#NigeriaDecides: Letter from The Corrupt Power Monger By Olusegun Dada

Dear Citizen,

I have watched and listened to your rantings of late about how you intend to deal with me, and how you intend to change me with your votes. All I do is laugh, laugh and laugh. Beyond pouring out your frustrations on me and my friends and protégés is the real issue of what really you can do.

Now let me respond to you.

You cannot destroy me because I am not really a human; I am a system of control and accumulation. I am not like you, I am not an individual, I am not a needy creature, I am a powerful system of thought and emotional control.
You cannot destroy me because deep down inside of your rotten self, you love your oppressors and you identify with your masters. You cannot touch me, because I am above you, I am a god of capital, of history, of defiance. You try to revolt and you will feel the weight of my military machine fall right on your spine and my policemen and military will chase you and maim you.

You cannot crush me because I own the Army, I own the Navy, I own the Police force, I own the intelligentsia and the media. I am virtually invincible and indestructible, because I am a disease, a virus that lingers in your mind and thoughts. I am the dream that you pathetic creatures harbor of being rich and powerful. I am the prototype of everything that is rotten and beautiful about corrupt practices.

You cannot undermine me because I live in your hearts, and deep down your heart, you want to be like me. You admire the miracle that made me powerful. You eye my Porsche, eye my rambling buildings and die to belong to my circle. You cannot understand me because it would be like a lowly human understanding God. I am the lord of your existence and I determine your living. I am the history of money, impunity and control. I am the gorgeous feelings of gold being poured into your very being. I am not just one person; I am a system for hoarding your labor and the world’s resources. I am the sick protocol, to control, to usurp, to steal, to destroy all human creativity.

You cannot defeat me, you can protest all that you want against corruption, impunity or insecurity or social economic failures. But you cannot crush me until you understand me, and you never will. I am a machine, I love money so much that I have become money. I love power so much that I have become power, incarnated, incorporated, ready for the slaughter.

Be happy with your life, slave. Be happy with the niceties that I let you have. Do not start a fight that you cannot finish. Be happy, wage slave, with the cassava bread and a blubbery life of meaningless excess. Be happy with your position, with your caste, be happy with the fact that you’re alive and well entertained by the drama of the government your emotions birthed.

I do not doubt the force of your unity though, but I know it can never crystallize. My friends and I watch you irritate yourselves with the message of tribal hate. Your lack of trust for yourselves isn’t hidden. You still view your fellows from their ethnic origins.

Your religion will not even allow you fight me. I know how to explore that sentiment. Even if your religion allows you, your cowardice will not.
How about your greed? Your greed will be your own undoing. Yes, I am greedy. You call me a criminal in the cocoons of your Twitter and Facebook. I haven’t denied this. Yet I know that opportunity makes the thief. If you were in my shoes, would you do less?

I have the contacts. I have the money. I can break you, buy your louder voices and weaken your camp.
But make no mistakes about it, if you get so strong as to come after me, and if I see your chances of succeeding; certainly, I will run for my life. Even if the borders are closed, I can still buy the loyalty of its keepers. I can buy the protection of your police. I can buy my way through. I won’t sit and watch you kill me. I will run.

I don’t see much danger emanating from you. But if it does, well, I’ll see how to get over it. But before then, keep grumbling. Keep dreaming. #Don’tPanic

From the man you admire,

The Corrupt Power Monger.


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Nigerians Have the Exclusive Right to Elect their President – Gloria Adagbon

The recent postponed election have raised serious issues and the possible motives for doing so. INEC cited the decision of senior military service chiefs as the reason why the Commission could not hold the election as planned.

Firstly, the issue of insecurity. Bokoharam  insurgency did not start today. The insurgency started almost six years ago, a very significant length of time. During this period, the Nigerian government have not been able to curb the problem. As a result, thousands of Nigerians have lost their lives, become displaced and rendered refugees in neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

Therefore, if the government cannot curb the insurgents for over such period of time, how can they tackle BokoHaram within six weeks? What is the guarantee that they can defeat Bokoharam in six weeks. Blackmailing INEC to postpone the polls only show the unwillingness of this administration to allow Nigerians judge their performance.

If one may ask, what is the business of the Army  in the conduct of elections?

Undoubtedly, the constitutional role of the Army is to protect the citizens and Nigeria’s territorial integrity. The Army has no role in the conduct of elections. Consequently, INEC does not require military presence to conduct elections. It is on this premise that we call on the President and the ruling party not drag the military into politics. Henceforth, the army should be left to focus on tackling Bokoharam insurgency and carry out their obligated role of protecting our country.

Importantly, it has now been reported  the Army cannot flush out Bokoharam within the six weeks period. They have also indicated that there army cannot eliminate out Bokoharam in six weeks as previously stated. This calls for alarm as the sole reason to shift the polls was borne out of the Service chiefs decision that they are embarking on a major onslaught to eliminate Bokoharam. From the foregoing, it is therefore incumbent on this government to ensure that INEC is properly supported and given free hand to conduct the elections on March 28th and 11th April 2015 respectively. INEC, the Police and adhoc staff should be left to conduct election that is free, fair and credible.

In a democracy, the People enjoy the full and exclusive right to choose a leader of choice. Nigeria is no exception. Embedded in this exclusive right to choose a leader of choice is the fundamental human right –  the freedom of association and expression. Nigerians are entitled to freely and openly exercise this right. They are at liberty to hold their views, political beliefs and convictions.  They are free to associate with whomsoever that they think is credible and have what it takes to solve their problems. No one, not even the Presidency can negate this exclusive right. Any attempt to circumvent this process poses portends great danger to our over heated polity.

Emphasis is drawn to Doyin Okupe statement during a Presidential media chat, in which he vomited some garbage that this administration will never handover to General Muhammadu Buhari. Any responsible President would have issued a statement distancing itself from this venomous comment, tender an unreserved apology and take steps to either caution or relieve  Okupe of his duties.   Of course, this administration is far from responsible and therefore Nigerians expects nothing from a mischievous administration that have brought Nigerians  immense pain, suffering and abject poverty to the nation.

Significantly,  it is not the responsibility of Okupe, PDP, or President Jonathan to dictate to Nigerians who shall emerge as their president or leader. It is the obligation of the people to elect a new president through the ballot box. Consequently, Nigerians have the exclusive right to elect any candidate deemed capable to lead them. Okupe, PDP and the Presidency should hands off the electoral process and allow Nigerians to choose without fear or favour.

It must be stated that Nigerians are highly intelligent and wise people. They can see beyond the pettiness of this Jonathan led administration. The choice to support a candidate who can deliver must never be tampered with. It is about who can best meet the needs of the people and provide an accountability leadership. As a result, overwhelming majority of Nigerians believe that change is necessary. They believe that the situation in our nation calls for drastic and shock measures. This exclusive right of freedom of choice must never be trampled upon.

The question on everyone’s lips are these: What were the real reasons for postponing the 2015 elections?  Why did this administration deny and / or refused INEC security to conduct the election? Do they want the election to hold at all?

Six weeks is a matter of time, and come March 28th and 11th April 2015, INEC must hold the election as rescheduled. It will a disaster if Nigerians are denied the opportunity to exercise their exclusive right to elect a new President. Those given the hatchet job to hinder our fragile democracy are reminded to check history and see how those who trampled on the wishes of the people are humiliated out of power. The result of this election is beyond anyone’s control, it is inescapable, it is inevitable. It is the exclusive rights for Nigerians to elect a president of their choice. No one ain’t stopping Nigerians from exercising this exclusive right.


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Let’s Carefully Examine Sam Hart’s Emotionally Laden Rejoinder on the Abia Elections, By Chinedu Ekeke

Sam Hart’s knee-jerk response to an essay I wrote last week was a bit surprising. I didn’t expect the rejoinder to come from him. But since he wrote, I’ll go straight to addressing the points he raised. I had published a piece wherein I challenged the rented public affairs commentators on the payroll of the Abia state government to show some regard for facts when running their ubiquitous commentaries this political season. That call was necessary, because if we project the society as the ultimate beneficiary of our politics, then conversations about political processes and the candidates they throw up during elections must be made to centre on the issues that really matter to the society.

READAbia 2015: Putting Governor T.A Orji on notice–By Chinedu Ekeke

READWhy Governor T.A Orji deserves our pity–By Sam Hart

In my essay, I sought to remind the Ochendo writers, many of whom go by pseudonyms, that Abians deserve to hear the truth about the process that led to the emergence of the candidate the incumbent governor is supporting in the coming governorship elections. That has become necessary, given that we have read loads of troubling articles that, first, claim that the governor had no hand in the emergence of Okezie Ikpeazu, the governorship candidate of the PDP; and secondly, that Okezie Ikpeazu won the party primaries fair and square. The lies were beginning to gain traction as truth and some of us considered it a disservice to the state if we endorse such falsehood with our silence. With the intent to put the records straight therefore, I wrote.

Then came Sam Hart; with speed and fury. He launched out with the excitement of an accuser, one with the conviction of a winnable case. I wasn’t in his mind as he scribbled that hasty, emotionally laden rejoinder, but I could sense, at the end of his piece, the satisfaction of one who believed he had done justice to the topic and by that expects that this whole matter will be laid to rest once and for all. He did not deny the sham Governor Theodore Orji christened party congresses in Abia state, brazenly executed to the chagrin of even the worst election riggers. The scale of that fraud was massive; and even by PDP standards, stands unparalleled.

