Buhari: Just Like The Mills Of The gods, By Femi Adesina

There is a saying bequeathed to mankind by the Greek physician/philosopher, Sextus Empiricus, who lived in Alexandria and Athens in the 3rd Century. It goes thus: “The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.”

What does this mean in everyday language? Justice may be slow, but it will come eventually. And for those who pray, it also means that God may not answer your petition immediately you make it, but He will eventually respond-at His own time. The vision is for an appointed time, and it will not delay. But if it tarries, wait for it. For it will surely come. The priest who shouts at God is being unnecessarily impatient and petulant. God will do what He will do-at His own time.

From the human perspective, Empiricus may have had President Muhammadu Buhari in mind, when he coined the saying about the mills of the gods. With our President, there is no rush on some issues, if they demand temporizing and being painstaking. The mills of the gods must be allowed to grind, if slowly, but exceedingly finely.

From his time as military leader, Nigerians who were of age then would recall that the then Major General Buhari often said; “this administration will not be rushed…” And truly, for the 20 months that the regime lasted, things were done with calm sure-footedness, and not at the dizzying speed that some people would have wanted. Easy does it. They stumble that run too fast. “Patience is the companion of wisdom,” according to Saint Augustine, the cleric.

And did the regime succeed? It did. It was on the road to forging a new Nigeria, where probity, accountability and discipline reign supreme, before a spanner was thrown in the works. Fifth columnists struck, and aborted our march to Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey.

Buhari was in limbo for many years. But in 2015, majority of Nigerians remembered what he had brought on the table between January 1984 and August 1985. So, overwhelmingly, they voted for him. And today, he is President.

But something fundamental has not changed in the man’s style. The mills of the gods still grind slowly. There are some decisions President Buhari will not take in a hurry. He will chew on the matter, digest it properly, and then come out with his position. There is no stampeding him, no setting of fire to his heels. The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly finely.

Yes, President Buhari has changed in many ways. He was an autocrat, now he is a democrat. Then, he adjudged you guilty, slammed you in Kirikiri Prisons, and asked you to prove your innocence. Today, if he suspects that you are corrupt, he does nothing to you, till he can prove that you are guilty. That is the way of democracy.

But something fundamental has not changed in the man’s style. The mills of the gods still grind slowly. There are some decisions President Buhari will not take in a hurry. He will chew on the matter, digest it properly, and then come out with his position. There is no stampeding him, no setting of fire to his heels. The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly finely.

On Monday, this week, the Engr Babachir David Lawal and Amb. Ayo Oke saga came to a denouement. The duo had been accused of some unsavoury acts, and sent on suspension in April, this year. A panel was constituted to look into the allegations against them, with a two weeks time frame.

A day before the report of the panel was to be submitted, President Buhari had to travel abroad on the second leg of a medical vacation. He was away till August 19.

In this period, some impatient Nigerians were totally restive. They even besieged the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, urging him to act on the report of the panel. They wanted to turn the man into jury and judge, discountenancing the fact that he had chaired the panel that conducted the probe.

When President Buhari mercifully returned on August 19, his plane had barely touched down, when the impatient people began to ask for the report of the Osinbajo panel. “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time,” wrote Leo Tolstoy. But such people would have none of it. They called for an immediate decision on the lingering saga.

On August 23, VP Osinbajo submitted the report, in six hefty volumes. Of course, there was an executive summary, as best practices would demand. And the noise continued from some quarters. We want action on the submitted report, and we want it NOW. They forget that “patience is not simply the ability to wait, it’s how we behave while we are waiting” (says the preacher, Joyce Meyer). And they also forget the mills of the gods, which grind slowly, but exceedingly finely.

They went forward to accuse the President of treating Nigerians with contempt. With scorn. Derision. Flippancy. Levity. They would rather justice had been miscarried, as long as the urge for blood was satiated. They would rather the President had played to the gallery, swinging the sword and decapitating everyone in sight, not minding whether they were innocent or guilty. Such people were like the mob in Julius Caesar, the work by William Shakespeare. They met Cinna the poet on the way, and accused him of being Cinna the conspirator, one of those who had murdered the emperor. Cinna explained that he was a poet, but they would not listen. They screamed: whether you are Cinna the poet, or Cinna the conspirator, Cinna is Cinna. You are a sinner, and must die. They killed him. And to justify the evil act, they rationalized that he was a poet that wrote bad verses. Good grief!

President Buhari took his time. If you know the man, he must have gone through the six bulky reports with a magnifying glass, a fine tooth-comb. Better that 100 criminals escape, than kill a single innocent man unjustly.

And finally, on Monday “come finally comes to become” (apologies to the late K.O Mbadiwe). The President communicated his decision to the country, which was acceptance of the recommendation to terminate the appointments of the two men who had been investigated.. A large number of Nigerians were relieved that a closure was being put to the saga. But trust those who had murmured and grumbled. They refused to be pacified. They are the type that when you answer their niggling question successfully, they change the question again. They came with many other queries: should the matter have taken so long? Was the matter not to be swept under the carpet, if we had not raised hell? Why were the two men not summarily handed over to the security agencies for prosecution? But if the President had taken the last option, and had directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to pull in the two men, they would have said: Enhen, we always said it. He was tele guiding the EFCC from behind all these while. Now he has shown his hands. The hand of Jacob, and the voice of Esau.

Head or tail, you can never win with some Nigerians. If you don’t have your bath, they say you are a ruffian, and you stink. If you have your bath too frequently, they say you love the opposite sex too much. No wonder some people say public service is a thankless job. If only we would change our mindsets, and also change our conduct.

But some people forget. Early in the days of this administration, President Buhari had told them: “Some people call me ‘Baba Go Slow.’ I will be slow, but I will be steady.” Isn’t there eternal truth again in the saying that slow and steady wins the race?

There are some matters that require speed. They should be treated expeditiously. No doubt. There are some others in which you could sacrifice fairness and justice on the altar of speed. When you have such, it is better to err on the side of caution. It is better to lay all the cards on the table, consider all the sides of the coin. Such was the Babachir/Oke saga.. They were men who had served the President faithfully, from what one could see. He dare not be precipitate in determining their destinies. Fair is fair, and foul is foul.

Talking again of the mills of the gods. The National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) held at the party’s secretariat in Abuja on Tuesday. I was there. The atmosphere was friendly, almost convivial. At a point, someone moved a motion of confidence in the Buhari administration. The seconder, a former state governor, added to the motion, seeking an endorsement of the President as candidate for second term in 2019. As he raised the motion, I saw the President gesturing, with his two palms downwards. The gesture meant, please, cool down, not now. This is premature. And the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, weighed in, accepting the motion of confidence, and deferring the one on automatic candidacy. Everyone was satisfied.

