Lessons From Anambra Governorship Election, By Joe Onwukeme

It was Theodore Roosevelt that was credited with the quote, “the credit belongs to those who are in the arenas, who strive fearlessly and who at worst, if they fail, fail while daring greatly. The quote above illustrates exactly what played out last Saturday in the Anambra governorship election.

The credit exactly goes to the good people of Anambra State; they stood and fought for what they believed in and against all odds were able to conquer. The last Saturday’s governorship election would be adjudged as one of the freest and fairest election the APC led federal government had conducted, the way and manner the election was conducted has also deepened our democracy.

The last Saturday’s victory was not for Obiano alone, it was a victory to all the candidates, victory to everyone who participated in the election and victory in the manner the election was conducted. Against all odds, people of Anambra stood and resisted imposition, not even the threat by the Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) could stop the election. It took the intervention of the army through the “Operation Python Dance” in the South east to suppress IPOB and their secessionist agitation.

The election fever and the heated debate on who among the 3 major candidates, the incumbent, Governor Obiano of APGA, Chief Osaloka Obaeze of PDP and Dr Tony Nwoye of APC was a major concern to the good people of Anambra State, if election were to be determined by the number of crowd one pulls during campaign, APC candidate, Dr Tony Nwoye would have emerged the winner, if it were to be based on connection and godfatherism, Osaloka Obaeze would have had a field day.

The good people of Anambra wear the shoes and know where it hurts the most. The people of Anambra chose a trusted and performing governor over godfatherism.

Prof. Charles Soludo, during the electioneering reechoed the maxim, “if trust is not broken, don’t mend it” and the people heeded to the call not to mend a trust that has not be broken.

Against all odds, including a former god father of governor Obiano who wanted him ousted by every means possible and an Inspector General of police who chose eye service to professionalism by withdrawing the governor’s security details.

It took the president of Nigeria to call the IG of police to order and ordered the governor’s security details to be restored immediately. The president also ensured there was a level playing field to all the candidates which resulted to a free and credible poll.

The outcome of the election is still a surprise to many, especially the APC fold. They campaigned vigorously in the nooks and crannies of the state, muscled all APC governors, president and vice president inclusive to Anambra state for Dr. Tony Nwoye. Dr. Tony Nwoye also had the blessings of the who is who in Anambra state, money was never a problem, he had everything he needed to emerge winner.

As a former president of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) he was a youth mobilizer, present and past presidents of NANS across the federation were on ground to show solidarity to one of their comrades. APC camp in Anambra state had started jubilating of his victory until the people decided through the ballot.

Governor Obiano’s victory would be a litmus test to other governors, especially in the APC fold, what gave Obiano victory was not because he shared more money nor campaigned more than others, it was simply because he had a clear vision which enabled him performed creditably well.

One area he performed so much was in the prompt payment of salaries, even when other governors were using recession as an excuse not to pay salaries, he was up to date in payment of salaries and other motivations. The state civil servants argued why would they vote out an “alert governor” that is regular in payment of salaries and vote a party the governors are reputed in owing salaries? Pensioners were also not left out in the question; the welfare of the workers and pensioners was the governor’s priority.

The secret that gave governor Obiano victory was not incumbency factor, it was because APGA as a party did their homework very well and the people did not disappoint when he needed them most.

While I congratulate Obiano for the victory, I will also call on governors who are not up to date in the payment of salaries and pension to have a rethink, the people you play with their major source of lively hood would be the ones that will determine who governs them, it is no longer business as usual, ballot box snatching and rigging are no longer determinant factors, performance does.

Joe Onwukeme

@unjoerated

unjoeratedjoe@gmail.com

Who Is A Buharists, By Ayantunji Gbenro (PhD) @bengbenro

This rhetoric question is often asked by Nigerians especially anytime a general election approaches. As we approach the 2019 elections, it’s pertinent that we seek an answer to this important question to avoid  the mistake of 2015 when many questionable characters were elected into public offices just by professing Buharism.

Buharism is often erroneously equated to the support for President Buhari’s political aspiration or membership of his political party. It evokes conflicting emotion from different groups in Nigeria. This conflict arises from the perception of the person of President Muhammadu Buhari whose name gave birth to the word and whose ideology forms the bedrock of the movement.

Like many heroes or villains in history, Buhari supporters glorify him beyond his wildest imagination, while his adversaries demonize him beyond limits. The strong emotional attachment often render the  analysis of the ideology he represents null and void. Analysis of Buharism is often done  through a selective reading of history and opportunistic attribution and misattribution of responsibility. Thus, the question keep reoccurring:  What is Buharism and what does it stands for?

As described on wikipedia, “Buharism is a term rooted in the politics of Nigeria, referring to the economic principles and the political ideology of military lead government of Nigeria headed by General Muhammadu Buhari from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985″.

The political economy of  Buharism as represented by the military government of the period is described by the  rejection of  the approach of the Washington Consensus that the solution to Nigeria’s economic problem inherited lies in the devaluation of the nation’s currency.

The administration on the other hand believes that for a crisis-wrecked country to successfully improve its balance of payments through devaluation, there must first exist a condition that the price of every country’s export is denominated in its own currency. Since such a condition did not exist, as was the case of Nigeria,  Buharism asserted that there are alternate and superior approaches to solving the problem of its economic crisis.

Therefore, instead of applying devaluation to get the then crisis-wrecked economy of Nigeria back on track, Buharism employed a policy of curbing imports of goods deemed unnecessary, curtailing oil theft and improving exports through a counter trade policy of bartering seized illegally bunkered crude oil for needful goods like machinery, enabling it to export above its OPEC quota.

This system was well described by HRH  Muhammadu Sanusi Lamido II in a paper presented in London on the 20th of February, 2003  titled: Buharism as Fascism: Engaging Balarabe Musa. He described the ideology as a right wing nationalist government, similar to fascism, that pursued bourgeois economic programs and curtailed personal freedoms.

He however said, in a constitutional democracy, what is left of Buharism is a fiercely nationalistic political ideology combined with right wing social and economic policies.  The alternative Nigerians have to Buharism is a political ideology characterized by sleaze and corruption; a comical desperation to impress America and the western world; a seeming rush to sell off national assets at much less than fair value; an open-door policy of import liberalization that has destroyed indigenous industry; an economic program lacking in fiscal and monetary discipline that will lead to high inflation, a heavy debt burden, diminished foreign reserves, greater disparities in income distribution, and the consequent social insecurity and poverty.

In contrast, ten characteristics of Buharism were listed as: a policy of zero tolerance for corruption in the Federal Government; a review of the policy of unrestricted import liberalization; privatization to continue but at a fair price for national assets, no asset considered of vital national interest will be sold and privatization will aim at empowering Nigerians and promoting the interests of a domestic capitalist; a shift in our foreign policy from the west; a focus on an educational program that seeks transfer of skills and technology and the development of indigenous human capital; confront oil exploration companies and ensure that they pay for environmental damage and plough a substantial portion of their profits into developing oil producing areas; a trimming of government and a reduction in recurrent expenditure and overheads; greater fiscal discipline and tighter monetary policy to combat inflation; a focus on paying off our foreign debt and reducing the debt overhang through negotiations based on patriotic interests and compliance with agreed terms; a realistic acceptance of the precariousness of our position and a prioritization of our economic projects; and a truly nationalist government that seeks to inculcate pride in every Nigerian of his nationality and deals fairly with all ethnic and religious groups. The paper warned that these policies will set Buhari against international finance capital, against domestic criminals, sundry contractors, commission agents and drug barons, in other words against those who are responsible for the woes of Nigeria.

As further described by the same author in earlier publications: BUHARISM: Economic Theory and Political Economy (LAGOS) July 22,2002 and Buharism Beyond Buhari: A Response to Mohammed Haruna (LONDON), SEPTEMBER 6, 2002, the concept of Buharism is beyond the person of President Buhari. It is a movement of the people that place the nation above self and any other consideration.

This movement is what His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osibajo was referring to in a Keynote address at the Annual Nation Building Workshop in Lagos last year (2016)  when he said, “To build the new Nigeria, we need a new tribe. A tribe of men and women of all faiths, tribes, and ethnicities, committed to a country run on high values of INTEGRITY, HARD WORK, JUSTICE and LOVE OF COUNTRY. A tribe of men and women who are prepared to make the sacrifices and exercise the self-constraints that are crucial to building a healthy society; who are prepared to stick together.”

This new tribe is what is referred to as “THE BUHARIST”.  They are neither APC nor PDP.  They are neither wailers nor hailers. They are not Hausa, Yoruba or Igbo. They are not Christians or Muslims. They are the antithesis of those responsible for Nigeria’s woes. They are Nigerians committed to progress and development. As we approach 2019, all Nigerians are invited into this new tribe for a better Nigeria

 

 

Your Excellency Dr Jonathan, This Is The Economy You Left Behind, In Case You Have Forgotten, By Garba Shehu

With due respects to the former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, these are the facts about the economy you left behind, in case you have forgotten.

I hope this will help to erase the wrong statement credited to you at your party, the PDP Convention at the Eagle Square last weekend that you handed to President Buhari a robustly healthy economy.

To the same extent, this should also help to erase yet another false statement by Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, the Caretaker Chairman of the party, to the effect that under the previous administration there was money but now things are very hard.

Let me start by reasserting an obvious statement, which is that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was handed an economy ravaged by years of mismanagement and corruption.

