Nigeria Changing for The Better, Failed Elites Have Every Reason To Be Terrified, By Abba Kyari

In a world dominated by instant communication and unregulated social media, the politics of who shouts loudest is increasingly the voice that is most widely heard, often with little or no reference to the facts. This is a dangerous formula, especially in Nigeria, where so many prominent people in politics and business have built careers on grand but empty gestures, of saying with absolute conviction, and banks of paid-for praise singers in tow, exactly the opposite of what they mean.

A lot of countries are grappling with how to balance the tremendous positive opportunities new technologies can give, with how best to protect our most cherished freedoms – of speech, assembly and association. Freedom of speech does not allow us to shout ‘fire’ in a crowded market. Nor should it include the freedom anonymously to fuel division and provoke violence to mask personal ambitions and career failings.

There has been a lot of attention on the record of our administration. President Muhammadu Buhari made three, simple promises to Nigeria: to tackle insecurity; to promote economic diversification; and to challenge corruption. The answers are more complex, and it would be a mistake to look for easy solutions. But consider where Nigeria was in 2015: violent extremists threatening to establish a bloodthirsty criminal state inside our own borders; even oil, our one export industry, in atrophy; and a Wild West casino culture in government, where billion-dollar contracts went walking with impunity.

Salaries, allowances and pensions of public servants remained unpaid for years. Funds that should have gone to support our soldiers were diverted into the swamp of a doomed political campaign. Contractors, godfathers and politicians helped themselves to billions and as a result too many of those on the front line and those they should have had the means to protect were killed.

These were all problems that this administration inherited, in many cases from some of those now seeking to return to power. Take the economy. In the boom years for oil in 2000-15, almost nothing was saved and almost nothing invested. We did not even pay our cash calls to our partners.
So, when the oil price crashed in 2016, we had no spare capacity to boost production, we had no buffer to limit the shock and no emerging industries to take up the slack. As a result, there were difficult choices. But we chose to focus on agriculture and revive the fertilizer industry, which in turn helped provide millions of jobs in rural areas, take the pressure of our cities and bring down our food import bill. We also made it a priority for government to pay cash calls and to become a reliable partner in the one industry that generates exports.

On security, we called time on the licensed protection rackets in the Niger Delta and now have a sustainable peace. In east, the siren calls of doom have been silenced. Violent extremists fleeing Iraq and Syria may be attracted to Nigeria, but we have reduced their capacity to that of a terror group that looks to steal and even blow up our children. Age-old tensions between farmers and herders, fuelled by the irresponsible establishment of unregulated militias, is being brought under control and long-term strategies for sustainable livestock and agricultural policies are being implemented.

There was pain. The legacy of corruption and incompetence on the part of some of those then in office who now criticise us made that inevitable. They dismiss real achievements and cold, hard data in favour of orchestrated campaigns to fuel sectarian division and social upheaval. But look at other high population density oil producers like Iran or Venezuela and see the kind of fate from which we have been saved by the choices this government made. The cult of Nigerian exceptionalism, the idea that nothing happens anywhere else in the world like it does here, does not stand up. We are where we are because of how previous governments have managed Nigeria. This government, the first to be genuinely elected with a real mandate, is delivering for the many, the only basis to strengthen our common wealth.

People are impatient and suspicious of government. After all the years of failure, they have every reason to be. In 1950, when our population was just 25 million, a government Economic Survey noted that “power is expensive, and labour relatively inefficient; these factors are likely to limit severely the possibilities of any large expansion of manufacturing industries for some time to come.” As President Buhari said, “Where is the power?”
But where others talked and shared out contracts, we are delivering on infrastructure, the building blocks for sustainable economic growth. Finally, there is progress towards Mambila, a hydroelectric dam that will add 3,050MW to the national grid – more than 50 per cent of our current generating capacity – will transform not only the eastern Middle Belt but the rest of the country beyond. At the other end of the spectrum, a dozen solar farm projects will change local communities across the country.

Key transport arteries are being renewed after generations of neglect. Financing is now in place for the Second Niger Bridge, a critical economic asset and a symbol of national unity, and for the congested death traps also known as the Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja- Kano highways. Railways forgotten for decades are up and running, easing pressure from travellers and freight on our roads. Cosy cartels at our ports have been broken. Our telephone companies are no longer a law unto themselves. Banks can no longer make a fortune out of sitting on government funds – your money.