You can imagine my consternation the next day, when I saw the newspaper headlines.. It was as if some of them were reporting a meeting held in outer space. They said a bid by governors to get automatic ticket for the President had failed. One newspaper exulted: “Govs’ bid to get automatic 2019 ticket for Buhari fails.’ Pure fiction. Concocted story. It never happened the way the newspaper had conjured. And it was the President himself who had dissuaded those who made the move, by his gesture. Hate news seems to have crept into the polity, and otherwise credible newspapers have eaten the forbidden apple.

Well, we were talking about the need for patience. Jean-Jacques Rousseau says “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” And Robert Schuller adds: “Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.” That is where I pitch my tent. Under President Buhari, for Nigeria, the storm will pass (and is, indeed, passing), and the spring will come. The mills of the gods grind slowly, but exceedingly finely.
I believe. What about you?

Adesina is Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari

Mythologization: Critique Of Infallibity And Incorruptibility In Leadership, By Otunba Ilemobade

“Honest assessment is an essential requirement of effective leadership, but the higher you rise on the corporate ladder, the less likely you’ll be to receive complete and accurate information. Seek the truth.”-Antisthenes

In the process of seeking the truth Political leaders must be fearless and willing to adopt logical sequencing of arguments in other to weed out sycophancy tending towards catapulting them into the Philosophy of demigod with the myth of infallibility and incorruptibility a superhuman characteristics falsely arrogated to mere mortals.

Political leadership is not about engravings in stone monuments nor is it about fabricated narratives, commentaries bordering on virtues and values rather it is an examined life, the pursuit of truth and justice as reflected not only in the dealings of leaders within/around the corridors of power but significantly its impactfulness in the lives of the citizenry.

If we manufacture superhuman characteristics for mere mortals we are setting them up for tsunamic failure and if those individuals are in Political leadership positions then we are making them too much intrepid to the point of foolishness. The danger here is that those individuals then become too brave to the extent that when faced with ethically challenging events their responses are often condescending and snobbish.

This raises a fundamental question, can the wearer of the veil of invisibility behave justly most especially when they understand that they can behave unjustly without any overt questioning given the false characterization of infallibility and incorruptibility arrogated to them within a geopolitical space of messsianic ideology.

It is the opaqueness of such characterization that is making it difficult for me to decipher whether @mbuhari is a deontologist or teleologist in respect of his ethical inclination but a broader fleshing out of this article following the messianic ideology trajectory by association of recent scandalous events like #Mainagate #Babachirgate #Oke/Ikoyigate suggest to me and most Nigerians that the sloganism of anticorruption predicated on supposedly infallibility and incorruptibility of this administration is nothing but nothingness.

What are we to make of surreptitious “rehabilitation” recall of Abdulrasheed Maina back into the civil service with the connivance of the President according to Oyo Ita (HOS) from the leaked memo to Abba Kyari in concert with Malami (AGF) and Dambazau (IAM). Is it right to label this administration as incorruptible and infallible given the assistance provided by security agencies like the Department of state services (DSS), Nigeria immigration service (NIS) in providing safe haven for criminal fugitive and scofflaw?

The reactions of Nigerians since the news broke are affirmative and vividly a rejection of any attempt at covering up within the universe of investigating this national security fiasco an abandonment of national interest for pecuniary interest of few individuals. Ahbaaa!!! this is an administration that came into office with massive political goodwill from the populace and within a period of two years has become a taboo in the political lexicography of Nigerian electorates because it lacks the finesse to consolidate political power to drive economic growth, justice, truth, fairness for all citizens.

The authority of Political leaders under the administration of @mbuhari is eroding faster than they can imagine yet they ensconce themselves in delusion of infallibility and incorruptibility propaganda failing to see the reality of their crumbling falsehood and hoping for another political Manna in @2019.

It is noteworthy to state here that we/Nigerians would purge clannishness which is the genotype of this administration before @2019 by campaigning vigorously against clannish tendencies and silence in the face of corruption. You can’t run a country in mute mode.

Change must begin with @MBuhari and his cabinet members if the anticorruption propaganda of this administration would be able to kill a fly before corruption within this corruption personified administration kills the anticorruption propaganda. This view of mine is based on the fact that I have not seen a thorough habituation to values and virtues of anticorruption in this administration given the recent scandalous events and I am not certainly positive If this imperfection would go away soonest given the calibre of players in perfidy.




Islamization Rethorics: A Deliberate Attempt To Create Division And Mutual Suspicion, By Rotimi Ayanwale

Human beings can at best be descried as homo economicus: path dependent, self-interested, utility maximizers and rational. Although the level of rationality every human has is contingent on the amount of information he is privy to.

This general definition makes the news making the rounds about Islamization agenda by a person or few in a sovereign secular nation understandable. This parochial mindset can probably be tolerated from some individuals but not from religious institutions that are expected to hold high values and express views capable of fostering Nigeria’s unity.

No, doubt, Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), is a talented man who have traversed the private sector, the church, the public service and ultimately the 2nd highest office of the land. His journey, no doubt would have transformed him to a realistic man by virtue of his interaction with virtually all social class in Nigeria. He is equally a Pastor who stands by his faith in a secular Nigeria where people have the right to worship without fear.

One does not need to look too far before seeing tendencies of organized political capture and path dependence in Nigeria. A development worsened because of the support it receives from bodies which are supposed to hold high societal values.

The story of Nigeria in the past years have been that of monumental and systemic corruption which has risen to an alarming level and posing existential treat. There is no nation that can deliver when the monies meant for all kinds of social services ends up in private pockets. The beneficiaries of this ugly trend prefers status quo and can do anything to achieve this situation that keep huge percentage of Nigeria in a state of despair and abject poverty while a privilege few enjoy our commonwealth. This must stop! The avenue to sustaining this shameful position must be challenged.

Prof. Osinbajo’s position is that faith leaders must uphold high moral standard and the church particularly should avoid been politicized but inculcate in people enviable values and norms. The church must not be turned into one that creates division and hatred amongst members of the society. The church must speak to the truth no matter what and at all times steaming the values of Christ. The church must realise that Nigeria cannot and can never be islamised and should shift focus and attention to endeavors capable for prompting brotherliness and national collective action.

The infrastructure gap that exists in Nigeria is visible all over the country and there is need for innovative financing model to bridge the gap.

The need for out-of-the-box solutions brought SUKUK financing model to the fore. The funds mobilized through SUKUK bonds have since been allocated to finance road projects across the geopolitical zones of the country which will jump-start economic development around those corridors and foster broad-based growth.

As Nigerians, we must be opened to innovations especially ones that can unleash our national economic potential. As it were, the United Kingdom, issued SUKUK bonds which attracted over $2bn to finance critical projects and no nation have developed without strategically tapping into new models, new ideas, breaking path dependence and adopting creating destruction.

People are poor, Nigerians are yearning for development and it is the duty of the elite across all social organizations to support government to deliver on its core mandate of delivering public goods and lifting people out of poverty in a bid to create a prosperous country. To achieve this, places of worship must continually spread messages that will enhance national cooperation which is an ingredient for national development.

