Re: Osinbajo’s Crocodile Tears In Kigali, By Muhammad Gulani

Nigeria is an African power. It’s economy, its politics, its people and the character of these rare diverse heterogeneous society has easily made it the Giant of Africa. So there is no wonder that as a country, we were invited to the 25th National Commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide that held in Kigali, Rwanda. Representing Nigeria and its President was Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo – A pastor and an academician with depth of experience in law and governance.

So when the writer of “Osinbajos Crocodile Tears in Kigali” asked “What is the Situation in Osinbajos Nigeria? And answered with the word “pathetic” my first thought was that the writer either did not appreciate who the Vice President was, or did not appreciate Nigeria from a holistic point of view, or both – which is most likely.

It is surprising for one to think of the Nigerian state and the statements of the Vice President as a pun or as Casmir Igbokwe dubbed it in his article as“Crocodile Tears”, we all know that the Vice President has continuously shown that he is a man of Integrity, a man of God and would never disrespect the Nigerian people by playing politics with their lives.

As a country, I do believe that we are not yet where we should be – we are not yet at El-Dorado – but it is undeniable that progress is being made across board. Albeit slow and steady, nonetheless it is progress and that is what is key.

While speaking on the issues surrounding the NDIGBO people, the writer was quick to mislead his readers by pushing the narrative that the present government appointments were mostly Northern deliberately forgetting to take a broader look at appointments shared in the country. The Chief of Naval Staff, the Director General of NIMASA, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Governor of the Central Bank, the Head of Service among numerous others are all from the Southern parts of the country. Perhaps the writer willfully forgets that the Southern parts of the country is not limited to the South East alone, but also covers the South South and the South West – each clamoring for more representation as much as the other.

The southern parts of Nigeria is also as diverse in tribe and culture as the North.

The single narrative of the “Sidelined Igbos” deployed by the writer cannot stand the test of reality when one fact-checks the many benefits they enjoy in personnel and policies in this government.

Across the country are various construction projects, in every state of the Federation a federal project is ongoing. The President Buhari administration is working overdrive in terms of infrastructure deployment. Of key interest to any observer of the infrastructure being deployed across the country is the famous Second Niger Bridge. It finds itself in the heart of the South East and South South and has been an item clamored for by these people for decades.

The Buhari Administration has committed over N31Billion to the main works of the 2nd Niger Bridge. Work is over 51 percent completed. With little resources, President Buhari’s administration is doing quite a bogus lot for the people of the region.

The writer attempts to suggest tolerance of hate speech by the Buhari administration. Such a pedestal claim does not stand a place in reality. The President has been very categorical on this, and willingly signed the Peace Accord to enthrone sanity in the communications and campaigns during the electioneering periods.

It is so easy to dwell in the negatives of society forgetting the many good the world has to offer. That Nigeria has moved four places up in the Human Development Index and has also moved up in the Ease Of Doing Business Ranking are testaments to a country in upward motion. Nigeria today has attained self sufficient in rice production and has began even exportation. Foreing Direct Investments into the country has reached record levels; insecurity is being tackled ruthlessly and sincerely.

The various Social Investment Programs of this Administration prove that indeed better days for Nigerians are here. The programmes have reached a record 12 Million direct beneficiaries.

Terrorism is being fought day in day out in the areas of the North East and the Buhari administration can beat its chest to say it has recorded tangible achievements here. The banditry in Zamfara is being taken seriously. The full force of Nigeria’s military and other security arms have weighed in and are bombarding these criminals daily. The“Operation Sharan Daji”has been launched specifically to deal with the Zamfara bandits. Progress is being made.

The Vice President has also shown utmost sincerity and has never tried to downplay the killings in these areas. He has visited Benue, Plateau and Kaduna over killings that occurred in the areas – especially communal and inter-tribal clashes. He has advocated for forgiveness and offered pragmatic solutions towards peace building in these societies. He has seen to the facilitation of Peace and Reconciliation Committee in states like Kaduna, and Benue among many others.

It is not in the nature of the Vice President both as an academician and as a man of God to play politics with the life of the people. Security is everyones responsibility and the Vice President has emphasized that time and again.

He rightfully pointed out during his remarks to journalists in Kigali “We must not allow a repeat of what happened in Rwanda.” Statements like that of Casmir Igbokwe tell only a lopsided truth that fuel division, fuel hate and promote tension. These were the harbingers of the nasty events of the Rwandan genocide. Mr. Igbokwe has not learnt his lesson. It appears in fact, that Professor Osinbajo’s sermon was indeed for him.

The problem with the single story is that it shows a thing as a single thing, forgetting that there are two sides to a coin. Nigeria just like any other country is as diverse in its triumphs and problems and it is highly unfair to Igbokwe’s reader and Nigerians to view our complexities from only the negatives.

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is a father and God fearing man, he has shown this time after time, will never play politics with his people.

Muhammad Gulani, is a political commentator and writes from Zaria, Kaduna

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NEPZA: Daily Trust deliberately misleading Nigerians, By Sunday James Akinloye

Anything you in the media these days call for a double check and Daily Trust, along with some supposed respected national newspapers seem to be leading the way with ‘Fake News’

Take for example, the Daily Trust’s reportage on the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZ), and its presentation in a report titled, “Enelamah, this is very fishy”. Painting a picture of what happened, Daily Trust laced its account with falsehood and lies, writing it to soothe their paymasters.

That’s not where it stopped; the report tried to distort history and facts but that is what I will set straight here for those following the drama that has snowballed from NEPZA and NSEZCO’s debacle on SEZ.

The facts are simple and easy to understand except for those who are trying to cash out from the prosperity of Nigeria. Let’s start from the beginning. President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration sought to increase the export of locally made goods across the world so it conceived Project MINE.

Project MINE (Made in Nigeria for Exports) was initiated to develop SEZs across Nigeria’s geo-political zones to world class standards in collaboration with private partners. The idea is to position Nigeria as the pre-eminent manufacturing hub in sub-Saharan Africa and as a major exporter of made in Nigeria goods and services regionally and globally.

President Buhari then set up a Project Steering Committee under the leadership of the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, comprising the leadership of the Ministry and members drawn from the Economic Management Team and the leadership of several Government Agencies: Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, Nigeria Investment Promotion Council, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Nigerian Office of Trade Negotiations, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, Bank of Industry and the Nigerian Export-Import Bank; as well as the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and Africa Export-Import Bank.

The Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment (MITI) then set up a special vehicle to achieve this goal, that vehicle was NSEZCO and it was at this point that all hell broke loose, mostly because an agency in the MITI, which is NEPZA (Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority) was not particularly happy about this positive development.

The agency leadership felt that its own direct operations should be the vehicle that drives SEZ, even when their functions have been clearly spelt out in the constitution. NEPZA was set up as a regulatory agency but it wanted to do more than the constitution’s provision.

After NSEZCO birthed, NEPZA approached the Attorney General of the Federation to demand whether NSEZCO was legal and it could act as a special vehicle. This is how the office of the AGF responded;
Two critical factors that implicated the need for NSEZCO are operational efficiency and access to international capital market with limited or no direct burden on the Federal Government in like manner as NLNG.

The use of NSEZCO to implement Project MINE is to facilitate the creation of commercially-oriented, efficient and effective institutions, in line with international standards.

In section 1(2), the NEPZ Act explicitly recognizes that an EPZ may be operated by any of three types of entities:
(i) public entity;
(ii) private entity; or
(iii) a combination of public and private entity.

The response of the AGF also covered the question and claim by NEPZA that NSEZCO was a private institution. The truth is that NSEZCO is a public-private partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria holding 25% and private entities like AfDB, Afreximbank, BoI, etc holding 75% shares.

The structure of NSEZCO is no different from that of NLNG, Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company Limited and Development Bank of Nigeria Limited, so this is not new to Nigeria at all, and has always worked perfectly fine within all legal frameworks.

Not satisfied with the submission of the office of the AGF, NEPZA cons the Senate Committee on Trade to blow the matter out of proportion. The Committee chaired by Senator Sabo Mohammed, claimed that NSEZCO was a private company even after PPP explanations where clearly made.

