A Life In The Day Of Osinbajo, By Babafemi Ojudu

Fourth town hall in Lagos in a row. Back to back Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Sunday addressed the Christian community at The Grill in Ikeja, Igbo residents in Lagos in another function hall in The Grill, a group of disaffected politicians in Lagos at The Regency Hall in Alausa and youths and professionals in Lekki.

Hundreds of them were there and he some questions, many of which will try a fainthearted person. He then moved to address representatives of Igbos in Lagos and he took time to address their concern.

By the time he reeled out a list of Buhari appointees of Igbo origin and the projects ongoing in the East, the issues of marginalization and “non juicy” appointments fizzled out like smoke.

From there it was to Lekki where young men and women drilled him on issues of economy, unemployment and corruption.

For the disaffected politicians he generally pleaded with them to be patient while they remain committed to their party and its objectives.

With candor he took every question and patiently explained what appears as grey area in government policy, giving statistics here, examples there and throwing wits and humor in between.

It is surprising the little the people know, or do we say, are willing to know. For example how can anyone say that Ministries such as Trade and Investment, Education, Technology, Labour are not important or “juicy” enough for the Igbos.

Or that the CBN governor and other Igbos from Delta State are no Igbos and therefore whichever position they are holding is not countable for Igbos.

He also addressed the issue of who gets the Presidency in 2023. He told the audience it is the votes that will determine. Let the South West, the South East as well as the South South go and mobilize the vote and whoever brings the highest number of votes on the table picks the trophy.

Overall it was a good day and very useful interaction between the leader and the led, one that has not been experienced on this scale before.

To cap it all Osinbajo walked into Ikeja City Mall where he had engagement with the Tejuosho’s who run a bookshop.

If you are at Ikeja City Mall, you might just meet VP Osinbajo as he makes his first stop at Glendora Bookstore. #Nextlevel #NextLevelEngagements#NextLevelNigeria #4plus4 pic.twitter.com/b0NsWLt5D7

— Tise.jay (@JayTise) January 20, 2019

He made a stop at a couple of shops. It was an afternoon of a thousand cameras. The young shoppers on seeing him could not resist the temptation to whip out their phones and took selfies with him.

He did it with the patience of a shepherd and his herds. Before we left the scene scores of the photographs taken were getting back to us and a particular one with an actor in it had under three hours attracted close to 20,000 likes.

This in short is a life in the day of this passionate junior partner in the task of building a great Nigeria.

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A Chief Justice That Has Always Lived Above His Means And Now, Nemesis, By Annie Orji

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen is facing the battle of his political carreer. He was one of the judges indicted for corruption and recommended for dismissal by the the Justice Kayode Eso Panel set up by the Sani Abacha military regime to probe incessant allegations of judicial corruption in 1994.

Justice Onnoghen was then a judge in the Cross River State high court where he was accused of selling justice to the highest bidder. Luckily for Justice Onnoghen he had been promoted to the Court of Appeal when the implementation of the recommendation of the Eso Panel was carried out against only judges of high courts across the country.

As the leopard never changes its colour Justice Onnoghen has continued with corrupt practices. The judge has not been able to account for the millions of Naira, Pounds Sterling, Dollars and Euros in his bank accounts. The money is so much for a serving judge that Justice Onnoghen did not declare some of his bank accounts as required by law.

Hence, the Chief Justice was charged with failure to false declaration and failure to declare his assets containing hundreds of over $3 million of dollars before the Code of Conduct Tribunal last week. It has also been alleged that for 18 months the Chief Justice did not withdraw from his salary account, suggesting that he was spending bribe money.

Although the petition was received by the Code of Conduct from an ex aide of President Buhari on January 9, 2019. A team of officials from the Code of Conduct Bureau visited the Chief Justice on January 10. When confronted with the fact that he did not declare his assets as stipulated as stipulated by the Constitution the Chief Justice said that he “forgot” to have done so. He therefore pleaded for the “understanding and cooperation” of the Code of Conduct Bureau officials. The official promised to coopetate but asked the Chief Justice to write a statement under caution. He did so in his own handwriting where he admitted that he “forgot” to declare his assets.

Based on the admission by the Chief Justice that he did not declare his assets the Bureau quickly prepared a charge and filed it before the Code of Conduct Tribunal on January 11. The Tribunal fixed the case for the arraignment of the Chief Justice for January 15. To avoid the disgrace of being arraigned at the Tribunal the Chief Justice was advised to stay away from the proceedings of the Tribunal which he did. In a counter move, the legal team of the Chief Justice informed the Tribunal that their client had not been served with the charge sheet. The case was adjourned to January 22 for hearing after which proper service would have been effected on the Chief Justice.

Meanwhile, a case filed on Monday, January 15 at the federal high court to stop the trial of the Chief Justice through two NGOs were assigned to a judge, Justice N. E. Maha, a newly appointed judge in the court. We have confirmed that Justice Maha is very close to the Chief Justice as a former staff in the office of the Legal Practioners Privileges Committee located in the Supreme Court complex in Abuja. The Committee is headed by the Chief Justice. Within minutes of receiving the file of the new suit it was heard by Justice Maha who quickly granted a motion ex parte in the case. The judge restrained the Code of Conduct Tribunal from proceeding to hear the charge against the Chief Justice until the hearing of the motion on notice.

Not sure that the order of Justice Maha was sufficient to shield him from prosecution before the Code of Conduct Tribunal the Chief Justice planned another strategy. He held a meeting with Justice Babatunde Adejumo, the President of the National Industrial Court whose wife, Justice Abimbola Adejumo had delivered the judgment in the case of Nganjiwa v Federal Republic of Nigeria which ruled that all corruption cases involving judges should be reported to the National Judicial Council which is headed by the Chief Justice. The judgment was delivered to prevent the arrest and prosecution of judges as was witnessed in 2016 when about 10 judges were arrested and charged to court for corruption.

At the end of the meeting which held in Abuja last Sunday the embattled Chief Justice asked Justice Adejumo to get an order to prevent his arrest by the police, efcc or icpc. A case was filed the following day at the National Industrial Court . It was hurriedly assigned to Justice Sanusi Kano by Justice Adejumo. The case was heard by Justice who granted an order restraining the Police from arresting the Chief Justice pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice. The judge also stopped the trial of the Chief Justice by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Lawyers and judges are asking if the Chief Justice has become an employee to have his case decided at the National Industrial Court established to hear only trade union and lab

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The Significance Of President Buhari’s Endorsement Of Prince Dapo Abiodun, By Olamide Lawal

The political atmosphere in Ogun State is experiencing a buzz in the build-up to the 2019 general election. The ruling All Progressives Congress has been at the major attraction and the most interesting in the eyes of observers. This is a natural consequence of the internal wrangling, horse trading, and belligerency that led to and greeted the emergence of its gubernatorial candidate, Prince Dapo Abiodun. 


That the emergence of Abiodun did not go down well with the state governor, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun is no more news. In fact, it appears like a reoccurring decimal in the polity of Ogun state that an outgoing governor will always be at loggerheads with the gubernatorial candidate of his party.

This is mostly a fallout of the failure of the outgoing governors to secure their parties’ gubernatorial tickets for their preferred candidates. The current rift between the governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, and his party’s candidate, Prince Dapo Abiodun reminds students of contemporary history of the failed attempt by former Governor Gbenga Daniel to foist his preferred successor on the people of the state against the wishes of his political party and the good people of the state.

Interestingly, Ibikunle Amosun turned out to be the major beneficiary of the political conundrum which characterised the 2011 general elections in Ogun state. 

To some, the blatant refusal of Amosun to throw his weight behind the gubernatorial ambition of Dapo Abiodun may be a huge disadvantage for the aspirations of Dapo Abiodun, however, it is important to note that the key players in the APC on whom Amosun had place his hopes to install a stooge as his successor have moved en-masse to Dapo Abiodun’s camp to ensure his emergence. While some of them have followed the governor’s directives to move to a new political party, they have only done so in order to take their share of the loot and booties from the state treasury. 

In Nigerian democracy, endorsement of a gubernatorial candidate by a sitting president has, most time, served as a morale boaster for party members and their resolve to work for the party’s victory always go along this line. This is what President Muhammadu Buhari did by endorsing the Dapo Abiodun, the Ogun APC gubernatorial candidate after he had done it in many South West states. 

