Kwara 2019: Why Ali Ahmad Deserves The Job, By Kehinde Abdulsalam

Leadership, they say is the capacity to translate vision into reality. The closest I have ever been to Honourable Ali Ahmad, one of the governorship hopeful and current speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly was in 2017 in Abuja.

I was assigned to cover a public lecture (Professor Epiphany Azinge Annual Lecture) and behold, the man Ali Ahmad was one of the guest speakers. He delivered a lecture titled: The Legislature in Emerging Democracies; Challenges and Prospects.

I was not only awestruck by the depth he went to exhaust the content of the paper, I was amazed that a politician could take me back to class with rapt attention.

I did a further research about him after the lecture, I then realized Ahmad is not only gifted intellectually but he’s as well imbued with capacity to translate vision into reality.

The success stories of today’s Administration of Criminal Justice Act is unarguably the brain child of Ahmad. The ACJA, as described by the former chief Justice of Nigeria, Aloma Mukhtar is a revolution in Nigeria Criminal Justice Administration.

The 480-clause of the ACJA sponsored by Ahmad successfully repealed the erstwhile Criminal Procedure Act which applied in the South and the Criminal Procedure Code which held sway in the North.

The ACJA is no doubt promoting efficient management of criminal justice institutions, speedy   dispensation   of justice, protection   of the society   from crime and   protection of the rights and interests of the suspect,   the defendant,   and the victim”.

How well could you describe man reputed to be the Number 1 legislator who sponsored the highest number of Bills in the 7th Assembly?

His relentless efforts and passion for vibrant legislation for the good of the downtrodden saw him being elected as Speaker of theKwara State House of Assembly on June 8, 2015.

Since his assumption of office as speaker, the Kwara State House of assembly has displayed unprecedented vibrancy in the quality of its Motions, Bills, Resolutions and overall legislation.

The House under his leadership engaged in strategic interventions in burning State matters including those involving the Labour and Students and all were resolved to the applause of Kwarans.

Notable among his interventions include:-

Donation of food items to NUT and NULGE during the non-payment of salary crisis.

He interfaced with the Executive for the release of N1Bn from Paris Club Refund for payment of Teachers’ salary.

He advocated for removal of Primary school Teachers’ salary from Local Government.

He advocated for takeover of payment of Basic School Teachers’ salary by the State Government.

He Intervened in Labour-Government faceoff over payment for Training by State Civil Servants.

As the Chairman Conference of Speakers of State Houses of Assembly, he facilitated the passage of the Not Too Young To Run bill which seeks to reduce the age limit for running for elected office in Nigeria.

Facilitated the bill which suspend the payment of pension to former Governor and Deputy Governor.

He ensured the passage of the people with disabilities bill, which seeks to strengthen the right and privilege of the physically challenged in the State.

Ensure the passage of the bill which seeks to prohibit unlawful dealing in Human parts.

As Kwarans look forward to who will mount the saddle of leadership come 2019, of course the selection process of APC flagbearer may not be an easy one owing to some certain factors, but it is imperative to state that competence and purposeful leadership are needed at this time to lay solid foundation for economic prosperity and challenges ahead.

The State need a passionate leader with a robust way of looking at the entire facets of the state, so that at the end of the day, no sector will be left unattended to.

A leader that will hold the view that only a strong economy can give our people what they want by making life more abundant and generating employment for its teeming youths.

A leader that will look at the state’s potential and grow it without waiting for allocation from Abuja before delivering on dividends of democracy to the people.

A leader who will offer al-Amaanah (the trust and moral responsibility or honesty) and accepts all the commands and prohibitions with the conditions attached.

Dr Ali Babatunde Ahmad is the most qualified Kwaran at this time we can trust the affairs of State with, won’t you rather support him?
Kehinde Abdulsalam Writes from Abuja
He can be reached via e-mail: and on Twitter @arkehinde11

Chibok Girls And Doomsday Prophecies, By Aliyu Abdullahi

A good journalist uses his power to influence correctly, since content is created by people and not some stoic, perfectly impartial, and unbiased entity, there will inevitably be those that will act selfishly and impede the divulgence of the truth, a journalist can act selfishly and unpatriotic, some might use their pen to leverage human emotions that elicit strong reactions, for the purpose of benefiting  themselves and their publications, and it is precisely because of the influential nature of journalism that we need good journalists in this Country.

As Edward Bernays said “Small groups of persons can, and do, make the rest of us think what they please”. Such is the power that a Journalist hold, the defenders of the fourth estate of the realm.

Over the last weekend exactly 4 years to the abduction of the famous Chibok Girls by the dreaded Boko Haram Sect, A journalist, Ahmed Salkida displayed such power whether positively or negatively when he made some startling revelations through his Tweeter Handle about the current status of the remaining Chibok Girls in an attempt burst the bubble and as he claimed “for the Parents of the abducted girls to know the truth”, his revelations raised more questions than answers, he claimed that out of about 113 remaining girls still in captivity, only 15 are alive so far as most of them were killed during the several bombardment of the terrorist cell by the Nigerian Armed Forces over time, he went further to state that even the 15 that are alive have since been married off and the difficulty to secure their release from the Boko Haram leadership absent negotiation from their terrorist spouses, the later claim is a notorious fact to us.

The Government through the Presidential Spokesperson, Mallam Garba Shehu and the Military Command has since came out to refute such claims from Ahmed Salkida majorly because he was not privy to the ongoing negotiations and efforts on the release of the girls which the Nigerian Government has been doing through credible third parties which involves International Organizations among other players.

Now, the questions on my mind and I am sure to the rest of many Nigerians particularly the parents of the remaining girl are, is  it logically possible for Ahmed Salkida to come out with such certainty without entertaining any doubts whatsoever about the number of the girls that died and those that are alive when we have heard from the freed girls that these girls were divided among several factions of the Boko Haram Cell, is it even possible for one of the factional Leaders to have such knowledge absolutely, and could Ahmed Salkida’s real or perceived connection to the terrorist group provides better and superior intelligence than that of the Nigerian State along other Countries that are helping on the intelligence front such as the United States, United Kingdom, France, and the Lake Chad Countries among others, with all their level of intelligence sophistication?

On the claim that the girls were killed from bombardment, was it not the caution and risk assessment by the Nigerian Military that made the use of force in securing their release almost a non starter to pursue as we were informed several times the Government knew where the Girls were located but it was too risky to plan a rescue operation hence the pursuit of the option of negotiations through credible third parties that has since yielded result when over 80 of the Chibok Girls were released by this same Government that Ahmed salkida claimed has killed the girls from Military operations. Not forgetting President Muhammadu Buhari’s position on this as he had often said, the priority of his Government was to secure the release of the Girls alive, safe and sound.

Did Ahmed salkida consider even for a moment that his actions could jeopardize the ongoing negotiations for the release of the remaining girls even if there were only 15 of them left as he claimed, why could not he share his concerns with the Government in order not to endanger the lives of many others the Government was trying to secure?