As it is today, aside government, places of worship must speak against our common enemy which is corruption. It has become a way of life and norm. Nigeria cannot survive if the rate is not lessened for the dual goals of building resilient and respected country as well as highly celebrated religious leaders who will live a life of example and desist from talks capable of tearing Nigeria apart.

Rotimi Ayanwale, a Public Affairs Analyst, writes from Abuja, Nigeria.

Girl-Child, Poverty And Our World This Century, By Muhsin Ibrahim

The word “culture” defies any simple definition, though attempts to do that have been made and continue to be. As a response to a post I made on Facebook the other day, a friend commented that “Hausa culture has nearly eroded to extinction”, for, according to him, when one asks many young Hausa (men and women) about their culture, they will tell you, “Islam is my culture”.

Weak, if not erroneous, as I believe this view is, it makes me happy for several reasons. Culture, religion and, to an extent, language are carriers of a lot of value. The most valuable of them all is, to me, religion. Therefore, I would prefer a Hausa girl or boy to identify herself/himself first with Islam than with the culture for the culture is not as perfect as the religion is.

However, neither the culture nor the religion means anything significant to countless Muslim girls and boys in this 21st century. This is one of the reasons why I find his argument very flawed. There has been a sharp surge in the anti-cultural, antisocial and antireligious attitudes and behaviours in our youth recently. The moral deprivation of our societies requires no further elaboration as it is slowly but surely becoming very quotidian. This is assisted by many factors, some of which I will mention in this short article.

Top on the list is poverty. The scourge has forced many boys and girls into prostitution and other big and petty crimes. I was watching the famous Arewa 24 series, Dadin Kowa; Sabon Salo the other day where such destitution pushes one of the casts into prostitution. This is a clear-cut demonstration of what is obtained in our societies today. Many girls struggle to not only buy cosmetics for their daily makeup but a sanitary pad for their monthly period. To do that or risk getting infected for using unhygienic materials, some give up their body in exchange for a paltry amount of money. A girl confessed to a friend of mine that she had no option. The price of basic commodities such as the pad keeps rising while her parents can barely feed them. With the token she gets from her apathetic so-called boyfriend who, on every visit, gropes her, she gets ample to assist the parents. In fact, many “dudes” give money to a girl only in exchange for something!

This girl may be in dire condition or was just wayward, as many people would conclude. Both or either can be the case. However, I am cocksure that innumerable similar cases exist. Many perverts lure several unsuspecting girls (and boys!), mostly hawkers or housemaids, to their den and rape them. I have written copiously on this devastating issue, using Kano as a microcosm of Hausa community. I am sure that if our girls and women could muster the courage to open up on the ongoing revelations of sexual assault and harassment by men in the world tagged #MeToo, theirs will stand out. But they cannot due to the very possible, nay, definite repercussion of so doing; the society will stigmatize them, and many will end up as pariahs. If married, they stand a good chance to be divorced. Women have been divorced for much lesser ‘crimes’ in our communities.

It is equally true that both sexual and material desires are, every day, pushing our youth to commit many vices. Years back, almost everyone expects a girl to get married once she finishes secondary school. I have never supported that though, but this rarely happens today. Our girls, inexperienced as they are, are, oftentimes, left on themselves with no plan for marriage or education. You cannot blame them for not having a suitor, I know that. Blame our fallen financial status coupled with the undue demand and expectation we put on ourselves for the wedding ceremonies. Many young men want to get married but have little or no means. Thus, to quench that physiological need, some of them resort to spending the little they have on the already hungry, ripe girls around.

I conducted a quick survey on the social media recently on the proliferation of lewd groups and pages in the Hausa language. Some of these are outrageously for lesbians, gays and so on and so forth. This couldn’t be imagined to have happened some few years ago, but this is the reality today. I was reliably told that the worse happens on WhatsApp – and yes, no doubt, for most of those pages and groups invite their visitors to join their WhatsApp groups for their privacy, etc. The more troubling thing is the way and manner some of those visitors, males and females, do openly drop their phone numbers, to be added to those groups. A few clicks would confirm to you that most of those shameless users are jobless youth, out of school teenagers, desperate girls looking for solace, etc. No doubt, poverty plays a major role in that societal degradation.

I also accuse the combination of ignorance and laxity of many parents. As I wrote in another article titled “Islam, Culture, Social Media and the Rest of Us”, Facebook, or any social media, is no longer what it used to be: a mere, innocuous social networking site for friending, chatting, sharing pictures and the like. It is now a life-shaping platform. This and a whole host of other reasons, therefore, call for parents, guardians and all to be (more) wary of how, and of course who, his/her children, wards, siblings, etc interact with.

The government, as you might have guessed, must shoulder some responsibility, too, for not doing much (if anything!) to alleviate the poverty millions of its citizens live in today. Poverty is a disease that leads to despair and death. As representatives of a philanthropic organisation, we visited the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital, Kano in late August this year. The unhealthy, impoverished living condition of the patients in the ward we toured moved some of us to tears, wallahi. About two or three patients died in the span of 24 hours, one of them a few minutes before our arrival. Although it is, religiously speaking, their time to die, their deaths were not unconnected to their lack of money. The story is long. May Allah rest their souls, amin.

Millions of people live in squalor not because there is untamed poverty in our societies; lack of sharing of wealth results to this, I believe. Take a quick look at the palpable affluence of some few individuals around you or the way the governments spend (waste, in fact) a huge amount of money on unnecessary projects, radio jingles, political campaigns and thuggery, etc. No society develops this way. Primary healthcare and basic education, if nothing else, should not be anyone’s headache. Let people do the rest with the peanut money they earn.

As individuals, we are equal stakeholders in this. The slow death of our hitherto very rich communalism does us in. Everyone today cares more, if not only, about himself, wife and children. Only a few care about their own relations, not to mention neighbours or others they barely know. We all need to be more humanitarian, to put hands in deck towards allaying poverty, for we are very prone to its effect. For instance, no doubt it breeds bad behaviour in our youth. Thus, how safe are we when our youth are becoming prostitutes, drug addicts, thieves or even armed robbers, and so on? We are not. We cannot be.