At the point where Sam could not controvert my insistence that the governor rigged the party primaries and stole the mandate of party members at the grassroots, the debate effectively ended. Because my original point was to puncture the lies daily peddled by the governor’s writers, claiming the governor had no hand in the emergence of Ikpeazu. I wrote that the governor did not only mastermind Ikpeazu’s emergence, but even went as far as ensuring nobody in the party had the chance to make any input in the process that led to that emergence. That position hasn’t changed. Let me therefore repeat this for the sake of emphasis: The governor RIGGED the party congresses to ensure Okezie Ikpeazu got imposed on party members. End of!

The other part of Sam’s treatise, about aspirants lining up to endorse Okezie Ikpeazu, is immaterial. Why should it bother us that elites on the governor’s payroll were hushed into silence after a terribly flawed process? Why should we confer on a compromised elite group and ‘’elders’’ the altruistic task of calling evil by its name? The role of many ‘’elders’’ of Abia in the ruin of the state is common knowledge. Just last year, Arthur Eze, the Anambra born billionaire business man, chewed out the governor publicly and in the governor’s own presence. As he did that, he equally chastised the Abia elite on the shameful role they have been playing in wrecking the state. He, coming from a state where elders value dignity more than naira and kobo, wondered why the Abia ‘’elders’’ sat and watched Ochendo convert Abia state to Nigeria’s byword for bad governance. Of course, one million writers from Ochendo will not change history.

The writer also did not deny that Abians have been hurling pebbles and sachets of water on Okezie Ikpeazu and his PDP campaign trail. Actually, I forgot to mention that at least 5 villages in Ochendo’s own Ibeku kin also drove them away. I mean, even Ochendo’s people refused him entrance into where he hails from.  I await for this to be denied.

And that laughable point about Alex Otti asking to host Governor Theodore Orji in Arochukwu in 2011. I don’t know how it found its way into the conversation, except, again, that Sam lifted from the Ochendo principal book of campaign where the only issue that matters is where Alex Otti hails from. It’s not in my place to speak for Alex Otti. He is a first rate professional with the requisite acuity to answer for himself, but isn’t it curious that such is being pushed as a justification for brazenly stealing the right of party members to elect candidates of their choice in this election? Why are we even making light of a matter as serious as electoral fraud? Okay, let us concede that Alex Otti offered to host the governor in Arochukwu, when did it become a tool of blackmail for well-meaning, wealthy sons of a state to opt to host their political leaders? The answer is not far-fetched; it fits into the Ochendo narrative. All we hear from state media are petty details that exclude issues of development: Where’s Alex from? Why is Alex in APGA, is it because the governor refused to support him in PDP? Why did Alex not divert money from Diamond Bank to Abia state so we will know he loves Abia? Sometimes you wonder why these guys don’t consider these issues too jejune. But again, it’s Ochendo.

For a government that has been in office for eight years, it’s amazing that we don’t hear them name the roads they constructed or dualized in the period they have been in power, nor the water project they commissioned, nor how well they handled sanitation, nor how much they grew the state’s GDP per capita. A city as important – and old – as Aba has no single street light anywhere! Nobody in that government house is bothered. But all we hear is ‘’it is not their turn. It is our turn.’’ More irritating, you hear this from state owned media outlets.

Whatever ‘’turn by turn, chop-I-chop’’ arrangement PDP is operating – or wishes to operate – is not the business of the rest of us. PDP is just one political party, and it is doubtful if the population of its members adds up to as little as 5% of the total Abia population. An arrangement of convenience entered into by a group of friends can never be binding on the entirety of the state. Thankfully, history has shown us that when the people want change, they do not consider any other thing as more important. When Ndi Imo sacked Ikedi Ohakim in 2011, they did not consider where he, or the choice they were rooting for, came from. They simply threw out a man who had pissed on them without pity, and brought in an alternative they thought credible. This will be repeated in Abia state this year. This reality will hit the Ochendo team by 11thApril when the poll results start pouring in.

When this happens, I will not write Sam Hart waxing triumphalist; no, for brotherly love detests braggadocio. I will travel to Abia to visit him again, in his house, to share a glass of wine. That celebration won’t be just because a candidate I believe in won the election, it’ll be in recognition of the maturity with which my friend and brother, Sam and I handled our political differences. But that will only be necessary if Sam doesn’t join me in the Alex Otti movement before the election. You see, Sam and I share a lot in common, including the knowledge that in Abia, Alex Otti is that change whose time has come.


Chinedu writes from Lagos. He can be reached on Twitter as @Nedunaija


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Does Buhari Need Obasanjo’s Blessing? By Simon Kolawole

Surprise! Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is back in the news yet again. Last Monday’s show in Abeokuta was more spectacular than his previous performances. The card-tearing ceremony was part of activities lined up to dramatise and formalise his exit from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The previous week, he was in Kenya adoringly endorsing Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, the opposition presidential candidate. Buhari’s supporters were over the moon — as if God had spoken. President Goodluck Jonathan’s supporters were jolted — but they went into denial. Two days later, Obasanjo was in London categorically denying endorsing Buhari. Obasanjo!!!

Dr. Reuben Abati, presidential spokesman, has propounded the theory that all Obasanjo wants is to orchestrate a political crisis to engineer an interim national government (ING) to be headed by himself — a backdoor strategy, he alleged, after Obasanjo’s failed attempt to amend the constitution to do a third term in 2007. Whatever the case is, caution should be the watchword in Buhari’s camp. An endorsement by Obasanjo is usually a poisoned chalice. Given what some of us know about Obasanjo, his sudden love for Buhari or the opposition should be taken with a pinch of salt. At 77, Obasanjo is not about to change his character.

Let’s admit it: Obasanjo is an extremely intelligent man. Hate him but admit that fact. In my opinion, he is one of the smartest leaders Africa has ever produced. He knows what he is doing at any point in time. A crack opportunist, he easily reads the direction of the wind. He knows very well that Buhari is the symbol of a movement against Jonathan’s government, a mass movement that is sweeping across many parts of Nigeria more than ever before. For once, we are going into a presidential election without any certainty, with the opposition gaining momentum, with the international community apparently in support of the opposition candidate.

A smart man with Obasanjo’s kind of record knows where to pitch his tent, especially as Buhari has consistently queried the $16 billion spent on power by the Obasanjo government without any results. The files on the Halliburton and Siemens scandals are still gathering dust in the attorney general’s office. Unlike Jonathan, Buhari has the will to go after anybody, no matter who their father is. And I dare say Buhari is about the only Nigerian leader I know today (there may be others that I don’t know) who can take on anybody at anytime. It is only logical for people with skeletons in their cupboard to jump on the Buhari train as a form of insurance policy.

Nevertheless, Buhari should proceed carefully. Obasanjo has a history. I used to be fooled by his “patriotic” interventions in national politics. The earliest I can recall was in the days of President Shehu Shagari. In 1979, Obasanjo conducted a transition to civil rule and handed over power to him at a time of oil boom. But oil prices began to take a tumble in 1982. As Nigerians began to experience the economic crunch, Obasanjo started attacking Shagari in the newspapers on a regular basis. The criticisms were timely, ahead of the 1983 elections, and the opposition parties were over the moon. Obasanjo knows the direction of the wind.

In his memoir, Beckoned to Serve, Shagari said of the coup that overthrew him: “Some public statements by General Obasanjo severely criticising the administration seemed to point to at least a tacit incitement of the military against the government.” He said he tried endlessly to invite Obasanjo for discussion on the situation, especially on the national economy about which he showed some concern, but the general avoided him. He later discovered why Obasanjo had become very hostile to him. “I understand from someone close to him, however, that he had expected me to be constantly consulting him on all matters of government since he had an obsession of being a super-administrator, super-diplomat and of course a military genius,” Shagari wrote.

In fairness, Obasanjo loves to savage his successors. He always packaged this obsession as patriotism. Ironically, he was quite quiet during the regime of Buhari from 1983-85. Why? Was it because, as Shagari insinuated, he knew about the coup? Or was it because Buhari ran a no-nonsense government that took no prisoners? We may never know. But Obasanjo was back in full swing when Gen. Ibrahim Babangida came to power and began to implement economic reforms that made life pretty difficult for Nigerians. It was a good opportunity for Obasanjo to jump on the stage for more theatrics. He reads the wind very well.

Obasanjo spoke eloquently about the need for the structural adjustment programme (SAP) to have a “human face”. He accused Babangida’s government of being “deficit” in everything: budget, finance, honour, credibility, honesty, truth. Obasanjo was at his best when June 12 election was annulled by Babangida in 1993. He read the wind and connected very well with popular sentiments. He lampooned Babangida for the annulment which plunged Nigeria into serious crisis. We all clapped for Obasanjo. But while he was giving the public a very good stage performance, we started hearing rumours that he was deeply involved in the establishment of an ING to effectively kill June 12.

A few weeks later, Obasanjo said, faraway in Zimbabwe, that the winner of the June 12 election, Bashorun MKO Abiola, was not the messiah. That was when I stopped clapping for him. I had seen enough drama. The ING was eventually installed, but it was a fictitious arrangement that allowed Gen. Sani Abacha to seize power in November 1993. Two years later, Abacha grabbed Obasanjo by the neck and dragged him to jail. To tame Obasanjo’s tongue, Abacha had to concoct a coup allegation. Obasanjo himself couldn’t believe that a “whole” him could be jailed in Nigeria. He would later become president in 1999 straight out of prison.