There are no quick fixes to our condition. Effecting real change is unglamorous, painstaking and difficult. It does not immediately grab headlines or always yield instant results. It does not help that vested interests, looking to hang on to undeserved privileges, throw road block in the way. There is a minority that does not want change. Of course, they cannot openly say so, and instead claim to be critics of the very progress we are making that they have tried to thwart, and concoct crude fantasies of communal violence for which they blame government. Or complain about the slow pace of government when they have fought tooth and nail to delay, distort or dilute change.

Transition is unsettling. It is in the nature of the journey that we do not fully appreciate the destination until we reach it. But the deliverables are already there, and stacking up. Just because we have every right to be cautious of what our governments tell us does not mean we need to believe all the disingenuous or ill-informed messages we receive on our phones, often from anonymous forces with an agenda.

Nigeria has reached a defining moment. We have come a long way. The old order is terrified and will employ all the old tricks and new to pretend that this is not the case, and that instead it is they who have the solutions, when all too often they have been the problem. The current buzz in the communications industry is that elections are won on emotions, not policies or track record. But let us look at the facts, and the alternative – of a return to tried, tested, failed. Let’s not be fooled by the packaging, no matter how slick the meme, the post, the advert, and instead look closely at what is inside.

Like Nigeria, government is not easy. But if we are to have better, more stable and prosperous future, we have no choice but to move forward.

•Kyari is Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Grassroots Politics, Direct Primaries And The Concept Of Home, By ‘Lanre Bucknor

Politics is local as it is always said!

The Commissioner we are enjoying perks from today hails from the hood.

When all else fails, everyone returns to their home constituency.

Dr. Abdulhakeem AbdulLateef tilted more towards the hood now when he understands the concept of grassroot politics and it’s attendant importance, he found out a little bit late in his political life but early enough to salvage his political grassroot relevance.

Hon. Tony Nwulu that we are trying to replace went to Imo with our commonwealth, how many Jakande Estate, Isolo constituents have you heard the Hon. Idimogu fellow touched directly? You would probably hear good words about him at canoe axis of this divide. Hakeem Muniru will be more tilted towards the people of Isolo when the goodies arrive, he was once at the green chamber and he never knew us, while Ago Okota people will enjoy more if Bola Ahmed Oseni Emerges.

Distinguished Senator Yayi who is supposed to be the senator representing this district at the  hallowed red chamber have never for once even visited us talk more of even touching our lives directly, he will first attend to the people of Alimosho if and when he is not trying to be the governor of Ogun state with the resources that belongs to you and I.

Do you know that Youths in Imo are calling Tony Nwulu to come be the governor? 4 years of our own commonwealth sunk into the governorship ambition of another state.

There’s so much a commissioner can do, it’s an appointment position. There’s so much a legislator can do despite it being a terminal position but if you support your own even if he doesn’t perform up as expected, you would have liberated the generation of one of your own and positively change the story that belongs to us and you can easily call him to question. We need more top class political office holder to come from this hood, the goodies can become bigger and more life reaching. The effect can be more sustainable than these cups of rice, low quality fabrics and a few naira notes.

Have you asked yourself when last we had a member of the green chamber hailed from the hood? Remind me when last for I am waiting.

Food will be digested and defeacated, Money is a temporal thing, it comes and goes irrespective of the level of plans put in place, I read somewhere that Robert Kiyosaki of Rich dad, poor dad fame is bankrupt. Fabrics will fade and pilgrimage will change the life of a selected few but a lasting legacy will remain long after the deed doer have left the shores of Mother Earth.

Asiwaju is a super strategist, he held Lagos down, went back to the drawing board and negotiated sound political deals with having the 4th best economy in Africa. Jagaban was able to do this because he never let go of Lagos even after clinching national relevance, he never sold out on Lagos, his local constituent even for Federal might.

The concept of direct primaries is a strategic game of numbers and this hood have the numbers.

Do not allow one of you use you against one of you for blood will always be thicker than water. The APC prides itself as a broom party signifying togetherness, this hood shouldn’t act otherwise.