It is understandable that Dr Jonathon kept his comments short, because a cursory look at any sector clearly indicated that he and his Government presided over the most monumental and tragic economic mismanagement recorded in our national history.

The oil sector boomed under his tenure, with oil prices as high as US$ 120 and peace in the Nigeria Delta. Nigeria earned unprecedented dollar revenues. Sadly,that is where the story turns sour. There is nothing to show for the revenues earned, no major capital project was completed, neither power generation, road development, rail or agriculture benefitted from the windfall earnings. Rather the administration presided over the diversion of oil revenues on a such a massive scale, that even without the protection now accorded to Whistle blowers, the then Central Bank Governor blew not only a whistle but a trumpet. He was hurriedly shown the door.

Meanwhile, the acquisition by public officers and their cohorts of private jets, luxury yachts and the accumulation of expensive property portfolios world-wide continued unabated. Indeed the President once celebrated having the largest number of private jets, whilst our youth languished without jobs, our fields stood idle and our factories began the lay off of workers.

Government simply reticulated oil revenue through personal spending by corrupt leaders, wasteful expenses and salaries. This was done rather than investing in what would grow the economy. Economies grow due to capital investment in assets like seaports, airports, power plants, railways, roads and housing. Nigeria can not record a single major infrastructural project in the last 10 years. In short the money was mismanaged.

Such was the looting that even the goose that was laying the golden egg was being systematically starved. The direct contractual costs of oil produced , in the form of cash calls, remained unpaid. The incoming ,President Buhari’s welcome from the oil majors included demand for US$6Bn owed by Nigeria for oil that had already been sold or stolen.

At the inception of the current administration, 21 States were unable to meet their salary bills and the spectre of workers arrears had commenced. The PDP solution was the raid the Ecological Fund and selectively grant N2Bn each to the PDP States. It was only aggressive borrowing by the Ministry of Finance under Dr Okonjo- Iweala that prevented Federal Government from also owing salaries. The economic wisdom of borrowing to pay recurrent bills is a questionable one, particularly as those paid would have included over 45,000 that have subsequently been removed by the Buhari led administration as ghost workers. It also included the lavish costs of chartering private jets, first class travel and other wasteful acts that have been eliminated under this administration.

To compound the problem the government was borrowing heavily and owed contractors, and international oil companies. When this government took over we had accumulated debt back to the level it was before the Paris Club Debt Forgiveness.

All these factors were building up to Nigeria heading for a major crisis if the price of oil fell. Nigeria did not have fiscal buffers to withstand an oil shock.

The oil shock should and could have been foreseen. When Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS crisis started, it was clear that the United States of America wanted to cut off funds to terror groups by crashing the price of oil. When America granted permission for exploration of oil on land ( Shale) the warning signs were evident, but these were ignored by Nigeria’s economic managers.

Such was the looting that even the goose that was laying the golden egg was being systematically starved. The direct contractual costs of oil produced , in the form of cash calls, remained unpaid. The incoming President Buhari’s welcome from the oil majors included demand for US$6Bn owed by Nigeria for oil that had already been sold or stolen.

At the inception of the Buhari administration, 21 States were unable to meet their salary bills and the spectre of workers arrears had commenced. The PDP solution was to raid the Ecological Fund and selectively grant N2Bn each to the PDP States. It was only aggressive borrowing by the Ministry of Finance that prevented Federal Government from also owing salaries. The economic wisdom of borrowing to pay recurrent bills is a questionable one, particularly as those paid would have included over 45,000 that have subsequently been removed by the Buhari led administration as ghost workers. It also included the lavish costs of chartering private jets, first class travel and other wasteful acts that have been eliminated under this administration.

In summary Nigeria earned a lot of money when oil prices were high but there is nothing to show for it. Now oil prices have fallen we are suffering.

What could they have done differently?

They could have begun doing the very things that the Muhammadu Buhari administration is doing so painfully now:

1. Fight corruption.

2. Sanitise the huge salary bill by eliminating payroll fraud.

3. Reduce wasteful expenses like First Class Travel and Private jets.

4. Encourage State Governments to reform their spending and build savings or investments.

5. Increase spending on capital projects especially on infrastructure needed to make Nigerian businesses competitive and create jobs.

6. Block the leakages that allowed government revenues to be siphoned into private hands.

7. Focus on key sectors ( apart from oil) that can create jobs and or generate revenue such as Agriculture, Solid Minerals and Manufacturing.

If these things had been done when the oil price was as high as US$120 per barrel, Nigeria would not be in the current predicament.

We would not be suffering now if we had no cash reserves but we had power, or a rail system, or good roads, or good housing. But we don’t have money and we don’t have the projects either.

Now that the oil has fallen below those levels, it is very difficult to do what is needed but they must be done to save Nigeria. There is no other way if we want to be honest.

If PDP were still in power they would have continued deceiving people, by borrowing to fund stealing and wastage and the problem would have simply been postponed for future generations to face.

One of former President Jonathon’s specific boasts is that dollar under him was N180 compared to today. With such a line of argument it is clear why we are where we are. With oil prices as high as $120 the average inflow of dollars each month was high, making it easy to support cheap dollars. However with oil price plummeting as low as $28, the fundamental laws of supply and demand dictated that the currency would need to adjust, since oil was the sole export. It is instructive to note that virtually every major oil exporter has witnessed currency adjustments with the fall in oil price.

The Buhari administration has taken a long term strategic view of supporting a stable naira on both the supply and demand sides. President Buhari has driven Import substitution to reduce demand for dollars to buy things we can produce thereby creating thousands of rural jobs in rice and other staples. In addition, there is a credible plan to diversity our revenue sources away from oil, with focus on export crops as well as solid minerals, with the release of US$100M fund to develop solid mineral extraction.

President Muhammdu Buhari has a positive and prosperous vision for Nigeria. A nation in which the natural talent and hard work of the people is being supported by an enabling environment of infrastructural development and policy reforms that will develop a firm future for our nation. Nigerians are looking forward and the PDP’s lurking in the economic rear view mirror only underscores the resolve of Nigerians, that as far as the economy is concerned it is ‘’never again.”

GARBA SHEHU

SSA (Media and Publicity) To President Muhammadu Buhari

Who Book Help Self? By Ganiu Bamgbose

The inspiration for this short public essay was borne out of a statement made by a professor of English, Adeleke Lefak Fakoya, in a lecture he delivered in the University of Ibadan in 2014.

The professor started his lecture at the English Language Clinic thus: “I will make this lecture educational and not academic.”

I did not make any sense out of the expression even though I found it captivating. And I have been asking myself: how does one make a lecture educational and not academic? I found an answer to this two years later and I feel academics and academically inclined Nigerians should also be less academic and more educational.

I realised what Professor Fakoya meant by that was that his lecture on “The English Language in Nigeria” was going to appeal and be beneficial to everyone who was present, whether or not they were from the Department of English.

Let me now pose a rhetorical question that we all who claim to be scholars should answer to ourselves:  WHO OUR BOOK HELP SELF? 50 papers in learned journals, 15 chapters in books, 22 conference papers, uncountable seminar presentations: what does this offer the general public?

Are you even pushed by the need to address a social or academic problem or you are merely pushed by the need to compile publications for your next promotion?

Education is the acquisition of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that make one a functional member of the society. If it is full of citations, figures, charts and diagrams and at the end we can’t have a feel of what it addresses in the society then it is merely academic with no educational significance.

The six stages of learning are: understanding, comprehension, synthesis, evaluation, summary and, APPLICATION. I am  giving two interpretations to application as the final stage of learning: the ability to apply what you have learnt to real life situations and the ability of what scholars or academics write to have a significance to the society.

Universities in  the developed countries are sources of income to their communities. This is consequent upon the quality of researches that their scholars turn out. Scholarship is worth it only when the TOWN benefits from the GOWN.

NB: I am a part of the audience of this essay. We all need to get better.

(c) 2017 Ganiu Abisoye Bamgbose (GAB)

Al-Makura At 65: Weathering By Grace, By Azige Machue

Umaru Tanko AL-Makura was born on November 15, 1952 in Lafia, now the capital of Nasarawa State. Like many children at the time, he had no idea of who he was going to become. Many years later, fortune and hard work did not only raise him to the peak of his business carrier, but made him the first individual to successfully challenge an incumbent Governor to victory in Nasarawa State and become the first Nigerian Governor to weather an impeachment attempt.

It is generally agreed that character is what makes a man succeed in any endeavour. It is the character of Al-Makura that has sustained him and brought him thus far. Al-Makura is a man of impeccable character- very simple, humble and and hard working.
Al-Makura is warm, lively and welcoming. He is never dull as he is full of life. In spite of being the number one citizen in Nasarawa State, he smiles generously to all people.

Al-Makura enjoys a special grace that sets him apart from other people, particularly, politicians. He lost his ability to hear in 1990 but he has been able to accomplish what many people with their complete senses have not been blessed to achieve.

As a humble man with impaired hearing, he staged one of the most challenging campaign against an incumbent Governor in 2011 and succeeded in enthroning himself. How he was able to effectively communicate with the people and convinced them to trust him with their mandate leaves many people stunned. Even with disability, he mobilized the best brains in the state to challenge the status quo and successfully staged a revolution in Nasarawa State to weather the odds.

Still under the influence of grace, Al-Makura stood firmly against traditional and political collaborations to stop his gubernatorial ambition in 2011. In spite of threats to his life and that of his supporters, he stayed afloat to weather all odds.