What about hope? Did Ahmed Salkida consider the parents of these girls that are being tethered by the tiniest rope of hope and what his revelations could do to them in hearing such information with an air of authourity and finality from him? What about the Bring Back Our Girls (#BBOG) Campaign that comes out in their large number for a daily sit out to demand the return of the girls, did he wanted them to stop by giving up hope? What about the Millions of Nigerians praying fervently for the return of the Girls, should we all give up and accept Ahmed Salkida’s weekend tweet as the gospel truth and continue to go about our business as life goes on? Are we not entitled to our hopes, miracles, and above all trust in a government that has not lied to us about their efforts in release of all persons under the captivity of Boko Haram Terrorists?

Is the Government not entitled to some benefits of doubt on this matter especially as they have delivered over and over on this promise when over 80 of the Chibok Girls were released and of recent 105 out of the 110 Dapchi Girls also released through the Government’s efforts, should not we as citizens trust in them, and as Journalists, shouldn’t we support the Government’s effort by passing over to them any relevant intelligence we might have gathered through our sources to aid their decision making process, or should scoring points, limelight and attention seeking dictate our ethics and professionalism as journalists?

Let us now speak to the motives of Ahmed Salkida, what did he hoped to gain by this revelation, considering his accounts of events are best described as hearsay in a legal parlance, not one of these events happened in his presence, so how absolutely sure can one be when you are reporting events that did not happen in your presence? Some could argue that Ahmed Salkida was looking for a payback for not being part of the Government’s negotiating team, or is it a case of a weekend spotlight, or perhaps some political undercurrent is at play especially in a time like this when we are approaching an election as a Country, but I want to give him benefit of doubt by thinking this is the case of an overzealous Journalist that stepped beyond the realm of professionalism in trying to be the society’s watchdog.

A good journalist uses his powers to influence correctly…

*Aliyu Abdullahi is a Lawyer and a Journalist, and can be reached on his twitter handle @AliyuAbdullahA

Countering Violent Extremism Through The Media In Nigeria, By Stephanie Rahina Kitchener

All over the world we see various actors staging violence against civilians to raise fear and distrust. We see residents in many countries convinced that terrorism signifies the most significant threat to their daily lives. We see political movements that take advantage of catastrophe and put people against each other in order to maximize electoral benefits from a few. It is important to ponder on how the media may unconsciously be contributing to this tense climate, and how it can address this.

Terrorism and violent extremism are not new; countries on the continent and beyond have suffered for years from internal and/or external individuals or groups exacting vengeance on hapless citizens.

The relationship between terrorism and media is very complex; it can even be argued that it is a perversely symbiotic relationship. On the one hand, the media are critical in providing certifiable information and informed opinions; they must, as a matter of duty and principle, report the acts of terrorism or insurgency as they occur. This role becomes all the more important during times of crisis and calamity as balanced, nuanced reporting can be the difference between tempers cooling and outright destruction. On the other hand, terrorist groups feed on coverage by the media, and attain new levels of violence to draw global attention to their notoriety via coverage by the media.

In all of this, there are the citizens suffering at the hand of insurgents and extremist groups operating in their communities.

It is important to note that the goal of these violent actors is not to bring terror for terror’s sake. They do not wish to produce fear in the minds of men and women simply because of their interests and ideology. Their real objective is to split society down completely which will turn people against each other by provoking discrimination, conflict and disagreement. They aim to instantaneously demonstrate themselves right in their predictions of widespread oppression and to draw new followers to their violent cause. They seek to create a frame of mind of negativity in the face of attacks and diverged reactions.

The real risk of violent extremism and terrorism is that fear, panic and suspicion will drive a new trend of nationalism, and that the self-determination and liberty we have all worked so hard to achieve will be destroyed on the altar of revenge. These are not attacks on one nation or people, but attacks on all of us as global citizens. We should be careful about any response that falls into the hands of violent actors, and which causes its own targets who become idealists for further terrorist recruitment.

In these times, many media organizations experiencing severe financial challenges, journalists must resist the urge to overstate matters in the interest of attracting an audience. They must keep a worldwide perspective, and focus their attention to the words they use, the examples they give, and the images they display. They must avoid assumption when there is confusion following an attack when nothing is known, yet the demand for information is possibly the strongest of all.

They must deliberate carefully because of the fact that there is something basic in terrorism as a violent act that incites fear in many which is usually far inconsistent to the actual level of risk at that time. They must do all of this while ensuring they do not put themselves in a dangerous situation in the quest of a story. Thus, they must avoid promoting division, hatred and radicalization at all levels of society.

The problems and challenges that occur are clear. Citizens expect the media to inform and enlighten them as completely as possible without going overboard or resorting to exaggeration. Therefore, the established order calls for restrictions by warning against the risks of excessive coverage for the integrity of operations and for the peace of the population. There have been accusations of that local and international media are the amplifiers of terrorism and violent extremism to attract audiences.

The media must evaluate their coverage in the light of ethical rules. They must establish whether it was inconsistent, whether it sparked public enjoyment of seeing pain or distress of others, whether it presented itself as being inactive during the activities of the intervention forces and whether it served as an amplifier for the terrorists and violent extremists. Thus, the role of journalism schools, their associations, and their ethical councils is very vital and they should hold these debates and thus contribute to a culture of strong, independent media that is safe, factual, and representative of all the sides of any story.

Understanding The Process Of Purchasing Property In Lagos, By Olusola Oduleye

Nigerians abroad and those living in the country have been scammed several times trying to purchase a property. This can be traced to either they don’t understand the process involved in acquiring a property or chose not to carry out due diligence.

As a property professional, I have seen people fall prey to scam and other dubious acts making them lose millions of Naira. Even though we know that government have not played its role in providing affordable housing, the onus is up to individuals and corporate organisation to know the process involved in buying a property. With this knowledge, they would know if they are involved in the right transaction or are being scammed.

After several years as a Real Estate consultant, it is no news that the government is not taking the appropriate step to combat the bureaucratic process involved in verifying a property and the lack of affordable housing in Nigeria.

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs puts shelter as a basic need for every human. Without shelter, a man’s social activities and other areas of life will be distorted. Also, adding to the fact that man needs a place to rest after the day’s work.

What should have been a basic provision by the government has become a den of lions for scammers and fraudsters who claim to be Real Estate professionals.

According to 2011 housing survey report, there is 17million housing deficit in Nigeria. These challenges of housing in Nigeria can existed in previous administrations. In 1991 the government of Ibrahim Babangida promulgated the National Housing Policy aimed at making housing affordable and accessible, but the policy failed. I would not bore you with the failures of the past administrations. Even the current administration under the leadership of Babatunde Fashola as the Minister of Works, Power and Housing also introduced a policy to address the challenge of housing in the country, you can tell the result. The foregoing shows that Nigeria is not bereft of policies. And I’m sure it’s not stopping soon; this is the reason I believe you should understand the process involved in purchasing a property of your own so you are not scammed.

What both the state and federal government have failed to address is an indicator of the many abnormalities that happening in the housing industry.

Every adult at a time or another would get involved in housing transaction, either for outright acquisition (purchase) or on Lease (rent).

