Perspective On The Benue Security Conundrum, By Thompson Udenwa

People seem not to have critically examined the issues and gotten the feel on the ground: While not exonerating the parties here, it is rooted basically in politics, and the competition for resources.

Sen. Barnabas Gemade, the former party chairman of the PDP, Senator David Mark, and former Governor Gabriel Suswam all have connections to this. Being once members of the same political family, they previously jointly controlled the State as if it were their personal estate.

What we are seeing in Benue had shown its head in Rivers (where the Odili children, after parting ways began controlling different militia/ cult groups.) Former Governor, Suswam who hails from Loko, has a vicious militia; Governor Ortom from Goma, also has his own fiery militia – they all once had an understanding on the control of the Zaki Biam Yam Market, where about 200 to 300 Million Naira worth of business takes place daily. When ex-Governor Suswam and Governor Ortom parted ways, the first victim of the separation was the yam market. Both of them unleashed their militia in the bid to gain control over the market, this has thus been the kernel behind the increase in militia activities and proliferation of weapons across the state.

On the other end is the very firm but now benign militia, run by Paul Unungo, this militia extends up to the Cameroons. Paul Unongo is perceived to be with the government of the day and thus the militia is remarkably quiet.

There is no part of Nigeria that has the highest number of independent militias like we have in Benue State. It is the State with the highest number of ex-Service men.

From these, we can see the battle for the control of the State.

Benue has 23 Local Governments; it is the only state in the country whose budget bill for salaries is 90% of its income. The inherent problems of this, and the fact that salaries have not been paid for the past 9 months, are underlying causes of some of the conflicts we are witnessing.

There is the allegation that some of the attacks are being carried out by militia from Nassarawa state. Those arrested yesterday said they were given the guns by the Benue State Government.

A curious BBC interview on Tuesday reported that a 69year old Benue State indigene claimed that they have on their routes Fulani settlements that equally have their cattle there, and that they have not seen any herdsmen attack their lands.

The militias, as mentioned above, recruit mercenaries, some of these mercenaries are Fulanis – not particularly herdsmen.

It is important to note that the Miyetti Allah are split along political lines – some loyal to the previous administration, of which the former Commander in Chief is their Life Patron, some loyal to the present administration, others loyal to various political overlords in the country.

The conflict is multi-faceted, and largely a resource based conflict – populations have expanded, herders, farmers, etc. The appropriation of land has also formed a problem – as routes for the passage of cattle have been appropriated. And new ones have not taken off.

Governor Ortom, without proper consultation, implemented an anti-open grazing law. While saying the herders must ranch, adequate provision for the elements of ranching have not been made, such as water. Ranching is by its nature a capital intensive venture. You cannot expect people who live subsistent lives to ranch.

Dr Thompson Udenwa

It is unfortunate that the crisis is also being made to look like a religious crisis – this has been observed from the CAN President’s recent releases.


Dr. Thompson Udenwa

CAN: How More Divisive Can This Organisation Be? By Farid Labaran

The claim that and the description of the unfortunate killing that happened in Benue State by the Adamawa chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), and indeed the National body of the association as a waged Jihad disguised as cattle herding is yet most insensible, foolish, callous, childish, irresponsible cum Insensitive. It is as laughable as it is untrue. It is a claim that exists only in the figment of  imagination of an Umbrella Organisation that purports to represent Christians in this country.

For quite sometime, there has been a conspiracy theory being championed and advanced by CAN to the effect that efforts are in full gear to Islamize Nigeria. This false misinformation has been swallowed hook line & sinker by our Christian brethren to this writer’s greatest dismay without questions.

Few weeks ago, innocent and defenseless Fulanis were maimed in cold blood in Taraba yet nobody described it as a Christian crusade  let alone label it a christianization attempt. The most intriguing part is that no statement of condemnation was issued by CAN which compels us to ask the question that are those Fulani not human enough as to deserve the same sympathy of CAN and a state burial in Taraba too?

It is not the intent of this write-up to identify who is right or wrong between the farmers and herders because this writer is convinced that both sides were at one stage or the other at fault. Rather it is the conscious intent of this piece at least to bring to the fore the real victims of this madness because whenever there’s an attack or reprisal, it is usually not the perpetrators that suffer, online warriors, or even CAN but those defenseless, weak, indigent and aged members of the society that know nothing or did nothing are the ones that bear the brunt. In this regard, this writer believes successive govts have done little or nothing to curb the excesses of both sides.

It is therefore not out of place to add our voices to those of the good people of this country in calling on the govt to act and act fast in resolving this crisis before the situation deteriorates further.

Permit me to debunk the false impression of CAN that Islam or Muslims are violent. For the umpteenth time, Islam is a religion of peace and grows faster in climes where peace reigns. It’s not mere rhetoric when Muslims at different fora incessantly restate the peaceful nature of Islam. There is no religion that is keen to protecting & preserving lives and property than Islam.

The Quran states that when one kills unjustly, it is as though he has annihilated humanity and when one preserves the life of someone, it is as though he has saved/preserved humanity. How then can CAN justify its cheap blackmail and campaign of calumny against Islam & the Muslims?!

Yes, Islam is not a passive religion. Yes, It gives one the right to repel an attack or defend one’s self from any assailant but it must be in accordance with Islamic principles which prohibit the killing of women, children, the old; the destruction of places of worship; cutting of trees; killing of animals etc. If any person calls himself a Muslim yet violates these principles then know that his actions have no Islamic backing and they are inconsistent and ultra-vires of the provisions of Shariah and therefore are null and void.

Islam frowns against aggression. Allah SWT frowns against aggressors. He said in the Quran that He dislikes the aggressor.

What is happening in the North Central is not a Jihad. No sane Muslim would support criminals attacking the innocent.

What is yet to be known though is whether or not CAN is waging or is encouraging the waging through its unguarded and unguided statements a religious war in order to annihilate anyone that is not a Christian in Benue, Plateau, Southern Kaduna, Taraba by whipping up sentiments and cooking up lies.

We seek God’s guidance and assistance from the evil of men.

Farid Labaran, Esq.



How President Buhari Is Maintaining Peace And Security, By Ayobami Akanji

I want to assure you without mincing words that the Boko Haram terrorists have been defeated, all we are fighting for now is the peace in the northeast”– Lt Gen Tukur Y. Buratai

The maintenance of national peace and security by the present Administration, though incredibly tasking, has been largely misunderstood. However, taking everything into account, we will begin to appreciate the excellent achievements of the Administration in keeping Nigeria safe and united, despite the odds. On assumption of office, the Buhari Administration inherited a plethora of crisis – the Boko Haram insurgency had raged on for over ten years, the Niger Delta militancy, the Biafran agitation, and the herdsmen/farmers attacks.

President Buhari himself aptly noted this reality when he posited that ‘Insecurity and the parlous economy were the challenges (we) inherited at inception.’

In reviewing President Buhari’s deft response to these crises and his unwavering commitment to defending the territorial integrity of the country, it is clear that he has demonstrated profound capabilities in ridding the nation of insurgency and other insecurity challenges. The Administration has taken a multilateral approach in decimating the enemies of the State, a holistic retooling of the starved Armed Forces is ongoing strategically, deployment of full battalion of Special Forces, establishment of the new Order of Battle (OBAT).

