Origin Of Nigeria’s Millennium Poverty, By @JeSuisNaija

If truly the federal government had spent N49 billion in two years feeding 8.5 million school children across the entire nation, the N900 billion bad debts Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), said just 105 rich Nigerians have refused to pay will feed these kids from birth until they are all above 36 years old.

None of us here owes AMCON. These debtors are billionaires. It is time to subsidize the poor at whatever cost in Nigeria. We have started this with N-power, Conditional Cash Transfer and TraderMoni. If it’s not perfect, our collective priorities should be how to improve on it.

There should be no peace in Nigeria until we all owe AMCON. It is time to start demanding from President Muhammadu Buhari, and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), #StudentsMoni and #GraduatesMoni.

Federal government must give N1 million each to all unemployed graduates. If they can’t pay back, the debt should be passed to AMCON.

There wasn’t a single federal direct intervention to lift the downtrodden throughout the period Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) reigned. The year 1999 – 2007 was an era of economic plague for the poor and Olusegun Obasanjo and Alhaji Atiku were the Pharaohs. This was hidden until late President Musa Yar’Adua made Lamido Sanusi as Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June 2009.

The former Governor of CBN, Mr. Charles Soludo, had repeatedly assured that Nigeria’s banking sector is healthy until Sanusi popped the bubble in August 2009. By the time CBN removed the MD’s of Oceanic, Union, Finbank, Intercontinental, Afribank, it was apparent Soludo was hidding a $2.6Billion sink hole.

At the 2010 Convocation Lecture of Bayero University, Sanusi gave graphic details of how managers of the economy between 2004 – 2007 dug the economic pit that’s swallowing 88 million Nigerians @jimidisu posted are living in extreme poverty. Below are excerpts from his speech:

As a result of farcical financialization of the economy by rent takers in oil deals, “market capitalization of the Nigerian Stock Exchange increased by 5.3 times between 2004 and its peak in 2007, and the market capitalisation of bank stocks increased 9 times during the period.”

“CEO’s set up special purpose vehicles (SPV) to lend money to themselves for stock price manipulation or purchase of estates all over the world. One bank borrowed money and purchased private jets which we later discovered were registered in the name of the CEO’s son.”

“In another bank the management set up 100 fake companies for the purpose of perpetrating fraud. A lot of the capital supposedly raised by banks was fake capital financed from depositor’s fund. 30% of the share capital of intercontinental bank was purchased with customers deposits.”

“Afribank used depositors’ funds to purchase 80% of its IPO. It paid N25 per share when the shares were trading at N11 and these shares later collapsed to under N3. The CEO of Oceanic bank controlled over 35% of the bank through SPVs borrowing customer deposits.”

After Competent Atiku and his headmaster left us a stock market that collapsed by 70%, Sanusi said, “CBN injected N620bn of liquidity into d banking sector and replaced the leadership at 8 banks.” This tap on the wrist isn’t what Nigerians get when they owe microfinance banks 50K.

It was Femi Falana that blew whistle, petitioned Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), that Soludo diverted $7Bn from the nation’s foreign reserves into 14 banks in 2006. Soludo initially denied, but later claimed it was a loan. When Falana demanded if the principal and interest was repaid, Atiku entered voice mail;

Yar’Adua died in May 2010, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan signed AMCON’S Act into law in July 2010. Today, top on AMCON’s debtor’s list is Ifeanyi Uba, whose company is owing N115 billion.

Instead of paying this money during PDP years in power, he spent more money campaigning for PDP’s return to power in 2015.

Here are some other names on AMCON’s list:
? Jimoh Ibrahim’s NICON- N59billion
? Babalakin’s Bi-Courtney- N40billion
? Donald Duke’s Tinapa- N30billion
? Chimaroke Nnamani – N42billion
? Buruji Kashamu – N13billion
? Joshua Dariye – N6.8billion.
? Olofa of Offa – N12billion

Does Tinapa on AMCON’S debtor’s list strike a chord in you? Under PDP, AMCON absorbed the debt of Ifeanyi Uba and he continues to run his business. Under President Buhari, no story; your business is going under receivership. I am sure most us don’t know it is government that’s running Arik Air now.

Officially, only 350 Nigerians owe a whopping N4.3 trillion of the N5.4 trillion debt of AMCON. This is an amount more than 50 percent of the 2018 Budget for 197 million population. Apart from Arik owing N135Billion, seeing Bellview on AMCON’s list brought back sad memories.

Under a corrupt competent government, airlines were borrowing billions and were still dropping from skies the way oranges fall from a tree. May Atiku’s competence not kill all of you. In October 2005, Bellview Flight 210 killed all 117 people onboard, less than five minutes after takeoff.

May the spirit of ~491 Nigerians that died in crashes under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who has teamed up again with Atiku not rest until judgement comes upon the wicked. I imagine what will be going through the mind of parents who lost their kids in Sosoliso as they watch us glamourize Atiku and Obasanjo.

For all these negligent calamities, the public persona of Nigeria’s leadership then didn’t offer the faintest of apology till today. It will be unpardonable for any Nigerian to have a hand in whatever arrangements that brings these two evil duo back into power. Never again!!

It began with:

May, 2002: EAS crash killed 148 in Kano.

October 22, 2005: Lagos Bellview crash killing 117.

December 10, 2005: Sosoliso crash killing 108, mostly children.

Except in wars, no nation should lose its citizens back to back in sequence, in two months. We thought it was over then ADC happened around Abuja in October 29, 2006 killing 97 passengers.

In the thick of this disaster, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his Vice, Alhaji Atiku were at each other’s throat, fighting over political power. They cared less as Nigerians were hungry and dying.

President Buhari seem to be the most hated man in Nigeria today. Did you notice the money bags – Aliko, Femi etc do not mill around him like we saw with others?

He has said “no oil license is renewable.” It’ll be sad if he is retrieving your country for you and you are handing it over back.

 

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Osinbajo: As Corruption Fights Back, By Yunusa Abdullahi

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s consistency in talking about and exposing the massive corruption that took place before the Buhari government came on board in 2015 is largely responsible for the coordinated attacks against his person and office in recent days.

Apparently, those fingered in the various graft cases are unhappy and have resolved to malign the Vice President through whatever means possible, including planting lies in the media just to discredit and portray Professor Osinbajo as corrupt, dishonest and untrustworthy. The grand plot is simply to divert attention from government’s resolve to name and shame those who looted the nation’s commonwealth.

So, Osinbajo, being one of the custodians of verifiable facts and figures about graft perpetrated by the last administration, has become their prime target. These guys are not comfortable with the way and manner the VP exposes all that transpired throughout the period the PDP was in power.

Unfortunately for them, the Buhari government, through statutory government agencies, has expressed its readiness to fight graft and ensure that those who shortchanged the country face the consequences of their actions.

The allegation of illegal authorisation of release of funds for emergency activities brought up by the House Committee on Emergency Preparedness against the Vice President is a deliberate plot to smear the name and integrity of the VP because Section 43 of the same Public Procurement Law they referred to made provision for the such swift response in the case of an emergency situation. Osinbajo who was then the Acting President had to make those approvals to respond to life-threatening, acute food shortages involving IDPs in the northeast.

The allegation that the contracts were not also fully delivered is also false because the monitoring process involved all relevant government agencies and reputable international NGOs and United Nations agencies.

