be cowed into abandoning the use of card readers in those affected areas. If need be, election should be postponed in such areas until Smart Card Readers are available. Burning offices of INEC would not give them the victory they desire, not even setting INEC headquarters on fire would, it would only postpone the doom hovering over them.

As it has always been, in all humility, I welcome constructive criticism to the above submission

May Nigeria Succeed!

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Nigeria Decides: 2019 And The Choices Before Us, By Abdulrahman Usman Leme

Here we are again, at another crossroad in the political landscape of our dear country. Starting from Saturday, February 16, 2019, each of Nigeria’s approximately 80 million registered voters would be expected to exercise their constitutional right to decide those who get elected to the various offices at the various levels of government.

With the benefit of hindsight, given that Nigeria has been democratically governed over the last nineteen (19) years, there surely must now be vast enough experience for rational decision-making by discerning citizens on those to be elected into offices to govern for the next four years; from the presidential to the local government levels.

Of these nineteen odd years of democratic governance in Nigeria, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has had sixteen (16) straight years – from 1999 to 2015, translating to four terms under three Presidents; including Olusegun Obasanjo (May 1999 – May 2007), late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (May 2007 – May 2010), and Goodluck Jonathan (May 2010 – May 2015) Depending on an observer’s sociopolitical leaning, the party either performed or under-performed.

On the other hand, the All Progressives Congress (APC), formerly the main opposition party to the then-ruling PDP, won the 2015 presidential poll on the platform of ‘Change’ and a promise of improved livelihoods for majority of Nigeria’s approximately 190 million citizens. The APC’s candidate, currently the incumbent president, President Muhammadu Buhari (in government from May 2015 till date). is seeking a second term of four years ostensibly to continue his Change agenda, reform programs for the good of the electorate and ultimately move them to the next level.

Although the elections are for various positions at both Federal and State levels, this article will focus on the Presidential election. Also, although there are about seventy-nine political parties contesting the 2019 elections at various levels of participation, this article will only focus on the two major parties on the ballot papers; the All Progressives Congress and the People’s Democratic Party.

The two parties have marshalled reasonably strong points as to why either of them should be voted into power for the next four years. But, it has to be assumed that Nigerians, hinging on the now vast democratic experience, would no longer be hoodwinked, and each potential voter now has the unique chance to decide which of the two platforms best represents his/her interest to deliver on the gains of democracy.

It is in respect to the above that, perhaps, the only meaningful and logical way for any decisions to be made with respect to the two parties; APC and PDP, would be to appraise the performance of each in Government.

The PDP Years (1999 – 2015)

In appraising the PDP era, and given one’s leaning, especially if it would be unfavorable, one can begin by arguing that President Obasanjo had a unique opportunity to institutionalize democracy in Nigeria. An opportunity that would have brought about meaningful developmental reforms and programmes which could have ensured sustained economic growth, but, that didn’t happen. Instead, what we saw was a man who was only interested in idolizing and immortalizing himself. No more can be said than the fact that he sought for a third term. Like Obasanjo, late Yar’adua came with a lot of promise – which he did not live long enough to deliver; but left us with the Boko Haram insurgency to contend with.  However, and to be fair to Late Yar’adua, unlike Obasanjo, he will at least be remembered as a champion of the rule of law and a man who was committed to electoral reforms.

Late Yar’adua was then succeeded by his Vice President; Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, whose Government was blighted by security challenges, political patronage, cronyism, state capture and massive corruption.

To buttress some of the points above, two former Governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria; Charles Soludo and Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, publicly decried the scale of corruption in some government agencies which they observed were causing massive shortages in Government revenues. Furthermore, a former Minister of Finance also publicly expressed frustration on how her dogged resolve to have the excess crude revenue saved for rainy days was ignored, obviously in a bid to sustain political patronage and cronyism. Finally, we have literally been inundated with cases of how billions of Dollars were siphoned by serving top government officials serving as agents of state capture; all that unaccounted for during the Jonathan administration.

However, it must be noted that it was during the PDP years that Nigeria overcame South Africa to become the biggest economy in Africa; never mind it being based off of the country only rebasing its GDP. The point being that Nigeria only changed how it calculated the GDP to more accurately reflect current prices and market structure, and in so doing, gave more weight to Nollywood and mobile phone services that had grown a lot as of then. It must also be noted, however, that experts had argued, even then, that Nigeria needs more than GDP rebasing to stimulate the economy, and that while it was important to have up to date statistics, that would not, of its own, lead to economic prosperity, or any change in the reality on ground.

In the area of poverty reduction, alleviation or eradication, even though with limited or hardly any success, the PDP cannot be accused of lack of effort. During its years, it had the following initiatives to try and tackle the scourge; National Poverty Eradication Program (NAPEP) and YouWin etc. The programs barely had any impact most likely due to the lack of adequate commitment and perhaps corruption.

In the realm of security, boko haram were hoisting their flags in Nigerian territories; indeed, at some point they were in control of seventeen (17) Local Government Areas (LGA) in Borno State alone. These LGAs occupied a space twice the size of the entire geo-political zone known as South Eastern Nigeria.

In fact, boko haram was so bold and brazen, that there were coordinated, if not concurrent attacks in Kano, Bauchi, Gombe, Jalingo, Kaduna, Niger; and even Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, wasn’t spared. With bombings in Abuja of the Police Force Headquarters, UN Building, nyanya bus stop and Emab Plaza. it was almost like nowhere was safe.