Obasanjo started his second outing by savaging his predecessor and benefactor, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, for “looting” the foreign reserves. Abubakar had, by the way, practically installed Obasanjo as president against the wishes of most pro-democracy campaigners. After spending eight years in government during which he hardly practised what he preaches, Obasanjo installed an apparently sick Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adau as president, and picked a virtually untested Jonathan as vice-president. All on Obasanjo’s mind was that he would be using remote control from Ota to perpetuate himself in government, since he is Nigeria’s messiah — unlike Abiola.

In his book, Accidental Public Servant, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai said Obasanjo told him and other members of his kitchen cabinet that they would be meeting regularly in Ota to define the policy direction of the Yar’Adau government. Having succeeded in amending the PDP constitution to make him the only person who could be chairman of the board of trustees (BoT), Obasanjo thought he had Yar’Adua in his pocket. The new position was designed to be superior to that of the president under the mantra of “party supremacy”. It was a “mentoring” system adopted by Julius Nyerere, the late Tanzanian president, after he left power in 1985.

Writing in THISDAY under the title, “Obasanjo Goes for Nyerere Option”, on December 17, 2006, I warned: “Something tells me that the whole thing about the ‘coronation’ of Yar’Adua is one contraption that may collapse on the heads of those who think they have found a weakling as the next president of Nigeria… anybody who thinks the man does not have a mind of his own may be making a big mistake.” Not surprisingly, Yar’Adua reportedly stopped picking Obasanjo’s calls barely two months after assuming power. Obasanjo hadn’t learnt from his Shagari experience.

As Yar’Adua fell ill and was no longer able to function as president, Obasanjo read the wind and jumped on the stage for more theatrics. He began to openly attack Yar’Adua, apparently to deflect criticism from himself for picking a terminally ill man as president. Obasanjo hit Yar’Adua hard on his sick bed. Some people clapped for him. I did not. Rather, I wrote on January 24, 2010: “Now that he knows that the public mood is against Yar’Adua’s failure to allow Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan act in his absence, Obasanjo has ‘aligned’ with the public again, preaching honour and morality.” The wind-reader is always at alert.

Meanwhile, Obasanjo worked day and night to install Jonathan as president. Obviously, he again thought he would be ruling Nigeria from Ota. But as Jonathan began to gain independence from him — even having the effrontery to revoke the PPP for the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway — Obasanjo returned to drama. He has openly flirted with the opposition ahead of the 2015 elections, and those who don’t know him well or choose to ignore his antecedents are popping champagne. May I seize this opportunity to warn Buhari’s supporters. If Buhari becomes president and does not take instructions from Obasanjo or worship at his shrine, it may end in tears.

Is This the End of Boko Haram?

Our recent successes over Boko Haram are more than overdue. We have not only recaptured several towns from them, we have also repelled their attempts to seize more towns or even expand into Gombe. At the rate we are going, the insurgency may soon be curtailed, if not quashed. This is the good news I’ve been longing to hear for years. However, why are we suddenly making good progress? There are several theories. Many say President Jonathan is just beginning to take the insurgency seriously because of the elections. Some say it is because our neighbours are now co-operating with us. Military insiders say special forces have just returned from training and new weapons have been procured from other sources after the snub from the US.

I honestly cannot be bothered by what the theories are. All I know is that Nigerians deserve to live in peace wherever they may be. Too much blood has been shed. Too many people internally displaced. We deserve to breathe again. We deserve some comfort. Nigeria should be in the news for better things. But as we continue to pound Boko Haram, and as happy and hopeful as I am, I worry a lot about the Chibok schoolgirls. If the military raids Sambisa forest, how safe will these girls be? Won’t these deranged insurgents use them as human shield? Ever since these girls were kidnapped, this has been my biggest worry. I continue to wish the military more successes, but I’m so terrified about the likely fate of these girls if they are still in Sambisa forest. Collateral damage?


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Civilian JTF: Are we Going to Have a Problem Here? By Aisha Salaudeen

“Keep saying La illah till the soldiers come, Allah will not desert us”

My mum would say this to my siblings and I during any sort of crisis or attack on our neighbourhood back then. We had so much faith in the Nigerian army when I was a child living in northern Nigeria; believe it or not there was a time when Insurgents feared our soldiers! They would flee on seeing army tanks; my face would light up a little every time soldiers approached us during invasions. And why am I bringing this up now? Because reverse is the case at this very moment in Nigeria’s ongoing battle with the insurgents in the Northeast. Our soldiers troop into the northeast during an attack by the Boko Haram sect. They are frequently dazed due to inadequate supplies, they often flee, giving way for the terrorist to murder helpless men, women and children & eventually conquer the territory.

The focus of this article is on Borno state, which used to be very peaceful, it used to be described as ‘the home of peace’ by residents; the north eastern state is now in shambles as it remains the centre of deadly attacks and abductions that has left thousands injured, displaced and even dead.

More than enough times the civilian joint task force (CJTF) have had to help the soldiers to win battles against the callous Boko haram members in the state. CJTF are state youths that decided to form an alliance against the insurgents in the Northeast. In fact the CJTF have become an alternative the government’s joint task force, which has already been compromised. I remember vaguely a CJTF member said “At the time I joined the CJTF, Boko haram members were living in the same environment with us, they would walk around carrying weapons. Sometimes they would come and kill our brothers or parents with ease. They killed two of my brothers, so anytime we go out to fight them I don’t have mercy on them because they murdered my family”. Another said “We are Christians and Muslims in the group, our mission is to ensure peace in Maiduguri. Before now we could go out by 9pm and nothing would happen. It is a different story today. As I am now I am ready to sacrifice my life to protect my loved ones”. These youths joined the group for similar reasons: fight boko haram to protect their villages & salvage their people from the hands of the wicked sect.

The civilian joint task force have been very useful in the battle against insurgents. The youths are familiar with the region (unlike the many of the security forces) making it easier for them to identify with Boko haram.

Two weeks ago, these brave youths came out to help the Nigerian army when Damboa (a town in southern Maiduguri) was attacked, they fought gallantly along side our soldiers and scores of the Boko haram members were brutally killed. Early this year, CJTF alongside the Nigerian army raided several hideouts and escape routs of the Boko haram sect in Konduga (Borno state) destroying their vehicles as a means of dislodging the insurgents. The attack on Gubio local government was repelled by CJTF as well, they murdered Boko haram members as they attempted to lay siege on the town. These brave youths don’t just fight, they also protect. I recall there was a time the Borno state government enlisted them to protect government schools ahead of their re opening dates.

Yes, there are so many good things we can identify CJTF with at the moment especially as they’re helping to win the battle against the notorious boko haram sect. You might think a group of youth with home made weapons and instruments are no match for insurgents but the CJTF is in fact making a difference. Now, I am no prophet of doom but in the long run however, these youth could become a serious threat to stability in the state. I didn’t think about it deeply till a friend brought this to my attention through his usual tweets on social media. What will become of CJTF after Nigeria wins the war against Boko haram? As it is now, members of the CJTF are already having this large sense of importance. Granted this is not wrong, as they are actually important in the on going battle. Point is, the sense of importance may eventually push them to become nuisance during the post boko haram era. Where am I going with this? Minor signs that this will happen are beginning to occur already. In Maiduguri, some CJTF members are misusing their power, terrorising people. I have heard of several instances of CJTF bullying innocent citizens simply because they can. This is bound to get worse as time goes on.

Another thing that worries me deeply is that the civilian joint task force could turn out to be an extension of historical political grievance of sponsored political thugs and unnecessary violence rather than supporting the military. CJTF members could end up like Ecomog or Sara suka in Gombe state, Yankallare in Bauchi state and yan shinko in Adamawa state. All these groups mentioned initially started like the civilian joint task force, they later became compromised as rich politicians lured member youths with promises of government patronage and unemployment to carry out their dirty work. I fear the same will be the fate of the civilian joint task force if the Borno state government does not make an exit strategy for them at the end of the day.

This is just as thought but could be useful, perhaps these able youth could be recruited by the armed forces; they should be trained and disciplined properly. By doing this, they can serve the country rather than constituting a threat in the near future.

In as much as the work of the civilian joint task force is appreciated, provision for them needs to be made so they don’t pose a threat in near future.

Aisha Salaudeen tweets as @AishaSalaudeen.


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Top Reasons Why You Should Vote for Jonathan/Sambo By Muhammad Malumfashi

1. At $1 to N220 we have the best economy in Africa. With Naira devalued by 6%. What do you expect when they devalued Naira by 50%? Best economy in the world.

2. 128, 148, 150, 180. No mind the figures. But it’s said that he’s built Almajiri schools of such numbers in 13 Northern states. Well.

3. He’s crushing over 6 years old Boko haram in just 6 weeks. In 4 weeks the story of security will be different.

4. He organised national conference. Some said he’s the first to do that. Lool!

5. He didn’t sign any one-term agreement. Forget zoning abeg!

6. No one sleep at a filling station. Petrol everywhere. Just a 33% increase in pump price from what he inherited.

7. He’s not clueless, he’s not *****ard. (some text missing). Lol!!

8. No corruption cases in Nigeria. Only some few cases of small stealing. He’s trying to separate yams from the goats.

9. Over 2.5 million jobs created and 250,000km roads built. I mean in Nigeria!

10. Despite BH frustrations this administration managed to provide Trains. It won’t take more than 3 days from Zaria -Lagos.

