Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, Borno State Governor-Elect; From Grass to Grace

From a very humble background, he trekked 7km daily to school in Mafa, in Borno State and covered same distance to help his father, a peasant farmers on his farm.

He paid his secondary education and National Diploma (ND) were self sponsored. He attended Unimaid for B.Agric working as commercial taxi and farm produce driver, still couldn’t afford hostel accommodation.

Prof. Zulum extended his commercial driving trade to Lagos, precisely at Alaba-Rago to raised his tuition fees for MSc program, 3weeks after resumption. He returned to Maiduguri for his PhD program, moved through the ranks until his appointment as Professor in 2014.

Zulum have more than enough family challenges that he couldn’t afford to built a house of his own but lived in rented apartment until recently. He returned to his rickety car after office as Provost, Ramat Poly, Maiduguri.

In 2015, Zulum was appointed pioneer Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement by Shettima, who told a gathering in Maiduguri last week that one of his attractions to Zulum was the fact that despite being in control of billions of naira for reconstruction of thousands of homes, schools and hospitals, “[He] neither bought a personal house nor a personal car for himself. He also came under attack from Boko Haram twice, but didn’t stop in his efforts to rebuild substantial parts of Borno.

The State and the Party got him a house and car after he emerged as the party flag bearer of APC, and to this humble and very trustworthy Prof, nothing has changed. “All offices are temporal as days of democratic offices are numbered before our emergence, why the excesses.”

Congratulations Prof. Umara Zulum, may the Lord ease your new tasks, guide and guard you. May your administration witness peace and progress for the good people of Borno State.

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Waziri Bulama: The Rise Of A Political Mogul

I sit and ponder at my Country Nigeria. I  muse and turn over in my mind how a series of the game plan by citizens, policy and decision makers has brought us to an administration which deserves a standing ovation. 

On the far side of this layout  are the APC chieftains, the likes of *Comrade Adams Oshiomole, Arc. Bulama Waziri and Bola Tinibu* amongst many. Now in a colony of political intellects,  with APC at the climax of mending loose ends within the party, I am coerced into anticipating greatness for Nigeria. Amongst this cluster however is a munificent man worthy of recall.A man who has perfused time and strenght into this province. *Arc. Waziri Bulama*.Having served the party for over a decennium, he has made manifest of his interest for the APC national secretary. 

Bulama who is very calm, and articulate will certainly complement the chairmans personality, which heavily weighs toward innovation and reliability. If the decision makers make the right decision by shortlisting Arc. The two will unequivocally  make APC a Brobdingnagian establishment.   

As a stakeholder of the party , a woman , a youth and a member of Bulama Support group, i am optimistic that this will happen. when i joined this noble cause it had just few members, within a span of one week i witnessed volunteers from all corners of the six geopolitical zones troop in thousands. 

I have seen immense hope in their eyes,  they yearn and thirst for Arc. Waziri to become the APC National Secretary. What took me aback is The secretary of BSG Comrade Paul Oyiborolume, and members of the group who have invested their time, resources and energy into the campaign for Waziri.

The Founder of BSG Alhaji Ibrahim Waziri and head of strategy and planning along with members of the committee are at the apex of the whole lot, mobilising volunteers and paying homage to all corners of the country. This gesture is one that deserves an acknowledgement of merit. As an observer and partner i am obliged to give an enthusiastic recognition to the group. Thus, Bulama is a man we are proud of.

It is to no surprise that Comrade Adams along with stakeholders of the party made a redoubtable and distinguished resolute in the campaign by selecting Bulama at the Zenith of the presidential campaign. 

However, the APC which has whirled around President Muhammadu Buhari since inception will need to make tough , quick yet strategic conclusions as to who they hand pick for National Secretarial role. 
With the exit of Baba Buhari in 2023 the party will have to construct robust leadership structures that will give it a unifying footing before this time. As a Nigerian and member of BSG, i anticipate that APC will put to use Arc. Waziri Bulama to serve as the National Secretary for the party.