Assuming the leadership position of a state that was near completely rural with lack of basic social amenities, he took the bull by the horn to provide critical infrastructures such as roads that were never provided by any successive government in the state . He is an asset that came to be at the time it was most needed to turn around the fortune of Nasarawa State.

Within three years in office as Governor, Al-Makura was threatened nine different times with impeachment moves. The ninth and final threat culminated in the issuance of an impeachment notice. Consequently, an investigative panel was constituted to investigate the allegations levelled against him.

Being in the opposition and minority party, coupled with the fact that no Governor had previously weathered an impeachment attempt, it was thought in some sections of the state that Al-Makura was going to be removed. Amazingly, the grace he had always enjoined manifested in his life again to weather the threat.

Nasarawa State experienced devastating crisis that almost brought the state to its kneels under the reign of Governor Al-Makura. It was tough to curtail the attacks of the dreaded Ombaste group. It was equally tough to stop the killer herdsmen who were constantly involved in attacks and counter attacks with local farmers.

Consequently, in seeking a re-election in 2015, it was thought by many people that Al-Makura would not win a second term due to the ethnic, communal and even resource based crisis that engulfed the state. The opposition was banking on this to oust him. It was said that he deployed a “divide and rule” tactics to set various groups apart to prevent them from forming a formidable alliance to sack him from office. It was alleged in some quarters that he invited herdsmen to occupy the state and attack “his own people.”

However, for the grace he had always enjoyed, he weathered again and was re-elected for another term of four years. Many thought he will abandon some of his projects as it was in the character of some Governors who win a re-election. To the admiration of many, he has stayed true to his day one plan to provide basic infrastructures that can spur economic activities and improve the lives of the people.

Again, Al-Makura has been able to keep a viable and productive working relationship with his predecessors as well as officials of his political party, the APC. He has never been publicly involved in any altercation with his predecessors or party officials like it is obtainable in other parts of the country. Even when he lost some political associates with whom he was elected under the defunct CPC, including his deputy who decamped to an opposition party in the state, he never cast any aspersions against them in public. Till date, the political atmosphere is calm in the state because Governor Al-Makura is Weathering all odds to stay afloat.

At 65, Governor Al-Makura has weathered all odds to realize his dream and put Nasarawa State on the path of prosperity.

Congratulations to our darling Governor at 65!

The Return Of Schools To The Faith Based Organizations, By Sirajudeen Folayemi

INTRODUCTION
The education summit organized by the Ondo State Government under the coordination of ministry of education could have being a welcomed development for the repositioning of the educational sector in the state if not for some cardinal mistakes observed at the proceedings of the summit.

Prominent among the anomalies was the reduction of critical state holders in the sectors to mare spectators at the summit. Bodies such as ANCOPSS, ASUSS, NUT, PTA NASU and a host of others were not given a paper to present nor allowed to discuss any of the paper. The student’s were only allowed to present a position paper when they became a threat to the continuation of the summit.

At the formal opening ceremony, the speech of the First Citizen of the state as well as his body language clearly reflects the directions he would have loved the summit to take. To worsen the case the first lady also tows the same line as she could not be diplomatic in telling the summit some of her premonitions.

As an individual who have invested about 19years in the teaching and mentoring service in Ondo state, and as a keen observer of the educational politics as influenced by the Religious Bodies I feel the strong need to pen down my stand on one of the agenda raised and resolved progressively at the summit. I think I have all the moral obligations to pen down my observations and opinion about the summit, its proceedings, issues raised, resolutions made, as well as politics that played out on the floor of the summit.

The scope of this write up is not to Xray the details of the 19paragraph communique released as the resolutions of the summit, this write up only seek to correct paragraph/item number 4 as well as to present my progressive opinion about the return of schools to Faith Based Organizations FBO’S.

Item number 4 of the communique read thus ‘that the issue of return of schools to the original owners requires further engagement among stake holders in order to arrive at amicable and workable solutions’. With all sense of responsibility, the above was not the resolution of the summit rather it was the opinion of the general session moderator, that was not the resolution of the agenda of return of schools to the FBO’S.

At the summit when the agenda was presented, and it was the first to be read, the PTA, NUT, And the entire Muslim community of Ondo state represented by my humble self clearly rejected the entire idea because of the imminent dangers it poses to the educational development of our dear state. To cap the story up the agenda was later subjected to a voice vote and a thunderous and resounding NO resonates the main bowl of the Dome. To my greatest consternation, the moderator said our conclusion will be that further consultation will be made on the issue of return of schools to FOB’S! I called his attention to the fact that his statement does not reflect our resolutions at the floor of the summit only for the communique to reflect his statement rather than what transpired at the summit. The resounding NO on the return of schools to FBO’S was echoed in the presence of the Catholics Arc Bishop of Ondo diocese,  the First Lady as well as CAN and Anglican Leadership, I believe these eminent personalities would not deny this fact.

I am personally disturbed at this educational politics of religious inclusion,  the return of schools to the FBO’S was just one out of the many issues raised towards the development of the educational sectors in the state, several issues were raised which borders on funding of education,.strategies to reposition education in the state towards making education productive and purposeful, but as thing were now it’s as if the education summit has been reduced to one agenda of return of schools to the FBO’S. This is very unfortunate considering the huge resources invested in the prosecution of the summit and most embarrassingly is the current postulation of the First Lady who was a witness to the outright rejection of the agenda on the premises that it will be suicidal to the development of education in Ondo.state. The First Lady would have honorably kept mute as her position was well stated at the summit and it was out rightly rejected by the stake holders in the educational sector.

Ondo state government being the constituted authority with all power vested on it can return schools to FBO by fiat, it can even sell the schools to private bodies and dare the consequences, but for the government to invite critical stake holders to a two day marathon, brain tasking summit and at the end of the day starts postulating and brandishing something contrary to what was resolved at could best be described as irresponsible hypocrisy.

WHY THE PEOPLE OF ONDO STATE REJECTED THE RETURN OF SCHOOLS TO FOB’S
Education is the strongest tools of empowerment and development, it is a major factor which distinguishes man from other animals, and it is a yard stick to measure the level of the development of a country and also to forecast its prospect, in fact it is said that no nation will develop above the level of it’s education. If education will be effective and productive achieving its aims and objectives for individual and the nation, then it must be provided in an atmosphere free of religious bigotry and discrimination which was the bane of Nigeria education when the FBO’S was its custodian.

Permit me to say that the return of schools to FOB’S is archaic, barbaric, backward and non-progressive. It is a call to return to the colonial era and above all the call is contradictory to the electoral promises of the present administration. It is a call to hand over public properties to individuals in the name of FBO. It is a call to return to the dark era in the history of educational development in our nation, the call is fraudulent which is against progressive educational policy. It will result in more children being thrown out of schools, it is a call to.deny the children of the impoverished masses access to affordable qualitative education in an atmosphere of religious freedom devoid of bigotry.

THE CALL IS FRAUDULENT
The idea of the original owner of the school is fraudulent as it is a call to hand over government property to cooperate bodies in the name of FBO’S. The question that have been begging for answer whenever the issue of the return of schools to the original owner is raised  is, if the FBO’S are claiming the schools originally belongs to them what do we say about the huge amount of money the government used in compensating them (even though some of the organizations are denying this historical fact) when the schools were acquired in the 70’s, are they ready to refund the money in its true value i.e. 2dollars to one naira , or are they ready to buy the school in its present status, if the answer is yes,  I think they should go ahead and negotiate with the government rather than embarking on cheap propaganda in other to arouse unwarranted sympathy from the innocent masses who are ignorant of the consequences of this fraudulent request..

It will be a bad precedence, an ungodly act and the fraud of the century that the property that we (Muslim, Christian and traditional believers) owned together under the government trust to be handed over to profit oriented organization  under the guise of been original owner or FOB’S after acquisition, full compensation and heavily investing on the school by the government.

GOVERNMENT POLICY ON EDUCATION
If one of the policy of the government on education is aimed at making qualitative education to be available, affordable and accessible, then the fraudulent handing over of school properties and its administration to FOB’S would deny the Nigerian masses who are presently living below the poverty line access to qualitative education. Schools that were dubiously handed over to their acclaimed owner in Lagos for instance were converted to private institution and huge school fees affordable by only the money bags were imposed, even majority of the members of such organizations could not afford to pay such a fee and had to send their children elsewhere. It is a known fact that some of the most expensive schools in Nigeria today belongs to the FBO’S, for god’s sake why will the FBO’S seek dubious means to embark on business ventures as it is confirmed that the schools returned to the churches in the name of original owner or FBO’S were converted to money making ventures.

MORE CHILDREN WILL GO BACK TO THE STREETS.
When schools are returned to the so called original owners, or FBO’S, will the government hands of primary and post primary education? if no, will they quickly build new schools to cater for the children of the masses who will definitely not be able to afford the consequences of that action? if the answer is no, then the implication is more children will be thrown out of the school by this move. This will be antithetical to the vision of providing qualitative education to the majority of the Nigerian children. Nigeria is currently battling with serious security issues and one of the factors traceable to this situation is ignorance and illiteracy. Our stand is that government at all levels should not only improve on the facilities available in the existing schools, they should build more in other to remove more children from the streets..They should increase the educational votes in the federal and state budget.