This is a clear example of corruption fighting back. Given his background as a reputable lawyer, he cannot be ignorant of our procurement laws and approval for release of funds. So, the allegations are as baseless and hollow as they come.

Without fear of contradiction, though a human being, Professor Osinbajo is the wrong person to accuse of corruption in whatever guise. This is one big lie that cannot stand at all. Even his accusers know too well that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is a man of pristine character and integrity who is guided by love for God and humanity.

Like his boss, President Buhari, Professor Osinbajo has never been involved or mentioned in any corruption case since his foray into partisan politics. The records and facts are there for all to see. Undoubtedly, the VP maintains a clean sheet and record as far as public service is concerned.

Yunusa Abdullahi

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How Buhari Failed, Fighting Boko Haram: Facts And Figures, By @JeSuisNaija

Are Nigerians less safer today from deadly insurgency than they were before change of government in 2015? Let’s find out by reviewing key findings of unbiased global reports, which includes Global Terrorism Index (GTI).

References shall include but not limited to:
1. CSIS|Patterns in Global Terrorism:1970-2016
2. Sixth Report on Violence (2016),
3. Global Terrorism Index (2012 – 2017) 4. Amnesty Int’l (1999 – 2017)
5. Open Doors (2016)
6. UN – Counter Terrorism Implementation Taskforce (2018)

Asides violence history of herdsmen referred to as Fulani Militants that has spanned more than two decades, advent of Boko haram which peaked in 2014 in Nigeria introduced grievous dimensions to insurgency, as explicitly documented by Global Terrorism Index, Sydney, Australia.

While Global Terrorism Index (GTI) of 2012 – 2014 share close similarities in trends and distribution of violent occurrence in Nigeria, there’s a remarkable difference in 2016, as published in 2017. Pitching the 2016 reports against that of 2014 is damning illustrative.

Globally, terrorists’ activities increased by 80percent in 2014 to its highest recorded level. The largest ever year-on-year. Five countries, Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria accounted for 78percent of the entire global attacks. Nigeria ranked number 2.

Boko haram overtaking ISIL in 2014 to become the most deadly terrorist group in the world, accounted for terrorism deaths increase by 314% in Nigeria, representing 6,644 lives. ISIL was responsible for 6,073. Buhari wasn’t Nigeria’s President in 2014.

Iraq and Nigeria accounted for 53percent of world-wide deaths in 2014, with Nigeria having an unprecedented singular highest global increase. Let’s clap for Jonathan, ki e de fun PDP ni atewo.

Nigeria experienced the biggest yearly deterioration in terrorism combat in 2014. There were 5,662 more people killed from terrorism in 2014 than in 2013. In 2013 Boko haram killed only 1,595. This was d year of Banex Plaza bombing in Abuja. See https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28019433

Similarly, Fulani militants (killer herdsmen) killed 1,229 people in 2014, as against the 63 it killed in 2013. Pastors who use the pulpit to bear false witness that Buhari started Fulani Herdsmen as an Islamic agenda to wipe out Christianity needs to beg God for forgiveness.

According to GTI, 2015 figures of insurgent attacks in Nigeria showed transitional moderate decline. Sixth Report on Violence (2016) also showed the monthly statistics trend for 2015:
January – 1,926
February – 2,561
March – 1,674
July – 1,978
December – 1,326

2017 GTI results showed death caused by terrorism dropped by 13% between 2015 & 2016. Nigeria, which recorded highest global increase in 2014 has the highest global decrease in 2016 with 3,100 fewer people killed compared to 2015, representing 80% reduction.

Most international terrorism reports converged concurrently with 2017 GTI Results on Nigeria and it’s @HQNigerianArmy and @NigAirForce
efforts that, “Nigeria recorded its second consecutive year of reduction with 63% drop to 1,832 deaths from 7,512 killed in 2014” under PDP.

The success of @AsoRock were painted in glowing colours for 2016 stating: “Nigeria saw the biggest decrease in deaths from terrorism in 2016. Deaths dropped by 63% from 4,940 in 2015 to 1,832. This is a further decline from the peak in 2014 when over 7,512 people were killed.

Many international reputable sources stated Boko haram killed over 12,000 people in Nigeria through coordinated attacks between 2013 and 2015. However, the figure dropped steeply to 762 deaths in 2016. This significant decrease coincided with successful @AsoRock actions.

Fellow Nigerians, the rude shocker and most beautiful part of my findings is @MBuhari Military Spending for 2016, when it achieved global most significant reduction of terrorism, is lesser than d spending in 2014 when Nigeria broke world record with d highest terrorism deaths.

So basically, the more PDP increased Nigeria’s military spendings, the more Boko haram killed more people and was planting its flag in new territories within sovereign Nigeria. It was apparent where the money went. It was also apparent nobody was fighting Boko haram. Shame!!

If you are still in doubt why there’s so much poverty today, look at Defence Expenditure Percent of GDP from 2008 – 2014, and 2016 when the military achieved a lot:
2008 – 14.38
2009 – 15.47
2010 – 16.66
2011 – 17.36
2012 – 14.06
2013 – 13.38
2014 – 12.61
2015 – 11.11
2016 – 9.99

Apart from weapons contract $500Million awarded to Arthur Eze and Tompolo’s Warships supply to NIMASA, international media was awash with how SEI signed up for Nigeria six Mi-24 & Mi-35 helicopters from Dolarian for $25m each, which normal value was $5m each as stated in a court.

Some of us are asking why Buhari is doing things close to election period. The government started its first year 2015/2016 immediately curtailing Boko haram. It entered its second phase 2016/2017 battling recession. This 2018. When is he supposed to start #TraderMoni Eyin abunu?

In our recent past as a people, there was a president that hides inside Aso Rock on October 1 independence day, out of fear for Boko haram. My heart leapt when i saw the @NigAirForce air display on October 1, 2018 which i saw last as a child.

As @MBuhari is fighting Boko haram, he is building military infrastructure to a state of pride. @NigAirForce announced in June this year that @MBuhari has bought 18 aircrafts for it between 2015-2018, just 3yrs! But all some of you know is to open mouth like “na my dog kill aam.”

How is @MBuhari doing almost 35% less military spending than previous govts and he’s achieving better results? @HQNigerianArmy stated unknowingly to us, d Army is manufacturing the weapons its using in the N-East locally. @NigAirForce is also reviving its old aircrafts same way.

On herdsmen @NigAirForce is opening Quick Response Wing across middle belt, asides @HQNigerianArmy FOBs. Yet @MBuhari is bailing out states for salaries. He’s paying pension. He’s building Fx reserves, roads, rails. If we miss it in 2019, our children will meet d suffering. Bye!

 

 

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Diversification Of The Economy: Tax As A Pathway To Economic Growth, By Ayobami Akanji

Taxation is the price which civilized communities pay for the opportunity of remaining civilized – Albert Bushnell Hart

Nigeria has always been the victim, if she wasn’t being suffocated to death by bad and directionless leadership, she would be exploited by tax evaders. Or a very matching combination of the two that either way, leaves her helpless.

She is always the victim, when a saviour comes to claw her from the jaws of those who’ve sucked her for breakfast, butchered her for lunch and planned how big a cut they will take from her shoulder for their dinner, you should be ready for one hell of a dog fight – they are regrouping again on how to devour her.