The committee chairman produced a CAC document showing that Dr Bakari Wadinga, Mr Olufemi Edun and Ms Oluwadara Owoyemi were directors of NSEZCO. However, what he mischievously failed to outline is that Dr. Wadinga was appointed interim director for the Federal Government, pending commencement of full operations, while the others where interim directors for the private partners. All this was done in agreement with all partners involved, as listed in the ownership structure.
The highly erroneous position of the Senate Committee shows why many Nigerians have little or no faith in the activities of the Nigerian Senate.

The Senate and Daily Trust also inserted a mischievous conclusion. “This is fishy, very fishy. Besides, the creation of NSEZCO negates the Buhari administration’s objectives of pruning the number of existing MDAs,” Daily Trust claimed.

“The Senate and Presidency must get to the root of this matter. Unless the public gets a cogent explanation, the inescapable conclusion is that someone tried to play hanky panky with public funds.”

This claim however negates the position of President Buhari. At the signing ceremony for the investment partnership between NSEZCO and its strategic investment partners on February 8, 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari said:

“When we decided to continue with the implementation of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan of the previous Administration and launched our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan to fast track implementation, we had a vision of Nigeria as the pre-eminent manufacturing hub in Sub-Saharan Africa and a major exporter to our immediate West African sub-region, the rest of Africa and indeed the World. Special Economic Zones have an important role to play in achieving this vision. Special Economic Zones (SEZ) offer investor friendly incentives, world-class infrastructure and ease of doing business in order to attract local and foreign investment and have been used as a catalyst for rapid and inclusive development, job creation, industrialization and diversified export earnings in several countries.”

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The Shortcomings In 2019 General Elections, By Gidado Yushau Shuaib

The 2019 general election is the most expensive poll ever organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). It incurred an additional N69 billion than the penultimate exercise in 2015. However, when teeming Nigerian electorate were preparing to cast their ballot on February 16, something ‘mysterious’ happened.

In the dead of the night, the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, summoned a press conference to postpone the election to the following week. He cited delay in delivering election materials and deployment of staff to the nooks and cranny of the country as reasons for the postponement. Other reasons included poor weather condition, unresolved candidate registration issues and rumoured plans for sabotage by desperate elements.

Many electorates who had travelled for the election were disappointed over the postponement barely six hours to the commencement of the exercise.

So, what happened when INEC finally conducted the Presidential/NASS and Governorship/State Assemblies’ polls? Incidences of vote-buying by the two leading political parties were widely recorded.

Vote-buying by politicians and their agents, which has taken a centre-stage in political sphere, is the act of exchanging votes for money and other material items between politicians and the electorate.

In fact the federal government was accused of vote-buying with its TraderMoni economic intervention. The Nigeria’s Head of Transparency International, Mr. Auwal Rafsanjani, in a media chat posited that such initiative was not a part and parcel of the manifesto of the ruling APC and it is not in the Nigerian constitution. He bluntly stated that, “the allegation by many Nigerians that this is clearly a case of vote buying using public funds goes contrary to our constitution and to having a free and fair election.”

If at all what Mr Rafsanjani said is anything to go by, one must begin to wonder what hope a Nigerian has when such a policy of the government is meant to woo support during elections, rather than compete fairly for votes. This shows a blatant disregard for democratic norms as well as the fact the current administration is losing popularity by the day.

Responding to the accusations, Laolu Akande, the spokesperson of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, flatly denied such allegation, saying that TraderMoni was not an act of vote buying, but rather a means to empower petty traders. “It will be an absurdity to call TraderMoni vote-buying. You can see it for yourself that this is a program that has affected millions of lives,” he said.

Meanwhile, militarization of the electoral process, mostly in the opposition’s stronghold also received bashing. This is despite valid, subsisting court judgments that prohibited the use of the military for election purposes.

Series of video clips have trended online which captured soldiers overrunning the home of a state official as well as INEC officials lamenting the besieging of collation centres by the army. This act stands condemnable even as the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai, had set up a panel to investigate the role of the military in the just-concluded elections, although nobody seems to be impressed by the development. Thanks to social media for breaking barriers and making citizens aware of happenings around the nation.

A seemingly worrisome electoral malpractices, is the deployment of thugs to polling units in various but most endemic in Kano. A situation where a keenly-contested election between two leading parties turned out to be a landslide during the supplementary elections raises a lot of unanswered questions. It is unfortunate seeing how thugs took over streets, and strangely with security cover provided by the Nigerian Police.

After wild allegation of fraud from the stakeholders involved in the elections most especially the opposition, the African Union (AU) said the elections were “largely peaceful and conducive for the conducting of credible elections.”

Moving forward, there is a need for INEC to go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate their performance in the 2019 polls. They should, thereafter, put all necessary machineries in place to correct the identified lapses. INEC should also endeavour to eradicate the growing culture of inconclusive elections.

There is also a need for a political-will towards ensuring peaceful, transparent election while also urging the authorities concerned to improve voter education for the benefit of the electorate on their expectations.

While we pray that future elections would have less military interference, the youths should also resist the temptation of serving as political thugs desperate and power-hungry politicians during elections. They should rather identify ways to grab leadership and put the nation back on the track of socio-economic development and growth.

Above all, the progress we envision for our electoral system will remain elusive if necessary and progressive amendments are not carried out on the Electoral Act. Now is the time to act. A stitch in time, they say, saves nine.

Gidado Yushau Shuaib, editor of Youths Digest, writes from Abuja. Twitter: @GidadoYS; Email: giddyshuaib@gmail.com

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Olohungbebe: Shooting Down a Bright Star, By Muhammed Abdullahi

Writing this short piece is not convenient for me, considering that I have had a long day of travel. However, a message I encountered in a Whatsapp group I belonged to made it impossible for me to take the much deserved rest.

The message reads: “There is a story making the rounds about one Lawal Olohungbebe, a community development guy. Words on the street about him are conflicting – both positive and negative. I don’t know why people are angry with his good work, but he needs to be careful. The present administration believes he is mocking their 16 years in government and that he’s a supporter of the governor-elect, Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq. Some even believe he is pushing some guys to visit rural communities to expose the present government”.

To say I was shocked reading the message above would be an understatement. It is even a painful irony when one consider that the same Lawal that is being accused of working for Abdulrahman Abdulrazak is the same person some politicians have gone to the governor-elect to malign and soil his character; calling him unprintable names. How then do one walk in life without his head shaking? Abdulrahman Abdulrazak is avoiding this young man like a plague while the present government is also seeing him as an agent of the opposition. What a world!

What exactly is the offence of Lawal Olohungbe? He is a young man who devotes his time to the service of others. Even his daily official work revolves around community growth and development. The little recognition he has garnered is largely on account of his work as a community development practitioner. I wonder how following one’s passion should result in baseless suspicion and character assassination.

If only those who are going about with the story of Lawal working for a particular politician are not too lazy to undertake a simple research; they would have discovered that politicians across political parties have at one time or the other engaged his services on one project or the other. This same apolitical Lawal has worked for Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the same way he has been engaged by Mallam Lukman Mustapha. So I wonder where the theory of working for Abdulrahman Abdulrazak is coming from.

In the process of working for people of diverse background and different political affiliations, coupled with the assistance of his boss, Professor Abdulrasheed Na’Allah; Lawal has delivered impressive projects, including 40 boreholes, with just one in his local government of origin (Ilorin West). Presently, the young man also provides free health services to approximately 6,821 people, while also taking the responsibility for the welfare of 51 orphans and vulnerable children, including 5 with special needs. He has achieved this much only through the support of those who believe in his ideas of not waiting on government for everything, and of course the abiding commitment of his staff and volunteers.

I first met Lawal Olohungbebe through a mutual friend who works with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. The first time I set my eyes on him, I saw in him a young man well versed in the teachings of Islam. Lawal hardly talks without using a verse of the Quran or Hadith to illustrate his thought. Of course, this wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to those who knew who his father was.

A son of an Alfa, Lawal still keeps the legacy of his father. He delivers sermons and preaches the message of Allah and His messenger. He is both a responsible husband to his wife and a useful father to his young children. How then do people find it easy to take up the assignment of destroying a man who committed no offence other than seeking the betterment of his community and State? How is it that nothing makes sense to us except politics? Why are we so shallow in reasoning that we believe nobody would do anything unless there is political motivation somewhere?

For God sake, this young man is not even interested in politics. He has told me repeatedly that he can’t stand people insulting his father, hence the reason why he must stay away from politics. Whatever he is doing is motivated by his huge passion to complement the efforts of government in his chosen field of community development. Why then should we crucify him for this?

