Electing Adeyemi Odubiyi As MD: Shareholders And Sterling Bank Perilous Journey To Golgotha By Fejiro Oliver

“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning” – Henry Ford

I look through my hotel window two hours after beingreleased from alagbon police station this day of March 2017 by the bribe taking police officer, DSP Kenneth ogbeifun who conspired and connived with sterling bank to frame Dennis Ukpabi and I up, and wonder what the future holds for the bank

Except there is a last minute political game at play, Nigeria’s financially struggling Sterling Bank will be picking a new Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer to head it for the next ten years. This ultimate decision will be reached on May 11, 2017 by the shareholders. Months before now, the rumour mill from the bank is that the current MD/CEO, Mr Adeyemi Adeola, has positioned his alter ego, Mr Adeyemi Odubiyi, to be his successor. It is only when this financial coup fails that Adeola will fall back to his second option, in the person of Abubakar Suleiman, the Executive Director, Finance and Performance Management. His first option of Odubiyi is not likely to fail going by the horse-trading already going on.

For ten solid years, against moral and financial ethics, he has groomed Odubiyi into his perfect choice of MD, even though he is the least qualified and has the worst CV among the contenders. To prepare him towards the journey of covering up whatever illicit financial dealings he carried out, such as the Diezani election money saga, he caused his godson Odubiyi to enjoy rapid promotion, such that is unprecedented in the history of Sterling Bank since the merger.

From a Group Head, he was made a General Manager and quickly made a Chief Operating Officer in 2013. Obviously aware that it takes only and Executive Director to contest for Managing Director, he was made Executive Director, Operations and Services in 2014. In 2015, Adeola introduced him to the board for ratification which was done. At 41, he became the youngest Executive Director in Sterling Bank, without merit but obviously for this deciding moment.

This is compared to Kayode Lawal, who was also made Executive Director same time with him, even though it should been earlier. Lawal, a Chartered Accountant is said to have the most impressive CV and has achieved numerous marketing feat that increased both bank and customers’ deposit bases. The only achievement credited to Odubiyi is changing the core banking application from BANKS to T24, which has failed both the bank and customers, as its mobile and internet services is the worst ever in Nigeria. For a bank MD whose first word should be integrity and credibility, Odubiyi has lost every iota of it.

For the first time in Nigeria banking history, he may be the first bank MD/CEO that will stand in the dock and cross examined by a group of ten lawyers and captured by the media for his role in the now infamous N100 million Deposit Mobilization Fraud. That a CEO of a bank will not only be cross examined, but also his integrity called to question, it begs to ask how customers’ monies can be safe under him.

Odubiyi’s statement acknowledging the fraud alone nails him and disqualifies him from being an Executive Director in the bank, not to talk of a Managing Director position. The only thing close to the truth is that they faced disciplinary actions because of their involvement in the Deposit Mobilization Fraud is his inglorious statement to the police. Anywhere all over the world where a top banker is allegedly involved in fraud, he steps aside to clear his name and not getting rewarded with the post of Managing Director.

Odubiyi has not denied the fraud, neither has he denied telling his godson, Adekanlu Desalu, and his female staff, Eguru Nyenke, who he is alleged of having an affair with, to run to the police for obvious protection that has now boomeranged. The heavy allegation by this journalist and Dennis Ukpabi, who blew the cover off the fraud and Odubiyi’s attempt to cover his two staff, will only make the bank spend money in image laundering.

The first code of conduct in banking is integrity. The moment your integrity is called to question, the door is left open to walk out. Will the shareholders turn a blind eye to this brewing integrity storm that is about to consume the bank? Will they dance to Adeola’s political drum to make Odubiyi the Managing Director and face the worst media crisis since their merger? Or will they throw away this financial Jonah into the sea to save the bank’s image? As they sit for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday and take that crucial decision that will either make or mar the bank, they must have it at the back of their hearts that Odubiyi carries with him baggages of problems that are unheard of in a bank, from financial integrity to alleged sexual immorality with staff. Every Managing Director of a bank must command respect among staff, but this cannot be said of Odubiyi who is secretly divided by staffers nationwide and hated by even the gatemen. Will the shareholders turn dear ears to the murmuring of the staffs and top customers who are already feeling ashamed that from June 12, 2017, their new Managing Director will be embarrassed as he stands in the dock?

In 2015, Fidelity Bank MD, Nnamdi Okonkwo, arrested a top journalist in Chris Keheinde Nwandu (CKN) even when he was advised against it by the Group Head of Corporate Communication. His cup was full with Seun Oleketuyi and CKN spending few weeks in Ikoyi Prison and then the bubble of his involvement with Diezani busted. Efforts to keep the story out of the media failed as CKN and co were determined to fulfill their constitutional duty of questioning Okonkwo’s involvement. Unable to save his neck, the bank shareholders in shame replaced him.

This is what Sterling Bank shareholders must know, that, like Nnamdi Okonkwo, Odubiyi will not last long as Managing Director, as Adeola’s sins which were obviously covered up by PR including frantic mails sent to the staff by management to remain calm when he was picked by the EFCC and was weeping like a baby while pleading will be made public. The epic event that happened on the Sterling Towers will have the records opened as well as theN363 million Gbagi fraud that has been kept away. To prevent this, the shareholders should beware the ides of May 11 and June 12; they should look beyond Adeola and save the bank’s future.

Kayode Lawal commands respect among Sterling staff nationwide, with his integrity never called to question. Lanre Adesanya who was beaten by Adeola to be Managing Director is a better person that Odubiyi even though he may not be contesting. Suleiman as the Managing Director will serve the bank and her customers with years of professional banking. The mistake of electing Odubiyi can best be described as the gloomy days ahead of Sterling. His emergence will see him groom the arrowhead of the N100million fraud, Adekanlu Desalu, as the next Managing Director or Eguru Nyenke as another successor.

The shareholders have a date with history to wreck the bank by allowingAdeola have his way or build the struggling pretending bank by electing a man with impeccable record as the next Managing Director. Whatever happens after then will determine if Arsenal Football Club will continue to partner with them or sever their partnership. No foreign organization wants bad press and affiliation with a notorious institution that Sterling Bank and its staff are fast becoming.

The One Customer Bank may just be bidding goodbye to Nigerians if Odubiyi, who may be docked alongside his three protégé, is stamped on the bank. May Sterling Bank not begin the nailing of its coffin on May 11. Ise!

These little things matters…

Fejiro Oliver, a journalist writes from Lagos. He can be reached on secretsreporters@gmail.com and tweets @fejirooliver86.

 

Youths And The Race To 2019 By Abdullahi Malumfashi

As the race for 2019 draws closer, many of our youths and others have been advocating for youths’ inclusion and perhaps complete takeover of government. I would have love to keep mute, but seeing that many have concluded that youths are the solution to all our ill-gotten worries, I can’t help but comment on this. Before I proceed however, there is the need to understand who a youth is. Youth is the time of life when one is young, usually from childhood to maturity. In Nigeria however, it refers to people aged between 18–35 years and they encompass almost 70% of the total population. These are the sets of people who many poise as the Messiahs of this nation, those deemed to solve our present problems. Many are campaigning for “a youth government”, and if possible, a youth president as they think would be a better alternative to our leaders right now. But, are the youths really ready to govern this country? Is their claim really true?
There is no doubt that youths have played a vital role in the politics of our dear country. From the struggle for Independence, to the 1966 coup which was executed by young army majors, to the counter coup, youths have played a major rule. Yakubu Gowon, the then Head of state during the turbulent period of civil war was in his thirties, so was Murtala Ramat Muhammad who was executed at the tender age of 37, while he was still the Head of state. In subsequent military regimes and the second Republic, youths have been highly involved. Elder Statesman, Maitama Sule was only in his twenties when he became a Federal Legislature, so also when he was appointed Minister and countless of others. Many youths have been political leaders in their respective regions and States then.
Why am I saying all this? No doubt the role of youths in politics is very important, but some see that as enough reasons for youths’ comeback in 2019 or beyond. Sadly, and most regrettably, some of those campaigning for youths’ inclusion in government have cited the above examples as reasons with no any other one apart from that. These same people have failed to realize the fact that the youths of today are not the same with those of yesteryears. What has changed?
Unfortunately, the youths of today cannot be compared to those of the past. While those of the past were patriotic, diligent and have the interest of the nation at heart, this cannot be attributed to today’s youth. The former is largely corrupt or at least toy with the idea of corruption, and always ready to feast on the national treasury at any given chance. To most, governance is all about fraudulently enriching one’s pocket with ill-gotten wealth. The few are perhaps attracted by the juicy package of the politicians and their influence, rather than the will to serve. Greediness, avarice and selfishness which can be seen in students’ unionism seem to be the natural traits of some of our youths.
Incompetency is another problem facing the youths, as most of our students’ associations are sometimes held by incompetent individuals. Leadership skill is also lacking in our future leaders, perhaps due to lack of experience. The youths have also started exhibiting the so-called qualities of a good politician; deceit, lies and hypocrisy! One moment, we are busy dropping all kinds of abuses and insults on our leaders and the next, we are busy campaigning for the same people as soon as a chunk of the cheese is smeared into our hands.
Poverty, is another burning issue which has seriously dealt with our youths. Perhaps this is why they live off the pockets of politicians, and in return spread all kinds of false stories capable of tarnishing the image of an opposition. They are sometimes being used as thugs and all forms of political mercenaries during elections. Due to our naivety, we always think the easiest and quickest route to become wealthy is through politics.
Let us not forget about immorality. Our youths are highly involved in all immoral acts which has affected our leaders of tomorrow. From the obsession with sex, to indecent dressing, smoking and taking all forms of hard drugs, to thuggery, armed robbery, kidnapping and all forms of heinous crimes which has not been so in the previous years. Sadly, this has been a gauge for measuring how responsible our youths are.
The issue of unity is another hurdle too. Assuming we agree that youths are our saviours after all, who shall lead us, and under which platform? Is it the National youth party, or the National Movement for Youth or the so many other countless ones? The less incompetent ones vying for posts may be reluctant to give up for the experienced ones even after knowing so. Many believe that to achieve success, most especially politically,is to drag down their colleagues. Lack of unity among youths is in one word “embarrassing”.
I am always in awe when many people believe that youths are the rescuers of this nation, and I wonder which category of youth they are talking about. Is it the ordinary youth that is embedded deep in corruption and other fraudulent activities, or the youth who engage in all kinds of hooliganism, and violence in the name of unionism, or the one who engage in all other immoral activities such as vandalism, kidnappings, thuggery and so on, or the one who only uses the social media to spread all kind of false claims, and useless messages?
However, this can all change when we start by redeeming ourselves and getting rid of all corrupt acts and other immoral activities. We can start by gaining and demonstrating good leadership skills, and through striving to achieve success in our present endeavors, so that when the time comes, we would be taken seriously in leadership.
We may need to do away with all forms of deceit, greed and lies. Learning to be creative and developing good entrepreneurial skills are also important so that we won’t need to depend on any politician for financial support. Most of us forget that we need the requisite experience to attain the highest levels. You cannot just start and expect to be at the top of the hierarchy without working for it or not having the necessary experience.
There is also the need for unity among youths. Formation of a strong independent youth platform, not controlled or funded by any individual, with strong and able leadership that would carry all youths, irrespective of religion, tribe or ethnic affiliations might be a good idea.
As much as we have to, we can’t do it all alone. Whilst the biggest enemies to youths remain corruption and hypocrisy, we can eliminate them by shunning all acts of corruption and purging corrupt officials from our associations or organizations. The higher authorities have roles to play too, for instance, School authorities taking stringent measures against corruption in associations.
However, all these cannot take place without proper enlightenment about the roles of the youth and the lapses associated. There should therefore, be public enlightenment and orientation both on Social Media and through organized lectures, leadership workshops, seminars, symposiums etc, targeted at the youths by patriotic citizens or even government agencies. Keeping in touch with government policies and activities would also aim to prepare us to study the lapses and then avoid it when our time comes.
The bad news is that if the present trend continues, we won’t be ready come 2019 nor subsequent years, as we would still not be taken seriously in leadership and when we finally do, we would experience numerous catastrophes and challenges. The good news however, is that with adequate measures taken, we can still overcome our numerous challenges and give these set of politicians a good run for their money. In the meantime, be patriotic and harbor good intentions with a clean mind when running for a public office.
Abdullahi Malumfashi, a student of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria can be contacted via abdalladamfashi@gmail.com.