A DARK PERIOD IN THE HISTORY OF EDUCATION
Without fear of contradiction, the call for the return schools to FBO’S or their original owners is nothing but a call to return schools to the Christian Missionaries or Church. This was established at the summit based on the arrays of supporters of the agenda which are majorly Christian Leaders. We say without the fear of criticism that this call is dubious, callous and fraudulent. It is a calculated attempt to further deny the Muslim child free access to qualitative education in an atmosphere of religious freedom.

All our fathers who are now elder state men who had the opportunity to attend the formal schools especially in the south in the early forties and fifties would bear us witness that it is a call to re awaking the systematic Christianization of the Muslim children. Anybody who knows the history of education in Nigeria and the adventure of the Muslim child in his quest to formal education which was then in the custody of the Christian Evangelists would agree with us that this period can best be described as a dark period in the history of education and development in our dear Nation.

During this sad and unfortunate period, the Muslim child either chooses his religion or western education if he wants to access formal education, consequently brilliant and talented young Muslims, who could have contributed positively to the development of Nigeria, were denied access to qualitative education because of religious bigotry. Those who agreed to access it were forcefully Christianized,

Even forty years after the schools were acquired by the government, formal educational institutions as it is presently in most part of the country and Ondo state in particular are nothing but Christian Evangelical Centers. The schools especially the primary and post primary institutions are consistently been used by the church in connivance with the government officials to forcefully Christianize Muslim children. Muslim children are either barred by state legislation or school administrators from exercising their religious rights.

Even in the federal unity schools where two uniforms have been adopted with one as hijab compliant, the educational administrators in major part of the country have refused to implement it and allow our children access qualitative education in an environment free of religious bigotry. The case is devastating and demoralizing to the level that not only are the Muslim children denied the practice and profession of Islam in schools funded with their fathers money successive  government in Ondo state have deliberately refuse to declare vacancy in Arabic and Islamic studies and some states in the south have deleted the duo from their curricular so that the young Muslims will be denied the teaching and learning of Islam and its language as a path towards the elimination of the future Muslims and their religion.

Governments and school administrators  in southern Nigeria and Ondo state in particular in the last 15years have refused to employ even a single Arabic or Islamic studies teacher The school activities/curriculum as it is have continuously forced the Muslim children to live the life of a Christian and dress as such. The Muslim Children are forced to study Christianity by massive employment of Christian Religious Studies teachers. They not only ensure that Islam and its culture is not obtainable in the school but even outside the school and if possible our homes. Muslim students who dare the situation are brutalized, dehumanized, demoralized, traumatized and are worst threatened to be expelled from schools maintained and managed by their parent tax.

It is disheartening that the Christian in the south and even the entire country have always raise false alarm that granting the Muslim permission to profess and practice their religion in government owned schools will bring about religious violence. We are surprised at this statement by the Christian that suppressing a section of the community and denying them their religious right will guarantee peace. Our Christian brethren are saying that violent will erupt when Muslims are allowed to practice and profess their religious belief in the school built and maintain with the tax payers (which include their father) money. We belief this is a call by the Christian group for the return of the country to the colonial era when education was used as a tool in the hands of the missionaries to not only suppress the Muslim but also to forcefully convert them to Christianity We believe the agenda is masterminded and orchestrated by the CAN leadership in Nigeria who has nothing good to offer Nigerians but to criticize Islam and its heritage. They have authored the script of Muslim elimination by substitution and the Christian governments especially in the south are acting this script using their legislation as reflected in the school curriculum which is manifestly anti-Islam.  My argument is that if this is the situation of the educational institution when it is said to be controlled by the government, we emerging what will happen if it is eventually handed over to the so called acclaimed owners or FBO’S or Church

OTHER CRITICAL REASONS
The over 2000 critical stake holder who painstakingly participated in the 2day summit and my humble self in particular do not share the thought of returning schools to FOB’S, it is true that educational reform policy which will guarantee free access of the citizenry and assures constructive development is expedient at this point in time but, I maintained that this can not be achieved through the so called Faith Based Organizations which today have proven to be materialistic more than the capitalist! My stand and strongest conviction is that, the decision to take over the schools from the Faith Based Organizations was one of the best thing that ever happened to educational administration in this country. Even before the acquisition of the schools from the Faith Based Organizations government not only provided the landed property for  the sitting of  the schools but more than 60% of the running cost were borne by the government of the various regions in the country.

THE IRONY OF THE POSTULATIONS OF THE FIRST LADY
We need to critically read between the lines of the Ondo state First Lady’s postulations on the subject matter to be able to appreciate the fact that it will be anti-productive to hand over public schools to the FBO’S. for heaven sake how will the state reduce the incidence of overcrowding in the class by handing over some schools to the Faith Based Organizations?  The infrastructure and personnel available in Ondo State public primary and secondary schools as at now is grossly inadequate. Instead of thinking along the line of improving on the existing facilities, some people for reasons better known to them are clamoring for the handing over of some of these schools to private bodies in the name of FBO’S.

The idea of some parents wanting their wards to be raised under religious atmosphere and as such some of the schools should be returned to the FBO’S is not only laughable but does not hold  water, this is because as at now there are more than enough private educational institution from primary to tertiary owned by FBO’S  which can adequately take care of that quest. Perchance if the institutions are inadequate then those parents can convince their FBO to build more schools rather than seeking fraudulent means to.take over public properties.

MORAL DECAY IN FBO’S
Aside from the above the FBO’S have not lived up to the expectations of showing dexterity in balancing moral aptitude with educational advancement in our modern time. Most of the Faith Based Institutions are today infested with moral decadence, pedophilia, incest, drug abuse and addiction,  cultism, lesbianism, sodomy and all shades of immorality are the hall mark of most Faith Based Organisations. Cases of rape, adultery, pornography are easily raised these days against religious leaders and their organisations. Immorality have infested the FBO’S and the institutions which they have established are not immuned from these evils. Some few years back cases of cultism were raised against  an institution established by one of the largest and fastest growing church in the country and funny enough some of the cult member were sons and daughters of senior pastors in the organization, .Even one of the kingpin eventually killed his own biological father, what an irony.

Leaders of FBO’S have in recent time show high level of corruption to the extent that a one time President of one of the largest Christian denomination in the country is presently facing corruption charges with EFCC. Little wonder why some secularist were of the opinion that religious institutions have failed the congregation and the country at large because of the fact that some of the  superrich personalities in the country today are the religious leaders with private jets, business conglomerate and huge wealth they can’t account for.

If 304 and 1141 public Secondary and Primary schools respectively in Ondo state are characterized with overcrowding as orchestrated by large number of students on enrollment,  I think it requires sane mind to appreciate the fact that it will be catastrophic to hand over even a single school to the FBO’S. It requires a progressive idea to know that the most reasonable policy to saxe the educational sector from total collapse is to build more schools, improve on the existing ones and expansion of  the infrastructure and personnel of such schools to reduce crowd and make education conducive and attractive with positive developmental touches.

The idea of quality and responsive education will be a mirage if we think that FBO’S and their educational institutions is the answer. As a seasoned senior tutor of about 19years and as a former  administrator of a private institution, I am fully convinced of my postulations,  it is an established fact and empirically proven that students of public institutions have continued to excel and perform better than the students of private institutions. If there is any doubt the summit can sponsor an independent research on identifying primary and secondary schools of first class and second class upper division holders from public universities in the country. Even most private higher institution graduates and school livers cannot defend their academic grades. This is because private institutions are nothing but business organizations and good academic result is a catalyst for the business development as such  everything must be done in other to have a good fruit,  we know what we are talking about. Despite the poor funding of the public institutions, best students are mostly from public schools and they are admitted into the federal and state higher institution while students from Faith Based Institutions and other private schools mostly further their education in private institutions. I know for sure that any organization will prefer results from OAU to that of any private university in the country.

MY PRAYER
Ondo state government  sake of posterity, the unborn generation, the development of the state and even for the sake of the traumatized and impoverished masses should not return schools to the FBO’S under any banner. This is because of its daring consequences as more children will be thrown out of schools because their parents would definitely not be able to afford the fees that will imposed by such organizations. As at now more than 90% of the students on enrollment are on the register of the public schools, their parents are at the mercy of the government to provide qualitative and affordable education for their children, what will be the plight of such parents and their children considering the fact that more than 70% of !Nigerians are living below the poverty line. Returning of schools to FBO’S will be the fraud of the century because this is simply handing over public properties to private business oriented individuals in the name of FBO’S.

It is a call to the return of the nation to the dark period in the history of educational development when educational institutions were used as tools in the hands of the religious bigot’s for forceful conversion and intimidation of the masses. It will work against the federal government policy on education as well educational policies of prominent international bodies with stakes in educational development of the developing nations.

Rather the government should build more schools,  improve on the existing educational infrastructures, increase or improve on the educational personnel especially teaching staff as well as prove adequate teaching materials. This can be achieved most importantly considering the dwindling government resources by dedicating the governor’s security vote’s to educational development. We can emerging if about N500M from the security vote is invested in education on monthly bases! The government should establish Ondo State Education Trust Fund and set up a committee of eminent personalities to manage the funds that will be so accrued.

Ondo state should also increase the budgetary allocation for education and above all the funds that is used in running the office of First Lady should be channeled to Education and the office should be scrapped because it is an unconstitutional office. With these measures there will be more than enough funds to manage, improve and take the educational sector in Onto state to an enviable height. This is what I called a herculean agenda and if my amiable governor  Arakunri Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu SAN. could embark on its execution, posterity will not only smile at you but will be lenient and write your name in gold. Thanks
May Allah bless Onto state, it’s populace and the government.