Sometime before the elections, we both came up with an idea of organizing an event we tagged CANDIDATES’ FORUM. But because my own brother was also aspiring to be governor on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the time, we reasoned that it was best that I worked in the background. This was largely a decision propelled by the fear of someone tagging my involvement as a stylish youth mobilization strategy in support of the aspiration of my brother. Only God knows the number of young people that have jettisoned one brilliant idea or the other owing to the fear of being branded or tagged with some useless association such as the one being done to Lawal presently. Yet, we say we are concern about youth innovation and creativity!

And what’s even the reason for the latest hate stories being thrown around about this innocent guy? He was going about his work as a community development practitioner when he encountered a man who has dedicated his entire life to teach in a rural village, leaving his own family behind in Ilorin. For the first couple of years that the man spent in the village, he slept in a classroom.

When Lawal met the man, he was impressed that someone would be so committed to helping other people’s children acquire education that he would relocate to a rural village; especially in this time when teachers in the rural areas practically live in the city. So he decided to do something to encourage the man. He mobilized resources and gifts from donors and public spirited individuals, but he delayed the presentation till after the election. He feared that making the donation before the elections may be interpreted to mean he was working to denigrate the government. Alas, what he feared is now happening.

I feel pained that this is happening to Lawal, a guy that is gradually becoming a role model to a lot of young people out there who are desirous of following in his footsteps. If for any reason we read political meanings into his efforts, we may end up unwittingly dissuading others who may want to support government efforts in advancing the growth of our state and her people.

Finally, I beseech the government and all those concern to render jobless those around them whose only means of securing a daily meal is creating fictitious stories and PHD (Pull Him Down) gossips that benefit no one but the bearers. Our state needs the talent and energy of its young people; we cannot therefore afford to shoot down the few bright stars among the youths. Lawal, to the best of my knowledge, is a young man who is well concerned about his place in history, and most particularly the preservation of the good name of his father. He is not a politician and he does not plan to be. And instead of fabricating useless conspiracy stories, I believe life would be a lot easier for those who are becoming increasingly paranoid by the rising profile of this young man, if only they would also look around them and make as little impact as they can.

As for Lawal Olohungbebe, he would keep up his community development efforts and let God vindicate him.

Abdullahi writes from Abuja

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My Problems With Atiku And The PDP Over The February 23, 2019 Presidential Election (Part 2), By Ussiju Medaner

My problem with Atiku and the PDP does not find slake in the sense that in their complaint against the election of President Buhari in the just-concluded presidential elections, they are still claiming that ‘The 2nd Respondent submitted to the 1st Respondent an affidavit containing false information of a fundamental nature in aid of his qualification for the said election.’ My problem with this is, how do you submit a false affidavit to contest in an election into an office for which you have earlier submitted same and contested in an election before now, won and even occupy the office for which the election should lead to? This is how baseless their complaint is. How do you disqualify someone from contesting in an election into an office he is already occupying without litigation?

TIMELINE OF INCONCLUSIVE ELECTIONS IN NIGERIA

In 2011 and 2015, the governorship elections in Imo State were declared inconclusive and were concluded with supplementary polls. In the April 26, 2011 governorship election in the state, INEC declared the poll inconclusive because election did not hold in Ohaji/Egbema, Mbatioli, Ngor-Okpala and Oguta local councils as well as in Orji Ward in Owerri North Local Council. Before that election was declared inconclusive, results for 24 of the state’s 27 local government areas had been announced, with Chief Rochas Okorocha of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) leading in 12 local councils with a slim total margin over the then governor, Ikedi Ohakim of the PDP, who also led in 12 local councils but trailed Okorocha in the total votes garnered. After the supplementary polls, Okorocha scored 336,859 votes to beat Ohakim, who scored 290,490 votes.

There was a repeat performance in 2015. In the first election, Okorocha polled 385,671 votes compared to the 306,142 votes scored by Chief Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP. Okorocha led with 79,529 votes while the cancelled votes were 144,715 hence the need for a supplementary election, which Okorocha won.

The Anambra 2013 governorship election was concluded with a re-run after the first election failed to produce a clear winner. In the first results, the APGA candidate, Mr Willie Obiano scored 174,710 votes while Mr Tony Nwoye of the PDP polled 94,356 votes and the APC candidate, Chris Ngige had 92,356 votes. The margin of lead was below the 113,113 votes cancelled, hence a re-run.

In Taraba 2015 governorship election, Darius Ishaku of the PDP had 326, 198 votes in the first election while Hajiya Aisha Alhassan of the APC scored 262, 381 votes. Elections were cancelled in Donga Local Government Area of the state and in six polling units in Takum, and five in other local government areas, from which total votes were more than Ishaku’s marginal lead. Ishaku of the PDP won the elections.

Following the cancellation of 177,000 votes in several polling units in some parts of Osisioma, Ugwunagbo, Aba North, Aba South, Isialangwa South, Isialangwa North, Umuahia North, Umuahia south, Ohafia, Arochukwu and Umunneochi local councils, a re-run governorship poll was ordered in the affected areas. Before the election was declared inconclusive, the PDP candidate, Okezie Ikpeazu had polled 248,549 votes while the APGA candidate, Alex Otti, scored 165,406 making a difference of 83,053. Ikpeazu was the winner after the re-run.

In Kogi State 2015 election, after election results from the 21 local councils were collated, the APC candidate, Abubakar Audu, 240,867 votes, led the incumbent Governor, Captain Idris Wada of the PDP, 199,514 votes. The commission ordered a re-run in some polling units because the 49,953 votes cancelled, were higher than the margin between Audu and Wada. Audu won the re-run elections posthumously.

In 2015 Governor Seriake Dickson of the PDP had to wait for a repeat election in Southern Ijaw Local Council to win re-election in 2015. With results from seven of the eight local councils of Bayelsa, he had 105,748 votes, while Chief Timipre Sylva of the APC got 72,594 votes. The margin of lead was 33,154 votes. However, Southern Ijaw Local Council had 120,827 registered voters, a reason the INEC declared the election inconclusive.

With these precedents in the history of inconclusive elections in Nigeria, it is bewildering to listen to the PDP ranting about inconclusive being a coinage of the APC and INEC. Thus, according to the PDP, this is to rob them of their mandate. How so, and what is the meaning of the nature of elections outlined above majority of which transpired under the PDP administrations.

The worst mistake Atiku and the PDP entirely are making now is putting forth a parallel presidential election result which is sloppy and they did not take time to efficiently doctor it. With all the alleged resources and intelligence at the disposal of Atiku, he should have done more with the result flying around now as the authentic 2019 presidential election result from his camp.

A first time analysis of the result immediately exposes the shallowness of the brains behind the preparation of the results. How did they plan to make Nigeria work if they cannot effectively streamline figures they concocted? How could a group displaying this magnitude of inefficiency, illiteracy,the criminal mindedness and comfort-in-disarray have anything good to offer the nation?

BRIEF ANALYSIS OF INEC AND PDP SERVER RESULTS FROM FOUR STA TES AND THE FCT

Considering four states (Kwara, Gombe, Abia and Lagos) and the FCT with INEC result and the parallel result alleged by the PDP, it is obvious that the PDP only came up with the result as hastily as they could. Comparing both results presented by INEC and the PDP, there is the revelation of the desperation of the PDP to attain power at any cost.

In the FCT, INEC results shows that the total number of registered voters is 1,335,015 while the number of voters accredited on the day of the election is 467,784. From this figure the APC had 152,224 votes while the PDP had 259,423 votes. The number of rejected votes in the FCT stands at 27,457 while the remaining political parties in the contest scored the remaining votes. Contrary to this, the parallel result from the PDP alleges that the number of registered voters within the FCT is 1,344,856 while the number accredited on the day of election is 786,151. The PDP purports that the APC scored 366,427 votes while the PDP scored 419,724 votes. This implies that there were no rejected votes and no other party got any vote.

