Ministerial Nomination: Why Not Bolaji Abdullahi? BY Muhammed Abdullahi

In the just concluded 2015 elections, I wrote a lot in support of youth aspirants, not minding the political parties they belong to. As a youth advocate, I never allowed the love for any political party to hinder my ability to raise my voice in support of young candidates who had the boldness to come forward to seek elective positions. And I did make it clear to all who got my support that it was simply because of their youthfulness and brilliance and audacity. Nothing more. For me, it is always about the youths and, more specifically, about my generation.

However, it is imperative to state that I have never been and would not be someone who will push for ‘space negotiations’ at the detriment of competence. While I definitely want young people to occupy positions of leadership, I will never suggest that age alone should be the criteria for leadership recruitment in Nigeria. In fact, this conviction is the reason why I will wear the toga of “competency advocate” in this piece and vehemently disagree with the position of fellow youths who think Bolaji Abdullahi has served as a Minister before, and should therefore not be nominated again to serve in the government of President- elect, General Muhammadu Buhari.

In case the reader missed the debate, there has been a lot of noise among young Kwarans on Facebook on the likely person to emerge as a Ministerial nominee from Kwara State. While some obviously thought Bolaji should be the ideal person, having performed meritoriously well the last time he represented the State in the Federal Executive Council (FEC), some are of the view that another person should be given the chance. One of the online debaters who goes by the name Daud Elefo conveyed this sentiment when he remarked: “Is Bolaji the only one in Kwara State?”.

While it is true that Bolaji Abdullahi is not the only one in Kwara State who deserves to be Minister, we must also remind ourselves that Ministerial position, in the emerging new Nigeria and in this season of CHANGE, is not also what we can over-politicized to the point of nominating just anyone. Bolaji Abdullahi may not have been the only qualified Kwaran worthy of a Ministerial nomination, but he remains one of the best and proven hands we have got. No doubt about that.

Recently, the founding father of Singapore, Lee Juan Yew died amidst global ovation. At death, he left behind a legacy of spearheading the transition of Singapore from a third world country to a first world country. Lee had served as Prime Minister of Singapore for 31 years. Instead of asking Lee to quit the political scene, Singaporeans rewarded his ingenuity with yet another position -Senior Minister of Singapore. Lee was senior Minister for 14 years, after which he again served as Minister Mentor for 10 years. In total, Lee held a successive Ministerial position for 56 years and continued to serve as a Member of Parliament until his death recently. Like Bolaji, Lee was not the only intelligent man in Singapore. But Singaporeans looked beyond the shallow and pedestrian view of “he has been there long enough”. OK, if the argument is that Lee was rewarded for being the founding father of modern Singapore, what of his son (Lee Hsien Loong) who has also been elected Prime Minister since 2004.

Examples abound of enlightened and highly competitive societies were performing public officials served for a long period of time. Until January 13, 2015, Carl Levin served in the U.S government as an elected Senator for 36 years. Same for Richard Lugar. In the case of Robert Bryd, he served for 51 years. The famous British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill served Britain for 61 years, 332 days. And even when he retired at the age of 80, he continued to serve his country as a Member of Parliament. These people were not the only ones in their countries, but they served that long because their countries believe that hard word and commitment to service should be rewarded and encouraged. Bolaji, as a Minister, was a very hard working man who was well committed to the progress of Nigeria.

Dr. BUKOLA Saraki, one of the front line leaders of APC, confirmed the quality and character of Bolaji Abdullahi when he submitted: “It is disappointing that in the interest of politics we (should) compromise competence, and invariably denied our nation the progress it deserves…Monumental achievements made under (Bolaji as Commissioner of Education) are still being built upon today. It (is) difficult to write off the incredible performance of Abdullahi (who has recorded) several milestones at state and national levels. His laudable achievements as Minister of Sports, which include Nigeria’s victory at the last Africa Nations Cup, performance at the Olympics, FIFA World Cup has endeared him to sport lovers”. I do not think there are many people out there who can lay claim to knowing Bolaji more than the distinguished Senator Saraki. For someone who was Bolaji’s direct boss for eight years, he sure knows the stuff the man is made of, much more than the rest of us.

Indeed, those claiming that Bolaji Abdullahi has been in government long enough and should therefore quit missed the point entirely. Among those elected into office in the just concluded elections are Bolaji’s contemporaries who came into government the same time with him. And while many of them came into government as Commissioners, Bolaji came in as a Special Assistant, working his way through the ropes. Of the total 10 years Bolaji has spent in government, only 7 were spent in positions that enable him to take decisions (4 years as Commissioner and 3 years as Minister). The remaining years have been spent in advisory capacity or, if you like, “merely assisting the executive”.

Again, one thing Kwara should consider in arriving at a decision as to who qualifies to be nominated is the sort of Cabinet Buhari may likely have. For me, I think we may likely have a star-studded cabinet in which Kwara may not afford to have an untested representative. Already, Bolaji has worked with many who may likely constitute the expected Buhari cabinet during the campaigns. As Deputy Director of Policy and Strategy of the APC Campaign Council, Bolaji Abdullahi has reinforced the belief of many APC leaders in his competence and prowess. Therefore, Just as Senator Bukola Saraki admonished, Kwara must never succumb to the temptation of “compromising competence in the interest of politics”.

Finally, it is said that the highest possible calling for a man of honour is public service. For Bolaji, a man who depicted honour and loyalty by siding with his benefactor when it mattered most, the reward for serving well should be a chance to continue to serve. If after more than 56 years in active public service, Singapore  was not prepared to let Lee Kuan Yew go, if after more than 61 years of service, Britain was reluctant to allow Winston Churchill go, Nigeria and Kwara should not allow reform-minded individuals like Bolaji Abdullahi go for now. At least, not now when we need capable and tested hands to lead us into the era of change and true transformation that beckons.

 

Abdullahi writes from Abuja.