Remember and note this day; politics is strategic, politics is not being heedless, politics is a game of number and you have the numbers required to swing this in one of you’s Favour!

Politics is local and when push comes to shove, everyone will return home, for home is where the heart resides!

‘Lanre Bucknor is an Estate Surveyor by profession and practice. He writes from Lagos.

He hosts a wordpress blog www.lordrooz.wordpress.com and tweets via @lordrooz.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Acting President Osinbajo In A Familiar Terrain, By Chukwudi Enekwechi

Professor Yemi Osinbajo has recently been announced as the acting president of Nigeria as President Muhammadu Buhari proceeded on a ten day’ vacation to the United Kingdom. He had on other occasions discharged the same responsibility in very satisfactory ways, and to the admiration of most Nigerians.

Of course, his principal, President Buhari, continues to repose full confidence in him, mostly based on his competence and sincerity of purpose. Professor Yemi Osinbajo is a man of genteel disposition and his ability to proffer solutions to some very knotty national issues has continued to endear him to Nigerians. He has under the auspices of the Federal Government spearheaded various assignments that have elevated Nigeria at the international fora.

He had in line with the Federal Government Economic Recovery and Growth Plan embarked on an investment drive to the United States of America where he diligently showcased the information and communication technology potentials in Nigeria. He succeeded largely in winning the goodwill of Google, the world’s largest search engine firm towards Nigeria, especially as it relates to the efforts of the Federal Government in the diversification of the economy using technology as an enabler for more foreign exchange earnings.

He also extended the support of the Buhari administration to Google’s Next Billion users plan which is aimed at guaranteeing greater digital access in Nigeria and globally. This approach will afford millions of Nigerians access to the internet and enhance content distribution during his recent visit to Silicon Valley in the United States. In totality his recently-concluded trip to the United States was a win-win for Nigeria. The vice president had also embarked on an investment road show to the United States which took him to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The major reason for the renewed interest on Nigeria by leading global information technology giants like Google and Facebook cannot be far-fetched considering the emergence of a new generation of internet users and the future potentials. Three key ways Nigerians are keying into the new technology are through the use of smart phones to access the internet, an instinct for universal computing and a demand for localised content. As he ascends the mantle of leadership at the highest level, Professor Yemi Osinbajo will surely not disappoint as he has an uncanny way of mobilising mass support for the administration especially as their many achievements in security, economy and fight against corruption are daily becoming manifest.

For the first time in Nigeria’s history there are noticeable improvements in the infrastructural development of the country. There is also a consciousness among Nigerians today that corruption is a cankerworm that does not do anyone good hence the unalloyed support for its reduction or outright eradication. The Buhari/Osinbajo administration has given a good account of itself in this sector. It is needless to restate that corruption has contributed to underdevelop us as a people, and with the undaunted commitment of the administration there is hope that Nigeria will soon heave a sigh of relief.

As a conscientious leader, acting President Yemi Osinbajo never fails to galvanise the collective goodwill of Nigerians and rally them at critical moments for the overall development of the country. In doing this his sincere disposition while tackling some intractable national problems is not lost on Nigerians and this was demonstrated in his past engagements with the Niger Delta stakeholders. On the whole Nigerians are expectant that the next ten days of acting President Yemi Osinbajo will not be a dull moment, and will be used to consolidate on numerous achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari and his humble self.

As a testimony to his proactive leadership qualities, acting President Yemi Osinbajo had, in the aftermath of the security siege at the National Assembly, queried the former director general of Department of State Security, Mr. Lawal Daura, on the rationale and authority for the unlawful action.

Based on the unsatisfactory response and public outcry, Osinbajo sacked  Daura as the boss of the DSS and the action  immediately restored calm and peace to a country gripped by anxiety. Many Nigerians including the opposition also lauded Osinbajo for punishing the erring official and promoting the  rule of law.