Sirajudeen Abdulazeez Folayemi
Former National President
Muslim students Society of Nigeria

Re: An Ounce Of Precision When Politics And Politicians All Goes Pear Shaped, By Jimi Bickersteth

As one looks from the outskirt of Abuja,curiosity aroused,under the motionless sun, it stood away as an ordinary marquee,a deformed foetus, which this morning lay under a blanket of rain clouds; inside, one is greeted by a colourful sparkling world, a world with changing column and contrasting Azures.
It is axiomatic ( to say) that a whole is greater than any of its parts,but I’m not sure if that is true of Abuja,fierce and commanding on the outside, noble and discernible on the inside; and Nigeria empty and forlorn. The fascinating sight of the splendour of the FCT, its scenic beauty,attractive skyline
and attraction more than
made up for the discomfort of making this trip from Aba by road.
In the light of the Abuja scenario and the petronaira abuse it advertises, one considers the nation’s past years; fifty seven of it as quaint – puzzling, even atrociously appealing, with millions of its healthy young people at the crisis stage at the most productive time of life,due to no war. I am talking about the state of the nation, its economy,unemployment and politics, and a nation that could no longer cope with the demand for health care services,adequate housing et al.
The Abuja that has left
society,which on its own
has revised,resisted, and rejected absolutes,while embracing relativism,with little or no morals or spiritual compass;and which has citizens filled with blood with stress hormones-cortisol and adrenaline among others. Hormones that often bombard and damage the brains, that for the rest of their lives they will not think and feel what its government does,a government that has lost the capacity to empathize with those who suffer, society will pay a terrible price for it in years to come.
Meanwhile, the elders in government,who might as well be dead for aught,have set up a business under the auspices ‘of a government aid scheme’,and are holding on to the reins of power refusing to relinquish it,yet they are au fait with the system.A terrorist with a nuclear weapon is every national politician’s nightmare. A greater population, many of which have decaying infrastructure, unemployment, poverty and lack, horrific food shortages, increasing lawlessness and a remarkable deterioration of human values should be.
In spite of everything, too few,if any at all,amongst our politicians and so-called leaders are awake to the imminent danger facing the nation and its future hope(the young generation)-and an awakening realization that, all is not well in a country where getting a job is difficult, and finding a place to live even more so; as the people are daily awakened to the fact that,the diagnoses of the nature of the nation’s problems and the long-term prognosis for the future is not too encouraging and not good;because the symptoms were of little diagnostic value.
All must take a dim view of
why things are not working in spite of government’s therapeutic prescriptions that has turned all to dreary people leading dreary lives,what with the threat of schism within the government, if you are current, but, if you are not, permit my indulgence.
Up until this morning and with eighteen years of unending transition under its belt,its been really difficult to pinpoint what went wrong with the Nigerian nation whose politicians and public servants earn at least #1.126trillion yearly, but one thing is certain, the general state of pervasive poverty, hunger and lack all around.
An IGP whose strongest drive is sex. Sex,that
sweet-nothing that can propel you into making decisions that mess up your life, society and destroy relationship and camaraderie.
Puzzling indeed! Yet, it has a deep impact on the nation’s life,on a people used to “come and chop”,Amala, Bread and butter politics-a case of a people deserving the leaders/government they get. Leaders who got the nation’s resources, from energy sources to fresh water and clean air,(appropriated amidst their cronies and coterie of advisers under questionable circumstances), in some cases, heavily depleted and or polluted.
The present is putting such strain on the natural formation of our land, that the ability of the ecosystem to sustain future generation is being called to question and can no longer be taken for granted. What are our politics!
Tragically, we don’t see much joy and happiness nowadays. It’s certainly not in newspapers or the nightly news, not from political parties and elected representatives from whom we expect succour, palliative, and an enabling environment that would usher in and guarantee peace,progress,unity and prosperity,they are in turmoil themselves. Look at the average crowd walking down the streets and or at bus stops, one word come to mind-grim. Overcast faces forecast dreary, so mildly depressing days with little or no chance of any laughter.
It becomes clear as the day, that the simple resultant domino effect of “Change”
is itself having some ripple effects, as can be seen in this my way or the highway character and attitudes enveloping the people in power, while the ordinary people in our nation live in fear,  because of the level and sophistication of crime and other civil security challenges.They put bars on their windows and double locks on their steel doors, which does not make them a safe haven,anyway.
They don’t go out late at night.The streets are tough, innocent people are being mauled and victimised every day, serial kidnapping, daring daylight robberies of banks premises, indiscriminate bombing attacks, intimidation by suicide bombers,bombing of oil pipelines, and the streets generally unsafe;something had to be wrong, if men had to make prisoners of themselves in order to feel safe and secure.
Yet, as a society we have come to tolerate this;and instead of getting to the bottom of the
problems,we come up with all sorts of gimmicky solutions that are supposed to help combat and prevent crime. If we would just equip and improve and let the police system do their job, and let the criminal justice do its job properly, in a nation that has rigid laws- laws which the police, with a couldn’t-care-less-attitude found difficult to operate. We seem to be saying crime pays.
It is society’s concern when we saddle police officers with defensive mentality and shackle them with unnecessary restraints designed to protect the rights of the criminals. These are people whom we ask to go out and deal with some of the most hardened thugs in the inner cities,in neighbourhoods where drugs are bought and sold on every corner.
We ask them to put their lives in jeopardy, and often, they lose their cool and overreact, sometimes costing needless killings.The inefficiency of the court system compounds the danger to which they are exposed . They’ll go and make an arrest, and hours later the perpetrator.
In a nation whose constitution creates so many lacunae, some of which make it easy for politicians to feed sumptuously on the commonwealth, and become a bad influence on the society, because of the bad precedent they are setting, and couldn’t care less about the name they are leaving behind or the legacy they are bequeathing to the nation where there’s the likelihood of the economy shrinking further. Shouldn’t the lawmakers sacrifice a little,by the way.
The lawmakers must note
that every person has a right to their own opinion but no one has a right to be wrong on their facts. One must state that one of the great needs required today, is to be forthright, honest and positive in speech,language and judgement, even while the crisis of leadership, and war against corruption lasted. The times are showing that it is better to be patient than be powerful. There’s the need therefore, to use the power of the legislature to aid development and provide enabling environment.
Even as the nation has learnt from PMB’s calmness,(who is laughing here),that we  must strive to evolve for all human conflicts a method which rejects aggression, reprisals and retaliation. That Conflicts if properly resolved in a peaceful atmosphere and setting, and with nobility of spirit will deepen the democratic institutions and indeed our democracy,but will all this
really put food on our tables.
One should just go on to add that the nation can strive for success and greatness, but if our political leaders fail to have integrity and to have principles, then the whole of the nation is shallow and their so-called services hollow. You see,in time like this, when the nation is confronted with battles left, right and center, politically, economically, and socially, our politicians must come to terms with the fact that crisis doesn’t develop character, crisis reveals character;and that everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the lost of the human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
The time such as we are,
does demand from our politicians to place the nation’s interest above all personal and or group interest.The nation has reached a plateau with a ceiling on its progress if the national Assembly,for instance, continue to look through the binoculars the wrong way. All they’ll be able to see is tiny little images instead of the big picture;and they’ll only be agonising, overreacting and will not be responding to the situation.
To be a leader, you have to make people want to follow you and nobody wants to follow someone wandering, who don’t know where they are going. The nation is battling hard against corruption, heist, perjury, budget padding and its frater cousin, forgery-all of which injure our psyche and sense of humour.
The truth be told, the ailing pressy, the vibes emanating from the Red chamber,and
in spite of the façade of the nation’s unity and oneness is quite unsalutary, and
unsavoury.The political class therefore has to tread and hasten slowly, but be circumspect, and note that it may be difficult a task for it to break the peoples resolve for fairness, equity and justice in the long run.
A people that are in any case, angry at the notion that the poor have no choice but to engage in criminal behaviour to compensate for society’s mistreatment of them; and the rich, powerful,public servants have no choice but loot and forge because of their closeness to our Treasury. The People are saying that they want government to protect their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and progress. And this requires peace,justice and order.
The answers to the troubling questions and solutions thereof is for the nation to depart from the norm of business-as-usual to progress and prosper;not this going about cavalier-like,as if the nation’s economy is a zero-sum-game. If I have more, that means someone else will have less;it must be a growing pie. This is where the national Assembly, (albeit, the politicians) are
getting it wrong. It is too quiet in its intercessory roles in matters of national importance, the grand inequality all around,the pervasive hunger and lack, the IPOB restlessness being some of them.
Just because I have a certain slice of the pie or
you have a certain slice of the pie does not exclude anybody else from it by design. Focus on this and all the wars of attrition and all the war for restructuring of the polity would have been over. But the Nigerian politicians have continued to think, believed,behaved and reacted as if (1) the economy is a zero-game,that there’s only so much to go round and that it has to be shared. (11)They do not comprehend expanding wealth or creating wealth,(111)they viewed wealth as limited and finite and want to redistribute it.
It’s painful that the APC that showed like a bright light in a dark cave,trying to expose the leakages and weaknesses in the system after eighteen years of uninterrupted party politics, spanning four régimes and three executive presidents, has,take it or leave it, began to falter and crumble with the glum and poverty all around the nation, revealing why the APC’s “Change” received the nation’s tepid support- passivity at its best. Nigerians,seised,used to know where they stood, but don’t know any more about anything, and the nation keep schlepping these boxes of tragic circumstances year in year out.
I’m I beginning to get my stomach in to that mode that stomachs get when some thing is wrong with them. One thing is clear, Nigerians are not getting their bowels in an uproar over what is, save the likes of IPOB etc,because the majority seems to be aware that you can change some things, some things you can’t and some things can change you, but you got to accept the fact of whatever is,so you don’t isolate reality and truth, however bitter. Maybe I should add that those who suffered through the civil war will have no difficulty comprehending the word ‘war’. But their children and grandchildren have a more limited concept of what war meant. So their parents must speak up,we can get there without the chants of war,warmongering or do the real battle.
PMB have a job until 2019,I don’t think he should have time to sit around and think about how good he is at it;
but give the nation Realpolitik, he must, based on the actual curcumstances and needs of the people, not on morals or ideals, even now that he’s grown recluse,virtual recluse, due to the frail state of his health. If this do not happen, I know Nigerians do know enough to be able to begin to ask some common sense questions in the coming days.
For the present moment, one thing is lacking, and this PMB must know. PMB needs to know how to be alone and not be defined by any person, body or group. He should strive to be in charge, and through the legislature, spelled the ground rules of doing things and in clear terms, let the nation know that the law is not about preventing people from enjoying life or oppressing them, but the establishment of limits on behaviour.
After all, laws are the tools to build an orderly society.
An orderly society cannot be achieved or maintained if we allow people to do whatever they wish or and wont to in an attempt to find their feet in the nation’s stormy waters at this trying times,with no regard for anything but their pleasure, personal and sectional interests.The nation can no longer excuse people from all personal responsibilities for their actions.
PMB must fillip efforts aimed at salvaging whatever remained of the Nigerian dream.Nigerians deserved no less. He is to inject the institutions of state with new ideas because without new ideas,institutions tend to petrified. New ideas on distribution of wealth and resources, social security, safety net etc.
There is another thing that is manifestly wrong with the PMB’s administration, it is the inability to understand and gauge the people’s mood. I venture to say that the clamour all over the land today is that, the reform, read my lips, the reforms of the nation’s economic and political system is nigh. It’s going to be a journey, especially-a long,slow one!
On this, it’s important for PMB and his administration to focus on understanding the people, even as it is open, and authentic, so that the people can understand them. Unwilling to be transparent can only make a leader vulnerable. Secrecy spawns isolation, not success. Knowledge is power, yes! But what leaders need is collective power, and that requires collective knowledge.
Any time people sense information is being withheld from them,it creates disservice. They feel like outsiders and insecurity reigns.( here,I have MASSOB, NDA,MEND etc in mind),So open up! Whatever the conditions, open up. Everyone has a problem. The only people who don’t-are in cemeteries. The real problem is- how we handle our problems.
PMB must note that
creativity can solve almost any problem. For creativity to be released, the nation must i)be goaded on the right path,ii)identify the barriers and start taking them down by rational, pragmatic and humane operations.Here’s a common one: ‘We have always done it this way’. People who say that have stopped thinking for themselves. They’re just putting in their time,waiting for open packet and going home at the end of the day without thinking; reflecting or even considering the
possibilities of change. Mind-deadening routine is the cancer of creativity. Start questioning policies, techniques, rules, paperwork-anything that’s become routine, ask, why do we do that? is it necessary? can we do it better? On the farm of success there should be no sacred cows.
On corruption and abuse of office, the government should declare war, real war, yes, it’s that cruel last option in human relations, if need be put those unrepentant criminals in body bags.
PMB’s success will always be measured by his ability and where he stands on the issue of justice, peace, happiness and good governance. Of course, there appears to be a disconnect between the people and PMB, due largely to the enormity of rut and rot in the system, both inherited and acquired and the politicians are not helping matters. But the burden may be lightened by PMB showing up and finding means of putting food on our tables and jump start the economy and bring the guilty to justice in earnest.None the less, PMB should begin,get on with it. Well begun is half done. Concentrate!While they turn the hallowed Chamber to a soap box, thundering as roaring lions, and throwing brickbats at their perceived antagonists and conqueror, although unproductive and unnecessary. Concentration is the secret of strength in politics, in war, in short, in management of all human affairs. A Nobel Prize winner and 26th president of the USA Theodore Roosevelt, offered a challenge,”For better it is to dare…than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much,they live in the great twilight that knows neither victory or defeat.” It is never too late for the nation to be what it might have become.
Last line:some animals come together and agreed that the bat is a mad animal, confronted the insane animal in their midst, and put him through a sanity test. Describe what a tree look like. Well, said the bat, a tree has a long brown trunk at the top and green leaves at the bottom. Crazy!is it?everything is a matter of perspective.#Jimi Bickersteth.
Jimi Bickersteth is a blogger and a writer.He can be reached on twitter
@alabaemanuel
@bickerstethjimi @akannibickersteth jimi.bickersteth@yahoo.co.uk