As a military strategist who understands the import of gathering intelligence in the fight against counter-insurgency, President Buhari approved the setting up of an intelligence fusion center to serve as an analytic hub to help understand the local implications of national intelligence by tailoring national threat information into local context. The fusion center is in Maiduguri, the epicenter of the insurgency in the North-East.

The Buhari Administration is coming with a mix of solutions in this battle, as the President launched a new policy framework and national action plan for the prevention and combat of terrorism in Nigeria.

Fighting insecurity is very complicated and requires deliberate and sustainable winning strategy. The United States which is known for a strong commitment in combating terrorism commits billions of dollars to ensure its national security on one hand and global safety on the other, giving the scheming of agents of destabilization and their secret dealings in harnessing resources to resurface and destabilize the prevailing achieved peace.

There is need therefore for maximum wisdom backed with necessary financial support.  On that ground, it becomes illogical and futile to start challenging the financial commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari in maintaining peace. Nigerians trust that President Buhari will use the funds exclusively to address the insecurity challenges and that same will not be misused, misappropriated or diverted. 

Let’s assume the government does not take adequate measure to sustain the achieved security, and the situation degenerates into full-scale lawlessness and anarchy, the critics of the government would turn around to blame the Federal Government for allowing such case that could undermine our corporate existence and national unity.

Therefore, the opposition in some quarters to Government’s courageous decision to commit 1 billion dollars to fight insecurity is both unhelpful and unwarranted. It is also unpatriotic and self-serving. Do the critics care for this country or do they simply want to hear their own voice. This is one criticism beyond reason and commonsense. Government’s intentions have been made clear ab initio.

Moreover, the Vice President specified in his address during the National Security Summit of the National Economic Council that the 1 billion dollar vote for security was rationally allocated to contain various security challenges in different parts of the country. In essence, these dedicated funds will also be used to tackle the militancy in the Niger Delta, herdsmen crisis in the North, kidnapping in the East, Boko-Haram and many others.

Therefore, the criticism is a mere distraction which the government needs to ignore and instead vigorously pursue its popular agenda of securing Nigeria. This Administration received an overwhelming, nationwide electoral mandate and therefore has both a constitutional and moral duty to keep the country safe and secure. If it requests for funds to achieve this goal, it goes without saying that it is acting appropriately and deserves everyone support. 

The government of President Buhari is not only appreciated internally for responding responsibly and efficiently to national insecurity, but the international community continues to recognize its commitments to maintaining regional and global peace and security. It is no surprise that the Administration enjoys the support and respect of the governments of the United States, Russia, France, Britain, and Pakistan.

Once again, the support and goodwill of the international community vindicates the present Administration in its fight against insecurity. Nigerians certainly feel safer under President Buhari because they consider him strong-willed and capable of confronting the numerous security challenges faced by the country. As a democratically elected government which respects people’s right to an opinion, the Buhari Administration employs a mix of persuasive force and diplomacy in responding to security situations, depending on their nature. That was what was lacking in the immediate past Administration which consequently compounded the fight against the insurgency.

The critics should, therefore, reexamine their position and join the government in ensuring that peace and security are achieved for Nigeria to forge ahead as the mouthpiece of Africa in the global context.

Ayobami Akanji is a political strategist and writes from Abuja

2019: Governor Yahaya Bello, An Affliction That Must Not Rise The 2nd Time, By Sheyi Babaeko

According to Jean- Jacques Rousseau, “When something an affliction happens to you, you either let it defeat You, or you defeat it”
Dear Kogites, the unpopular, accidental and garrulous administration of Gov. Yahaya Bello will be two years in few days time. The two years of GYB’s leadership in the state has not only brought pains, anguishes, tribulations and hardship but also pestilence and untimely deaths of some Kogi State peoples who could not survive his draconian rule and unresponsive attitudes to the challenges and plights of the people of the state.
As a desideratum, we must collectively rise to send Gov. Bello back to his sender especially now that President Buhari’s ears are apparently too busy to hear our yearnings and outcries. At the same time, our Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo’s hands are too tied to save us from the tyrannical, despotic, and low-minded governor of the state.
If Governor Yahaya Bello were to vacate office today, he would be leaving the Lugard’s House worst than he met it.
It is an irrefragable fact that this present administration has brought nothing better than darkness, affliction, jeopardy and discomfort to the state.
The good people of Kogi State should as a matter of urgency begins to shop for a replacement for GYB and his retinue of jackleg subjects and unschooled figures whose knowledge about good governance is unsophisticated, antediluvian and primitive.
We cannot afford another four more years of tragedy. How can I explain a Governor who has been in power for two years without a single meaningful project to be commissioned in any of the 21 Local Governments of Kogi State? What a shame!
Our people must stop their lamentations and begin to think of a way forward ahead of 2019 when they would have another opportunity to make a decision that would either make them GYB’s animals or true sons and daughters of Kogi State. It is obvious that GYB can never make us feel like a true son or daughter of our lovely state if he continued to remain in office.
The delay in seeking a replacement of him will spell doom for us as a people.
We must resist any further form of  misrule. We actually thought we had seen the worst under the thieving political elites of the People’s Democratic Party until we witnessed and saw hell under the white devil who claims to be our governor.
Our debt has doubled without nothing to show, the insecurity and violence crime is beyond control and might likely get out of hand especially with the election around the corner. The school enrollment and the education of an average Kogites is threatened because of the abject poverty that has now taking over Kogi state which is caused by the ineffective and inefficient governor of the state who has mismanage our resources despite the fact that we have all it takes to succeed as a state with ample opportunity to also be an example to other States in Nigeria.
Only a visionary leader can redirect the ship of this state to the utopian State that we all desire.
It is in view of this worrisome and pathetic situation in Kogi state that I am calling on Kogites at home and in the diaspora to reject the  leadership of GYB and APC  (a party of retrogressive political elements) for bringing us to this present state of quagmire and dystopia.
GYB’s second term ambition must not be made to see the light of the day if we must succeed as a state.
I remain faithfully yours sincerely in struggle.
Sheyi Babaeko, the candid candidate for the Kogi State House of Assembly, Kabba Bunu constituency under the Unity Party of Nigeria,
Sheyi is a Social Commentator, Policy Analyst and counter-terrorists strategist.
He Writes from the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria.
God bless Kabba Bunu constituency!
God bless The Confluence State!!
God bless The Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!

Dele Momodu: The Judas Iscariot Of Nigerian Journalism, By Saleh Ibrahim Bature

The pendulum, the name which Dele Momodu chooses to call his weekly column certainly captures the true contents of the stuff which he writes therein. Momodu’s views, as represented in the column, peddle his delusional analysis of the unfolding events in our country. He vacillates between truth and falsehood defending on the motives. His latest open later to President Muhammadu Buhari is one of those tirades. Nigerians read Momudu for the belief that he is a trusted citizen journalist who can be relied upon for information and guidance. So Columnists like Dele Momodu should not take the goodwill of Nigerians for granted. They should understand that they occupy delicate and sensitive positions in the society that demand thoughtfulness and circumspection. I read the Pendulum, his weekly analysis of events on the social media last week. In this write-up, Momodu is wrong. So he should not expect me as a devoted reader of his column to accept his delusional narratives about President Muhammadu Buhari`and his government as the truth. Nigerians are perceptive observers who can read between the lines in order to separate the wheat from the chaff. There is no denying the fact that the Buhari led APC government is embroiled in myriad of problems, but the enormity of the problem is not like how it has been presented by Dele Momodu.