11. He can jog, run. At times visit gym. Healthy president.

12. He’s not semi illiterate. PhD! Though he doesn’t have classmates, lecturers, department, or thesis. Certificates are intact!

13. He’s a computer literate. He even operate on dark screens. Digital.

14. He once had no shoes and He’s from the Niger-Delta. So he must kontinu. This Hausas..

15. He hasn’t jail any one. No political prisoners. He even freed some. Pardon others.

16. He doesn’t give a damn about assets declaration.

17. He’s a good person. Just that some dirty politicians are around him. Blame opposition!

18. He’s never been biased. He admitted that even his Bayelsa and Rivers have no FG projects to boast of. Same as Yobe,Zamfara etc. Considered everyone equal.

19. 2nd Niger bridge will soon be completed. Materials still on their way. I assure you it won’t take more than another 4 Years.

20. He’s democratic. There is freedom. Therefore you can share this post.

Muhammad Malumfashi. Tweets from @ya_waliyyi


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This Thing is Not a Change, Nigeria! By Gimba Kakanda

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Election Postponement: The Resurrection Of Anti-Democratic Forces By Segun Tomori

Even the most strong-hearted incumbent President would have been scared to death by the rampaging momentum with which “hurricane Buhari” moved and saturated the length and breadth of Nigeria in the run-up to February 14. Like a force propelled by some unseen supernatural powers, all weapons formed against the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential candidate, Maj. Gen Muhammadu Buhari simply refused to prosper even tongues that rose against him in judgement ended up in utter condemnation to the chagrin of Jonathan and his spin doctors. Every mudslinging and campaign of calumny, some very vicious and scary instead of halting the Buhari advance, made him more popular. What a vast majority of Nigerians waited for was his coronation on “FeBUHARI 14”- the valentine’s day that was dedicated to “loving Buhari” . But Jonathan would have none of that! After all other options failed, he played his last card which was using the service chiefs and his National Security Adviser(NSA) to stop the elections.

Pronto, the service chiefs and the NSA wrote to the Chair of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega that they couldn’t guarantee security for the elections if it was held as scheduled. This was the final straw that broke the camel’s back as Jega’s insistence on the sanctity of February 14 caved in to pressure. His hands were effectively tied, blackmail became the most potent weapon, lo and behold, the “Jonathanian forces”won! The dirty job which the National Council of States tactically declined was thus executed by the “politicised” military and service chiefs and it had all the trappings of a coup, this time not against a sitting President but orchestrated by the President himself against his own people! 66% of the Permanent Voters Card(PVC) had been distributed as at 2nd Feb and INEC had put machinery in place to continue distribution at ward level till a day before the elections, if necessary. If the process had continued, an estimated 75- 80% of voters would have collected their PVCs which comparable to the usual voter turn-out of between 50 -70% is remarkably high and sufficient for credible elections.

While Jega ought to be reprimanded for lapses in the PVC distribution and other sundry voter registration hiccups especially since he had 4 years to prepare, but the challenges which he was already surmounting were not enough reasons to postpone the elections. The military and security agencies who for over 6 years reeked incompetence, manifested lethargy and total lack of tact and innovation on how to crush Boko haram suddenly needed time, a contrived one within an election period to defeat terror in 6 weeks! How plausible! It was obvious the military made itself available as a willing tool to buy time for a President, on the verge of defeat,but desperate to cling on to power. The success of the postponement plot which is just the beginning of other devious machinations by Jonathan and his lackeys to continue to hold forte at Aso-rock at all costs exhumed the corpse of anti-democratic forces hitherto consigned to the dust-bin of history in the aftermath of the June 12 struggle and the restoration of democracy in 1999.

Not a few Nigerians believe that the 6 week postponement is part of a grander plot to contrive a constitutional stalemate that will herald the extension of President Jonathan’s administration through the back-door. Jonathan, who has lost all opinion polls including the ones conducted by his aides in the run-up to the elections; who is running on the platform of a fatally fragmented party, and whose woeful performance has earned him scorn across a vast segment of the Nigerian populace knows the elections is his to lose, but will stop at nothing to remain in power. Already, National assembly members are being lobbied and bribed to buy into the unconstitutional tenure elongation agenda. This much was confirmed within the week by Hon. Rotimi Makinde, APC member representing Ife Federal Constituency. That is allegedly just a part of the plan as insider sources reveal a close-knit military topshots collusion with the President and his trusted allies to force another 6 months election postponement on Nigerians under the pretext of insecurity. The Okrika-styled shooting at opposition rallies in Rivers State is to be allegedly replicated in selected states, terrorism in North-east might be allowed to degenerate to create an alibi for the declaration of a national emergency that will make the March 28 Presidential elections a mirage.

The forces that scuttled June 12 are at it again. Just like Abiola was stopped by all means from becoming President, they are now set to stop the imminent Buhari Presidency not minding if the nation becomes the collateral damage in the process. The fear of Gen. Buhari is the beginning of wisdom for Jonathan and his marauding band of “locusts in power”. Having milked the country dry and rendered it prostrate, they are now engulfed in morbid fear of life in jail knowing how ruthless the lanky General can be against corruption. Massive corruption which has become the “art of the State” under Jonathan has also permeated the military hierarchy and as such “fat cat” generals who have helped themselves with several billions of defence budgets are in cahoot with Jonathan to stop Buhari. The danger here is these anti-democratic forces might face stiff resistance from mid-level officers, colonels downwards who are said to be disenchanted with the politicisation of the army ; rampaging corruption, and are thus opposed to the plot. This might prove fatal for the country if wise counsel does not prevail. Several lawsuits have also been filed by agents of the ruling party to get Buhari disqualified and throw spanner in the works of the electoral process.

The APC will need to move swiftly to curtail the advances of these forces of evil and counter their machinations. The starting point should be to effectively mobilise majority members of the national assembly across party lines to ensure they side with the people and form a bulwark against any further election postponement or tenure elongation plot. Elder Statesmen across the country and former leaders should be lobbied to prevail on Jonathan to let democracy take its course and allow the elections hold as rescheduled. Pressure should be brought to bear on Jonathan by the international community through effective lobby of world powers and their congress. The humanitarian crisis of a war-torn Nigeria of over 170m people will be disastrous for Africa and the world at large which any attempt to subvert the people’s will might instigate.

Much of the task of safe-guarding this democracy however rest with the people. We have seen incumbents lose recently in India, Sri Lanka, Ghana amongst others, heavens will not fall if Jonathan is voted out. We must resolve to keep our eyes on the goal of rescuing this country from the shackles of corruption and ineptitude which the present administration represents. The promise of this nation and the future of the generation yet unborn rests on this elections, we must not fail or falter to reward failure with severe censure which can only mean giving the President the red card. Together We Can!

Segun Tomori

Public Affairs Analyst

Twitter: @seguntomori, 08062672869


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Now that Mr. President has Blown it up, What the Future Holds for Nigerians? By Ibrahim Ilyasu

“What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve”
Napoleon Hill

So grey is this Nigeria with its trouble and strife! One of the more embarrassing difficulties of our age is to have clueless as a leader. Past week, I followed President Jonathan’s media tête-à-tête with confusion and disbelief. Needless to say, it was boring, drab and dingy. I was left struggling with my subconscious mind to contest whether it was real or myth, I couldn’t believe my eyes though. It took a great deal of effort and self-control to resist the temptation of my subconscious mind and accept it as real. In philosophy, the word “reality” means the totality of real things outside a person’s own knowledge or their perception of them. In fact, reality encompasses even much more. The paradox of reality, however, is that sometimes real things can look fake and fake things can look real.

I have been driven to my knees by overwhelming conviction that any person who desperately legalizes illegal is suspect, to begin with. As usual, Mr. President blew it up once again. Only this time the implication of his utterances is more or less precarious, yet his intent is remarkably understandable. When I watched President Jonathan making an infamous parable of the “goat and yam” I became speech less. This is because his answers were as hilarious as worrying. To follow his logic, it is absolutely normal for people to cheat and “steal” and by extension be “corrupt” as long as they are lucky enough to get the opportunity. Why? the answer is simple; you cannot give a goat a piece of yam and prevent her from eating. Alas!

Mr. President also messed it up when he told the world the postponement of the elections, which is seen by many as a sinister game plan to avoid imminent defeat, was something done by INEC and security agencies about which he was completely unaware. The gravity of this blunder is enormous because Mr. Jonathan was showing Nigerians as well as international community that Nigeria is literally running on auto-pilot or he is not in charge, at least for now. This, arguably, in my view, has serious security implications because the president openly concedes that he is not the real commander in chief; hence, military can take whatever decision of their choosing without him been interested in even knowing whatever they are doing. This perhaps explains why insecurity is still unravelling in the North East. It is only in a misguided entity called Nigeria a sit-in president will create this fiasco and get away with it.