My focus as a practising real estate professional is to explain the p process involved in the acquisition of properties (Virgin Land or a House). And to help individuals and corporate organisations who want to buy properties have the basic knowledge of what to look out for when involved in buying a property. I tailor this article to properties in Lagos, but I’m sure it can be applied in other parts of the state.

When considering buying a property the first process is to sort out the aspect of finance, location & housing type. Immediately you find a property of interest and have agreed on a purchase price, quickly request for the copy of the subsisting Title or registration details of the property for a Title search at the Lagos State Lands Bureau.

 The essence of Title verification at the Lands Bureau is to ensure that there is no encumbrance(s) on the property. You may not do this yourself; the service of a Professional is required in the verification of Title. This is one of the most important aspects of buying a property, in the real sense; it is the residual interest in the property that will be transferred. This aspect must be handled with utmost professionalism. The realtor handling this process must be detailed & ensure that the buyer is protected from any provision(s) that may serve as an additional burden if the property is acquired.  If possible, apply for the Certified True Copy from the Lagos State Land registry; the buyer and the realtor must be satisfied with the existing Title before going ahead with the transaction. Most potential transactions end at this stage when the buyer is not satisfied with the documents provided.

However, the process is different, where the property does not possess a registered Title and requires a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) after purchase. In such situation, a copy of the Survey is taken to the Surveyor-General’s office for charting. This is to establish whether the property falls within the Government Acquisition Scheme or not. This is because not all properties within the Government acquisition scheme are rectifiable.

Another basic consideration when buying a property is the issue of Development Permit. The purpose of buying a property is specific, it is best to find out whether the development permit for that area will allow the intended development. Things to consider include: prevailing Land use zoning, Height restrictions (permissible number of floors), the allowable number of units, Car parking requirements, Setbacks/ Airspace considerations and Landscape requirements. If all the issues stated above are not considered, the application for Town Planning approval to develop from the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning & Urban development may not be granted. This is a serious issue.

The next is to carry out due diligence on the owner of the property. It is important to establish that the person selling is the owner or has instruction. Sometimes people bear the same name, impersonation or fraud. Where it is established that the Assignor (The person assigning his/her interest in a property) is not available and has confirmed his/her representative to the Assignee (The person acquiring the residual interest in a property), a Power of Attorney is required, authorizing the person to act on behalf of the assignor. When the property belongs to a family, there is need to establish that the people selling are the accredited representatives of the family, to avoid dispute from an aggrieved family member(s) or Litigation after the purchase.

After you have confirmed the documents, make sure that your payment goes through bank clearing, payment is acknowledged once received by the assignor/his representatives and the signing of the Deed of Assignment is done when the assignor has received value on the payment.

Finally, once the Deed of Assignment has been signed, the assignee takes physical possession of the property and commences the Title perfection process at the Lagos State Lands Bureau.

I’ll advise you to follow these processes to secure your transaction.

Olusola Oduleye has a Masters Degree in Urban & Regional Planning from the Centre for Planning Studies, Lagos State University. He has over 19 years of experience in Town Planning & Real Estate Practice. He can be contacted on 08023026848, 08098213273.

Yele Sowore: The Latest Comedian in Town, By ASM Jimoh

It was so easy for me to select the title of this piece. Truly, Sowore is the latest comedian in town. People are praising his so-called audacity. You praise an energetic young man for wasting his time and energy? What I think is that his shows videos on the cyber space are really entertaining to many. While we derive fun from them, we should as well advise him to properly channel his energy and define his purpose. We want to take back Nigeria is not a statement of purpose for someone who want to lead Nigeria.

So far, I haven’t seen how he has started differently from our deceitful politicians we complain about. His first points of call is at an Emir palace and a church. Before I could ask when he is visiting my mosque, I saw him in a video ‘praying’ with Muslim faithful at a mosque in Ibadan.

Even Buhari did not do this early in his day in the wilderness, which still stands him out of the crowd.

How is Sowore’s approach of visiting religious houses different from Omisore eating two corns simultaneously on the street at the eve of electioneering in order to impress voters? So, Sowore has started with the same deceit of those he wants to put in prison.  Even Buhari had to tone down on locking people up when it downed on him he needed the thieves.

The issue with the likes of Sowore who think they have the medication to our malaise is that they think becoming the president is the only way to start solving the problem of Nigeria. It only tells you they are empty in thoughtfulness. For most of his video I have entertained myself with, I did not see anywhere he demonstrates that he knows what he is talking about.

All those Aluta-like talk to a handful of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube account holders in a hall cannot disrupt a local government election in Ondo state, let alone a presidential race. Believe you me, Ondo state, his home state, needs him more than the entire Nigeria. Perhaps, his local government of origin need his solution most, provided he has any.

Our know-it-all braggadocios never want to start it small on a local political space where he can be projected by his performance. No, they wake up from a dream one hot afternoon and wants to become President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Perhaps, it is this type of a hot-afternoon dream Dele Momodu had in 2011 that he wanted to become the President. Nigeria Presidency is this cheap! Buhari toiled for thirteen uninterrupted years.

Atiku has been scheming to become the President since 1992 and he has not rested. Even a sitting President had to beg a vice president to be able to do a second tenure as Nigeria Presidency. And a former anti-corruption Czar who was just too naïve like any other political jester had to start reversing himself, praising those he once called the greatest thieves on earth, because he wanted to become President or Governor overnight.

Get it right. I am not denying the possibility of a young person becoming the President of Nigeria. Such a young person, and any Nigerian for that matter, needs to learn and have what it takes to become a President. The current Indonesia President, 56-year-old Joko Widodo, should be a case study to our theatrical youths and adults who truly want to rule Nigeria. Joko Widodo is son of no one. But his work as a City Mayor projected him to presidency. No, it is Obama and Macron, the latest poster boy for youthful leadership, our comedians brandish. Even them, they didn’t wake up overnight to become the president of their countries. Go read about their lives.

If Sowore is serious a bit, it should be that he starts this for an ambition he wishes to realize in ten years from now. And for him to realize it this fast, he should continue this bragging for the next ten years, but with serious modifications that shows he understands Nigeria and her problem. During this period, he is on ground advancing his ideals, demonstrating that his solution can solve problem and engaging the real victims of corruption and poverty. These are the peasants of whom majority live outside the cities.

Fiery talk to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube account holders will not make any impact even in the so-called disruption he wants to cause. Fiery speeches with substance has never won any one presidency anywhere, let alone one with so much vacuousness. Presidents become fiery when they have ascended the seat. Wikipedia can help him on the political and leadership history of Rodrigo Duterte, the fiery-talking President of the Philippines.

If actually Sowore wants to become President in 2019, he has started too late. Besides, his approach is like he wants to do a 2nd term as UNILAG student union president.  Even to achieve this, he needs to secure admission first either through JAMB or post-UME test. For now, Sowore is only trying to outdo Dr. Damages. Those Facebook, Twitter and YouTube addicts who welcome him with posters at every of his comedic outing only increase his state of trance.

May Allah spare our lives beyond 2030 (sic).