May 13, 2018 was a reassuring day for the people of Ekiti state. This was the day President Muhammadu Buhari hosted and anointed his erstwhile Minister of solid minerals, Dr Kayode Fayemi who resigned his ministerial appointment to contest as the governor of Ekiti state.  The aftermath of this endorsement was the emergence of Dr Kayode Fayemi as the governor of the state. People of Ekiti have trust for Mr President and they believe, Dr Fayemi, having worked with the president in his administration must have earned the trust and conviction of President Muhammadu Buhari before such endorsement could have been made public. 

Similarly, the people in the state of Osun experienced the Buhari endorsement on August 30, 2018 when Mr President raised the hand of Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola as his preferred candidate in the Osun gubernatorial elections. This was done in the presence of the outgoing governor, Rauf Aregbesola and the pictures were made public. Today, Mr President’s preferred candidate is the governor in the state of the living spring. 

President Muhammadu Buhari has been known for his integrity and honesty which he has been in public attention since his days as a junior military officer. Consequently, whoever he endorses for public office always gets wide acceptance. 

On the 28th day of December, 2018 President Muhammadu Buhari assured the electorates in Ogun state of his unwavering support for improved governance, party supremacy and individual integrity through his open endorsement of Prince Dapo Abiodun for the gubernatorial seat of Ogun state. This was done in the presence of the second civilian governor of the state, Chief Olusegun Osoba. 

Buhari’s endorsement of Prince Dapo Abiodun is a major newsbreak because of the litany of lies and heavy mudslinging sponsored by the enemies of Ogun state against the gubernatorial aspiration of the Iperu-Remo prince in the polity. The endorsement thus nullifies the falsehood that the president was in support of the anti-party activities of Governor Ibikunle Amosun. 

It is on record that Ibikunle Amosun has made 30 failed visits to Aso Rock within the last five weeks in his feeble bid to secure “Mr Integrity’s” endorsement of his preferred candidate, Hon. Akinlade. Due to the perceived love that exists between the President Buhari and Governor Amosun, the support of Mr President had been a major agenda in public discourse among residents of the state especially as the governor’s preferred candidate is vying on the platform of a different party from the president’s APC. 

Expectedly, the most popular and widely accepted candidate, Prince Dapo Abiodun got the endorsement of the president. This has not only generated widespread increased love for Mr President, it has also gone a long way in projecting his image as Mr Integrity. Undoubtedly, Prince Dapo Abiodun is the choice of the people in the Gateway state but the governor has continued to lavish the state’s funds on his new bride, the APM, instead of using the funds for the development of the state. 

If this adoption and open endorsement of Prince Dapo Abiodun by PMB is not enough to get the governor back on track and re-embrace his age-long friend for the betterment of the state. 

It is certain that Prince Abiodun, having served as the chairman, Corporate Affairs Commission has impressed President Buhari with his running of the affairs of the Commission to warrant his endorsement for a higher office. This gives credence to the maxim that “the reward for hard work is more work”.

It is good to emphasize that no serving governor in the history of Ogun state has been as greedy as the incumbent. He desires to single handily pick candidates for every elective office accruable to Ogun state. Having been rejected by the party members in his immoral quest, he has moved his stooges to a new political party while retaining the senatorial ticket of the APC for himself. 

His well-wishers hope he gets it right now and retrace his steps before it becomes too late for him.

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Prayer For Nigeria In An Election Year, By Abiodun komolafe

Come February 16, 2019, Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s sitting president, will be faced with two choices; either to remain in Aso Rock as Nigeria’s president for the next four years or, to go back to Daura in Katsina State, and begin to tend to his herds henceforth.

Whatever eventually becomes of the president’s lot, what makes the coming General Elections uniquely different is that it has assumed a larger than life posture, threatening to tear asunder the fragile socio-political unity of the country. For instance, the extant political dynamics and imperatives have changed, so also are the attitudinal dispositions of the ‘principalities’ or, political gladiators struggling for the soul of Nigeria. The contending individuals for public office have become more desperate, intolerant, even deadly; exhibiting the zero-sum game attributes more than any other time compared within the Nigeria political history and elections antecedents!

Principally, the battle ahead is between the Biblical “narrow road” and the “broad road”; between popular protests and fabulous narratives. Assuredly, it is between preference for national integrity and lust for “national cake”. Coincidentally, this is the first time the country is turning out the largest number of presidential candidates who, in any case, are already seeing themselves as presidents-in-waiting. In a country where, even a councillor’s spouse is reverenced as ‘Her Excellency’, one can now see why Nigeria, like the prodigal son in search of his ancestral parentage, has since independence been struggling to establish an enduring democracy and build strong public institutions.

What even makes the battle rather complex is that the current chief tenant of Aso Villa is not prepared to tempt the way of his predecessor while his major opponent is already deeply immersed in dangerous schemes which, if not professionally curtailed, are capable of capturing power at all costs. After all, this the last opportunity that fate can offer him. This is not to say that other pests and rodents who are also interested in Buhari’s job will want to go down without putting up a fight. 

Well, it is one thing to enter into the New Year with lofty promises and hope! Nonetheless, it is another thing to ensure the delivery of the goods of governance through a strong foundation, workable public institutions, and prayers, especially, at a difficult time like this. As a starting point therefore, it’s time we commended Nigeria into God’s hands, especially, at this auspicious time of her history.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His inheritance.” As Nigerians will be making crucial decisions that will affect the entire country this year, we beseech Thee, dear Father, restore unto us the healing that our country needs and deliver us from any relationship that is bound to separate us from our destiny. Speak into our lives that every obstacle planted on our path be removed. Do not let the wind of peace blowing across the globe through which erstwhile enemies are striking inspiring chords of a new world order pass us by without reconciling feuding brothers.

With Your power, deliver our land from founders who have turned themselves into confounders and give us a greater vision of what You would have us do. In the New Year, let those who love our country see the results and let those who, like fathers who do not want their children to go further in life, reap the negative consequences. We need this, O Lord, to fix our politics so as to fix any leadership crisis that may attempt to energize the failure of development.

We are in a “world of deception” where men see vengeance as their legitimate right. But Your Word teaches us that those who see Jesus Christ as the son of ‘Joseph the Carpenter’ should expect nothing other than chairs and tables from Him while those who accept Him as their Saviour are sure to be healed by His stripes. El Elyon, you are the Restoration and the Life, the Door and the Shepherd. Though, we are no longer a country destined for its Egypt, corruption still remains a shameful and sometimes painful part of our beingness. Indeed, it is difficult to say with a tinge of certitude where we now stand in our counter-terrorism efforts.

The comforting news, however, is that ours is not totally a tale of woes! For instance, in spite of more than 18% of employable Nigerians being jobless, Nigeria was recently named the best economy in Africa. So, as the ‘Battle of February’ nears us by the eyelids, blot out our starkness and send Your angel to resurrect every dead situation that has not brought a turnaround for us as a people created by You. Bless us with leaders who are capable of redefining governance in line with the vision and mission of the Next Level that Nigeria truthfully desires.

In times like this, we remember Leah Sharibu as a test of our faith as a deeply religious country. El Shaddai, You are the God who rescued Paul and Silas from Herod’s dungeon! You also shut the mouths of the lions because of Daniel so as to exalt Your Word. We therefore use Leah as a point of contact for those who are in servitude. The Fourth Man in the furnace, set them free from their captors. Save our country from huge doses of uncertainty, instability and the embarrassing acknowledgment of failure as an essential part of progress.

We also use Osun as a point of contact for other states in Nigeria. El Roi, grant our leaders the wisdom to “create employment opportunities through industrialization”, expand “agricultural activities through appropriate incentives” and provide “leadership in ways that do not bring additional burden to the people.” Grant the leaders and the led the wisdom to know that whatever challenges their respective states may be facing at the moment are not to be found in the blackness or whiteness of their people but that they’re foisted on the country by diabolical manipulators and articulated vampires of inevitability whose portion is in recklessly expanding our national frontlines of political and economic inclinations.

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!

*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, State of Osun, Nigeria (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk)

abiodun KOMOLAFE,

O20, Okenisa Street,

Ijebu-Jesa, State of Osun.