Rather than using that golden opportunity to correct his quite unpopular “stealing is not corruption” mantra per se, President bungled it once again and left Nigerians in disbelief, terrible sadness and acquired unyielding anger. In his words, you cannot put goat and yam in the same place and say that goat should not eat yam. In other words, you cannot entrust President and his cohorts with your resources and say that they should not steal, since “stealing is not corruption” after all. Based on this logic, stealing is inevitable whenever you are given opportunity to serve because your goat ordinarily must eat yam as long as they are kept together. By making this tacit concession, Good luck Jonathan has not only institutionalized corruption but also officially endorsed it. What a glorification! He has also set a bad example for immortalizing corruption, perpetuating criminality and of course compromising ethics, integrity, honesty and personal commitment in public service. This is could be the reason why USD 20 billion scandal, petroleum minister’s oil N10 billion scam and other cases are swept under the carpet. This perhaps also explains why Jonathan has never had any impressive scorecard on fighting corruption over the last five years.

Now, the ten thousand dollar question is; has anyone ever advised the President on the efficacy of “mouth control” specifically for a leader of a great nation? If the answer is no, then I suggest he should fire all his personal assistants and special/senior advisors because they don’t deserve to be on Nigeria’s payroll. And this is an emergency. But let me be clear, resorting to a self-incriminating slogan/rhetoric to suggest corrupt people are “free” will simply not wash. For one, Nigerians are brilliant; they know their enemies and they understand that this government has no respect for them. I still maintain that if it is true that democracy entails putting in place government of the people for the people by the people, then Nigerian out-of-touch elitist must have read the Abraham Lincoln’s theory upside down and used ethno-centric pretext to foist Good luck Jonathan on 170 million persons. Indeed, history will never forgive Obasanjo for imposing Jonathan on us to remote-control Nigeria from his Ota farm. It doesn’t matter even if he decamps or tears his card now; he still remains the brain behind the quagmire that has engulfed the country.

Well, it all starts and ends with that magic word “leadership”. Leadership, we are told, goes beyond what the world or scientific management defines as the limits. Leadership determines if an individual or organization (country) will be able to maximize their full potential. Furthermore, leadership is all about having people willingly following you without you pushing them. Thus, it is all about pulling and not pushing. Having said that, a leader is the type of individual that has a vision for his people and spends their time shaping the future. An effective leader is the one who possesses the following qualities; dedication, moral integrity, courage, good judgment, justice, honesty, responsibility, faithfulness, industriousness, fairness, forgiveness, devotion, love and of course, spirituality. If he is found wanting in these characters then he does not deserve to be a leader.

Let me keep the record straight, I am not saying that leaders are perfect people, but they are flexible. They skillfully integrate flexibility into their goals, establish realistic priorities and lead by example because they do know that they are constantly on stage and individuals are watching their characters. With that being said, President Jonathan has shown that he is nowhere close to being able to fit these criteria and for this reason Nigerians have little faith in his ability as a leader. If that is the case, then I suggest another choice.

Mr President also negates zoning agreement of presidency something to which he is deeply committed. He has categorically stated that he would never contest in 2015 several times over. So, if he now decides to swallow his words, Nigerians should show him his action is morally, ethically, legally and religiously unacceptable. The question is when? Well, on 28th March 2015 if elections hold, that is.

Nigerians have been taken prisoners in their own country for additional six weeks. People became so disadvantaged because they have been systematically denied the opportunity to vote this regime out. Now it is time to turn the page. I have no doubt that Jonathan’s chicken have come home to roost. Every right thinking Nigerian is pretty sure that the 6 weeks extension is to finish the unfinished mission impossible of discrediting/disqualifying Buhari and heating up the polity of North East to stop elections. Nonetheless, no matter how thin they slice it, it is still baloney.

Now, the onus lies with Nigerians either to say No to this INSULT and defend their ideals or simply bury their heads in the sand. Remember, we lose our selves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend, and we honour these ideals by upholding them not when it is easy but when it is hard.

Ibrahim Ilyasu is a Phd holder in Tafsir and Islamic Family Law, a lecturer in Aminu Kano College of Islamic and Legal Studies, Kano Nigeria. He is currently a part time lecturer in the department of Quran and Sunnah in International Islamic University Malaysia, he could be reached at abunauwas2012@gmail.com
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Obasanjo’s Last Battle against Nigeria By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye

Though I’m startled and distressed, but I want to fly into a rage of letters. Our light has lost its status, but let’s makes our path right. And if after this, we trade our might to the exhausting sun, then we‘ll be translated into slaves of defeat, and all will become a nightmare.

Dear Readers, I am tempted by the current state of the Nigeria nation to explicitly coin this piece. I am angered by the attitude of a creature who God had favoured with long live and prosperity despite his many sins against Nigeria and her people. The Owu, Ogun State born former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo who certainly needs no much introduction in the political firmament of Nigeria and outside the shore is the man.

From a relatively unknown Soldier, he rose to become the number two citizen of Nigeria in 1975. In 1976, God extended the tentacle of his mercy to him by promoting him from number two to number one citizen of the most populous black nation on the surface of earth.  In 1999, he was catapulted through the support of the majority of Nigerians from Prison into the Aso Villa by some leaders of thought such as Generals Ibrahim Babangida, T.Y Danjuma, Chiefs Alex Ekwueme, Orji Uzor Kalu, Atiku Abubakar, etc.

Today, Obasanjo is known globally for always resolving international disputes most especially on the continent of Africa. Obasanjo is also known for his unique speeches at both local and international events.  He is also reputed for constantly writing emotion-provoked and controversial letters to Leaders within and outside the country.

However, let me confidently state clearly that Obasanjo has not done much for Nigeria despite miraculously risen through the rank and file of the country’s military and democratic institutions to become a crème-de-la-me. Obasanjo has impoverished Nigerians more than any other Nigerian leaders via his impious policies and actions.

Prior to 1979 presidential election, most Nigerians preferred the revered late political sage, Obafemi Awolowo to be their President, but Obasanjo as the Military Head of States, through the assistance of some internal and external forces, foisted an unpopular intellectual Lilliputian operating in the unbefitting office of  a secondary school principal in Shagari Village, Sokoto State on Nigerians. Awolowo and Obasanjo hail from the same state in Southwestern Nigeria.

As a result of Obasanjo’s action, Nigeria went up in political and economic flames. I had not been born then but history has it that Obasanjo perceived Awolowo as a hard nut that would be too hard to crack for him if he’s allowed to be the President, hence, his decision to impose a Lilliput on Nigerians. Obasanjo was apparently scared Awolowo would probe his failed Ajaokuta Steel project. He was scared Awolowo would probe the billions of Nigeria his Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) has gulped from the treasury.

In 1993, when most Nigerians within and in Diaspora were agitating for the affirmation of the results of June 12 Presidential election believed to have been won by MKO Abiola, Obasanjo conspired with his clan in the North to ensure that the struggle to actualize the lawfully given mandate of Abiola never materialized. Abiola died in prison.

In 1999, upon the return of the country to civilian rule, the South Western Nigeria was ceded the presidential slots of the two political parties in the country. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) handed its presidential ticket to Obasanjo and went on to triumph over his opponent, Olu Falae of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). However, for the eight uninterrupted years Obasanjo ruled Nigeria, a single street was not named after MKO Abiola whose glory he (Obasanjo) rode to power. Instead of empowering Abiola’s clan, Obasanjo strangulated his family, killed all his business empires. Under the watchful eye of Obasanjo, the once happy home of Abiola became a history. He got power and betrayed all his benefactors.

In 2007, well-meaning political actors with sound minds; blessed with intellectual sagacity and erudition, grounded and rooted, suave and courteous; signified their interest to run for the Presidency of Nigeria. However, like he did in 1979, Obasanjo imposed a visibly unfit and weak late Umoru Musa Yar’adua on Nigerians. His target was however not met as the physically unfit yar’adua distanced himself from him. As usual, Obasanjo joined opposition forces to declare war against Yar’adua when the latter was terribly ill. The tenure of Yar’adua was terminated through the help of a civilian coup called DOCTRINE of NECESITY.

In 2011, when Nigerians agitated that for the sake of peace, fairness and natural justice, the North is allowed to produce the presidential candidate of the PDP, Obasanjo kicked; he colluded with his foot-soldiers across and outside the shore of Nigeria to impose Goodluck Jonathan on Nigerians thinking that he would be able to remote Nigeria from his farm in Otta. But Obasanjo met a stiff resistance from Jonathan and his crew. Obasanjo’s move to neo-colonize Jonathan’s administration was rejected, hence, the beginning of another war.

Between 1999 to 2007, Obasanjo had a golden opportunity to write his name in gold among his Yoruba ethnic nationality but failed. He fought Nigerians from the south of the Limpopo to the desert of the Sahara. He sent his snipers in army uniform to Odi village in Bayelsa State to roast the community. The offense of the people of Odi was that they killed an armed soldier on duty in the town. Odi people were wrong but Obasanjo goofed.

Obasanjo gave Nigerians GSM but he didn’t end his tenure without killing the Nigeria Telecommunication (NITEL), sending thousands of bread winners to the labour market without terminal benefits. Many died in the process while those still alive among ex-NITEL staff lives in squalor and starvation. Instead of re-organizing NITEL, Obasanjo sold Nigeria to a South Africa owned company (MTN). Obasanjo ensured that FSTV is killed for another South Africa owned firm, DSTV to take over Nigeria’s market. What a leader!