  1. S. M. Jimoh ( or On twitter: @anehi2008).

Section 5 And The Mohammed Bello Adoke Case, By Reuben Abati

His Lordship Justice Binta Nyako at the Federal High Court sitting in the Federal Capital Territory last Friday, gave an instructive, landmark judgment in the matter between Mohammed Bello Adoke and the Attorney General of the Federation on the extent of Presidential powers.

I had addressed this particular subject in a previous essay titled “Obasanjo and the extent of presidential powers” (January 29, 2018) when President Obasanjo argued forcefully that President Muhammadu Buhari must be prepared to accept responsibility for the failings and failures of his government and stop blaming previous governments or political leaders. What Justice Binta Nyako has done in the suit titled FHC/ABJ/94/446/2017 re: Mohammed Adoke vs Attorney General of the Federation is to give a judicial stamp to the theoretical views expressed in that earlier essay and even an earlier one preceding it.

I could not previously comment on the details of such matters before the court, in order not to run foul of the rules of contempt, ex facie curia, but it seems to me that Justice Binta Nyako with her ruling affirming the extent of presidential powers has enriched our jurisprudence.  Except there is any earlier precedence under the 1999 Constitution, this must be taken as a locus classicus, and how it plays out in our jurisprudence should be of both theoretical and practical interest.

Further, Justice Binta Nyako has upheld the potency of Section 5 of the Constitution, which vests the powers of the President of Nigeria under the 1999 Constitution, in his person and not in institutions. The meaning here is clarified in Section 148 which allows the President to delegate his authority.  Justice Binta Nyako ruled that where the President’s delegated authority is carried out lawfully and with consequent approvals, the person exercising that delegated authority is free of any liability. This is a technical point of law, which further establishes a trite point about the relationship between an agent and a principal. In this matter, Mohammed Bello Adoke is the agent and President Goodluck Jonathan and the Federal Government of Nigeria (of which Jonathan was Head of State and Head of Government) exercising powers granted under the Constitution, are the disclosed principals.

Nyako’s ruling is important in part, also, because following the displacement in 2015 of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the All Progressives Congress (APC), the new power brokers at the centre simply adopted the notion that anybody close to Jonathan must be corrupt. Even where and when they have plausible reasons for investigation, or prosecution, their partisan, accusatorial, selective, and vindictive approach has ruined what could otherwise have been a worthy governance issue. Making the fight against corruption look like an attempt to destroy Jonathan by all means has in the last one year backfired. Justice Nyako’s ruling of course has nothing to do with politics: it is about what the law says.

In the other matter of Colonel Sambo Dasuki, Jonathan’s National Security Adviser (NSA), for example, and in similar other matters involving President Jonathan’s agents, the defendant(s) simply need(s) to prove that he or she acted in line with the directives and approvals of the President and that would be the end of the matter.  I should also add that members of the Buhari administration may in the future find themselves quoting this same Nyako ruling, except it is upturned, as the main cover available to them for lawfully carrying out Presidential directives.  It is useful always when the Constitution is tested. It should therefore be seen as a good development that Section 5 of our 1999 Constitution is now being tested, given the enormous powers at the disposal of the Nigerian President and his agents.

Mohammed Bello Adoke wherever he may be, must be happy with the outcome of this case that he instituted on the extent of presidential powers. I know him – we served in the same government – and I know he has been on self-imposed exile, away from the unhealthy political environment imposed by the ruling APC.  Adoke has also been the target of all kinds of charges, obviously the effect of the attempt by the ruling APC to denigrate some of the shining stars in the Jonathan government.

Adoke was definitely a shining star, one of the many who were in the Jonathan government: men and women who not only boasted of first-rate education, but who were internationally regarded for their talents and accomplishments. At the risk of sounding like someone who was involved, and probably making a passionate assessment, I will like to throw up a point: that in the last 35 years or so, President Ibrahim Babangida, President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan recruited into the Federal Government at all levels some of the best and the brightest that Nigeria has ever offered. What each one of these three political leaders did or achieved with the talents at their disposal, however, or the quality of their individual efforts, is something we can debate.

Back to Adoke:  whatever the state may be afflicting him with today, I can attest that he was an asset to the Jonathan government and an asset to the Nigerian state itself. The substantive issue before Justice Binta Nyako was the Constitutional interpretation of Sections 5(1), 147, 148 and 150 of the 1999 Constitution but underlying it is the matter of OPL 245 or what is more popularly known as the Malabu Oil deal, and Attorney-General Mohammed Bello Adoke’s role.  The Malabu oil deal is a case that spans the life-time of five successive governments – from Abacha to Abdusalami to Obasanjo to Yar’Adua to Jonathan but only the last phase of it is the subject of the Buhari government’s interest. What is the role of previous governments and Presidents and their agents?

In many press releases, Mohammed Bello Adoke who was Jonathan’s Attorney-General insisted that he acted based on Presidential directives and that he did no wrong and that if anything, he helped Nigeria to retrieve money and save litigation costs.  It is noteworthy that some currently serving public officials are trying to pay something even higher for that same transaction that has since been paid for, completed and closed. Nigeria owes Kemi Adeosun, the current Minister of Finance, a debt of gratitude for blocking that curious attempt to obtain from the Nigerian Government under false pretence, and M.B. Adoke for acting in accordance with the law as affirmed by Justice Binta Nyako’s court.

Nyako’s court gave declaratory orders, which I hope the Federal Government will respect. Should the contrary be the case, the present Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami, whose office is already in danger of being accused of persecution of political opponents, has the option of testing the Constitution further. It will be clearly within his prerogative to do so and a plus for our jurisprudence. But let him note this: the position of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice is a constitutional position, perhaps the only Ministerial position that is so expressly recognized. This is probably the same reason why everyone who occupies that position must be concerned about his or her legacy.  Her- yes- Nigeria is yet to appoint a female Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice but it should happen someday in the future.  What will be Malami’s legacy as Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice?

I mentioned earlier that I worked with Mohammed Bello Adoke. He was a very influential man in the Jonathan government. He was so involved that he even occasionally wrote drafts of presidential speeches, and I had to warn him to focus on the law and not dabble into the work of night-soil men. His usual defence was that he was only concerned about matters of the law, and he needed to be sure that his principal, his favourite name for President Jonathan, did not violate the Constitution. He distanced himself from politics, because in his view, an Attorney-General of the Federation must be non-partisan. “I am a Constitutional purist”, he always said and “my job is to ensure that the President acts in accordance with the laws of Nigeria.” President Jonathan had many officers like that who would insist on their professionalism, and their understanding of rules, best practices, and standards. Their story, individually and collectively, will be told.

In Adoke’s case, the fact that he is now on self-imposed exile, and his political persecution, draw attention away from his outstanding achievements as Attorney General and Minister of Justice. It was under his watch that the Freedom of Information Law was passed in 2011, and the Administration of Criminal Justice Act in 2015 – two laws that are now being used to prosecute cases against the same government and the same persons that made them! Mohammed Adoke was leader of the Nigerian delegation to the Nigeria-Cameroon Boundary Commission and leader of the same delegation to the follow-up committee on the UN implementation of the Green Tree Agreement that brought the ICJ judgment on the Bakassi peninsula to a peaceful resolution.  He also presided over the reform of the Evidence Act, 2011, and the Terrorism Prevention Act of 2011, and its 2013 amendment. He was elected during this period as a member of the International Law Commission- a United Nations body of selected 34 experts across the world.