In Kwara State, the INEC result presents that the total number of registered voters is 1,401,895 while the number of these accredited on the day of the election is 489,482. Of these, the APC scored 308,984 while the PDP scored 138,184 votes. The number of rejected votes is 26,578 while the remaining votes were scored by the other contesting political parties. The purported result of the PDP claims that the individuals who were registered by INEC during registration period is 1,406,457 and of these, the number accredited on the day of election is 732,816. The APC scored 379,643 while the PDP scored 353,173 votes respectively. The PDP ‘server ’ result shows that there are no rejected votes and no other party got any vote.

The INEC result declared for Gombe State reveals that the number of registered voters is 1,385,191 while the number of accredited voters is 604,240. The APC scored 402,961 while the PDP scored 138,482 votes. The number of rejected votes is 26,446 while the remaining votes were scored by the other political parties. But the PDP in the wisdom of their electoral manoeuvrings alleges that there were 1,394,393 registered voters out of which there were 799,302 accredited voters. Their result sheet claims that the APC scored 115,225 votes while they, the PDP magically scored 648,077 votes.

In Abia State INEC result shows that there are 1,793,861 registered voters of which 361,561 were accredited on the election day. Of the figure, APC scored 85,058 votes while PDP scored 219,698 votes. The number of rejected votes was 21,180 while the other contesting parties scored the remaining votes. The fake result from the Atiku/PDP camp alleges that there are 1,932,892 registered voters of which 853,050 were accredited. They claim that APC scored 198,391 votes while PDP scored 664,659 votes. The votes were completely shared between APC and PDP without rejected votes or any other party having any votes.

The last state we shall be considering within this piece is Lagos State where INEC result reveals that there were 6,570,291 registered voters and 1,196,490 voters were accredited on the day of the election. The result after collation shows that APC scored 580,825 votes while PDP scored 448,015 votes. There were 67,023 rejected votes while the other parties scored the remaining votes. The imaginary result from the PDP alleges that there are 6,570,291 registered voters in Lagos State out of which 2,526,203 voters were accredited. It also alleges that APC scored 1,422,906 while the PDP scored 1,103,297 votes. There were no rejected votes in Lagos State and no other party scored any votes in Lagos.

From the states under consideration above, some facts are glaring:

  1. Atiku’s server result shows that every other party that participated in the election numbering 71, with the exception of APC and PDP, got no single vote across the nation as all the accredited votes were shared between APC and PDP.
  2. Atiku’s result shows that there are no rejected votes in the entire 36 states and the FCT. This is an impossible situation. This is a level we hope to reach with improved voters’ education in the nearest future; but thanks to Atiku who bolted us into the future where we have no rejected votes.
  3. In all the states the number of accredited voters was inflated without exception. Whatever they are claiming INEC did was done in all the states.
  4. What is the logical explanation for APC reducing its total votes in Lagos state by 842,081 as claimed in the result presented by Atiku when the APC would still have won with a larger margin than the INEC result. What is the logic behind that?

The listed states from the election result as released by Atiku clearly show the intent of the source is to produce figures in favour of their principal without putting other realities under consideration.

Atiku should wake up from his trance off of political hallucination to the reality that he actually lost the election!

To be continued……

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

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My Problems With Atiku And The PDP Over The February 23, 2019 Presidential Election (Part 1), By Ussiju Medaner

I have no problem with decision of Atiku and his party to contest result of the presidential election in court; it is a fundamental right which they cannot be denied. Each of the times President Buhari ‘ lost’ elections in the past, he went to court in an attempt to legally reclaim his mandates.

I also do not have any problem with the decision of Atiku to abort his earlier plan of heating up the country by instigating the masses to be on the street and opt for the acceptable electoral litigation process. We all must first give him thumbs-up, and a big thank you to all who prevailed on him to take the path of peace and law.

My problem with Atiku, his party and all their think-tank is that they refused to learn from their mistakes. An African adage says ‘you don’t fall into the same pit twice’ but Atiku and his party have fallen severally into the same error and from all indications, would still be heading a lot more times into it.

The little popularity and acceptance of Atiku before the elections took a downward trend the moment Atiku ratified the use of cooked propagandas and fabricated lies as the major tools of his presidential campaign. After the major blow of the burden of corruption on his personality within the country and abroad, coupled with the destructive revelation of the person of Atiku by former president Obasanjo, it is rationally expected that his campaign directorates will be more preoccupied with image reconstruction strategies rather than the unholy, unfounded and less dignified attacks on the President Buhari .

PDP employing the tactics of the likes of Fani Kayode, Fayose, Omokiri, Adeyanju among others who believe in campaign of calumny, false propagandas, disrespect to elders and sentiments to sway voters’ loyalty towards their principal was perhaps the greatest undoing of PDP in the build-up to 2019 presidential election. That failed in 2015 and also failed woefully in 2019. When Nigerians woke up to the fabricated news of Buhari’s family ownership of 9-mobile and Keystone Bank, many of us wondered what benefit PDP expect to accumulate from spreading such a lie that was bound to be short-lived.

But as soon as the effect of the first lie waned, the Amina Zakari saga commenced. A woman who rose through the ranks on merit mostly during the PDP era suddenly was tagged by Atiku and PDP as Buhari cousin and an APC mole within INEC. While most Nigerians knew PDP was only building sentiments to discredit the candidature of President Buhari, some victims bought the lie among the target group.

Before the presidential elections, Atiku was bold to the effrontery of calling a press conference and lie to all Nigerians home and abroad about some youths and election manipulating devices belonging to APC which they (the PDP) had intercepted. Atiku had claimed that APC sent them to China to perfect the use of the devices that will be used to control the card reader machines.

All these allegations and many more, each without any credible evidence all fizzled out within days but not without all well-meaning Nigerians who prioritized trust and integrity as the main attributes of a leader. This led to the conclusion that Atiku was not an option for the Nigerian presidency.

We had also expected the PDP and Atiku to, after the indisputable loss, become more preoccupied with re-strategizing; looking inward to identify their shortcomings not only in 2019 but also in 2015 and work to possibly reposition the party for future elections. Unfortunately, they allowed themselves to engage more in acts capable of further diminishing their image and of course that of their party.

PDP has done many wrongs after the elections but let’s pick on only two of their misdoings. Having being in power for 16 years, PDP knows very well and are very conversant with the history of inconclusive elections as captured by the electoral act as well as other relevant statute. They have details of many times they had benefited from declaration of elections inconclusive but now they wish there is nothing like that and INEC would act unilaterally to declare them winners of elections they have not won legally.

So when Atiku and PDP came out crucifying INEC as acting the script of the APC led presidency, one tends to wonder how they expect Nigerians to respond. No matter how rich or eloquent you may be, people will naturally ignore you the moment you are tagged a liar and deceiver. For the benefit of those who seem not to be abreast of the antecedents of inconclusive elections in Nigeria, this piece will suffice.

I have a problem with the Atiku’s complaint about the presidential election and the that of the PDP itself, despite having all their counsel was still sloppy enough to mistake the addresses of the second and third respondents at the bottom of the petition. This is indicative of the point that they either are after his money or did not take their time to scrutinize the document because they already know it would lead to no good.

Another problem I harbour with Atiku and his cohorts in the PDP is that they had earlier claimed that the INEC had denied them access to election materials which they intend to obtain evidence from only to come up some days later with parallel result purportedly from INEC server. This parallel results reveals that Atiku of the PDP had won the February 23, 2019 presidential elections with a margin of about 1.6 million votes.

To be continued….

May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria

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Professor Osinbajo And The Moses Comparison, By Sunday James Akinloye

Like many Nigerians, I have read the constant comparisons between Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Moses in the Bible. Most of these writers have little knowledge about the character of Moses, but for some reasons they believe that they have earned the right to misconstrue people.

In all fairness, I don’t know where the comparison between Moses and Prof. Osinbajo started but one thing is clear, the writers didn’t attend Sunday School as kids and have also spent very little time reading the Bible.

Like Moses, Prof. Osinbajo alongside President Muhammadu Buhari liberated Nigeria from the hands of corrupt rulers that had ruled for 16 years. Nigeria was on the brink and God needed to send someone to salvage the situation. He looked at the land and picked two men of integrity.

Unlike Moses, Prof. Osinbajo is not the outright leader here, he is the deputy to the leader, a role similar to that of Aaron but that has never been the basis for these writers who are bent on twisting the narrative of the Bible.

The question none of them will never answer is why did the children of Israel spend 40 years in the wilderness when they should have spent just 40 days? It was due to their disobedience and unbelief. Are you seeing a pattern here?