Genuine supporters of Buhari do not believe in the mirage which Momodu in cahoots with his accomplices believe that Buhari possesses “the magic wand and talismanic effect to make all our problems evaporate and vamoose in a jiffy“. Critics and detractors of the government who Momodu represents would find it difficult to accept that no man can fix Nigeria within a short period of 3 years, the time within which Buhari has presided over the affairs of the country. We must accept the home truth that in a complex country like Nigeria, whose people are divided along ethnic and religious fault lines, a country whose national wealth had been ruined by the people who were entrusted with leadership, fixing problems in such a multifaceted ambience is not as easy as writing a one page critique in a newspaper.

Even in most of the developing and developed countries in Europe and Asia we often look up to as role models, none of the leaders in those countries who had shaped history has achieved prosperity in an instant.

For example, The United Arab Emirate [UAE] did not transform from a quiet backwater to one of the Middle East’s important economic hubs in a jiffy. It is quiet true that one man can transform a nation as exemplified by Lee Kuan Yew who changed the small island of Singapore to become one of the most advanced nations in the world, “that has an economic standard that would rival most countries in Europe and America. This is a task that took Minister Lew many years. The “Miracle of the Han River “, a phrase referring to the rapid industrialization of South Korea from a developing to a developed nation did not happen within the short time frame which Dele Momodu expects Buhari to transform Nigeria. In the same way, Mahthir Muhammed did not claim to have magic wand with which he used to create the export-driven industrialization programs, nationwide entrepreneurial skills and effective work ethic that brought prosperity to Malaysia.

The subtle message in the infamous letter crafted by the columnist of the pendulum was to denigrate President Muhammadu Buhari so that Nigerians will completely lose hope in him. This is a sinister move aimed at preparing the ground for the emergence of a yet to be announced candidate who would slug it out with the incumbent President in 2019. Momodu’s ill-fated and unsolicited advice tells it all: “is it not better and more profitable, to return home, triumphantly, with your reputation intact than to win a pirich victory with everything you earlier stood for wasted on the altar of vainglorious aggrandizement“. He did not stop there. What guarantee, Momudu further asked the President, “do you have that you will win in the election…“.

If we shall look at the above question in relation to the campaign promises made by Buhari, I will not hesitate to say that the President will win the upcoming election regardless of all the verbiages and lies labeled against him by detractors. His government has done very well in fulfilling its major campaign promises under the broad themes of -Fight against Corruption, Economic Diversification and Security.

Development, pundits say, is relative. So the best way to appreciate this government is to place it on the same pedestal with the one it has inherited. Buhari took over a broken down nation that was “dancing on the brink“. We should not forget that the PDP under Good Luck Jonathan earned a record $460 billion oil revenue in 5 years which is the highest in the history of our nation.

Instead of the government to diversify the economy for growth and prosperity, we got in return a depleted foreign reserve, demolished Excess Crude Account, accumulated more foreign and local debts, abandoned key projects due to indebtedness to contractors, left N600 billion fuel subsidy bill, N60 billion fertilizer subsidy bill, accumulated salaries and pension arrears for workers and retirees running into billions of Naira. I do not want to bother you with the details of damage done to Nigeria by those that plundered and raped our economy, and who are surreptitiously trying to stage a comeback.
Nigerians are happy that a revolution that has attracted foreign and local investors is taking pace as evidenced in the rice and wheat production in Kebbi and other states especially in the north. Private capital is flowing into the processing sector of the agriculture value chain. Lagos and Kebbi states have made history in Nigeria when they jointly launched the “Lake Rice“brand for consumption to Nigerians. WACOT just opened N10b Rice Mill, Dangote opened Tomatoe Paste Factory in Kano, Olam will commission N20billion Livestock Feed and Chicken Hatchery Plant in Kaduna among other investors“. This is the first time in decades when Agriculture is revived to be a major source of employment and revenue for the government.

Today, almost all the newspapers in Nigeria carried the heartwarming news of report that our Foreign Reserve has grown to $40 billion – the highest in 4 years! In a similar development, Nigeria’s All-Share index has recorded the highest surge since 2008. The nation’s stocks were on a first class ride into record territory at the end of 2017. CNN money had reported that Nigeria’s money market was the darling of investors as it recorded a bullish performance against all the odds in 2017. Nigeria recorded a top score of 43% price increase in shares, giving it the enviable global 3rd position after Argentina and Turkey. The accomplishments of Buhari in the last 3 years cannot be listed in a write-up like this one. These are the kinds of stories Momodu and his fellow faultfinders would not avail Nigerians.
In the area of fighting terrorism in the country, those of us in the north know what the government has done. For that alone, Buhari deserves our votes. In my own hometown in Bauchi state, which had been attacked 5 times in 2 years, we lost lives, property and stability to deadly and incessant Boko Haram attacks.

There is no doubt that the popularity rating of President Muhammadu Buhari has dwindled. Nigerians who supported him in 2015 had high expectation on him. Some of his supporters wrongly assumed that he had immediate solution to the myriad of ills bedeviling the country as caused by the PDP. It is wrong to therefore believe in the spurious and deceptive narratives given to us by politicians who masquerade as journalists. They are Promoting a covert Political agenda. We should not be deceived by their antic. I do not say Buhari is flawless. The Nigerian masses make the president through their voting powers. They still have confidence in him, in spite of the calumny by his detractors to bring him down. We look forward to who among the politicians angling for the most coveted office in the country will slug it out with Buhari in 2019.

Don Waney: Still Too Early to Celebrate, By Walter Duru,

One of the biggest stories about the Niger Delta region of Nigeria today is the killing of a dreaded cultist, Johnson Igwedibia, also known as Don Waney, by a combined team of men of the Military and Department for State Services- DSS.

In a Press Statement issued by the Nigerian Army entitled: “End of road for notorious cultist, kidnapper and mass murderer- Don Waney, signed by Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, the military announced the death of Johnson Igwedibia.

The statement reads in part: “The authorities of 6 Division Nigerian Army Port Harcourt wish to inform the peace-loving people of Omoku in ONELGA in particular, Rivers State and indeed the entire good people of Niger Delta in general that the notorious cult leader, kidnap kingpin and mass murderer Don Waney is dead.”

Igwedibia, one of the big players in the game of the underworld in the region is said to have been gunned down alongside two of his close allies in a border town between Rivers and Enugu States.

A former heavy weight in militancy, based in Omoku in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni-ONELGA Local Government Area of the State is a prime suspect in the new year massacre that took the lives of over twenty persons returning from a ‘cross-over’ midnight prayer in Omoku.