Of course this is not the first time will play a pivotal role in seeing that Nigerians ‘yearning for the full observance of the rule of law is given full expression and the result is the unquantifiable applause and support Nigerians have continued to give to the Buhari/Osinbajo administration. Enekwechi (JP) is an Abuja-based journalist and politician Kwechis19@yahoo.com

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

2019: Towards A Vibrant, Experienced Representation For Lagos East In The Senate, By Tope Atiba

I have consistently argued, and not just for personal reasons, that experience in the national assembly is imperative and an invaluable asset to the party and the constituencies being represented. It takes considerable amount of time to be effective at law making, to understand the ropes, to move bills or motions and to have a grasp of the paraphernalia of goverance at the centre.

This explains why legislators are routinely trained to continuously build capacity in a bid to discharge their responsibilities dutifully. Need I say, that it costs a handful of Money to train federal legislators, and it would be pound foolish for the country not to profit from that investment.

The truth is, Senators like Ike Ekweremadu, Ahmed Lawan, or even Femi Gbajabiamila in the green chambers just to mention but a few, are able to push bills through faster in the Senate having gathered the requisite experience and the wit for sensible politicking.

Their political party and the constituencies they represent are usually the beneficiaries of such experience. Moreso, senators that have stayed longer in the Senate have displayed a rare capacity to attract more projects to their constituents as well as the privilege of rank, in canvassing their positions or lending their voice to National Debates.

James Manager, for instance, was able to achieve the The Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State through the bill he sponsored in the Senate. Beyond the quality and appropriateness of the bill, it was his experience, lobbying and politicking, gathered from serving 3 terms in the Senate, that ensured the success of the bill.

Senator Gbenga Ashafa is also drawing from such experience to move forward his bill to see Yabatech upgraded to a university through the City University of Technology Bill sponsored by him.

Of course, I’m a stickler for merit and would not advocate that a non performing representative be returned to the national assembly just to halt the excessive turnover of legislators. However, those who have laurels to show and have fought the good fight should not be denied further opportunity.

On this I completely align with the position of the chairman of my party, the APC, comrade Adams Oshiomole who recently encouraged the party to reward Loyalty and Experience. He said “Let me assure all of us that the National Working Committee is making this promise publicly and we are doing you no favour. Legislation and the legislature requires experience because nobody can give what he does not have. We see people like Senator McCain, when they speak, the American people listen.

High turn over of legislators is not a value to be celebrated. What we should celebrate is experience which cannot be read in books, but can only be acquired on the job. I want to reassure you that we will do everything possible to change the old narrative of heavy turn over every four years and the ‘politics of you have done enough, step aside’ will change over time for the good of Nigeria and for the maintenance of democracy”.

Without a doubt, Senator Ashafa has remained loyal to the party and his constituents and I believe the experience he has gathered in nearly two terms in the Senate will prove a valuable asset in the coming years for his constituents and Nigerians. Senator Ashafa remains passionate and committed to delivering on every promise made to his constituents, to provide legislative support to the executive, to defend our dear constitution and to ensure that the common man finds hope in our dear country.

Thankfully, Senator Ashafa has again answered the clarion call from his constituents to continue to serve them at centre dutifully.

Temitope Atiba is a lawyer and the Senior Legislative Aide to Senator Gbenga B. Ashafa.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Gombe: The King And A World Of Wisdom, By Aliyu Abdullahi

I travelled to Gombe, my hometown to celebrate the Eid-el- Adha of 2018 on the 20th of August 2018, and like any other time I found myself in Gombe, I usually go to the Emirate Palace to pay homage to my brother and King, Dr. Abubakar III, the emir of Gombe, this time around was no different. I sent message that I wanted an audience with the King, his personal assistant informed me the King was at a construction site supervising the building of a hospital but will see me after he is back, and this was just a day after Eid Day when he was supposed to be receiving and entertaining guests that throng from all corners of the World to see him, I was a bit surprised but not totally, knowing his passion for humanitarian work even long before he became the King.

At 9pm sharp I was at the palace and there were a lot of people waiting to see him, but he gave me an appointment for 9pm and he immediately called for me, I was ushered in by Adamu Mai Fulani, the King’s personal assistant, there I met another gentleman alone with the King, after I greeted the King, he asked after my welfare and that of my family, I allowed the gentleman I met to continue with his mission.