On Macron: Youth/”Yoots” For President, By Jude Feranmi

“History repeats itself first as a tragedy, the second time as a farce”?—?Karl Marx

First and foremost, congratulations to Emmanuel Macron the recently elected Presidential candidate in France who beat his opponent with a landslide. Many have quoted this victory as a win over Fascism and Trumpism, but that is another discussion for another day.

After Macron’s win, there will be so much inspiration to draw from and so many labels and analysis and then a call to action will follow for those who will take the opportunity and replicate the phenomenon in our part of the world. This, as we know by now is the usual pattern.

Emmanuel Macron has again challenged the young Nigerian who is ‘challengeable’, the same way Barack Obama did in 2008. The question we should be asking now is what is going to come out of it?

George Santayana is the one who said, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. Isn’t that really why History repeats itself, because majority of us don’t learn from history?

The 1999 Narrative

The Military regime ended in 1999 but competent Nigerians failed to engage the new system to the detriment of all of us

Were there young competent Nigerians who could have taken over the country in 1999 when the Military rulers finally decided to officially go back to the barracks? Yes!

So what happened? Those who were competent enough were so handicapped with their analysis that they refused to show up. It was either arguments about how the military were going to come back after a couple of years or how it wasn’t worth risking their lives for.

It will be 18 years since the return back to civil rule in 21 days time and those who were smart then are still trying, in vain, to get back into that system.

By May 29th of this year, we will have active citizens who will not have witnessed any strain of military rule and will be eligible to vote in our elections. The question of their experience of the quality of democratic rule is another matter entirely. Yet, the intellectuals of the time are still struggling to invade the system and at least test their many theses on what and how good governance can be provided.

The 2017 Narrative.

There’s so much influence everywhere else you look and so little political influence

 

No matter what the older generation of Nigerians tell you, there is a rising number of young Nigerians blazing the trail when it comes to professional careers and disrupting industries. Against all odds, young Nigerians are still able to raise their heads high and mention scores of young people making things happen in their fields. But the story more or less remain the same.

These young competent influential people are staying away from politics. At this time where the country is almost ripe for a Macron style revolution, most of those who are competent enough are intellectually excusing themselves from contributing their quota to society politically. Most are found in religious houses, entertainment, business and those who are still passionate are found in civil society.

When it comes to anything that disrupts the political status quo, young competent people are busy with other things. So the environment is left for the rest who are either too passionate to not do anything about the country or those who are not as competent and are left with the only option of engaging the system. In any case, we are back to 1999

In 1999, 5 Nigerian Governors were below the age of 40 including 36 year old Ibrahim Turaki. Orji Uzor Kalu was 39, Donald Duke was 38, Chimaroke Nnamani was 39 and Ahmed Yerima (same Yerima) was 39.

Worthy of mention is James Ibori who was 40, Niyi Adebayo who was 41, Lucky Igbinedion (42), Rabiu Kwakwanso (43), Ahmed Makarfi (43), Abdulkadir Kure (43), Joshua Dariye (42) and Attahiru Bafarawa who was 45.

With these figures, you would often find these same young, competent analysts of our time tell you that this means ‘youth’ does not necessarily translate to good governance in defense of their myth that the country is doomed and we should only sit down in our AC tight offices and engage in analysis paralysis.

Meanwhile, the intellectuals of 1999 who were young and vibrant are still trying to get into the political space they refused to join then.

If you take a look at the political space today in 2017, young people are currently engaging the system and just like 1999, majority of these young people are not the kind of people who you would like to engage in an intellectual debate, because they are tied to paymasters and godfathers.

In the end, there will be those who will refuse to give up on the system that will be competent and passionate and will just try to make a mark. In the end, those kinds of people will be invited to speak in events some years later that other young people of that time will attend. We will then start the whole analysis paralysis again and we will still be worse for it.

By that time however, our population will be upwards of half a billion and we will probably be facing drastic decisions of increase in crime and how we want to provide food for half a billion citizens.

As i journeyed for more than 4 hours to Osogbo last weekend to meet with hundreds of young people who gathered for our youth town hall meeting in KOWA PARTY. The singular thought that kept on coming back to my consciousness is what exactly is bound to happen when the younger generation finally takes over power?

Take it or leave it, the occurrences in the outside world have effect on us and will contribute to the happenings in our own political atmosphere sooner rather than later. I have no doubt in my mind that young people are going to take over the affairs of our country, and soon.

What I don’t have an answer to is whether we are going to be led again by youths ( young, competent and genuinely compassionate Nigerians) or yoots (young, average, desperate Nigerians)?

Jude Feranmi can be reached via jude.feranmi@kowaparty.net and on Twitter @JudeFeranmi

Osinbajo Is The Acting President of Nigeria Simpliciter, By Inibehe Effiong

The written declaration or letter transmitted to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by President Muhammadu Buhari conveying his decision to proceed on medical vacation has ignited an avoidable controversy regarding the status and role of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN for the period that Mr. Buhari’s medical vacation will subsist.

On Tuesday 9th May, 2017, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara read the separate but identically worded letters they received from Mr. Buhari during the plenary of both houses of the National Assembly. The content of the controversial letter (the Senate President’s copy) is reproduced infra (below) as reported in several mainstream and online media:

It reads: “In compliance with section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, I wish to inform the Distinguished Senate that I will be away for a scheduled medical follow-up with my doctors in London.

“The length of my stay will be determined by the doctor’s advice.

“While I am away, the Vice President will coordinate the activities of the government. Please accept, the Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.’’

The part of the letter that has elicited public debate is where Mr. Buhari offered his view on the role his Vice; Mr. Osinbajo will play in his absence. He stated thus: “While I am away, the Vice President will coordinate the activities of the government.”

Many commentators have interpreted this statement to mean that Osinbajo will not assume or exercise the functions of office of the President as an Acting President, but will merely ‘’coordinate the activities of the government” only as the Vice President of Nigeria.

The above interpretation, I submit with respect, is constitutionally untenable, baseless, wrong, faulty and legally indefensible.

The reasons are summarised as follows:

It is not open to Buhari, Osinbajo, the National Assembly or any other authority or person to go outside the express and unambiguous provisions of Section 145 (1) of Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) (hereinafter referred to as the Constitution) to determine the status and functions of the Vice President when the President is proceeding on vacation and transmits a letter to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The only legally cognizable and acceptable reference on this matter is Section 145 (1) of the Constitution.

What does Section 145 (1) of the Constitution provide for? It states as follows:

“Whenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Vice-President as Acting President.”

There is nothing in the quoted provisions of Section 145 (1) of the Constitution that justifies controversy on what should happen whenever the President is proceeding on vacation or leave. President Buhari has acted in line with this constitutional process in the past without argument.

In the present case, the President transmitted a written declaration to both the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives that he is proceeding on medical vacation to London. That is ALL that was/is required of Mr. Buhari by the Constitution. Any other statement in his written declaration or letter to the presiding officers of the National Assembly is constitutionally irrelevant. Buhari’s assertion that Mr. Osinbajo will “coordinate the activities of the government” in his absence is a surplusage in the eyes of the law.

There are two elementary canons or principles of statutory or constitutional interpretation which have received unchallenged judicial blessings from every superior court of record in Nigeria, including the Supreme Court, as decided in a plethora of cases which are relevant to the current discourse and they bear repeating.