Dasuki’s Memory Loss: $2.1 Billion Fraud Charge Can Do That To You, By Fredrick Nwabufo

Before I go into the meat of this article, let me state this for the purpose of record. The case of Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser (NSA), will become one of Nigeria’s unsolved mysteries.
His trial will become a poltergeist of how power is exacted for submission and not for justice. It will become an inscrutable patch of history and of government’s confusion.
Dasuki has been on trial for two years. When the Buhari government took off, its first assignment was to probe the office of the NSA and the armed forces.  After months of thudding investigations, the government released a report alleging that $2.1 billion was magicked from the treasury for bogus arms purchase by the office of the NSA.
The Department State Services (DSS) whisked Dasuki into custody and filed a charge of illegal possession of firearms and money laundering against him at a federal high court in Abuja. This particular charge was filed in 2015. But the case is gasping for breath in court.
Also, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) filed a multi-billion naira charge of financial fraud against the former NSA in 2016 at the Federal Capital Territory high court, but the case, like the other one, sputters like a jalopy in court. The DSS has refused to release him to face the trial.
It is really stupefying that the case is snarling up in court. I would have expected the government to act with dispatch since the former NSA is a suspect of importance. Oddly, it is the government, Dasuki’s “housemaster”, that is putting a wedge in his trial.
In addition, it is clear to me that the government is not really concerned about the enormity of Dasuki’s alleged offence, but about “keeping him out of circulation”. He may be guilty or innocent of the charges against him, but he is already doing time in a DSS cell.
However, I find it perplexing Dasuki’s claim of “memory loss” in the N400m trial of Olisa Metuh, former spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). This claim is absurd. It is simple, he either admits that he approved the release of the funds to Metuh or he confutes the former PDP spokesman’s claim that he did.
I think the former NSA may be trying to game the court by this stunt. Or is he so dazed by the amounts of money his office released that he cannot recall this particular transaction?
I had expected Dasuki to do some explaining of how funds for arms purchase allegedly ended up in the PDP campaign till. Nigerians deserve to know. It was a perfect opportunity for the former NSA, who has come under a blitz of accusations, to get his own side of the story into the public square.
I believe Nigerians were expecting fecundating disclosures from a man, who has been accused of gross financial malevolence, but has said little or nothing in his own defence. I hope he puts citizens out of this “misery” on Friday when he appears in court again.
In conclusion, government prosecutors and the court must pace up in bringing closure to trials linked to the $2.1 billion arms-purchase scandal. Nigerians deserve a denouement to this drama.
Fredrick is a writer and journalist. He was the Abuja Bureau Chief of TheCable.ng
Facebook: Fredrick Nwabufo, Twitter: FredrickNwabufo?

Omokri Is Suffering From Multiple-Personality Disorder, By Kikiowo Ileowo

My attention has been drawn to the rant of one Wendell Simlin, better known as Reno Omokri, disparaging the person of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola over facts revealed by the Osun governor on how former President Goodluck Jonathan and his cronies pillaged our national resources before he was eased out by vigilant Nigerian voters.

Reno’s outburst against Ogbeni does not deserve a response and the reasons are not far-fetched. Recall Omokri in a desperate bid to justify the petro-dollar looted under his boss, or perhaps diverted to his office, had lied by taking up the now infamous Wendell pseudonym to slander the former governor of Central bank by accusing him of sponsoring the Boko Haram terrorist group. It goes without saying that, for anyone with a multiple personality disorder, nothing is off limits in their books to justify their pay; hence, the end justifies the means.

For ease of understanding, multiple personality disorder is a severe form of dissociation, a mental process which produces a lack of connection in a person’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity. Omokri is obviously dissociated from reality; living a lie, surrounded by unseen forces, and believes in a distorted historical fact of a government he once actively participated in.

For the sake of clarity, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola whilst hosting a team of delegates from the Federal Government on the Digital Switch Over project explained how Nigeria got into this sorry state. Three indisputable facts given by the governor for the payment of modulated salary in his State are the following; economic downturn induced by brazen corruption, wanton theft of crude oil and mismanagement of the country’s resources by the Peoples  Democratic Party (PDP) led Federal Government under Goodluck Jonathan.

Has Reno forgotten so quickly that at least $20bn disappeared into thin air under his master’s watch? Lest we forget, never has Nigeria’s resources being plundered like was witnessed during the Jonathanian era. The brazen theft of cash and unprecedented looting of public funds under Goodluck Jonathan is an historical one since the entity called Nigeria was created. Obviously, Jonathan and his gang of thieves were obviously trying to outdo the colonial masters and all his predecessors combined. The Goodluck Jonathan led administration single-handedly redefined corruption in government.

Lest we forget, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala went on a borrowing spree to pay salaries of federal government workers shortly after she revealed over 400,000 barrels of crude oil was being stolen daily by government protected-plunderers, whilst her colleagues in other ministries busied themselves with thieving what was left in the treasury.

In fact, one of the notorious bandits that made up Jonathan’s cabinet was said to have chartered private jet at will to cater for her housemaid, whilst another abused her office by instructing agencies under her to purchase multi-million naira armoured vehicles for her leisure ride.

I will not belabour the issue of the ruin and destruction the Goodluck Jonathan era brought our way; however, my prayer is that may Nigeria never have to be governed by another president whose singular objective in leadership is to balkanize Nigeria.

Since Reno lacks the requisite knowledge on how governance works in Nigeria, let me take a moment to school him. Theoretically, Nigeria practices federalism. Except the Nigerian Constitution is amended, States within its domain will continue to depend on the federal government for sustenance, except for a few. Many of the resources are locked up in the hands of the federal government. Interestingly, there are 68 items in the exclusive list, with just around 30 on the concurrent list in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Osun for example has enough gold deposits, whose income can cater for a minimum of 50 years budget, is forced to go cap in hand to the federal government because the constitution acts as a major impediment to achieving our dreams as a State.

Beyond the rhetoric, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola continues to deliver on key infrastructural projects that will shape Osun’s landscape for the next 50 years. The Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola administration met a State in comatose, but will be leaving it come November 27, 2018 better than when he took over the reins of power. When he was sworn in, the IGR was an abysmal N300m; now, the State generates around N1bn monthly. Can things be better? Yes, and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola’s administration is working tirelessly to ensure that his Six points integral action plan is realised in order to improve the standard of living in the State of Osun.

$350 Million Budget Support Loan And The Enemy Within, By Mukhtar Maigamo

The recent hullabaloo that greeted the $350 Million World Bank loan, granted to Kaduna state, has conspicuously unmasked Senator Shehu Sani as the greatest enemy of Kaduna state and her people.

The enemy of Kaduna’s progress, whose egocentric demeanor, as the Chairman of Senate Committee on Foreign and Domestic Debt, is putting the entire lives of Kaduna residents at risk of losing the dividends of democracy promised by Governor Elrufai.

However, the $350m budget support facility  granted to Kaduna State since June, that the Senator, (by virtue of just his titular title as the Chairman Senate Committee on Foreign and Domestic Debt), is now playing the politics of obstructionism with; is to help the state to actualize its desires for bringing concrete development to the people of the state.

The proposed 2018 Budget Estimates -for which reason the $350 Million loan is being sought in order to fund it, has dedicated 60.54% of the entire budget to Capital Expenditure and 39.46% Recurrent Expenditure, with more emphasis on building and construction of schools, hospitals and roads. This is in itself showcases the seriousness of Governor Elrufai in bringing infrastructural development to state. For many years, what we’d came to know as budget rituals  have always recurrent expenditures on the higher side against the capital expenditures. But from 2015 to date Elrufai has change the tide.