President Buhari’s Silent Support For The South-East, By Garba Shehu

President Muhammadu Buhari’s two-day visit to the South-Eastern states of Ebonyi and Anambra is taking place at the most opportune juncture, to show support to a governor who has done so much in promoting the President’s policy on food self-sufficiency and to to endorse his party’s candidate in a crucial vote to install a new governor through an election at the weekend in Anambra.

Given the unfortunate secessionist winds sown by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB the President’s visit should be seen as part of the measures promised by the administration, following successful cooperation between the federal government, the region’s five governors and the cultural leadership of the people, the Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo. This joint effort has in no small means achieved success in putting out the fires ignited by IPOB. The visit should go further in soothing frayed nerves and provide an opportunity to listen more to the cries of the people of the region.

This visit should give the nation a clear break in the mindset from the negativity that characterized the perception of the Buhari administration in the region, following his victory in the 2015 election in which a majority cast its lot with the former President Dr Goodluck Jonathan by giving him 2,464,906 votes, against Muhammadu Buhari’s 198,248 (more or less the same votes he got from one or maximally two of some local council areas in a populous State).

Following the outcome of this election, some of the politicians who lost began to whip up fears of vendetta against the the region even when there was no basis at all for this. It may have been a defensive strategy. But it nonetheless led to emotional responses to the President expressed through anger, paranoia, fear, frustration, resentment and confusion.

I recall that when he spoke on the subject of political patronage at the U.S Institute of peace, he described the way most democracies work that the one who gave 95 percent did not get the same as the the one gave five percent votes but said emphatically that “I’am a different kind of leader.” He said, more or less in these words that he would be fair and just to all citizens irrespective of the way they voted and went on to add that this country’s constitution protects all citizens, all parts thereof by making specific provisions for fair and balanced distribution of appointments and projects known the federal character principle.

This was misconstrued and used to whip up sentiment against him in states that did not vote for him, even after the transcripts of what he actually were published.

This negativity had prevailed in spite of the conscious effort the President made to reassure the South-East by giving four of the region’s five states four senior cabinet posts, which are foreign affairs; industry, trade and investment; science and technology and labor, employment and productivity.

And given the choices he made, the South-East Ministers today rank among the best this country has ever had if you look at their individual performances.

If you go through the online newspapers of the country, everyday, every week and every year there are stories about marginalization against a people for whom the President is doing so much to ensure their security,dignity and prosperity.

Beyond these misplaced fears, these south-easterners are a people known for their creativity, industry and hard work, from whose sweat the economy has benefited immensely. But it is equally true that they have not been served in due proportion by successive administrations in post-independence Nigeria. Had governments of yesteryears discharged their responsibilities to the region, and to the country at large, we might not have been in a situation of tensions and anger leading to violence and secessionist agitation which have their roots in the lack of infrastructure and opportunity for citizens to excel. By God, today’s investments in infrastructure and people should change all that.

Beside the issue of political representation, federal roads in the South-East are a perpetual issue in our country. But each state in the country complains of bad federal roads. However, contrary to the notion that nobody in this government is doing anything about those roads, the region has a good number of roads paid for by the federal government that are under either completed or undergoing repairs/construction.