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

Who is a Lagosian? By Ijeoma Nwogwugwu

Last week, I sat down to edit a brief analysis submitted by our reporter who covers Lagos State on the factors likely to influence the outcome of the governorship election in the state. In his analysis, he said that the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate in the state, Jimi Agbaje, had been accused by his opponents of playing ethnic politics by promising non-indigenes more position in the Lagos cabinet should he win his bid to govern the state.
I was amused, because I realised that either my colleague or the so-called critics had failed to recognise the multicultural make up of Lagos, and no candidate worth his salt can campaign for the votes of residents in the state without identifying ethnic homogenous groups that can deliver bloc votes to a candidate. Even President-elect Muhammadu Buhari recognised this and wooed the Arewa community in Lagos before the presidential poll.
Given his assessment, I called him and proceeded to discuss the way politics is played in America whose democratic system we have decided to adopt. I reminded him that it is impossible for a Republican or Democratic candidate, be it at the presidential, congressional or governorship level, not to identify and woo black voters, Hispanic voters, Asian voters or Jewish voters and make them irresistible promises to get their votes. The same is applicable in the United Kingdom where Members of Parliament (MPs) and candidates vying for the post of prime minister must woo black, Indian, Arab and Pakistani voters in their respective constituencies. Whereas the emphasis in such societies is on race, the emphasis in a mono-racial society like Lagos is on ethnicity.
I also asked why the emphasis in Lagos had been placed on Agbaje identifying Igbo voters in Lagos, when his rival in the All Progressives Congress, Akinwunmi Ambode, had used exactly the same campaign strategy. Ambode, I reminded him, had been wooing Igbo voters in Alaba market, Amuwo Odofin, etc, for weeks, yet he had not been accused of playing the ethnic card. I further reminded him that the longest serving commissioner in the Lagos cabinet since the dispensation of the Fourth Republic has been an Igbo man. All this was happening, I explained, because Lagosians of Igbo ethnic stock had been recognised as a large homogenous voting bloc that could determine the outcome of an election for candidates campaigning in Lagos at any level.
After explaining these facts, which my colleague could not fault, I asked him what his state of origin was and for how long he had resided in Lagos. He informed he was from Ondo State and had lived in Lagos for 10 years. I informed him that my immediate younger brother and I were born outside this clime, but were brought home by our parents who are of Abia origin as children to Lagos, and had resided in the state for over 40 years. Three of my younger siblings after us, I informed him, were born and bred in Lagos and we all deem the state as our home. I went on to ask him, does the fact that he has a Yoruba name and I have an Igbo name, make him more of a Lagosian than I am? He admitted that having lived here for most of my life, I may identify more with the state than he does who had spent just 10 years in Lagos.
As a writer, I have always been very reluctant to write about my personal circumstances or that of my family’s. My preference has always been to keep my affairs private. However, I am forced to come out of my cocoon because of the reactions that the remarks by the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, have generated. In fact, I am less interested in his initial remarks when he said Igbos would end up in the Lagoon should they fail to vote for his preferred candidate, Ambode. I considered that an emotional outburst made in the heat of the moment, which could be pardoned.
But what struck me the most was his clarification the next day, which was cobbled together by the APC communications department, not the Oba’s palace as we were made to believe. The clarification read in part: “Oba Akiolu stated further that the Igbo people have not betrayed the throne. Lagos has also not betrayed the Igbo people. Lagos has done so much to make the Igbos comfortable and to prosper. For this, we expect reciprocal respect and understanding. The Oba of Lagos prays that the Lagoon and the throne will continue to bless and protect all those who reside and visit Lagos.”
This clarification, in my estimation, was more important than his emotional outburst. Unfortunately, in the heat of the Oba’s initial remarks, this clarification was lost on several Lagosians and other Nigerians. As a Lagos resident, I do not need anyone telling me that they are doing me a favour by making me comfortable in the state and helping me to prosper. That is patronising!
If any migrant and the generations after them have made Lagos their home and have prospered, it is through the dint of hard work in spite of the Lagos State Government. These migrants are law abiding citizens, conduct their businesses, buy their homes and land, pay their taxes, contribute to the development of the state and its GDP, and give Lagos its status as a mega city-state. Indeed, as constitutionally stipulated, they are no different from the “sons of the soil”. And should all the migrants including the Yoruba from neighbouring states choose to vacate Lagos, the state will probably not boast more than five to six million people.
The point being made is that Lagos is too large – it is the melting pot of Nigeria; it is the Big Apple – thanks to its migrant population, for these kinds of condescending remarks. They should not be tolerated and have no space in a modern society like Lagos. Had the state not been multicultural in make up, the likes of Lateef Jakande, who is originally from Kwara; Bola Tinubu, who migrated from Osun; Babatunde Fashola, whose family migrated from Ekiti; and Ambode, whose roots can be traced to Ondo, would not have been allowed to govern the state. Accordingly, anyone who chooses to call and make Lagos his or her home should be allowed to do so without needless reminders that they are “Ara-okes”, a derogatory Yoruba term used for foreigners or non-indigenes.
Borrowing from the words of Martin Luther King Jr., I have a dream that one day no Nigerian in Lagos shall be called a foreigner, I have a dream that someone other than a man shall govern Lagos, I have a dream that someone other than a person of Yoruba stock shall superintend over Lagos. It may not be in my lifetime, but that day will surely come.
Personally, I love Lagos and have made it my home. Should I die, I would want to be buried here and nowhere else. Yes, my fellow Abians may not like my decision, but it is mine and must be respected. Even after brief stints in Abuja, like a pigeon, my homing instinct has always made me retain a primary residence in Lagos at great expense. I believe there are millions of Lagosians like myself who feel the same way about Lagos. As such, our diversity should be celebrated, not undermined.

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

Ndigbo-The Cost Of Putting All Our Eggs In One Basket By Joe Onwukeme

In every decision or action one undertakes in life there’s a reason but what am yet to understand up till this moment is the reason why we “Ndigbo” decided to put all our eggs in one basket during the presidential election.

It was after the presidential election and the collation of results from the 36 states and the FCT, that reality began to dawn on us Ndigbo. While other regions were busy celebrating after math of the presidential polls, we all bowed our heads in shame not because our preferred presidential candidate lost but because we realized very late we have shot ourselves in the foot.

In our desperation to re-elect president Jonathan we lost all sense of reasoning, even when it became glaringly obvious the odds against him were many, we allowed sentiments to over rule our consciences, without thinking of the consequences. We have lost out entirely.

After May 29th, 2015 hand over date, when the 8th parliament will be inaugurated, we won’t have any of our elected Senators on the platform of APC which has emerged as the majority party at the upper chamber.

There’s no ethnic group that were not represented in the out going PDP led government, yet, it didn’t prevent people from other regions that even benefited more from PDP led government not to vote for their people in other political parties that will represent them at the centre.

Here in the South East PDP is seen as a mini god. Anyone against PDP here is seen as an out cast and are always treated as one. We took that mindset to the polls during the presidential election, in some places we know that PDP will lose, we manipulated the results in favour of PDP candidates.

That is the only reason why outspoken and charismatic senator like Dr. Chris Ngige of APC with a proven track record of performance lost his re-election to the senate.

APC won major elective seats in their strong holds in the Northern and Western parts of the country but it didn’t prevent the electorates in those regions from electing or re-electing some of their legislatures on the platform of PDP.

Other ethnic groups have taught us a great lesson, it’s not all about party, it’s about choice and interest, that’s why in some cases they looked beyond ethnic, religious and party affiliations to vote for their choices, but in our own case we voted every individual on the platform of PDP not because they are our choice but because they are in the ruling party.

Our precipitous act has disqualified us from contesting for the Senate president and Speaker House of Reps including their deputies. It would be extremely painful watching helplessly what we could have contested unopposed being contested by other regions. We have lost it and may not get it again till 2019 because of our own selfish and parochial interest.

The question I have been asking my fellow Ndigbo is, now we have lost out in all the elective posts at the federal level under APC, how are we going to cope in APC led government that we never supported and didn’t even hide our hatred for while the campaigns lasted?

When Ohaneze Ndigbo an apex Igbo social-cultural group that claims to be representing the interest of Ndigbo endorsed president Jonathan for another term, I asked if not for few personal gains, what is the moral justification behind such endorsement? Did Ohaneze Ndigbo consider their members in other political parties before they endorsed president Jonathan of PDP as their presidential candidate? We all know the endorsement didn’t come without a price.

Ohaneze Ndigbo in recent years has only been functional during general elections and has been battling with credibility problems over the years as a result of it’s meddlesomeness in politics but it’s endorsement of president Jonathan and his failure at the polls has stripped Ohaneze Ndigbo the remaining credibility left in them.

We have also refused to learn from history, adopted political parties in the past have many a time won other elective posts in strong holds of some of the political parties that endorsed them. After adopting president Jonathan as their presidential candidate for re-election, All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) even as the ruling party in Anambra state could not win a single seat out of the 3 senatorial seats in the state. Now they are protesting they were rigged out of the 3 senatorial seats by the ruling party they endorsed it’s presidential candidate.

The narrow minded amongst us have realized the cost of putting all their eggs in one basket, but its already too late in the day to make amends, we are like the proverbial mother that poured out the baby with the bath water.

Think of many federal projects an Igbo senate president would have attracted to the Eastern region, if you are yet to understand what I mean, a visit to Enugu West and its environs will convince you that if the present Deputy Senate president could attract such federal presence in his State. A senate president of Igbo extraction under APC would have done more for the South Eastern region.

Putting all our eggs in one basket have taught us a great lesson, while we continue to pay the price of our costly mistake, the pains of ignorantly rejecting before time what would have been offered to us on a platter of gold will continue to hunt and hurt us till 2019.

There is no question about my people being very resourceful and productive but we lack political leadership. We may have astute political players but there is no mentoring, no structure and therefore no political future. The ultimate we can achieve politically is what others will concede to us and not what we deserve by virtue of any strategic thinking and alliance. ~ Aja N Aja.