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February 16, 2019: Why Nigerians Will Not Look Back, By Laolu Akande

In this past three and a half years of the Buhari presidency, one, thankfully, has learnt, experienced and been part of quite a number of things. One of those things is the amount of dedication, the depth of patriotic zeal and sheer hard-work that is going on in this administration.

I know the President’s determination to end grand corruption, not only by his exemplary personal example, but by insisting on the proper processes and by empowering institutions. I know the level of intellectual exertions and sheer human rigour that the Vice President daily brings to his work. Even most, if not all Nigerians and close watchers of Nigerian events, have settled on the notion that not only are both gentlemen, honest people of integrity, but that they are also truly united in taking Nigeria to where this country truly belongs. We have seen the direction of the Change promised, it is a right direction, and direction is destiny.

Today, in the early days of a new year in which elections are due in a matter of weeks, there is simply no match for this team, be it in vision or political probability and other forms of readiness to take Nigeria forward. The choice can’t be more stark: between Buhari and Osinbajo on the one hand and Atiku and Obi on the other. Whichever way you dice it, this is a black and white, open and close case.

So, we have an opposition that is led by a politician that represents the failure of the past, backed by a running mate who seem determined to simply bamboozle the Nigerian people with any imaginable talking point regardless of veracity, who himself have openly conceded to being part of the problem.

Let us start from there. Former Governor Peter Obi concedes in a Channels TV video of August 2018 (which has actually gone viral) that he was part of the decision not to save for the rainy day; his own admission before he joined this race. His principal, former Vice President Abubakar Atiku admitted that he was in charge when the electricity power reforms were being bungled and, by his own admission, money simply went down the drain while he was VP and similarly in all the other PDP presidencies that followed. So, we have about $16B thrown out the window by the opposition and their flag-bearer indeed owned up to that confounding profligacy, and incredible acts of corruption, waste and mismanagement.

Just so we don’t leave matters to conjecture, or hearsay, here are the words of the former VP in a May 25, 2014 Channels TV interview: “We collected money from local governments, States and others. Five sets of contracts were given. Some contractors were paid 100%. We left, nothing was achieved. Then President Yar’Adua came, he also made available money and it went down the drain. President Jonathan came, he also made money available and it went down the drain.”

Now add to that, the matter of grand corruption. If you are in my job environment in the media and communication arena, you could even think this matter has been over-flogged. We have been told by some that we should stop talking about it and rather focus on what we have succeeded in achieving.

Yes, we have succeeded in relaunching a massive infrastructural era in the history of this country, spendingan unprecedented N2.7 Trillion in two budget cycles on capital expenditure, even when our revenues are at times 60% lower than previous administration. And we have the projects in practically every State and geopolitical zone. Yes, it is true that the World Bank endorsed the economic direction of the administration when it ranked Nigeria among the top ten reforming economies in 2017, the same year we moved up 24 places in the bank’s global Ease of Doing Business ranking.

Yes, we have put in place an Anchor Borrowers Programme for farmers, where close to 800,000 farmers have benefited from soft loans to help in the agricultural diversification of the economy. This explains in good part what The Punch Newspaper editorial of December 31, 2018 described as “Nigeria’s Rice Revolution,” praising the quest for self- sufficiency.

Yes, we have been paying pensioners (in different public sectors) their claims that had backlogged for years and which were not paid when oil was selling at over $100. Yes, we have hired half a million otherwise unemployed graduates across the country and are feeding about 9.3m primary school pupils in 26 States one free nutritiousmeal a day.

Yes, almost 2 million petty traders are collecting a N10,000 initial loan – a collateral and interest free micro-credit scheme called TraderMoni – to support their bottom of the ladder trading; traders who otherwise have no access to any form of credit. This is besides MarketMoni, where traders and artisans are getting between N50,000 to as much as N300,000 soft loans to enlarge their business. We have done about 400,000 of such loans. And yes, we have a Conditional Cash Transfer of N5,000 monthly to the poorest and most vulnerable among us, with almost 300,000 Nigerians benefiting, although we are targeting one million.

Now, the point is we were able do all these even when we are earning less, at times 60% less, simply because President Buhari has ended grand corruption! So, there is no such thing as ‘stop talking about grand corruption.’ My Principal has in fact come under some orchestrated media onslaught on account of the anti- grand corruption narratives. But we have to talk about it! We should not and would not relent because honest leadership is very central today for Nigeria’s leadership. 

Nigerians are now comparing those highlights with the opposition party’s 16 years of grand corruption, lies and visionlessness. Certainly, the people are wiser and will not be given to the comprehensive display of grand deceit that is now hallmarking the campaign of the other party.

Besides, how can you set aside the several instances – at home and abroad – of settled facts regarding corrupt PDP leaders including its current presidential flag-bearer? In many of such cases these are open secret and theprosecution of these cases would certainly have to be taken to their logical conclusions sooner or later, both at home and abroad.

One example that readily comes to mind is the February 2010 report of the US Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee that implicated the PDP flagbearer. This is what the Chairman of that committee, Senator Carl Levin, had to say then:

“Our third case history examines Jennifer Douglas, a U.S. citizen and a wife of Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and former presidential candidate in Nigeria. From 2000 to 2008, she helped her husband bring more than $40 million in suspect money into the United States through wire transfers from offshore corporations. Ms. Douglas is alleged in a 2008 civil complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission to have received $2.8 million in bribe payments from a German conglomerate, Siemens AG. Siemens has pleaded guilty to criminal charges and settled civil charges related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and told the Subcommittee that it sent payments to her account at Citibank. The Subcommittee located three wire transfers, substantiating $1.7 million in payments from Siemens to Ms. Douglas in 2001 and 2002. Of the $40 million, the Subcommittee traced nearly $25 million in offshore wire transfers into U.S. accounts controlled by Ms. Douglas, provided primarily by three offshore corporations called LetsGo, Sima Holdings, and Guernsey Trust Company.”

Continuing, the report added that, “Ms Douglas indicated that all of the funds came from her husband and professed little familiarity with the offshore corporations actually sending her the money. In addition, two of the offshore corporations wire transferred about $14 million over five years to American University in Washington DC to pay for consulting services related to the development of a Nigerian university founded by Mr. Abubakar.”

According to Levin in that report, this kind of corruption “is a cancer that corrodes the rule of law, undermines economic development and eats away at the fabric of civil society. Corruption can destabilize communities, and lead to failed states, lawlessness and terrorism.” In fact, the accomplices in some of the criminal cases that developed out of this are cooling their heels in jails, including a former US Congressman. Whoever thinks Nigerians will fall for the grand scale deceit that attempts to ignore this reality will learn a telling lesson next month!

Which is why I am confident that there is no way Nigeria is going backwards. It just won’t happen. The days of politics and governance based on outrightly raw personal aggrandizement have not quite disappeared, but you bet those days are now numbered.

Nigerians are now paying attention to the undeniable fact that a federal administration which earned less resources in a little over three years has more to show for it than all previous administrations in the 16 years before it, including several years when oil was selling in the international market for over $100.

That does not take rocket science to figure out. According to OPEC statistics between 2010 and 2014, Nigeria earned over $383B from oil sales. Yet at the end of 2014 and into 2015, the nation’s foreign reserves was as low as below $30B. Fast forward to 2015 to 2018, even when oil prices dropped, Nigerias foreign reserves has increased significantly. As at January 4, 2019, Nigerias foreign reserves stood at $43B, the highest in the last six years.

Let me conclude on a slightly personal note. I believe with all my heart that President Buhari & Vice President Osinbajo are on a restoration mission and it is divine.  There are many like me who had prayed and hoped for a dutiful government that will reform the Federal Government. The truth is: that prayer has been answered. And while there is still so much left to be done, we as a people must ensure that we stay the course and give our nation a true opportunity to fulfill what I believe is a manifest destiny already. What use is their in going back to Egypt?

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On Osinbajo, Tinubu And The Purveyors Of Falsehood, By Ayodele Sylvester

When some politicians who are renown for looting Nigeria and causing her to bleed flew to Dubai in October, we all thought they went there to strategise on how the infrastructural projects and social programmes of the Nigerian government can be improved.