Indeed, the statistics on the spate of insecurity are a grim read;

  1. In the North Central, the Ombatse militia ran riot with a killing spree that included that of over 100 policemen in Nasarawa State.
  2. 59 school boys were killed by boko haram at the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State in February of 2014.
  3. 35 bodies were discovered dumped in the Ezu river, Amansea in Anambra state in 2013
  4. 276 schoolgirls were abducted from the Chibok Girls Secondary School in Borno State by Boko Haram terrorists. Till date, 112 of these girls are still missing, with some presumably dead. It took the Government two weeks and public outrage to even admit that the girls were missing.
  5. In fact, the convoy of the incumbent president was caught in a second explosion that rocked Kaduna in July 2014.

The APC Years (2015 – Date)

ECONOMY

The Buhari administration came into power in May 2015 on a tripod of promises to fight Corruption, curb Insecurity and improve the Economy.

Unfortunately, at the onset of the admin, it was confronted by a myriad of near catastrophic problems amongst which chiefly were; nearly 75% of the states could not pay salaries, and the country slid into recession; as was foreseen by former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, during the last days of the Jonathan administration. However, through a combination of economic prudence and effective official interventions by the APC-led government, the country emerged from the doldrums. In September 2015, the admin commenced disbursement of 689.5 billion Naira as bailout to 27 states to enable them pay salaries and offset pension liabilities.

To further stimulate the economy, the Federal Government embarked on an expansionary fiscal policy regime with investment of close to 2.7 trillion Naira in the 2016 & 2017 budgets alone on infrastructure. A further 650 million dollars Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) was set up to complement the capital expenditures of the Buhari administration with focus on funding Lagos-Ibadan express way, 2nd Niger Bridge, Kano-Abuja road and Mambilla Hydroelectric Dam. 

These investments on roads, power and a new national rail network are unprecedented; with an overall focus of guaranteeing increased access to markets, reducing operating costs for businesses, and allowing Nigeria make up for lost time; this being in realization of the fact that the country lost a golden chance to spur economic growth and development in the 16 years under PDP, when billions of dollars were generated; but were then mismanaged or subjected to large-scale looting.To further enhance productivity, and ginger economic activities at all rungs of Nigeria’s economic ladder, the governing APC administration initiated microfinance schemes such as; TraderMoni, Marketmoni and Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), in which billions have been invested, and that have been helping to generate appreciable income for smallholder businesses and thus make life better for thousands of Nigerians. 

The ABP was launched by President Buhari in 2015 to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in agriculture value chain (processing, milling, storage, distribution etc) and smallholder farmers (SHFs) of key agricultural commodities. In December 2018, the CBN noted that as at October 2018, 862,069 farmers cultivating about 835,239 hectares, across 16 different commodities, have so far benefited from the Anchor Borrowers programme; a development that has generated over 2.5 million jobs across the country.

The admin has also moved to improve the Human Development Index of the country with an unprecedented array of social intervention programs. These include the Home Grown School Feeding Program (HGSFP), N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) amongst others. The net effect of these programs are already been felt.

CORRUPTION

This been the cardinal theme of the admin’s campaign, it moved immediately to check it with a number of measure, amongst which are:

  1. Expunging more than 34,000 ghost workers from the Federal Civil Service payroll, thereby saving about N2.3 billion monthly.
  2. Implementing the Treasury Single Account (TSA); and by end of March 2017, over N7 trillion was recorded in the TSA, while as at August 2018, the TSA was saving the government N42 billion monthly; an initiative, which has been hailed far and wide.
  3. A Whistleblowers policy was also unveiled by his administration, and has led to the discovery and recovery of billions of naira of stolen government funds in both local and foreign currencies.
  4. A Presidential panel was set up to probe arms procurement between 2007 and 2015. The panel has made some shocking discoveries that are still rocking the armed forces and the security infrastructure of the country.

The admin is continuing with its vigorous fight against corruption with purpose, so much so that it can be described as retreating. Even the Judiciary is being cleansed of corruption, with top ranking judicial officers who were hitherto thought to be untouchable, now being investigated and prosecuted. We have also witnessed some high profile convictions.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has also been recording hugely significant achievements in the fight against corruption. In February 2018, the EFCC reported recoveries of about 511.9 billion Naira in 2017. The commission reported that, between January and December 2017, it recovered 32 billion Naira and 5 million Dollars forfeited by the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dieziani Alison-Madueke. Other forfeited monies include the N449 million discovered at a plaza in Lagos, $43 million discovered in an Ikoyi apartment in Lagos, N329 billion from petroleum marketers in Kano, while withholding tax of over N27.7 billion was retrieved from banks.

SECURITY

On Security, many Nigerians may point accusing fingers at the current administration on the resurgence of Boko Haram attacks with casualties among the military personnel. However, President Buhari has sought for, and allocated huge funds from the budget to purchase military equipment so as to reinvigorate the onslaught against the terrorists.

In this regard, it can at least be argued that funds intended for arms purchase are not being diverted to private pockets. The country has also regained a lot of goodwill and respect in the international community; a situation that has meant arms procurement is no longer through the backdoors. The import of this will assume an even bigger significance if one recalls the botched and desperate attempt by the previous government to purchase arms from South Africa via a plane-load of cash.

Although the Buhari admin has been far from perfect, with insecurity challenges and industrial actions, the federal government moved to address the farmer/herder conflict in the North Central region, and armed banditry in North west through interventions like:

  1. Operation Whirl-stroke in Benue and Taraba States
  2. Operation Sharan Daji in the North West.
  3. Operation Diran Mikiya (An air force quick response unit set up in Gusau Zamfara State which is being complemented by counter terrorism unit and other security forces).
  4. An establishment of another air force quick response wing in Nguroje, Mambilla, Taraba State
  5. Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Gembu, Mambilla, Taraba State

These security measures are to be complemented by the National Livestock Transformation Plan that was recently launched by the Federal Government. 

In the Niger Delta, the Government has been in constant dialogue with stakeholders, community leaders and the militants for a lasting solution. Leveraging on its plans and programs in the Niger-Delta, the APC led Government has managed to maintain peace in the region. To this end, we have been witnessing sustained peace for the longest period in many years.