The reason for this is thus: infrastructural development is vital to every society that wishes to be recognized as a model of development because developing infrastructure is a key to the many doors of societal progress be it Agriculture, Health or Commerce. And giving the fact that Kaduna State; as metropolitan as it is, and which is the nerve-centre of the North and one of the strategic states in the country that supposes to be the mother of other state; sadly, it is one of the backward states now in the country. This stems from (among many other factors) our deficit in infrastructure.

For the sake of analyses here, I will present both the general and specific reasons for seeking this loan. To begin with, it is worth repeating here that Kaduna State has been for many years suffering from the serious crises of development, ranging from human capital to material capital, with attendant effects of unemployment, epileptic power and water supply, decaying infrastructure, moribund industries, and most importantly the collapse of institution of governance.

There is no gainsaying that the state is now on the path of recovery, transformation and progress. This is not a mere happenstance or an unsought serendipity. It is a sum total of the collective efforts of Governor Elrufai and his team. A sheer determination, systematic approach, planning, and sacrifice; driven by an uttermost sense of responsibility and selfless service.  Also the reflection of this commitment bore its transition from 29th of May 2015 to date.

This journey of making Kaduna great again embarked upon by the APC in Kaduna is being faced with an unpredictable difficulties because, among other things the price of oil, as the major determinant of the state’s grant has crashed from the very early days of APC and what PDP bequeathed as a legacy to the incoming administration of APC was nothing but dilapidated schools, empty hospitals without drugs and machines, bad roads, insecurity and crimes.

In fact they left to us, a nearly-collapsed state. Of course a nearly collapsed state because when Elrufai took over the affairs of the state, what remained as the state was nothing but a portrait of grotesque and skeletal entity; hemorrhaged as a result of many years of bad of governance.

The Restoration Master-plan of Elrufai was set to address these maladies as encapsulated in the governor’s five-point agenda (Education & health, security, public service reform, development of infrastructure and promotion of agriculture and food security). And the governor started with a far-reaching reforms, especially structural and institutional reforms.

Education, as an important element of human capital, was the first priority of the governor when he assumed office. This is because education is said to be the bedrock of societal development which plays a vital role in absorbing modern technology and increases the capacity for self-sustenance, but our own state of education sector was in a complete state of deterioration. The shocking revelations was that 50% of public schools in the state used floors due to absence of furniture. The 4,250 public primary schools have no doors, roofs, and windows.

There were also no water and toilet facilities. Some of the schools were overfilled with more than the required number of students. There was a school in Rigasa with 29,000 pupils. This state of decadence was the immediate reason that galvanized the instinct of the Governor to quickly declared state of emergency on education. The government started with the supply of 186,000 units of school furniture, and also renovated 600 primary schools and 200 hundred secondary schools.

The net effects of this giant stride at the short time was that, the number of school enrollment in the state increased astronomically, especially in primary schools when the government introduced free feeding program.

But the rottenness in education alone is much, and overwhelmed the reality of the condition of our revenue base, vis-à-vis external grant, coupled with ever-growing expectations of the people to see the Change they were being promised.

It is against the backdrop of this disturbing reality of the paucity of funds, that the governor and his Executive Council, in concordance with the Honourable Minister of Finance agreed to seek loan from the world bank with a very low interest rate, as low as 0.5% and with a grace of ten years moratorium.

According to the World Bank, Kaduna state under the amiable leadership of governor Elrufai has taken the “economic transformation program and number of other reform actions to improve its economic performance and social outcomes and sustain this reform effort”.

It is also on the strength of the loan proposal, the repayment plan, the state debt profile and most importantly the purpose for which the loan is being sought for, that the Bank quickly approved it since 20th of June 2017, subject to the ratification of the National Assembly.

But now it is curiously strange that as finest an unambiguous the loan proposal is, Senator Shehu Sani is playing the obstructionist. He has been sponsoring fictitious groups with different bogus names to go and tender a petition against the loan. In some instances he was alleged to be writing the purported petitions himself and giving these fake groups to go and submit to him under the full glare of camera men.

This to me is not only pettiness, but the highest degree of self-centeredness. Kaduna state is one, and the general interest of its people should be at the front burner all the time. No matter the political differences, no matter what; the general interests of the citizenry must be the first consideration of each and every person that occupies the position of authority in the name of the state. It is beyond me and every good citizen of Kaduna state, that just because the Senator is begrudging the governor, and just because he bears ill-will towards Dr uba Sani, (the political Adviser to the governor) we the people of the state, the ultimate beneficiaries of this loan would be at the receiving end.

However, he has been spreading flimsy excuses trying to justify his reasons for not assenting to the loan request. One of the lame points is that the purpose for which the loan is being sought for is not too clear and that it is too heavy for the state. This to me is the dumbest excuse one can give. The fact that America is the most indebted country in the world and the same time the most developed country, has belie the lame excuses senator is busy dishing out. Down to our country home, Lagos state is also the most indebted state in Nigeria but still the most advance state in the country economically. Kaduna does not seek loan for the purpose of settling its wage bills but for capital projects and that has been very clear in the proposal.

In view of that people need to know that the man who claims to be pro-poor is toying with their lives because of his personal politics. And also, it is not out of place to say that, by his antics Senator Shehu is the enemy of Kaduna progress, and I believe this is valid conclusion. And this should be a wakeup call for the people of zone two in Kaduna, that man who did nothing for them apart from commissioning borehole is now working hard to stop developmental projects  from reaching them.

Mukhtar Garba Maigamo,

Special Assistant to the Governor of Kaduna State on Public Affairs

Re: What’s In A Name: Ilesa Grammar School Or Ilesa Government High School? By Inwalomhe Donald