My reasons span from the fact that he is cerebral, modern, calm and has wisdom the party will definitely make good use. He  has moved solidly from the grassroots to the steep incline of Nigerian politics. He gives us hope as a young people in Nigeria.

Ms Farida Adamu Co-chair Media &Publicity Bulama Support Group

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Buhari: Why And How He Won, By Garba Shehu

President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to office in a seismic political shift that swept out of office 16 years of continuous rule by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP recorded yet another resounding victory to win a second term in office, leading his closest rival by a record-setting four million votes.

His party, the All Progressives Congress, APC gained the highest parliamentary majority in the Fourth Republic in the Senate and the House of Representatives, giving the President an ample room to carry out reforms he wished to carry out, but was outmaneuvered and frustrated by the Eighth National Assembly.
While campaigning for the 2015 general elections, President Buhari’s All APC made promises to end Boko Haram terrorism and secure the country for it to be efficiently managed; to restructure the economy, halt its downward slide and create jobs and to fight corruption because, as the president repeatedly says, “if Nigeria doesn’t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.”
His climactic victory against the then incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, his strong message on the three issues as listed above, his practical and serious approach helped to awaken a nation misled by characters who placed self above nation for sixteen years and more.
The Buhari administration has established for itself an anti-corruption reputation and has been in office nearing four years without a major scandal.  The African Union has on account of this, selected the President as the continent’s anti-corruption champion.
The Buhari administration can pat itself on the back for this achievement when it is viewed against the established culture in which corruption is the norm.
To win the war against corruption and institute transparency in the affairs of government, the Buhari administration introduced a number of fiscal reforms and plugged several leakages.
In the firm belief that the party was not mistaken about the problems facing the country, Candidate Buhari went into the February, 2019 campaign on the same issue platforms. The President and his party looked certain of victory from the sea of crowds that attended his political rallies all over the 36 states of the federation. He was the only candidate to have campaigned at least once in each state and the Federal Capital Territory.
These rallies attracted large crowds, mostly of the poor who are trusting in his impeccable qualities of honesty and integrity, and have bought into the idea that he will quickly push their country onto the top by lifting up the economy, creating jobs, securing the nation and ending the nightmarish corruption which had become the order of the day. Some of the events were marked by incidents of road accident, podium or building collapse and stampede leading to tragic losses of life.
At many of those well-attended rallies, the venues fell short of the people gathered. Thousands of supporters outside tried to barge into the inner rings of the venues. Pleas were not heard by surging crowds which resorted sometimes to throwing chairs, sachet water and bottles into the no-man zones in front of the stage.
It was evident from the commencement of the campaign that President Buhari had a a two-pronged election strategy, one to showcase the achievements of his administration in its first term and two, to cash in on his popularity with the lower rungs of the population. 
The party itself doubled down on President Buhari by zeroing in on his image as a diligent, coolheaded and incorruptible leader. In that enduring appeal, the APC saw a trump card going into the election.
Nobody can question President Buhari’s achievements. They are there for all to see.
The administration has significantly curtailed corruption to the point of abolishing what is called “grand corruption.” Given Treasury Single Account,TSA, the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information Scheme, IPPS, the Bank Verification Number, BVN number and Whistle Blower schemes, it is no longer possible for people in authority to, for instance, request the withdrawal of millions, or sometimes billions of Naira or US Dollars to be shared among party members as was the practice under the past administrations. To boot, the Buhari administration has signed onto the global Open Government Partnership, OGP.
Reforms are being carried out in the justice sector with a number of domestic legislations and international agreements to facilitate the identification, tracing, freezing, recovery and forfeiture of ill-gotten assets.
The administration’s primary sectors of agriculture and solid minerals have experienced growth of 180 and 565 percentage points respectively. Nigeria has today achieved near self-sufficiency in rice production.