Joe Onwukeme: Writes from Enugu

Unjoeratedjoe@gmail.com

I tweet @unjoeratedjoe

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

In Memory Of The #ChibokGirls: Who Will #BringBackOurGirls? By Ogundana Michael Rotimi

Like a thief cometh in the night to steal and to kill, the deadly terrorist group, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, which in English means, “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”, otherwise known as Boko Haram, on the night of 14–15 April 2014, stormed the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok Community, Borno State, Nigeria. Broke into the school, pretended to be guards, told the girls to get out and come with them. A large number of students, numbering about two hundred and seventy-nine (279) girls were taken away with them in trucks. Possibly into the Konduga area of the Sambisa Forest where they were known to have fortified camps. Fifty-seven (57) of the girls managed to escape on their own on transits, left with about 219 in the hands of Boko Haram their abductor. Houses in Chibok community were also burnt down in the incident. The school had been closed for four weeks prior to the attack due to the deteriorating security situation in the region, but students from multiple schools had been called on to take their physics final exams. These girls were aged 13 to 18 and were in their final year of school.

Tuesday, 14th April 2015, makes it exactly a year since the abduction of these girls. Their singular offence was that they wanted to be educated and pursue their dreams.

One of the saddening part of the incident was; the president did not believe that the girls were abducted for almost 18 days after their abduction was made. Since the president got the information within 24 hours of the act, if he had reacted almost immediately, those girls would have been rescued before they got to their destination. Rather for the president to spring into actions after receiving briefings about the abduction, he doubted it. He had rather preferred to go dancing in Kano in the name of a rally. That was the most unfortunate aspect of the whole scenario. After that, it took President Jonathan about 20 days before he publicly acknowledged that the abduction actually took place. That was after both local and international individuals and groups, especially the #BringBackOurGirls group here in Nigeria mounted pressure on him ahead of the World Economic Forum for Africa.

The president first spoke about the abduction in a media chat held 4th May, 2015, where he blamed the parents of the school girls for not giving information about the victims and the incident.

On 17 October 2014, hopes were raised that the over 200 girls left in the hands of Boko Haram their abductor might soon be released after the Nigerian army announced a truce between Boko Haram and government forces. The announcement coincided with the six-month anniversary of the girls’ abduction and followed a month of negotiations mediated in Saudi Arabia by Chadian president, Idriss Déby.

The announcement was met with doubts, as that was not the first time the Nigerian government had claimed a breakthrough in negotiations with the Islamic militant group – it had to backtrack on a previous announcement in September after saying the girls had been released and were being held in military barracks. This was later found out to be false.

It must be on record, that if not for the relentless efforts of groups like the #BringBackOurGirls group, that kept demanding for the rescue of these girls, the government would not have said anything about their abduction, nothing would have been done about rescuing them and they would have been totally forgotten. Fortunately, this group has been consistent; they have been humane and have shown affection to the #ChibokGirls, their family and their friends. This group keeps the memory of these girls alive and continues to hold the government responsible for failing to rescue them.

For a year now, we have demanded, we have begged, we have petitioned, we have remonstrated, we have pleaded; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored the Presidency to bring down Boko Haram under its feet and #BringBackOurGirls. Rather, our petitions have been slighted, our remonstrances have produced humiliation and insult, our supplications have been ignored, and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne. We have since indulged in the fond of hope and faith, while we keep demanding for the rescue of our girls. One thing is clear; we have pledged ourselves never to abandon this glorious course until our demand is meant. We shall keep demanding, for the rescue of our girls until they are finally brought back home.

These girls need to regain their freedom, they need to come back home, they deserve to live their normal lives and they have the right to pursue their dreams. The government must not allow the lives of these girls to be wasted, something has to be done and has to be done fast.

We have hoped that President Goodluck Jonathan would do all within his reach to rescue our girls, but as I write this piece nothing tangible has been done and the Chibok girls are yet to be back home. And it`s so painful, that even as his tenure is coming to end, the Chibok girls still remain missing worst of it is that we do not have any situation report about their whereabouts and safety. However as Nigeria swears in a new President come 29th May, 2015, who will #BringBackOurGirls? President Jonathan or General Buhari?

 

 

God Bless Nigeria

Ogundana Michael Rotimi

I tweet @MickeySunny

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

Jonathan’s Concession: Making A Hero Out Of A Villain, By Usama Dandare

“We don’t become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up … discovering we have the strength to stare it down.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt (You Learn by Living)

Throughout time, heroes have always set the standard of what real people should strive to be, but can never seem to grasp. A hero is he who can show courage when faced with a problem, he who is able to help another in various ways. A hero is also someone who is there to help others and gives them strength to go on through life’s difficulties, a hero can also be someone who gives up his or her life so another could live.
Generally, heroes distinguished themselves in various aspects of human and social endeavor and they are usually noticed at earlier stages going by what impacts they make on the lives of others. Although there are heroes within our immediate environments that are overlooked everyday and don’t get the recognition they deserve until later in the future before or after their demise.

In Nigerian today, the word “hero” has been so severely abused and miniaturized to someone who concedes defeat rather than he who defeated the so-called hero despite the power of incumbency. Ironically, a hero is not necessarily someone who conceded defeat, or who happens to be victorious in an election. We call the former a looser and the latter a winner. There’s nothing impavid in this.

I beg to disagree with that school of thought where a hero is made overnight without pursuing any particular cause nor goal but just for accepting a defeat that must inevitably be accepted no matter how hard you try to dodge. If an elected president can become a hero simply for accepting the outcome of an election, what can you call a football coach who concedes defeat in a football match in which his team looses? A hero too i guess.

Following the outcome of March 28 presidential election in which President Jonathan hurriedly conceded defeat and rang to congratulate the winner, General Muhammadu Buhari, even before results were officially declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigerians with their little understanding of “heroism” were quick to labeled President Jonathan a hero for ordinarily conceding defeat while some even went to the extent of seeking a Nobel Peace prize for the President. The questions here are: Does Goodluck Jonathan has any other choice than to concede? Can we call Dr. Kayode Fayemi a hero for conceding defeat to Governor Ayo Fayose in the last June 2014 gubernatorial in Ekiti state? Can we call Jonathan a hero because he allowed a ‘free and fair’ election after failing in all attempt to scuttle the whole electioneering process? Of course not!

To me Jonathan is not a hero nor an elder statesman, he is only somebody who had to accept the will of the masses and vacate the seat of power either in peace or in pieces. Gone are the days when any vagabond will refuse to hand over power after loosing in an election; the case of Laurent Gbagbo is a living lesson for whomever wish to learn. In fact, I dont even think Jonathan has the mind to gbagbo Nigerians.

By taking a review of Jonathan’s reign of terror for six years and upon realizing how much damage his ineptitude and desperation caused Nigeria, one must wonder where the heroism in him came from. You need no clairvoyant to agree that President Jonathan doesn’t want to leave office and even went extra-mile to scuttle the whole election just to remain in control, he did all he can to rig and retain his seat against all decorum but luckily for him, all his undemocratic settings and satanic intentions were muted with the help of card reader and PVC.
Although President Jonathan did remarkably well for conceding defeat which undoubtedly prevented bloodbath in some sections of the country but his action wasn’t extraordinary; indeed it’s very normal and natural in the face of democracy.

However, making Jonathan heroic simply because he conceded a defeat that must be accepted is not only a mockery to our collective intelligence but also to the memory of all the victims of Jonathan’s six years of mismanagement. It is misplaced, parochial and out of point; it is like making a hero out of a villain and a genius out of a mediocre! How can you call a president that presided over the most corrupt regime in world history a hero?