Johnson Igwedibia is not a push over by any standard, as at some point in the area, the fear of Don Waney was the beginning of wisdom. Even the Oba of Ogba land, H.R.M. Eze Nnam Obi gave him his way and never crossed his path. Reports say that some security agents were afraid of him, as he was deadly and believed to be invincible. The routes to his mansion in Omoku were manned by soldiers, said to have been detailed to arrest him, dead or alive, yet, he operated without encumbrances. Did security give way for conspiracy?

In the days of militancy in the region, sources say Don Waney and his boys were allegedly involved in pipeline vandalism, sea piracy, kidnapping, armed robbery, cultism, thuggery, rape and all other forms of criminality, prior to late President Yar’Adua’s amnesty programme for militants in the region.

But, did the amnesty deter him? Years after accepting same, he returned to his trade in full capacity. In 2016, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike introduced another round of amnesty programme, which he also accepted; but to what extent did that influence him? Don Waney was a billionaire by all standards and the peanuts provided for the amnesty programme may have even infuriated him; yet he accepted it, but continued with his ‘business’.

On the 20th of December, 2016, Don Waney was conferred with a chieftaincy title of Onyirimba 1 of Ogbaland by the paramount Ruler of Aligwu in ONELGA LGA, King C. Nwokocha. Two of his foot soldiers, Ikechukwu Adiela and Augustine Osisiah were also installed chiefs.

In his response to the recognition, Waney commended the Rivers State government for their efforts in ensuring that peace reigns in the region, even as he urged youths of the area to embrace same, promising to join hands with stakeholders to ensure that peace reigns.

Contrary to his pledge, he still returned to his old ways, compelling the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army to invade his camp and shrines in the early hours of November 20, 2017. Reports say he narrowly escaped death in that brutal military operation.

During the raid, about ten human skulls and human bones were allegedly discovered. Seven suspects, including two women are said to have been arrested and they must be helping security operatives in their investigations.

Ultimately, the slain Don Waney was an extremely dangerous person and had caused indescribable harm to many. He is believed to have been involved in the killing of many and destruction of property.

At some point, multinational oil companies in the area could not operate without paying homage and some royalty to him. Yes! It was that bad. The situation was helpless at some point. He became a negative role model in the area. Many young people gained employment in companies operating in the region through him. He had large and committed followership, no doubt.

On a number of cases, there were unfounded reports of his death, following attacks and invasion of his camp(s). Such reports made it difficult for people to believe that he has eventually been killed.  But, now that there is evidence that he is dead, is the battle over?

The truth is that the problem in Omoku and the entire Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area may have just begun. Those celebrating his demise at this stage may need to have a rethink.

First, reports have it that among his followers are deadlier young people living under oath. Among his hundreds of followers are blood-thirsty and trigger-happy radicals, ready to take after him. In fact, his biological younger brother, whose name is given as ‘Obata Osu’ can best be described as a worse evil. While Don Waney was of a calm disposition, his younger brother is a more radical and violent person. In fact, reports say Don Waney alone could control him.

Hundreds of young people benefited from his criminal activities and still owe allegiance to him, even in death. These individuals leave among unsuspecting citizens.

More so, the arms at the disposal of the boys are so sophisticated that anyone believing that they are push overs is doing so at his own peril. A combination of high capacity for mischief, absence of repentance, sophisticated weaponry and very deep pockets makes the situation very complex.

Taking a clue from history, the crises in Omoku will take strategic planning on the part of security operatives, effective communication, stakeholders’ engagement, sustained operation(s) and ultimately, the grace of God to end. In fact, it will take the grace of God for normalcy to return to the oil-rich city of Omoku.

Prior to the reign of Don Waney, one Chi-boy was practically being worshipped in the area. Don Waney was said to have toppled Chi-boy, with support from some known politicians in the area, before assuming kingship over the ‘jungle’.

Now that Don Waney is no more, a few things are likely to happen. First, within his camp, there may be conflict over who pilots the affairs of the gang, particularly, now that he was killed alongside his 2iC, while the number three man broke away earlier, over alleged poor compensation from a bootie from some government quarters. The internal crisis may lead to the breaking away of a faction, thereby weakening the Don Waney camp further.

Another possible development will be that some other camps that were calm over the years as a mark of respect for the king of the jungle-Don Waney will want to rise to fight for superiority. This rivalry may mark the first phase of violence to be witnessed in the area, after the internal conflict in Don-Waney’s camp. Then, other camps and groups may spring up.

Ultimately, the way militancy has been handled over the years in the Niger Delta region shows that crime attracts handsome reward. Changing this narrative requires strategic planning.

Those thinking that the sad end of Don-Waney may serve as a bitter lesson and outright deterrent to others involved or intend to be involved may have a rethink. In fact, it will amount to wishful thinking. Even if Don Waney was caught alive and made to die slowly; even through an open torture, it will not change anything. After all, armed robbery attracts death penalty in our law books, but has that stopped the menace?

Nigeria’s security operatives must therefore go back to the drawing board and critically analyze the situation and think of the way forward. The way forward is not to celebrate the death of Don Waney, as nothing appears to have really changed, but leadership. There are still many other Don-Waneys in the jungle.

One very important task for security operatives is to ensure the protection of lives and property in the area, by taking steps to prevent any further attacks on soft targets.

For Omoku, it will take divine intervention for normalcy to return to the area anytime soon. Anyone thinking otherwise is living in fool’s paradise. Stakeholders must return to the drawing board, review the situation, adopt a carrot and stick approach and employ professional public relations strategies, in addition to excellent intelligence and security approaches in order to succeed. Community stakeholders must be engaged on sustained basis as a deliberate strategy.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that the 2019 election is fast approaching. Will politicians allow normalcy to return to the area? Who then will they use for thuggery, kidnapping and assassination during the elections? The problem is huge and requires a holistic approach.

Indeed, it is too early to celebrate, as not much has changed!

Dr. Walter Duru is a Communication and Public Relations expert/strategist. He is Executive Director of Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption-MIIVOC and chairs the Board of Freedom of Information Coalition, Nigeria-FOICN. Duru can be reached on:

N-Power: Why President Muhammadu Buhari Is My Hero, By Omolayo Osunbayo

I am a female graduate of Tai-solarin University of Education, Ogun state with a BSc Certificate in Industrial Chemistry. The forlorn hope about the future started gripping me two months to graduation, driving me to a point of sickness. I came from a poor family not privileged to have the right connection for people like me to secure a job after graduation.

I got sick more and more listening to stories of frustration told by those who graduated before me. Many of them, out of frustration became apprentices to learn menial jobs. Many who languished under inclement weather of bad economy turned to prostitution to eke out life. Many ended up as mere servants in the homes of even the middle class, contending with attendant insults and low self-esteem.

Even those who got supposedly good jobs lament bitterly about poor pay and treatment of ignominy by the agencies who recruited them. Majority of young graduates, I know are still in their parents homes, degenerating by the day. I had prayed every day to God to make my case different. Yes, there were few privileged graduates who earned good jobs, yet, they could be counted on fingertips, I had hoped to be one of them.