First, it is a settled rule of interpretation that when the words of a statute, including the Constitution, are plain and unambiguous, they should be given their ordinary meaning unless it would lead to absurdity or be in conflict with the Constitution. In the case of Okotie-Eboh v. Manager & Ors. (2004) 18 NWLR (Pt. 905) Page 242; (2014) LPELR-2502(SC) (pp. 30, paras. E), the Supreme Court, Per Edozie, J.S.C. correctly stated the principle thus:

“According to the canons of interpretation of statutes, it is a cardinal principle that where the ordinary plain meaning of the words used in a statute are very clear and unambiguous, effect must be given to those words without resort to any intrinsic or external aid.”

The position taken by the Supreme Court in the Okotie-Eboh’s case quoted supra is very instructive. Applying same to the present case, it will be unconstitutional to resort to any external aid in giving effect to the clear and unambiguous provisions of Section 145 (1) of the Constitution. Since the Constitution has clearly stated what should happen whenever the President transmits a written declaration to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives that he is proceeding on vacation, Buhari lacks the vires (power) to go further to define the role of Prof. Osinbajo.

Buhari can neither add to nor subtract from the provisions of Section 145 (1) of the Constitution.

See also the pronouncements of the Supreme Court in the following reported case: Nyame v FRN (2010) 7 NWLR (Pt. 1193) Page 344 at Page 399, Paras. B-H; Action Congress v. INEC (2007) 12 NWLR (Pt. 1048) Page 220 at Page 318, Paras E-H and Utih v. Onoyivwe (1991) 1 NWLR (Pt. 160) Page 166 at 238, Paras. D-E. These authorities are to the effect that when the words of the statute or the Constitution are plain and unambiguous, effect must be given to their ordinary grammatical and literary meaning.

The second canon of interpretation which is relevant to this discussion is on the import of the use of the word “Shall’’ in an enactment”. The Supreme Court, Per Adekeye, J.S.C. in Dr. Arthur Agwuncha Nwankwo & Ors. v. Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua & Ors. (2010) LPELR-2109(SC) at Pages 78, Paras. D-E had this to say:

“The word shall when used in a statutory provision imports that a thing must be done. It is a form of command or mandate. It is not permissive, it is mandatory. The word shall in its ordinary meaning is a word of command which is normally given a compulsory meaning as it is intended to denote obligation.”

It should be noted that the word “Shall” is mentioned only once in Section 145 (1) of the Constitution. The mandatory word (shall) is not mentioned in the provision with regards to whether the President should transmit a written declaration to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives or not when he is proceeding on vacation. It is only mentioned at the later part of the provision embodying the consequence of transmitting a written declaration, whenever he chooses to do so.

What this implies is that it is not compulsory for the President to do so.

However, WHENEVER he acts in line with Section 145 (1) of the Constitution, that is, anytime the President deems it expedient to transmit a written declaration or letter to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Vice President automatically assumes the position of an Acting President and perform the functions of the President.

The moment the written declaration or letter transmitted by President Buhari conveying his decision to proceed on medical vacation was received and acknowledged by the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Prof. Osinbajo had, by operation of law, assumed the position of Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Not even the National Assembly could stop him from assuming that position. It is automatic and there is nothing that can be done to the contrary by any authority or person without offending the spirit and letters of the Constitution.

Had the President proceeded on vacation to London without notifying the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Prof. Osinbajo would have continued to “coordinate the activities of the government” as Vice President for the next 21 days, after which the National Assembly shall pass a resolution empowering him to perform the functions of the office of President in line with Section 145 (2) of the Constitution.

Interestingly, Mr. Buhari had expressly indicated in his written declaration that he was writing pursuant to Section 145 (1) of the Constitution. This forecloses any contrary inference on his intentions other than for Osinbajo to become the Acting President.

It should however be noted that it was not necessary for the President to expressly indicate that his written declaration was made pursuant to Section 145 (1) of the Constitution. It was equally superfluous for him to state the nomenclature, status or functions of his Vice while he is on vacation. The Constitution has already catered for this.

I will like to assume that the language used by Mr. President in his letter was innocuous and not intended to subvert the Constitution. It will amount to a rape on the Constitution and democracy if Mr. Osinbajo is prevented or inhibited, in any manner, from assuming the position of Acting President and excising full presidential powers and functions.

There is no office with the appellation ‘’Coordinator of Nation’s Affairs’’ under our Constitution. Buhari cannot amend the Supreme Law of the Land by implication. If Osinbajo is to coordinate the activities of the government while Buhari is away, he can only do so as the Acting President of Nigeria. Anything contrary is ultra vires, illegal, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

Mr. Osinbajo cannot refuse or reject the position of an Acting President. It is not in his mouth to say whether he will temporarily lead the country as the Vice President or as an Acting President. He has no choice in this matter other than to perform the functions of the office of President as Acting President. It is the law that parties cannot by conduct or consent alter the Constitution. See the case of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) v. Famfa Oil Limited (2012) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1328) 148.

Pending when Buhari transmits a written declaration to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives indicating his return to Nigeria and readiness to resume his functions, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN is and will remain the Acting President of Nigeria.

Thank you.

Inibehe Effiong, a Legal Practitioner can be reached via: inibehe.effiong@gmail.com

Do We Have A Minister Of FCT? By Abuh Andrew

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja is very significant for various reasons, besides being the capital of Nigeria and the sit of power, it’s the best planned city in the entire country and serves as a model for planning modern Nigerian cities, the pride if you will of Nigeria.  Right from its creation there has been a running battle to adhere to its master plan and maintain the standards and quality for which the city was designed. This task has always been a tough one with the city witnessing a distortion of its master plan by various administrations and administrators.

It was a great relief when in 2003 Mallam Nasir el Rufai undertook (and successfully too against all odds) the task to bring back the city to its original master plan. Unfortunately this great stride like every Nigerian dream story was quickly eroded and gradually degraded by subsequent ministers and administrations. While the degeneration of Abuja and distortion of its master plan persisted after the great strides by Mallam Nasir Elrufai, the level of such distortions however varied.

The current decay and decadence in the FCT clearly places the current FCT minister Alhaji Mohammad Musa Bello as unarguably the most ineffective minister in the history of the city. The city’s comatose state begs the question, do we really have a minister of FCT?

Before proceeding, I’ll like to make it clear that I am not just a card carrying member of the APC but also an active member of the All Progressive Youth Forum, possibly the most influential youth body within the APC. Hence, I speak as a resident of Abuja and not as a party member, as such the views expressed herein are entirely mine.  Secondly I have been a resident of Abuja for over 20 years and have been through nine ministers from Lt. General Jeremiah Oseni to the current minister and have witnessed the city evolve over the years.

A tour of the city during the day and night time clearly shows that after almost two years in office, the current minister of the FCT seem not to have any bit of control or comprehension of the structure that runs the city, a clear indication that he also has no plan, strategy or vision of where he wants to take the city. If any, it would seem to be one of excuses for failure rather than development and innovation.

The deplorable environmental and sanitary condition, the horrifying surge in criminal activities such as armed robbery and kidnaping, the aggravating traffic jam situation due to non-functional traffic lights in major traffic points across the city, the pitch dark and precarious atmosphere at night due to lack of street lighting around the city, the invasion of the city by all manners of miscreants, beggars, prostitutes, street hawkers etc., tells the tale of a city that is fast becoming another urban jungle.

For the purpose of this article I will be concentrating on Abuja town and municipal, which is supposed to be the reference point and bench mark for the administration of the FCT. A cursory look at various parts of the city will give an insight into the very sad decaying state of the best planned city in Nigeria. Beginning with the highbrow sprawling district of wuse 2 which is known for its centrality, beautiful neighborhoods and relatively high rents, the decay is most obvious. The district has witnessed the most incursion of beggars, street hawkers, drug peddlers, prostitutes and miscreants, within the city.

During the day at major traffic junctions around the district, you’re are accosted by a myriad of beggars and hawkers soliciting help and patronage even to the point of aggression. You have beggars on standby at ATM points waiting to approach you and beg for money.  At night, Ademola Adetokunbo road the major road in the district, is a beehive of all manners of illicit activities, from parading prostitutes, to drug dealers and peddlers advertising and breaking the law openly.

The inner residential streets is gradually been taken over by sprouting brothels and prostitute hostels attracting a huge number of patronage and all manners of characters and illicit activities. The property value in this district is fast depreciating as some areas within the district have every indices of a slum.

The city stays precariously pitch dark at night, safe for car headlights and glimmering lights from residential and commercial buildings. Driving from the Games village through Gudu around Apo legislative quarters through the secretariat road down to Banex junction onward to Next Cash and Carry down to Gwarimpa, a long stretch that takes you from one end of the city to the other, not a single working street light can be spotted. You take another stretch from life camp through old airport road down to kabusa junction through Sun City road, not one street light working.  Back into the city and through inner city streets, non-functional street light poles line up across the sidewalks like decorations with some damaged by car accidents and others vandalized.

As you exit Wuse district towards Banex and first forty junction to the major express way leading to kubwa and Mabuchi, you are greeted once more by the decaying situation of the city, an improvised illegal motor park actively been run by miscreants (popularly called agbero) is brazenly operated by the road side calling out to passengers to catch the next vehicle to kubwa, suleja and other areas along the Abuja Kaduna road. Just by the same spot, a road side market has also emerged with food vendors cooking right by road side and selling all types of food, snacks and drinks. Cars are parked wrongly and indiscriminately causing serious traffic obstruction on that stretch of the road, with the whole spot littered with plastic bottles, paper and pure water sachet. It is a very ugly sight.

The Area 1 of town axis is a red spot notorious for robbery and car snatching and the ever increasing taxi and bus passenger robbery popularly known as “one chance”. Just right under the overhead bridge at Area 1by the roundabout, taxi drivers and miscreants popularly called agberos blatantly block the road taking their time to solicit for passengers without any consideration for other road users and pedestrians. It’s a lawless situation with no traffic official in sight. The roads are practically blocked and chaotic and as usual littered with all manner of filth.