Are we quick to forget all the misdemeanors of President Jonathan and his reign of impunity? This is the most divisive president Nigeria has ever produced, he’s the first president to legalized stealing public funds (stealing is not corruption) and criminalized whistleblowers (as in the case of fmr CBN governor). In short, a victory over Jonathan is a victory over impunity, corruption and ethno-religious division. Jonathan’s concession cannot erase the pains and miseries inflicted on Nigerians in the past six years resulting from his insensitivity, corruption, impunity and overall maladministration.

The so-called hero planned to form an Interim National Government and submerge the whole democracy having realized an imminent defeat so that power will not return to the opposition. After the plan of Interim National Government  failed woefully, Jonathan again moved the idea of sacking Jega to appoint somebody that would be more persuadable to rig himself back to power, he also failed. The same Jonathan also went spending our nation’s savings rampantly to traditional/religious leaders and every tom, dick and harry including terrorist groups (OPC and Militants) just to sway their followers to vote him again. Must i have to remind you of all the hate speeches and inciting remarks by Jonathan’s attack dogs and the so-called first-lady all in an attempt to garner votes for the president? Jonathan publicly engaged in campaign of calumny and sponsored physical attacks on the opposition and hate-documentaries to blackmail certain big shots within the opposition party. But yet, some misinformed Nigerians are calling him a hero just for accepting defeat. In fact, President Jonathan is not a hero; he is just the outgoing president of Nigeria. Simple!

Looking at Jonathan’s body language before and during the election, one must second to the fact that the president wasn’t willing to leave power, until some cabals close to the presidency that were looking for a soft landing persuaded him to concede defeat in order for them to leave with their heads held high which may in return save them from further retributions for their sinful activities. Findings by Premium Times also confirmed that President Jonathan was forced to concede defeat by the Minister of Aviation Mr. Osita Chidoka, Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, Special Assistant to the President on Domestic Matters, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa and the Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala against his wish, the four of them pleaded with the president to accept defeat to an extent of kneeling down before he (President Jonathan) agreed to call and congratulate General Buhari. In fact, the controversial telephone call was even placed by Waripamo-Owei Dudafa while kneeling before the president.

Finally, history will remember Goodluck Jonathan not as a hero but a failed president under whose watch $20bn crude oil funds and several billions were unaccounted for, a president whose insensitivity consumed the lives of over 100,000 innocent citizens and made millions refugees in their own land while the whereabouts of several hundreds is still a subject of concern. Jonathan’s administration will go down memory lane as a regime symbolize by corruption and impunity, a regime of irresponsibility and rascalities, a regime of bloodbath and fiascos, a regime beneficial to only condemned criminals and some co-devils. Whether you like it or not, Jonathan as a president is the worst calamity to have ever befall Nigeria and he alone, is the architecture of his own failure. I rest my case!

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

Re: Chimamanda Adichie On The Oba Of Lagos – By @Obajeun

For the first time, Chimamanda struggled unsuccessfully to retell the Igbo story – the story that had strengthened the bond of unity, in that no Nigerian, no region, no state and no voice could run the pageantry show of might alone without the tripod stand of others. Perhaps she ran afoul of what she has consistently fronted as prejudiced colouration – single story. The class with which she erred this time painted her as an half Nigerian or in other nomenclature, an incomplete Nigerian. We may choose to forgive her this time, but one would do a disservice to the Igbo people if Chimamanda’s one-off derailment is not dangled at her nose.

CAVEAT: The Oba of Lagos was wrong with his threat. This case should be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Chimamanda’s danger of a single story treatise dispels the masking of positivity that comes with every negative story. The novelist summarily posits that: “Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.” Then she moves to advocate the crumbling of clichés and stereotypes that have defined our logic in seeing ourselves as a people with collective dreams of divisiveness but not as a bunch of bonded voices, yet with variegated cultural biases.

What then is the novelist’s intention in saying that:

“Sadly, many of the condemnations from non-Igbo people have come with the ugly impatience of expressions like ‘move on,’ and ‘don’t be over-emotional’ and ‘calm down.’ These take away the power, even the sincerity, of the condemnations. It is highhanded and offensive to tell an aggrieved person how to feel, or how quickly to forgive, just as an apology becomes a non-apology when it comes with ‘now get over it’.”

Did the novelist do anything different from what Nigerians have done – condemnation? One wonders if the people condemning Oba Akiolu’s act should have hurled stones at the throne instead. Arguing that it is, in itself an act of disrespect to tell an aggrieved people ‘how to quickly forgive’ and ‘move on’, questions Chimamanda’s personal understanding of forgiveness and the current political reading of her fatherland.

May be I should remind the novelist that when Patience Jonathan advocated stoning of opposition politicians, the aggrieved didn’t respond by fueling embers of hatred or spreading tribal sentiments over it, they, after issuing words of condemnation, approached ICC for investigation. May be I should also remind the respected Orange Prize recipient, that the singular act of ‘quick’ forgiveness by Nelson Mandela saved the entire South Africa from running itself aground through civil war. South Africa was horribly fragile in early 1990s: some parts of the country were very unstable. The air was filled with the stench of conspiracy — much of the country believed that the white security forces were secretly stoking violence. And while nonracialism may have been the ANC’s official doctrine, it was hardly rooted in the experiences of black South Africans. Most black people had suffered daily humiliations at the hands of whites. Most had stalked their own cities like outlaws in fear of the police. Forgiveness had to be won, quickly, and had to be embodied by somebody who could perform it, and Nelson Mandela did put on the armour. He showed that a humiliated people might recoup its self-respect by forgiving, that forgiveness is a route to genuine power.

If Chimamanda is so aggrieved on behalf of Nigerians (not only Igbo), she should seek the right redress.

The novelist did more harm when she wrote that the condemnations of the Oba’s threat are diversionary tactics:

“They dismiss the specific act, diminish its importance, and ultimately aim at silencing the legitimate fears of people.” This submission in itself is prejudiced, swollen by venom, filled with black holes where the hope of solution goes to drown in blood. Perhaps she is saying to her subjects that there is no room for dialogue or counter-narrative since they have been scapegoated, that finding solution to the threat is like finding water within sand.

I agree, and Nigerians too have agreed, that the Oba’s threat should not be dismissed on its face value or just waved away. But it is questionable to say that an attempt to prevent the words from fuelling grand tribal hatred is a deceitful act in suppressing the fears Igbo people should nurse. Why should Igbo people nurse fears of co-existence in the land that belongs to all and sundry? Why should they not be told that their mutual existence with other tribes is guaranteed under the law? Why should they be encouraged to water their tribal fears on the basis of the civil war experience? Why should they be told that their existence in a part of Nigeria is fraught on the basis of their tongues or business acumen? Why should they be exposed to the stench of dead stereotypes that we have all laboured to bury?

So it is a waste of words to bring back the echoes of the 1960s in an attempt to justify nonexistent fears.

Chimamanda killed the sincerity in her advocacy for plural story when she wrote that:

“To be Igbo in Nigeria is constantly to be suspect; your national patriotism is never taken as the norm, you are continually expected to prove it.”

If this is her personal stigmatization, then she should address it as such. But to be generic about it is what calls for some caution. It is more precarious when you make your people see themselves the way you see yourself. While we all struggle for common identity, we all still ride on our inclination to survival based on our individual identity. In the end, what binds our common struggle is what forms the basis of our individual survival. If Chimamanda is constantly a suspect, I have Chuks Obano who runs a N200b sales business in Lagos on behalf Chief Majekodunmi, a title holder from Oyo town. Chuks has never been seen as a suspect. I have Victor Agbagu who runs a female football academy for under-15 in Abeokuta. All his students are Yorubas. He has never been seen by parents as a suspected Igbo rapist, extortionist or a suspected kidnapper.