President Jonathan, given his respect for the law and due process, regularly sought Adoke’s counsel. Adoke’s tongue is sweet-coated but when it comes to matters of the law, he removes the sugar and says it as it is. President Jonathan respected him for that.  When the Federal Executive Council decided to impose a state of emergency in parts of the North East, in the wake of the Chibok girls’ crisis, and there were complaints about the failure of the Governors in that part of the country, there was a demand that the Governors should be removed.  Adoke put his feet down. He said a state of emergency could be declared but it would be unconstitutional to displace the political authorities. Some other lawyers in the Cabinet, holding other portfolios insisted that President Olusegun Obasanjo, during his tenure, declared a state of emergency in two states and removed the Governors. Adoke argued that Obasanjo was wrong and that such precedents could not stand. He won the argument. The Governors in the North East kept their seats, but a state of emergency was declared.

 When Nyesom Wike was to be sworn in as Governor of Rivers state, there was no Chief Judge of Rivers State in office. Adoke had to argue that a Chief Judge from a neighbouring state could do the job. And that was what happened. When Adams Oshiomhole as Governor of Edo State wanted to sign death penalty warrants for condemned persons in his state, Mr. Adoke had to remind Edo State that the Nigerian Government was on a self-imposed moratorium on the death penalty. This brought him in conflict with the then Edo State Governor. He held his ground. Oshiomhole signed the warrants anyway. Adoke understood the powers of his office and he hid under the purity of the law to exercise those powers.

But for all that he has done for Nigeria, it is unfortunate that the only thing many know about him is OPL 245. That is just the way it is in our country. We destroy, persecute and humiliate our best talents, for nothing other than political reasons. But the judiciary is gradually finding its voice and standing up in the defence of the law and the rights of persons (see Reuben Abati, “Judges, the law and our democracy”, ThisDay, back-page, February 20, 2018).

The ruling by His Lordship Justice Binta Nyako is the latest in this regard. Whatever the colour of the party in power, the judiciary remains the last hope of the common man, the aggrieved and the victim of persecution. In a country where noise is more important than reason, where allegations are packaged as truth, and villains behave like victims, the judiciary should always seek to remain the voice of reason, truth, justice, equity and good conscience – against all odds.

How VP’S spokesman Became A Target As Corruption Fights Back, By Chukwudi Enekwechi

Mr. Laolu Akande is the latest target in the seemingly determined fight back of the defenders of our national commonwealth.

He is no slouch in media matters, being an accomplished reporter and leading journalist who became a national editor way back in 1997 before his 30th birthday. His last reportorial assignment was at the US where he represented The Guardian newspaper including reporting from the White House and the UN. Since he left the paper is yet to fill the vacuum he filled for very many years before returning to Nigeria in 2015. Laolu Akande’s journalism credential is sterling and he has brought this to bear in the way he relates with reporters and media practitioners on his present job.

If one newspaper reporter chooses to isolate himself when most media practitioners have always commended his way of handling thorny media issues, then it’s unfortunate and shows something else including bad belle is at play here.

The art of information management requires that synergy exists between reporters/media and the government. It does not necessarily imply that a frosty relationship must exist between the media and government. The basic knowledge we acquire in mass communication class is the need to communicate so that the society will continue to develop and not to use the power of the pen to destroy. This does not obviate the watchdog role of the media.

To the best of my knowledge, Laolu Akande has in the course of his duties passed the integrity test and indeed surpassed the expectations of many Nigerians in his job performance. In discharging his assigned duties he has always been calm and collected. His human relations has remained a source of pride to many of his colleagues in the journalism profession.

A close contact with Mr. Laolu Akande will prove to any discerning mind that his humility is disarming and sense of judgement inspiring. For many people Laolu Akande has utilised any available opportunity to mix well with his colleagues and he does not have a record of begrudging people, even his adversaries.

In the estimation of many Nigerians Mr. Akande’s decision to leave America and return to serve in the present administration is a mark of patriotism and it is only deserving that we avail him of our support as he continues to serve the nation in his present capacity.

Nigeria is at a stage when all hands must be on deck to support the Buhari administration in its efforts to reposition the country, and this can only be realised with the cooperation of all Nigerians including the media. It does not augur well for practitioners in a strategic sector like the media to be pulling apart when they can work together for the interest of the ordinary Nigerian.

As a proof of the impression most Nigerians have about the Vice President’s spokesman Mr Laolu Akande, here are some of the reactions on social media:
” I am interested in knowing Laolu Akande, the man; quietly being an indispensable figure at the villa, for good reasons” – Alexander Nochie Onukwe (@nochieonukwe).
” When you are good, you are good! Laolu Akande, Welldone Sir….” – Siraj (@sirajabdsamiu).
” I can’t but admire the candour with which Laolu Akande is reporting the activities of the Acting President” Son of David (@osy_suave).

The above randomly selected quotes aptly speak for themselves about the person of Laolu Akande and his job rating. I rest my case.

By Chukwudi Enekwechi (JP)
An Abuja-based Journalist

Who Will Save Some Nigerians From Intellectual Laziness, By Femi Adesina


Since President Muhammadu Buhari met with the Archbishop of Canterbury in London on Wednesday, and spoke on the likely impact of gunmen trained by former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, on the killings by herdsmen in Nigeria, some people have virtually flown off the handle, ululating as if wailing was going out of fashion.

They twisted the meaning of Mr President’s words (yes, some people twist everything, even the words of God; 2 Peter:3, 15,16). They claimed he was blaming Gaddafi, long dead, for the killings in Nigeria.

But let’s see the vacuousness and intellectual laziness in the twist they have given what President Buhari said, out of sheer malice and evil hearts. Sadly, even a Senator was involved in the sickening display of poisonous heart. That’s what you get when small minds get into high places.

Here’s what Mr President told Archbishop Justin Welby:

“The problem is even older than us. It has always been there, but now made worse by the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region. These gunmen were trained and armed by Muammar Gadaffi of Libya. When he was killed, the gunmen escaped with their arms. We encountered some of them fighting with Boko Haram. Herdsmen that we used to know carried only sticks and maybe a cutlass to clear the way, but these ones now carry sophisticated weapons. The problem is not religious, but sociological and economic. But we are working on solutions.”

> “The problem is even older than us,” said President Buhari

If anybody is not challenged with simple understanding of English language, does this mean pre-Gaddafi? The former Libyan leader was born in 1942, and killed in October 2011, making him 69 years old at the time of his death. So, did he cause clashes between farmers and herdsmen, which the President said was older than most living Nigerians? Only rabidly mischievous minds can conceive such.

“It has always been there, but now made worse…” If you say something has been exacerbated by a factor, does it mean such factor is the cause? Simply illogical.