Government has launched a series of funding and capacity development initiatives to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.  The work of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), inaugurated by President Buhari in August 2016 has resulted in moving Nigeria up 24 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings, and earning a place on the list of 10 most improved economies.  In this regard, the administration has issued a number of Executive Orders on improving efficiency in the business environment and promoting local content.
The Buhari administration has also demonstrated a single-minded commitment to upgrading and developing Nigeria’s transport, power and health infrastructure.
Road projects are ongoing across every state of the country, with many of these projects having been abandoned for many years.  
The country’s narrow-gauge rail network of 3,500 Kms is currently being upgraded; Abuja’s light rail system has been completed and commissioned with a link to the Abuja-Kaduna rail line, which has equally been completed and launched.  The Ibadan-Lagos standard gauge rail is being test run.  Ibadan-Kano has been awarded.
The administration has successfully reconstructed the Abuja Airport runway, completed and commissioned new terminal buildings in Port Harcourt and Abuja with Lagos, Kano, Enugu and the others soon to be inaugurated.
Several water supply projects and dam/irrigation projects have been completed and many more on the way to being delivered.  About 100 ecological projects have been awarded and completed in the six geopolitical zones.
The Buhari administration has more than doubled power generation capacity.  It has increased generation to 8,100 MW and expanded transmission to more than 7,000 MW capacity, and has successfully deployed thousands of solar power systems to rural and urban households.
This is an administration that has been investing in people. It has introduced a social Investment Programme (SIP), which so far, has four components.  These are the N-power employment scheme that is hitting 500,000 this year, the home grown school feeding program that feeds more than nine million school children across the federation, the Government Enterprise and Empower Program, GEEP giving out interest-free loans to millions of market women, traders, artisans and farmers and the conditional cash transfer, CCT which pays N5,000 monthly to the poorest and most vulnerable households in the country.
In dealing with security, one of the first major steps by the Buhari administration was the revitalisation of the Multi-national Joint Task force, MNJTF aimed at combating transborder crime and the Boko Haram insurgency.  The MNJTF has the support and participation of neighbouring countries Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin, in addition to Nigeria.
On the day of his inauguration, the President had directed the relocation of the command and control centre of the Boko Haram war to Maiduguri, the epicentre of the insurgency.
The military has since proclaimed victory over the Boko Haram terrorists, following the capture of their operational and spiritual headquarters, “Camp Zero” in Sambisa Forest.
So far, more than one million displaced persons have returned to their homes and communities.  About 20,000 hostages have been freed. One hundred and six (106) Chibok Girls, abducted in April 2014 and 105 Dapchi Girls abducted in February 2018 have been released and reunited with their families
In the area of diplomacy and international relations, the Buhari administration has re-established Nigeria’s position and influence in regional and global arena. 
As a political leader, Muhammadu Buhari enjoys three formidable assets– his record as a disciplined former Army General, his reputation as an honest leader who has not allowed corruption to flourish under his watch when he served as a state Military Governor, Minister of Petroleum and Military Head of State and the public perception of his record as one who stands for and by the truth, Mai Gaskiya.
The main opposition to President Buhari, the Peoples Democratic Party failed to realize how much these qualities meant to ordinary Nigerians; they did not reckon with the disillusionment of the citizens with their perceived acts of commission and omission for the 16 years they were in power.
They must by now, have realized with a with benefit of hindsight, that demonization and denigration of an individual does not bring in poll dividends. In their campaigns, they chose to demonise and denigrate Muhammadu Buhari as President. It did not pay.
Before and after this election, there is no face in the opposition who can match President Buhari’s inspiring character and personality. Many, including this reporter believe that it wasn’t the rail, road or achievements in the power sector that won this election for President Buhari. No doubt, these and many others are important. They may have added a bit here and a bit there. But what won it for him, was the focus by the voter on the single most important factor of Mai Gaskiya.
 Mallam Garba Shehu is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity

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Bulama: A Square Peg In A Square Hole, By Segun Tomori

As the race for who to succeed the former National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Governor-Elect of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni heats up, one name has featured prominently amongst party stakeholders in the APC – Arc. Waziri Bulama. Bulama, a top contender for the post in last year’s national convention had stepped down for Buni in deference to party leaders in the North-East as a loyal party man.