Trees, flowers and grasses planted for beautification and vegetation across the city, bears evidence of the poor maintenance and incompetence that’s now the hall mark of the city. As you drive through the whole of wuse, Maitama, Garki and Jabi districts you see over grown Trees almost covering the roads, Street signs and in some cases traffic lights (that’s if they work).

The Abuja environmental protection board seem to be in comatose, not even its first charge of ensuring a clean city has been achieved. The streets are filthy and filled with illegal garbage dump sites and indiscriminate dumping of waste by residents, offices and even pedestrians.  Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if the minister of FCT drives around the city to see the activities and conditions of the city he governs? If he does, is he happy with what he sees?

There is a rising wave of criminal activities in this once relatively secured city, top of which is robbery and kidnapping. Kidnappers have been on the prowl literally unchallenged. Kidnap stories in the city has made national headline, as Abuja is fast becoming a kidnap capital.

From the continuous decaying situation of the FCT, one thing is clear the minister must admit that he lacks the capacity to effectively run the city, 2. It’s obvious he was not prepared for the office and the responsibility and such does not have a vision or plan for the city. 3. It is apparent the minister is clearly surrounded by an equally incompetent team.

Given his obvious lack of experience and capacity, one would think the minister would assemble a competent team to help him run and optimize the potentials of the city. Why is the minister not approaching fellow party members like Mallam Nasir El Rufai who excellently administered the FCT, for advice and an effective template or Governors Raji Fashola and Akinwumi Ambode, who have successfully managed and governed a more complex mega city like Lagos, with all its attendant challenges?

The minister can for instance ask Governor Ambode to share how he was able to light up every major street in Lagos in less than 2 months which has seen a drastic reduction in crime! Or how he has been able to manage the humongous refuse situation in Lagos and kept the city clean. The FCT if well managed can self-fund itself, as such the minister’s continuous excuse of lack of funds does not hold water. The minister needs to be ingenious and look beyond federal allocation.

I am very passionate about the FCT. It should be the pride of every Nigerian. We cannot stand by and watch a beautiful city become a shadow of itself due to ineffectiveness. We will speak up and get this FCT administration to work especially when it’s part of the focused APC government ably led by President Muhammadu Buhari. This minister is clearly dropping the ball on delivering the change promised.

This is no time for excuses, it’s a time for innovation and pragmatism. If the minister cannot deliver then he may choose to leave the stage honorably.

Abuh Andrew

Resides in Abuja and is a member of the All Progressives Congress.

@abuhandy

 

Teachers Education: Over Or Under-rated? By Eniola Opeyemi

“?Poor funding, decay of infrastructure, lack of conducive learning and teaching environments, absence of good, well-stocked libraries, inadeanate online computer-driven libraries, laboratories without equipment, poor academic staffing, irrelevant curriculum have all combined to lower the standard of education in the country” – Professor Babs Fafunwa

As important as it is writing this topic, so painful it appears to many that have passed through different levels of teacher’s education, while others see it has a major breakthrough to their profession.

Teachers education is widely hyped all over the world, as teachers are seen as the first point of contact in the nation’s building, thus, a foundation to every profession. In Nigeria we have many institutions recognised for teachers training, which includes the National Teachers institute, College of education as well as faculty of education in the universities, as an experienced writer who have gone through two of the aforementioned, my ordeal, though may not be applicable to others perception, yet it’s a tip to the pain the graduates of these institutions face upon seeking a job to compliment the time and resources invested in seeking a certificate under the teaching profession.

After more than three (3) years of acquiring a National Certificate in Education, I deemed it fit to apply for a teaching job, after much interviews, I was offered a teaching job and the monthly payment was presented for N12,000:00k, the terms of condition also include taking Biology, Chemisty, and Introductory technology, in addition, I have to resumed 7:00AM and close by 5:00PM daily, aside Saturdays an Sundays. Nothing is so disheartening as seeing SSCE holders happily going for? the job at N10,000:00k. I mean the profession is so loose that non-professionals and the non-certified are engaged to teach a child, hence, the quacks have taken over the profession which is a major reason for the decay in the system. Then how can the fifteen (15) courses or more done per semester in the colleges of education be justified?

Teachers education seems to be much underrated that students-teachers under training are compelled to pay for offering a service to the nation instead of encouraging them to be better, this however gives room for more corruption in the system as against other profession where people under training are paid stipends and encouraged to be great. Similarly, the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC), a scheme initiated by Federal government under the provision of the law have also been watched to make unprofessional decisions such has sending graduates that have not been certified to teach to go into the classroom, only if ‘just anybody’ can be sent to the hospitals to treat and prescribe drugs, then this will be justifiable.

This doesn’t just signify that the trend so far justify that putting in for an education course may be a mere waste of time but further connote the weakness of various Professional bodies that have left the professional teachers in the atmosphere of doubt.

The Teachers registration council of Nigeria (TRCN) have over the years collected money to certify teachers that have met the requirement, yet, the body have failed to guide the profession which insinuates that the funds collected may have been siphoned and may reflect the emergence of some like minds that are much interested in augmentation of their “stomach infrastructure”.

So are the Colleges of education staffs union (COEASU), NASU, SUCCOEN, whose interest lies in the internal politics, securing projects, and getting appointments. The leaderships of the National Teachers Institute (NTI) may also be seen as a money generating machine while various alumni association of these institutions may have lost focus, not forgetting the various faculties of education teachers and professors.

The essence of writing this piece isn’t to paint an ugly picture of what is not but to exemplify the reality that hits the present state of teacher’s education in the country, only few of the teachers institute have gotten more private and government attention. Universities, Polytechnics, while the college of education and the Teachers training institute are seen as the ‘Superiors’.
In the context, the colleges of education and the teachers training institute are merely seen as a glorified secondary and this picture needs to be repainted of what these institutions are not and stating the main reason why it needs more investment and commitment?.

Only few of the yearly enrolled students in the schools under these categories primarily chose it as their choice of institution, yet, there is best out of our schools, as it has produced many dignitaries.

The National Union of Teachers whose strength was felt long ago is gradually declining from its primary objectives, I doubt if they verify their members qualifications or they’re merely interested in getting more dues to the union’s account.

The federal and state government does not need to continue with the illegality of employing just anybody to be a teacher, rather help revive the system they’re investing into.

To revive the image of the teachers education and its products, all hands have to be on deck, and the objectives reinstated.

TEACHERS EDUCATION: OVER OR UNDER-RATED?

Eniola Opeyemi writes…

Nigerian Governors And Transparent Governance By Uche Ezechukwu

Increasingly, especially with the emergence of the situation whereby technology and the social media are compelling openness and transparency on all the spheres of human endeavour, especially in the conduct of public affairs by the different strata of governance, government operatives at different levels are being roused to action. The social media, otherwise known as the people’s media, has placed the power to scrutinize in the hands of anybody who can afford a cheap phone that can access the Internet. So, public scrutiny – warts and all – is no longer the preserve of the haughty and privileged few.

The way things are today, nobody can escape the prying eyes of the public, especially as technology has democratized governance and the way the world views it. Hence, increasingly, some standard requirements of good governance have become both the accepted and expected norms for conducting the public affairs of nations and societies of the present time and of the future. It has become obvious that none can escape the current tendency and demands for openness and transparency.

In realisation of this fact, many people and bodies are coming up with initiatives that institutionalize the different and widely accepted and tested attributes of good governance that are applicable across the different global divides. One of such initiatives is the Open Government Partnership (OGP) which was formed on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in September 2011, when heads of state from eight founding governments (Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States) endorsed the Open Government Declaration and announced their country action plans along with an equal number of civil society leaders, including the former managing director of the World Bank.

These eight founding members then welcomed the commitment of some 38 other governments to join OGP and since its creation, resulted in over 2,500 commitments made by 75 participating countries, covering a third of the world’s population. Significantly, Nigerian government under President Buhari has formally committed and signed up to the ideals and demands of OGP.

Because OGP provides a platform for reformers inside and outside of governments to fashion out initiatives that promote transparency, that empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies to strengthen governance, it aims at securing concrete commitments from national and sub-national governments that drive open government reform and innovation in an effort to push countries and societies further in the direction and areas of transparency, accountability, and citizen engagement. Significantly, OGP is a voluntary partnership that countries opt to join on their own accord without any external influences.

When I became aware of this initiative from some of my foreign friends, I never for a moment believed that it would become an initiative that would enjoy wide acceptance among African countries including Nigeria, following our legendary tendency for opacity in the conduct of public affairs.

It was, therefore, with utter surprise that I learnt that members of the Nigeria’s governors forum – that voluntary forum that provides state governors the platform and opportunity to discuss issues of common interests – at the their April 17th meeting, unanimously agreed to commit and sign up to the Open Government Partnership Agreement, which means that they have, without any prompting, committed to running the affairs of their states on the basis of indices which include, but not limited to: fiscal transparency, anti-corruption, citizen engagement and providing greater access to information.

With the bashing and abuses which state governors have been subjected to on a regular basis, who would have imagined that they would, on their own, sign up to this international platform that commits them to all the things which they had been accused of standing against.
Naysayers would – for now – wish to adopt a ‘wait and see’ attitude, believing that the governors’ act was too good to be true, claiming that there is usually a canyon of difference between reality and statements.

However, more positive observers, who claim that things are changing for the better across the different strata of the society, claim that a few indications seem to have borne out that the fact that the governors might, after all, be living true to their avowed commitment to the OGP agreement ideals, which they willingly agreed to adhere to. These observers point to such issues like the recent exchanges between the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Right Hon Yakubu Dogara and the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasiru el-Rufai.

When the speaker had challenged Governor el-Rufai to publish the details of his public spending, the governor had surprised the entire nation by the type of details he promptly volunteered, including the details of how he had disbursed his security vote, which was, hitherto had been adjudged to be beyond public scrutiny.