Tunder Fowler, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) exposed what really should make the heart of every Nigerian cringe. He said that over 6,772 billionaires, with between 1-5 billion naira in their accounts are defaulting in their payments of taxes, some of these billionaires actually live and do business here, making huge profits.

According to the FIRS, there are 31,395 records of companies and businesses obtained from 23 Banks with individual turnover of between N3 billion and over N5 billion who have not paid a kobo as tax in the last three years.

A patriot is the one that does whatever it is that will advance the interests of his country. A bad citizen only thinks of how his country can advance his own interests. The Buhari administration rode on the wave of resetting the country by doing things differently. Shrinking oil prices, debts servicing, recurrents expenditure and other commitments are limiting the scope of work the government plans to do. He has, as always, talked on diversifying the economy, making other aspects of the economy as viable as oil is. He has also committed to sourcing  funds from places anew and one of such places is the tax.

It is important to note that Nigeria has one of the lowest tax to GDP ratio globally. Knowing the importance of tax in growing the economy and building the requisite infrastructure, in June 2017, then Acting President, Yemi Osinbanjo, signed into law, the Voluntary Actions Income and Declaration Scheme (VAIDS).

Defaulting taxpayers were thus given a window to regularise their tax status relating to previous tax periods and to pay any taxes due. This is in exchange for, according to what they have on their website “forgiveness of overdue interests and penalties and the assurance that they do not face criminal prosecution for tax offences or tax investigations” .

Signs of successes have been apparent as, according to Fowler, government has recovered about 30 billion naira under this tax amnesty scheme. He also said, in his capacity as the chairman of Joint Tax Board, that the numbers on the national taxpayers’ database has risen to over 19 million in 2018 from the 14 million it was in 2016.

What a bold step. What an achievement!

However, it is  interesting to see the silent revolution going on to ensure a holistic diversification of the economy. One key source of revenue, which was not fully tapped in the past,  but which the current leadership is ensuring from  is unearthed and is fully harnessed for the benefit of all, is tax.

Conversely, the sum of N2.983bn has been generated from payments on demand notices placed upon property owners who are being assessed on their turnover. 653 out of 2,672 of such non-filers are now filing. A total of N47.5bn, $32.8m and N225 billion has been collected from 2016 till date.

Realizing the efficacy of this scheme amongst other reasons that may include closing doors on impunity, the Buhari administration launched the Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme (VOARS). It is simply an order for Nigerians to do the right thing done all over the world; declare and pay tax on your Offshore assets.

It is very similar to (VAIDS) signed by the VP with the only difference being the offshore assets. The scheme was set up to regularise offshore assets and tax status, and also to ascertain their outstanding level of tax liability. With an assessment period of 30 years, it gives a 12 month window for tax defaults to come forward and clear the burden they’ve accumulated. During this window, defaulters that choose to voluntarily regularise their tax status for all the relevant years will pay a one-time levy of 35% of their offshore assets in lieu of all outstanding taxes, penalties and interest.

Another option readily available for those who want to voluntarily regularise their tax status is for them to access a specific government disclosure facility based in Switzerland. Those that comply will naturally enjoy immunity to prosecution and enjoy waivers on interests and penalties. Defaulters will be easily spotted out as the automatic exchange of information between Nigeria and foreign countries goes into full effect.

They will also be obligated to pay 100% of all interests and penalties arising from the principal sum that has piled up for the period of 30 years. It’s like a scheme designed to save defaulters from running into trouble and also to increase the revenue inflow to the government coffers for infrastructural development.

A government that has plans should have the necessary fundings to execute them, else they remain what they are – plans. Nigerians are advised to key into this scheme. Take advantage of this period of grace and wriggle out of the law’s tentacles because when it comes knocking at your door, even if you don’t open, it comes in and makes itself comfortable. The law always takes it course. God bless Nigeria.

Akanji is a political strategist and writes from Abuja, he tweets on @Ayooakanji

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Aig-Imoukhuede And The Initiative For Public Governance, By Reuben Abati

A week ago, I stumbled on an article titled “Africa and the burden of Leadership” (The Guardian, Nov. 7), written by Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, banker, investor and entrepreneur, former Managing Director of Access Bank Nigeria, our compatriot.  The piece was actually excerpted from a speech he delivered at the graduation ceremony of government and public policy students at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, UK, in his capacity as founder of the  Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG).

The AIG was founded by him in 2014. The piece made me curious and I had to check out the Africa Initiative for Governance online. In this age of “google-it” or what others call the “white man’s oracle,” if you are in doubt about anything or you are looking for information, just consult the google-oracle.  So I googled it to double-check some of the information already provided in the article before me.

Indeed in 2014, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede founded the Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG) as a not-for-profit, private sector-led Foundation to promote good governance and public sector reform. Every year, since 2016, the AIG, in partnership with the Blavatnik School of Government has provided post-graduate scholarships for a Masters in Public Policy (MPP) programme at the University of Oxford. To date, persons selected from Nigeria and Ghana have benefitted from the programme. Five of them graduated in November 2018. They are expected to return to their home country and become change agents in their country’s public sectors. Five other AIG scholars enrolled for the MPP in September 2018.

Every year, the Foundation also awards the AIG Fellowship to an outstanding public official in Nigeria or Ghana. To date, Professor Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the immediate past Chief Justice of Ghana, Justice Georgina Wood have benefitted from the Fellowship. The AIG is involved in partnership with the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation (OHCSF) to give teeth to a 2017-2020 Federal Civil Service Transformation Strategy and Implementation Plan to ensure the transformation of the Nigerian civil service, and general public sector reform. As recently as October 2018, the Africa Initiative for Governance(AIG) sponsored and facilitated a session: “The Unfinished Business of Reforms” at the 24thNigerian Economic Summit held at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja, FCT.   I further discovered that my friend and brother, Olusegun Adeniyi sits on the board of the AIG. I recall that he actually once wrote a piece on the initiative when it was first launched.

Aigboje Aig-Imokhuede is a member of the emergent generation of Nigerian wealthy men and women, the 80s generation that made its money in the last two decades, from banking, finance, securities, real estate, oil and gas and just about anything that could be turned into money as the decades progressed. This rise of new money in Nigeria as different from “old money” (represented by the the Odutola brothers, Dantata, Ibru, Ojukwu, daRocha, Fernandez etc) also seems to have coincided with a rising consciousness about the need to give something back to society, that is philanthropy or social responsibility. There has been, in Nigeria, a re-definition of capitalism, in terms of a more benevolent construction, and the rich man as a responsible man of community and an agent for social good.

What has been seen, therefore, is the growth of institutions and initiatives devoted to the public good or ostensibly so, with too much money seeking to do much good. Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President of the Dangote Group, and one of the richest men in Africa, has the Dangote Foundation. Jim Ovia, owner of Zenith Bank, has a Jim Ovia Foundation, and is founder of the Jim Hope Schools. Tony Elumelu, Chairman of the Union Bank for Africa (UBA) runs the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) which has been supporting and grooming entrepreneurs in 44 African countries. Of all these efforts that I know, the least publicized in my view is the Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG). Or to put it differently, in a country where a Foundation that distributes food to the poor, and another small one that gives out second hand clothes, are much better known, a Foundation like the AIG which focusses on reform, governance and policy deserves more aggressive publicity – not to promote ego, but to inspire a much broader debate about its goals and objectives.