Aside his intimidating credentials which has seen him rise to the position of the Deputy Director-General (Coordination) of the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) 2019, amongst other strategic roles in the party in recent past, what strikes one about him at first sight is his humility, calm disposition yet impeccable grasp of issues that concerns the inner working of the APC.

While the battle has been won with the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari, a lot needs to be done not only to justify the people’s confidence in the party, but also strengthen it as a viable platform for the future. At present, most analysts posit that the APC is still a conglomeration of strange bedfellows and yet to transit into a close knit party. Others infer that President Buhari is the only unifying factor within the party. Unfortunately, Buhari has only 4 years left as President, hence the party must begin the process of reengineering itself to be formidable enough to continue its winning streak. That is where Arc. Waziri Bulama comes in.

Combined with the sagacity, vision and energy of the Comrade Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, Bulama brings vast experience, intellectual acumen and excellent inter-personal skills to the table. With both men at the helm of affairs at the APC national secretariat, APC is poised to reinvent itself, evolve greater cohesion in the party and assert its supremacy in Government formed by the party both at Federal and sub-national levels.

The APC has a “Next Level” manifesto which is expected to guide the policy direction of the incoming 2nd term administration of President Buhari. Bulama having served at the top echelon of the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) will be better positioned to assist the President with requisite human and material resources within the party that will bring the lofty manifesto to fruition.

Bulama’s impeccable credentials and qualities is not lost on party stakeholders as he has already garnered support of majority from his North-East zone amongst other influential leaders across the country.

There is no gainsaying the fact that Arc. Waziri Bulama is the perfect “Square peg in a square hole”, that’s why we are with him and we trust that the APC won’t hesitate to utilise this invaluable asset as it’s next National Secretary.

Segun Tomori is the Chairman, Media & Publicity Committee of the Bulama Support Group.

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Plateau: Which Senatorial District Should Produce The Next Minister? By Gyang Bere

The 2019 General Elections has come and gone, leaving behind tales of woes from the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State. However, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is battle ready to assemble competent personnel to fill in political appointments that President Muhammadu Buhari is going to offer the state.

The quest for political appointments, particularly the Ministerial position which is done based on Federal character has generated heated debate among citizens of the State.

The question on the lips of many Plateau indigenes is: Which Senatorial District should produce the next Minister?

Many believed that in the spirit of fair play, Plateau North Senatorial District should be considered for the Ministerial appointment since the Governor, Simon Bako Lalong hails from Plateau South while the Deputy Governor comes from Plateau Central.

Currently, Hon. Solomon Dalung is occupying the plumb seat. He was single-handedly appointed in 2015 by President Buhari without seeking inputs of political stakeholders from the state. Dalung is jostling to retain his seat in the next cabinet.

Political pundits from the state believe that competent hands like Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande, Lumumba Dah-Adeh and Ambassador Chris Giwa, who have fair knowledge in the world of sports should be considered for Sports Minister if the position will be retained for Plateau State.

The cream of personalities all hail from Plateau where the masses are drumming support for the Ministerial appointment for political balancing and fair play.

Hon. Solomon Dalung is the current Minister of Sports and Youth Development. He was a chieftain of the APC and a die-hard supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari before his appointment in 2015.

Dalung hails from Langtang South Local Government Area in Plateau South where Buhari and APC got 11, 000 votes while Atiku and PDP polled 18,000 votes.

Hon. Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande is a current and two term serving member of the House of Representatives for Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency of Plateau State.

He was elected under the Platform of Democratic People’s Party (DPP) in 2011 and defected to APC to support President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 where he secured his second tenure.