I agree with the novelist that no law-abiding Nigerian should be expected to show gratitude for living peacefully in any part of Nigeria, but inventing instances that Landlords in Lagos often refuse to rent their property to Igbo people is damaging and in some sense, shallow, lacks logic in every sense of it. It is a wrong analogy. I assume Chimamanda invented that to lend credence to her campaign of self-inflicted prejudices. Landlords have right to their property so far it is within the ambience of the law – leasing, issuing quit notices, selling etc. If anybody feels cheated that a Landlord refuses to rent out property to him or her for whatever reasons, and if the person feels that the law doesn’t permit it, then such person should seek redress in the appropriate quarters. Using that to fuel messages of tribal hatred, especially when such is coming from a supposed thought leader breeds unnecessary national distrust.

For instance, I have an old father. I am not comfortable with where he is staying in Lagos. I want to change his apartment. I have been on it for months; the only reason two Landlords have given for refusing to rent out their apartment to me is that they cannot cope with the nuances of an old man in spite of the fact that I am the client. The question is that, is this enough for me to generalize that Lagos Landlords are unkind to old men? No!

What also calls for some concerns is Chimamanda’s attempt to push that post presidential election political rhetoric puts question to Igbo’s full citizenship as Nigerians. Here, there is a fault line of hasty conclusions. In any democratic space, even the one Chimamanda is enjoying in the US, political opinions and associations differ. The beauty of democracy is that you can express such differences within the provision of the laws and within the purview of civility. No one forces anybody. No associations or political opinions emasculate the full citizenship of anybody, except if the person is already brewed with personal prejudices and personal social class limitations. Shits happen in politics, so also good. Neither should be taken as enough evidence to fuel tribal barriers on behalf of a people.

In the words of the novelist, “only by feeling a collective sense of ownership of Nigeria can we start to forge a nation. A nation is an idea. Nigeria is still in progress. To make this a nation, we must collectively agree on what citizenship means: all Nigerians must matter equally.” The least I expect from her is to live up to her words.

To reshape wrong perception, counter-narratives are necessary. Such narratives should be devoid of direct venom of vengeance, calling for unnecessary extreme actions or ideas. Nigeria is a work-in-progress democratic society, we must see reasons to outgrow our past dark years, rather than holding on full throttle to what kills our collective dreams.

Jonah Ayodele Obajeun blogs @www.obajeun.com. Reach him on twitter via @obajeun

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

Letter To Abubakar Sani Bello By Musa Yunusa

Your Excellency Sir,

I humbly rejoice with you sir as you await the official announcement and swearing in as the governor of this great state. However, I found it extremely vital to put forth some issues troubling the indigenes of Niger state.

However,I must state at this juncture that the INEC under the chairmanship ofProf. Attahiru Jega has given every eligible voter the reasons to believe that his/her vote would count in as far as the card reader is put into use. I said this so as to remind you that our PVC will be highly guarded till 2019 when you’ll either be re-elected or be shown the way out. So, it’ll be your choice to decide whether to wake the state from its slumber or contribute to killing it the more.

History has shown that Niger state has never been lucky in getting a steward to govern it through achieving its potential. From the period of Murtala Nyako, to Engr. Kure whose administration was laden with saturation of wealths and uncompleted contracts down to the just completed administration whose candidature in 2007 brought a breath of hope even from his choice of title “Chief Servant” which people believed would be the messiah they had waited for. But it is clearthat at the end of his eight years in government he didn’t justify his name as the chief servant but rather as ”thief servant”. It is my prayer for you, that at the end of four years, people of Niger State would not say “ Abu felo Abu Felo Ya wa wo bea” which would mean “Abu go away, Abu go away, we don’t want you anymore.” It will be a replica of the song a famous local artist (Ndako Kutigi) sang for theopposition to fuel to your campaign.

Now Nigerlites have made their decision owing to the believe they have in you and the reasons flying around about why you left the present administration. You’ve got a herculean task ahead, for no Nigerlite will forgive you if you fail to meet their aspirations.

Before I pencil down some of the things Nigerlites expect from you, there is one thing the chief servant succeeded in doing and for that, I love him till he lleaves government. That single thing is the recognition he gave to writers and writing as a whole. If you haven’t known that Niger State is endowed with a lot of writers and literary activist, then you should and also note that, they hold a great weapon to either making or marring your administration. It is my kind advice that you find a way of integrating them into your government. A lot of people have regarded the annual colloquium held by the Chief Servant as a way to siphon resources, but I see it as a major success of the administration, for a lot of us studied texts while in school and never got any opportunity to meet with authors. For me, seeing Professor Wole Soyinka during one of the event proved a point which lives within me I urge you to make research and affirm why Niger State is the headquarters of literary intellectualism.

Coming back to what the indigenes of the state expect from you, even though some still hold their reservation about you and the change you couldn’t bring to the state as an individual being one of the wealthiest. They hope you will bring smiles to their faces.“I cant believe students still study in classes like this” sir! This is a quotation from a friend whom was invited to one of the secondary schools here in Minna. It pierces one’s thought to see a school once regarded as a “model” school suffering from lack of basic study materials like desks and instructional materials which is a basis for comprehensive learning. How well have the teachers in the schools around the state fared to guarantee qualitative education where you find English teachers battling with understanding lexical structures and simple clauses of the course? I feel your administration should have an overhaul of the educational system of the state so as to rebuild the confidence of the people in public schools. Sir, I can bet that schools having buses in the state that are functional aren’t up to five . I plead you look into it.

It beats imagination that, in the capital of the state, there is only a single general hospital that offers medical services. This isn’t only epileptic, but also a death warrant. For even in the hospital there isn’t sufficient medical gadgets to cater for every need. I crave that you find it worthy of a task to pick, once you assume office.

I feel God has favoured Niger State with a lot of resources that are not tapped. Today football is seen as a major sport that drives a society. Niger have seen her children grow to be professional footballers amongst which is “Muhammad Alfa” who hails from Bida and now playing abroad, “Aliyu” of Minna, popularly known as “Amokachi” who also plays for the Flying Eagles of Nigeria. But each time these young men return home, they hardly find a pitch that suits the kind of football they play. Even though we have seen stadiums onbillboards, I dare to say that Niger State doesn’t have a stadium for good football. You will be doing a great deal of job if you give Niger a good footballing pitch.

Finally, as a business mogul, Nigerlites look forward to seeing you bring your wealth of experience to bear in giving us functional factories and industries. They anticipate the revival of textile industries and even sugarcane plantations that have gone extinct.

These and more, Nigerlites await. With the hope that it wont be too much to accomplish.

Once more congratulations Sir Abubakar Sani Bello (LOLO)

Musa Yunusa Wrote From Minna

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

Antidote To Igbo Thoughtlessness By Aniebo Nwamu

Former INEC chairman Maurice Iwu once hinted that he would not welcome election monitors to Nigeria in 2007. Only election observers, he said, would be allowed. Not claiming to be an authority on the use of English words, however, the professor of pharmacy later accepted the fact that an election monitor was the same as an election observer.

I had Iwu at the back of my mind when I travelled to the south-east and south-south to see things for myself during the presidential election. To avoid a confrontation with my kinsmen who had stoutly discredited my prediction that APC candidate Muhammadu Buhari would emerge victorious, I chose to “observe” and not “monitor” the election. My findings? I have waited until this day because my testimony would no longer damage any candidate’s chances, nor would I be invited by a kangaroo election tribunal.

In a number of polling booths I visited in the south-east, result sheets were missing. Voting commenced about noon or later because party stalwarts, drinking and smoking at hidden places, were filling the result sheets and thumb-printing on the side of the umbrella symbol. What eventually reached polling stations were photocopies of the manual register. The stalwarts were not perturbed by the malfunctioning card readers – manual “accreditation” was going on smoothly. The agents of opposition parties could not utter a word for fear of being killed. Nor could I say anything – as an observer!

Across the country, however, such vote stealing was commonplace. Every party that could rig did. My guess is that the final outcome of the poll therefore reflected the wishes of Nigerians.

By Sunday, March 29, morning, I had gathered that Buhari had won fair and square. I re-established contacts through text messages to my brother stalwarts who had sworn to me, long before the poll, that it would be business as usual. “False information,” one of them wrote. “Wait for INEC.” Another told me that they were working and that I would be stunned in the end.