The only significant thing I notice however is that the acronym of the Africa Initiative for Governance is AIG. The founder, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, is also more popularly known as Aig, a shortened form of his name. But greater publicity for the Foundation should expand access to the opportunities it offers. This is my point. How many persons in Nigeria or Ghana are aware of the scholarships and Fellowships on offer? Who knows that the Foundation exists? Aig-Imoukhuede may assume that the work of the Foundation will speak for it. These days, Foundations speak, and they should speak for themselves.

It remains for us to interrogate the foundations of the initiative, and some of the points raised in Aig-Imoukhuede’s article.  The original assumption is that the civil service is the engine-room of a country and that for a country to function effectively, attain a competitive edge and for democracy to work, there must be in place a development-oriented civil service in place. Aig-Imoukhuede obviously believes as shown in his piece “Africa and the burden of leadership”, that the failure of African states is a function of the failure of the bureaucratic machinery in those countries, and that reform is required to reverse the trend, rediscover lost glory and reposition African countries for progress.

There is a touch of nostalgia in this. Many Nigerians growing up in the 60s, 70s, and early 80s in Nigeria will remember a country that once worked. Chinua Achebe referred to this when he titled one of his books, “There was once a country”. In that country referred to by Chinua Achebe, there may have been small corruption within the system, tongue and “tribe” may have differed, but Nigeria was a country that worked.

There was in place a state bureaucracy that provided opportunities and service for the average citizen. We had in the country some of the best schools in the sub-region, if not in the entire continent. Scholars from around the world came to teach at the country’s universities; there were foreign students in Nigeria as well. As a secondary school student, some of my teachers were from Pakistan, India and other parts of the Commonwealth.  As an undergraduate, we had Faculty members from the United States, France, UK and Canada. Nigerian roads were fixed by a department called PWD, that is Public Works Department. In those days, teachers were special citizens because students and their parents celebrated them and appreciated their value. A school principal or a primary school headmaster or headmistress was definitely a member of the local elite.

There was a Sanitary and Hygiene Department at the Health Office. Today, Nigeria ranks second on the ignoble, global list of countries that are guilty of open defecation due to the absence of public latrines! There was regular power supply in those days. Nobody had any need for a generator. Today, every home is a power station. You have to generate your own water, your own electricity too. The situation is so bad that the Federal Government has had to declare a national emergency on water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

AIG believes that the narrative can be changed and that new thinking can produce a new Nigeria. Aig-Imoukhuede is convinced that public sector reforms focused on human capacity development and institutional capacity building can change our circumstances. The truth is that there have been many public service reforms in Nigeria as has been convincingly argued and rigorously analysed by Tunji Olaopa, our former Perm. Sec at the State House who in a few days will be delivering an inaugural lecture as a Professor at the Lead City University in Ibadan. (see for example: Tunji Olaopa, Managing Complex Reforms, Ibadan: Bookcraft, 2011, 315 pp). Nonetheless, in spite of all of those reforms, Nigeria remains classified as a “hesitant reformer”. Countries like Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, Mauritius, Botswana, and Kenya are ahead of Nigeria. Nigeria remains resistant to new thinking. Aig-Imoukhuede through the AIG, wants to intervene from within, through private sector injection, into the policy making process. His entry route is education. He believes that if the private sector can invest over time, in human capital, create a pool of public policy experts who have been schooled in some of the best institutions in the world, when such individuals are injected into the system, they can make a difference. He even intends to set up a public policy university in Nigeria where such new thinkers can be produced.

I get the point about human capacity investment. Many countries in the developing world have learnt to recruit into their bureaucracy only the best and the brightest available. In India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, you must be really smart to be a civil servant. It is understood that what happens in terms of the management of the state determines everything else. In Nigeria, our civil service system has been overtaken by nepotism, lack of merit, incompetence and complete disregard for critical thinking. The same Nigerian civil service that once produced Super Permanent Secretaries (including Philip Asiodu, the late Allison Ayida and late Hayford Alile), now produces ethnic champions, looters, “area boys”, and closet politicians. Aig-Imoukhuede believes that a carefully groomed and intellectually exposed new elite can create a revolution. He has taken the strategic step of involving beneficiaries from Ghana and other African countries.

I assure Aig-Imokhuede that he may end up having more success stories from Ghana and elsewhere in Africa. But that does not mean he must give up on his own country. He made his money here and he has an obligation to contribute to the re-making of the country of his birth. The path he has chosen is much better than donating money to politicians who do not understand policy or the developmental process that will produce a better society. It is a much wiser way of spending his money than acquiring additional wives or side chicks, living large like an octopus, dressing like a coxcomb, or becoming an embarrassing face of capitalism.

My worry is this: when the new bureaucratic elite that he is helping to create through first world education return to Nigeria or Ghana, how do they fit in, into the rot in Nigeria especially? How do they fit into the prevalent culture of anti-intellectualism?

A Masters in Public Policy (MPP) from Oxford is great but is Nigeria’s civil service today, ready for Oxonian intellect and competence? What is the guarantee that some of AIG’s products will not end up elsewhere in other countries where they may be better valued? Aig-Imoukhuede wants to create 21st century technocrats for a 19thcentury system in Nigeria. Will elite public policy education also prepare his beneficiaries for the primordial constraints of the Nigerian public sector?

Let me simplify that. In Oxford, and I believe in the elite school that Aig-Imoukhuede wants to build, they will teach things like planning, processes, innovation, creativity, efficiency and outcomes as parts of the bureaucratic engine. How will the AIG agents when they return to Nigeria respond to their other colleagues who in the first place are holding strategic positions because of Federal Character and whose secondary school certificates cannot be traced and who have never been to anywhere close to Oxford?

How will they relate with the horde of civil servants who will leave the office before noon every Friday and will not return? How will they deal with a system where records are not kept and nobody wants to keep any record because of an established “Guardian syndrome” – the this-is-how-we-have-always-done-it mentality that has always made new thinking impossible in the Nigerian civil service? The plan is to train AIG Fellows to think modern, post-modern even, but what should they do with that other colleague who during the weekend had been shown wearing a masquerade attire and prancing about with a primitive sword in his hands, and paraded as the chieftain of a 9thcentury society?

I am not knocking AIG’s emphasis on human capacity development and institution building. I am trying to problematize what they propose by saying that there is a whole lot more beyond the development of a new skills-set, and a new generation of thinkers. Nigeria failed first at the level of values, culture and ideals before its public service followed suit and failed. The entire country itself needs to be re-built before the input of private institutions like AIG can be better felt. We need a different kind of leadership: a leadership that values ideas and the capacity of human beings to make a difference, and a governance system that is driven by ideas and a competitive spirit.

Nigeria cannot afford to continue drifting. It is the reason many of our capitalists are beginning to jump into the fray to see what they can do from the private sector-end to reduce the spread of institutionally generated madness. It is probably in their enlightened self-interest to be seen to be actively creating new currents within the country, and an enabling environment for capital to thrive, but we should hold Aig and others at the higher end of the spectrum: their love for country.

The founders of AIG and similar others have proven one point: that leadership is a collective responsibility and more so, between the public and private sectors. In doing so, they all hold up a candle to future generations and offer hope that some day, this country will reach the turning point of progress.  AIG doesn’t want Nigeria and the rest of Africa left on the tarmac. That’s fine.  Nigeria needs to board a flight to a higher destination…

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Prof. Osinbajo’s Soaring Popularity Among Nigerian Youths, By Abdullahi Yunusa

There is absolutely something unique about Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s personality which endears him to many, especially the Nigerian youths. Given the way he freely interacts, relates and reaches out to Nigerians during most of his official outings, many see and regard him as a true friend of the common man.