Furthermore, as a President for eight years, Obasanjo had an opportunity to reconstruct Lagos-Ibadan express way but he did not. Being an Owu born, he failed to rehabilitate Lagos-Abeokuta road. Ibadan-Oyo-Ogbomoso-Ilorin roads were death traps during Obasanjo’s reign. Ikorodu-Sagamu road was a no go area when Obasanjo held the insignia of power. Ibadan-Ife, Ilesa-Akure and benin-Ore-Ijebu Ode roads were left untouched by Obasanjo despite being the Nigerian’s Minister of Works for about 3 years. Obasanjo awarded the dualization of Lokoja-Abuja road without mobilizing the Contractor.

Obasanjo would always be remembered for how he subjected Lagosians to hardship for 3 years. As a sitting President, Obasanjo disregarded the ruling of the Nigeria’s apex court that the Lagos State Local Government allocation which he withheld be paid. Obasanjo and his Deputy, Atiku Abubakar sold virtually all the Nigeria’s public properties and corporations to their cronies. All what the founding Fathers of Nigeria labored to build went into the flame of few pockets. He spent $16billion on power without giving Nigerians the power proper.

More also, Obasanjo increased the price of petroleum from N11 to N70. He met a US dollar at N83, but left it at N150. He liberalized trade a policy which made multi-national corporations turned Nigeria to a dumping ground. Also, without creating an enabling ground for automobile companies in Nigeria to innovatively and productively operate, Obasanjo banned importation of fairly used cars into the country.

Corruption during Obasanjo’s presidency was very mega. As a sitting president, Obasanjo, in flagrant disregard of the cold of conduct rules, tactically summoned all the stakeholders in Nigeria’s economy and politics to Abeokuta to donate to his personal Presidential library.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which Obasanjo established, directly and indirectly became a tool used between 2004 to 2007 to wage war against those against the interest of Federal Government. Nigeria was ranked by Transparency International as the second most corrupt country in the world during Obasanjo’s presidency.

Let me also remind Nigerians that the 2007 election that Obasanjo supervised has been declared by the United Nations as the worst in the anal of democratic governance in Africa. Obasanjo’s Military training could not save the people of Niger/Delta when he was ruling Nigeria. During his reign, Militants operates unhindered on the streets of Portharcourt, Warri, Yenogoa, etc. Then, there were rumblings in the region.

The level of political killings, assassinations and human rights abuse during Obasanjo’s presidency was second to none. Under Obasanjo, a sitting Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige was gruesomely murdered inside his bedroom at Ibadan. A sitting Nigerian Governor (Dr. Chris Nigie) was kidnapped for three days without traces. A prominent Lagos Politician, Engineer Funso Williams was gunned down inside his bedroom at Ikoyi. A Journalist, Mr. Gbenga Aruleba of the African Independent Television (AIT) was locked inside Police custody for two weeks for daring to criticize Obasanjo’s administration while on air. Governors Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), Joshua Dariye (Plateau), Rasheed Ladoja (Oyo) and Peter Obi (Anambra) were controversially and allegedly impeached on the instruction of Obasanjo. He awarded contracts to his cronies without monitoring them leading to non-execution of the jobs.

However, despite Obasanjo’s countless sins against Nigeria and her people, today, he is regarded as a pro-Nigeria by some hypocritical elements in the political firmament because he has agreed to be recruited as an advocate of CHANGE being echoed by the opposition’s All Progressives Congress (APC). With due respect to the ranks and files of APC leaders and its Presidential candidate, General Muhammad Buhari (Rtd.), I want to expressly declare without any fear of intimidation that the open endorsement of Buhari’s candidacy by Obasanjo is an automatic indictment of the party and an affirmation that APC was the one who mis-governed Nigeria between 1999 to 2007.

As a Nigerian, I am against any attempt to return Nigeria to Obasanjo. Obasanjo and his trusted allies do not deserve top leadership positions again in Nigeria. He’s one of the major architects militating against Nigeria. Therefore, I see the battle that Obasanjo has declared against the incumbent President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as a battle against the nation of Nigeria which must be repelled by all means necessary.

As a General and @78, this is certainly Obasanjo’s last political battle. Those that love Nigeria must join hands together to ensure that the coming battle is pursued and fought by all means necessary.


Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye, Magodo, Lagos.



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A Revolution Long Foretold, By @DeleMomodu

Fellow Nigerians, no matter your faith or religion you’ll agree that there’s something spiritual about the current contradictions afflicting the ruling class in Nigeria. A few years ago, it would have been unthinkable that the almighty People’s Democratic Party (PDP) would be on the defensive in a major election year. Not when its powerful operatives had projected that it would reign and control Nigeria for a minimum of 50 years. But how the times have changed, sooner than later.

The PDP is now fighting the battle of its life and desperately searching for an escape from a seemingly imminent massacre in the hands of its most daring foe to date, the All Progressives Congress (APC). The Presidential race has become such that even members and friends of Nigeria’s biggest political party would confess secretly that the war is virtually lost and won. As at last week however, a few members of the privilegentsia still lived in denial, under the illusion that the election would not hold and that there are options to be explored. One prominent member assured me that “all of us are thieves and most people at the top don’t want and can’t even contemplate a Buhari Presidency.” Another told me “I’m a Northerner and I can tell you that most Northern elites are opposed to Buhari’s ascendancy.”
While I do not doubt the veracity of some of their postulations, I have always believed that there is a power bigger than all of us and that God, Allah, Olodumare, Chineke, or whatever name He’s called in your language, is the One and Only. It is true that since 2003, General Muhammadu Buhari has emerged as a recurring Presidential contestant beating previous contenders like The Owelle, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The full story of Buhari’s audacity of hope and tenacity of spirit would have to be told by historians, political scientists and eminent psychologists in the future. It will be a tale in the realm of thrillers.
Not many of us anticipated that, a day like this would come again when, Nigerians would practically unite behind a man who once upon a time, carried so much negative baggage that we all treated him with disdain. I’ve read and heard of salacious tales of turning adversity into prosperity but this is indeed a classic in all ramifications. I would like to posit that the foundation for this miracle was laid by no other than PDP, a party that burnt many bridges and wasted its uncommon goodwill and humongous privileges.
We must travel to the past in order to understand how we arrived at this junction of confusion. PDP was the biggest beneficiary of the protracted crisis that resulted from the annulment of our best election yet on June 12, 1993. Power was then auspiciously handed over to the usual conservative elements in Nigeria, offshoots of NPN and NRC, so to say. My theory at the time and till this day is that General Ibrahim Babangida was encouraged and actively supported by the Nigerian Mafia to kill the baby of June 12 right inside the labour room. This innocent kid was just about to birth when they struck and its life was cruelly terminated.  That was it! Since then, Nigeria has known no peace. What we’ve managed to enjoy are occasional flashes and sparks of hope but nothing tangible about moving our nation forward in the right direction.

We watched in wonderment and amazement as our country waltzed from one demonic attack to another. For example, General Olusegun Obasanjo’s reign had a fair share of its own turbulence. Senate Presidents were changed like diapers. Governors were in suspended animation under the close watch of Nuhu Ribadu’s EFCC. A promising regime almost collapsed under the weight of a Third Term misadventure. Somehow, President Obasanjo survived the political volcano and promptly handed over power to a rather taciturn and sickly President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who seemed to have had some great vision but was handicapped by ill-health.  The months leading to his demise were highly suspenseful as those referred to as the cabal vanished into rarefied air with the terminally ill President.
As always, many concerned Nigerians rose up stoutly to the occasion. The then Vice President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, was seen by many of us as an underdog and a pawn in the power game. Human rights activists and celebrities gathered and lined up the streets not because they believed that PDP would suddenly become a party that would care more about the people but to establish the rule of law and enforce the rights of man. This defence of principle led to the emergence of President Jonathan in an acting capacity until the death of his boss was finally confirmed and publicly announced. The mileage accruable to President Jonathan was so massive and he enjoyed this till the election of 2011 which swept him to power in his own capacity. His Fresh Air campaign and the grass to grace trajectory resonated with most Nigerians at that time.
But no sooner had Jonathan settled in than the tribal warlords moved in confidently and hijacked the President in the fashion of “he’s our son and it is our turn to enjoy power like other regions…” Thus a man who ought to have been the father of the nation was soon transfigured into an ethnic jingoist, inadvertently. He began to dress the part due, I am sure, to some experts who must have assured him that it would be better to portray his Ijaw nationhood through his mode of dressing.