As of May this year, there are 600 was kilometers of roads that are under rehabilitation/ construction across the South East zone’s five states which include:

• Rehabilitation of Owerri – Umuahia Road Sections I, II, III in Imo/Abia States
•  Rehabilitation of Enugu – Port Harcourt Dual Carriageway Section II
• Ongoing construction work on the Rehabilitation of Enugu – Port Harcourt Dual Carriageway Section II
• Rehabilitation of  Ikot  Ekpene – Ikot Umuoessien – Aba Road in Abia / Akwa – Ibom States.
• Ongoing construction work on the Rehabilitation of  Ikot  Ekpene – Ikot Umuoessien – Aba Road in Abia / Akwa – Ibom States
• Ongoing construction work on the Rehabilitation of Enugu – Port Harcourt Dual Carriageway
• Ongoing construction work on the Rehabilitation of Ikot  Ekpene – Ikot Umuoessien – Aba Road in Abia / Akwa – Ibom States.
• Enugu-Aba- Port Harcourt Expressway, which runs through Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia and Ebonyi States covering about 31 roads as well as construction of pedestrian bridges and flyovers, traffic signs and lights; the outstanding section of Onitsha-Enugu Road.
• Umana-Ndiagu-Adaebele-Udi Road in Ndiagu, Nsukka—Oboloafor -Ihamufu Road
• Ninth Mile-Nsukka-Oboloafor Road.
• Ohafia-OsoRoad (In Ebonyi and Abia States: 11.7 km)
• Nnenwe-Uduma-Uburu Road, Section1 (14 km in Enugu/Ebonyi)
• Rehabilitation of Abakaliki-Afikpo Road; Section 1 (20.5 km)
• Rehabilitation of Abakaliki-Afikpo Road Section 11 (19.5 km)
• Construction of Obubra-Ikwo-Onueke-Nkomoro-Agba-Ezekuna-Ogboji-Nara-Cross River Border Road (7 km)
• Aba-Port Harcourt Dual Carriageway (section 11)
• Umuahia Tower-Aba Township Rail/Road Bridge Crossing (56.1Km)
• Rehabilitation of Lokpanta-Umuahia Tower (59.5km)
• rehabilitation of Calabar-Itu-Ikot-Ekpene-Aba-Owerri Section 111
• Ikot-Ekpene-Ikot Umuoessien-Aba Roadin Abia/Akwa-Ibom (43.2km)
• Owerri-Umuahia Road, Sections 1,11 and 111
• The Ikot-Ekpene Border: Aba-Owerri Dualisation Road Section 1, Phase 1 (11.26km)
• Mbaise-Ngwa Road Ohase 1 (14 km)
• Amanwaozuzu-Uzoagba-Eziama-Orie-AmakohiaRoad (10km)
• Oba-Nnewi-Okigwe Road Section 11, among others

Of course there is the SECOND NIGER BRIDGE about which so many lies have been told to our brothers in the South-East.

A past president laid the brick once. Thereafter, he did nothing to actualize it. Having forgotten a promise made, he had a ceremony organized for him to inaugurate the project when the time to seek re-election came.

When the Obi of Onitsha reminded the then presidential candidate of his earlier promise to do bridge, he got angry. He stopped short of calling the Obi a liar in his palace by outrightly denying ever making the promise.

Now, on the Second Niger Bridge in Onitsha, Anambra State, the contractor had re-mobilized to site. In the budget proposals read last week at the National Assembly, President Buhari listed this bridge as one of the administration’s priority projects and announced an an allocation of 10 billion Naira expenditure for 2018.

Other projects for the South East include:

AIRPORT TERMINAL BUILDING

• Construction of New International Terminal in Enugu.

COASTAL RAIL PROJECT

• The coastal rail line has its route alignment passing through Aba in Abia State and Onitsha in Anambra State.

MARITIME ACCESS

With the dredging of the river Niger commissioned by NIWA, the yearning for maritime access to the sea by the south-east and the North as well, is just a matter of time for it to be realized.

Good projects apart, in the South-East as in all other subregions,

good governance is also necessary and the steps the federal government is taking to deal with corruption, terrorism, banditry and lawlessness have the effect of lifting this country out of poverty and lack of development. The country’s efforts to modernize its trade and investment by easing the process of doing business has already attracted the attention and acclaim of the world, and is giving Nigeria a quick rise in the ranking of countries. Known for their industrial and commercial prowess, there is no gain saying who the biggest beneficiaries are.

On the basis of these projects alone, no one should have any reason to doubt the good intentions of the President towards the South-East. Even if some of the people may not support the government, they cannot deny that their region has got a fair deal from President Buhari. The President in his conscience is clear on all fronts that he has been fair to the region and will continue to encourage the efforts of each state as it strives to excel in one endeavor or another. The federal government’s support of Ebonyi state’s rice growing schemes leaned on a permanent solution to the fertilizer supply crisis in the country bears true testimony to a successful partnership between the center and the subregion. In the field of agriculture alone, we have seen this new synergy in the functioning of the governments at the center and the state. This is cooperative federalism at work, and at its best. Which in turn has led to a beneficial relationship based on mutual respect, hope and trust between the governor and the president in spite of political party differences.

The fruit of this type of relationship commends itself to other leaders in the country to shed old mindsets and maintain caution while making statements and to not get carried away by emotions leading to unnecessary tensions.

To help the nation move forward as one, the media for their part must decide against making unsubstantiated allegations and aspersions being leveled against the leadership at the center for the mere fun of catching the headlines. The country needs this to maintain the delicate balance of the relationships between our diverse population and to avoid weakening our democracy. We need to do this and more to achieve something of substance for the nation.

Finally, it is to be hoped that beyond putting out the fire of these misplaced fears, President Buhari’s visit would help to put the spotlight on the silent achievements of his administration in this distinct region so that the ordinary citizen will be reassured that he/she matters, and be rid of the notion that they are getting the short end of the stick.

PDP: Una Mumu Neva Do? By Yahaya Usman

The ruling APC lacks focus, lacks tact and lacks program, the PDP is still spinning around the fulcrum of its loose since 2015. The smaller parties are not taking advantage and making gains.
But I am more concerned about the PDP even though I am no more a member, because I am a believer in multi- party democracy, strong opposition and vibrant political agitation that allows the citizens have a choice.
As it stands today, Nigerians are not getting the best from their votes cast and PDP is not ready to give an alternative.
Beginning from the ward congresses the PDP never showed any sign it was ready to upgrade, repackage and rebound, a good example is in my state, Niger state, where failed executives who led the party to failure were promoted to a higher executive positions.
Ward excos are now local government excos, local government excos are now in the zones and even state executive positions, the worst being that the state executive fingered in so many financial misdemeanors are now leading the party. Una MUMU neva do?
A case in hand is that of a former minister Asabe Ahmed who confessed to have handed over the sum of #305 Million Naira to the party officials from the #405 Million she received from the Dasukigate, what the party excos did with the money cannot be explained till now that I write yet the campaign was starved of funds and so many programs were either canceled or shifted or combined for lack of funds.
At the National level, the PDP couldn’t even show class or a little shame, a party plagued and accused of so much financial recklessness, impropriety and outright theft couldn’t show a scintilla of integrity, only to end up with an Ali Modu Sherriff who has being fingered in so many unpalatable events as an acting chairman, He, it was who dragged the PDP brand from the mortuary to the grave yard.
In a sane society, Sherriff with the kind of Negative publicity he has can’t even be a member of a party seeking to takeover power from a Party that has the likes of Buhari as a member, that stupidity took the PDP two years to correct at the supreme courts but the blunders of in the states and the damage has since been inflicted.
Another stupidity that defies logic is to hear that the former National youth leader, Maibasira who despite being fingered to have collected tonnes of millions even running into billions without any impact on the election result of 2015 even within his own state is now being put forward by the same group who took him out of civil service against other long suffering party loyalists for the position of National financial Secretary zoned to Niger in the next convention. PDP UNA MUMU NEVA DO? aren’t there other young vibrant youths from other zones?
Fast forward to the National convention scheduled for December 2017, it is as though the PDP is a party destined for doom to see the likes of Dokpesi, Bode George an ex-convict showing themselves up for the National chairmanship and even pulling weight, what a calamity? It is understandable that Dokpesi is not found guilty yet, but wasn’t he the same person who formed APDA?
If the PDP is serious for any competitive outing in 2019, the best bet is to zero in on Jimi Agbaje, I don’t know him but I have watched him speak and campaign with tact, intelligence and mien that shows the kind of leadership that a serious opposition will need in 2019. Or at least a Gbenga Daniels whose carriage and smile might attract Nigerians to the party,
With Jimi Agbaje’s or Gbenga Daniels’s intelligence and formation of alliance or merger and a total rebranding, PDP might begin to show some seriousness albeit under another name, colours and attitude. But for now it seems Dem MUMU neva do
Yahaya Mohd Usman
Journalist and politician

Bolaji Abdullahi Himself And Not Maina Is A Legacy Of Jonathan And PDP, By Reno Omokri

My attention has been drawn to an interview granted by Bolaji Abdullahi, the National Publicity of the All Progressive Congress in the Punch newspapers for Saturday November 11, 2017, where he alleged that Abdulrasheed Maina is a legacy of Maina is a legacy of former President Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party?

In the said interview, Abdullahi also alleged that “David Mark, declared at a plenary that the then President Goodluck Jonathan should choose between Maina and the National Assembly.”

This is historical revisionism of the highest order and is a major feature of the dishonest character trait that the APC has become known for.

Andulrasheed Maina was not recruited into the civil service during the PDP administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. That administration and the party met him already in the system.

When his alleged thievery was discovered, it was the PDP administration of President Jonathan that dismissed Maina from the civil service and declared him wanted.

But what happened in the intervening years?

Rather than living up to its propagandized anti corruption pretensions, the Muhammadu Buhari led APC administration through the current Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, wrote a memo to the Federal Civil Service Commission advising them to reinstate the fugitive Maina. This is an indisputable fact.

After this atrocious act by Malami, the Buhari administration recalled Abdulrasheed Maina, reinstated him and gave him double promotion.

When Premium Times blew the lid off the scandal, the Maina family gave a press conference where they stated that their son was invited by the Buhari administration to help it deliver on its change agenda.

It was also discovered that Abdulrasheed Maina had printed posters to contest to be the next Borno state Governor under the banner of the APC.

More than two weeks after the Maina family press conference, the Buhari administration is yet to deny their assertions.