After graduation in 2014, I was posted to Kebbi State in 2015 for mandatory National Youths Service. I love Kebbi for the peace and tranquility it offered, coming from the southwestern part of Nigeria. Within a year of my service in Kebbi, I opened my mind to the possibility of becoming a rice merchant. This is because, Kebbi by the grace of the Anchor Borrowers Programme initiated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had become a leading state in the growth of rice. My plan then was to purchase rice in bags and transfer them down south to start a business as a graduate after my NYSC programme. It was a solid plan, which I would have initiated for others to follow, all things being equal.

Bright as the idea of becoming a rice merchant looked, I had the excitement cut short by my Local Government Inspector in Kebbi, Alhaji Idris who raised the issue of huge capital as the first requirement. I had no idea of how to raise over a million naira to start the business. Yet, I was hopeful. After completing my NYSC year in Kebbi, I returned to Ibadan, Oyo State to start counting on mother luck to bail me out. Nothing was forth coming until six months after when my lovely father put a call across to me to intimate me of a programme initiated by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, called N-Power; offer of job opportunities to 200, 000 young Nigerian graduates.

I did not appreciate the initial efforts by my father to link me up with N-Power. I had always regarded any programme from the federal government in that line, a ruse. My father persisted and had one day referred me to a statement by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo that the programme was real. Osinbajo, in that report, impressed it on young graduates not to waste the opportunity, being part of President Buhari’s passion to mop up unemployment under his government. Incidentally, he was the Anchor of N-Power.

Owing to ceaseless efforts from daddy, I registered on line for N-Power on the very closing day, just to make him happy! I never placed hope on the efforts because of cynicism and bias I had against anything from the government. But six months after I turned in the application, I heard the rumour that names of beneficiaries had been shortlisted and published. Truly, some of those who were shortlisted came back pumping hands and getting pats on the back. It never occurred to me to make an effort to check.

But I did because my father again prodded me to do so. I made the list and it was incredible, very unbelievable! I did not depend on the usual connection or link to pull through. The opportunity came on merit, just like that. Awesome! That was on November 21, 2016. From that day, President Muhammadu Buhari who many love to castigate became my own hero!

I went for the mandatory screening exercise in December 2016 and was finally selected. I was posted to Ewekoro Local Government area in Ogun State and resumed as a teacher on January 9, 2017. I appreciate the privileged to serve in that capacity. Since joining the N-Power scheme, I noticed that the government has never failed in paying up as at when due, monthly. Now, I reckon with the power and importance of the scheme. I was able to acquire additional skills and knowledge on Social Development, while also gaining from the study habits of the people through the other initiatives the government provided.

I am prodded to write my experience with the N-Power initiative, first to appreciate the concern by the Buhari’s government had on the high level of unemployment in Nigeria and the need to solve the problem. Most importantly, I intend to use this write up to beg the government for more.

For me, N-Power is a good initiative designed to solve the riddle of life for 200, 000 young graduates and providing hope for them. I urged the government to offer permanent employment to all the beneficiaries while opening fresh avenues for more young graduates to benefit. I make this appeal because the programme ends this year. Then, it is out of place for the government to throw the beneficiaries into the labour market again, after investing in them.

I seize this opportunity to thank the government of Ogun State under the able leadership of Senator Ibikunle Amosun for being very accommodating and hospitable to benefiicaries of N-Power. His government has promised not to let the worthy beneficiaries down. We will continue to count on his promise too.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, deserves praise because of his steadfastness in making success out of N-Power. For me, he is the reason the programme was not hijacked by the very greedy and insatiable political leaders, either at the state level or federal.

I end by saying that no matter the machinations by the opponents against the government of President Buhari that means well for the youths, we the beneficiaries of N-Power will always appreciate it for what it stands for. I join others in praying for the continued success of the President and his government.

 God bless President Muhammadu Buhari!

God bless Nigeria

 Omolayo Osunbayo (Miss)

N-Power beneficiary, Ewekoro Local Government Area,

Ogun State.

Governor Ahmed: Funding Infrastructure Through IGR, By Eyitayo Oyelowo

Revenue generation is the path to modern development. For government at all levels to meet the demands of its citizenry in terms of basic infrastructure, sustainable revenue is key. For most state governments, these means effective collection and management of revenue.
In the light of this, when the Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed got re-elected into office in 2015, his first line of action was to reposition the revenue collection process through the change in people, process and technology having realized that the allocation coming to the state from the federal government had dwindled.
This repositioning birthed the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS) in January 2016. Without mincing words, the existence of the revenue agency has changed the financial position of the state.
In its first year of operation of the agency boosted the state IGR by over 400%. Mind you, the agency did not impose fresh taxes on individuals and businesses in the state, it only assesses and enforces payment of due taxes, levies, fees and charges in the state.
This laudable increase led to the establishment of Kwara Infrastructure Development Fund (IF-K) in September 2016, where the revenue house has been contributing a total sum of N500 million on monthly basis to fund infrastructure.
According to the State government, the scheme is to serve as a sustainable funding window for the implementation of major infrastructural projects.
Through IF-K, the State government has been able to fund ongoing projects and initiated new ones across the State. Some of the major projects initiated under the scheme are the ongoing construction of Geri-Alimi Diamond underpass, ongoing KWASU campus in Ilesha-Baruba and Ekiti LG, KWASU Post-Graduate School in Ilorin and dualisation of Kulende-UITH-Oke Ose road project.
Also the internationally recognized Light-Up Kwara Project (LUK) on major roads in the metropolis is included under the IF-K.
The Infra Fund Kwara scheme has no doubt fortified the Governor Ahmed-led administration’s capacity to bridge the infrastructure gap across the State despite the current economic challenges.
Therefore, one can conclude that the growth in the State’s IGR and its successful utilization under the IF-K scheme has made positive contribution to the development of infrastructures in the State and the government has pledged not to rest on its oars until it ensures a balanced approach to IGR appropriation for even infrastructural across the State.

IGR-driven IFK has also boosted Kwara State’s growing reputation for project continuity and Governor Ahmed’s image as perhaps the only Governor without abandoned projects.
Indeed, based on the funding structure put in place by the government under IFK, Governor Ahmed has vowed to keep implementing infrastructure until his last day in office. Only a well structured and innovative funding scheme such as IFK can provide such confidence.

Tambuwal: Leader, Mentor, Visionary Clocks 52, By Imam Imam

Six years ago, five young Nigerians graduated from Usmanu Danfodio University with a bachelor’s degree in Law and were on the verge of missing admission into the Nigerian Law School due to lack of finances. Over dinner, it was mentioned to the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, of the dire situation the young ones were in and how their dreams of becoming lawyers was getting away by the hour. Without asking who they were, he directed us to contact them. Few days later, he not only paid for all they required, he ensured each of them got a laptop computer to aide their studies.

The interesting aspect of this story is that few days ago, I encountered one of them in Abuja and while thanking me for intervening at a very critical period in their lives, he expressed disappointment that none of them was able to meet with Tambuwal to thank him collectively and individually for his dream-saving gesture.