However, when the governor brought the challenge to the doorsteps of the speaker, he could only produce a payslip of the amount which was immediately scoffed at and dismissed by the public In fact most observers found it very amusing that the speaker could produce a document which showed that he earned about N340, 000 a month – amount which could not fuel the cars on his convoy for a week.

The fact that Mallam el-Rufai could submit his security vote to public scrutiny clearly showed that he had started abiding by his commitment to the OGP which he had willingly signed. There is no reason to assume that other governors, especially those in their first term, and thus desirous of public opinion for their second term desideratum, are not also exhibiting similar levels of transparency. A recent interview by the Abia State governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu revealed how he had brought the bailout funds from the federal government as well as the Paris-London Clubs refunds to the attention of labour leaders and other stakeholders who made their imputs on how the funds would be deployed.

With these and other similar examples in other parts of the country, it is becoming clear that transparency is returning to the states, without much fanfare.

Regrettably, there are still state governments that are still mired in the past misdeeds, with unpaid wages to workers and such other infractions, yet, unlike in the past, yet none of them seems to be proud of those lapses, which is a positive index.

There are many observers who are convinced that when the performance of states and those of the federal government are placed side by side, especially in the areas of welfare and provision of infrastructures, like roads, the federal government would come out as the distant second best. For instance, in most states of the federation, whenever you are driving on a smooth well-manicured roads, chances are that you are plying a state road. In a place like Anambra State, the only remaining bad roads belong to the federal government, even though the state government had undertaken to work on many of them that belong to the federal government and hope for later refunds.

Under a situation whereby the federal budget remains unpassed and unsigned five years into the year, resulting in a myriad of unfulfilled commitments of the government, people like Hon. Yakubu Dogara and his colleagues at the federal level should hasten to remove the logs in their eyes to enable them see and remove the specks in the eyes of the state governments.

There is no doubt that, in spite of what is happening in very few states, things have taken a steep trajectory for the better in most other states. Hence, rather than bash state governments, the federal institutions deserve to receive lessons from the state governments.

The Political History Of The Creation Of States In Nigeria, By Okoi Obono-Obla

I was inspired to write this essay when I found to my consternation and chagrin that a lot of Nigerians (even of my generation) know next to nothing about the historical, constitutional and political structure of this country about 50 years ago.

This reality came strikingly to my realization when one of my friends (a lawyer) in his reaction to my essay titled ‘’Ohanaeze Ndigbo Cannot Speak for the South/South’’ untruthfully suggested that the present South/South Region or Geo-Political Zone was part of the defunct Eastern Region.

On the 1st January 1914, the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria and the Colony (Lagos) and the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria were amalgamated to form the Federation of Nigeria.

In 1939 the Governor General of Nigeria Sir Hugh Clifford divided the Northern and Sothern Protectorates into provinces.

But why the Southern Protectorate was divided into three provinces namely Eastern and Western Provinces, the Northern Province was left intact.

However, provincialism came to an end in 1945 and was replaced with the regional structure.

The regional structure was effectively introduced at the inception of the Richard Constitution in 1945.

It was named after Richard who was the Governor General of the Federation of Nigeria at the time it was drawn up.

The objectives of the Richard Constitution were thus:

To promote the unity of Nigeria;

To provide within that desire for the diverse elements which make up the country;

To secure greater participation by Africans in the discussion of their own affairs.

The hall mark of the Richard Constitution is the introduction of regionalism.

The country under the Richard Constitution was divided into three regions namely Northern Region, Eastern Region and Western Region.

The regional structure which the country was divided into since 1945 ended on the 27 May 1967 when the then Federal Military Government under the leadership of General Yakubu Gowon abolished the four (4) and replaced them with States.

However, it is instructive that after the military takeover of 15 January 1966 of political governance, the then National military Government under General Aguiyi Ironsi promulgated the Constitution (Suspension and Modification) Decree No. 1 of 1966 abolishing the regional structure of the country.

The Decree also abolished the country federal structure and replaced it with unitary system. The Federation was therefore renamed ‘Republic of Nigeria’.

The four regions were renamed Group of Provinces namely Northern Group of Provinces; Eastern Group of Provinces, Western Group pf Provinces and Mid-Western Group of Provinces.

It is well settled that not all parts of the present South/South Geo-Political Zone was part of the defunct Eastern Region!

The present Edo and Delta States were never part of the defunct Eastern Region! Edo and Delta States were formerly Mid-Western Region craved out of the defunct Western Region in 1963.

With the creation of 12 States in 1967, the defunct Mid-Western Region was renamed Mid-Western State!

The defunct Mid-Western Region was created by an Act of Parliament passed in 1963.

In 1976, the name of the defunct Mid-Western State was changed to Bendel State!

In 1991, Bendel was divided into two States namely Edo and Delta States respectively!

The States in the defunct Eastern Region in the South/South geo-political zones of the country are the present Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Rivers States!

When 12 States were created on the 27 May, 1967 by the then Federal military government three (3) States were carved out of the defunct Eastern Region.

These States were East Central States (now Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo); South Eastern State (now Cross River and Akwa Ibom States).

The defunct Western Region became Western State, while Lagos State was carved out of the defunct Federal Territory of Lagos.

The defunct Western State is now the present Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, and Osun States.

The defunct Northern Region in 1967 was divided into North Central State ( present Kaduna and Katsina States); Central West State (later changed to Kwara State); Benue/ Plateau State (now Benue , Nassarawa and Plateau States) ; North Western State (now Niger , Zamfara , Kebbi, Sokoto States) ; Kano State (now Kano and Jigawa States ) ; North Eastern State (now Bauchi , Gombe, Adamawa , Yobe, Taraba and Bornu States).

Lagos State was created out of the defunct Federal Territory and Colony of Lagos.

After the 12 States were created in 1967, Lagos remained the Federal Capital of Nigeria while the Capital of Lagos State was Ikeja.

On the 3 February, 1976, the 18 States structure of the country was dismantled and replaced with 16 States.

The defunct Northern Eastern State was divided into Bornu (present Bornu and Yobe States) and Gongola State (now Adamawa and Taraba States) and Bauchi States (now Bauchi and Gombe States).

The defunct East Central State was divided into Anambra (Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi States) and Imo State (now Abia and Imo States).

The defunct Western State was divided into Ondo (now Ekiti and Ondo States), Ogun and Oyo (now Oyo and Osun States) State.

The defunct Benue-Plateau State was divided into Benue (now Benue and Kogi) and Plateau State (now Nassarawa and Plateau States).

The defunct Central West State (kwara) was renamed Kwara State. It is instructive that the present Kogi State is partly formed from old Benue and old Kwara States.

The defunct Northern Eastern State was divided into Bornu State (now Bornu and Yobe States) and Gongola State (now Adamawa and Taraba State) respectively.

The defunct South Eastern State was renamed Cross River State (now Cross River and Akwa Ibom States).

The defunct North Western State was divided into Sokoto (now Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi States) and Niger State.

The name of the defunct North Central State was changed to Kaduna State (now Kaduna and Katsina States).

The name of the defunct Mid-Western State was changed to Bendel State.

On the 23 September 1987, there was another State creation exercise in the country that was initiated by the then Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.

It resulted in the craving out of Akwa Ibom State from the old Cross River State; while Katsina State was created out of the old Kaduna State.

On the 27 August 1991, then Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida as part of his political transition programme to return the country to democratic civil rule.

The following States were created thus:

Abia State was created out of old Imo State;

Anambra and Enugu States were created out of old Anambra State;

Edo and Delta States were created out of the old Bendel State;

Jigawa State was created out of the old Kano State;

Osun State was carved out from the old Oyo State;

Yobe State was created out of the old Bornu ;and

The old Gongola State was divided into Taraba State and Adamawa States respectively.

The Nigerian elite have a penchant for selfishness and self-glorification and seeking for political turfs.

In the reality, the politics of creation of States in Nigeria, to all intents and purposes, has always being a study intense struggle for power between the elites and different power blocs and factions.

So the them Federal military government under late General Sanni Abacha again on the 1 October, 1996 carried out another State creation exercise.

In the exercise, Bayelsa State was carved out of the old Rivers State; Ebonyi State was carved out of the old Abia and Enugu State.

Gombe State was created out of the old Bauchi State; Kebbi and Zamfara States was created out of the old Sokoto State.

The present Federal Capital Territory was created on the 3 February 1976 made up of parts created out of the old Benue-Plateau; North Central and North Western States.

It seems to me that a lot of Nigerians of this generation do not know or were never taught about the constitutional, political and historical development of the country.

Undoubtedly, this is responsible for the sometimes unpardonable mistakes, blissful ignorance and misinformation about the country we see (especially in the social media) every day.

It is pertinent to note on the 27 May 2017, will mark the 50 years anniversary of the first State creation exercise embarked by the then Federal Military Government under young General Yakubu Gowon on the 27 May 1967.

Some observers are of the opinion that the State creation exercise that took place on the 27 May 1967 (especially the creation of the defunct Southern Eastern and Rivers States out of the defunct Eastern Group of Provinces) was a shrewd political manoeuvrings and masterstroke to pull the rug out of the feet of the then Military Governor of the defunct Eastern Group of Provinces, late Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu had declared the succession of the Eastern Provinces out of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The people of the defunct South Eastern and Rivers States had clamoured from the 1950s the creation of Calabar Ogoja Rivers State out of the defunct Eastern Region; while Benue-Plateau and other minorities’ areas of the defunct Northern Region had agitated for the creation of the Middle Belt Region.