Nigerians may recall that the Maina family threatened that they would ‘expose the cabal in the Presidency’ if they don’t back off Maina.

It would also be recalled that Junaid Mohammed revealed that Abdulrasheed Maina was moving about with armed security escorts.

Also, after President Buhari denied that he was aware of the Maina affair, his own Head of Service wrote a memo reminding him that she had warned him in person about reinstating Maina BEFORE the act, proving that the President lied.

Rather than reward this dutiful public servant, the Buhari administration tried to bully her in an attempt by the President’s Chief of Staff which was caught on camera.

So again, I ask Bolaji Abdullahi how Maina can be a legacy of Jonathan and the PDP in view of the above indisputable facts?

If at all anybody is a legacy of the PDP, that person is no other than Bolaji Abdullahi himself who was brought to national limelight by the PDP administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan who gave him a ministerial position.

He is now spokesman of the APC today, a typical trait of an unprincipled AGIP (Any Government In Power) politician.

We are aware that the APC administration is embarrassed by its one day one scandal government.

Whether it is Maina, the NNPC $25 billion scam, Babachir grass cutter scam, Amina Mohammed’s $300 million timber scandal, the ?700 million ministry of mines and steel website, Buratai’s Dubai house, the Ikoyi billions, the budget padding scandal, the missing budget scandal, no paracetamol in State House Clinic scandal, the fact remains that the Buhari administration has delivered more CORRUPTION than CHANGE to the Nigerian people.

We therefore ask Bolaji Abdullahi and the APC to keep their beloved Maina and leave former President Jonathan and the PDP out of their love affair with him.

Reno Omokri (For Dr. Goodluck Jonathan)

Bestselling author of Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years: Chibok, 2015 and Other Conspiracies.

#NotTooYoungToRun: A Personal Experience, By Jude Feranmi

Every time I am caught in introspecting about Nigeria and meditating about the solutions to the many problems that we face as a nation, from corruption to lack of infrastructure to a huge housing deficit to the rotten educational system to insecurity in all the corners of the geo-political zones to internet fraud and codeine addiction amongst the youth, I am forced to think about the future of Nigeria.

What will this future look like? Most of the times when I get the opportunity to speak to an audience, I have formed an habit of asking the audience to add 20 years to their current age and try to project what life in Nigeria will be in that time. From all indicators, figures and charts, the picture of this future is such that no one will be interested in being a part of that future.

This future starts from as early as next year when Nigeria will overtake India as the country with the highest number of people living in extreme poverty to 25 years’ time when Nigeria will be competing with China, India and US for top 3 most populated country to 15 years’ time when there would have already been at least 7 metres rise in the sea level covering most of Bayelsa State and the luxury highlands of the coast of Lagos that are just 5 metres above sea level.

The old-age prayer that the lives of the young ones will be better than what the old ones experienced no longer obtains. There is now a seemingly, even proud assertion by members of the old generation that what they experienced was far better than what we have today with the slogan-ization  of the “good old days”. When this gloomy future finally arrives, who will be the victims and the casualties?

It is at this point that the #NotTooYoungToRun movement comes in. An advocacy that started before the days of President Goodluck Jonathan has now metamorphosed into a global movement with the United Nations Youth Envoy latching on the narrative to drive home that demand – that young people be allowed to run for office. Here in Nigeria the demands are to reduce the age for contesting to as low as 25 for the House of Representatives and 35 for President.

The #NotTooYoungToRun Bill having thankfully passed both houses have now being sent to the state houses of assembly for the next hurdle as we hope for its eventual passage in at least 24 states. As a strong proponent of this bill having canvassed for its passage, I think there is a more serious need to now at least start to ask the hard questions that critics have posited as their reasons for its objections.

How many of Nigeria’s young, passionate competent people who are advocates of this bill are known and popular in their wards of residence/origin? How many of us are impactful enough on a local scale? How many of us are recognized as the leaders of this generation the same way we are recognized on social media? How much followership do we have in our wards? To what level can we influence the politics of our community vis a vis security, economic activity, local organizing for solving little problems and overall emotional impact?

There is no gainsaying in asserting that we need to ease our way into the leadership of our nation right now so that we can make the policies that  positively impact on the future that we will be a part of, as opposed to our current leaders whose vision is about how proposals and projects and legislation benefits them and their pockets today, not even tomorrow. But to change this leadership into future-centric leaders amongst us who are passionate about better living for us all, we cannot but start at the lowest level where it matters.

As a young Nigerian, I have seen my parents go through the painful experience of building a factory and shutting it down after 5 years, a lot sweat and high blood pressure. I have seen the effect of poor education as my friends who we played football on the same streets go from dropping out of school to becoming broke to turning into survival criminals. I have seen my country fail the best students in a class in accidents on a road trip only to fly their corpses back home to their parents and lecturers destroy female students’ careers because they refuse to sleep with them.

Most of those who have led the #NotTooYoungToRun movement are leaders of the 83 civil society organizations who came together to start this about 9 years ago. As we continue to engage the state representatives on the passage of the #NotTooYoungToRun bill, we must sit back and ask ourselves what roles we are going to play in the gloomy future that besets us. Are you going to be laying the foundation for another generational mistake like we witnessed in 1966 and 1999 by staying in the background while those who are versed in the ‘usual way to do politics’ take over this advantage? Are you going to be simply content with opening up the space for the children of those who have gone before us to destroy our future and care nothing for the next day talk less of the next year?

I am strongly convinced that unless we ALL go back to our wards and make the case for a better Nigeria in our lifetime and the case for a change in leadership to make that happen, our efforts will not only have been in vain, we would have actively contributed to the continued oppression of this incompetent and selfish political class.

I have decided to take that ‘backward’ step. I hope all the young and passionate Nigerians with a high level of competence, the capacity to deliver results and the character to lead the aspirations of a new Nigeria will do the same.

Jude Feranmi,

National Youth Leader,

KOWA PARTY

Senate Approval Of Amosun’s $350m Loan, A Grave Yard For Unborn Generations In Ogun State, By Ifemosu Adewale

The cankerworm, plaque and evil which has since bedevilled our polity and system was said to be fought headlong by this administration.
However, the present action from the Senate with respect to the request of the Ogun State Government headed by Governor Ibikunle Amosun $350million loan from World Bank and the approval by the Senate is a National Conspiracy against the good people of Ogun State.
Amosun who before now has come out to say Ogun State is indebted to over 107billion Naira, which will be duely paid in the next Thirty Years, was responsible for sending a letter of request on the approval for another backlog loan on the good people of Ogun State.
One would want to ask, as every reasonable and objective citizen will: Why is Ogun State needing a loan again? Why are we borrowing again? Why is Senator Ibikunle Amosun mortgaging the lives of unborn generations in a disguise of meaning well for the people? What has Amosun done to the three time release of the Paris Loan, which is of utmost importance to the State? The implication of this is that Amosun is digging a graveyard for the unborn generations and the self move to borrow yet another whooping sum of  $350million is baseless and a compromise of the President Buhari’ s fight against corruption.
Secondly, as a citizen of Ogun State , I am not unaware of the fact that it is in the best discretion and obligation of Ogun State citizens that Amosun is asking for a loan from World Bank.
Amosun has successfully finished and mortgage Ogun State, Poverty has been the normal under his administration, baseless construction has been his utmost priority, governance of bitterness and calumny has been his watchword, lies and deceit has been his daily recitation, hatred and self centeredness has been his daily attire, however with this Loan approval Amosun has again displayed his attitude on eating all he have to eat while he lives and leaving generations to come to suffer woefully.
The request for the $350million loan should have first been investigated thoroughly by the National Assembly, an independent body under the tiers of government to perform oversight functions, but No they didn’t; Pathetic!!
No wonder we also saw that even the Senators representing the three senatorial constituency of Ogun State was equally absent as at when the loan was granted, this shows and tells us how lackadaisical and useless they are.
It is imperative and very well sacrosanct that the National Assembly, most especially the Senate recognises the fact that the war against corruption cannot be won or fought without public followership and public followership is derived not by such actions as presently taken by the Senators, but by a properly and well thought out decision backed with compelling evidences sourced after a thorough investigation.
One would have thought that the proper and most acceptable thing that should have been done was the clarification of why the loan is needed and important to a single living being in Ogun State and not just beneficial to some Thieves and Rogues in power claiming they mean well for the people, how does the loan affects the totality of the Ogun state?
Is the current development a justification that there is no corruption in the Senate, Ministry of Finance and the Ogun State Government headed by Governor Ibikunle Amosun ? Tranquility, Transparency and Equity as stated in a plethora of authorities is not a one way street, it rather is Tranquility, Transparency and Equity to the state, society and the victim.
I therefore call in the interest of Transparency to all that the approval for the Loan be reversed and the future moves of this administration to borrow and request for another loan be banned.
A careful examination of the Loan itself will reveal a liquidated attempt by the Federal government through the office of the Minister of Finance to render abstract the real issues in controversy and sweep the significant sufferings of Ogun State people under the carpet. However, it is pertinent to put the matter into some public perspective.
What we are seeing in Ogun State today is simply a decorated and beautified but useless, worthless constructions, which will not make Amosun’s tenure a succees because at the end, the truth is like oil; no matter the amount of water you pour on it, it will still flow.
Ifemosu Michael Adewale is the founder Youth In Good Governance Initiative YIGGI, Acting Coordinator Federalist Movement of Nigeria (Ogun Central).

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