President Muhammadu Buhari wasn’t wrong, after all when he entrusted his administration’s Social Investment Programmes in his care. His choice of Professor Osinbajo as the Chief implementor of the scheme tells of the importance government attaches to it.

Such an important and very critical assignment of ensuring that every Nigerian, especially the common people directly feels the impact of governance requires the stamp of a man of impeccable character and integrity for it to succeed.

Professor Yemi Osinbajo has not only acquitted himself in the transparent manner he discharges his responsibility as the coordinator of SIP, but has displayed capacity, competence and transparency in the handling of the various components of the entire programme. The general consensus out there is that the SIP initiative which is principally targeted at empowering ordinary Nigerians is the most impactful, transparent and accountable social intervention programme ever introduced in our chequered political history as a country. Nigerians have since taken ownership of the various aspects of the SIP scheme which has for the very first time brought government closer to the people.

Vice President Osinbajo, like his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, is so passionate about the welfare of Nigerians, which he says occupies a significant position in the overall programme of the President Buhari administration. The Vice President has continued to reiterate government’s resolve to touch the lives of all Nigerians through faithful implementation of all government programmes and policies.

The truth is, Nigerians, especially the youth population are happy with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s style of handling official matters. There is hardly a day that the Vice President isn’t out there interacting with ordinary Nigerians on how best to meet their yearnings and aspirations. Apart from sitting to hold regular talk sessions with the youths, market women, artisans and petty traders across markets, Professor Osinbajo always welcomes suggestions, ideas, criticisms and opinions on how to achieve the Nigeria of our dream. One outstanding attribute of the Vice President is that he’s a listening leader. He believes strongly in the fact that every Nigerian should have something to offer in our desire to develop our dear nation.

By now, Professor Osinbajo’s security men have become so used to the huge crowd that often struggle to either see or have a handshake with him during his numerous official engagements. He’s made himself very accessible and easy to locate. I’ve lost count of the number of youth-based programmes that Professor Osinbajo has graced and held frank discussions with young Nigerians. He’s made it a point of duty to always honour such invitations himself, an indication of the fact he attaches much importance to issues that pertain to our youths.

Only recently at the 30th Biennial Conference of the Student Christian Movement of Nigeria held at the Cathedral Church of the Good Shepherd, Enugu, he urged youths to see themselves as key players in Nigeria’s march to greatness, adding that contrary to the belief that the young people were the leaders of tomorrow, the time for the youths to showcase themselves was now.

Even when he hosted a delegation of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Movement, sometime ago he charged them to remain steadfast and committed to the task of realizing our full potential as a country.

“My dear young people, we need your energy, passion, charisma and creative abilities in our march to greatness. The time has come for all of you be deeply involved in politics and governance”.

Nigerians are always pleased to see the country’s number two citizen daily visiting towns, villages and cities to explain government’s programmes and policies to the masses across markets, bus stations, campuses and social gatherings. This is a complete departure from the way and manner officials of past governments treated us. We now welcome top government functionaries to our homes, not the other way round.

This is one task the VP is so passionate about. He clearly understands the fact that, it is the responsibility of elected and appointed government officials to keep the people abreast of developments, especially on issues of welfare and security.

It is our expectation that the Vice President, under whose office and supervision the SIP scheme is domiciled would continue to do his very best to ensure that the various components of the scheme like the N-POWER, Conditional Cash Transfer, MSMES Clinics, Trader Moni, Farmer Moni, Market Moni etc are meaningfully implemented in line with the change agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

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Boko Haram: How To Uphold Ethics In Security Reportage, By Ayobami Akanji

If journalists want long term credibility in their profession, they should go in that direction. Have more respect for readers. ~ Julian Assange

On April 14 2018, Ahmad Salkida – a freelance journalist, broke the internet with a 26-tweet thread, which itemized the status, according to him – of the pending 113 abducted Chibok Girls, still in captivity with the Boko Haram insurgents, claiming that only “15” are alive.

This trended worldwide, across social media and traditional media, with various national and international newspapers carrying screaming headlines on the day parents of the girls were savoring the anguish of not seeing their daughters in the last four years. Salkida noted, with a wave of his hand, that some have been married off, killed in friendly fire, are slaves to the insurgents, etc. Only to come forth two days after and correct his earlier tweets – saying that 30 of the girls are now alive, such inconsistency is dangerously alarming.

Without taking the anguish of the parents into consideration, the tireless efforts, of government – plus risk embarked upon by our security personnel who are totally committed to bringing back the girls safe and alive. It is safe to say, Salkida took the very unethical path of a journalist in this reportage that borders solemnly on preserving National Security. He sometimes, as key security analysts argue, his tweets “ reads like the state of the union address by the insurgents”

This warrants us to ask if the freelancer journalist is caught between two
Stools?

The case of James Rosen is a pointer to the State going the extra mile to safeguard the nation. The Department of Justice (DOJ) got a secret warrant to access his email and retrieve information deemed National Security risk. No one should be an aider, abetter or co-conspirator with insurgents who are hell-bent on destroying the Nation and pose threats to the peace and stability of our regional allies – by giving them their oxygen “publicity”.

The carnage brought by actions of this misplaced insurgency should warrant the cooperation of all and sundry in sharing the rightful intelligence with the appropriate authorities, and less space given to the insurgents, who thrive on fake news to bolster their dwarf importance. The freelancer should stop barking up the wrong tree. It has been established that Salkida bites off more than he can chew and aligns that with a vague besmear of his person.

It is important to mention the existence of a blurry line between media freedom and National Security. Journalists as the representatives of the fourth estate of the realm are to guard against possible harms from unauthorized disclosures of information which are potentially harmful. It is the duty of a journalist to know which information (s) to be
shared publicly and what truly should remain secret in the interest of National Security. There is a need for a clear understanding that peace and development can only take place when there is security, and we can’t have freedom where the state is non-existent.

Unfortunately, we have a Presidential aspirant who uses his online platform – which can be described as a guerrilla hub – to disseminate fake news in the guise of discrediting a government he wants to replace. To achieve this sinister motive, his platform which is not an oasis in the desert, claimed blatantly that “BH Captures Damasak 24 hours after Buratai’s Visit.” weeks back. This was a tissue of lies from the deepest pit of hell, as OWN troops led by the Chief of Army Staff repelled the attack and inflicted maximum damages on the insurgents. It is a known rule on the streets that one shouldn’t get high on
his own supply.

Nevertheless, ethical journalism should be upheld religiously by those in the craft of news-making and ensure that facts are cross-checked before disseminating them for consumption. A strive for accuracy, not clicks or re-tweets is important when putting out information with the aim of avoiding harm on the general populace.

We remember with nostalgia, the glorious days of journalism; how bad a topic was more or less a determinant for how furious your punishment will be. We remember the powerful pen of Dele Giwa, the unmatched prose of Dan Agbese, the almost photographic memory of Ben Lawrence, coherent viewpoint of Garba Shehu, well scripted editorials of Dare Babarinsa, the creative madness of Femi Adesina and many more. We remember how true these men were to the ethics defining their profession, how they won’t, for any price or ego, compromise their standards nor would they drag their profession into murky waters of being nonplussed. Sadly, what we are seeing today is parallel to the above quote by Assange.