God has sent two men of integrity to free Nigeria from the shackles but there are some that will complain until they force God to do the unthinkable. Despite all what Moses did, there were some children of Israel who were wise in their own eyes and who questioned Moses and God.

Upon their arrival at Kadesh Barnea, twelve spies were sent to survey the Promise Land and its people (Numbers 13:18-25) but the spies returned after forty days of exploration. Ten of the spies had a bad report: “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are. All the people we saw were of great size. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes” (Numbers 13:31-33).

Only Joshua and Caleb dissented (Numbers 14:6-7). Believing the report of the ten doubters, the people lost heart and rebelled. They “raised their voices and wept aloud,” grumbling against Moses and Aaron, saying, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword” (Numbers 14:1-2, emphasis added).

Again, do you see a pattern? These writers have often pontificated on how the PDP years were ‘better’, they even had a hashtag #BringBackOurCorruption to go with it. On how money was flowing everywhere, on how PPP is better than government’s direct involvement in infrastructure, among others. Just like the children of Israel, nothing is ever enough.

Here’s what happened next, Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them” (Numbers 14:11).

Moses once again interceded for his people and turned away the wrath of God (Numbers 14:13-20). Although God did forgive them, He decided that “not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it” (Numbers 14:23). Rather, they would suffer by wandering in the wilderness for forty years, one year for each of the forty days they explored the land (Numbers 14:34).

Here is another pattern. Some people do not even know that they have incurred the wrath of God in Nigeria and would not reach the Promise Land as it is; they are still nagging God and the men he sent to take us to our Promise Land. Like the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait” but not these ones.

Back to the Bible, God would give them what they asked for: “I will do the very things I heard you say: In this desert your bodies will fall, every one of you twenty years old or more” (Numbers 14:28-29).

The ten men who had given the bad report were struck down and died of a plague before the Lord (Numbers 14:37). Only Joshua and Caleb survived, the two faithful spies who believed God’s promise to give the land over to them.

There is a learning here, not only is the comparison of Prof. Osinbajo and Moses not accurate, those who nagged, moaned and groaned against God and his servant didn’t get to the Promise Land. Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to criticize the leaders and even pastors, just know that there is a price if you do it with a wrong motive.

Like the saying goes, “A word is enough for the wise”.

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No Fresh Building Collapse In Lagos – LSBCA

The Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) General Manager, Lekan Shodeinde has said that there was no fresh building collapse in the state as being reported on social media.

The statement comes on the backdrop of a rumoured collapse at Egerton Street, Oke-Arin, Lagos Island.

Shodeinde said that a three-floor structure was marked as distressed and was undergoing demolition as at press time.

He said the building in question was within a built-up area flanked by other adjoining structures at the rear, adding that the demolition of the distressed building became necessary in order to avert another disaster.

According to him, the present administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode will leave no stone unturned to sanitize the building construction industry in the state by removing all the distressed, illegal structures and buildings prone to collapse as well as those that were not in conformity with the state building laws.

The General Manager appealed to Lagosians to cooperate with the State Government by moving out of all buildings marked as distressed and also stay away from demolition sites.

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Nigeria 2019: Eshu Laalu As Polling Agent, By Reuben Abati

Here is yet another account of what I saw in the politics of Ogun State and Nigeria. One of my early teachable moments was the realization that you are required to dress like the people whose votes you are looking for, and operate at that level, be like them, connect with them. When the 2019 political struggle began, I used to attend meetings wearing suits.

Party members looked at me suspiciously. I couldn’t miss the glances, the whispers, the murmurs but I couldn’t quite figure out what was amiss until one Sunday afternoon, I arrived at a scheduled meeting all suited up.  

As soon as I stepped in, I thought I overheard someone saying quietly: “Even on Sunday evening!” I didn’t think that comment was meant for me. Whoever said that was probably talking to someone else. The pieces soon fell in place when one of our apex leaders accosted me: 

“Deputy, e ma de ku asiko yi o. E ku igbiyanju. Oro kan ma ni mo ma fe ba yin so.”

“Go ahead sir.”

“N se ni mo kan de ti e n wo kini na.  O dabi e ni pe, you don’t like to dress like us. I see you don’t wear Sokoto and Buba, or any traditional attires. You just like these white man’s suits”

“Of course, I have caftans. But I prefer to wear suits for work and formal meetings,” I responded. 

I also tried to explain that I was just coming from a television programme. 

‘Ha ha. Okay. But e joor sir., for this our campaign, you have to take it easy with these your suits oh. In politics, you must always look like the people you want to lead and speak like them. That is the only way they can feel comfortable with you. E joor sir oh. Si so okun mo orun  ni igba gbobo  yi fe po ju. Please do something about it. In this part of the country, a politician cannot go about wearing ties. Lai kii se aja!”

Of course, my wardrobe went through a quick transformation. I no longer heard any complaints or whispers, or murmurs. I had adjusted. I made friends very quickly. But that was not all.

Our principal, Senator Buruji Kashamu operated mostly during the campaigns, from his Lagos office and his office in Ijebu Igbo. The latter is the Omo Ilu Foundation headquarters, a sprawling multi-purpose complex, sitting on about three acres, complete with a hall large enough for over 5, 000 persons, in addition to an open pavilion, offices and a row of chalets with about 20 rooms. Omo Ilu Foundation, founded in 2010, is Senator Kashamu’s philanthropic organization and political structure through which he provides help for orphans, widows and the indigent.  We either met in Lagos or in Ijebu-Igbo, and given my position as his running mate, I was constantly present at meetings and activities.  It didn’t take a while before the Senator noticed that I always came alone. I didn’t travel in a convoy. I didn’t have a retinue of hangers-on. One day, he called me aside and told me:

“Dokita, why are you always walking alone? A politician does not walk alone. In politics, you must have your own team.  You must have your own followers. You must have your own structure. I am going to help you set up your own structure and you can recruit your own followers over time. That is how to play politics. You can’t be going about alone. Politics is about people, strategy, hardwork.”   

In no time, I had my own team and till the campaign ended, I never walked alone. Bouncers, security men, campaign vehicles, a team of drivers and assistants, party associates, advisers, supporters, family friends, consultants etc. My house became a beehive of activities.

In Nigeria, a politician is not expected to close his doors.  Men, women trooped in. People I had not seen in the last three years showed up. They sat in the compound, some came into the house and took over the sitting rooms. The house of a politician must have a ready supply of food and drinks. The house was soon flooded with cartons of assorted drinks. Dry gin. Schnapps, Brandy. Beer. Whatever. Some politicians insist that politics is better when it is fueled with the engine oil of alcohol. I had an inner crowd of regulars, male and female. At certain times of the day, someone will raise his hand and say: “De-pu-ty, e fun wa ni amala!  Maa-anu n –fa-gi.”  Time to eat! I never got a chance to meet this ever-hungry Maaa-nu, the apocryphal carpenter of the stomach!  

These are experienced politicians who have been here and there. Some of them have participated in virtually every major political party since the return to civilian rule in 1999. They know every key political figure in the State. If you want to know your great grandmother’s biography, she may have died in the 15thcentury, you just join politics, you will hear stories about your ancestors who you never knew ever lived. Interacting with those veterans, I received much education about local politics. They know everyone and their habits. There was never a short supply of anecdotes about the public and private habits of prominent Ogun State politicians, their wives and concubines, children and the underground network that seems to be a strong and dominant factor in Nigerian politics. People came in and out, sometimes staying till 12 mid-night. Even if I slept off, they would stay on and have their own conversations. It was a diverse, motley crowd. They argued oftentimes, over this or that, but I admired their dedication, knowledge, experience, their energy and commitment. They have all become part of an emerging political ecosystem around my space. Only a few days away from Abeokuta, I miss them already: the women and their creativity with songs and ideas, the men and their knowledge of the terrain.  

I got a rude shock however, in December, when one of my new friends started pestering me to give him money to buy a ram.  

“Ram?  Se iyawo yin sese bi mo, e fe se ikomo ni?,” Has your wife just put to bed and you need support for the naming ceremony?, I asked.

“No. Rah – rah o, deputy, a fe fi se etutu ni.  We want to use the ram to make sacrifice of protection for you. You need some protection.” 

 What sacrifice? I couldn’t figure out what the man was driving at. But he was persistent. 