I read with concern an article written by one Bolanle Bolawole on page 30 of Nigerian Tribune Newspaper of 29th October, 2017 where he could not make any reference to Osun Sukuk bond law where the sukuk projects were captured. What type of journalist is Bolanle Bolawole? Critics like him should get a copy of Osun Sukuk bond law to educate the public. The 11 high schools projects are clearly stated. Aregbesola is acting within the law.
There is difference between Ilesa Grammar School and Ilesa Government High Schoool. The grammar represents the old generation and analog while Ilesa Government High School represents 21st century digital school for human capital development. I am surprise that we still have analog journalist like Bolanle Bolawole in the 21st century talking about the name of a dilapidated school when Governor Aregbesola has laid foundation for digital education in Nigeria. Instead of critics like Bolawole to praise the governor for the 21st century digital schools for human capital development in Osun State, they are busy talking about the name of a mud school. They left the substance of Osun innovative steel high schools that you cannot see elsewhere in Africa.
I may recall that Osun, under Aregbesola had in 2013 floated  N11.4bN Sukuk bond to fund government’s massive education infrastructure provision projects. Ilesa Government High School was one of the11Sukuk high schools that the sukuk bond was used to finance. When Aregbesola wanted to take sukuk bond, it was clearly stated in the agreement that Ilesa Government High School was one of the 11high school projects to be executed with the sukuk funds. The law clearly captured the 11 high school projects. The law on sukuk projects was passed by Osun State House of Assembly. Aregbesola is merely executing Osun State sukuk law. So, why the criticism?
The constitution of Osun State is clear on who has the power to name or change the name of schools. The old boys’ association of a school has no power to decide the name of a school. It is Osun State Government that can determine the name or change the name of a school? So, why is the old students association of Ilesa Grammmar School in court?
Aregbesola’s critics do not address issues of development. When the governor went to take sukuk bond, they said he wanted to Islamize Osun State and now that he is commissioning the sukuk schools projects, they are now agitating for the name of the schools..
Governor  Rauf Aregbesola of the State of Osun opened a  newly built Ilesa Government High School. The new school, he said, was in furtherance of his government’s effort to ensure sound basic education in the state. It cost N1.3billion. Aregbesola, who is an indigene of the town,  said at the opening today that  the 3,000 capacity school, has 72 classrooms, which could accommodate 49 students each. He said other facilities in the school included 18 toilets  for girls and boys, bookshop, art and science library, 1,000 capacity examination hall, Principals’ and general offices, among others.
The school we are commissioning today is state-of-the-art. many people when they see the picture, because it is so good, they argue it is so good, they argue it is computer generated graphic in 3D.  “Actually it is a 3,000 capacity three-in-one school. Each school has its principal with an overall senior principal.  “the complex has 72 classrooms of 49 square-meters each capable of sitting  49 student, 6 laboratories, 18 toilets for young ladies, 18 toilets for young men, 1 science library, 1 art library 1 facility manager’s office, 1bookshop, 1 sick bay, 1 bursar’s office, 3 general staff office, record store and 1 security shed/reception.
“There are total of 1,000 square-meters of floor space hall capable of sitting 1,000 students for external examinations. This hall has storage, for equipment utility storage, a stage, for document, 4 female toilets and 4 male toilets.
“For sporting activities, there is an Olympic sized football field, 7-lane sprinting tracks for 100 meters and 400 meters events, a pavilion and an outdoor basketball court that doubles as tennis court. The school has its own borehole, an electricity transformer and an ample parking space for at least 75 cars.
“Welcome to the new world of educational infrastructure in Osun. The school cost N1.3billion which includes the cost of furnishing, landscape and electronic boards. “I am happy and  full filled that we have public schools that can  compete with the best in the world and indeed, our new schools are he ones to beat around here
As it is, facts have emerged that the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola had not only taken the bull by the horn at revamping education sector, but aslo refocusing the people’s attention and interest to quality, qualitative and functional education through his various interventions that have attracted residents particularly parents to resolve taking their children to public schools.
The Osun public school sector that had almost collapsed and failed prior Aregbesola’s government are now at the central point of reference in enrollment strength, leaving private schools at enrollment low ebb.
It was gathered that private schools in the state are gradually loosing students to public schools due to facilities which Aregbesola’s administration had put in place to advance public education.
Some members of the National Association of Private School Proprietors of Nigeria, Osun state chapter, confirmed that the decline in the rate of pupils and students enrollment into private schools in the state had been on increase in the last few years.
Inwalomhe Donald writes from Benin City inwalomhe.donald@yahoo.com

Benue State: Dragging Herdsmen Into Civilisation, By Usha Anenga

The story of Lot is one that both Christians and Muslims can relate with because it is found in their holy books, the Bible and Qur’an respectively. Whilst the story is cited in several places in the Qur’an, the Bible features it in the book of Genesis, precisely chapters 11–14 and 19. Lot was the nephew of Prophet Abraham with whom he journeyed in peaceful coexistence en route to Canaan, the promised land.  But as the God blessed them with abundant livestock and property, they had a dispute afterwhich they both decided to part ways; Abraham going south of Canaan to Hebron while Lot headed north and settled in a place called Sodom, outside Canaan.

Lot’s choice proved very abortive, in fact the Qur’an describes Sodom as “a city filled with evil”. Its residents waylaid, robbed and killed travelers. The strangest evil perhaps, at that time, was that men had sex with men instead of with women. This unnatural act is still known as sodomy even today.

It became so bad that God had to send angels to destroy Sodom and the adjourning city of Gommorah but Abraham, even though he had separated from his nephew, made a case for him to be spared. As the Angels arrived Sodom, after some brouhaha, they decided it was time up. The Bible says, “At dawn the next morning, the angels begged Lot to hurry… But Lot delayed. So the two men took the hands of Lot, his wife, and his two daughters and DRAGGED them safely out of the city with the instruction not to look back. Sadly, Lot’s wife disobeyed, looked back and instantly turned into a pillar of salt.

Just like Abraham and Lot, there was a time when residents in the vast fertile loams of the Benue valley lived happily in peaceful coexistence with the Fulani, both practicing their primitive methods of agriculture and trade. The residents were crop farmers and practiced shifting cultivation where a farmer would engage a piece of land for a few seasons, only to abandon it for another, and that also for another in an endless quest for fertile ground. On the other hand, the Fulani were nomadic herders, moving from place to place in search of greener pastures for their livestock. These practices were possible without animosity because there was abundant land to accommodate both crops and cattle. But as God blessed them with an increase in population, human activities such as roads, industries, buildings of schools and settlements, things started getting difficult.

In the 1950s, the total population of Nigeria was less than 40 million but by 2012 projection, we have over 170 million people and today as at 2017, we should be talking about over 200 million. On the other hand, the population of livestock has increased from a few hundreds of thousands in the 1950s. According the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh who gave the latest statistics of livestock in the country, “There are now 19.5 million cattle, 72.5 million goats, 41.3 million sheep, 7.1 million pigs, 28,000 camels, 145 million chickens, 11. 6 million ducks, 1.2 million turkeys and 974, 499 donkeys in Nigeria.” A combination of these changes made their crude practices of shifting cultivation and nomadic, pastoral livestock rearing practically impossible.

Farmers however have managed to departed from the practice of shifting cultivation. They now acquire limited farmlands and in order to make up for the lost ground and maintain high yield, they employ civilised methods such as the use of mechanised farming, improved seedlings and fertilisers to maintain and even increase their yield of production. Herdsmen on the other hand have refused to change their ways. In this jet age, still practicing seventeenth century methods in this jet age, whipping cattle from Sokoto to Porthacourt, selling unpasteurized milk, and spreading zoonotic diseases. Predictably, just as between Abraham and Lot, this situation has resulted in endless clashes between farmers and herders with the former being invaded, killed and their communities destroyed by killer herdsmen who according to the Cattle Breeders Association, Miyetti Allah are foreigners from Libia, Sudan and Chad. The obsolete practice of nomadic livestock farming and their subsequent uncivilised massacre of people as a solution could be likened to Sodom.