These days, falsehood is almost prophetic as people who still cling to the crumbs of yesterday’s bazaar that was wiped away by the new Sheriff in town are united in their desperate bid to see anything bad about him. So glued they are in their pedestrian attempt to feel good about a man they feel bad about, that they suspend their sense of thoughts in a buffer and allow their emotions the freedom to roam about the other side of the city.

However, it is poignant to highlight the transparency adopted by the security agencies in updating Nigerians on activities of the Armed Forces in the Theatre of Operation. We salute the Nigerian Air Force who, strategically brief Nigerians about the amount of air sorties, Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) conducted, the mission of such operations which are either; providing support for offensive/clearance, conducting independent air operations, degrading the enemy, etc.

Obviously government and media leaders need to create a convergence of communication were they both can share concerns among one another with the view of understanding each other’s perspective without compromising National Security.

President Buhari, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces has been consistent in his desire to have the abducted girls rescued alive, he restates this all the time: “There will be no rest till the last girl, whether from Chibok or Dapchi, is released”, he posits. We experienced the swift response of government in rescuing the Dapchi girls, same is ongoing for the remainder of the Chibok girls and the lone Dapchi girl in captivity.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Akanji is a security analyst and writes from Abuja

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Why I Endorse Olusegun Mimiko For President, By Dupe Olatunbosun

Being the text of a speech delivered on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at Jogor Centre, Ibadan, bu His Excellency, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko’s townhall meeting, ‘A Conversation With Mimiko’ hosted by Friend of Mimiko.

I am delighted to be in this magnificent hall among all you who are gathered here because you care about the progress and future of our country, Nigeria. I thank the organizers of this event for the honour and the privilege extended to me. I feel greatly humbled. My Topic is: IN SEARCH OF A LEADER. Any serious discerning observer would know that for a long time, indeed for a very long time, there has been and still exists in Nigeria a search for a leader. Disciplined leadership is crucial to a Nation’s future and prosperity. Good Leadership is the difference between a Nation’s poverty and prosperity. It is the reason one country is successful and another country is failing. It is the reason why such countries as Dubai, Singapore, Macau, Malaysia and others that are not endowed enjoy prosperity, while the one that is greatly endowed like our country, Nigeria lives in poverty and misery. Those who succeed are usually driven by a mission. They prepare for leadership. Great Leaders set the purpose, define it clearly and make sure that the goal is achieved by mobilizing people positively.

Nigeria needs such a disciplined leader with grit, courage, mission and total commitment to stated goals and objectives and who will impact positively on the lives of the people.

The dominant issues that will impact positively and bring economic empowerment, prosperity and life more abundant to all Nigerians include infrastructural development, education policy, diversification plans, job creation, agriculture, security, and fight against corruption.

Another important key National issue is restructuring. Nigeria needs courageous leader who genuinely and sincerely understands what restructuring Nigeria really means. For those who have been opposing restructuring out of ignorance, greed and selfish interest, please, allow me to state here and now that restructuring Nigeria means true Federalism. It means each state will have its own prison service, can create its own Local Governments, can build its own Airports, Seaports, and Railways.

In addition, in the economics domain, solid minerals, oil and gas that had been the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government since Independence can now be brought into the concurrent list. The states can now create employment and develop at their own pace.

Restructuring will liberate everybody and open up the political space. Restructuring Nigeria does not mean dismemberment or break-up of the country. Decentralization or restructuring is not an invitation to the breakup of Nigeria. National unity should not continue to be confused with unitarism and concentration of power and resources at the federal level. Nigeria is just too big to be managed by centralization and without devolution of powers and resources to sub-national authorities such as the GEO-political federating units. The imperative of restructuring Nigeria is about justice, equity, fairness and economic development. There is a strong correlation between political structure and economic development. Restructuring is a genuine call for true federalism. True federalism will put an end to hegemonic agenda and ethnic bulldozing.

Restructuring Nigeria using the existing GEO-polical zones as federating units will certainly unleash the great potentials of our country. Restructuring will enable every federating unit to increase its fiscal resources for development. Nigeria must change from the beggarly states, living on handouts from the federation accounts and return to the only viable system of production, where the federating units are creative, self-reliant and self-sustaining economic centres. Restructuring is the right and inevitable step for Nigeria to take to satisfy the legitimate yearnings of ethnic nationalities for self-actualization and end an unjust system that denies all nationalities of control over their resources and allows the least productive to legally take the lion share of revenues.

Our nation is in search of a courageous and determined leader who is educated and knows the value of education for him to focus attention on the key national issues that I have listed above. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the time is long overdue for we Nigerians to lay more emphasis on the quality of those we elect to executive and legislative offices and to whom we entrust policy and key national issues. Nigeria is a country of great men and women, each making his/her own mark in various sectors of our existence. Unfortunately, we have often failed to elect capable and quality men and women to lead us.

Good leadership, that vital ingredient that drives nations and people to achievement beyond their dreams, has been our country’s soft underbelly for decades. Over-recycled, Jades politicians bereft of new ideas, exhausted army generals feigning democratic credentials and skilful manipulators of compromised electoral processes, continue to straddle a rapidly disappearing nation, Nigeria. All those noble ideals and values which our Founding Fathers labored so hard to Foster and which they diligently and assiduously gathered by the rake, unfortunately, each day, we seek to throw away by the shovel.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, as a Nigerian and also as a senior citizen, I have been privileged to witness the coming and the going of many Government administrations, both at the state and at the federal levels, both military and civilian over the years. With utmost humility and profound gratitude to God, I believe I am both literate and numerate and very well placed to state categorically and most unequivocally that His Excellency, DR. Olusegun Mimiko is a fit and proper person to aspire to lead this nation.

I was born and bred in Ondo State where our special Guest of honour at this event was Governor for eight(8) years. His Excellency, DR. Olusegun Mimiko performed creditably, satisfactorily and eloquently much more than any of his predecessors in office, be it military or civilian. His verifiable laudable achievements all over Ondo State attest to his competence, due diligence, acute sense of fairness and propriety, affinity for worthy causes, as well as his very prudent and judicious management of available financial resources. As one travels through the length and breadth of Ondo State, one can see that DR. Olusegun Mimiko has successfully carried out Re-Structuring, Re-Construction, Restoration And Transformation in Ondo State to the admiration of the citizens as well as the visitors to the state.

It is my considered view that DR. Olusegun Mimiko’s political maturity and political astuteness which he deployed intelligently to achieve progress, unity and togetherness among all our people in Ondo state, should be used to bring greater social and economic development to the entire country to surpass his monumental achievemets in Ondo state for the well being of all Nigerians.

In addition to His Excellent leadership in Ondo State, as Honourable Minister of Housing, DR. Olusegun Mimiko performed creditably, unfoiled, unsoiled and unblemished. He is a man of honour and very high level of personal integrity who can be trusted to keep his campaign promises. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, this fine gentleman has been very objective, realistic and consistent. I firmly believe DR. Mimiko has deep understanding of our Nation’s problems. He is completely detribalized. He believes very much in true federalism and in the unity of Nigeria. He is someone who will have the political will and strong determination to fight corruption totally regardless of whose ox is gored.