Yahaya-Kwande contested the House of Reps party primaries under APC and lost narrowly to Alh. Haruna Maitala.

It was believed that Kwande lost the party primaries due to political narrative that his father, who was former Ambassador of Nigeria to Switzerland and member of APC Board of Trustees was working for Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of PDP.

But the lawmaker refused to align with his father in the PDP, instead remained focus and steady in pursuing victory for President Buhari, Governor Lalong and other APC candidates during the polls by providing campaign vehicles and mobilising grassroots support for the party.

 In his Jos North constituency, Buhari polled 93, 800 votes to beat Atiku and PDP who scored 53,277 votes. Honourable Kwande is the youngest football administrator among all the Ministerial contenders in Plateau.

Hon. Lumumba Dah-Adeh is a former member of the House of Representatives and ex-adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He is the Acting Chairman of Former APC members of the House of Representatives.

Dah-Adeh who hails from Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State in the Northern zone has been a loyal and committed member of the APC.

Ambassador Chris Giwa is a peace Ambassador and ex-embattled President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). He contested the position in 2014 and lost in a controversial circumstance to the current President, Amaju Pinnick.

He battled through legal means to retrieve his mandate but couldn’t succeed. He was restored to the Glass House at some point through the court but lost the position through appeal.

Chris Giwa delivered 25,574 votes to Buhari in his Jos South Local Government Area while Atiku polled 106,574 votes in the LGA.

Other prominent APC stakeholders in the zone who are interested in the Ministerial appointments includes, Ex-Nigeria Ambassador to Ukraine, Ibrahim Kasai, Director General of Lalong/Tyoden Campaign organisation, Arch. Pam Dung Gyang, former Minister of Information, Ibrahim Dasuki Nakande and former Secretary to Government of Plateau State, Hon. Rufus Bature among others.

As the battle and lobbying continue, only time will tell who among them will be favoured by the Buhari’s administration.

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Spotlight On Arc. Waziri Bulama, By Farida Ali Adamu

The turmoils of elections are over, the drumming of victory still resonate the airs of Nigeria. The winds of the Next level have swept the country and the entire nation await the inauguration and formation of new cabinet members. A new administrative government is about to take off…

APC must be applauded for their ability to remain unshakeable despite the obstacles they encountered from various oppositions. Yet, in all of these, APC and it’s working committee have proven their determination with a drive to succeed against all odds.

Thus, it is time to consciously appraise the Presidential Campaign council – led by a benign, noble man. One who has been a pillar of APC for over a decade. A political Mogul who has served the party without reservations since inception:
Arc. Waziri Bulama.

So far, Bulama served applaudably with his role in the Presidential Campaign Council. His comprehensible input enabled the whole APC populace project a narrow, yet sharp beam of light on a hero_ a priceless intellectual gem.

Since the outgoing National Secretary’s resignation (Mai Mala Buni), the party has been in desperate need of a National Secretary. The right person who can complement our National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshomole, in ensuring the party maintains it’s solid stance within the 36 states of Nigeria.
The party’s stakeholders have come together to nominate and support Arc. Waziri Bulama irregardless of other candidates huge interest in the role.

In all of these, Arc. Waziri Bulama remains the dependable choice for the position. His unbeatable profile is worth the highest recognition.
An unnamed source attested that Waziri has the blueprint for APC secretariat. According to him, there are structures put in place to address some pressing issues such as gender parity and youth involvement in the coming years. However, this does not come as a surprise considering Bulama’s well experienced background in business and politics. Members of the Presidential Campaign Council celebrates his potentials.

Eventhough APC as a party has emerged to be the strongest and biggest party in the country, it is worthy of note that Bulama contributed immensely to this progress. Therefore, the party should take advantage of this great man and benefit by utilizing his potentials once again.
This is a resolution from the party’s stakeholders and Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomole.

APC party members are searching to make a decision that will directly impact the party.
We the BSG (Bulama support group) are optimistic that the decision makers will make the right choice for the party in good time ..