In the foreign policy realm, Nigeria under President Buhari has recovered considerable goodwill from global partners. These are being witnessed in the instances of the currency swap and infrastructure funding with China; the fertilizer deal with Morocco; the trade deal with Singapore; the bilateral agreements on return of Nigeria’s stolen assets with countries like United Kingdom, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, and treaties which have raised the country’s profile internationally.

Based on the afore-mentioned records of the PDP and the APC in government, the choice for discerning voters as they go to polls are

  1. an APC Government that has spent over 10 billion US Dollars on infrastructure that cut across several sectors in four years or a PDP Government that spent nearly 800 billion dollars with little to show for it.
  2. An APC Government that is committed to diversifying our economy or one that abandoned other sectors of the economy for oil.
  3. An APC Government that has completed about 600 kilometers of standard gauge rail in three years; with Lagos-Abeokuta being the latest, with less resources available to spend or a PDP Government that had abundance of resources at its disposal but could not put in place a single standard gauge line.
  4. A PDP Government that depleted our foreign reserve despite selling oil at an all-time high or an APC Government that is growing the foreign reserve steadily despite earning less.
  5. A PDP Government that sold off government assets such as; NITEL, NEPA, Nigeria Airways to their cronies at giveaway prices spearheaded by Atiku Abubakar without compensating staff or an APC Government that is clearing this mess by upsetting the pension arrears and other entitlements of these staff after several years.
  6. A PDP Government that spent sixteen billion dollars on power with nothing to show for it under one of their three Presidents alone; an administration where the current PDP candidate was an influential Vice President, or an APC Government that has generated and transmitted the highest megawatts of electricity in less than four years.
  7. A PDP Government that allowed our refineries to rot or an APC Government that is working hard to have them function in full capacity whilst making possible for Private individuals to set up theirs. The Modular refineries in the Niger Delta will soon come on board.
  8. A PDP Government that had turned the country’s main revenue generating agencies to their cash cows or an APC Government that is ensuring prudent management of resources and accountability at these agencies. The Nigeria Ports Authority, under Ms Hadiza Bala, for example has seen remarkable turnaround in the way and manner the Authority is being run; It was one of the first Government agencies to implement the TSA which complemented the revenue and invoice management system which reduce traffic, blocked leakages and enhanced service delivery. NNPC, Customs and FIRS are other agencies that witnessed real change and have all broken existing records in terms of revenue turn over to the coffers of Government.

Finally, the discerning voters should reflect on whether they would rather weigh on the person they hired to repair their destroyed house (who despite all the initial obstacles has managed to structurally stabilize the house) to do better at refurbishing it or they would rather have the person who destroyed in the first place come back for repairs? It really does appear to be that simple.

Abdulrahman Usman Leme

For:

Directorate of Contact and Mobilization

APC Presidential Campaign Council.

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Only Dapo Abiodun Shows More Seriousness To Buhari’s Campaign In Ogun State – Olamide Lawal

However, the president raised the hand of his annointed and preferred candidate for the Oke-mosan seat late December last year in the presence of the world- Prince (Dr) Dapo Abiodun. 

Upon arrival from the Aso villa, the prince swung into action by ensuring that the APC win all its elections, from the Presidential to the Senate, Reps and the State House of Assembly. This is perhaps because the Iperu-prince has no other party than the APC. 

Unlike Akinlade who is over-burdened with the task of marketing his new party, rebranding the already stained name of his political godfather and putting in place and re-strategizing their rigging mechanism in a bid to buy the electoral umpire. Commonsensical, If Governor Amosun had gone with his political stooges into the APM, It might be understandable. If he had remained in the APC with his people, he would have been a hero by now just like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. But the 61-year old had proved himself to be dubious and ungrateful to the party that rescued him in 2011 and even 2015 when he was at the edge of loosing the seat he occupied. 

If Governor Amosun, who is also the senatorial candidate of the APC in Ogun Central is claiming daily in the papers that he is supporting and mobilising for President Buhari, how many local governments has he visited since the campaign began in December last year?  ANSWER- Only the six local government areas in the central senatorial district where he is seeking their votes. He has no mission in Ijebu/Remo or Yewa/Awori areas for now politically. 

Prince Dapo Abiodun has gone to the nooks and crannies, even the most extreme and remote parts of Ogun state have hosted the business moguls.

Dapo Abiodun’s mission to the length and breadth of the state is VOTE APC ACROSS BOARD, VOTE APC ALL THE WAY. He knows that he needs not to talk about the candidates after all there are no candidate’s name on the ballot paper. The ballot papers have only party logos and names. 

Another interesting aspect of Abiodun’s campaign language is that he is the only candidate in Ogun state who has adopted President Buhari’s second term campaign slogan-NEXT LEVEL     

He says this at every of his campaign venues. 
Ask Akinlade when last he mentioned Buhari during his campaign. Why would he even mention an APC Presidential candidate when the APM (His party) also have a Presidential candidate whose name is still on INEC’s list of candidates. 
The combination of Akinlade and Amosun no longer carry weight in Ogun state. This is because even the APM (With no structure and reputation) cannot win a single polling boot in the next election and this is perhaps why they have focused on demarketing the APC and even President Muhammodu Buhari. 

For example, the vice president of Nigeria was in Ogun state on Monday, where was Governor Amosun? Why was his stooge which he claims has the annointing of the president absent? 

Until the above questions could be answered with sincerity, the APC remains the headache of Akinlade, giving  the APM and its members sleepless nights and serving as nightmare for the outgoing governor.

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Remembering Bola Ige, By Abiodun Komolafe

Ethno-religious leanings or socio-political ideology notwithstanding, it is almost improbable for any society to underestimate the contributions of some people to the emancipation of its people and the realization of the dream of its founding fathers.