I also firmly believe that DR. Olusegun Mimiko has the relevant experience and tremendous goodwill and abundance support of the people to bring the much needed process of social inclusion of youths, including participation in decision-making as well as access to quality education, health care basic services and promote the role of youths as active contributors to society. Such process will certainly give the youths the opportunities to reach their potentials and goals as Nigeria’s future leaders.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, Nigeria has been very fortunate not to have natural disasters such as earthquake, tornado, fire, flood, e.t.c, e.t.c, what we have in Nigeria is leadership disaster. This time around, many capable individuals have offered to lead this country. His Excellency DR. Olusegun Mimiko, our special Guest of honour at this event, is a fine gentleman, a colussus who is building bridges of hope and prosperity across the six GEO-political zones of Nigeria. He is a transformer and indeed a mobilizer. He is a born leader, an outstanding achiever who has also succeeded as an entrepreneur in private medical practice. He is a patriotic statesman with a mission and a great source of inspiration to all and sundry. I firmly and strong believe that DR. Olusegun Mimiko is a leader who can properly and adequately handle the challenges of propelling Nigeria out of its present social, economic, moral, GEO-political crisis and restore hope prosperity, peace, liberty and freedom to all Nigerians.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, please let all of us give him our support. I thank you.

PROFESSOR Dupe Olatunbosun, B.Sc. (LOND.), Ph.D. (Michigan State, USA), OON, AOM, IOM, HON. Doctor of Letters, Cambridge, England is a Professor of Agricultural Economics and Group chairman of Funduk industries limited and Funduk pharmaceutical industries limited.

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Osinbajo On Brekete Radio: The Life Of A Listening Vice President, And A Hard Worker, By Ifeayolu Nnaedozie

Government is a social contract, hence in the execution of this contract between the government and the people, there must be clear and unambiguous communication. October 29th 2018 was a spectacular day on the Brekete Family Radio show when the government was brought to the people. The Nigerian Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbanjo was a special guest on this live radio show, which is the mouthpiece of the common Nigerian. It serves as a voice of the people in search of tenable solutions for inclusive national development and to offer redress for public injustice, wherever it occurs. These are achievable by addressing ubiquitous presence of penury, unemployment, youth restiveness, gender inequality, mass illiteracy, infrastructural decadence, insecurity, misappropriation of public funds and gross misconduct in public offices among other subjects.
The show which is anchored by Mr Isa Mohammed connected the people with the office of the Presidency as the Vice President enlightened the audience and Bereke Family about the government’s involvement and effort in addressing trivial social and economic matters which affects mostly the average Nigerian citizens. It was an interactive experience which stipulates the answerable quality of a democratic government to the voters and member of the public. With the advent of platforms organized with the same or similar rationale, public office holders can account for their activities and years in power to the people who they represent envisaging a proper democratic tradition which could lead to efficiency while in public office.
For decades, the unemployment amongst young Nigerian graduates has become an unsolved concurrent problem in every government, leaving a huge amount of redundancy in actualizing a modernized and youthful empowered nation. In the VP’s remarks, he stated that the government has employed over 500,000 unemployed Nigerian graduates through the National Social Investment Program, and measures are underway to tackle other imperative issues affecting the growth of Nigerian economy. The scheme while benefiting the poor across the board, especially the poorest of the poor in the society, who have long been a larger proportion of the targeted population in lifting Nigeria out of poverty; has also engaged a lot of petty Traders.
Everyone can attest to Osinbajo’s commitment and magnanimity in driving initiatives to accelerate human capital development in the country. He is loved and appreciated for his pro-activeness in handling urgent matters, as opposed to the “sitting in the Villa” attitude we have seen in past Vice Presidents. Throughout the history of this country, there’s never been a Vice President who is as selfless, dedicated, supportive to Mr President and accessible like Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
His penchant for good governance and accessibility by the public is admirable. He will continue to be cherished for having the interest of the general public at heart and being a strong advocate against corruption.
Callers had the phone lines jammed up as Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora, all wanted to have a say to voice their concerns, observations and appreciation on various issues. This studio appearance virtually opened the Presidency to the people, bypassing all bottlenecks that impede communication.
Ifeayolu Nnaedozie is a social commentator.
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On Governor El-Rufai’s Running Mate, By Adams Lawal Magaji

One of the features of General Ibrahim Babangida’s endless transition programme was the insertion of religion as a factor in political configurations. It was couched as balance, promoting the concept that if a Christian is at the top of a ticket, then he must have a Muslim deputy and vice versa.

Babangida went on to appoint Pamela Sadauki as Deputy Governor to Colonel Tanko Ayuba, then military governor of Kaduna State. This forced the politicians who were seeming the office of governor of Kaduna to ‘balance’. Dabo Lere, who won election as governor of Kaduna State in 1991, had a young James Bawa Magaji as deputy governor. That was the first time religion became an issue in the guber line-up.

Since then Kaduna State has had several Christian deputy governors: Stephen Shekari, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa. Nuhu Bajoga and Barnabas Yusuf Bala, the incumbent. When circumstances propelled Yakowa to the governorship, he named a Muslim. Ramalan Yero as deputy. In December 2014,Nasir El-Rufai named Barnabas Yusuf Bala as his running mate.

Has this configuration of Muslim and Christian stemmed violence, united the state and drawn people together towards a respect for individual rights and a sense of common purpose? Let us present the evidence so that the reader can judge.

James Bawa Magaji was Deputy Governor when the 1992 crises in Zangon-Kataf happened. That crisis was triggered by the “indigenous” Kataf attacking and murdering the Hausa/Fulani “settlers” of Zango town who have been there for centuries.The report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry noted the disrespect with which James Bawa Magaji was treated by the Katafs when he intervened to try to resolve the differences.

Stephen Shekari was Deputy Governor when the Sharia riots of 2000 took so many lives. Zamfara, which started the Sharia matter, stayed calm as Kaduna burnt.

Patrick Yakowa was Governor when the 2011 riots happened. He was still in office when brutal attacks and massacres were visited on several communities in southern Kaduna afterwards. Yakowa acted to stem the killings. But his successor did not follow up. So Nuhu Bajoga’s Christian identity did not save communities in Attakad and other places from murderous violence.

Barnabas Yusuf Bala (Bantex) has the misfortune of being labelled a traitor, but he has sometimes been embraced as a southern Kaduna Christian. The tale was woven that he beat up El-Rufai in defence of southern Kaduna interests. He was a tagged a traitor for not resigning or denouncing the government during the violent conflict that raged in parts of southern Kaduna in late 2016 and early 2017. When Bantex had to go for urgent medical attention abroad, the same people said falsely that El-Rufai did not allow him to attend the hospital of his choice.

It is clear that having a Christian as Deputy Governor has not advanced peace or stability in Kaduna State. Rather it has produced the perverse phenomenon of people using religion as a bargaining chip. It is freezing people in identity politics rather than moving the state towards one wbere it is the quality and character of a person that counts.

There are Christians in every part of Kaduna State, and there are Muslims everywhere too. Pamela Sadauki is Hausa-Fulani and Christian from the northern axis of the state. Hadiza Balarabe is a Muslim from the southern axis of the state. Why can’t she be Deputy Governor?

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President Buhari, WAEC And PDP’s Toxic Air, By Garba Shehu

The West African Examinations Council, WAEC, Friday, said the controversy concerning President Muhammadu Buhari’s school certificate is embarrassing and felt a sense of duty to produce and deliver to him a confirmation and attestation of his results, in form of a duplicate certificate.