As it turned out, peace and fair play spoke through INEC chairman Attahiru Jega. I’m sure the electoral umpire would have voided the results from Rivers and Delta states, if Kano, Kaduna, Katsina and other states in the north had not delivered equally incredible vote numbers to the other party. And, had the card readers worked as planned – by recognising only accredited voters – the total votes cast in either Enugu or Jigawa wouldn’t have come near 200, 000.

Parts of the south-east and south-south were like a graveyard after the announcement of the final result. Once again, Ndigbo have been boxed into a corner. As the pattern of the presidential election result showed, the only states Buhari could not muster 25 per cent were those that once belonged to Biafran territory. After May 2015, there will be no APC senator or House of Reps member from the south-east, thus automatically denying the Igbo the position of Senate president or House speaker. The old cry of “marginalisation” is being resurrected even before the end of the Goodluck Jonathan presidency.

The incoming APC government would do well to ignore the protests of selfish Igbo champions. We warned them in advance. They put all their eggs in one basket and now the basket has fallen from their head.

In the early days of the Jonathan administration, the Yoruba said they were marginalised in appointments; in the Buhari regime, the Igbo should not hope to get any of the topmost 20 appointments. Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State may get a position in the top 10, but the Ikwerre do not regard themselves as Igbo. Once more, Ndigbo may be left in the cold. It will be the necessary antidote to the thoughtlessness of self-appointed Igbo leaders. Even in the 21st century, Ndigbo have failed to recognise one person as their leader: Were they to be asked to produce a Nigerian president, no fewer than 2,000 aspirants would emerge.

President Jonathan showered the Igbo with political appointments. The next president should shower Igbo-land with projects instead. The Igbo states got nothing tangible from appointees in the Jonathan regime. They were busy accumulating illicit money or giving miserable civil-service jobs to unemployed graduates from their home villages. The second Niger Bridge has remained on the drawing board. Not even Zik’s mausoleum has been completed. Roads in the south-east remain the worst in the country. No new airport has been built; the Enugu airport was simply upgraded. No government policy has favoured traders most of whom are Ndigbo.

One man that is also curing the Igbo of their malady is Oba of Lagos Rilwan Akiolu. When Oba Akiolu threatened to deal with Ndigbo who failed to vote for APC governorship candidate Akinwunmi Ambode, he really meant business. Even before the election took place, the Lagos king had started carrying out his threat: he ordered that shops be shut down at Idumota on a day the APC candidate had a rally at Orile. More of such directives should be expected in the next four years.

No matter how provoked Ndigbo living in Lagos have been, they could not have changed the result of the governorship poll held yesterday. Many of them had been prevented from collecting their permanent voter cards because the indigenous Lagosians knew their voting characteristics. But for the Igbo, Jonathan wouldn’t have got up to 15 per cent in Lagos.

Let the Igbo continue to lick their wounds until they realise the strength hidden in unity. Obasanjo knew what he was doing when he replaced credible Igbo leaders with riffraff and money-miss-road during his presidency. Now, another Yoruba has emerged vice-president of Nigeria (and may become president) after Obasanjo’s eight years, while no president of Igbo extraction is still in sight.

President-elect Buhari has promised to be president of all Nigeria. I know he will keep his word. But how I wish he were a more ruthless leader! Persecution of the Igbo on account of their recklessness would have been potent medicine: they would be united by grief.

Now that the PDP stronghold has been restricted to the south-east and south-south, should we expect a virile opposition? Not likely. Nigerian politicians (not just Igbo politicians) are known for opportunism. Before long, they would all migrate to the ruling APC. May God save Nigeria from selfish, unprincipled politicians.

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

Conversations with Buhari By Tunde Fagbenle

The setting was ideal, so was the time. It was morning in Daura, Katsina State, and General Muhammadu Buhari’s hometown. The sun was readying itself to rise, with an eye peering through the greyish northern sky to spy on the earth beneath.

My contact had warned me to be there before dawn and, like an ambusher, lie in wait for the general to be up to do his morning ablution and prayers. “He’s an early riser,” he had told me. But he knows you are around and would attend to you, ‘briefly,’ he had said, since you have come from far away land and have been here for two days already. But you must be here before the loving masses start to amass. For, then, it would be over. And he will be off to Kaduna today.”

When finally at about 6 am the lanky general sauntered into the lounge, he had a warm smile across his face, a bright white set of teeth breaking through the lightly ajar lips. The thought of how this mimics the rising sun crossed my mind. But this is no time for idle reverie.

“Hello, Tunde,” the general said, “hope the vigil has not been too long.” He smiled.

TF: “Congratulations, sir, on your victory.”

MB: “Thank you, thank you, but the victory is everyone’s, and yours, or you didn’t vote for me?”

TF: “I did, sir.”

MB: “Then congratulations to you too. In another 15 minutes we shall be mobbed. So you are well advised to be quick with your questions,”

(He sat down across to me, his mien suddenly drawn and serious.)

TF: “Sir, fourth time lucky. Did you at any time truly believe that this day will come, that Nigerians will finally come round to voting you in as their president?”

MB: I never do anything if I don’t have the conviction that it is possible, if I give it my best. My policy is never to give up — on anything: people, the country, desire, anything. If I don’t achieve the result I aim for, it should never be for want of trying.”

TF: “But you gave up in 2011, literally, after your third attempt and being rejected by Nigerians.”

MB: (Cuts in) “If I ‘gave up’ as you said, I wouldn’t have allowed myself to be persuaded to run again. And, I believe I was not ‘rejected by Nigerians’ as you put it. If I thought I was truly rejected by the majority of Nigerians and that I lost fairly, I wouldn’t have gone through the trouble of challenging the result in the tribunal. Be that as it may, that is behind us now.”

TF: “Many Nigerians, sir, even those who hate you…”

MB: “No Nigerian ‘hates’ me.”

TF: “Sorry, sir, even those who are against you, recognise certain admirable qualities in you from the experience of your time as military Head of State, to which perseverance has now been added. One of them is my friend Lawson Omokhodion who held an unshaken belief that only a Buhari can save Nigeria.

“In one of my columns in August last year titled, ‘Examining the Buhari Option,’ I despaired on the prospect of the ‘Buhari Option’ (BO). If I may explain sir, the BO is a romantic notion of a Gen Buhari coming to clear the deck of corruption and indiscipline in Nigeria, a la Jerry Rawlings in Ghana, spearheading a ‘revolution’ as it were.

“My despair at the prospect was explained thus: ‘A civilian Buhari cannot do much amidst the barracuda politicians we have without being impeached, compromised, forced to resign, or eliminated.’ I argued that even as a military government, it didn’t take long before an internal military putsch terminated it.

“My question sir, seeing, as Nigerians believe, that your APC is the PDP in all but name — comprising largely of politicians who are either not different from or have migrated from the PDP — how do you propose to go about your ‘cleansing’ of the systemic rot without being consumed by the system in a manner akin to how your military rule ended?”

MB: “Yes, I remember reading that your piece which had an insightful beginning and middle and a poor, very poor, and despairing conclusion. (Laughter). You talked like one who has lost faith in Nigeria and the Nigerian. I think you even said something like you are sad or convinced that Nigeria’s problem is unresolvable. And that things will continue in the same ways for a long time to come — unmitigated rigging by unpopular incumbents to remain in power; corruption; indolence; etc.

“But it hasn’t taken long before that premise of yours was disproved, has it? For the first time in Nigeria, an incumbent president was rejected at the polls to continue in office, even in spite of scattered attempts to keep to the rigging tradition. It has reached a point that Nigerians have had enough, and the majority truly yearns for a country that is well run, an economy that is structured and buoyant, a military that is capable of defending their country, a judiciary the ordinary man can repose faith in, institutions that are structured, disciplined, and patriotic, and a ‘Fourth Estate of the Realm’ that is not brown-envelope driven.”