The President talked about the influx of militia trained, armed and used by Gaddafi, who now dispersed into different countries, including possibly Nigeria, after the Libyan strongman’s death. Are some people claiming ignorance of such development, despite it being global knowledge? So deep must be the ignorance of such people. Simple research will show them the Libyan influence on proliferation of small arms all over Africa, after Gaddafi’s death.

The President then talked about the herdsmen we used to know, who carried just sticks, and at worst a cutlass, saying those armed with sophisticated weapons were unknown to this clime. Is that not true?

If herdsmen have suddenly turned murderous in a country, it calls for all sorts of interrogation, including intellectual, as to what may have gone wrong. The causes could be multifarious. And solutions must be jointly proffered.

A President has sensitive security reports available to him. President Buhari gave another vista from which the herdsmen/farmers clashes could be considered, but rather than be reflective and do critical interrogation, the wailers engaged in their pastime: they began to wail, including senators and people who should naturally be level headed and examine issues dispassionately. Very sorry.

“But we are working on solutions,” President Buhari told the cleric. They ignored that. It holds no meaning for them. They are interested in problems, not solutions. Problems serve their pernicious interests more. Pity!

That is what hatred does to the heart. It stunts the mind and poisons the soul. Such heart plays petty partisan and divisive politics with every matter. It is what President Buhari at that meeting called “irresponsible politics.” And as we head for general elections next year, much more of it would be seen, except such people reform, and put on their thinking caps.

The tendency now is to twist and slant every word from President Buhari in the negative, all in a bid to demean, de-market, and demonize him, and make him unattractive to the electorate. But those who do it are to be pitied.

Sensible Nigerians know what the President is doing for the country, and would queue behind him at the polls next year. At the end of it all, the detractors would be holding the short ends of the stick, and looking small, forlorn and disconsolate. Where would they then hide their faces?

Femi Adesina

Uncle Femi Fani-Kayode, You Are A Looter Jare! By Akinloye James

On Sunday, 1st April, 2018, the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed released a second list containing twenty-three names of looters of the national treasury during the reign of former President, Goodluck Jonathan. As widely expected, the name of Uncle Femi Fani-Kayode appeared on the list as a Looter.

Since the list was published, Uncle Femi Fani-Kayode, you have been busy ranting to anyone who cares to listen. As expected of looters like you, you claim that you did not loot any government funds during the reign of Goodluck Jonathan but that the sum of N800 Million (Eight Hundred Million Naira Only) was given to you by Mrs Esther Nenadi Usman, the Director of Finance in the Jonathan Campaign Organisation for conducting of the media and publicity aspect of the campaign. You further claimed that the Eight Hundred Million Naira came from a private company account that was used to house contributions made to the Jonathan campaign by party supporters after a series of fundraising events. Uncle Femi, please say this to the Marines.

Your knowledge of the source of the money was even revealed at your trial by one of the witnesses, Mr. Victor Ehiabhi, your security aide who collected N26 Million in cash on your behalf from the Office of the National Security Adviser on the 21st of November, 2014. Even Mrs Esther Nenadi Usman has admitted collecting the money from the national treasury. And just as your comrade Reno Omokri admonished you, may I also remind you of the quote by the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan that “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.” The fact speaks for itself, sir.

As a trained lawyer, you should know better than rehashing stories that are not even believable by infants. Where in the world are campaign funds warehoused in private company accounts? In the UK where you schooled, do they transfer funds for media campaign into the personal account of the Head of the Media Team of the campaign? Uncle Femi, by your own admission you have made the work of the Prosecution very easy. I can’t believe you are this daft!

It is obvious that while your mates were busy studying their Law Books in school, you were busy gallivanting and engaging in various dangerous social vices as widely reported severally in the media for several years now. Uncle Femi, you know very well that between the 8th and 16th of January, 2015, the sum of N1.5 Billion was released from MEA Research Library Account which is a secret account under the control of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to Jointrust Nigeria Limited (Owned by Danjuma Yusuf and Nenadi Esther Usman) in the following tranches:

1.      N300 Million;

2.      N400 Million; and

3.      N800 Million.

From the N1.5 Billion transferred to Jointrust Nigeria Limited (Owned by Danjuma Yusuf and Nenadi Esther Usman), the sums of N350 Million and N250 Million were transferred to your personal account domiciled at Zenith Bank with Account No: 1004735721 on 2nd February, 2015 and 19th February, 2015 respectively.

Uncle Femi, it is very bad that you can’t even occupy any public office without ‘’chopping’’ from the first day. Must you chop always? Remember, you were a Minister of Aviation for just six months (November 2006 – May, 2007), and you were charged immediately thereafter for stealing about N19.5 Billion (Nineteen Billion, Five Hundred Million Naira) Aviation Intervention Fund by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2008. This was during the tenure of President Umaru Yar’adua, your party man, so the issue of political witch-hunt and persecution as you now falsely claim cannot hold water. The story of your trial and acquittal is for another day. The bad news for you is that this time around, there is no room for manoeuvre thanks to the reforms of the judiciary being carried out by the CJN.

You were the Head of the Media Team for Goodluck Jonathan campaign for just a few months, and you ‘’wacked’’ N800 Million sharp sharp!!! Uncle Femi, your fingers are very fast O! You quickly served yourself at the buffet which was organised by your boss, former President Goodluck Jonathan, with the national treasury as the only menu. I don’t blame you sir.

Afterall, I don’t expect you to reject such a huge lifeline after being in the wilderness for years? You saw an ‘’awoof’’ of N800 Million and grabbed it with your hands and legs. You and your family enjoyed the good life with N800 Million of our money while majority of your countrymen went to bed hungry. You forgot your Christian faith when you were feeding fat on your share of the loot. You are crying now because this awoof don run your belle, ole jati jati like you! Your dependence on public funds is bad for your health sir; for since you were cut off from the treasury after the 2015 Elections, the withdrawal syndrome has made you so frustrated and caused you to resort to ranting, abusing and cursing everybody. You even curse those that are far older than you which is alien to Yoruba culture which you propagate. A Yoruba that curses his elders is an ‘’Omo Ale.’’

Uncle Femi, it is because of people like you that some of the older generation do not reckon with the youths of this Nation. You became a Minister in 2006 at the age of 46, and yet added no value to the lives of Nigerians. The only legacy you left is corruption. You led the Media team of President Jonathan who superintended over the looting of our common patrimony but refused to advise him on good governance based on scriptural principles which you now espouse. Instead you were only concerned with taking your huge share of the national treasury. Uncle Femi, it is obvious you really imbibed the table manners you were taught as a child; for you could not talk while you were eating. This makes it laughable to hear you write and speak so much now.

You have suddenly become an apostle of good governance and a defender of the Christian religion. It took hunger and deprivation to get you there because the feeding bottle is gone, and you are crying so hard. This time, you won’t get the bottle back. It is time for you to work before you eat as the era of freebies is over. Get to grips with it sir! As the Bible rightly puts it- He who does not work should not eat. Uncle Femi, get engaged in something meaningful so you can have something to fend for your family. Remember you are still in the business of making babies, and the money for pampers and milk can no longer be sourced from the treasury.