This is a god-sent, with WAEC being a non-political entity. This should put to rest the absurd allegations by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, brought up again and again, that he did not attend a secondary school.

The unreasonable position of the PDP had been sustained all along in spite of testimony by classmates who read with him in school and graduated together, and that fact that a court of law had given a ruling on the matter.

In 2014-2015 when they raked up the issue, I remember that it took the courage of the then college Principal to issue a statement of results from available records. In doing so, he defied the ruling PDP government in the state which asked him not to.

At the time we got the results sheet, reports said that the government had determined to send arsonists to burn the school to ashes so that the existing records will be obliterated.

This was against the backdrop of the shocking claim by the Army Records office in Lokoja, that they didn’t keep any records of General Buhari as a military officer.
Curiously, the Army Records office had once come under Muhammadu Buhari, as Military Secretary who, during his tenure streamlined the records of the entire officer corps, and could not, by any stretch of imagination, have left his own records in a mess. General Alani Akinrinade (Rtd) reportedly dismissed this mischief as an insult to the military.

After doing his conscience’s duty by daringly releasing those results, the then government of Katsina State punished the Principal by stripping him of his seniority and posting.

As we said in a number of past statements, the matter of the President’s qualification to run for office is a non-issue, nonetheless feasted upon by the PDP which has stopped thinking and have nothing to offer to Nigerians.

Based on arguments that “education gives a human being the power to discriminate between right and wrong,” the 1999 Constitution stipulates a minimum educational qualification for citizens who intend to contest for elections at all levels, which requires that they must possess a secondary school education or its equivalent.

The provision above has itself come under serious re-examination by scholars who argue that the possession of a secondary school certification does not necessarily mean that a person is intelligent. It is equally argued that it is a mistake to assume that a person with a certificate has higher knowledge or intelligence than the one who doesn’t have.

In an article published by the Daily Trust a day or so ago, Professor Shehu Zuru quoted Wendy Sherman, the author of the book Not For The Faint Heart, that “courage and integrity are critical attributes that you cannot acquire from a classroom because they are the inert fabrics of human conscience that dictates the power of the negative and the power of the positive.”

As far as his educational career is concerned, President Buhari attended the Katsina Provincial Secondary School, before enrolling in the Nigerian Military Training College, NMTC Kaduna (1962), renamed Nigerian Defence Academy, in 1964.

As narrated by Major-General Sani Saleh (Rtd), “I worked at the Nigerian Defence Academy so I know the processes. You cannot get in with a forged certificate, it is impossible.
“At the time (Muhammadu Buhari enrolled), the army was still controlled by the British…Nigerian Army was a select and (an) elite organization, we had very few Army Officers at that time. I don’t think the whole Nigerian Army Officers were up to 50. You can imagine what it takes for you as a Nigerian to be one of those…and today, somebody will be accusing you that you don’t have a certificate.”

From NMTC, Muhammadu Buhari went to the Mons Officer Cadet School, Aldershot, United Kingdom (1962-63), the Defence Services Staff College, India (1973) and thereafter, United States Army War College, which upon completion, awarded its graduates a Master’s degree in strategic studies.

In the belief that the nation has the right to know the educational details of their president, Candidate Muhammadu Buhari laid bare everything and tendered an affidavit in respect of the WAEC certificate.

The masquerades wielding the real power behind the PDP, some of whom played an active part in his overthrow as military Head of State in the mid-eighties are deliberate in keeping this issue alive. As a thoroughbred, toughened general, he won’t cry out that his home and office were vandalized by scoopers when they threw him out of power.

In meeting the eligibility for the contest in 2015, President Buhari presented the WAEC results and the other degree and non-degree related results. He went through the verification process in the party, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the court. He ran and won against the PDP.

With these, the unnecessary controversy should have ended. It is equally hard to fathom how such a dead issue should get the type of attention given it by the media, considering the many matters of serious concern to the citizens – internal security that was given a short shrift for 16 years by the PDP; the diversification of the economy by focusing on key sectors (apart from oil) that can create jobs and generate revenue such as Agriculture, Solid Minerals and Manufacturing which the Buhari administration is keenly doing; the ongoing pursuit of more reforms and better governance; bolstered efforts towards poverty alleviation; ending corruption and insurgency and ploughing the savings therefrom to put in place needed infrastructure and so forth.

Do they know that Nigeria Airways, NITEL and other pensioners they left in the cold, unpaid when they sold public assets to cronies or to themselves are getting their dues under this dispensation? If these things had been done when the oil price was as high as US$140 per barrel, Nigeria would not be in the current predicament. We would not have suffered when we had no cash reserves but we had regular supply of power, a good rail system, good roads and good housing. These are the issues dear to the hearts of our people.

In its political fight for 2019, the PDP is not relying on the big issues of the day -security, corruption and jobs but on small, distractive matters that take little or no account of national interest. But what do you expect of a group that has stopped thinking, just blowing hot, toxic air, indulging in divisive politics and is raking up sectional issues so that the people will forget the real issues of corruption, infrastructure, security and economy for which they have no plans?

– Garba Shehu is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity

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Why Buhari Does Not Need To Present A School Certificate, By Boluwatife Sanya Esq.

Within the last few days, faces of Nigerian newspapers have been on the demand of President Buhari’s certificate.

Many have contended as they  did in 2015 that his failure to present this certificate disqualifies him from re-contesting in 2019.

Our only guide is the constitution and judicial authorities.

Quickly, Section 131 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states;

“A person shall be qualified for election to the office of President if-

(a)…

(b)…

(c)

(d) he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent”

Note the wordings of subsection D, it is not saying he must be able to furnish any authority with the school certificate, it is only saying, he must have been educated to school certificate level.

The interpretation section, section 318 (1) states;

“School certificate or its equivalent means;

(a)… or

(b) education up to secondary school certificate or

(c) … or “

You have also observed that that the interpretation section only says education up to secondary school certificate level. The section is not saying a certificate need be issued.

My lord, Suleiman Galadima, JSC in Terver Kakih v. Peoples Democratic Party & Ors (2014) LPELR-23277 (SC) said;

“…submission or presentation of certificate is not the requirement of S.177(d) of the Constitution as regards the Gubernatorial screening process. The process of screening which the appellant and 4th respondent undertook, with the first respondent requires the candidate to fill in his qualification in the form and to swear to a verifying affidavit that the information contained in Form CF001 was true. This takes away the necessity of presentation of the actual certificate to the 1st and 2nd respondents.

In Bayo v. Njidda (2004) 8 NWLR 544 at 630; (2004) FWLR (pt.192) 10 at 78, the Court of Appeal then the Apex and final Court on Election petition from National Assembly/Governorship and Legislative Houses Election Tribunal had this to say on the point:

“In other words as regards a secondary school certificate examination, it is enough, in my view that one attended school certificate level i.e without passing and obtaining the certificate”

Finally, by the combination of SS.117(d) and 318 (1) of the Constitution, it is not only by presentation of certificate to INEC that is the only proof for a candidate to be qualified, it is sufficient that the person/candidate is educated up to secondary school certificate level.

You are free to disagree only with the relevant provision of the law.

Boluwatife J. Sanya Esq.

Boluwatifesanya1@gmail.com

08147439799

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