The intelligent gentleman, obviously a scholar of some sort wanted the permission of the King to commence a historical documentation of the life of the King and his ancestors as he has seen from the Sokoto Caliphate, I also thought it was a brilliant idea but the King thought different, in a very polite words full of wisdom, he informed the gentleman and I that this was not the time and definitely not his vision or mission now.

The King narrated to us the story of his grandfather, Abubakar II, who lived a very modest life and when he died in 1984 or 85, couldn’t boast of more than 10,000 Naira as personal wealth after ruling Gombe for 45 years at a time when Kings are the rulers, when the Native Authorities in the North were almost subordinate of the Emirates, no boxes of clothed to distribute among his surviving children as he normally gifts out his clothes after wearing them 3 or 4 times to the needy, that was the life of Abubakar II, he was a simple man who believed he was made King not because he was better than the rest of the community but to serve the people which he did very well, he was a just and fair king.

Now, his grandson, Abubakar III wishes to emulate his grandfather but he has bigger ambitions, higher vision and a totally different means of serving the People, like his Grandfather, he informed us that God Almighty choses him to be King not because he was better than us or the other contenders, but because God Almighty has a mission for him for the people of Gombe.

His big ambitions was to leave a legacy never seen by any King or traditional leader in the Country when it comes to serving the People, his vision is to uplift the people of Gombe completely, he wants to build Schools, Hospitals, Prayer Places such as Mosques, he wants to create employment for the teeming youth of Gombe.

Now, the beautiful part of this King’s vision or dream is, it was already in progress, he has built the Schools, Hospitals and he has secured more than 200 slots of job placements in both State and Federal Government for the People of Gombe, he has created thousands of direct jobs through his construction of schools and hospitals, but he is still not satisfied to have considered himself to have achieve anything yet in the history of the world to the extent that he will have someone commence the writing of his biography, so he declined the offer from the gentleman politely.

He insisted that now is time for developmental projects, and the good thing is when he completed any project, he immediately hands it over to the community as their own project and not his project or in his name, he wanted the people to own it as stakeholders.

The King also told me that he does not go about seeking for patronage such as Government Contracts, he said this diminishes the institution of which the traditional leaders are supposed to protect, and that when a King ventures out of his roles, he belittles the throne and what we held as sanctity of our cultural values.

These were his exact words to me, I couldn’t stop smiling and nodding my head in total agreement with him, and I found myself wondering, how in the world did this brother of mine, now my King and my pride acquired such a world of wisdom in such a young age, and by the way, he happens to be the youngest first class king in the Northern part of Nigeria.

Now, His royal highness, Dr. Abubakar III is a man of few words, and I thought I should share this encounter with the world, particularly the people that do not know him well or what he stands for.

Long live the King, Dr. Abubakar III
Long live the Bubayero Dynasty
Long live the people of Gombe State

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Udom Emmanuel: A Failed Governor, By Lawrence Roberts

Every governor always has a crowd anytime they are giving a speech. But there are two types of crowds – the crowd that come because they love the governor, and the crowds that are paid to be there.