For instance, America will forever remain grateful to the likes of Martin Waldseemuller, Stephen Moylan, George Washington and Martin Luther King Jnr. for their contributions, one way or the other, to the realization of the American dream as a land of equal opportunity for all. In like manner, China’s economy wouldn’t have become “the fastest sustained expansion by a major economy in history” to the extent of having “lifted more than 800 million people out of poverty” but for the political sagacity and economic ingenuity of leaders like Chairman Mao Zedong and Den Xiaoping.

In a word, the world owes Winston Churchill, Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela, Ayatollah Khomeini and others a debt of gratitude for their efforts at leaving the world better than they met it. Here in Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, and Ahmadu Bello, among others, have left their marks in the sand of time and one is not in doubt of their place in world history.

Among such great Nigerians who have also etched their names in gold is the late Bola Ige. Ige was a poet, novelist, writer, founding member of Afenifere socio-cultural group and devoted Christian. He was a multi-lingual, gifted orator who did so much to promote socio-cultural integration and the Yoruba Agenda. A deep thinker and an irrepressible crusader for the Common Good, he was once the Secretary of the youth wing of the defunct Action Group (AG) and he eventually rose to the peak of the Party hierarchy. Amid the uncertainties of life, the ‘Cicero of Esa-Oke’ walked in integrity and in the beauty of democracy.

A prominent lawyer, once described as the luminary SAN (Senior Advocate of Nigeria), Ige was former Commissioner of Agriculture in the defunct Western Region of Nigeria. He was also the governor of the old Oyo State between 1979 and 1983. In 1999, he sought the nomination of the now-rested Alliance for Democracy (AD) as a presidential candidate but the rest, as they say, is history. Bloodied but unbowed, the Afenifere chieftain was later appointed, first, as Nigeria’s Minister of Power and Steel; thereafter, Attorney General and Minister of Justice. In fact, Ige was the African Representative designate to the United Nations International Law Commission before death struck on December 23, 2001.

For us in Nigeria, Ige proudly stands in the class of John Kennedy, George Bush and, perhaps, Bill Clinton, whose politics have in no small measure electrified America. Rather than accumulate instant wealth and sudden fortune, his legacy lies in the ‘Four Cardinal Programmes’ as espoused in the manifesto of the-then Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). Among those things he introduced that would live forever in the hearts of the people was how he democratized the education space. It is a fact of life that, without his intervention, many people might not have gone to school. And, because they were educated, majority of them are now in the top echelon of the appurtenances of power, contributing their quota to nation-building. It is also interesting to note that, like John, Bola’s assassination “precipitated a national nervous breakdown” and fatalistic sense of futility.

Well, Nigerians must be alert to the fact that remembering Ige is not all about naming places or monuments after him. Of course, there are perhaps enough of that! In my view, it’s time we started dealing with the socio-psychological underpinning values of monuments, which is the celebration of humanity, not mere ‘monuments’, the glory of which is likely going to fade away or perish with time. Instead, what we need now is the internalization of humanity institutional monuments, which deal with humans in the heart of hearts of people.

Till date, the world looks at America’s premier political dynasty, whose politics “inspired the idealism of the Sixties”;  and the Bush-Davis-Walker family, which included two presidents, two first ladies, a state governor and a senator, with immense admiration. In the 1960s, Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham had a rare privilege of understudying Kennedy’s case while on internship at the White House. It is perhaps the realization that a typical society has its own institutional pattern that motivated the future Clintons to remain in the Democratic Party. Even, Barrack Obama could not afford to sidetrack “the last of the Kennedys” in his quest for America’s 1st Citizen. Today, America’s 42nd and 44th presidents are better for it! But I doubt if a 10-year-old Nigerian will not ask if a titan like Awolowo ever passed through this land. No thanks to the removal of History from the school curriculum.

With regard to natural expectations, democracy finds full expression in being a political system of competition for power. But then, why can’t the children of Nigeria’s heroes past ride on the wave that has been created by their heroic parents? This brings me to the tricky question of ‘political recruitment’ and ‘leadership mentoring’ patterns in Nigeria. For example, Muyiwa (Ige’s son) has no reason to be struggling for a place in Nigeria’s power ladder with persons of lesser political pedigree; not even within Uncle Bola’s locality. Unfortunately, ours is a country where warped systems prevail!  The tragedy of leadership in this part of the world is that, for the strangest of reasons, political neophytes and clumsy characters, whose penchant for transactional politics, political entrepreneurship and manipulation of passions knows no bounds, just emerge as ‘leaders’ and foist themselves on the people. But all that must change in order to encourage future generations! Needless to repeat that the younger Ige has the name, qualification, experience, reputation and the pedigree which eminently qualify him to, as it were, step into his father’s shoes! The more reason he and others in his shoes must be encouraged wherever and whenever they show interest in politics because they have a name to protect.Top of Form

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

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

abiodun KOMOLAFE,

O20, Okenisa Street,

PO Box 153,

Ijebu-Jesa, State of Osun.

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The Economist And Its Double Standard Poll Prediction, By Sunday James Akinloye

For those who take The Economist prediction as gospel, you might be in for a long haul because they do have a handful of failed poll predictions that has hurt their believers hard in times past.

In 2016, they put Hillary Clinton to the sword by falsely making her and her campaign team believe that they will win. Here’s how The Economist predicted the outcome of the 2016 election in the United States.

“Could it happen? Absolutely. But it would be a very, very big upset—about as likely as, say, the Chicago Cubs baseball team coming back from a three-games-to-one deficit to win their first World Series since 1908. So yeah, Hillary’s got this. Democrats, just ask a Cleveland Indians fan whether you have anything to worry about.”