We were expecting them to come back to Nigeria to show us plans – even if insincere – of how the current infrastructural projects in the country can be expanded, but they came back with nothing less than one of the things they are known for: mudslinging.

One person they have tried so much to taint is Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. They have tried everything from accusing him of embezzling public funds; to attempting to break the cordial relationship between him and APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

A reliable source close to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) hierarchy mentioned the plan to destabilise the South-West region by planting mistrust between VP Osinbajo and Asiwaju Tinubu.

We do not take Nigeria for granted and so we want to state the facts about their accusations.

The first thing is that the House of Representatives never accused the vice president of corruption or embezzlement of funds. The only accusation is that the funds he approved for the emergency situation in the North-East were not budgeted.

The truth, however, is that the funds in question, meant to pay for food supply to internally displaced persons, was an emergency and was approved in two tranches.

The first was N5 billion which was drawn via the National Food Security Programme, for which request was raised by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria as the facilitator of the programme, in a letter dated May 25, 2017.

This was at a time when the displaced persons and their host communities faced severe food shortages throughout the North-East, as a result of successive poor harvests and abandoned farmlands.

It was at a time the World Food Programme (WFP) had issued a warning that it would be reducing its vital support to about 1.8 million IDPs by more than 80%.

There was an immediate need to distribute grains to IDPs, and the only way to obtain the 30,000 Metric Tonnes required was to resort to the National Food Security Progamme (NFSP) earlier established by the Federal Government as a means of shoring up its strategic grain reserves.

The second tranche was N800 million approved for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for bagging, transportation, tracking, security, and contingency costs to handle the grains for the IDPs.

On account of the emergency nature of the procurement, these presidential approvals were well within the clear constitutional authority of the then Acting President Osinbajo.

Now to the plot to create mistrust between Osinbajo and Tinubu and their supporters: the Vice President is not unmindful of his roots and will never bite the finger that fed him, or as the Yorubas say ‘A kii ge ika ti o ma a n funni onje’.

It was Asiwaju Tinubu who put Osinbajo’s name forward as the Vice President when then presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari asked him to nominate people for his running mate slot. Tinubu was asked to nominate three people, but he chose just one person – Yemi Osinbajo. For someone who has raised leaders in Lagos and other state in this country, and who could easily count 50 people worthy of the VP slot to pick just one shows the level of trust reposed on Osinbajo. That trust is not one the VP has ever broken or will ever break.

During his time as a commissioner in Lagos, Osinbajo was exceptionally known for integrity and loyalty, in and out of the office. Osinbajo’s loyalty is so legendary that he had to seek the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye’s permission and blessing before accepting the Vice Presidential candidate slot of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Nigerians can count on that loyalty from someone who took an oath of office to defend their rights. He has been loyal in his discharge of his duties in Abuja.
Those behind the plot to stain Osinbajo’s stellar life and record are PDP stalwarts in the South-West with friends in the APC who can’t stand Tinubu.

Yes, we have intelligence report that some high-ranking people in the APC are collaborating with ‘looting-minded ‘people in the opposition to cause a rift between Osinbajo and Tinubu.

Their next plan is to cause another rift between Osinbajo and President Buhari. They believe that once the cordial relationship between Osinbajo and Tinubu is destroyed, the Tinubu house will collapse.

The PDP sympathizers in the South-West mentioned in the plan are one of the ministers and governors, who fancy their chances in the 2023 elections should Tinubu part ways with Osinbajo and refuse to support him.
The plan is to demonise Osinbajo and project him as overly ambitious.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. The congregation at the Olive Tree Parish of the RCCG can attest to his humility. So also can all the families he has interacted with, not only in his door-to-door campaigns in the run-up to the 2015 general elections and this year’s election, but also the many families he interacts with in his private time.

The PDP is behind the plot to split Osinbajo and Tinubu because of the desire to take the South-West in 2019 or 2023. These two people are the only problems they have in the region.

Their eyes are most likely on the more than N300 billion expected to be generated by Lagos State through the hard and smart work of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu camp. They have never had the interest of the people at heart.

Nigerians need to be aware that Osinbajo is a down to earth, humble public servant whose motivation is to serve Nigerians and lift the country to greatness.

•Sylvester writes from Lagos.

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Zainab Usman Ph.D – The Making Of A Brand, By Imam Maiyaki

Warren Buffett Said and I quote:“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.”Zainab Usman is a practical example of this statement. She is very ambitious and want to be very successful. She aspires for more anytime she steps her foot on the ladder of success. Her hunger for success is second to none.

It is difficult to imagine that Zainab is already an accomplished lady before she attained the age of 35. I have been a close observer of Zainab for a very long time and based on my discoveries, her main catalyst to success is her zeal, focus and determination. As a writer chronicling the amazing work of great people, I have grown totally fond of many extraordinary great Nigerians but Zainab Usman takes the cake. I love her uncommon courage and the ability to conquer impossible challenges. While others topped the Kilimanjaro of greatness, Zainab headed for the Everest and never stopped climbing. She dared to be different.

Dr. Zainab Usman is gifted with a magnetic brain and photographic memory. She holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) International Relations and Affairs from Ahmadu Bello University, Master of Science (M.Sc.) Internatonal Political Economy and Development from The University of Birmingham-Distinction and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) International Development from Oxford University United Kingdom. She is an expert on International Development and Governance, Politics, Crisis Management and Public Affairs Analysis.

She worked at various organizations which includes ECOWAS Commission Abuja Nigeria, University of Birmingham. She was also at Islamic relief and at International Crisis Group Brussels, Belgium.

Her meteoric rise was made possible by her boundless energy, prodigious brilliance, great tenacity, never-say-die attitude, clear-headedness and uncommon ability to make her dreams reality. This made her to move to work as a consultant Team Lead for the UK. Department for International Development (DFID) and National Security Adviser (ONSA) as Team lead. She led the research sub-project for the “Gender norms and female participation in radical movements northern Nigeria” as part of the wider “Radicalization, Counter-Radicalization and De-radicalization in Nigeria project commissioned by the UK. Department for International Development under its Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP) and the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in Nigeria. Her desire and hunger took her away to Blavatnik School of Government as Research Assistant.

Zainab want to be very successful so she kept climbing the ladder of greatness until she reaches the top. She then moved to University of Oxford as a Teaching Assistant. Fate took her back to Blavatnik School of Government but this time as a Research Officer, Global Economic Governance Programme, Oxford United Kingdom. After 10 months, she broke the glass ceiling and moved to The World Bank Washington D.C as a Young Professional (Energy and Extractives). After 2 years, she exemplified her hardwork, genius and brilliance at The World Bank which made them move her to Office of the Chief Economist for Africa.

Dr. Zainab Usman is a very successful person in all ramifications from her very rich CV. She has reached the highest peak of success but don`t be surprised if she move on away from The World Bank to somewhere else. She is making us proud and i am sure her name will be written in gold and will be on the lips of future generations as one of the greatest Nigerians.

Lest i forget, she is on the Editorial Board of Premium Times and the Executive Director of LENSE Africa Economic Empowerment. She is also an intelligent writer with publications on Economy, Power/Oil and Gas Reforms, Security, Politics and Governance. She speaks Hausa, English, French and Portuguese.

I am not a soothsayer but Zainab is on her path to greatness and by the grace of God she will be there sooner or later. Kaduna and Katsina people and indeed Nigerians are proud of you. She is indeed the making of a new brand and a success story.

By Engr. Imam Maiyaki

@MaiyakiImam

imammaiyaki@gmail.com

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Re: The North Is Suffering And Smiling, By Balkisu Saidu

“O you who believe!  Fear God, and stand with those who are truthful (in words and deeds).” These are the directives of Almighty Allah (Quran 9:119).

I was shocked by the content of an article titled ‘The North is Suffering and Smiling’ by Abu Shekara, Special Adviser on Media to Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State, published online by thisdaylive.com on 5 January 2019. My shock stems from the personal knowledge I have of the author, having worked with him at various times, since the 90s. Abu was known to me as a person who paid great attention to details and was interested in accuracy of facts. The flowery and superficial article in the publication bears little resemblance to the quality I expected from the Abu Shekara I knew.

It is, however, a political season. And as Albert Einstein reflected “all of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field.” Political agenda can becloud good judgment!