 

OKOI OBONO-OBLA

The Options Before President Buhari By Simon Kolawole

If you’re like me, you would hesitate to comment on the health of a fellow mortal in a sarcastic and malicious way just for the sake of politics. It doesn’t matter if it is the person next door or the president of a country. My grandmother never failed to warn me, when I was much younger, to not laugh at anyone’s deformity. “Nobody chose to be deformed,” she would say, and then add ominously: “Some of the deformed people you see today were once like you, but accidents happen in life.” Since nobody goes to the market to buy cancer or diabetes or any ailment for that matter no human being should gloat over another person’s misfortune. This I believe.
As we all know, President Muhammadu Buhari is ill. God forbid that I ridicule him. God forbid that I stop praying for him. However, because he is more than the head of his family but leader of 180 million Nigerians, his medical status is not a personal affair. What he does, and what he does not do, affects the lives of more than himself and his family. It affects more than Daura and Katsina. It affects more than the Hausa/Fulani and the north. It affects more than Muslims. All of us are at the mercy of the president, no matter the state of origin, ethnic affiliation, religious inclination and political persuasion. Let’s be especially clear about that before we proceed.
There are things we know and there are things we don’t know. We know for sure that the president is ill. Although some people tried to lie to us by saying he was “hale and hearty”, Buhari himself has come out to say he had never been this ill in his life, to the extent of undergoing blood transfusion. We also know that the president has lost weight and there is hardly any hair left on his head again, judging from the last time we saw him in public. His wife, Aisha, has even told us that things are not as bad as they are being painted perhaps referring to rumours that he was being fed through a tube. Things are bad all the same. We can see.
How bad? We don’t know. Is it a terminal ailment? We don’t know. Some Nigerians are so gifted they can look at a sick person from the comfort of their dining rooms and tell you the day the person is going to die. I don’t have such a gift. In fact, doctors can look at his pictures and make a guess, but only those who have access to his medical records can be certain. Buhari looks seriously ill that is naked to the eye but we are not in a position to conclude that it is all over for him, except, of course, we want to be mischievous. Realistically, though, not many people can say for sure the true state of the president except those who are in the inner circle.
Now, there are certain things we know very well. Definitely, the president is not in a position to perform his duty to the best of his ability. I can say that conveniently. I have evidence. My first witness is that he has not been able to preside over the weekly federal executive council meeting in a month. After lying, characteristically, to us that the “agenda was light” and “we are on Easter break”, the cabinet has now devised a more realistic story that the president is being told to rest by his doctors and he will not return to work until he is fit. In other words, he is “not fit” yet. I am quoting the minister of information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who is my second witness.
If the president cannot preside over FEC and cannot be seen frequently in public in his current state, I want to guess (I repeat, guess) that there are many state matters that he cannot attend to. There are meetings he cannot attend, there are important visitors he cannot receive, there are critical policy sessions that he cannot partake in and there are key decisions he cannot take. Yet, the president of Nigeria has to be on his feet all the time. Governing a vast country with vast challenges is no child’s play. With Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo now technically demobilised and disrobed as acting president, there is certainly a gaping hole in the flow of things.
The truth be told then: we are at a crossroads. In this age and time when we need all the speed we can buy, when we need to take 20 steps at a time in order to make anything near progress in economic and human development, it will be most unfair to insist that Buhari can combine his current state of health with the weight of leading Nigeria. It is neither good for him nor the country. He either concentrates 100% on his health or 100% on governing Nigeria. He cannot do 90:10 in favour of his health. We can be quite sure that it is Nigeria that will suffer in this instance. And Nigeria is bigger than anyone, I would like to maintain.
There is something that doesn’t make sense to me. President Buhari was in far away London attending to his health and making progress. Osinbajo was constitutionally empowered to be acting president and, may I add, Buhari was satisfied that things ran smoothly. There was neither uncertainty nor tension. Buhari did not have to worry about Nigerians and Nigerians did not have to worry about Buhari. So why did he return home while he was not done yet? On his return, he said he would go back to London for another round of treatment “in the next two weeks”. But why did he not stay back? Why prefer to fly up and down in two weeks? I can’t understand. I can’t.
The story out there is that some people out of personal interest, which they normally disguise as regional interest, stormed London to persuade Buhari to return home and take “charge” by making public appearances once in a while. If my guess is right, the drama playing out in Abuja is not about the progress of Nigeria. It is not about how we can attain uninterrupted power supply. It has nothing to do with infrastructural development. It is not about making Nigeria an investment destination of choice in Africa and in the world. It is far away from being about reducing infant mortality, maternity mortality and illiteracy. It is not intrigues about malaria, river blindness or polio. I shake my head.
I conclude. There are many options before Buhari as we speak. I will highlight just two. One, he can send a letter to the National Assembly announcing a medical leave and empowering his VP to act again. That way, the uncertainty in town can be lessened. Lest we forget, whether it is Buhari or Osinbajo, it is the same ticket and the same administration. Buhari did a decent thing by empowering Osinbajo to act when he went on medical leave in January and many of us admired him for that. For those of us who saw what happened in Nigeria in 2009/2010 with President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s illness, we were glad Buhari took one step better this time around.
With the option of medical leave, the president will not have to worry about Nigeria and Nigeria will not have to worry about him. He will receive all the treatment he needs and get all the rest he can muster. God is a merciful God. He can accelerate Buhari’s recovery and he would eventually come back to his desk in good health. Head or tail, Buhari can win. He can get good health and hold on to power at the same time. And if he chooses to reveal his real health challenges, he may even win more admirers. I know that there are those who will seek to score silly political points with it, but he will also win the respect of many, most of whom will put him in their prayers.
There is a second option being currently canvassed: that Buhari should resign. In my opinion, he should consider this option only if his doctors have told him something with a tone of finality. Again, we are not in a position to speculate on that. I think many of those canvassing this option are already assuming the worst case scenario. If it that is the case, resignation would not be too much a price to pay for the overall health of Nigeria. It would be the most difficult yet the most honourable option. For now, though, I would make my recommendation based on what I can see with my eyes: the president needs time off to treat himself. Urgent.
 
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“In this age and time when we need all the speed we can buy, when we need to take 20 steps at a time in order to make anything near progress in economic and human development, it will be most unfair to insist that Buhari can combine his current state of health with the weight of leading Nigeria”
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AND FOUR OTHER THINGS

 
TAMING RAPE
Did you read the gory story of the Lagos secondary school students who went on a raping spree on Thursday to “celebrate” writing their final exams? Honestly, I couldn’t read it in a co-ordinated manner. My heart was beating at twice normal as I scanned through the eyewitness account of Mrs Michale Matthew, the heroine who confronted the boys and offered protection to the girls at the risk of being attacked herself. It is said to be a “tradition” after exams a “tradition” of violating teenage girls in the vilest manner, in broad day light. Daily, rape goes unchecked all over Nigeria but we may have finally found scapegoats in order to mainstream this issue. Evil.
 
NIGERIA AND ZIMBABWE
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe said at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban, South Africa, on Thursday that his country is the second “most highly developed country” in Africa. “After South Africa, I want to see what country has the level of development that you see in Zimbabwe,” he said with every sense of pride. It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Zimbabwe is not paying workers and the currency is a piece of rag. But after years of self-inflicted economic meltdown and state-organised violence, you would expect power cuts, bad roads, meningitis and cholera all over Zimbabwe. And that’s not the case. So, is Nigeria better than Zimbabwe? Really?
 
MODERN TRAGEDY
I have been reading tragic stories since I became literate but this one is chilling and mysterious. Tunde Adepegba, a computer systems analyst in the US, relocated his family from Nigeria last week. They had two young daughters and his wife is seven months pregnant. Less than 12 hours after arriving in the US, Tunde was on a metro boss to work when he died on his seat. Other passengers did not know. They probably thought he was sleeping. It was the driver that discovered his dead body after the last stop. The penniless widow now has to raise $10,000 for his burial and cater for the fatherless children. Must life be this unkind? Mystifying.
 
OWNING JOSHUA
Success has many fathers. Since Anthony Joshua defeated Wladimir Klitschko to become the world’s unified heavyweight champion, Nigerians have been celebrating the success of “our son”. After all, although he was born in England, his parents are Nigerians and he spent his early years in Nigeria. Meanwhile, the British are very proud to have produced another world heavyweight champion and the narrative in the British media has changed from “the son of Nigerian parents arrested for possession of cannabis” (2011) to “the British heavyweight boxing sensation”. When you succeed, you don’t need to search for relatives. They will come for you. Life.

Do Our Youths Really Know What They Want? By @DeleMomodu

Fellow Nigerians, I’m very sorry if I’m starting my weekly epistle with what may seem a rhetorical question today. Columnists are ordinarily expected to throw up certain questions from time to time and proffer answers. Let me confess right away that I may not be able to do so in this piece. My pessimism comes from the fact that my generation of youths complained against these same leaders and although some of us have managed to gain some ascendancy the truth is the older generation I am talking about still seem to call the shots! A sobering and telling indication of this is the recent picture of three of our previous leaders, Generals Abdulsalam Abubakar, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and Olusegun Okikiola Obasanjo, along with Otunba Fasawe, meeting in Minna to decide on the fate of the present leadership of our dear country.

One would wonder why these geriatrics, the last of whom was in power 10 years ago should think that they have any role to play in determining the future course of the country and its restive youths when they are collectively mainly responsible for the dire situation that we find ourselves today. The challenges of the 20th century are so diverse and distinct from those of the 21st century and these leaders are simply relics to be placed firmly in the realms of history and not that they should be part of our future. That they deign to have any semblance of influence to determine that future demonstrates the depths we have plumbed as a nation. Given this sorry state of affairs, my mission is only to establish a dialogue or start a debate on what our youths really want and hope that this would help us find a workable solution to the many challenges confronting our youths today.

It is not uncommon to see, hear or feel our youths grumbling and lamenting and groaning about how they have been short-changed by the older generation. I recently wrote about how most of those controlling Nigeria today started holding leadership positions in their twenties and thirties. That is no longer news. Some have been in, out and around power for the past 50 years or more. And they are not about to quit no matter the loudness of moans and grunts coming from our desperate or disillusioned young ones.