We look forward to a resounding victory…
This is my hope for BSG

Ms. Farida Ali Adamu

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Atiku’s Server Gambit, By Faith Edet Bassey

I really wonder for how long we have to deal with dishonest leaders. Leaders who lie without remorse, who cheat the people, deceive the people and relentlessly play on their intelligence.

When Alhaji Abubakar Atiku started yelling that he had been cheated on the Monday following the Presidential elections, I thought, well, perhaps he must have a point. Then he said the results he was getting from the field showed he was ahead while the results being announced on TV and radio by the returning officers showed that he was losing by an ever increasing gap as the results came in.

Then he said he was going to prove that the elections were rigged by showing that the INEC server( not Website, which is accessible to all) contained results showing he won the elections by 1.6million votes. As to how these results got to the INEC server, he offered that the Smart Card Readers transferred the results from the polling units electronically to the server.

Atiku is clearly playing games with our intelligence. His ploy is simple. Tell a lie, make it as confusing as possible, a lie around technology always works best .
But this is so irritating because it is so obviously a lie.

In the petition before the tribunal, he says that the results on the INEC server showed that in Lagos State he had 1.1 million votes! and Buhari had 1.3 million votes. I voted in Lagos, the entire Nigerian Press and all the social media operate in Lagos. Minute by minute they posted the results on line. The total votes by all the media for both Buhari, Atiku and all other candidates was 1.05 million votes. It seems only Atiku had a record of this fantastic result!

I am a lawyer, I am not a SAN like his lawyers but the Electoral Act makes no provision whatsoever for transmission of election results electronically. The relevant provision clearly prescribes a process of filling and verifying forms at every stage from local government collation to State collation and then the National collation centre at Abuja. Section 73. Of the Electoral Act says , “Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Commission shall issue and publish, in the Gazette, guidelines for the elections which shall make provisions, among other things, for the step by step recording of the poll in the electoral forms as may be prescribed beginning from the polling unit to the last collation centre for the ward or constituency where the result of the election shall be declared’.

And section 74. says, ‘Every Result Form completed at the Ward, Local Government, State and National levels in accordance with the provision of this Act or any guidelines issued by the Commission shall be stamped, signed and countersigned by the relevant officers and polling agents at those levels and copies given to the police officers and the polling agents, where available.’

So the law expects that the results would be collated manually, entered and signed on forms provided by law. In any event, the Card reader is only configured to verify the authenticity of PVCs not to collate and transmit results. Those who designed the process may have known that electronic transmission would result in these types of scams, a candidate who claims he accessed the INEC server! If he could access it he could tamper with the figures. Thank God that we have hard copies of all the results and the law only allows proof by hard copies.

The same Atiku argues in his petition that Card readers were not used in many States. Yet his ‘server results’ show results from every State except Rivers State. In every State there is a total number of accredited voters and scores for both Buhari and himself. How were the results electronically transmitted in States where Card Readers were allegedly not used?

It is incredible that a man who wants to lead this nation sees nothing wrong in barefaced deceit and astonishing lies.

This is just so insulting!Why do we have these sorts of characters inflicted on us?

Faith Edet Bassey, a legal practitioner


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KOGI 2019: Babatunde Irukera Fits The Bill, By Bala Haruna

Kogi, the confluence State is presently groaning under the abysmal leadership of incumbent Governor, Yahaya Bello. While workers are being owed several months of salaries, decrepit infrastructure dot the landscape of the State with no visible projects in almost 4 years. It is generally discussed in hushed tones across the State that Kogi has never had it so bad. The yearning for change has literarily become a movement, and not a few people are looking in the direction of this very refined gentleman – Babatunde Irukera, to salvage the State.

Babatunde Irukera is the Director General/Chief Executive Officer, Consumer Protection Council (CPC). He is responsible for the daily management of the Council and leadership in fulfilling its mandate to protect consumers and secure remedies when consumer rights are violated. His record of advocacy and cases in favour of consumers is outstanding and provides the clarity that both the Council and industry need in ensuring due regard for customer service and protection of consumer rights.