It is therefore not surprising that Abu Shekara will publish such scathing attack on the person and administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. What is surprising is his failure to point to the economic policies of the Government that were designed, as he claimed, to “adversely target” the Northern economic activities and have “ravaging impact on the livelihoods of the Northern masses.”

What I know, as a Northerner, is that going into the 2015 elections, our major concerns in the North were:

1.    Insecurity, majorly in the North East, where insurgents were in full control of 17 Local Government Areas with frequent abductions; recurring ethno-religious and communal conflicts; and farmers/herders clashes;

2.    Inadequate and dilapidated infrastructure, which had crippled economic activities with devastating implications on standard of living; and

3.    Growing population of out-of-school children and fallen standard of education.

In the three-plus years of the Buhari administration, all the areas under the control of the insurgents in the North East have been recovered; hundreds of abducted persons have been rescued; deliberate and decisive steps have been taken to address the farmer/herders clashes and communal conflicts, with verifiable accomplishments. Admittedly, there are still pockets of asymmetric attacks by insurgents and criminal activities by hoodlums and bandits, who are on the run and being rounded up.

These three-plus years have also recorded numerous achievements in the execution of projects in the North.  Some of these projects include:

1.    The completed 135km Sokoto–Tambuwal–Jega Road, in Sokoto and Kebbi States.

2.    The completed Shagari Irrigation Project, in Sokoto State.

3.    The provision of power supply to Federal Universities including Usmanu Danfodiyo University – Main Campus, Sokoto; Bayero University – New Campus, Kano; Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University – Gubi Campus, Bauchi; and Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi, Benue.

4.    Provision of 60MVA 132/33KV Power Transformers in Sokoto, Sokoto State.

5.    Construction of Yauri-Koko-Jega Road, in Kebbi State.

6.    Provision of 60MVA Transformer in Dan Agundi Substation, Kano, Kano State.

7.    Provision of 2X60MVA Transformer in Kakuri Substation, Kaduna, Kaduna State.

8.    Provision of 60MVA Transformer in Katsina Substation, Katsina, Katsina State.

9.    Provision of 40MVA Mobile Substation at Zaria, Kaduna State.

10.    Provision of 2x40MVA 132/33KV Power Transformer at Daura, Katsina State.

11.    Provision of 60MVA 132/33KV Power Transformers at Hadejia, Jigawa State.

12.    Provision of 60MVA 132/33KV Power Transformers at Funtua, Katsina State.

13.    Completion of Galma Dam, Kaduna State.

14.    Construction of 3,050MW Mambilla Power Plant, Taraba State.

15.    Completion of 330/132KV Molai Transmission Substation in Maiduguri, Borno State.

16.    Completion of 330/132KV Damaturu Transmission Substation, Yobe State

17.    Provision of 60MVA 132/33KV Power Transformers at Bauchi, Bauchi State.

18.    Provision of 40MVA Mobile Substation at Damboa, Borno State.

19.    Provision of 28/40MVA Mobile Substation at Mayo Belwa, Adamawa State.

20.    Provision of 30/40MVA Mobile Substation at Gombe, Gombe State.

21.    Sabon Gari and Kantin Kwari Market Electrification Projects, Kano State.

22.    Construction of 215MW Kaduna Power Plant, Kaduna State.

23.    Construction of 10MW Katsina Wind Power Plant, Katsina State.

24.    Construction of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Highway.

25.    Dualisation of Kano–Wudil–Shuari section of Kano–Maiduguri Road, linking Kano–Jigawa–Bauchi–Yobe–Borno States.

26.    Dualisation of Kano–Katsina Road.

27.    Construction of Kano Western Bypass.

28.    Construction of Kaduna Eastern Bypass, Kaduna State.

29.    Construction of Modern Medical Diagnostic Centre at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Zaria, Kaduna State.

30.    Completion of Sabke Water Supply Project, Katsina State.

31.    Dualisation of Shuarin-Azare section of Kano–Maiduguri Road linking Kano–Jigawa–Bauchi–Yobe.

32.    Dualisation of Azare–Potiskum section of Kano–Maiduguri Roadlinking Kano–Jigawa–Bauchi–Yobe–Borno States.

33.    Dualisation of Potiskum–Damaturu section of Kano–Maiduguri Roadlinking Kano–Jigawa–Bauchi–Yobe–Borno States.

34.    Dualisation of Damaturu–Maiduguri section of Kano–Maiduguri Road linking Kano–Jigawa–Bauchi–Yobe–Borno States.

35.    Reconstruction of Gombe-Numan-Yola Road.

36.    Reconstruction of 122km Mayo Belwa-Jada-Ganye-Toungo Road.

37.    Construction of 40MW Kashimbila Dam & Hydro Power Plant, Taraba State.

38.    Construction of 29MW Dadin Kowa Hydro Power Plant, Gombe State.

39.    Completion of Takum Water Supply Project, Taraba State.

40.    Construction of Oju/Loko–Oweto bridge over River Benue to link Loko (Nasarawa State) and Oweto (Benue State).

41.    Dualisation of Abuja–Abaji–Lokoja Road.

42.    Dualisation of Suleja–Minna Road in Niger State.

43.    Dualisation of Abuja–Abaji–Lokoja Road, Koton Karfe–Lokoja in Kogi State.

44.    Dualisation of Lokoja-Benin Road: Obajana–Okene in Kogi State.

45.    Rehabilitation of Enugu–Makurdi Road.

46.    Construction of Otukpo-Oweto Road.

47.    Completion of construction of 93km Ilorin-Jebba Road.

48.    Dualisation of Abuja–Keffi–Lafia–Makurdi Road.

49.    Rehabilitation of Suleja-Minna Road.

50.    Construction of Nigeria’s Central Rail Line (Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri Standard Gauge Line), spanning Kogi, Edo and Delta States.

51.    Rehabilitation of the Abuja International Airport Runway, and construction of new Abuja International Airport Terminal.

52.    Completion of the Bill Clinton Drive Interchange Bridge along the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Road (Airport Road), in the FCT.

53.    Construction of Apo–Wasa–Karshi Dual Carriageway, in the FCT.

54.    Construction of the Inner Southern Expressway (Goodluck Jonathan Way) in the FCT.

55.    Completion of Mangu Regional Water Supply Scheme, in Plateau State.

56.    Completion of Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi Water Supply Project, Benue State.

57.    Construction of 30MW Gurara Power Plant, Niger State.

58.    Construction of 700MW Zungeru Hydro Power Plant, Niger State.

59.    Provision of 150MVA 330/132//33KV Power Transformers at Kanji (Fakun), Niger State.

60.    Provision of 2x60MVA 132/33KV Power Transformer at Lokoja, Kogi State.

61.    Provision of 1460MVA 132/33KV Power Transformers at Kontagora, Niger State.

62.    Provision of 60MVA 132/33KV Power Transformers at Okene, Kogi State.

63.    Provision of 2x40MVA 132/33KV Power Transformer at Kainji (Dogon Gari), Niger State.

64.    Provision of 2x60MVA 132/33KV Power Transformer at Kukwaba, FCT.

65.    Provision of 60MVA Transformer in Karu Substation, FCT.

66.    Construction of Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Expressway.

67.    $12.4 million project funded by the Japanese Government for the upgrading (installation of power capacitor banks) of two Transmission Sub-Stations, in Apo, FCT and Keffi, Nasarawa to stabilise power supply to 7,000 households. 

The N-Power Scheme of the Social Investment Programme (SIP) has recruited beneficiaries in each Local Government Area of the 19 Northern States, who are providing support in teaching, healthcare, agriculture, etc. The Home-Grown School Feeding Programme of the SIP has resulted in increase in enrolment and retention of pupils in Public Primary Schools, while providing employment to hundreds of cooks and farmers. The TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni have been disbursed in all the 19 States of the North, supporting small and medium traders with cash flow; while MSME Clinics provide technical support to entrepreneurs. The Anchor Borrowers Programme’s support to smallholder famers and millers has brought about unprecedented boost in agricultural production in the North; and the Conditional Cash Transfer to the poorest of the poor is providing succour to the hitherto forgotten underprivileged members of our communities.

I ask Abu, please which of the above economic policies of the administration of Muhammadu Buhari has ravaged the livelihoods of the Northern masses?