“It won’t cost you a lot of money. Just the money for the ram and something on top. You are our own Governor in Ogun Central as far as we are concerned. Many people have seen you. They are talking about you. We also have enemies within the party. There are cases in court. The party people in Abuja don’t like us. As your own people, we have to protect you. Nothing must happen to you. You can be sure the Ijebus will also protect their own son.” 

I waved it all off. December is a delicate month. That is when people use all kinds of trick to get  money for the festive season. January is even worse: school fees have to be paid in January. I told the man I was not interested in any ritual sacrifice. The blood of Jesus is sufficient for all Believers! He didn’t argue. He left quietly.  But he came back two days later, imploring me to give “Unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”. He said I should realize that Nigerian politics is like a Dinner with the Devil and that I would need to acquire a long spoon of my own if I was serious about getting a seat at the table. Before his return, another person, who described himself as a Good Samaritan, had also called to say he was bringing to me a charmed waistband which I should tie around my waist any time we were going out for campaigns. I rejected the offer. I told the man I had no plans to become a shamanist because of politics. Our conversation ended in the shape of an argument with him telling me that I didn’t know what I had put myself into. 

“Do you know what all those other people you sit down with have under their clothes? Deputy, Oju lasan ko se politics ni Nigeria yi oh. You must fortify yourself. You need ayeta (local bullet-proof charm), okigbe (protection against machete cuts) gbetugbetu (all-purpose Yoruba charm), awise afogbohun,, ma-y-e-hun (charms for commanding persons), eyonu, atewogba (charms for popularity and acceptance)…after the waist-band, we still have a lot to do. Agan ni kini yi, ko se da gbe! A jo ma gbe ni. We are in this thing together. Anybody whose friend is disgraced is the one who has been disgraced.” 

I was not scared, but I was worried that 21stcentury Nigerian politics was beginning to sound like a return to the inter-tribal wars of the 14thCentury. 

I wasn’t going to part with a penny for any amulet or sacrifice. I was left alone for a while. We organized political activities: visited key stakeholders, communities, arranged consultation meetings, we stormed the town and other parts of our Constituency. The women and my wife had their own group. They focused on markets and house-to-house campaigns. The only thing that worried me was that each time we went to some places, some members of the opposition will later call me to complain that they heard I was spending money and giving people gifts. I would deny of course but they would then proceed to mention the exact place, the person visited and what exactly happened. I became worried. I concluded that there was need to be very watchful. On more than one occasion, persons came to me to show me lists of voters, numbers of Permanent Voters Cards and the phone numbers of their owners. They claimed the voters were under their direct control and they could deliver entire wards and local governments.  They needed money to mobilize the owners of the voters’ cards. It sounded strange to me. I didn’t play ball.

Before long, one of my self-appointed protectors came and said he would like me to go to a church somewhere in Abeokuta. According to him, every politician had already visited the church and whatever the man of God pronounced would come to pass. I refused. If the man of God had already promised every Gubernatorial candidate, victory, why bother?  

The battle for the protection of my soul and life in politics later reached a peak when one of the initial protectors returned to say that even if we did not do anything, we needed to send Eshu on errand, and he had identified the Eshu in the Igbein quarters of Abeokuta as the most potent agent that will ensure our victory in the 2019 Gubernatorial polls. I tried to fence him off by showing off my knowledge of the Yoriuba belief system and traditions. I even chanted the panegyric of Eshu, the trickster-god, the two faced, Janus member of the Yoruba pantheon. “Eshu Laalu, onile orita, ogirimoko okunrin, a ba ni wa oran bi a ri da, elekun n sun ekun, Laaroye n sun eje…” 

Eshu is usually regarded as the equivalent of the Devil, but Yoruba Traditional Thought identifies him as an oxymoronic agent for both good and evil, an attribute translated as drama, form, antonym, and performance in Femi Osofisan’sEshu and the Vagabond Minstrels.  The man was not interested in my anthropological, hermeneutic analysis. I even told him that in actual fact, the most potent Eshu in Egbaland is in Imo, not Igbein and I told him… I was trying to pass a message across. The man flared up. 

“Eshu Igbein is very strong. If you give it what it wants. It will stand up and go out and deal with our enemies. It will bring us all the votes in Ogun State! It will go to every polling unit and vote.”

“Is it Eshu that will vote or the people of Ogun State? Is he a human being? Does he have a voter’s card?”, I inquired.

“Deputy, you don’t know this Eshu. After sending him on errand, you can’t come home straight. Otherwise, it will follow you. You must have a special, spiritual bath. Even then, three days later, it will still come to this house to give you a sign to show that he is already working.” 

“I don’t want Eshu to come here,” I said emphatically. 

“After he has worked for us, once you give him what he wants in return, he will go back. He is our best bet.” 

Olawale Folorunso and Bode Sowunmi who were with me and who had been listening to the argument over the proposed recruitment of Eshu as a polling agent eventually intervened. Bode Sowunmi wanted to know if the Eshu could survive in a compound with interlocking tiles and air conditioners and whether he would occupy one of our rooms. Wale thought the whole proposal was bizarre. Bode asked:

“Okay, Egbon, if you believe so much in this Eshu, why don’t you go and do the ritual and send Eshu on errand on behalf of Dr Abati and Senator Kashamu. You are a politician yourself and you are all in this campaign together. Dr says he doesn’t want Eshu in this matter.” 

“I am not the one running for Governor. I can’t spend my own money. Anybody that wants to be Governor must be ready to give Eshu his due,” the man insisted. 

I refused. 

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A(N)Tikuated Choices, By Babafemi Ojudu

Sometime in 2014, my uncle- in -law, the late Professor Babalola Borisade, requested I help him organize a meeting between Atiku Abubakar and South West Senators. Atiku was about to go for the season’s primary election that will enable him bid for the Presidency.

He and President Mohammadu Buhari were front runners for the ticket of the then recently formed All Progressives Congress (APC). About ten or twelve of us showed up for the meeting and with rapt attention we listened to both him and Borisade, his then campaign Director General (DG).

I was the first to respond.

I praised his business acumen and told the story of a female friend of mine, an award winning former Cable News Network (CNN) Correspondent in South Africa who, when invited to give a convocation speech in Atiku’s American University in Yola, sought my advice on whether to accept the invitation or not. It was at the height of the rampage by Boko Haram across the North East.
I strongly encouraged her and told her the university would ensure her security. She went and gave her speech and after the event she sent a message to me that what she saw in Yola , at the university, was ,in her words, an “oasis in the desert”.

I also cited my experience in Rivers State when I, in company of a committee of the Senate, visited Intels, a company in which Atiku has substantial interest . I was impressed with what I saw, the work environment, the goals and objective of the company as enunciated by one of his sons who received us at the company. The vibes I picked up in Intels was a mark of can- do, particularly when we were told the company was about picking up a multi billion dollar contract to build a port from scratch in a southern African country.

At the meeting, I told Atiku that with those testimonies, I would have loved to vote for him at the coming APC convention in Lagos but, and there is a big but… his image and reputation had been sufficiently damaged by no less a person than his former boss, Olusegun Obasanjo.

I told him with all emphasis I could muster that he is a damaged product and he should not just waste his time. He tried to explain why his erstwhile boss chose to say and write those damaging words about him. He indicated he was not corrupt and challenged anyone who thinks otherwise to bring the evidence of his corruption.

Truly most of the accusations of under- the -table deals done by the regime in privatizing government enterprises that were laid on Atiku doorstep were actually Obasanjo inspired as we found in the course of our investigation . We invited Obasanjo then to shed more light on the allegations against him as well as our findings but he failed to show up. Our attempt to subpoena him was stalled by the Senate leadership then.

As we have come to see Obasanjo is the one who calls everyone thief when the entire community could see his fingers dripping of palm oil.

Branding is very important in public life. Atiku and his supporters didn’t give much attention to this . They rather spent their time building up and promoting lies against the opponent. If the amount of money , Social media space time and resources committed to demonizing President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo had been expended on rebranding Atiku, maybe things would have turned out differently.

Atiku’s first major error in his last bid was going back to the same Obasanjo to mend fences or seek forgiveness when he should have gone after him with the ferocity of a wounded lion to show he lied against him , if he did ,or demonstrate his innocence.

I can’t remember any major decision taken by this politician in his entire political career that didn’t turn out to hurt him .