The President needed to concretely invest in infrastructural development for his people rather than turning a few guys into emergency billionaires. All it would have taken to build a mini-Dubai in the South South was the will and determination to resist the flights of fancy; reduce graft and profligacy, and work as if there is no second chance. But reverse was the case. What we have seen is nothing short of a monarchical Presidency, with exhibitionist proclivity. I seriously doubt if an average Niger Deltan can confidently say that his life is much better today than it was pre-Jonathan. Whatever support the President therefore enjoys today is plainly filial and no more.
PDP and the President have been extremely lucky that Nigerians don’t ask for much from their leaders. I had tried in my own little corner on this page to write endless epistles to Dr. Jonathan. The whole idea was to advise and encourage him, at no cost, and warn him about a future that would creep in on him like a thief in the night. I have been around long enough to understand and appreciate the foibles of leadership as well as the sinful appurtenances of power. It would take plenty of prayers and loads of discipline to survive the temptations that strut and fret along the corridor of power.
Nigeria is a country with too many needs in the midst of plenty. Our country is a paradox or an oxymoron of pain and luxury. A committed leader has to urgently shed off the toga of American-style Presidency and instantly embrace the quasi-revolutionary outlook of a Welfarist. As I repeatedly maintain, it is impossible to practise Capitalism without capital.  This is the crux of the matter. Both opposition and ruling parties in Nigeria have to make up their minds about their business-as-usual attitudes or let loose the wrath of the masses on the country one of these days. I’m certain that we are at our ‘Last Chance Saloon’ of having a bloodless revolution if we can successfully manage the forthcoming elections.
The popularity of Buhari is clearly evidence, and symptomatic, of a threat of revolution if we mismanage things as usual. I must say that this election has also brought out the best out of President Jonathan. The energy and resources he has pumped into this campaign should have been unleashed on the country upon attaining power. Now he’s looking very Nigerian by reflecting the fashion of different parts. He is now talking to Pastors and Imams unlike in the past when the impression was that he cared only about his Christian brethren.

He has suddenly energised the military by attempting to achieve in six weeks what he couldn’t in many years. The North East has finally returned to Nigeria after what seemed a deliberate ostracisation by the President and his war commanders. The President is making promises that may now be difficult, if not impossible to fulfil in four years. What I see in all of the above is that the President has ostensibly realised what we have been talking about, that he has underperformed, that some of his closest aides have undermined him by engaging in “galloping corruption” (apologies to Christiane Amanpour), that some of the most advertised achievements of his administration are of the lowest quality at this time and age especially for a country as important as Nigeria…
Yes, we can see the President working at frenetic pace in the hope that it is not too late to salvage whatever is left of his terribly decimated Presidency. The entire world seems to know that these are not the best of times for Dr Jonathan and indeed Nigeria. From editorials in The Economist, New York Times, and comments on CNN and Al Jazeera, the story is uniform that President Jonathan has lost substantial popularity to a former dictator. All those who wrote off General Buhari in the past (I was one of his most vociferous critics) now have no choice but to see him as a veritable option worth exploring.
Such is life. The arrogance of a ruling party that could not keep its house in order has now spawned a spiralling movement across the nation. The poor have always seen Buhari as their friend and saviour. What has finally put a stamp of authority on it is the fact that even members of the comfortable class are now ready to embrace Buhari warts and all. No one is ready to provoke the poor further in Nigeria. We’ve already seen the effect of poverty in the way many idle youths are easily recruited for acts of terror. If they can find someone like Buhari who they fervently trust and adore, we can hope for some reprieve from those children of anger. But if Buhari is patently and brazenly rigged out, we are at the risk of igniting a bigger conflagration. The other reason is that many of us now think we must practise democracy properly by demonstrating that no person or political party can condescendingly perpetuate itself in power when it is very obvious that it has not met our expectations.

I offer the following advice to PDP, APC, INEC, Military, Eminent personalities, Nigerian Citizens, in that order.
PDP – There is no question that as a party in power for so long, PDP may not wish to relinquish power but it must know nothing lasts forever. Please, try to run a clean race and leave the rest to the electorate. If you win, you will be applauded and if you fail but concede without rancour, the ovation will be louder. You have fought too many enemies lately and lost a multitude of friends in the process. Who knows, a man whose head has been chopped off may still try to puff some smoke! Nothing is impossible. But do not attempt to win through foul means.
APC – My admonition to you is not too different. This is your best chance ever as a coalition of opposition forces. You have managed a formidable campaign against all odds and all polls put you beyond or at worst neck-to-neck with PDP. This is a great compliment to a new party. You have five more weeks to perform a miracle. You are closer than you know but try to avoid complacency and over-confidence. Please, encourage your members and supporters to eschew bitterness and violence no matter the degree of provocation. In particular, reach out to all peoples and groups.

INEC – I watched the presentation of INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega at The Senate chamber a few days ago and was very impressed. With what I saw, nothing stops us from having near-perfect elections on March 28 and April 11, 2015. Between now and then, INEC should continue to train its personnel and educate the electorate. History will never forget your salutary efforts if these elections are concluded satisfactorily.
Military – Our military and security forces are first and foremost Nigerians. Your loyalty, as you swore, should be to your nation and not any individual or political party. You’ve always performed wonders while on national and international assignments. I’m happy and reassured about your renewed determination to rid Nigeria of insurgents. Our prayers continue to be with you. There have been all manner of rumours that you may be used by politicians to scuttle the current democratic process. Thanks for coming out openly to deny this allegation. We shall all build a better Nigeria together.

Eminent Personalities – Like your counterparts elsewhere you are always worried about safeguarding your personal interests but the time has come to put the nation first. Let’s give democracy a chance.
Nigerian Citizen – It is your right and prerogative to want the candidate of your choice to win. However, once we exercise our right to vote, let’s keep calm even if things don’t go our way even if we think elections aren’t free and fair. There are many ways to seek legitimate redress. We should utilise those options.
No matter who wins, it is certain Nigeria will never be the same.


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A Tale Of Two Godfathers By Ogbu, Blessing Ekpere

They are not godfathers properly called; but their political antecedents and propensities can be explained only within the context of the godfather phenomenon. Alternatively, but with limited accuracy, they may be described as oracles in so far as they remain formidable national figures whose perceived political sagacity attracts an assemblage of political actors of motleyed plumes whose ambitions border on the threshold of political relevance. As the 2015 Polls inch closer, it is becoming inexplicably difficult to unravel the motivations that have seen these two personae berthing on different sides of the political fence. Originally, finding shelter under the same accommodating umbrella, these oracles have sidled up to the two major contenders in the 2015 Presidential Polls to the utter befuddlement of Nigerians. When the history of this era is written in the coming years, students of Political Science will, no doubt, find the events of today puzzling.

The points of divergence between these godfathers are heightened by the points of convergence existing between them. These two godfathers were former military leaders and, at epochal moments in the history of Nigeria, determined the destiny of the nation. Both attained the enviable rank of army generals. Both committed heinous crimes against the mass of humanity which Providence had given them to lord: assassinating opponents, decimating whole communities, silencing voices of dissent, becoming tools for neo-imperialists, misappropriating and defalcating with impunity state resources and, at other times, converting same to their personal use. Both have loyalists within the political class and the military hegemony. Until recently, both harboured no reservation in finding refuge under the behemoth umbrella whose reputation for its generous accommodation of characters of diverse orientations and moral persuasions is now a matter of common knowledge. And, to round off the points of convergence, both have their abodes on hilltops: the one in Abeokuta; the other in Minna. But, at that point, the similarities end. One was in the army engineering corps; the other was in the army armoured corps. One willingly forewent power even when it would have been expedient politically to retain same; the other was forced to abdicate the seat of government after the criminal annulment of the presidential election of 12, June, 1993. Providentially, the first godfather would return to power twenty years later as a democratically elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and eventually served the constitutionally stipulated two terms. Remarkably, the other godfather contributed in no small measure to the emergence of the first godfather as a political leader, having become, by default, the public face of that politically oriented cabal of military generals who sought to retain political power by proxy. Like the Biblical story of Joseph who progressed from prison to palace, this godfather, then doing time in General Sani Abacha’s gulag for being an accessory after the fact of treason following the aborted 1995 coup was released, granted presidential pardon, rehabilitated and then installed as the first Executive President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the Fourth Republic.

It conduced to the impressive records of this godfather that he willingly handed over to Alhaji Shehu Shagari in 1979 at a time when military adventurism in politics was in vogue in Africa and in most third world nations. That action earned him the toga of a statesman. It was on the strength of this reputation that this godfather sought to become the Secretary-General of the United Nations in 1991. This status also generated a groundswell of global condemnation of the Abacha junta when the latter implicated him in the coup of 1995 and actually sentenced him to death. These condemnations played no small role in compelling the junta to commute the penalty to life imprisonment. Twelve years later, this godfather, as a cunning fox, gauged national and international outcry against his third term scheming and promptly struck down the obnoxious intrigue. Today, he is positively regarded globally. He is, for instance, a member of the Club de Madrid, a group of more than 80 former leaders of democratic states who are committed to strengthening democratic leadership and governance. He is also a member of the Africa Progress Panel (APP), a group of ten distinguished individuals who advocate at the highest levels for equitable and sustainable development in Africa. He has also held several plenipotentiary posts, such as, for example, Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was also the leader of the African Union Election Observers during the Zimbabwean election of July, 2013.

This godfather has been known to swim, sometimes, against the tide of popular opinion. The man’s capacity for brusqueness dates back to the antiquated past: it was not a newfangled habit. Take, for instance, his condemnation of the presidential ambition of Chief M.K.O. Abiola. His rather widely reported declamation, ill-advised at that time, but rather prescient with the benefit of hindsight, that Chief M.K.O. Abiola was not the messiah that Nigeria sought at that material time. This pitted him against his Yoruba kinsmen who saw him as a betrayer of the June 12 mandate and a stooge of the northern oligarchy.  So, when he made that infamous proclamation, as it were, Nigerians were understandably piqued. But, a little introspection would have shown that Abiola, large-hearted as he was, was a victim of karmic justice. Nature possesses the ability to resolve conflicts in its peculiar way such that the manifestation of the consequences confounds even the most perceptive of men. It was Nature’s prerogative that Abiola could not lead the Third Republic – not after the sinuous and pleonastic transition programme of his friend, and, certainly, not after the scent of his finger was detected in the coup that terminated Shagari’s administration and the putsch that sounded the death-knell on the General Muhammadu Buhari-General Tunde Idiagbon dyad not to talk of other malfeasances against democratic ethos.