Irukera has to his credit key sector related consumer protection advancements including advising the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority with respect to its role in sector consumer protection. He led the initiative in developing current aviation consumer protection regulations as well as the Passenger Bill of Rights. He also led the team that revised existing aviation economic regulations and superintended a comprehensive regulatory and parliamentary investigation into anti-competitive behaviour by foreign airlines. He has also provided capacity-building and advisory services to federal agencies and other clients with respect to competition/antitrust issues. He co-authors the Nigerian chapters in a range of competition/antitrust related widely regarded international publications.

Born on the 4th of September 1968 in Kaduna state, Irukera hails from Egbe, Yagba West. He studied law from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife and upon graduation in 1989, he proceeded to the Nigeria Law School in Lagos in 1990.  In 1995 he proceeded to the United State of America, where he carved a niche for himself as a successful Immigration expert in 1996 after passing the Washington State Bar examination at first sitting, a year after arriving America. In 1997, he started a partnership ( Thomas & Irukera) which ultimately become Partners, Attorneys & Counsellors, both in Chicago.

The legal luminary returned to Nigeria in 2006 to continue his professional career and became a founding and Managing Partner of Simmons Cooper Partners, now a leading law firm in Nigeria. So far, he has had a very successful career, winning many leading and landmark cases. Many of which are in the U.S, where he handled a case for black workers who were subjected to racial discrimination and a hostile work environment in a Fortune 500 company. The case went on appeal, he succeeded on appeal and the case ultimately settled in favour of his clients. It’s a major case and a reference point in employment discrimination cases in the U.S.

In Nigeria, Babatunde  Irukera represented the Federal and Kano state government in a major case against Pfizer for using Nigeria children in Kano as Guinea Pigs to test run a polio drug which caused deaths and other unbearable consequences on the affected children in 1992. The pharmaceutical giant, because the overwhelming evidence established against it by Irukera and his team, pleaded and secured the largest settlement in the history of Nigeria by compensating the victims and constructing a world class infectious disease hospital in Kano.

In another landmark case, Irukera represented a class of investors against one of Nigeria largest bank and secured judgment that subscribers should be fairly treated. Very important case as it was the only class action in the judicial process and it provided remedy for every single subscriber. The list of his success story as a lawyer is endless, his tenacity of purpose in that regard and in his present assignment as DG CPC is the reason the Kogi people are looking in his direction for exemplary leadership. 

One of his celebrated case was which the Nigerian government launched a $43-billion lawsuit against three multinational cigarette manufacturers it accuses of trying to hook young Africans on tobacco, to replenish a market that is dwindling in the West and and attempts to influence lawmakers to keep tobacco sales unregulated, the companies are the British American Tobacco (BAT), Philip Morris and International Tobacco. Babatunde Irukera  was the  Federal Government lawyer in the case. The companies questioned the massive sums demanded by the government and say the case “has no merit”.

However, Irukera proved them wrong and went ahead to establish a case against them with a dossier of evidence that runs to 3,000 pages consisting of internal company e-mails discussing how to target children and influence lawmakers in Nigeria. “If this case gets to the evidence stage, the companies are dead on arrival,” says Babatunde Irukera, the case eventually settled out of court in favour of the government.

He successfully handled the complex multi jurisdictional cases of firms in the United States and England in establishing a broad based practice in Nigeria, focusing primarily on public interest litigation to protect society from injurious conduct and unscrupulous behaviour.