We all know what happened at the end. Clinton lost and Trump won. The Economist misled them and billions across the world. Coming back home for a bit. In December 2018, The Economist predicted that incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari will win a second term in office and that the opposition will collapse.

The Economist in its edition, “The World in 2019” said: “The president, Muhammadu Buhari, will win re-election in February, as the new opposition coalition may collapse before the vote.

Just to state categorically, the quote from The Economist claimed two things. One is that President Buhari will be re-elected and that the opposition will collapse before the elections. One thing is clear, President Buhari is clear favourites to win if the campaign rallies across the country are anything to go by.

President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have embarked on a more proactive and people-oriented campaigns than any other party in Nigerian democratic history. The mammoth crowds at the rallies are also a confirmation that the presidential duo is loved.

Fast forward to February 2019, barely two weeks before the presidential election in Nigeria, the supposedly reputed magazine did a U-turn and claimed that the main opposition party will win.

Please stop for a minute and take a deep breath, do you expect the truth from a man who speaks from both sides of his mouth?

Little wonder, economic historian and professor of Economics, Bradford DeLong wrote this about The Economist, “As a longtime reader of The Economist, let me just say that in the past six years I have come to the conclusion that in five important issue areas–U.S. politics, U.S. economics, finance (U.S. and global), Middle Eastern politics, and African politics — anything The Economist states that I did not already know is likely to be wrong… And it’s the reason I pay much more attention these days to the Financial Times.”

In all fairness, there is nothing left of The Economist’s credibility when it comes to political calculations and predictions. Hopefully, The Economist will have the decency to apologise to Nigerians after the elections on 16 February.

Akinloye is President of Initiative to Save Democracy. He is a social commentator and political analyst

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The Suspension Of The Chief Justice Of Nigeria (CJN) On The Order Of The Code Of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), By Ussiju Medaner

The ongoing saga about the suspension of the CJN (Justice Walter S. Onnoghen) by President Buhari and the immediate appointment of CJN (Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed) in an Acting Capacity pending the resolution of the case of the suspended CJN has generated opinionated interests. The decision to suspend the CJN is based on an Order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) issued on Wednesday January 23, 2019 directing that the CJN, Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen be suspended.

In the case against the Hon. Justice Onnoghen before the CCT, he the suspended CJN had accepted, in written submission, that he forgot to declare the assets ($3 million, equivalent of ?1,095,000,000) he owned as alleged. This act by Justice Onnoghen trespassed on the law which is a serious violation of the Code Of Conduct Bureau Act ,thus, he has to be called to answer, but how could he answer to the law which he oversees?

The CJN is in control of all most appointments and major actions in the NJC and the Judiciary to some extent. Perhaps, that was wisdom of the CCT to Ordered for his suspension so that he could not be standing trial while retaining the sacred office of the CJN. How is it possible that a civil servant who has no business investments own 55 houses, does not touch his salary for years and even forgot to declare having an amount as large as $3 million?

In saner and more deorum climes, it would be expedient of the CJN to have removed himself from office by resigning to avoid interference with the case before the CCT. Sadly, the Hon. Justice Onnoghen did not do the needful. He instead endeavoured to frustrate the efforts of the court by stalling the proceedings at the CCT. This is the same Justice Walter Onnoghen who had ruled that the CCT is not answerable to any other court in the course of undertaking its constitutional duties.

To further ensure that the National Judicial Council (NJC) does not act towards his suspension, he postponed the NJC meeting indefinitely without reasons. The questionable part in the behaviour of Justice Onnoghen is his attempt to set up the election petition tribunal on a Saturday which is not an official working day. This could be the reason for how several mandates were surprisingly lost in the election petition tribunal after the 2015 general elections.

And in the event that election tribunal cases get to the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the suspended CJN Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen would lead his fellow justices to rule in favour of those under whose payroll he has made so much fortune? And of course nothing can be done because the Supreme Court ruling supersedes any other court ruling.

As Mr President remarked in his speech while suspending the CJN, there is an ‘alarming rate in which the Supreme Court of Nigeria under the oversight of Justice Walter Onnoghen has serially set free, persons accused of the most dire acts of corruption, often on mere technicalities, and after quite a number of them have been convicted by a trial and appellate courts.’ This goes to prove that the Judiciary as an arm of government in Nigeria has been compromised and the service of justice now goes to the highest or associated bidder.

The Constitution did not speak about the suspension of the CJN only of the removal. But Section 11 of the Interpretation Act states unequivocally that:

‘Where an enactment confers powers to appoint a person either to an office or to exercise any function, whether for a specific period or not, the power includes: power to remove, or suspend him …’

Though the CJN cannot be unilaterally removed from office by the President without recourse to the to the Senate, in this particular matter it was the CCT( a court recognized by constitution ) that ordered the President to be suspend him so as to allow for non-interference in his own trial by the system which he oversees. If the CJN is found innocent of the charges against him, he shall be reinstated back into his office. This is the norm in any sane society that he cannot be the judge in his own case.

The leading Anti- Buhari lawyer Mike Ozekhome (SAN) recently remarked on the suspension of the CJN saying:

‘The alleged suspension from office of the CJN is the vilest, thieving, most despicable, ultra vires, undemocratic and brazenly unconstitutional act ever carried out by any government in Nigeria, civilian or military, since 1st January, 1914, when the contraption called Nigeria was forcibly contrived through the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates.’

‘The desperate act of a sit-tight president constitutes a direct suspension of the Nigerian Constitution and the entire democratic process.’ –(Daily Trust, January 25, 2019).