Why am I telling this story today? The lesson here is simple: some people are attracted to those who need help because it feels good to be of help at critical times. Whenever someone is hurting or suffering in some ways, kind-hearted individuals deliberately come forward to help without even wanting to be praised. This is where Tambuwal comes in.

I am sure the lesson in this encounter is not lost on Tambuwal himself. This is because his life does not lend itself to embellishments – it is an inspirational and captivating study of the triumph of mind over matter. As we mark his birthday today, we will all meditate on this lesson, and draw the positives that will continue to illuminate paths in our relationship with others.

In the last 52 years, Tambuwal has left no one in doubt about his capacity for fair and equitable representation. Over the years, he has demonstrated ability to meet with the needs and demands of the people that he encountered. His profound achievements as Governor in the Seat of the Caliphate have drawn praises, honour and recognition from far and near.

In his role as the Number One citizen of Sokoto, Tambuwal has raised the ante of purposeful leadership and good governance. By a magic of work, ethics and sincerity of purpose, his administration has prioritized areas whose importance will continue to have enduring impact on the life of the citizenry. Such sectors include education, agriculture, health, women and youth empowerment, energy, poverty eradication and revamping of the entire governance structure.

His administration is making positive impact in public schools by building new classrooms, supplying of chairs, tables and textbooks for students, delivering new buses to schools, and flagged off program to enroll 1.4 million new kids into schools in the next 12 months. All these led to a stamp of commendation by UNICEF after the number of out of school children dropped by half in the state in two years.

In agriculture, 140 women and pensioners were trained in fish farming and supported with grants and starter-packs of tanks and fish feeds to start businesses. The government gave out 981,000kg of improved rice seeds to farmers free of charge to support them, and after ir introduced wheat farming to the state for the first time, it gave 6000 bags of 100kg wheat seeds to farmers, free of charge.

To ensure sustainability, promote new technology and enhance private sector participation in farming, the state government and Dangote Industries Ltd started a rice outgrower scheme at Goronyo and Middle Rima Valley. 1000 farmers were engaged for the pilot project in 2017 with 500 hectres of land committed. For the 2018 farming season, 2000 hectres will be used with the number of farmers also increasing.

All these efforts were complemented by distribution of fertilizer, water pumping machines and pesticides. The result is increase in yield and more wealth and prosperity for Sokoto farmers.

The same team work and strength of character led to these successes replicated in all the sectors of the economy of the state.

Tambuwal’s approach to leadership is defined by the vision to build people and enduring structures that can stand the test of time. While most are admired because they move others to follow their example, Tambuwal belongs to the category of a few who are special enough to encourage others to find their own unique path. Just by being who he is, he has sparked many to be who they want to be. Through thoughtful leadership, great vision and sincerity, all parts of Sokoto have felt the positive impact of his activities. And for that, if for nothing else, he deserves to called a leader who inspires.

In this season of politics, many, especially closer home, have deliberately chosen to misunderstand Tambuwal. But as Ralph Waldo Emerson said decades ago, “Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”

With time, people will understand the fact that Tambuwal is indeed a role model for all those seeking to understand how to make impact with their lives. And on this momentous day of his 52nd birthday, I thank him for his service, and wish him a happy birthday.

*Imam, the spokesman to Governor Tambuwal, wrote from Sokoto

How Gaidam Finished Strong In 2017, By Abdullahi Bego

As 2018 rolled in – and the Gaidam administration positions itself to turbo-charge Yobe’s economy for even more service delivery – the people of the state can look back on the preceding year as one in which the prospects for a brighter future have been firmed.

With a record 82 percent budget implementation rate by the Yobe State Government – and more in the lived reality of the people’s lives – 2017 will go down as a tipping-point year in the annals of Yobe’s socio-economic recovery.

First, the economic recession in which the country was stuck for most of the year was a pivotal, defining moment. The recession depleted the nation’s revenue earning and meant that many states across the country, at some point, were unable to meet certain basic obligations to their people, including obligation to workers who are at the front and centre of every service delivery effort. With less going into workers’ pockets, local businesses took a hit as well resulting in many of them finding it hard to replenish their inventories.

How Governor Gaidam successfully navigated Yobe State through that difficult period still puzzles many keen observers of the state’s socio-economic development. The governor, for instance, not only did not take any bank loans to finance expenditures, such as salary payments, he towered above them with visible impact in the lives of the people while never slowing down on the projects he was executing. Projects in healthcare, road construction, school renovation and expansions, waters supply in communities across state, etc., were carried on with unbelievable consistency and panache.

Part of this has to do with his background as an accountant and auditor who knows what it takes to maintain a balanced sheet but most of it is about his commitment to the values of transparency and accountability in the conduct of government business. These ensured that the governor remained faithful to the provisions of the 2017 budget and the budgets before that; they ensured that he measured every single move that the government makes according to the strength of its purse and resulted in never invoking any expenditure or spending unless he was sure the government could properly finance it.

As a consequence of these measures, Yobe emerged stronger because of the governor’s leadership.

In healthcare, for example, 2017 marked the formal opening to the public of the brand new Yobe State University Teaching Hospital (SUTH) that Governor Gaidam has built. The government recruited more than 500 doctors, nurses and other professionals to work in the hospital well ahead of the commencement of clinical services.

The year also marked the completion of most of the rehabilitation and expansion works carried out in major government hospitals across the state. It marked the procurement and installation of new and badly needed equipment that those hospitals in Gashu’a, Gaidam, Potiskum and Damaturu need to provide quality services to the people in those areas. It marked the start and completion of the construction of a new College of Medical Sciences complex based inside of the Yobe State University campus in Damaturu.

More significantly, the year marked the expansion of Yobe’s drive in maternal and child care, topping the third straight year in which no case of polio was reported throughout the state because of the measures being taken to prevent its resurgence and those of other child-killer diseases. Indices for maternal and child health also improved significantly. In short, in 2017, Yobe’s healthcare sector got better than in the previous year.

Professionals wowed by the governor’s effort to transform a sector so vital to the lives of everyday people expectedly took notice. First, the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON) conferred its honorary membership on the governor for his effort at improving the health of women and children in the state. Then, two weeks later, the umbrella body of all medical and dental practitioners in the country, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) through its Yobe State branch, followed suit by honoring the governor at a well-attended ceremony in Damaturu.

Outside of the health sector, 2017 was also historic for Yobe’s education sector. It’s the sector that was the hardest hit by Boko Haram violence. So much of Yobe’s education infrastructure was destroyed during those insurgency years by a ragtag army of crazed fanatics who hold fundamentally distorted – and demonstrably wrong – notions about the place of western education in Islam.

As a result of these setbacks, primary and secondary education, for the most part, had to be rebuilt across the state from the ground up. Progress, of course, wasn’t easy. But because of Governor Gaidam’s determination, many primary schools have been rebuilt and expanded and provided with the basic learning tools and supplies that the pupils enrolled in them need.

In secondary education, five secondary schools were selected and worked upon by the Gaidam administration. The schools were totally rebuilt, expanded and furnished with new classroom, staffroom, hostel and staff quarter furniture, laboratory equipment and chemicals and other vital supplies at over N2.8 billion.