He routinely conducted oral arguments before the United States Court of Appeals and the Nigerian appellate courts with reported “locus classicus”, passages more authoritative and known, that are currently of worthy presidential value

It is believed therefore that with his wealth of experience as a litigator and seasoned administrator, Babatunde Irukera is the breath of fresh air that Kogi desperately needs to neutralise the suffocating stench oozing out of the State as a result of Yahaya Bello’s maladministration. A proverbial round peg in a round hole, widely believed to be imbued with impeccable character and leadership acumen, It is widely acclaimed that he holds the ace for an All Progressives Congress (APC) victory in the November Gubernatorial polls. For Kogi to prosper again, give us Irukera! 

Bala Haruna, is an APC chieftain and concerned Kogi State Indigene

Views expressed are solely those of the author and does to necessarily reflect the views of Abusidiqu.com or its associates

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Atiku And Tale Of The INEC Server, By Dr. Baba Musa Ahmed

I have always wondered how Abubakar Atiku came to believe that he won an election that was monitored from polling booth to polling booth in Nigeria, by foreign observers, newspaper reporters, online news media, bloggers and all manner of busybodies in Nigeria, and he lost by 3.9 million votes! 

I think I now have a few ideas as to  why he thinks he could fool us with that funny story or why maybe he himself may believe the story. Some people took money from him and told him that they could hack the INEC server and put in figures for him. Simple.

Atiku’s main argument in his election petition is that INEC’s server  showed that he won the election by 1.6million votes. He also gave the details of the purported results from the server.

He claims that card readers were used to send the results electronically to the INEC server! Everyone saw just how ridiculous the figures were. Fortunately for truth, the lawyers are not good at maths.

So his lawyers didn’t see from the figures that the total votes of President Buhari and Atiku added up exactly to the total number of accredited voters! Meaning that there were zero votes for all other candidates, zero cancelled or invalid votes in all of the polling booths all over Nigeria! This should ordinarily be enough to throw out the petition without more and show Atiku that he has been caught out in his scam or he has been scammed.

But the PDP and Atiku are accustomed to 419 and propaganda. They now say that they will call Microsoft and Oracle ( how about Google and Huawei?) to show that the INEC server actually made him the winner of the election!  How can this make any sense?

Firstly,  we were all at our polling units on Election Day. Card readers were used to verify our voters cards. Then we voted. Votes were counted manually (by hand in our presence ) and entered into a  form by the INEC officials. The forms were then signed by party agents. This is the authentic result.

Most observers and online reports posted these results. I have not heard that anyone who was at his polling booth on Election Day saw any INEC official inputting  results on the    card readers  andposting them  electronically to a server!

What Atiku and his PDP fellow travelers want to sell to us is  that after the votes were counted and declared, they were then entered into the card readers and posted electronically on to the INEC server!

READ: Why I’m contesting for a second term – Yahaya Bello

Question is: who did the postings? Did the party agents see what was being posted by the INEC officials? If in fact the INEC officials secretly posted the results, how do we know if they were the same results properly counted at the polling booths? Or was the posting done after collation at the local government and State collation centres? If so, who saw this happen? Did the party agents see what was being posted? Every thing done by INEC at the State and National Collation centres were transparent, in full view of cameras and live television. So when and why were these postings done secretly?

The truth of the matter is clear for all to see. There were no electronic posting of results from polling booths or collation centres.

What happened could be either of the following: Atiku was tricked to believe that there was an INEC server that could be accessed or hacked to post results favorable to him. He must have paid a lot for it. The fake results were posted.

As of Monday when Atiku was seeing the authentic results as they were brought forward by Returning Officers, Professors from different Universities  announcing, Atiku started to  complain that the results he had were different from those being announced!

Or perhaps, Atiku is trying to save face after a bruising defeat. He wants to cast as much doubt as possible by inventing a tale, a ridiculous tale that there is an INEC server that only he has access to and not surprisingly it contains information that he won the elections!

The only question to ask him is how did you access the server? If you have exclusive access to it, then the integrity of the server is in doubt.   It means you could  change figures as you wish!  All told this is just too silly . Dear Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, it is time to go home.  Cameroun?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Shortcomings In 2019 General Elections, By Gidado Yushau Shuaib

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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