The moment Atiku went on that journey to Abeokuta with his band of peace makers I knew he had lost the bid for the Presidency again.
Young partisans of Atiku’s opponent went out, combed every available source and researched into all Obasanjo has written and said about him to find materials, consolidating Atiku’s branding as a very corrupt politician.

Omoyele Sowore AAC dug his teeth and nail into him and presented him as an example of what is wrong with Nigerian leadership. Madam Ezekwesili was not left out until she herself got an uppercut from the Chairman of her party who doubled as her running mate.

The campaign saw a mincemeat and couscous made of his reputation and credibility. Obasanjo, who he courted to add value to his campaign became his albatross.

How dumb could he be as a politician!

It is difficult forgiving Atiku for his political blunders. He has all it take to educate himself properly and to hire people who have the capability to advise correctly.

His political faux pas kept recurring all through his career.

Let us cast our mind back to 2010 . 
Rather than stick with his party, ACN, Olagunsoye Oyinlola lured him to Abeokuta to prostrate for Obasanjo.
He thereafter quit Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and went on another adventure. He was at a meeting with Bola Ahmed Tinubu the night before . Both took time to strategize on how to build a party that will defeat Jonathan. He gave no inkling of his visit to Abeokuta the following day. His advisers had billed the meeting as a private consultation with Obasanjo but the old, never forgiving fox kept journalists somewhere in the premises and soon as the meeting ended they pounced on Atiku like a hound of watch dogs will on an unwanted visitor.

What can one say of his attitude as Vice President . Atiku could have waited the time out, demonstrate loyalty and serve the country truly. Instead of waiting for the appointed time Atiku embarked on setting up a political machine that thrashed and undermined his boss.

He allowed himself to be deceived by some governors then who met with him during the day and scurried to Obasanjo in the night to inform him of Atiku schemings.

If money making were same thing as political acumen, Atiku would have towered above any other politician in Nigeria.

His political understanding and sensibility has almost been numb. Whatever he has achieved in politics has been purchased with money and there is limit to how far that could have taken him.
Let’s not talk about his choices of running mates on the two occasions he ran for President. He has an untrammeled love for Obis. Could he have made better choices? He sure could have if he had been a much more savvy and calculating politician.

His utterances? Gosh! Every statement that came out of his mouth is politically awful. I will sell NNPC, I will enrich my friends, I will give amnesty to looters. I insist on selling NNPC even if they will kill me. Haba! Won pe e lole o ngbomo eran jo ( you are said to be a thief, you are playing with someone else’s lamb).
Some internet brats could not stand his determination to sell NNPC and quipped that it appears he has already taken deposits from buyers.
He was even quoted as saying that he will only complete the 2nd Niger Bridge because the Igbos are his in laws.

Atiku’s party hopping proclivity is astounding. A man of such means could have organized a movement around himself and his ideology if there is any. He rather chose to look for parties to hop into each time he dreams of becoming a president. Often they were parties he had abandoned before with such loud condemnation and reproof. Talk of going back to ones vomit serially.

As it turned out Atiku didn’t build a base. He support came mainly from those who hated Buhari’s guts and many others who lost undeserved entitlements .

Whenever he quits a party to join another, the reasons he often give are banal, self serving and contradictory. One often wonders why he never get to hire a sound strategist. Or is it just a question of a swollen headed wealthy, fat cat who assumes he knows it all.

I remember the mess he was made of by a young South West politician who had allegiance to three candidates in the APC primaries that produced President Buhari. He invested so much dollars in the politician who promised him many delegates.
The same politician had collected money from another aspirant from the North while he at the same time pledged support for President Buhari who he clearly knew was the favorite of the party leaders to pick the ticket.

Our man advised Atiku to stay put in his hotel suite and not to show up at the convention venue until late while he went about his deals.
It was one of Atiku’s confidants who I learnt at about 10.00 pm on the convention day roused him from this deception and scolded him for listening to the advise of someone who was everywhere on the convention ground doing deals.
Atiku eventually arrived at the venue and the young man refused to go say hello to him or even walk close to where he sat. Thousands of dollars thrown away, wasted.
I pray Atiku is not being set up by political yahooist to part with whatever is left in his war chest for the 2019 expedition. Your excellency shine your eyes well well.

-Senator Babafemi Ojudu is a Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters

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Right Of Reply To Pendulum Open Letter To The VP, By Laolu Akande

My dear Bob Dee!

One could have easily made up his mind not to read or respond to anything you wrote after seeing the rather unprincipled queuing up behind Senator Bukola Saraki and then abandoning him, moving on to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and then deserting him as well. 

But I felt one should respond to your attempts to create a false narrative from the very hollow lamentation of the recent elections as the “worst in our history”.

In my view, those like your good self, veteran journalists, who have built a formidable platform in the public arena must strive always to use the platform for the larger public good. There have been several interventions from you that reflect such true public spirit, but some of us stridently disagree with what at times could be perceived as a self-serving journalistic conduct. Many would seem to agree that this was obvious in your recent open letter to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

But first, let me thank you for your gracious words of congratulations to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice President, and your admiration for the VP’s commendable performance in office. I am certain that your quest for public accountability derives from that admiration.

It is important to state that a citizen’s open letter to public figures or government authority is always welcome here and not necessarily a matter of right or exclusive access. For us, such matters of access for the people to their elected leaders is of normal cause and ought not to be a matter of exclusivity nor should we make a play of it as so special.

As is typical of your propaganda machinery, it begins with an outrageous lie by the principal then the operatives like yourself repeat it ad naseum. It appears you were not in this country when foreign and local observers accepted the results. Independent Foreign Observers commended the transparency and credibility of the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Also, the Independent ElectionMonitor group, supported by the French Embassy, concluded that “based on the analysis carried out in this document as well as the actual observations of the election activities across the country, it is Election Monitor’s considered opinion that the 2019 Presidential Election results are consistent with the will of the majority of voters who took part in the elections notwithstanding the various infractions which also occurred as they were not on a scale significant enough to affect the overall outcome of the election.(ElectionMonitorNG)

YIAGA Africa’s Parrallel Voting Tabulation, relied on by international agencies, embassies and funders also said its  “findings show that for the presidential election the All Progressive Congress (APC) should receive between 50.0 per cent and 55.8 per cent of the vote.” And that “the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) should receive between 41.2 per cent and 47.0 per cent of the vote; these figures are consistent with the official results as just announced by INEC.

“For both APC and PDP, the official results fall within the PVT estimated ranges.” That YIAGA AFRICA results statement was based on reports from 1,491 polling units which are 98.4 per cent of sampled polling units. YIAGA AFRICA’s projections were reportedly also consistent with the officially announced vote shares for the other 71 parties who contested in the presidential election. It is also believed that the group’s projections were based on the results announced in the polling units and would have detected any significant manipulation occurring during collation at the ward, local government area, State and national levels. Also, “INEC’s official results for turnout and rejected ballots were also generally consistent with YIAGA AFRICA WTV estimates.” (Vanguard)

These are empirical facts, my dear Bob Dee, especially if you put your analysis through any rigorous tests. Propaganda and falsehood only need a willing sponsor.

Yes, observers mentioned pockets of violence and some malpractices, but none felt that these were sufficient to affect the credibility of the elections or its results. Frequently cited is Ago Palace in Lagos. One unit in a city of 20 million! In any event, the real question is, how did the violence in the comparatively few places where it happened favour the President? And how come the strong allegations of foul play by the likes of Godswill Akpabio in Akwa Ibom, George Akume in Benue and Ndoma-Egba in Cross River State (all APC Senatorial aspirants!) escaped your eagle eyes?

It is sometimes forgotten, and Bob Dee , you chose to forget, that for the previous 16 years before 2015, the PDP governments had conducted elections. Everyone is familiar with the incredible excesses of the elections and the election-observer reports so poignantly describe some.

In the 2003 elections which gave Atiku Abubakar and his boss a second term, Wikipedia observes that “Millions of people voted several times. The police in Lagos uncovered an electoral fraud, finding five million false ballots.”

But the 2007 elections got even worse reviews: “Following the presidential election, groups monitoring the election gave it a dismal assessment. Chief European Union observer Max van den Berg reported that the handling of the polls had “fallen far short” of basic international standards, and that “the process cannot be considered to be credible”, citing “poor election organisation, lack of transparency, significant evidence of fraud, voter disenfranchisement, violence and bias.” 