He had remarked in the case of Sanusi Lamido citing the Interpretation Act as:

‘In the case of Sanusi, section 5 of the CBN Act says the president can appoint him subject to confirmation by the Senate and the president can dismiss him subject to two-thirds of vote of the Senate. There was no provision for suspension. Then I brought in section 11 of the Interpretation Act, and it says he who can appoint can also dismiss and can also suspend. That was my argument, so there was no contradiction between my argument then and my argument now.

That was how section 11 of the Interpretation Act came in. We have seen that President Jonathan can hire and fire, going by the Interpretation Act; it’s a case of employer-employee or master-servant relationship. There is no contradiction at all; I am not a self-revisionist. I cannot contradict myself. I know myself. I have been consistent since the last 36 years and I still stand by the same argument.’ (The Interview, September 3, 2017).

‘One of the legal principles of statutory interpretation is that whatever is not stated is excluded and since suspension was not specifically mentioned in the CBN Act, it means it was excluded.’

‘Such argument forgets its sister principle of statutory interpretation that what is not forbidden or outlawed is allowed. In other words, if a law does not specifically say you cannot do this, it means you can do it.’ (Channels TV, February 24, 2014).

Above are the comments of Mike Ozekhome showing his double standards as regards the suspension of the NJC. The fight against the severed CJN should have been led by the Judiciary itself: to strengthen the Executive in the fight against judicial corruption. This is because the Judiciary stands as the last hope of every nation. Every other arm or aspect of government may fail in its duties and obligations but it is the Judiciary that cannot afford to fail: it is the soul and conscience of the nation. This raises the question again as to why the Judiciary is not in the lead, as a proponent for justice, on the Onnoghen case.

From the case of Nganjiwa vs FRN (2017) LPELR-43391(CA), it was revealed that:

‘It must be expressly stated that if a judicial officer commits theft, fraud, murder or manslaughter, arson and the likes, which are crimes committed outside the scope of the performance of his official functions, he may be arrested, interrogated and prosecuted accordingly by the state directly without recourse to the NJC.’

This makes it very clear that the offence for which the CJN is being arraigned falls within the jurisdictional purview of the CCT. This is not a professional/ethical violation within the judicial realm. In a judgement delivered by Justice Walter Onnoghen on July 12, 2013, he affirmed that the CCT had the exclusive jurisdiction to deal with all violations that contravene any provision of the CCB, that:

‘If I may repeat, the Code of Conduct Tribunal has been established with the exclusive jurisdiction to deal with all violations contravening any of the provisions of the Code as per paragraph 15(1). This provision has expressly ousted the powers of ordinary regular courts in respect of such violations.’

By these words of the CJN himself during a judgement in 2013, and with the circumstances about this case of his non-declaration of assets now, can the NJC not be regarded as one of the “ordinary regular courts”? He had also stated earlier that:

‘Any allegation that a public officer has committed a breach of or has not complied with the provisions of this Code shall be made to the Code of Conduct Bureau.’

‘The foregoing provisions are clearly unambiguous and so construed literally mean that any breaches of any provisions of the said 5th Schedule or matters of noncompliance with any provisions of the Code shall, (meaning that it is mandatory i.e. must) be made to the Code of Conduct Bureau that has established its Tribunal with the exclusive jurisdiction to deal with any violations of any provisions under the Code.’

These are the words of Hon. Justice Onnoghen in 2013 asserting the powers of the CCT in matters as he is currently involved now, in the case (SC.279/2012) before Justices Walter S. Onnoghen, Christopher Mitchell, Chukwuma-Eneh, Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, Clara Bata Ogunbiyi and Kumai Bayang Aka’ahs. Now what is the tyranny of the President in adhering with the Order from a constitutionally approved authority?

Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 (ACJA) ousts the powers of the courts in granting stay of proceedings:

‘An application for stay of proceedings in respect of a criminal matter before the court shall not be entertained.’

The above is as succinct as to have proved that the CJN and his numerous junior colleagues have abused court processes. Thus by procuring Orders from the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) and the Federal High Court (FHC) which directs the CCT to suspend the trial of the CJN, they have goofed because the NICN and the FHC are both courts of coordinate jurisdiction alongside the CCT, hence cannot direct the CCT.

  1. The Legislature lack the jurisdiction to etertain this issue, Order 9 Rule 1(5) of the Standing Order of the House states:

‘Reference shall not be made to any matter on which a judicial decision is pending, in such a way as might, in the Speaker’s opinion, prejudice the interest of the parties thereto’

Furthermore, Order 41(7) of the Senate Standing Order states that:

‘The Senate shall not receive any petition or any matter for that which there is a judicial remedy.’

Similarly, ”Senate Standing Order 53(5) says reference should not be made on any matter in which the judicial decision is pending in such a way that it might in the opinion of the President of the Senate prejudice the interest of the parties thereto

The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in a Press Release on Monday, January 28, 2019, cancelled the resumption in plenary which was scheduled for Tuesday, January 29, 2019, and maintains the earlier fixed date of February 19, 2019. This could be a plot to keep the APC Senators away from the planned plenary so that they can hold a kangaroo court plenary in order to gain the simple majority required by law to institute case against the Executive.