The second godfather, who, in one interview with Tell Magazine, described himself as an Evil Genius, possesses that benevolent mien which endeared him to Nigerians when he overthrew the mean-faced distich of Buhari-Idiagbon in 1985. By means of fascinating speeches and his captivating gap-toothed smile, the man ingratiated himself into the heart of Nigerians and proceeded to consolidate himself in power as he played kalo-kalo with Nigerians for eight indeterminate years. Nigerians are wont to forget that this man did not overthrow General Buhari out of his love for Nigerians but as a measure of self-preservation, his friend and confidant, Aliyu Gusau, having being recommended for retirement for his role in the inflation of defence contracts figures. From his economic policies to his political programmes, this godfather’s administration rode the tumultuous tides of increasing general discontent as his transition train, travelling on a parallel course, lurched erratically like the motions of an inebriated man. Eventually, he was humiliated out of office after he annulled the globally acclaimed and popularly accepted June 12 1993 presidential election. Incidentally, Nature, too, like the gods in classical mythology who, for their amusement, played callous jokes with lesser mortals, must have chosen this godfather as its human instrumentality to fulfil its design on Chief Abiola. Faced with widespread acts of civil disobedience unprecedented in a military regime which grounded all economic activities, and having seen his threats and ultimatums to the politicians of the two major political formations to line up like schoolchildren in his interim government go unheeded, he retired ignominiously to his Minna hilltop mansion with his tail between his hind legs like a chastised dog where, till date, he has remained a pariah both to his countrymen and to members of the international community. Twice he had attempted to run for the presidency and twice Nigerians have unequivocally denounced his impetuous ambition. Till date, the man has refused to avail Nigerians of the hidden story behind the annulment, choosing rather to treat Nigerians to his condescending acceptation of responsibility for the heinous evil. Till date, too, it is doubtful if the man has been assigned any role by international agencies.

Except that certain of his countrymen, least of who is not President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, still harbour that pardonable illusion that the man has the superman capacity to move political mountains. It is a testimonial to this godfather’s propensity towards evil that his name is associated always with scheming, stratagems and devices where the government plots to weaken democratic structures and to subvert the collective will of the Nigerian people. It speaks volumes of our national flaw as a people that these two godfathers could afford to deport themselves with sublime oracularity in a nation bristling with human resources. Yet it is easy to deconstruct the factors that conduce to these unfathomable ethical contradictions. In a nation where the dominant political value is a praetorian and rentier ideology subsumed in material acquisitiveness; where a politician’s relevance is determined by his capacity to dole out patronages to loyalists, and where the emphasis is not on political sagacity but on demagoguery, people like these two godfathers will continue to appeal successfully to the basic instincts of the people from their hilltop mansions.

But, it must be allowed that even in the worst of poverty-stricken climes, there is a limit to the quantum of political chicanery and administrative wantonness a people can endure. Nigerians have attained that stage of saturation where they can no longer, reasonably, be expected to be complaisant to a system which negates their existential choices. In the chequered political history of Nigeria, Nigerians have demonstrated that, contrary to their famed longsuffering, there is a point beyond which no maximum ruler, the presumed unfathomable reach of his powers notwithstanding, cannot cross without dire consequences either to himself or the nation or to both himself and the nation. After eight years of transition to nowhere, the Minna general annulled an election which was reputed to be free and fair. The people reacted, much to his consternation and he hurriedly left the seat of power after two months. Similarly, the denizen of the Abeokuta hilltop mansion never reckoned with the groundswell that would attend his ill-fated third term project.

Some people, however, are destined to be bad students of history. Twenty-two years after, this godfather who exploded the historic opportunity of etching his name on the marble of history believes that his political survival, and that of his apologists, lie in the protection afforded by the acquisitive plutarchy. Twenty-two years after and he is in consort with the President who, having disconnected his umbilical cord from the nutritive navel of his original godfather, is the new face of the regnant political and economic order keen on perpetuating the currency of praetorian forces represented by this godfather as its archetype. Twenty-two years after and Nigerians are bemused that the lessons of 12, June 1993 appeared to be lost, inexorably sunk in the murky seas of collective amnesia which is the bane of the Nigerian masses and patronizing hauteur which is the affliction of the elites. Rather puzzling is the inexplicability of someone who nourishes an egotistical pleasure from the cognomen of ‘the Evil Genius’ finding the times and the national mood too profound to comprehend. If, as it is rumoured, he is the unseen force behind the postponement of the 2015 polls, seeking to perpetuate in the process the reign of his proselytised protégé through disingenuous manipulations of events and the law, then it is disturbing that he has not learnt the lessons of history properly. Either that, or he believes he is still possessed of his twentieth century charms.  But, even in 1993, those charms lost their potency. When people fail to learn from history, they invariably repeat history, often with startling replication and devastating consequences. The President, by cleaving to this godfather, is preparing himself for the same fate that befell his adopted godfather. As Simon Ayobolu wrote in his Op-ed piece titled “A President and his Mediocre Security Chiefs” in The Nation of Saturday, February, 14, 2015: “Can Dr Jonathan get away successfully with his current efforts to manipulate the elections in his favour? I do not think so. The weight of public opinion is too much against him. . .The truth is that the all-powerful Nigerian President has demonstrated a visceral fear of people’s power by desperately trying to avoid elections by all means. A President who won and celebrated a pan-Nigerian victory in 2011 is obviously scared of a pan-Nigerian defeat in 2015. . . The unprecedented presidential fear of elections is itself a great victory for the Nigerian people. Dr Jonathan cannot postpone the ever increasing momentum for change forever. Furthermore, history is not on Dr Jonathan’s side. All Nigerian leaders before him who tried one form of tenure elongation or the other failed abysmally. He will not be an exception.”

Uncannily, however, and contrary to the other godfather and his adopted godson, the Ota godfather has noted the increasing undulation of people’s discontent with his erstwhile godson. This godfather has therefore decided to identify with the masses whose aspiration for a departure from a culture of impunity and praetorian tendencies is personified by General Muhammadu Buhari. If this godfather, who started the process of integrating Nigeria into mainstream capitalism, could endorse General Buhari, whose political and economic ideology bothers on, mildly speaking, socialism, then it can be said that, like the contrite prodigal son, he recognises he has transgressed against God and the good people of Nigeria. If this godfather, whose regime was reputed for unexecuted projects, especially in the road and power sectors, where billions of dollars were budgeted and released for same, could acknowledge his failings as a leader, then no time is too late for anyone to come for the redemption of his soul. This godfather has realised that he had been on the wrong side of history all his life, and, like the thief on the cross who called on the Son of God to remember him in Paradise, this prospicient godfather, in the twilight of his life, has chosen to do penance by pitching his tent with the Nigerian masses in their call for change. He has, by this show of penitence, atoned for his years of profligacy and iniquity. The prescience of this godfather is legendary. This godfather possesses the preternatural ability to read correctly the temperature of the political space. We should be minded of the fact that he was instrumental, and, in fact, accelerated the political development of the incumbent President. To his credit, or disgrace depending on one’s perception, it must be added, that his arbitrary fiddling with the electoral process in 2007 gave the minority nationalities of the Niger-Delta the opportunity to hold and exercise political power at the highest level. Having clinically orchestrated the assumption of the office of the President, this godfather, five years later, is disappointed at the dismal performance of his erstwhile protégé. As far as prognosis goes, that is a red flag up for Nigerians.

While one godfather appears to have resolved to make reparations for the afflictions which he has inflicted on Nigerians as a result of his capricious ambitions and his inordinate greed, the other seems determined to perpetuate his name in infamy.

As Nigerians go to the Polls in less than six weeks, they await to see if the President, who has adopted the other godfather as his political father while abandoning the godfather that gave him his political break, will seek to replicate the duplicity of this godfather. He has got one postponement of the general elections by six weeks. The terminal date for his present term of office will be 29th day of May. Nigerians await his next move on the political chessboard. As this writer grudgingly conceded somewhere, the President has the right to contest, subject to judicial pronouncement on the matter by the Supreme Court, but Nigerians reserve the right to determine who leads them beyond 29th May. What he owes Nigerians, and indeed posterity, is the conduct of a free and fair elections. He should be seen to be giving effect to his oft-quoted line that his re-election is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. Whether he will allow the godfather to lead him down the path of duplicity and tyranny will unravel in the coming weeks. Whatever the nature of the broth the President and his new political father are brewing, one thing is certain: the will of a people cannot be subjugated for too long. This quote from Sam Omatseye provides an apposite conclusion to this article. In his Monday column “In Touch”, he wrote, on the 9th day of February, 2015 in his article titled “The Ambush”: “What we see today is a President who is running away from a time. But he cannot run away from time. He is running away from the people also. But both time and people will catch up with him. Maradona did same, postponed election after election and handover dates after handover dates. Eventually, the inviolate voice of the people spoke. Time always overthrows tyrants.”

Ogbu, Blessing Ekpere Esq., a Legal Practitioner, writes in from Abuja


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