Perhaps Abu Shekara would like to refocus his attention home. Perhaps he would like to assist the people of our State, Sokoto, with a list of achievements recorded by our State Government from May 2015 to date. Even with what Abu Shakara has described as “failures” of President Muhammadu Buhari, the fact remains that, from May 2015 to December 2019, a total of ?207,032,768,396.67 has been released by the Federal Government to the Government of Sokoto State.

These releases include:

 1.    Share of Federation Account ?158,159,883,659.42 (May 2015 to December 2018);

 2.    Budget Support ?17,569,000,000.00 (June 2016 to January 2018);

 3.    Paris Club Refund ?31,303,884,737.25
Abu may wish to inform Sakkwatawa of the projects executed in Sokoto State that are commiserate with over Two Hundred and Seven Billion Naira. After all, governance is the shared responsibility of the three tiers – Federal, States and Local Government Councils.

As the record of President Muhammadu Buhari in the area of development in the North is examined, let us look inwards to also examine, in a similar dispassionate manner, the records and achievements of our State. Sokoto, the Seat of the Caliphate; the cradle of just governance; the exalted home of revered Sheikh Usmanu Bn Fodiyo and Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto.

The big difference here is: while President Muhammadu Buhari is open to, and actually invites scrutiny of his record, others find any enquiry about their records as “political witch-hunt”, “attempt to embarrass”, or “act of disrespect.” It is understandable that the overwhelming acceptance of President Muhammadu Buhari by the Northerners will be disconcerting to the opposition, however, the blatant attempt to manipulate the Northerners into thinking that their brothers and sisters from other parts of the country are now their enemies or that their capable and over-achieving President is being controlled into “abandoning” their cause is not going to work. Northerners are not gullible. Northerners crave facts not fiction; and they can certainly discern the motives behind outlandish and concocted allegations, mischief and misrepresentations.

My counsel to Abu Shekara: please do not allow political agenda to cloud your judgment.

Saidu is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Research, Legal and Compliance MattersOffice of the Vice President

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5 Years Of Spreading Luck – Everyone Needs A Little Help, By Tony Elumelu

In business the role luck plays in success and personal achievement is rarely discussed. If luck is mentioned, it is done with slight condescension, and usually dismissed as a product of hard work, not deserving significant attention. While hard work is paramount – and I have written extensively about the importance of working hard – history and my own experiences show that there is often a large element of success that hard work alone cannot explain. It is simply not true that “you make your own luck.”

I started my career as a salesman, a copier salesman to be specific, young, hungry, and hardworking, but the reality was that I was just one of thousands of young Nigerian graduates, all eager to succeed. How did I get from there to where I am now? Of course, hard work, resilience, a long-term vision – but also luck.

A year later after earning my Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Lagos, I applied to join a new generation bank, Allstates Trust Bank. The bank’s one-page newspaper advertisement demanded a minimum 2:1-degree, but I applied regardless, submitting a cover letter and filled out application with my 2:2-Economics degree.

By a stroke of luck, my application was reviewed by the Chairman/CEO, a painstaking man who carefully read my cover letter and was drawn to the confidence in my words. “I know I may not have met the qualifying criteria for the advertised roles, but I am intelligent, driven, ambitious and I will make the bank proud. My 2:2 degree does not demonstrate the full extent of my intelligence and ability, and I know I can do so much more.” He read those words and took a chance on me. Though “unqualified”, he decided to throw me a lifeline, an opportunity.

I was invited to join the shortlist, followed by a long series of interviews and even more tests. At the end of a very rigorous process, I received good news – I had a place as an entry level analyst. Even now, I wonder: What if the Founder had not personally gone through my application? What if my application was rejected at the very beginning? What if I never got the opportunity to work at Allstates Trust Bank?

The story continues: within 12 months at the bank, aged 27, I went from analyst to branch manager – the youngest ever bank branch manager at the time. I was hard working, energetic, creative and prioritised getting things done, but it was also good fortune that my bosses Toyin Akin-Johnson and Ebitimi Banigo took notice, and then, believed in me. They took a chance on me by appointing me as branch manager after an incredibly short time in the bank. They recognised in me the raw materials needed to make a good leader and were prepared to invest in me and my ability. My rise to Branch Manager within a short period is a great story but I know in my heart, I was lucky, as well as deserving.

This position of branch manager was a solid platform which launched me into several top leadership roles. When we, a small group of hungry, determined, young outsiders, took over struggling Crystal Bank, it was as a direct result of the preparedness and exposure that we received early from our superiors and mentors. Without the intervention and goodwill of these people in my career, I would not have been prepared as I was to take on far greater roles. These learning opportunities laid the pathway to future achievements. Put simply, I was lucky enough to be identified and trusted so early on in my career, and this put me on a unique road to success. I keep this in mind – it is humbling and also drives much of what I do today.

When I left UBA as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in 2010 to pursue other interests, I made a vow that through the Tony Elumelu Foundation, I would “institutionalise” luck and democratise access to opportunities for young Africans.  I promised to leverage the success I have enjoyed, to spread luck and hope, provide opportunities and to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs to succeed.

Without luck in my early career, I would not be the man that I am today. I am a leader and philanthropist today because I encountered people who gave me a chance early in my career. It has been a lifetime goal to pay this forward in a transformative and impactful way.Over the past three decades I have spent as a banker, investor, and turnaround expert, I have had the opportunity to meet thousands of entrepreneurs, like me.  Many of them young people, with incredible dreams and business ideas but without the experience or the access to mentoring and support required in order to build successful businesses. But most importantly, they have not yet been exposed to the right opportunity.

Our entrepreneurs are hard at work across the continent, identifying gaps in the market for specific products and services, and bridging these gaps with their innovation and ingenuity. Yet, many of these budding entrepreneurs often lack the capital, the networks, the training, the support to take their small business to national or regional scale. All they need is a helping hand, some luck, someone to believe in them and take a chance on them.

This is what the Tony Elumelu Foundation offers: a platform that empowers African entrepreneurs– from business management training, to mentoring, to funding to networking – championing their cause and giving them a global voice to actualise their ambitions. This is precisely why I launched the USD$100 million Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs. Indeed, these may be the next UBAs (United Bank for Africa).

So, when I am asked, “Tony, why are you and your family doing this? What is in it for you?” I smile and recount my own story of luck. Luck is real, it is powerful, and I am committed to spreading it as far as I can. I am a beneficiary of luck, and I am passionate about sharing it across the continent, to all 54 countries.

I want our young aspiring entrepreneurs to apply. I want you to be a part of this global movement for good. I encourage you to be bold enough to let luck find you. There will be 1260 places open from January 1, 2019. Will you be among the lucky ones this year? Take a chance on yourself. Your future may begin today. Apply now atTEFCONNECT.COM

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There He Goes Again, By James Akinloye

*An editor of an otherwise respectable medium develops incurable obsession against a distinguished leader.

*The tale of a certain Abraham Ogbodo

Mr. Abraham Ogbodo seems to have an obsession with Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. He is constantly searching for what next the Vice President would do – but if he was searching with good intent it would have been better, unfortunately for this suspicious journalist, he is always on the lookout for whatever the Vice President would do with the intent to malign his character. 

He claims to love him in his recent piece, ANOTHER SERMON ON PROFESSOR YEMI OSINBAJO, but I think he is mistaken love with perjorative obsession, and an embarrassing partisan slant that is easy to detect. Give it to him, Ogbodo knows what he is doing and the readers too understand his despicable mission. 

Right from 2014 that President Muhammadu Buhari emerged as APC presidential candidate, this man decided to submit himself to the task of attacking the candidate. But when Prof Osinbajo became running mate, the matter became for him a lasting mission to embarrass seeing the undoubtable value Osinbajo brought to the table.

His latest article is another example of expression of this unwholesome mission. He makes an attempt to deceive his readers by painting a scenario as if the Vice President goes to markets to handover N10,000 to TraderMoni beneficiaries. Deliberate misinformation. 