(Laughter)

TF: “The colour of the envelope has changed, sir.”

(More laughter)

MB: “Tunde, on a serious note, a lot rests on the leadership. People take cue from the leadership, its body language, the matching of its utterances with its actions; its transparency. Nigerians are not by any yardstick different from human beings all over the world. And I will not accept that we are doomed to remain backward, undisciplined, unproductive, corrupt, for life. No.

“For a start, I am publicly declaring my assets from day one, and I am asking my deputy and cabinet members to do likewise. If you can’t abide by that you don’t take the position. Simple. Then after that, the eyes of the world will be on you and your dealings to see by how much your declared assets have astronomically multiplied while in office. The institutions of checking against corruption will be strengthened and well funded and headed by like-minded incorruptible people. And, believe me, there are many out there. Didn’t we just have a Jega of INEC? How he has conducted himself throughout, in the face of unspeakable temptations, would anyone have believed of such a Nigerian in the past? When Nigerians begin to believe in the leadership and in the system, things will start to change and roll spectacularly.”

TF: “But, sir, all this is sweet without considering the anomalous system and structure underpinning the whole wobbly edifice. Starting from the National Assembly — its size, composition, and nature — to the whole executive structure where the number of ministers, special advisers, special assistants, advisers to special advisers and assistants to special assistants, etc. have meant 70 or more per cent of our revenue going to paying overheads and recurrent expenditure. No nation in the world develops with such crippling load. Sir, with due respect, without figuring out how to change all that drastically and dramatically, it wouldn’t take long before you are frustrated or booted out of office. And I am yet to talk of the entire contradictory federal structure that has brought the clamour for a ‘true federalism’ or ‘fiscal federalism,’ and so on; hence the call for a (Sovereign) National Conference. How do you hope to deal with this myriad of problems sir.”

MB: “The cynic in you again. Again, Tunde, I believe in Nigeria and I believe the majority of Nigerians want a change for the better. I believe that when they see a leadership that is open, transparent, progressive and purposeful, Nigerians will support any action or step to reorder the system and structure without necessarily bringing the roof down on everybody. Yes, I agree with you that the Legislature issues need to be addressed and urgently. I will support a unicameral system and will support reduction in size and remuneration of the legislature and even the executive.”

(Cuts in)

TF: “But, sir, you will not have the whole time in the world to work some magic. Nigerians are impatient lot, especially after the years of locust they have just suffered. The honeymoon with you and your government will not be for more than six months when they would need to see visible changes in the system or in their lives. I am worried that…”

(Cuts in)

MB: “Don’t be worried for me. The job at hand is for everybody to do. We will all have to join hands and heads to bring the change we want about. I am over 70 now and so I am not afraid to die. I am ready to help bring about the change Nigeria needs or die trying.”

(The noise around the house was increasing in decibel by the minute. The crowd had begun to mass and chant: “Sai Baba,” “Sai Buhari,” “Sai Baba.” There was scant security to deter them. We could no longer hear ourselves talk. General Buhari looked at me in pity. “You have to go now,” he said. “Perhaps another opportunity will come in future for us to continue from where we left.”

(The sun had risen out of the sky, its ray piercing through my window blinds unforgiving of my extended stay in bed. I woke up to the cacophony of the menagerie in my garden. The geese were gawking, the peacocks were neighing, the cockerels were persistent in their morning alarm, and my parrot had joined heralding the new dawn. It was all but a dream. Sai Baba.

 

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

Open Letter To General Muhammadu Buhari And All Nigerians By Hemenseter Butu

Good day General, I hope this correspondence finds you well.

I know you must be burdened with a great many requests day in day out since you became President-Elect. Kindly permit my audacity to add to the list of requests. I only do this out of guilt, perhaps if I had done so in 2011, we wouldn’t have wasted so much time and resources as a nation in the past four years.

You see, I voted for President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 whom I believed was the best candidate at the time only to see him fail terribly. I was on his neck as his biggest critic when I observed the offensive incompetence with which most fascets of the national administration was ran. I will assume the role of employer and you the employee if you fail in the task of securing lives and property as you will swear to on May 29th 2015. This I will do without reservations, and it will not be personal. I am sure you can understand that. We have wasted enough time being a potentially great nation, the time to move towards greatness is not now, it was yesterday.

Below are my requests, I hope they won’t be asking too much of you when you assume office as the substantive President of the federal republic.

As I write this letter, sir, you are something of an icon, a symbol of integrity and exceedingly high reputation. You are what Astronomers like to call “nova stella” or “new star” and as it is with stars your light must shine to the very corners of the galaxy, reaching light years away from your origin. Your integrity if not resonated round the nation will amount to little. For every policy that you envisage will serve Nigerians well, I hope that it will consider the plight of Nigerians from the very lowest stations of life wherever in the country they may be. From the towns and settlements on fringes of the nation to the villages found in the innermost core of our country.

Nigerians are very complex beings, as are all humans really, we cheat continuously and then berate our national leadership for doing same; forgetting that leaders are not tilled out of the soil, but chosen from the general population. A sterling example is the use of untrained individuals for the voting exercise. After INEC spends hundreds of millions training Nigerians, the process is hijacked and anyone with the right connections gets to conduct elections. This is our reality and it is not limited to voting, in fact it is the most widespread practice; applicable to job employment, university admissions and so on as such Nigerians just shrug it away as a “normality” when in truth there is nothing normal about circumventing an legally outlined process. These “abnormal-normalities” must not be condoned under your new government.

As you seek to heal the nation, do not be afraid to first break a few bones. Traditional African healing methods dictate that chronic injuries as we have sustained as a nation over the course of time must be made reopened so platelets can be secreted to begin afresh the healing process. Sensitive issues must be desensitized if necessary and dealt with in the most practical way possible.

 

Sir, issues like underage voting, and all other electoral issues should be handled with utter seriousness, no matter those involved. We must rise above sentimentalism and defeat such potential Trojan horses. This time around I would love to see election misconduct offenders charged to court and tried for these offences. Let it be known that the law works, and not just to fulfill the wishes of the elitist few.

Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi of Kano, in his capacity as the CBN governor told the nation how the National assembly gulps over 25% of the national budget and hearts bled. I sincerely hope your government and fellow Nigerians will use this opportunity to right that wrong also.

Also, we need better credit facilities, designed to fit in situation specific scenarios. The terms of a loan or proposed value chain cannot be applicable round the nation. The business environment in Ibadan is very different from the one in Potiskum. Whereas plantains thrive in Ibadan it is sweet potatoes that are most productive in Potiskum. I hope your ministers will not employ the one solution fits all strategy when you appoint them.

I have keen interest in education, sir President-Elect. You see I wish my children will school in Nigeria, but the rot and backwardness of education system is astonishing. I am afraid building more classrooms has so far resulted in a multiplicity of the current awful product. Our education sir, must seek to solve local problems, for example, Nigeria does not produce up to 10% of the wheat it consumes. So I often ask if we do not have the soil type to cultivate wheat, I have searched but we have very little data, and honestly fewer people willing to conduct meaningful research. Yet these are the real accomplishments our educational institutions should be boasting of, not just the mere graduation of record number of first class graduates.

Sir, I have together with a group of young driven Nigerians sat down to put together a framework that can reposition our education system. Where a child is trained first of all to utilize his/her brain in critical thinking, relegating rote learning to the background. Our model suggests, encouraging children from their very foundational stages to pursue their dreams, not everyone must be a doctor, an engineer, an architect, and an economist. Some will be better at playing football, painting, producing movies and so on. These kids do not have the enough facilities to inspire their career choices; they also do not have any hope of attaining a tertiary education in those fields. Also on education, I remember wanting to become an astronaut since I was 13, yet till date there is not a single structure to support that dream. Hence we are limited to whatever conventional courses our universities offer.