Six more secondary schools are slated to be totally rehabilitated and equipped this year. This means that by the end of 2018, an environment more conducive and more amenable to great teaching and learning would be fully secured for a lot of Yobe’s secondary school students.

The preceding year also marked the start of Yobe’s International Cargo Airport project. When completed in November this year, the airport will not only be Yobe’s first, it will be the first of its kind to be wholly dedicated to cargo and freight services in the Norrtheast, a move likely to accelerate business and other economic activities in a region now recovering from so much devastation from Boko Haram attacks.

Governor Gaidam will surely build on these and other milestones of his administration in this ‘legacy’ year. As he nears the end of his eventful two-terms in office and the start of the rest that he so richly deserves, the governor will seek to make even more impact in the lives of the people by, amongst others, completing ongoing projects and starting new ones. He will consolidate on his feats in security, healthcare, education, water supply, agriculture and the civil service, amongst others, and make the APC, his political party, an even stronger political platform around which to rally the people.

He’s already started the year strong with a donation of vehicles worth N350 million to the military as they make their final push to defeat Boko Haram. He’s paid N1.1 billion as gratuities to retired workers. He’s saying, by these actions, that 2018 will be as action-packed as the preceding year and the years before that.

Bego wrote this piece from Damaturu, Yobe State

Who Is The People’s Candidate? By Hamzat Lawal

As Nigerians, we are no strangers to hard times, heartbreaks and raw deals. We make the best out of bad situations. We are happy even in conditions when it is actually hard to smile. We endure all, because even when we complain, we quickly forget the hurt we felt in the past. We easily move on, and leave everything to God.

But recent happenings in the polity is testing our patience with our elected political office holders, especially the President of the Federal Republic. We find ourselves wake up with a bitter taste in our tongue and sore questions on our lips, “Is this President really our candidate or was he the candidate of his political party? Did we vote for him or his party? Could we have influenced his emergence as the party’s candidate?”

So, we have come face to face with the reality of a vague democratic process, where the tail can wag the dog!

The thinkers that gave us democracy sold it as government of the people, by the people and for the people. However, what we see is a government formed by a candidate the people may never have chosen, but was handpicked by a few influential men in a party circus characterized by horse-trading and influence peddling. A legitimate event where the winner takes all, and the people gets a dummy.

Enter The People’s Candidate or TPC for short. An initiative of The Osasu Show/TOS TV in collaboration with Connected Development (CODE), TPC was created for the sole purpose of maximizing the democratic rights of Nigerians by returning power back to the people.  It is a platform that will disrupt the biased electoral process by availing all Nigerians, irrespective of political affiliation, an opportunity to nominate and vote their preferred presidential candidates for the various political parties for the general elections 2019.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has scheduled the next presidential elections for February 2019. As it typically occurs during elections, a select number of party leaders in Nigeria (as opposed to millions of eligible voters) gather together to decide who emerges as the political candidates of their respective parties. The people are then left to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea during the general elections.

Nomination of candidates will end on January 1st, 2019 and the voting process will commence thereafter. The goal of the TPC initiative is to ensure the person that emerges as President in 2019 is a true reflection of the people’s wish as opposed to the idiosyncrasies of a select few party leaders.

Therefore, it is about the whole ingredients that make up the Nigerian democratic news. It is not just about who is The People’s Candidate, but also about where is The People’s Candidate, why do we need to know The People’s Candidate, how shall we know The People’s Candidate, and what is the philosophy behind The People’s Candidate? The evolution of the Nigerian democratic process depends on the choice we make today.

We have the benefit of hindsight. In 2007 it was late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua from PDP, handpicked by the incumbent President Olusegun Obasanjo; Muhammadu Buhari, from ANPP, whose emergence in his party was divisive leading to his exit to form CPC; Atiku Abubakar from ACN, a party he formed and financed; Orji Uzor Kalu from PPA, a party he personally formed and financed; Attahiru Bafarawa from DPP, a party he formed; Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojuwku from APGA, a party he formed; Chris Okotie from FDP, a party he singlehandedly formed. And so on.

The same scenario was repeated in 2011, when the front runners were the leaders of their respective parties: President Goodluck Jonathan from PDP (a party he controlled as the incumbent President of Nigeria) and President Muhammadu Buhari of CPC (a party he formed). Interestingly, these two candidates were also the two major contenders in the 2015 presidential elections, leveraging on the same dynamics that threw them up in the previous election.

At this juncture, it is important to note that the personalities behind the TPC idea give it natural failsafe possibilities. Osasu Igbinedion, a dynamic and articulate media practitioner and young philanthropist, is a diligent media activist whose work in Nigeria and across Africa has proved her immense passion and drive towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

She had in 2015 floated an instrumental communication vehicle, The Osasu Show (TOS), which has endeared her to the grassroots, while stamping her personal touch and finesse without diluting the fact that she radiates a competence that is conspicuously without any gender, religion or ethnic bias.

Her talk show, which runs simultaneously on AIT, BEN TV London and ITV, creates an opportunity for critical discussions on the improvement of societal perceptions and ideologies amongst politicians, aspiring young leaders, entrepreneurs, industrialists, public servants, philanthropists, and professionals in various spheres of life. The programme has been applauded for consistently providing a medium for promoting the cause of the less privileged in the society and also holding the political class to account.

The other young Nigerian is Hamzat Lawal. He is an award-winning development strategist, environmental activist and anti-corruption crusader, who co-founded Connected Development (CODE) and its flagship Follow The Money initiative. He leads the team which comprises data analysts, journalists, legal practitioners, activists, information managers, students, and academia and development consultants.

His passion for change using open data advocacy for transparency and accountability in governance led to a life-saving intervention in 2012 in Bagega, Zamfara State; and since then he has used his advocacy methods to influence government policies that positively affect the welfare of various communities across Nigeria and Africa. He continues to inspire young people to contribute towards civic engagement and good governance, while coordinating various grass root movements in the region.

In nudging fellow Nigerians towards taking their destiny in their own hands by deciding who The People’s Candidate is, TPC could naturally leverage on the CODE paradigm. CODE provides marginalized and vulnerable communities with relevant knowledge and resources to amplify their voices with independence and integrity while providing the communities with information that ushers social and economic progress.

As a country, Nigeria has come to that place where to enhance effective democratic governance and accountability, we need platforms (using various tools like mobile and web technologies) that close the feedback loop between citizens and the government. When political parties realize that the people have the power to decide who they want to fly their flags, impunity and mediocrity will become obsolete. Then, the truth will find a place in our common future.

Politics should not begin and end with winning or losing elections. It is not about big or small parties either. It is about service to the people; policies and ideologies that will serve the best interests of the greater majority of the society. It is about service and patriotism, forthrightness and accountability, honour and integrity.

The people should choose their own person who they believe embodies the ideals to stand out as The Candidate across all party platforms. Among these personalities, the best candidate shall emerge. The People’s Candidate who shall work with other Nigerians, and listen to everybody and not just the “party heavyweights”. A President who will inspire the young and vibrant upcoming politicians, establish a political incubator to breed a new generation of leaders who will do things right, maintain high ethical standards and abhor greed, avarice, selfishness and impunity.