Uncle Femi, in other climes, you would be bowing your head in shame and showing remorse on national television but since you are shameless and hungry you won’t do so. Uncle Femi, you have been labelled correctly, so that Nigerians would know those that have kept us where we are today. Do you know how many Primary Health care centres would have been equipped with that N800 Million you cornered for just yourself? Do you know how many Nigerians from your native Ile-Ife would have been lifted out of poverty with that N800 Million you looted?

That N800 Million would have helped to feed thousands of primary school pupils for months on the School Feeding program of the Federal Government. That N800 Million would be enough to pay the sum of N5, 000 to over One Hundred and Sixty Thousand poor Nigerians on the Social Investment Program of this Administration. That N800 Million would be enough to pay the sum of N30, 000 to over Twenty-Six Thousand Youths on the N-Power program. It would have been enough to disburse as grants and loans to thousands of farmers and SMEs with the attendant multiplier effect on their families, dependants and the economy. It would be enough for FERMA to rehabilitate several roads around Nigeria thereby preventing fatalities caused by bad roads.

That N800 Million would have been enough to make the difference in the lives of thousands of Nigerians, but you chose to loot it for your own benefit only. Uncle Femi, you chose to forget that our criminal laws forbid stealing and prescribe punishment for same. Nobody told you to loot N800 Million sir, so don’t blame anybody for your predicament. The average Nigerian who hasn’t stolen anything has nothing to fear. Resorting to name-calling is diversionary and expected as you obviously have no other defence.

Uncle Femi, you should dance to the tune of the music you play; for the day of reckoning is surely here. Your induction to the Hall of Shame is very well deserved. The hottest part of hell has been specially reserved for you. But before you transit to hell, return your loot biko, and let Nigeria thrive! Truth is like oil; no matter how much water you pour on it, it will always float.

By Akinloye James

We Need One Another To Survive – Asogor Ruth Likita

“Hatred and intolerance are destabilizing when Governments crack down on religious expression, when politicians or public try to use religious bigotry and cause discrimination based on religious identity, they embolden extremists and fuel sectarian strife. It is therefore, our core conviction that religious freedom and respect for religious diversity is an essential element for a peaceful society. And it’s an element of successful democracy as well, because people who see that their rights and dignity are respected are more likely to have a stake in the success of their country and their society” (Susan Johnson, 2011)

The prohibition of religious discrimination is enshrined in all core international human rights treaties. States have the duty to refrain from discriminating against individuals or groups based on their religion and belief (obligation to respect); they are also required to prevent such discrimination, including from non-State actors (obligation to protect); and must take steps to ensure that, in practice, every person in their territory enjoys all human rights without discrimination of any kind (obligation to fulfill it).

Religious tolerance is the ability to hold in high esteem, respect, and value someone’s religion or allowing other people to think or practice other religions and beliefs.

Religious tolerance can be promoted if people respect and tolerate each other. Children should be taught from a young age that Christianity and Islam for instance attest both common human heritage and the responsibility of each individual to purse his/her own spiritual course with all sense of responsibility, while showing love to neighbors and promoting the well being of humankind.

Intolerance runs counter to the law of love and hinders common good. If tolerance is rooted in love, intolerance is often rooted in the cultural and historical antagonisms associated with religious traditions. Antagonisms are often born out of ignorance and limited understanding.

If we all know this, where is there widespread violence and devastation in the name of religion in the North East?

Incomplete teachings on reciprocity are one reason; most faith groups have done a poor job conveying the range of the ethics to their followers. In practice, congregations often interpret the Golden Rule as applying only to fellow believers. It is often seen as not extending to followers of other faith groups within the same religion, to followers of other religions, and to secularists such as agnostics, Atheists, humanists, etc.


The attitude of exclusivity by some religions is an issue as well. Most religions teach that they alone are the sole true religion and that they uniquely possess the only true knowledge of god. This implies that followers of other religions are in error, and are worshiping a false god. Some faith groups even teach that followers of other religions worship Satan or demons.

Many (public) schools do not teach the rudiments of world religions, perhaps because of a misunderstanding of the principle of separation of church and state, or out of fear for negative reactions by parents. Faith groups generally do not include meaningful studies of other religions in their youth education classes, perhaps out of the fear of legitimizing other religions or out of concern that their children might discover another religion to be more attractive.

Seeing the world through the prism of dualism can be a problem as well. Dualism is a major tenet of religion but the concept that antagonistic forces of good and evil rule the world can be very limiting. Religious subscribers often take on the us vs. them stance, believing that anyone not of their sect and religion is bad, while they are good. This lack of knowledge is a major source of conflict around the world, not just in Nigeria.

Finally, inferring that collective punishment is just is a major source of violence and large-scale strife amongst religions. It is also a major source of intolerance everywhere. One expression of collective punishment is that if a person commits a crime, it is fair to retaliate against an entire community who share some common denominating factors with the perpetrator. These factors could be religion, skin color, race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. The devastation in the North East amongst other factors can be traced to insurgents punishing entire communities for embracing Western education, for instance.

Embracing and imbibing the golden rule is critical to building a culture of tolerance and acceptance in our communities and states. We say charity begins at home; parents are responsible for the doctrines their children live out, and must show leadership by teaching understanding and empathy for other religions.  They must encourage openness and curiosity of the mind, providing safe spaces for their children and wards to learn about other religions and counter any extremist assumptions.

Osibanjo: Lessons Of Loyalty From A Quintessential Deputy, By Amaechi Agbo

In Nigeria and indeed Africa, a name is not just identity; it is a destiny.

This was why a foremost African writer of blessed memory, Chinua Achebe said that in Igboland, parents give names to their children based on the circumstances surrounding their births. And such names would go with the children in determining their destiny in life.

Nigeria’s 4th Vice President, Oluyemi Oluleke “Yemi” Osinbajo, born 8 March 1957, is one man whose entire life has revolved around his first name “Oluyemi.” Oluyemi colloquially shortened to “Yemi” is a traditional Yoruba name which means “God has given me satisfaction”. And indeed, Professor Yemi Osibanjo must have become a child of satisfaction to his parents when he was born over six decades ago. The joy of his parents must have reached its climax thus the name.

A Pastor by calling and lawyer by training, Professor Yemi Osinbajo was the Pastor in charge of the Lagos Province 48 (Olive Tree provincial headquarter) of The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Ikoyi, Lagos before his inauguration into office as the Vice President of Nigeria on May 29, 2015.

A man content with what he has, Vice President Yemi Osibanjo rose to the citadel of his legal career when he became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, yet he still carried on with his pastoral calling.

When in 2014 President Mohammadu Buhari nominated him as his running mate to the 2015 presidential election, he was not “a popular name” in Nigeria’s political lexicon. Making President Buhari to aver that “I never knew Osibanjo,” before the nomination.

Today, the President has been the one pouring encomium on his second in command for his unrivalled humility and loyalty to him, and to the Nigerian project.