They described the election as “the worst they had ever seen anywhere in the world”, with “rampant vote rigging, violence, theft of ballot boxes and intimidation”). One group of observers said that at one polling station in Yenagoa, in the oil-rich South-South, where 500 people were registered to vote, more than 2,000 votes were counted.”

Your choice of words such as “theatre of war” to describe the presidential polls is not only inaccurate and questionable by and large, but also surprising considering the recent history of past presidential polls. And you have to tell us who described the elections as “the most dreadful and desperate”?

Besides these facts that you carefully chose to ignore, the contents of your letter read in part like a brief for the opposition, and, at other times, a judgment of an electoral tribunal in favour of the opposition. And such bias undermines the credibility of the author such as yourself.

It could even render the write-up confusing rather than informing the readers. For good measure, Bob Dee, maybe we should just remind our readers that not only are you an active member of the opposition, you have also benefited from significant business relationships with some in the opposition circles. And this is entirely within your right.

But that certainly discounts your assessment about the direction of our administration. It also devalues your criticism of the narratives that hold those who raped this country in the past responsible for the consequences of their corrupt activities while in government.

One also wonders whether it is your well-known personal relationship with the opposition that has beclouded you so much that you seek to assail the anti-corruption efforts which ordinary and well-meaning Nigerians have embraced.

Let me make it clear that the facts show that while some old members of the opposition have joined APC, that has not shielded those responsible for corruption and graft. In any case, even if old PDP members are now APC members, the current leadership of the country under the APC stands out as it is made up of two gentlemen with impeccable integrity. 

Old PDP members and all Nigerians are welcome just like sinners are embraced in the church, In fact, the church was opened for sinners to be converted. And what is skewed about the anti-corruption campaign when the two governors who have now been convicted for corruption are both APC?

Having said that, be rest assured that the APC as a party will articulate its defences to any allegations. For the records, it is an obvious fact and this must be reiterated that the Buhari administration has a commendable record of respecting the independence of INEC, a clear departure from what occurred under previous administrations. This government also ensures that it provides all the support INEC requires, as well as respects the independence of the judiciary and has ensured that security forces act within the ambits of law. Even international observers have made their comments accordingly and positively. 

As the Buhari administration always noted, every single loss of life is sad and lamentable. And previous elections have regrettably caused even far more losses. We must achieve an electoral system that doesn’t result in any such loss of life. However, the record of improvement from the past is clear as it were.

To characterize the will of the people as Pyrrhic victory represents what exactly needs to change in and about our nation. Indeed, our privilege as elites imposes the responsibility of trustees of power, wealth, values and direction of and for a nation in the interest of the people upon us. To narrow this interest or substitute our amplified voices as the vocal minority for the silent majority is not only taking liberties a little too far, but also losing tune and touch with our national realities. As leaders, we must reflect introspectively on how we have prioritized the people, and how we must continue to do so going forward.

This is what President Muhammadu Buhari is known for and it is what played out in the elections. It is the voices of the few and the devices of the privileged that the Opposition regarded and expected to hold up. That did not happen.

We respect the right to disagree and exercise that right through the established mechanisms, but we reject any denigration and the diminishing of the electoral outcome which is the true voice and expression of the people of this country.

As you noted, the whole concept of sin in the worldly context is a violation of the law of the land, and in the spiritual context, a violation against God. That you judge either as a matter of law, or ecclesiastically when you by yourself determine that this administration is “committing sin” is a departure from what your letter identifies as its objective. Victory in an election is a nation speaking up, while the victor is the symbol of that nation’s victory.

Both life, by its temporal nature, and the Constitution, by its term limitations and periodic elections, already ensure that we all know that everything but eternity is transient, and the example of that in our nation today is the rejection of the old order four years ago, and the most recent confirmation of that rejection by preferring the new and current order, and the Next Level of our national restoration and growth. 

Finally, thank you for declaring your belief that the APC “would have won” a handsome victory because that was exactly what happened! It is your equivocation about Atiku’s loss expressed in the same letter where you said you expected an APC “handsome victory” that left me and other readers confounded. What are we to believe?

Again, thank you for your open letter. Be rest assured that the Vice President and the President would continue working for the good of all Nigerians in the Next Level.

Laolu Akande is Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President

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Aisha Buhari As Catalyst For Buhari’s Victory, By Chukwudi Enekwechi JP

Mrs Aisha Buhari is the wife of Nigeria’s president and commander in chief, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR. She is acknowledged nationwide and globally as not only a delectable beauty, but endowed with brain and brawn. She periodically steps into the national consciousness when it appears there exists a yawning gap between the powers that be and the Nigerian people.

Oftentimes she takes sides with the people and insists that the president should not lose sight of the mammoth support of Nigerians that propelled him to the highest office in the land.Many Nigerians have even described her as an amazon and a wife of inestimable value. Most times her interventions have helped to crystallise any fogginess as far as her husband’s leadership is concerned.

She is famous for telling truth to power with a view to impacting on the lives of most Nigerians.Aisha Buhari is not only sound academically but has a grasp of the English language usually associated with the queen of England. She is urbane, sophisticated, caring and able to read the signs of the times politically.

Until she joined the political fray by setting up the Women and Youth Presidential Campaign Team, the second term bid of President Buhari was tottering on the shenanigans of powerful political forces who had one axe to grind with the system or the other or so it seemed, yet she was able to discern the shady and unclear horizon and immediately stepped in to bridge the gap.

This singular act helped to galvanise the entire gamut of the All Progressives Congress political hierarchy to key in and align seeing and realising that victory was possible. She not only took the gauntlet but she led the way to mobilise Nigerians towards supporting her husband to serve Nigeria for the next four years.

In the end both the Presidential Campaign Council and the Women and Youth Campaign Team complimented themselves towards the realisation of the ultimate goal- re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term.

Apart from her regular interactions with the masses across the country, she exhibited uncommon leadership by interfacing with different political leaders who at the nick of time pitched their tent with the ruling party despite the opposition they faced from their past political allies.

Perhaps it can be said that the tone for her future political role in the Buhari presidency was set when the governor of Imo state Rochas Okorocha rolled out the red carpet in Imo state and galvanised Imo women to march for her at the Dan Anyiam stadium in Owerri. That was the first and last mammoth show of support by a state government for Aisha Buhari, until recently when she stepped into the political arena to lead the re-election campaign of her husband.

Today her efforts in seeing to the realisation of the president’s second term has come to fruition and she deserves adequate recognition. This is what we seek to achieve with this piece. She is not only a leader of men, women and materials but she is an asset to the president and Nigeria as a whole.

We as a people cannot afford to relegate such an important woman in the scheme of things especially as she remains unassuming, simple, loyal to her husband and Nigeria, and is committed to using her elevated position to improve the lives of ordinary Nigerians.Therefore as we celebrate the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigerians owe it an obligation to give honour to whom it is due.

Lest we forget, she played a significant in drawing the attention of the country to the many ills ailing our country among them infrastructural deficit in the South East and this has enabled the president to look inwards and seek permanent and endurable solutions to the boiling issues.

Aisha Buhari incidentally does not seek for publicity or the plaudits of the street, but she is reputed to tell truth to power and this has largely contributed to the success of her husband’s administration, and enabled Nigerians to reap the dividends of democracy as in infrastructure, fight against corruption and the revolution we now witness in the agricultural sector.

The latest news is that Nigeria now leads Egypt in rice production and nobody can doubt that Nigeria is witnessing food security.It is pertinent to remark that this is the first time a wife of the president is being applauded by all and sundry and across the political spectrum and the reason is not farfetched- her altruism, courage and commitment to equity and justice. In the weeks and months ahead Nigerians are expectant that her past interventions will influence the choices of the Buhari administration in appointments and governance generally for the greater good of Nigerians.

We recall that she was the advocate of compensation to those who worked assiduously towards the election of President Buhari in 2015.

Gladly, President Muhammadu Buhari has laid the necessary foundation for the repositioning of the country and the next four years offers a window of opportunity for inclusiveness and even distribution of infrastructural amenities across the country.

Chukwudi Enekwechi JP Member, Women and Youth Presidential Campaign Team Kwechis19@yahoo.com 08176281883

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