Anytime you see Governor Udom with a crowd of people, you will notice that they are all wearing a matching uniform. All wearing the same colours. Because they are a paid crowd. A crowd of people being transported to praise a Governor that cannot even find enough people to fill a small hall and praise him.
Udom is probably the worst Governor in Nigeria. And sadly, I do not even think he realises it.
What makes this so painful is that Udom directly followed Akpabio – an unusually effective Governor. Akpabio, within 8 years, took Akwa Ibom from a small backwater state, to a state with the best infrastructure in the country. Massive roads everywhere, streetlights, entertainment complexes, airports. Akpabio built them all.
Akpabio left for last just one road – the road linking his home town – Ikot Ekpene with Uyo, the state capital. This same road also links Akwa Ibom with the rest of the country through Umuahia and Aba. A single road.
For 4 years, Udom has been unable to complete that single road. He says he is working on it, apparently the will is there. He is even spending a huge amount of money, trying to complete that one road, and still he cannot.
This is an example of how he fails – just like a schoolboy who reads all day and night and still fails the exam, Udom works constantly, but achieves nothing. They say that Udom is working, but the work is not showing.
Akwa Ibomites say nowadays – we have nothing to eat, but Udom is building a toothpick factory. And this toothpick factory that is supposedly one of the highlights of his administration is nothing but a bare hall with a few machines, and some employees idly lounging about.
If you read online what his greatest achievements are, it mostly lists that he paid salaries. This is a state with the highest federal allocation in the country, with one of the smallest populations. Paying salaries is not something you should be proud of! It’s like a man being proud that he can breath – it is simply expected.
Akpabio designed a beautiful state. Waterfalls in the capital. Trees lining the roads. Streetlights. A well working and efficient airport. Since Udom came on, he cannot even do basic maintenance – the waterfalls are turned off. The grass is overgrowing on the highways. The trees are dying. No streetlights are working. The relaxation park in Uyo has turned into a car park for Keke Napep.
During Akpabio’s time, people became proud to come from Akwa Ibom. Akwa Ibomites were standing up, and had respect. Udom has bent our backs again. Once more, poverty has bitten the land. Cult wars happening across the state because the youth have no money and no industry. And Udom, instead of fixing the security situation, wasted so much time that it became common to see cultist gunmen strolling the streets.
We only voted for Udom because Akpabio told us to. But as they say, when a even a father warns you about his son, take the warning seriously.
Nationally, those who remained in PDP are those that are so known to be corrupt that even the APC will not accept them. Udom is hanging out with Wike, Fayose, Saraki, Dino Melaye. Are these the type of people we would be proud to say are our leaders? People that are well known for their corruption?
Is the life of the average Akwa Ibomite better under Udom than before? Udom that is building roads that lead nowhere, building industries that are employing nobody, and giving us toothpicks when we have nothing to eat?
While things are falling apart in Akwa Ibom, and the average man is praying for his daily bread, Udom set out to build the biggest church cross in the world, just like people in the past wanted to build a tower that can touch the heavens. And people spoke out against his foolishness, because a man of God only needs his bible and his mat to feed spiritually. We do not need idle edifices for our spiritual nourishment, we rather that the money be used for our physical nourishment.
Udom spent hundreds of millions on AKEES. Money we can kiss goodbye, with nothing to show. Udom spent huge money on Oracle training. The people who collected the money must have gone back to their village to consult Oracles, because we cannot find them anywhere.
Udom is a great big failure. You are requesting to come for second term? We do not want you, sir. We know you love Lagos, after all, do you not use our state money to fly to Lagos almost every weekend? Why not spend your second term relaxing in Lagos?

We are tired, sir! One term of incompetence is enough. These last four years, you have eaten well. Please go home and relax – we know where you can get some toothpicks you can use!

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Why Tinubu Is Better Than Saraki, By Ololade Otayemi

The recent statement by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in which he spoke about the defection of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State; and the quick response of Dr.  Saraki to some of the claims contained in the release has reignited the constant brickbat between the duo. The supporters of both politicians constantly lock horns over which of the two is considered a better politician and leader.

Readers would recall that even as members of the same political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Tinubu’s loyalists in Lagos were in the habit of attacking and mocking Senator Saraki, especially during his travails at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT); just as Saraki’s associates have also thrown a generous amount of dirt on Tinubu.

While Saraki supporters have always used his emergence as Senate President, against the wishes of Bola Tinubu and other APC leaders, as evidence of his political sagacity, something they believed portrayed him as a better strategist compared to Tinubu. The supporters of former Lagos State governor on the other hand have consistently maintained that Saraki is not and can never be the ‘political equal’ of Tinubu and that it’s even an insult to compare the Jagaban with Saraki.

Be that as it may, I must confess that even though I love Saraki largely because of his obvious good mastery of the political game and his impressive ability to outmaneuver his adversaries; it is however on the basis of developments in the States both politicians lead that I would love to examine their ingenuity and achievements as leaders of their people. It’s also on this basis that I want the reader of this piece to determine who among the duo is a better politician.

In terms of corruption perception, overbearing domination of the politics of their respective States and the anti-democratic practice of imposition; Tinubu and Saraki are one and the same. But that is as far as the similarities between the two go. Immediately one considers the abilities of both men to recruit competent individuals into positions and also support them to record commendable achievements; a mark of differentiation begins to set in.