President Buhari does not only trust Osinbajo, he has assigned the law professor and church pastor the task to oversee the economy as the Head of the Economic Team. In fact, sensitive offices and strategic positions within that sector including the Chief Economic Adviser to the government are domiciled under the Office of the Vice President. In more than two occasions, President Buhari has officially, through legislative mandates, handed over power to Osinbajo to act as Nigerian President.

Vice President, Professor Osinbajo has demonstrated unquestionable loyalty to President Buhari in his utterances and actions.

In tandem with the style and language of his boss, Pastor Osinbajo has consistently re-echoed the message of the administration on war on terror and the aggressive anti-corruption campaigns.

As a loyal public officer, Osinbajo has embarked on local tours and hosted several meetings towards addressing economic and socio-political challenges. The deliberate efforts, even while his boss was away, helped to strengthen the currency, boosted oil production and stabilized the polity. On these occasions, he would highlight that he is a representative of the President. Recall last year when he travelled to the Niger Delta to appeal against militancy, Professor Osinbajo said he was there as an emissary of Buhari to offer “a new vision” for the oil-producing region.

It was in appreciation to his uncommon humility and loyalty to him and the Nigeria project, that President Muhammadu Buhari during the VP’s 61st birthday celebration described his VP as a loyal and trustworthy partner.

In his goodwill message to him, President Buhari said “Happy 61st Birthday, @ ProfOsinbajo. Thank you for being a loyal and dependable partner on this journey. I join millions of your friends and well-wishers around the world to wish you many more years of service to God, to Nigeria, and to humanity.”

The loyalty of VP Osibanjo to his boss, President Buhari has been an uncommon one unlike what was obtainable during the reign of the PDP. President Olusegun Obasanjo and his estranged Vice, Atiku Abubarkar were never birds of the feather, as they had a very frosty relationship during their time together in Aso Rock; a distrust that still permeates the veins of the two leaders today.

Four days after the President left for the UK last year, Osinbajo was at the palace of the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumin Usman where he told Buhari’s kinsmen that the president treats him as his son. The acting president was in Katsina State, Buhari’s home state, to inaugurate the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) clinic.

“One of the reasons why I feel very much at home in Katsina State is because this is the state of our president, President Muhammadu Buhari, who has taken me more like a brother. In fact, sometimes, more like a son than a vice president.”

“The amount of responsibilities President Buhari has given me shows he seriously believes we can live together as brothers. I pray the Lord will preserve our President to continue to lead as the nation has voted him to do. He seriously believes in Nigerian unity,” Osinbajo had stated.

VP Osinbajo during his time as the Acting President of Nigeria, signed three executive orders which significantly changed the ways government businesses and operations were conducted in the country. The orders, signed on May 18 last year, promote transparency in the business environment and are designed to facilitate the ease of doing business in the country, support local contents in public procurement by the Federal Government and timely submission of annual budgetary estimates by all statutory and non-statutory agencies, including companies owned by the Federal Government.

During his acting capacity, the Vice President always consulted with his boss to the point of going to London when President Buhari was on medical leave to seek his opinion on appointments of individuals into key government positions. He remained loyal to the President.

With his boss’ approval, Osinbajo approved appointments into various parastatals, agencies and commissions on May 27, 2017. He named Ali Usman chairman of the National Pension Commission (PenCom); Funso Doherty, the Director-General of the commission; and Manase Benga, Zaki Magawata, Ben Oviosun and Nyerere Ayim as Executive Commissioners of PenCom; Dikko Aliyu AbdulRahman, the chairman of the Governing Board of the Bank of Industry and Mr. Olukayode Pitan, the bank’s Managing Director as well as Emeka Nwakpa as chairman of the Governing Board of the Consumer Protection Council.

On May 29, the then Acting President delivered a nationwide broadcast to mark the country’s Democracy Day and the second anniversary of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. The acting president, on May 30, signed two bills into law in order to facilitate access to affordable credit for Nigerians. They were the Secured Transactions in Movable Assets Act 2017, otherwise known as Collateral Registry Act, and the Credit Reporting Act 2017.

Last year, the President implemented the report of the three-man presidential panel headed by the Vice President that probed the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke.

The panel investigated Babachir for alleged violations of law and due process in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North-East; and Oke, for the $43.4m stashed away at a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos. The President summarily disengaged the duo after they were indicted by the report.

Osinbajo’s loyalty to the President, and the President’s trust in him tell a good story of how leaders must work together. There is so much to learn from the excellence this relationship has achieved. No bickering, but mutual respect and shared understanding of roles. This bromance is unprecedented in Nigerian politics and is worth emulating. Even for leaders outside the political realm.

Amaechi Agbo is a public affairs analyst based in Abuja

Government Is Continuum, Nigeria Shouldn’t Be An Exception, By Ademuyiwa Taofeek

Dwight Eisenhower’s tenure as President of the United States of America between 1952 and 1962 saw him commission the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, a bridge which, for several decades, occupied an enviable position as the longest bridge in the world until 2011 when a longer bridge was commissioned in China.

Although the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway was conceived and commissioned by the administration of Eisenhower, it was upgraded by successive leaders, most notable of them being President Lyndon Johnson who completed its second span in 1969.

The point of this analogy, is the simple fact that for sustained progress and development, government ought to be continuum as the inherent limitation of four years (or eight in the case of reelection) imposed by democracy means that leaders, with long term goals for success and beneficial projects which may go beyond their tenure, will have to rely on their successors to buy into their plan and continue its execution for public good. This point is further manifested by the fact that while President Eisenhower was a democrat, Lyndon was a Republican. But they were both united by the cause to ensure good management of resources and delivery of efficient public service.

We have seen other manifestations of this in Africa with, for example, the 6th October bridge in Cairo which began under the watch President Gamal Abdel Nasser but was commissioned 30 years after in 1996.

Similarly, in Nigeria the Mambilla Power Project in conceived in 1972, but stalled due to peculiar challenges such as abandonment and lack of will has been rejuvenated under the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari who has committed resources to the project, and is now set for commission in six years.

The criticism over the continuation of project as opposed to initiating new ones to claim “ownership” and or show “innovation” stems out of ignorance and is in fact one of the contributory factors to the infrastructure deficit Nigeria is grappling with.

There are several instances of beneficial projects, which were started with billions of tax payers’ money and resources from revenue, being abandoned upon the change of government for childish and sinister political reasons which, ultimately, put the public at a loss. A good example is the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, one of the busiest highways in Africa, which has witnessed several false starts but no completion. The road has claimed several lives and continues to present poor experience to its users.

Nigeria has missed, and continues to miss, several opportunities to enjoy full benefits of meaningful policies and projects owing to its bitter politics which compels new government to completely ignore, irrespective of turnover or prospect, affairs of the previous government. In this regard, President Buhari and his insistence on building on the past to create sustainable growth is a breath of fresh air, and he deserves commendation.

It makes no sense to duplicate on embark on the imitation of new projects when similar or previous ones, initiated with public funds, lie uncompleted. We must disabuse our minds and refuse to be poisoned by childish politics.

Ademuyiwa Adebola Taofeek writes from Lagos.


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