I truly wish I could understand the problem and its solution but it is so tough and confusing that I sincerely doubt if there is any clear-cut answer. The inspiration for this piece came all the way from Durban, South Africa, at the World Economic Forum, where the former President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, received thunderous and resounding ovation for his contributions during several of the sessions he participated in. One of the most important sessions he attended and addressed was the one on youth inclusion in power and politics. The conclusion is that there are too many things our youths want and it is practically impossible to have them all. The one they complain the most about is the most difficult to achieve. It is how to seize or wrest power from a generation they believe has become overbearing, overpowering and ancient. This is the crux of the matter.

There is no doubt that the youths want political power by all means but it is not so simple to attain. They must participate as contestants and as voters and remain focused and passionate all the way. If you don’t join a political movement you may never appreciate the process and procedure of becoming a leader. Our youths cannot sit down at home arms, akimbo and expect power to drop on their laps, just like that. It takes time to build one’s profile and brand. It takes loads of money to fund campaigns. There is no short-cut to power. How many of our youths are willing to contribute or commit the little they have or can afford the harsh realities of political life and the drudgery and scrounging that goes with it. The youths in other countries make donations to political parties and the political process and become stakeholders in the political millieu. As veritable investors, they would always have a say in how they are governed.

When potentially good leaders stand up as candidates, the young ones are the first to shoot him down. I can confidently use myself as an example. Not many youths believed I was serious and determined to win the Presidential election in 2011. Everyone was qualified except an experienced and versatile journalist who was also a publisher. My roadmap was simple. I believed that on my own accord, and with God’s guidance and help, I had built a successful brand. I was not tainted or tarnished by being part of the failed political class like most of my opponents who had achieved nothing but failure from the governmental experience that they trumpeted. My view was that since we perennially complained about the abysmal failures and corruption in our body polity, let us jettison our major political parties and start or develop new ones. I strongly believed our salvation belonged in forming new parties or rebuilding a few reasonable ones. I made substantial contributions to Labour Party, National Conscience Party and even KOWA. Till today, I have never been a member of KOWA Party. The reason I supported KOWA was because I saw people of like minds I genuinely admire in it, especially my big brother, Alhaji Fola Adeola. This is how it should be. How I had wished we had many young ones willing and ready to make similar sacrifice for the sake of our country.

In 2011, I was greatly inspired by the emergence of Barack Obama in America, as the first black President. It was a miracle that I thought could be replicated in Africa. But I was told by my peers that I was a day dreamer. The same people who clamoured for youth participation in politics were the ones who treated us with disdain. I chose a 26 year old man, Ohimai Godwin Amaize, as my National Campaign Coordinator but many could still not see the statement I was trying to make. We had a parade of some accomplished Nigerians at the time but many preferred to maintain the status quo. I was almost certain that one of us, or a combination of us, Nasir El-Rufai, Donald Duke, Nuhu Ribadu, Usman Malami, Yunusa Tanko, Fola Adeola, Awwal Tukur, Oby Ezekwesili, Pat Utomi, or Dele Momodu would be massively supported in order to correct the faulty Nigerian trajectory but I was very wrong. I interacted with all but we were not able to make appreciable progress.

I went all the way, even if only as a symbolic gesture. Those who should applaud my guts for trying at all were more interested in dissing me and my family. One reporter wrote nonsense about my wife not voting for me despite the fact that it was in broad day light that we voted in different polling booths. But that is the tragedy of our generation. We prefer to trivialise serious issues and amplify mundane topics. Just imagine where Nigeria would have been if we had assembled some of our best eleven in 2011.

What Nigeria needs is a sort of bloodless ethical revolution. The youths would have to do it now or we will all remain in this terrible quagmire. We talk and sermonise about almost anything and everything but do nothing about the terrible conditions we face. Those who are serious about doing something are often told to get lost. We prefer our oppressors to our liberators. It pains me to the marrow that at a time the world was savouring the euphoria of an Obama, we did not seize the initiative. Anyone who tried to replicate the same Obama magic at home was rebuffed and treated with disdain. They would tell him he can’t do it. They would discourage and disparage him. Some would prefer to queue behind the same people they alleged stole their money. They would do this for money that would barely buy them a meal handed over from the filthy lucre that they incessantly complain about. They would defend the old as experienced people who can be trusted and entrusted with power. But if their experience was that good and useful, how come we have found ourselves in this “peculiar mess” in Nigeria with no solution in sight? We have continued to move from frying pan to fire.

Let’s examine what else the youths want so desperately apart from power. The youths want good jobs but these jobs are not readily available. And where and when available many of the applicants are not employable. What President Mahama did in Ghana was to tilt Ghanaian education in the direction of vocational studies. The reason was simple. Why do we keep mass-producing graduates like popcorns when the ones before them and the generation beyond would never be able to get the jobs of their dream? Many go to school to read courses that may not bear fruits. The jobs that are readily available hardly find enough hands on ground. More often than not, nations are in dire need of capable artisans and innovators. Every country, whether developed or developing requires its youths to be a mix of artisans, technicians, scientists and IT personnel and computer whiz kids. A good example of the youth employment conundrum in Nigeria is the case of students that are rushing to read irrelevant courses and yet expect to find jobs in other disciplines pronto.

There are no easy roads to getting jobs whether good or bad. It is only a man who has one job in hand who can complain and then proceed to seek another. A man who has none would have to manage the one that he can land in hand, especially if he or she is from my kind of background, the proletariat. It takes time to create jobs and spread opportunities. But the youths need the jobs like yesterday. Mahama thought he had a perfect solution by investing heavily in infrastructure development but this would become his albatross. The youths said they were hungry and needed food before anything else. The same seems to be the case of the youths in Nigeria who would seem to prefer to be fed rather that acquire the skills of how to feed people.

Any continent with the type of infrastructure deficit that we suffer in Africa is already in big trouble. It is always a Catch-22 situation. There can be no jobs without adequate preparation for facilities. The facilities cost an arm and a leg. Mahama built or revamped many hospitals, schools, new roads, airports, and so on hoping to secure the future of the youths but he ended up eating his pounded yam as boiled yam. The youths kicked vehemently and got him out of power. It is one of the ironies of life that doing great work is no longer enough. You have to balance it with stomach infrastructure. It is a major lesson for leaders out there that the youths are not interested in long tales, all they want is instant results with talismanic effects. Unfortunately, if they are to better their lot the youths must first learn patience and understanding. They must appreciate that ‘panda’ can never be gold no matter how much it is burnished!

It is obvious that the problems we confront in the world today are grave. As 2019 approaches in Nigeria, this question would have to be asked and adequately addressed by our youths. What do they want for themselves? Self-governance or handouts and hand-me-downs? May God make our youths see clearly on how to set themselves free from the bondage of the aged and the past. No one can do it better and faster than our younger generation. The time for them to act, and claim what is their right, is now!

National Open University and the Failure of Leadership by Patrick Omoregie

My attention was drawn on May 1st to an article published on the ongoing crisis at the National University of Nigeria written by a social commentator Ahmed Abdullahi as published in The Nation newspaper. As a student of that prestigious institution of higher learning, I could not have been happier that after what seems like an eternity, the current situation at NOUN is finally getting the attention of the public and especially experts in the education sector.

Mr Ahmed Abdullahi in his well-written piece did his best to describe the ordeal currently being endured by all students and staff of the National Open University as a result of the actions and inactions of our Vice Chancellor Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu since his appointment a little over a year ago. But the situation is even worse than Mr Ahmed managed to portray in his column in The Nation. NOUN  is sinking as we speak and if nothing is done by the federal government and all stakeholders to rescue the institution, Nigeria’s only open and distance learning university will be history in no time.

To be clear, while the bulk of the mess we are dealing with as students revolve around the VC’s decision to abruptly close the iLEARN platform, the issues go even deeper than that. The iLEARN platform is the lifeline of our institution, it is the gateway, the channel through which we the students connect with our lecturers and through which NOUN itself connects to the world. That lifeline, that gateway, that channel no longer exists as we speak. Professor Adamu in his wisdom decided to shut it down without providing any adequate alternative.

The implication of this abrupt closure of iLEARN by the VC is that all NOUN students can no longer pay their school fees online, or register for courses online, or get tutorials and other learning materials, access past exam questions, submit assignments and reports, or access results from past sessions and semesters. NOUN has essentially been stripped of everything that makes it an open and distance learning institution and we the students are paying heavily for that.

Its like after traveling a long distance by road through a car for several times, we are suddenly being asked to ride camels. We are made to understand that the school management lost all student data in the iLEARN database when it was shut down. So as we speak the school management cannot authoritatively say who is a student or not. Imagine being born in the age of mobile phones and 4G internet and someone asks you to hire a town crier to broadcast a message to global audience. So many students also have their school fees trapped inside the iLEARN portal and are now being asked to pay new fees.

It goes beyond shutting down iLEARN and throwing the school into the darkness technology-wise. The VC has shown favouritism and displayed tribal sentiments in conducting the affairs of the school. Some senior officers have been demoted to lower positions and their juniors placed above them. We are also made to understand that some staff fringe benefits are being withheld and the video recording allowance of our facilitators are not being paid.

Essentially nothing is working in NOUN right now. Our study centres no longer have internet connectivity. The erstwhile smooth school academic calendar has been disrupted as a result of these and many more issues, all directly or indirectly tied to questionable decisions and policies introduced by Professor Adamu. There is a distinct lack of transparency in the administration of the school, policies are announced out of thin air without any consultation with students or staff.

President Muhammadu Buhari and the Honourable Minister of Education Mallam Adamu Adamu also have their fair share of the blame in the chaos that is engulfing NOUN under Professor Adamu. The issues surrounding his appointment as Vice Chancellor last year apart, the President and Education Minister owe Nigerians a duty by virtue of their respective positions to uphold the integrity of one of the most important higher institutions in the country. The fact that the President and the Minister have been unlooking this crisis at NOUN for a year now despite several appeals to intervene by the students and staff makes them complicit.

As students of the National Open University, our demands are simple. NOUN was a perfectly functional institution before Professor Adamu became the VC, the least we ask of him is to keep it that way and not make it worse. We implore the VC to rethink some of his decisions that have crippled our institution and immediately reinstate the iLEARN portal so all students can carry on with their education without further disruptions.