If your administration can propel sports development, it will be great. The ambit of sports utilization is truly endless. Examples abound round the world, from individuals like Tiger Woods, Rafael Nadal to huge sports franchises like the Barclasy Premier League and Major League Baseball. We can reposition the Nigerian Football League and even begin a Nigerian Universities League. Research shows that a large number of Nigerians pay more allegiance to their Alma Matas than to the local football clubs in their towns, as such will be more willing to watch a game played by their Alma Mata than their local football club.

To my fellow Nigerians, I plead, now is the time to unite and with the strength of purpose overwhelm the plethora of despicable acts that have slowly become national past times. Bank fraud, bribing to receive licenses or international passports as soon as possible as well as other bribes, shunting lines, making late appearances, lecturers intimidating and victimizing students at will, incompetent workers employed even in the health sector, continuous revision of workers’ age by swearing affidavits at regular intervals and so on. As slight as these issues may seem, they combine to create the harsh reality faced by millions of Nigerians. Solving it while our national leadership gets it right can also combine to achieve a substantial surge towards achieving the Nigerian goal of greatness.

Religion must make us better beings not just to be used as an excuse to sanction violence. Ethnic diversity means we can have a very colorful festival any time we go to Calabar in December. Being from the North means I can boast of the size of my Yam tubers while you boast of the size of the Cocoa pods in the South.

Beloved General of the people, at the March 28, 2015 presidential election, I voted for you, as I believe strongly you are the best man for the job. Please do not forget the position of the President is amongst many things a job and we the people will hold you responsible if you do not fulfill your contractual obligation. We have waited long enough please relieve us of our suffering even if it be but a fraction.

Yours Pleadingly

Hemenseter Butu

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

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala the 33rd Member of the Hall of Shame By Alhassan Haruna Dambatta

Just recently, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was named one of the 50 greatest leaders in the world and this naming ceremony (if i can refer to it that way) was pioneered by Fortune Magazine.

Okonjo-Iweala was recognized alongside others such as Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Pope Francis, Chinese President Xi Jinping,Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi,Bill and Melinda Gates, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerburg and Apple CEO Tom Cook.

Ordinarily, one may wonder what was the magic wand or the super intellect possessed by this scarf (stylish) knotter that influenced her selection and the subsequent recognition with a signature of typical west type of pay time. The minister was described as “a fearless promoter of sound economic policies.” please which of the fearless economic policies are they referring to? Is it those Bred Wood’s economic policies promoted and protected by Ngozi that are ment to serve the west or those starving policies that were engineered to improvised the Nigerian people? or is her poverty driven economic policies that are been referred to as fearless sound economic policies? these are some of the delimmas we Nigerians found ourselves inn today becouse of the so called Ngozis economic policies.

while many of us here in Nigeria have since leveled Ngozi Okonjo Iweala as the promoter of western economic policies of subjugation,exploitations and extermination of Africas micro economies,today in Nigeria we can readily say that Okonjo Iweala can only maintain the 33rd position as a  member of the hall of shame for destroying Nigeria’s economy within the last few years.The scar of scare about the Nigerias economy issues is enough to send many reasonable Nigerians to the hospital for some high blood pressure or even heart attack.

Then comes the fraudulent rebasing of the economy from $1555 to $2306 as GDP, biggest in Africa at $510 billion. these was after Iwealas announcement in many fora that people should be ready for the economic hardship expected to be recorded in 2015 in Nigeria.

Many theories on Okonjo Iweala have been postulated by some of our reknown economists,as Sunusi Lamido voiced out, Soludo on the other hand accused her of forging national economics statistics, cooked to serve the interest of her pay masters.

Angry Ezekwesili challenged Okonjo-Iweala to a debate so as to account for ‘missing’ $10.8billion’ oil money,the money disappeared under her watch. On Sunusi Lamido allegation on the missing $20 billion dollars and most importantly the forensic Audit, Mrs. Ezekwesili have said that whatever happened to the Forensic Audit Report on missing $20 billion NNPC oil money, Ngozi must explain fully  when Buhari the president Elect take over.This is because she has shamelessly and blindly announced to the world that only about $2 billions is missing and she was visibly and adamantly harsh,angry and very furious with those who raised the issue, she has these to say about Soludo.

 “There is definitely an issue of character with Prof.Charles Soludo and his desperate search for power and relevance in Nigeria. Nigerians should therefore beware of so-called intellectuals without character and wisdom because this combination is fatal.” she further suggested that Soludo was only  committing “intellectual hara-kiri”. i can personally swear that these kind of languages are only found with touts and political thugs but not academics,as Edmund rightly said that “when arguments are prolong and well thought out,people of mediocrity and of low intelligence are apt to be rude”.

Okonjo Iweala truely represent nothing but shame, that is why we believed that the 33rd position for Ngozi Okonjo Iweala should be reserved in the hall of shame instead of among world greatest leaders.

Comrade, Alhassan Haruna Dambatta.
Alaski1972@gmail.com

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

Defections: Politics Beyond Ideology, By Adnan Mukhtar Adam

The most amusing thing i came across in Nigerian politics is the massive defection of our politicians from the ruling party PDP to the APC after the party became victorious in the March 28 polls.

This can be seen in the recent defection of a Deputy Governor of Jigawa State Alhaji Ahmad Mahmud Gumel, Three serving senators from Adamawa state including an Ex-Senate Leader Jonathan Zwingina who some months back caution Nigerians not to vote for APC Presidential Candidate Gen Muhammad Buhari for the fear of he will send Nigerians to jail, following the defection of Zwingina I was left wondering of whether he has forgotten what he said about the respected General. Will his defection save him from going to jail if found guilty of any offence he committed by a competent court of law?

As I am writing this piece, I came across a breaking news that is saying; Ex State Finance Minister Dr Yarima Lawal Ngama defected to APC and was welcomed to the party by Yobe State Governor Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam and APC National Secretary Mai Mala Buni.

Following this massive defection of our politicians I ask myself a Question that when is our politicians will start to practice politics with ideology? During the days of NEPU, UMBC and NPC etc such kind of politics doesn’t happen, when you heard someone defecting it is as a result of the masses interest but the present defection is for personal interest and for the fear of jail.

Gen Muhammad Buhari is not a corrupt person that will allow impunity to take place in his government, he stated that He will draw a line of whoever has a case of corruption in the court will be continued until the right judgement is granted.

Your defections will not stop the General from doing the right thing, I am optimistic that The General will taught Nigerians on how to practice politics with ideology, it is no gainsaying that Nigerian politicians takes politics a potential business instead of having a job at hand for the sustainability of life, Nigerian politicians have the believe that when their party come into power the time to become rich and richer has come to stay through the looting of public treasury and diversion into personal use, This is very wrong.

I have the believe that Buhari will not allow such a thing to happen, any politician that has no job should find it as the government of the General will not tolerate reliance on politics alone as it is not a business, let the General remove the10% given to government officials awarding  contract, laws of reciprocal arrangement etc and all wastages that led to the inefficiency in government. When you are in politics just have the believe that you are in it for the masses interest not that of making money and becoming rich and richer, before you get into politics make sure you have a job at hand, This will help in reducing the rate of corruption in the country and the emergence of the politics with ideology, let our politicians have the believe that they are in politics for the interest and integrity of the people, they come to serve their people so as to be remembered as person whose life have being helpful to humanity.

Instead of the defection I could have advice them to build a strong and constructive opposition that will checkmate the affairs of the governing party but the current defection is a mere restatement of our tragedy as a nation where a politician is seen as a Santa Claus.

Reading the commentaries of Nigerians on the issue of this massive defection to APC  for the past week, i have learnt that Nigerians are not happy with it and are calling on the Leadership of the APC to stop it before it turns to a disaster.

I hope our politicians will learn to practice the politics of ideology not that of their pocket alone, I am checking out, I am taking a stand. May God save us from us!

Adnan Mukhtar Adam Tudunwada is a youth and student activist from Islamic Studies Department Northwest University, kano

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