It is my hope then, that after the 2019 elections, the objectives would have been met in order to add an enduring value to our country’s democratic experience. This is because TPC aims to reduce voter apathy and boost voters confidence; disrupt the normative behavior of a select few party leaders from dictating the people’s candidate; make the candidate selection process transparent, democratic and equitable; arouse the interest of Nigerians in the activities of government; give a voice to the masses; and engage every Nigerian in the entire value chain of the country’s political process.


Hamzat Lawal (Hamzy!) is an activist and currently the Co-Founder/Chief Executive of Connected Development [CODE]. He is working to build a growing grassroots movement of citizen-led actions through Follow The Money for better service delivery in rural communities. He tweets via @HamzyCODE

Anambra 2017: Cutting Off Our Nose To Spite Our Face, By Nnenna Obiano

The just concluded Anambra State election really was not an election as much as it was a referendum on Peter Obi. It was an opportunity for all who had grievances to air them and take revenge as the case maybe.

This group was not limited to the incumbent administration and APGA. The Catholic Church which Obi empowered as a political machinery was just as active. We of course must not forget the Anambra elites who are particularly aggrieved with Peter Obi. Last but not the least is his new party PDP.
The incumbent administration must be commended its election sstrategy.

The media hype despite the incompetence of the government was superb. Exploiting all the weaknesses of the elite and the aggrieved and played it for all it was worth.
The incumbent governor opened up the state vault to defeat his nemesis. No cost was spared because “we have to defeat Peter”. Everyone who could be bought was well-bought .The economy made it easy to purchase votes if not loyalty. As long as you disliked Obi,there was a place for you.
The state coffers being empty was not a problem. When it seemed like it depleted, borrowing was not a problem. Throwing everything good and bad at the “Oracle” as he was referred to was the mantra. Truth did not matter. The propaganda on Obi was so much and loud it drowned out any other candidate.
Obi was not on the INEC ticket but he was on the ticket.

The incumbent governor was so obsessed and focused on Obi, nothing else mattered. He was prepared to outspend Obi and he did. He had to do anything Obi had done and more. At the end of the election, he ” won” ,so much so he had all believe he won all 21 local governments.

“Yes! Finally I have bested Obi and have won” but at what cost? Empty states coffers which cannot be hidden forever, struggle to govern a states when all the saved funds have been squandered ensuring Anambra rejoined the list of indebted states.
The obsession may have led to a “win” but the final act is yet to be played. 4 more years and all will judge just how well he governed. How much debt will be left to his successor,how much of the state will be functional? Only time will tell but for now, let’s enjoy the euphoria of the win.

The positive of the win though is the survival now of the party. The party has been given a new lease of life and it is hoped it can yield more successes though the funding of the party is dependent on the state finances .

The Church played its own role. The Anglican communion was more neutral and fair maybe because the 3 top runners were Catholic .
The Catholic Church simply forgot their vows and robes and waded into the dirty politics of misinformation ,arm twisting ,divisiveness and where necessary,blackmail.
The upper echelon of the church may have as well removed their robes.
All the teachings of the Bible were out through the window.
Everyone even the pope is entitled to their individual preferences on who to vote for. The problem was using the pulpit to coerce congregation who listen faithfully because they trust.

The question one asks is how much of the decision was based on the truth and what was best for their congregation? How much of the propaganda did they know were lies but went along with it.? How much of what the incumbent administration said were pure fabrication which could be proven and was proven did they turn a blind eye to?

What was the motivation? Greed,maybe not as much. Malice and revenge (which are sins by the way ) towards Obi? Sticking it to Peter Obi seemed to be the mantra.

The churches role was so nauseating ,it makes it so hard to actually think you can go to these “men of God” for confession. Who do they confess to?

It is hoped that they can make restitution to their congregation when the time comes and things go south! We hope they don’t.

The irony in this is that the very Church that Peter Obi empowered politically has now turned against him and used that power against him. It is the law of Karma. Incumbent please take note!!!
The solution is that the church having played out itself as fallible as anyone else should probably return to the original purpose for which they have the robe ” lead the church of Christ ” as Christ did.

“Anambra elites” vs Peter Obi

The elites finally have their chance to get theirs against Peter Obi. I am still trying to figure out what exactly they have against him. I have heard of people saying he thinks he knows everything, he handles state money as though it is his. I have also heard about people who are angry because he brought the incumbent and now he does not want him,he brings someone else. I guess part of the angst is why he should be the kingmaker all by himself thus diminishing their roles.

I can see where this could be frustrating but once again,it is not about the state,the electorate but themselves . They can all pump their fists because they won but did the state win?

A lot of these elites will openly tell you,they know the incumbent is incompetent and has done nothing but the joy of beating Peter Obi trumps all consideration especially when they get paid doing it. It is expected that they will prevail on the incumbent administration to fulfill some promises . If that does not happen,we will all pay the price.

As far as Peter Obi is concerned , he maybe down now but certainly not out. Let’s remember that the administration has but four years and it seems to go by quickly. One never knows who is coming next and in this business, revenge is best served as a cold dish!


Oh my!! What a party!

All the top players but a few in this party at one time or the other suffered at the hands of Peter Obi and APGA.
How dare he come into this party to lord it over them again!
How much of one man can we take?
He comes into the party and wants to take over and impose his own candidate . We will not let it happen!! Never!
The party ,not having won a gubernatorial election in 12 years have been fragmented and fractured. It became a collection of warlords for rental. It became all about money.

Which one of them wanted a governor? Not the senator who preferred to be the highest ranking member in the state. Not the house members who were all important even though they have done nothing for the state. Is it the warlords who will lose their cash value with no structure to rent out?

Some of the members had genuine grouse of not being recognized for their longevity in the party.
It seemed impossible to stop Peter Obi taking over their party so they did what they do best. Rent out themselves to the highest bidder. In this case,there was an additional incentive, the intense dislike for a Peter Obi.
It worked! The incumbent won!

Irony now is that they are all back to PDP to fight for position and structure . Some have moved to APGA but hope to use the PDP structure to win future elections.
It may work but 2019 is a lifetime in Nigerian politics and the problem of Peter Obi still remains.

The election is over.The incumbent has defeated Peter Obi but now comes governance. Hopefully the burden of debts and empty coffers will not hinder him too much. All that remains now is the legacy left behind after 4 years. That is the final fight with Peter Obi .

For Peter Obi,it is a bitter pill to swallow. The very state he gave his all to have now turned against him. The successor he brought in has made life uncomfortable for him. The elites who flocked around him have turned their backs on him.

Finally, the church he empowered have used that same power against him. The good news is that he has 4 years to plot his next move. Thankfully, he does not have to worry about finances being independently wealthy. Those who think he is down and out do not know him well. I doubt we have heard the last of him. It has been said that he is very patient when plotting revenge so all who rejoice may have cause to worry later. As for the governor, I doubt we have heard the last of that 7.5 billion. I hope he has it saved somewhere as he will probably have to pay it someday .

For the electorate,my heart goes out to them as they never really mattered in all of this. The suffering continues.

Nnenna Obiano a Political Scientist and Social Commentator writes from Nsugbe.


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