Patrick Omoregie writes from Lagos

Still On Disparity In 2015 Kano Elections Result- An Insider’s Account, By Moshood Isah

The much anticipated launch of one of the first in the series of publications on the 2015 general elections titled, “Against the Run of Play: How an incumbent president was defeated in Nigeria”, has come and gone. As part of the build up to its public presentation in Lagos on Friday, April 28, 2017, several print and online media outlets provided their readers with snippets, in the form of serialised sections of the book, which further heightened public expectation ahead of its formal launch.

Following from these serialized snippets, a number of the principal actors featured in the book, who had cause to disagree with claims made by certain individuals in different chapters of the book, have offered their own perspectives and counter narratives to some of the accounts, while some major foreign missions also issued statements absolving their respective countries of any complicity in the election’s outcome, as claimed. One of such issues raised is a rather curious claim relating to an alleged huge disparity in the election results from Kano in respect of the two sets of elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday, March 28, 2015; i.e. the presidential and National Assembly elections.

Much as one would ordinarily have preferred to steer clear from making any comments on this matter, it is highly imperative that issues like this, which have already been captured in book form for posterity, are promptly clarified, lest they become accepted as the gospel truth by generations to come. Before I get to the specifics of the claim proper, however, it is important that I drop an important disclaimer: this intervention represents nothing more than an effort at setting the records straight, using verifiable figures from officially declared results of those elections. It is not an attempt at joining issues with anyone in particular, especially in view of the public standing of some of the individuals involved. It is also not meant as a challenge to the author of this important publication regarding the accuracy of the figures quoted, as he was merely reproducing information relayed to him and verified over several interview sessions with the respective respondents in the course of compiling the book. I will, therefore, try as much as possible to avoid making direct reference to any individual or political party by name, even as nobody who has either read the book, or followed the news leading up to its formal launch, will be left in any doubt as to the real identity of the personalities and/or entities involved.

In the introductory section on pages 17 and 18 of the 221-page book, reference was made to a potential disparity of one million votes in the declared election results from Kano State, as reported, inter alia; “Go and check the results from Kano. The presidential election and that of National Assembly happened on the same day and same time. The National Assembly result reflected that about 800,000 people voted but that of the presidential election reflected a vote of about 1.8 million”. In the same introductory section, a friend and former colleague in the electoral commission described this as “nothing particularly special”, and went on to explain, amongst others, that the alleged scenario in Kano was a “general trend (across the country) as many voters were more interested in the presidential election than in other elections”, even though he was not specifically recorded as having disputed that outrageous disparity as projected in the distorted claim he was referring to.

While not necessarily disagreeing with the above submission regarding possible voter preferences with respect to different elections, it is very important to stress, for the purpose of emphasis, that the figures ascribed to each of the two elections in the earlier statement were nowhere near the actual number of voters in the officially declared results of the two elections. This is particularly necessary, in view of the fact that similar reasons had earlier been adduced to explain away an identical situation that occurred during the disputed 2003 general elections, where the total votes cast in respect of the presidential election in Ogun State exceeded those of the governorship election by a whopping 618,017 votes, even though both elections were held at the same time, with each voter issued with the two sets of ballots simultaneously.

For the records, the two elections in reference were conducted simultaneously nationwide on March 28, 2015, with National Assembly election here referring to the election for the positions of Senator and House of Representatives member in each state’s three Senatorial Districts and stipulated number of Federal Constituencies respectively. Therefore, in essence, three separate elections were simultaneously conducted on the said date, comprising the presidential election, representing a single election for the position of president nationwide; senatorial election, made up of three seats per state, and; House of Representatives election, where the number of seats up for grabs varied from state to state.

As a result, for the purpose of comparing the number of people that voted in the presidential election with the voter turnout in each of the two other distinct National Assembly elections in any state, we must first individually arrive at the total number of votes cast in each of the two separate National Assembly elections in that state. And, to do that, the three Senatorial Districts vote tallies must necessarily be added together to get the cumulative number in respect of the senatorial election in the entire state, while the total number of Federal Constituencies in respect of the House of Representatives seats contested for in that state (which happens to be 24 in the case of Kano) must equally be tallied together to arrive at the grand total. The three can then be compared to see if there is any disparity amongst them, before we can then begin to talk about what the probable reasons for such a disparity – if any – might possibly be.

As we may recall from our elementary school mathematics lessons, the part cannot be greater than the whole. Consequently, the reference to 1.8 million as the total number of people that voted in the presidential election in Kano cannot logically be correct, in a situation where one of the 14 presidential candidates alone secured over 1.9 million votes in that same election. In truth, therefore, the total number of votes cast in the 2015 presidential election in Kano State was 2,172,447, as captured on INEC’s official results collation document, the Presidential Election Summary of Results From States “Form EC 8D (A)”, a stamped and sealed copy of which was given out to agents of all the 14 political parties on the ballot, as well as to representatives of each of the security agencies present at the International Conference Centre Results Collation Centre, following the formal declaration of results by the Commission in the early hours of Tuesday, March 31, 2015.
This figure is broken down as follows: party/candidate with the highest number of votes scored a total of 1,903,999 votes; party/candidate that came second scored 215,779 votes; the remaining 12 parties/candidates cumulatively scored a total of 9,043 votes (which made it essentially a two horse race), giving the total valid votes as 2,128,821, while the number of rejected votes stood at 43,626, representing 2.01% of total votes cast. Total number of registered voters in the state was 4,943,862, while number of accredited voters was 2,364,434, with the difference of 191,987 between this figure and total votes cast accounted for by those that failed to show up and cast their vote after accreditation (which, as we may recall, was conducted separate from voting).

The rejected votes as a percentage of total votes cast of 2.01% for Kano is not dissimilar to that of many other states that recorded large voter turnout across the country during that election. Examples of such are Kaduna (total votes cast – 1,650,201), Rivers (1,584,768 votes), Katsina (1,481,714 votes), Delta (1,284,848 votes) and Akwa Ibom (1,028,551 votes) with rejected votes percentages of 1.98%, 1.22%, 2.17%, 1.33% and 1.12% respectively. The overall rejected votes percentage nationwide stood at 2.87% of the 29,432,083 total votes cast, compared to 3.19% recorded during the 2011 general elections (total votes cast – 39,469,484), which serves as indicator to the probable success of the massive voter education program that preceded the 2015 general elections.

In terms of the two National Assembly elections, both of which also ended up as a two horse race between the two leading political parties in the country, the breakdown of INEC’s officially declared results in respect of votes scored by the two major parties as published in various national dailies (i.e. excluding rejected votes and the cumulative votes scored by the other competing parties in the election) across the three Senatorial Districts and 24 Federal Constituencies in the state are as follows:

Senatorial election:- (1) Kano Central: Winning candidate – 758,383; Runner-up – 205,809. (2) Kano North: Winning candidate – 381,393; Runner-up – 107,845. (3) Kano South: Winning candidate – 498,528; Runner-up – 145,923. Total votes scored by the two leading political parties in the contest amounts to 2,097,881 (excluding rejected ballots and votes scored by the remaining political parties that contested for the election in each Senatorial District, which could be responsible for the difference of 74,566 between this figure and the total votes cast in the presidential election).

House of Representatives election:- (1) Rano/Kibiya/Bunkure: Winner – 66,091; Runner-up – 30,129. (2) Karaye/Rogo – 54,907; Runner-up – 30,129. (3) Dala: Winner – 91,616; Runner-up – 4,740. (4) Nasarawa: Winner – 111,473; Runner-up – 12, 608. (5) Fagge: Winner – 44,226; Runner-up – 12,700. (6) Dawakin Tofa/Tofa/Rimin Gado: Winner – 79,473; Runner-up – 21,490. (7) Kura/Madobi/Garun-Mallan: Winner – 82,555; Runner-up – 30,708. (8) Ungogo/Minjibir: Winner – 89,945; Runner-up – 23,993. (9) Bagwai/Shanono: Winner – 48,548; Runner-up – 18,864. (10) Gwarzo/Kabo: Winner – 67,770; Runner-up – 17,610. (11) Kunchi/Tsanyawa: Winner – 53,250; Runner-up – 9,550. (12) Takai/Sumaila: Winner – 79,486; Runner-up – 21,521; (13) Tarauni: Winner – 55,221; Runner-up – 14,013. (14) Gezawa/Gabasawa: Winner – 65,114; Runner-up – 17,553. (15) Bichi: Winner – 39,408; Runner-up – 11,862. (16) Danbatta/Makoda: Winner – 52,871; Runner-up – 17,988. (17) Tudun Wada/Doguwa: Winner – 67,350; Runner-up – 16,844. (18) Dawakin Kudu/Warawa: Winner – 57,528; Runner-up – 21,338. (19) Kano Municipal Council: Winner – 81,104; Runner-up – 14,804. (20) Kumbotso: Winner – 50,549; 1st Runner-up – 14,239; 2nd Runner-up – 6,762. (21) Gwale: Winner – 47,179; Runner-up -13,382. (22) Kiru/Bebeji: Winner – 55,589; Runner-up – 22,674. (23) Wudil/Garko: Winner – 65,905; Runner-up – 11,169. (24) Gaya/Ajingi/Albasu: Winner – 94,782; Runner-up – 13,862. Total votes scored by the two leading political parties in the House of Representatives election across the state amounts to 2,032,472 (excluding rejected ballots and votes scored by the remaining political parties that contested for the election in each Federal Constituency, which could also account for the shortfall of 139,975 votes in comparison to the presidential election votes tally).

From the foregoing breakdown of votes tally across the three elections conducted on March 28, 2015 in Kano state, therefore, it is quite evident that any allusion to a probable disparity of one million votes between the number of people that voted in the presidential election and those that voted in either of the two National Assembly elections is nothing but an illusion.

Abdullahi Usman (usmanabd@gmail.com)
PA to former INEC Chairman

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