This practice of “sodomy” has claimed over 2,000 lives which has necessitated a decision for farmers and herdsmen to go separate ways with the objective of an arrangement that puts farmers out of the way of nomadic herders and vice versa. Consequently, the Benue State Government has promulgated a law that prohibits open grazing of cattle within the state which achieves the objective but just as Abraham made a case for Lot whom he felt was not part of the evil of Sodom, the anti-open grazing law also seeks to establish ranches within the state for “good” “Nigerian” herdsmen who are not part of the evil to take advantage of this olive branch and ranch their cattle which is the civilised way of livestock farming.

However, just as Lot delayed when the angels hurried him on which made it necessary for the angels to have to drag him out to safety, herdsmen have continued to hesitate with a faction even challenging the state government in court, but through the magnanimity of Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, the government has gone the extra mile to earmark areas across the state as pilot ranches just to facilitate the process for interested cattle breeders. By this, the government is not only protecting indigenous farmers, but virtually DRAGGING Fulani herdsmen into the safety of civilization.

Suffice to say that there’s no argument against ranching as concerning livestock farming. It will bring peace between herders and farmers, farmers will enjoy better yield and on the other hand, herders and cattle breeders will enjoy better meat and milk production with the chance to introduce hybrid cattle species that will reduce expenditure while improving income. Farmers will produce and sell hay for consumption by ranched cattle while herdsmen will collect and sell cow dung as organic fertiliser to farmers. The possibilities for collaboration and economic growth is endless, not forgetting the huge boost to national peace this effort affords and promotes.

It’s important to make abundantly clear that the law is not against the Fulani ethnicity neither does it contravene the constitutionally granted freedom of movement anywhere across the country for every citizen as some may insinuate. It rather seeks to encourage law-abiding herdsmen while reprimanding criminal bent on causing chaos through invasion of communities and also cattle ruslers who hide under the cover of retaliation to perpetrate crime. According to Governor Ortom, “The anti-grazing law was unanimously endorsed by the Benue people, the target is not Fulani men but the target is those who will violate the law by destroying people’s farms.”

As the anti-grazing law takes full effect in a few days, on 1st November 2017, there’s need for all to support this laudable effort in solving a problem that has plagued the country for so long. The state government has done her best to find a solution to this complex generational challenge and it’s important that adequate security measures be put in place to ensure full implementation.

There’s need for military support in Benue and other attack-prone states in the country with the same attitude and magnitude as others such as “Operation Crocodile Smile” in with Niger-Delta and “Python Dance” in the South East so that contraveners of the law who insist and prefer the evil of Sodom to the safety of civilisation will be given the “Lot’s wife” treatment.

Usha Anenga is a Medical Doctor and sociopolitical commentator. He writes from Makurdi, Benue State via uanenga at yahoo dot com.

The Looted N2 Billion MSME Fund; A Step Backward On The Kogi Project, By Hon. Mukadam Idris

For the umpteenth time, it’s exclusively necessary to state that the KOGI PROJECT – where there would be collective development and individual happiness of her people – has been utterly compromised, thus heading for total collapse by the previous uninspiring leaders that held sway before the incumbent.

Here is it, the 2billion Naira meant for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises development in Kogi state – converted to an elephant shared -constitutes one of the major wounds being nursed by the Governor Yahaya Bello administration.

Let me douse your curiosity… the immediate past governor, Captain Idris Wada (retired), accessed a whooping sum of Two Billion Naira from the Central Bank of Nigeria for the specific purpose of developing MSME and, by extension, youth development in Kogi state. In other words, it was a loan collected for the singular reason of developing the youths through entrepreneurship initiatives. Alas!

The said fund was collected in raw cash and heartlessly converted to an electioneering largesse by Captain Wada and the then PDP members at the expense of developing and building potential business tycoons that comes with immense positive ripple effect on the state security and economic status.

Afterwards, they tried to contrive the antics of branding the fund as a grant, whichever way still does not justify the unfortunate misapplication of the developmental loan, as the lofty dreams, plans and future of so many young Kogites had hit the brick wall by such height of greed and tactless larceny by Wada and his cohorts.

Now, beyond the numerous youths rendered unemployed and idle, is the accompanying social vices the idleness must have attracted, leading to horrible insecurity in the state, which the GYB government is battling with head-on. Also,the long term adverse effect on the state treasury is the continuous deduction from the state coffers by CBN for a fund that added no value to the state.

They are the same set of people fighting the New Direction Administration as led by Governor Bello because it is no longer business as usual as all their conduit pipe of looting has been blocked.

To further boggle your minds, let us practically carry out the arithmetic on the large number of youths the stolen #2,000,000,000 loan would have liberalised from the unemployment net and the soaring economic effect in the state if the fund is aptly applied. For example, at #1million each will amount to 2,000 Kogi youth been lifted; at #500,000 each will amount to 4,000 kogi youths been developed; at #200,000 each will amount to 10,000 Kogi youths singing a new song and so on. Crystal clear, why Kogi state became the haven of crime and criminality, comatose economy and non-thriving MSME’s in the recent past. Truly, the Kogi debacle is a resultant bandwagon effect of years of maladministration by egoistic leaders.

If not for the swift, purposeful and negotiating prowess of GYB and his sound finance team that bargained on a monthly deduction of #26,530,550.11 for a spread of 7 years by the CBN, the hitherto plan by the issuing institution after the regrettable misuse by past government was to draw it with the interest TWICE from the state resources, which would have been catastrophic on the state meeting vital developmental demands. Despite the tactful deduction agreement reached, it is still a clog in the wheel of the state’s progress. The state is now likened to an innocent soul suffering from the consequence of sin not committed. It’s pathetic!

Let’s imagine the number of internal roads, cottage hospitals, farm equipment, school laboratory equipment, school rehabilitations and public utilities the monthly deduction would have provided, but rather is at the mercy of CBN as a result of leaders of ignoble character and thievery posture. It’s now easier to know enemies of Kogi state than knowing the state is in the North-Central of Nigeria.

Apparently, the state has been denied access to the loan before now but because of the incredible reforms and sound policies engendered by the New Direction agenda, which culminated to good governance, has paved way for the state access to such robust opportunity again. This time, it shall be utilised for what it was meant and repaid by the potentials and entrepreneurship spirit in our youths when the fund is available. The multiplier effect cum economic contribution of MSMEs, given a conducive atmosphere, cannot be undermined. This is what the GYB administration is poised to explore.

Conclusively, the reckless act of inhumanity to Kogites, especially the youths, by the supposed leaders entrusted with our mandate is before the anti-corruption agency- EFCC and competent court of jurisdiction. We hope this will bring succour and hope to the already deprived people of the state.

Never again shall we return to Egypt,as GYB has demonstrated that the KOGI PROJECT is possible where justice,equity and fairness reign supreme.

We are now on the New Direction train heading towards a greater Kogi state, where the resources are rightly used for ALL Kogites and corruption becomes and remains a taboo.

In the foregoing, the GYB administration will stop at nothing in exposing and subsequently prosecuting all corrupt cases of public office holders both past and present, in his determined quest to lift Kogi state out of the doldrums of under-development instigated by long age misgovernance.