A click on Google to search for how the TraderMoni is disbursed by the Bank of Industry would have brought sense and clarity to Abraham’s position. Unfortunately his intent is to malign the Vice President and deceive his readers hence his conscious failure to make the necessary enquiries. 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s visits to the markets have simply been to monitor the disbursements of these monies to the traders. He has never gone to the market to share money. The intent of the VP is simply to be with the people. Mr. Abraham may forget that leaders in government are elected for the people and there is nothing wrong whatsoever in the Vice President going to ensure a programme of the government is being carried out righteously. If Mr. Abraham Obodo is afraid that this will win the Vice President support, then he must be ready to live with this fear forever.

He fundamentally fails to understand that government is for the people and these traders are citizens as much as Governors, as much as Traditional Rulers, as much as Head of Parastatals and Agencies, and as much as business leaders who meet with the Vice President every now and then on official purposes. They are citizens as well and the Vice President has only shown himself to be a leader of the people by going down to meet with them and interact with them on their levels. It is unfortunate that his involvement in observing the disbursement of the Trader Moni loan scheme surprises people like Abraham. He  perhaps looks down on the poor, and believes that nothing should be done to salvage and elevate them. A thinking derived from an aloof elitist mindset that government should be for the few, the wealthy while abandoning the majority who are poor. 

Those baselessly making the accusation of electoral fraud are simply unaware and oblivious of the duties of government to the people at the least. Indeed if the government is working and fulfilling its promises to the people and that is termed vote buying then I think we need to encourage vote buying as an official practice.

Another item of controversy that Mr Abrahma raises in his opinion article is the Vice President’s comment vis-a-vis the conversation on the 2023 Presidency. 

This was an innocuous remark that has been taken out of context. The Vice President was only encouraging the South-Western region of the country to participate in deciding the equation of who produces the President in 2023. 

Misinterpreting him is only to subject a simple democratic and political issue to the pettiness of ethnicity. We must not pretend not to know how Nigeria’s politics operates.

It is expected as a matter of unspoken consensus that in 2023 power will shift to the south, and that means the contest to produce the President will be between the South-West, the South-South and the South-East regions. Each of the regions would have a place in the contest. 

The Vice President in a discussion with leaders in the South-West has only put forward the reality that the South-West must present itself as a relevant contender and one of them is delivering on votes to Professor Osinbajo’s party. This is a fundamental in democracy. 

Do we expect the Vice President to act as if he is not a member of the APC, or as if he does not want his region to contribute massively to the votes that would retain his party in power in 2023? 

In the same vain, Dr. Chris Ngige encouraging the South-East to throw in their votes as part of their own contribution to show that they are equally ready participants to contest for the position of President in 2023. 

Vice President Osinbajo would leave a grand legacy after his tenure in office. His landmark feats would stretch from his legal practice to his days as Attorney General of Lagos State to his role as Vice President – his legacies will certainly outlive him. The reforms he has made as Attorney General, the reforms he is  making as Vice President, his leadership style as chair of the National Economic Council, his astuteness, his brilliance and his management of the Social Investment Programmes that has invested and impacted the lives of over 15 million Nigerians will speak for him. Professor Osinbajo and his boss and partner, President Buhari have brought something different to the table of government: and that is government must not neglect the poor. An ideology they have held to heart in deploying resources of State for the Nigerian people. If Abraham Ogbodo’s obsession with the Vice President clogs his eyes to seeing this, millions of Nigerians can see it.

Sunday James Akinloye is a Democratic Rights Activist, Political Commentator and the President of the Initiative to Save Democracy Group (ISD)

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How PDP Destroyed Nigeria Economy, By Ussiju Medaner

Having witness the 16 years reign of PDP it is very difficult for me to understand why any Nigerian would still want the party anywhere close to Aso Rock. Some claimed that Buhari is not the solution to Nigeria problem and so would rather go back to the initiators of the problem.

Naturally, all Nigerians are supposed to stand individually and collectively to prevent the return of the master treasury looters anywhere near the treasury.

PDP must be of the opinion that Nigerians have short memories else they would not have been so bold to come to the street asking for votes. But today, PDP once again taking advantages of the poverty they indirectly inflicted on the people by their 16 years of misrule, will today present a man with unclear burden of corruption within the country and beyond, as their presidential candidate.

Since PDP thought all Nigerians suffer shared loss of memory, I will take it upon myself to help joggle their memory back.

The atrocities of PDP against Nigeria people and the commonwealth of the country are enormous and cannot be easily exhausted but I will attempt to remind us of a few of such gross disregard for decorum and sanctity of government during the reign of PDP.

Today Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential aspirant and his foot soldiers has been so busy painting picture of a Buhari government that turn upside down all the gains of the past and has bastardized the economy, turn the country to an unemployment haven and have nothing good to offer the nation. They boldly say this because they believe Nigerians are all short sighted.
So for the benefit of those who may have forgotten or those who were not aware, these facts were what define the entire 16 years of PDP usurping of the commonwealth of Nigeria and the legacy they handed over to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Before 2015, those who masterminded the coordination of the economy at different times for the PDP government have these to say:

Prof Charles Soludo , a once Governor of the Central Bank under PDP said whoever wins 2015 presidential election will never find it easy to govern the country. He said over 30 trillion is mismanaged, unaccounted for or missing under the Jonathan supervision.

The Soludo outburst came a while before Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi , the immediate past Governor of the Central Bank attacked the Jonathan government with the accusation of over US$20 billion unremitted to the Federation account. In 2014, Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi said if nothing is done by 2015 upward, Nigeria will know what economic crisis is.

Dr Ngozhe Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy under Jonathan, Mrs Okonjo Iweala in several interview said “I told them to save ahead of eventualities but Jonathan had no political will to do so and this is the reason why we are in crisis, because we squandered our boom.”

Peter Obi, the then Governor of Anambra State(;the current PDP Vice presidential candidate ) agreed with, Mrs Okonjo Iweala. He said “Okonjo-Iweala and Sanusi urged us to save but we state Governors refused to save for the unseen future during the tenure of Goodluck Jonathan, despite warnings from economic experts.”

Having recollected the magnitude of the atrocities perpetrated by the combined PDP administrations, it is also very necessary that I jolt our memory back to what happened to all these monies that were wrongly appropriated under the PDP.

The EFCC was established under the same PDP but was blind to what was happening to the economy came alive under President Buhari and in no time got unbelievable confession that should define out decision now and in the future.
For your perusals, here are some of these confessions:

ON DASUKIGATE;

  1. When questioned, the erstwhile security adviser to the government of Jonathan said all his actions; the monies taken and misappropriated were all with permission of the President (Jonathan). Jonathan responded saying I didn’t give such orders. We are talking of US$2.1billion that was taking under the guise of fighting insurgency but overtly between the duo ended up on the street in the pockets and accounts of their cronies.
  2. Bode George when questioned by EFCC said he only collected $30,000 from Dasuki not N100m as accused.
  3. Dokpesi of AIT said he was given only #2.1billion for publicity by Dasuki
  4. Atahiru Bafarawa collected his own in tranches. For SPIRITUAL PURPOSES , he collected #4.6billion from Dasuki. He collected another #100million through Yuguda( former minster).
  5. Iyorcha Ayu collected #350million from dasuki for CONSULTATION.
  6. Obaigbena of the Thisday magazine was the beneficiary of N650M from Dasuki for his Abuja burnt office as if it had become the responsibility of the government to rebuilt
  7. Dasuki also volunteer the information that President Jonathan gave him the order to change N10billion to foreign currency for PDP delegates
  8. Shekarau during questioning admitted that 950m was shared in his house
  9. during questioning, Dasuki’s account officer said my boss asked me to get $11M from the CBN
    The list is endless from the inglorious Dasukigate, but that was not the end:

• Patience Jonathan is claiming the $31m traced to dubious companies are rightfully hers and she has sued the Nigerian state.
• Femi Fani-Kayode took 740million.
• Dasuki used trucks to load over $35billion from the CBN.
• Olisa Metuh took 400million.
• Aziboala, GEJ’s cousin took 6billion naira.
• Nenadi Usman took 3.5billion naira.
• Fayose took 3billion naira.
• Obanikoro took 4billion naira.
• Olu Falae took 100million naira.
• Tony Anenih – 400million naira.
• Oritsejafor – $35million
• Former Air Chief Amosu – 2billion naira.
• Lucky Igbinedion-16billion naira.
• *Bode-George and Dabo -100billion naira
• Jolly Nyame-2.4billion naira.
• Joshua Dariye-700million naira.
• *Nyesom Wike stole #4billion.
• Diezzani with $20 billion missing oil money?
• Tompolo was paid 13Billion.
• Ex-CDS,Alex Badeh dug a pit toilet to hide $32million.
• Tompolo was paid N13B for Maritime university land by NIMASA DG.