Hence we call on all APC members to very vigilant over such development. The Senate has also sought the interpretation of the suspension of the CJN by Mr President and whether the role of the Senate has been undermined in the process. It is on record that there has never been a time when the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria met to take a resolution, or mandate any person to approach the Supreme Court of Nigeria in its stead. That is another illegal step . the resolution of simple majority required by the constitution before the Senate or House of Representatives can be able to file any complaint in the supreme court against any Executive action or inaction (as the case may be). The Schedule of the Supreme Court (Additional Original Jurisdiction) Act (Section 2.] states:

  1. Neither the National Assembly nor State House of Assembly shall institute or initiate legal proceedings under this Act except upon the resolution of the House passed by a simple majority of the members of that House present and sitting at the time the resolution is put to vote.
  2. No legal proceedings shall be initiated or instituted by or on behalf of the National Assembly under the Act except upon the resolution which has been passed by both Houses of the National Assembly by a simple majority of the members of each House present and sitting at the time the resolution is put to vote.
  3. The PDP which has spearheaded corruption at all levels of governance, displayed disregard for law and order, engaged in wanton abuse of office, and other forms of flaws in governance, are calling for the reinstatement of Onnoghen without approaching the court to reverse such to challenge the CCT Order. What does this imply to any sane mind who knows the ideologies the PDP stand for? What interest is the PDP trying to protect and at what point did the PDP become an arbitrator for the judiciary and the suspended CJN? Why is the PDP with its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar always in defence of any official who has been accused of corrupt and unlawful practices? Is it because of the elections tribunal hearings in some states about the 2015 elections which went their way under the watch of the CJN at the Supreme Court of Nigeria where the rulings of the Tribunal Courts were upheld by the Court of Appeal and such were upturned by the Supreme Court in their favour?
  4. The PDP has been biased with their reactions to issues relating to the polity in Nigeria. From recent trends backwards: there was no sound made from any quarters when Kemi Adeosun took to the path of honour to resign as Honourable Minister of Finance over the controversy in her NYSC certificate; they made no fuss when Babachir Lawal was removed by Mr President and facing the EFCC investigation; there was no threat to national existence when the former CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was arbitrarily fired; likewise Justice Ayo Salami was sacked for not tendering an apology and Nigeria did not explode.
  5. The PDP has delusions of grandeur and they are desperate to take power at all cost. They would have been happier if President Buhari were acting like the presidents they produced over their 16 years of misrule and flagrant abuse of power. They are too proud to learn the art of leadership from an honest leader with integrity; rather they choose to abuse all his good deeds. He has not removed any governor as they did. He has offered soft loans to petty traders and has paid cash to the poorest in the society and they are wailing and chanting ‘vote-buying’, but they were mute and jubilating when Dasuki was being a Santa Clause with money meant for arms to combat insurgency, they rejoiced in silence.
  6. The PDP has failed to reconcile all the facts associated with the case of the CJN. The hypocrisy with which they relay the issue is disheartening for any lover of democracy. The single question remains: despite the confession of the CJN Mr Onnoghen, bordering on forgetfulness which is not a legal excuse, is false declaration of asset, or whatever they choose to called it a crime or not? If it is, which court/body does the jurisdiction of such a crime fall under? How can PDP accuse Buhari of tyranny when they were an embodiment of a tyrannical government for 16 years? The PDP cannot survive if corruption is dead, and that is the reason they are always behind the corrupt elites. The PDP’s interest in the continuous stay of the suspended CJN Justice Walter Onnoghen is definitely for ulterior motives beyond what catches the eyes.
  7. The PDP is trying hard to ensure that they manipulate the elections as they have always endeavoured in the past. With the recent conviction of two INEC staff (sentenced to 90 years imprisonment) on their payroll during the 2015 elections, the PDP should be silent and accept the grim fate that awaits them at the polls come February 16, 2019. This is proof that the PDP has nothing good in stock for Nigerians: the main reason they refuse to centre their campaigns on fundamental issues but rather on ignorable fables. The PDP even summoned the guts to call on all Nigerians to protest. What kind of protest would that be, a protest for grand corruption and impunity to be restored with triumph over good? A protest to terminate the current infrastructural development that Nigerians can see, unlike in the 16 years of the PDP where nothing can be seen visibly? A protest for the destruction of Nigerian industries and companies to bring back the 16 years of PDP’s misrule? What protest please?
  8. All the schemes of the PDP have failed them: from the Dubai agenda, to the myriads of lies upon lies they keep feeding Nigerians. Their plot to use money to gain the office of the President which is in line with the remark Obasanjo made about Atiku Abubakar who believes that money can buy him whatever he needs in any situation. But Nigerians want to grow. Nigerians are tired of being identified and referred to as criminals in every part of the world. Nigerians are tired of living without the basic infrastructural requirements. And these are the ultimate reasons they will re-elect President Muhammadu Buhari with Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to continue with the work they are doing in the Next Level.

As it has always been, in all humility I welcome constructive conversations on the above submission…. Pundits over to you!

May Nigeria Succeed!

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Buhari And The Antics Of Opposition Elements, By Abdullahi Haruna

The script is being acted in sequence and sustained by different actors- the general plot is to get President Muhammadu Buhari out of office. The plot started with the Shiite’s daring masochism with the Nigerian Army, followed by the IPOB imbroglio and then the daring affront from the Niger Delta Avengers.

While these flashlights of attrition were going on, the echoes of restructuring reverberated with cacophonous lightening. Almost every opinion moulders woke up with the singsong of restructuring. With Buhari in power, the country needed to be restructured, they fumed.

Just as this sponsored dummy was fizzling to a vain crescendo, another antic surfaced, this time a purported fight between Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu and President Muhammadu Buhari- it took Asiwaju’s blanket salvo to end the rumoured bad blood.

With the above-mentioned antics not getting the desired lethal effect, they found solace in the begging and itchy fingers of online columnists who were cheaply bought to write in venom. Overnight, teachers of grammar became bashers of PMB. The stranded professors got willing companions in other disgruntled elements.

With series of failed onslaught, the sponsors of destabilization lured some ferry pastors and Islamic preachers to incite and pour venom on the Nigerian state. Just when Christians and Muslims came close to rising up against themselves, they suddenly realized that it’s foolish for brothers to fight against themselves. Shamed were the belligerent shamed as common sense prevailed over bigotry.

Then came the tool of mobilization against the state is the use of musical artistes. And they got hold of innocent Tuface Idibia whose innocence was vulnerably exploited. While Audu Maikori was crying genocide, Tuface was crying hardship. What a coincidental advocacy at the same time?