It’s a New Direction, the path way to greater Kogi State.

By Hon. Mukadam Asiwaju A. Idris

As The Court Pleases, By Ikechukwu Nnaemeka

“As the Court pleases” is a very common phrase amongst lawyers who appear in court proceedings in Nigeria, however humble the court’s jurisdiction.

What these lawyers mean when they blurt out this phrase depends on the particular circumstances of its usage. For instance, where the Court gives a Ruling or delivers a Judgment which agrees with the position of a lawyer over that of his opponent, the lawyer whose views had been upheld harps out, usually loudly, “as the court pleases!”, meaning “exactly”,“correct” or “never mind the nonsense submitted by the opposing counsel”.

On the other hand, the opposing lawyer whose argument has been dismissed would say his “as the court pleases” with an air of resignation, as if to say, “I am helpless, I can do nothing” or “It is your Court, so you can do whatever you like.”

A third meaning of this phrase is observable when the Court advises the counsel on a direction to follow in the proceeding before the court, the Lawyers say their “As the Court Pleases” with enthusiasm punctuating every sentence of the judge meaning that “we will take that advice or we will do as the Court directed.

The phrase, “as the Court pleases”, is one of the first and easiest court legalese any new lawyer learns and says in a very short time as it is a no risk, no-thinking-required, automatic statement. It is not in any Rules of Court or Practice Direction and certainly not found in the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners. It is simply a traditional axiomatic expression which most lawyers believe is respectful or courteous to the Judge.

But really is it true that the court can do as it pleases? What does the phrase mean? What does it connote?

“As the Court Pleases” literally means that the Court, represented by the Judge, Magistrate,  or Chairman of Tribunal (the Court ) can do whatever it likes without any guidance as to how it reaches its decisions.

This phrase, as innocuous as it may seem, is loaded with dangerous connotations. For one it connotes that the court can do as it pleases even though it may not be the just thing to do. It also connotes that the Court is all powerful and that every other person appearing before it is infinitely subordinate to it and therefore it can get away with virtually anything as long as it pleases the Court.

These presiding officers are humans and the more they hear this, the more they tend to believe it to be true that they can actually do anything they please in their courtroom and get away with it. This thought pattern is the harbinger of all that is believed to be wrong with the judiciary. From allegations of justices thwarting the ends of justice after receiving bribes, or as a favour to godfathers, ignorantly and arrogantly deciding cases outside the clear provisions of the law and to being shockingly rude to counsel appearing before their courts.

Second, it is trite law that the Court is bound by the Rules of Court, practice directions of the Court and is also required to only interpret the law as it is. Presiding officers in Courts or tribunals are not appointed to adjudicate as they please but as the law provides. Even in limited circumstances where the Court has the discretion to seemingly do as it pleases, the presiding officer is not given a blank cheque. Rather he is to exercise such discretion judicially and judiciously, given the circumstances of the case. Otherwise, the appellate Court would reverse such perverse exercise of discretion. Indeed, in certain circumstances, Judges, particularly of lower courts have decried their helplessness in the face of binding judicial precedent which they must follow even though they would have preferred to decide otherwise.

If lawyers think they need a phrase to either show their agreement with a pronouncement made by a Court of law or as a mark of courtesy to the Court, a more reasonable phrase may be adopted after careful consideration of not just its literal meaning but also of its connotation. Rather than the loose “as the Court pleases” with its ominous connotations, the phrase“As the Court decides”, or “As the Court Sees it”, or such other phrase which shows that although the Court can occasionally but unintentionally err, it is not entitled to recklessly and subjectively decide a case impulsively. The spirit of the law has always been ine if careful objectivity, there is no place for that of reckless subjectivity.

Most lawyers who habitually use this phrase may say that they do not suggest the literal meaning of the phrase, but given that language is the chief tool of the legal profession and preciseness rather than looseness is the hallmark of an astute lawyer, they should always say what they mean and mean what they say. Anything less is unacceptable.

Please, it is not as the Court pleases, it is according to the law.

Ikechukwu Nnaemeka is a legal practitioner in Lagos State.

Email: hnikechukwu@gmail.com

Phone. No: 08115103401

Nigeria’s Senate And Its Basket Of Empty Probes By Fredrick Nwabufo

The Nigeria senate is impotent. So impotent that it engages in theatrical probes to conceal the absence of a legislative manhood.
I have followed the senate closely. In fact, I covered that arm of the national assembly in the past. So, I can say with a verisimilitude of certainty that I have copious knowledge of the institution.
The senate has become a reactionary cry-baby. Its only approach to issues of a volcanic magnitude is conducting ineffectual probes. Probe this, probe that. I have become weary of the countless insipid probes.
The nucleic problem is that the probes are not usually followed with pristine actions. Perhaps, the senate uses them as a spectre of distraction or as a means of “toasting” Nigerians  -“we are on top of the situation” – while its members gormandise the coveted national cake. I am sure every Nigerian knows the meaning of this abused and trite clause – “we are on top of the situation”.
On Tuesday, the upper legislative chamber embarked on a futile exercise of braggadocio –  to probe the circumstances of how Abdulrasheed Maina, alleged pension thief, who was on exile in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), breezed into the country; how he was reinstated into the civil service, and how he was promoted to director at the ministry of interior.
Despite, the wise counsel of Senator Tayo Alasodura that “we (senate) should not always duplicate the executive; if the executive has ordered an investigation we should not order another one”, the chest-thumping senate still resolved to ask its committees on interior and anti-corruption, public service and establishment to investigate the matter. And I ask, to what end?
It is clear that the senate’s answer to every problem is probe – often without result. The upper legislative chamber also appears to savour duplicating the executive. Let me explain.
A few days ago when Ibe Kachiwku’s jarring missive of allegations against Maikanti Baru, NNPC GMD, ticked off a public outcry, the presidency ordered an immediate investigation of the claims. The senate, perhaps, not to be outdone, also asked its committee on petroleum to investigate the allegations. And I ask again, to what end? What has come out of all the previous probes on education, NNPC and power?
Why is the senate in a frantic chase of a will-o-the-wisp? I remember in March when the upper legislative chamber took its battle with the executive to Hameed Ali, comptroller-general of the Nigeria Customs Service, the institution huffed and puffed like a wounded dragon, but to date there is no splinter of result from its investigation of the customs chief.
For the senate to be taken seriously, it must make resolutions from its investigations actionable. It must put gravitas to its functions. If it must probe, it should be ready to tell Nigerians the result and effect of the action.
It makes no sense the time and money spent investigating an issue, only for the findings to be tucked away in a webby shelf. Maybe, the senate is using “probes” to play to the gallery and to cloak its lazy schedule.
The upper legislative chamber must put oomph and gravitas to its probes.
Fredrick is a writer, journalist and communications consultant. He was the Abuja Bureau Chief of TheCable.ng
You can reach him on: Twitter: FredrickNwabufo, Facebook: Fredrick Nwabufo

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