With all this recorded looting and recoveries, some people are still shouting no sign of change yet; they even say its political persecution. How did they expect the change to look?
PDP left behind only what they can’t carry or unable to lay their hands on and then the recession surfaced. The recession didn’t just happen, PDP looted Nigeria into RECESSION .

As it has always been, in all humility, I stand to be corrected with palpable evidence or superior argument…

May Nigeria Succeed!

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N-POWER: The Little Thing that Matters, By A. Jimoh

It is two years since the first batch of beneficiaries of N-POWER were enrolled and it has been a story of success. Yes, Success. In a very long time, and perhaps the very first time, that a government social intervention programme is working so seamlessly.  I have chosen to highlight the success of N-POWER because among the numerous social intervention programmes of the current administration, it is the one I have followed carefully and have close relations who are beneficiaries. In addition, having witnessed how similar programmes- conceivably in name only- were run by previous administrations, it becomes easy to compare and contrast. To get an insight of the success of N-POWER, it is pertinent to provide background on similar programmes ran by previous government since the return of democracy in 1999.

Starting with the Magnus L. Kpakol-run National Poverty Alleviation Programme, NAPEP, of Obasanjo-Atiku’s administration, it was anything but poverty alleviation programme. The programme which was to provide succor to the unemployed merely became an avenue for the boys to chop. It was just money meant for politicians’ hangers-on. I recall that in most local governments across Kogi state, all was needed to be eligible for enrollment was to be a political thug. List of beneficiaries were concocted where a single person could be collecting the allowance of 15 non-existent beneficiaries. The poor and unemployed for which it was intended never got it. The tricycles popularized by the programme in some states were shared by politicians to their undeserving supporters.

Then entered the Jonathan’s Subsidy Reinvestment Programme, aka SURE-P. It was ostensibly intended to cushion the harsh economic effect brought about by the increase in fuel price. However, many of us know how the story ended. It purely became a pocket money for the boys. The head of the programme, Elder Christopher Kolade, a man who knows that a good name is better than ill-gotten wealth, resigned when it became clear to him that the fund was just a branch of corruption in a government that was notoriously corrupt. Like its predecessor, the programme hardly reached those for it was supposedly crafted.

When the idea of N-POWER was muted, it was no surprise that many people had a misgiving about it. The background provided above gave the foundation to some of those doubts. However, others were just about mischief making.  Supporters of the rogue party who were ousted from power mocked the programme hoping it would failed like its predecessors. It turned out most of those who doubted it, genuinely and mischievously, are current beneficiaries of the programme.

The very first right decision the Buhari-Osibanjo administration took was to shield N-POWER and other social intervention programmes of their administration from politicians both at the federal and state levels. Involving politicians as intermediaries in the scheme could have made it dead on arrival, as it would have been a programme to enlist columbines, thugs and the most unqualified.  Having noticed that they were edged out, our politicians known for their anti-people tendency did not give up the fight to corner the programme to themselves or made it abolished completely. In the very first budget that fund for the programme was listed, for all the budget entries, it was the one the Danjuma Goje-led senate budget committee found unfit to be in the budget. They ‘advised’ the executive to remove it under the guise that oil price was down and the economic was in recession. The National Assembly did not see the morale to cut down the 130 billion Naira in the budget allocated to idle NASS members. However, the Buhari administration could accept anything but not this and so the fund was retained.

Then the recruitment phase came. It was another masterstroke decision to make it fully online without any third party intervention. It was so transparent. Countless testimonies from beneficiaries confirmed the transparency of the process. Staying far away from Nigeria, I applied for people who had no access to good internet. Majority of those are today beneficiaries. However, those who discredited the programme and refuse to apply, hoping it would fail are regretting their folly. The online recruitment process also prevented politicians from harvesting from where they did not plant. During the application, a family member alerted me that forms were being distributed by unscrupulous people to fill in their data with a promise of N-POWER slot. I told them pointblank that application was wholly online and that anyone doing that was a fraud. Those who did not listen but believed their politicians are today licking their fingers.

Today, about 500, 000 qualified Nigerians are enrolled in the programme receiving a steady flow of stipend without any interference. It is called alert. Many have built entrepreneurship from the alert and acquired skills that even after the expiration of their tenure in the scheme, they will sustain a continuous inflow of income. I have seen many in the N-Agric programme displaying fishpond, fruits and vegetable farms, poultry farm etc. of their own. I have seen many who did not before the programme realize they had good teaching skills until the N-POWER programme. Therefore, the scheme has helped to unlock talents and put many on the path of career. Besides the 500,000 beneficiaries, there are those in the N-build, a sub category of the N-Power, who are being trained with trade and artisans’ skills.

The N-POWER is a scheme with a difference. The provision of smart devices to beneficiaries enhances their service delivery and assists them in personal skill development. There are countless of testimonies available from beneficiaries, some of them very emotional, on how the scheme has helped them moved away from poverty line and bequeaths them with skills that will forever remain useful.

The scheme may have enlisted 500, 000 Nigerians, but it indirectly caters for two million people or there about. For every Nigerian who is an income earner, even a bachelor or unmarried woman, he/she has at least two other people directly under his or her responsibility. This is a fact in Nigeria anyone can do research on. For instance, three close relations whom are beneficiaries of the scheme have eight dependents to whom they are directly responsible for their well-being. One of such person is not even married, yet he has his mother and the daughter of his late brother to look after. This is the chain benefit of the stipend from N-POWER.

Does the scheme solve the unemployment cum the poverty problem? The answer is a definite no. However, it has cushioned the effect of the two and it must be appreciated. N-POWER is the proverbial little thing that matters. If previous administrations had taken similar stride by temporarily employing jobless graduate and bequeathing them with skills, in the last sixteen years, at least 4 million graduates would have benefitted directly from such scheme.

While the Buhari’s administration should be commended for this initiative, the office of the vice president would be specially recognized for the competent and professional way it has handled the scheme. For many, both within and without, the scheme should be a failure like its predecessors. However, the quality of people, both young and old, from the boardroom staff, logistic staff, desk officers to field staff, who work for the scheme has made it to be one of the most successful of all intervention programs. I have on many occasions spoken to the helpline staffs to make inquiry for a friend’s wife who had her data mixed up and for most of the times, the response was explicit and devoid of impoliteness. Corruption, incompetence, irresponsibility and lethargy in government service would be greatly reduced if any government at any level can build such a dedicated staffs into it civil service.

Again, while the federal government is commended for its many short-term programs at alleviating poverty, it must also find a perennial solution for the incidence of poverty among the populace. I suggest that the success of the N-Power programme especially in skill development can be internalized in our academic programme in order to graduate students with skills. In addition, government at state and local government levels should do more in job creation and social intervention program.

This now brings me to drop a word for the ruling All People Congress (APC).

For a party to be successful and build trust, it must put its entire elected representative on the same pedestal. The party must make its entire elected members realize that party manifesto is not for the federal government alone to implement. It is preposterous that majority of its governors are working at cross-purpose with the federal government. The profligacy, lack of vision and sheer wickedness of most of the state governors are major contributor to the poverty in the land. The Federal Government cannot be making sincere effort at reducing poverty while state governments are working aimlessly at spreading same. It is unbelievable that some of the beneficiaries of N-power could not even get a placement at their state and local government of assignment. Elsewhere some unscrupulous state and local government officials were demanding for bribe from beneficiaries before they are confirmed.

Rather than buying weapons and drugs for thugs in the name of empowerment, states should make similar sincere effort at job creation and skill development like the apex government. Such synergy with the central government will go a long way in reducing the incidence of poverty and social vices. Aside Osun state, I have not seen any other state with any robust socio-economic and job creation program that benefit the people.

For me, N-POWER is a success story so far. Although it is not yet uhuru, we have however moved a step ahead.

  1. S. M. Jimoh can be reached on @anehi2008@gmail.com and on twitter @anehi2008.
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