Tragically, surfaced another dangerous dimension to the onslaught, the narrative of gunmen and the politicization of the senseless herdsmen killings in Benue state. Instead of looking for solutions for this pogrom, the altar became centres of agitation. The cry of annihilation pervaded the air, shout of islamization raid the air and then come the verdict of the man next to God- Olusegun Obasanjo.

After this, another script surfaced and as usual, it kissed the dust, as Nigerians gave no hoot to the mischief of the egoistic man. The can of mischief is loaded and inexhaustible but while they plan, they left out the master planner who watches in majesty the infantile treachery of mortals.

The stunts continue to fail, as the mischief planners continue to unleash their antics, from nowhere, Buhari of Nigeria became Jibrin of Sudan as they argued and swore to high heavens that the president died in London and was cloned and imported home by the cabal. Even highly educated folks bought this balderdash as they supported their claims with all shades of defences.

When this failed, they hatched a new song, this time, the man was no longer in charge of the Nigerian situation but mercilessly controlled by the cabals. Who are the cabal and what have the cabals influenced that has affected national development? The man asked and still begging for answers that aren’t forthcoming.

The latest and the last of the oppositions’ antics are the vituperations of the former generals. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is ranting and writing letters, Chief Theophilus Danjuma is inciting people against the president and the other old guards are mobilizing against Buhari while the masses that are the beneficiaries of Buhari’s policies are doing everything to have him re-elected. And Nigerians are saying ‘Never again shall we be dictated to by the grips of those who say they are the landlords of Nigeria.

This is a chronicle of the antics used thus far by the agent of destabilization. You can choose to see sense in them or see the rubbish in them but as usual, I chose to always write from the prism of common sense.

Traducelly musing
Abdullahi O.Haruna Haruspice

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If Farook Kperoogi Was A Trader, By Nathaniel C. Adoji

If Farook Kperoogi was a trader, his store would always have one police man and a customer inside, at every point in time. Why? He would have sold fake items, and the unsuspecting customers would have returned with the force of law to demand a refund and call for the shutdown of his store. Worse, if he was a pharmacist, he would have been responsible for the death of a great percentage of those who make the error of patronising him.

Farook Kperoogi is a trader indeed. But his stock in trade is not the sale of household items, pharmaceuticals or general goods. He is a merchant of fake news. Of lies and of stories that have no place in reality.

Farook Kperoogi is notorious for coming up with figments of his imagination and ascribing the status of fact to them, as if they were indeed so. He does not spare his unsuspecting readers in his most recent piece: A VOTE FOR APC ISN`T A VOTE FOR BUHARI.

In this ridiculous piece he points to the existence of cabals who he claims are stealing the common wealth of the nation. In his customary fashion, he shows no evidence, and provides no proofs. This has often made many question that he is a so-called lecturer. Shouldn’t a lecturer know better that you do not make assertions like this without at least any supporting evidence?

I have stumbled on some items of commentaries online on his lecturing by his students in Kennesaw University, and their reviews have helped me understand the absurdity that he is. They have most times noted that the Associate Professor is out of touch with reality and forces his wrong opinions on them.

In this ignorant piece that he attempts to sell, Farook makes an attack on the Vice President. A laughable one. He forgets that the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has his credentials of integrity and unquestionable honesty intact. All times Professor Osinbajo has been accused of a wrong, all times it has turned out false. This cannot be said of Farook who at every time he has put his pen to paper and churned out half baked lies, he has been ridiculed and embarrassed with facts to the contrary.

He claims the Vice President is a mere figure-head. A man who teaches comprehension and communication and sees all the activities the Vice President is engaged in, yet calls him a mere figure-head is indeed a trader of fake news.

To start with, compare the Vice President with former Vice Presidents and the roles they played in office. Professor Osinbajo has stood out in terms of his active de facto participation in governance, in the economy and even in politics. It is no news that he is the only Vice President Nigeria has ever had who has acted as President, and exercised those powers as if he were the President with no shortcomings or setbacks – from the President or in the quality of the decisions he made.

As Vice President, Professor Yemi plays the constitutional and critical role of heading Nigeria’s economy. And he has done this fantastically well. He is credited for being the mind behind taking Nigeria out of recession by leading an economic management team that came up with the unconventional policies that has put Nigeria on steady growth.

He is actively leading Nigeria’s journey to diversifying the economy through the route of improving our non-oil sector growth and creating inclusiveness for the poor. The poor today are being given an opportunity to come out of poverty and take advantage of sustainable opportunities that would enable them create wealth.

Vice President Osinbajo is known to manage the Social Investment Programmes: Nigeria’s most ambitious, most credible, and most effective Social Investment attempt. It is recorded that over ten million Nigerians are in one way or the other benefitting from the programmes.

If Farook was an honest man, he would at least have put these in the front burner when he scribbled the insult of an article he penned. A compulsive liar and an evil one too. ??He also puts on the table some events that he claims to have taken place in the villa and says they indeed happened. He is obsessed with the existence of a cabal.

Asides the fact that these events exist only in the imaginations of Farook, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo does not just enjoy the respect, loyalty and honour of the friends of the President, his inner circle and his appointees, Osinbajo also enjoys the support, respect and regard of President Buhari – who has said this and shown this time without number.

The Buhari – Osinbajo relationship is blessed and orchestrated divinely – it is the most proactive, balanced and in fact the best synergy between a President and his Vice we have ever seen.

The likes of Kperoogi, the bitter rotten lemons, who are morose when good things happen may continue to sell their fake goods and fake products to unsuspecting victims. But like all fake items, they do not last, they cause a rumble in the tummy, and they are thrown away. Nigerians are wiser, they do not buy nonsense anymore.

Nathaniel C. Adoji

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