While people point to the number of high political achievers that Tinubu has promoted, Senator Saraki has also within his own right elevated certain individuals to political limelight. But you only need to juxtapose the development in Kwara State to what is obtainable in Lagos to know that it’s either Saraki has not supported the best of his followers to serve the people of that State or that no one within his camp actually possesses the competence level of the Tinubu ‘’boys.’’ From Babatunde Fashola to Akinwumi Ambode, Lagos has sustained an impressive record of governmental performance, thanks to Tinubu’s excellent nose for good governorship material.

The same cannot be said of post-Saraki Kwara where his successor has so much debased governance that most average guys in that State are now printing posters to run for governor.

For me, the true determinant of a great mind and by extension a good politician and leader is the ability to discover other like-minded individuals that would not just sustain his legacies but also build on it. That is exactly what Tinubu did in Lagos.

For Saraki to therefore command the sort of regard Tinubu has today, he needs to do more than just promoting his personal attributes as a smart political strategist. Kwara is the number one assessment criteria for Saraki as the political leader of that State, and unless he discovers within his own camp someone with the knowledge and brilliance that matches those of the ‘Tinubu boys’, Kwara in its present form would continue to de-market Saraki in national politics.

In conclusion, it suffices to say that for anyone seeking a valid pointer to the superiority of Tinubu over and above Saraki, a look at how the successors of both men have managed the affairs of their respective states is all that is needed to arrive at a tenable judgement on their capacities as leaders.

While Fashola, and now Ambode, have entrenched Tinubu’s name as a capable leader who also knows how to discover people with capacity for impressive performance; it is doubtful if the governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatahi Ahmed, has given Saraki the opportunity to lay claim to such a gift.

 

*Otayemi, a public affairs commentator, writes from Lagos.

 

 

 

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

When You Fight The Wind, You Can’t Win – Alwan Hassan On President Buhari

You don’t change a government with hate and malice, you change government with tact and intelligence. This sustained onslaught against Buhari cannot move him from that seat. Never seen such a people who sleep and wake up with constricted venom against a man who aspired to be where he is today.

The Nigerian presidential seat is not for Christians or Muslims, it is for that Nigerian who is a Nigerian and has the Nigerian blood in him. A nation bedevilled by calamity and the only advocacy by some of her citizens is that the president should resign or be voted out.

Nothing is more sickening and illogical than this. Sincere people rally around themselves to solve problems, but here people gather in mosques and churches plotting the removal of a constitutionally elected man. The man you are so maliciously impugning has his own supporters who are doing everything to return their candidate. Instead of your surreptitious plot, why not bring forth a candidate, polish him and sell his candidacy?

Blackmail doesn’t change a government, disguised venom don’t win elections, only sincere electioneering ideas wins election. These outdated strategies of using religion and ethnicity cannot fetch any electoral values. This is 3 years since Muhammadu Buhari assumed leadership yet no single person has been islamized as peddled by the wicked merchants of mischief. If I were you, I will resign to fate in the matter of this man.

This is the same man that was set to die when his car exploded in volcanic IED, this man had his character mutilated on TV, radio, newspapers, in churches and mosques, in fact he lost nearly his life but guess what! He defied all these excruciating experiences to come out strong because God was not done with him. Do not begrudge this man, it is not him manifesting mortality, it is God manifesting his awesomeness on this man.

People like this rarely adore a generation, he has this special anointing- like the rock in the river, he is firmly rooted. Use wisdom to dislodge not these weak conspiracies flying round.

The Muhammadu Buhari I know is not here to promote any agenda other than his sworn oath of regaining the nation from the claw of usurper, looters, vampires and the acclaimed landlords of Nigeria. Stop fighting the wind, you can’t win.

Alwan Hassan.
Email @alwanhassan91@yahoo.com

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Why Some Customary Practices In Nigeria Are Illegal, By ‘Yinka Oyesomi

‘’ As legal practitioners, you cannot close your eyes to the social, political and economic problems of our time. Therefore, you have a duty to help rescue our society from pervasive lawlessness, corruption and anti-social activities.’’— Hon. Justice W.S.N Onoghen
Lawyers and budding legal practitioners who shy away from condemning ridiculous cultural practices in our society, have not only betrayed their callings, but the entire existence of man.
Hence, it would not be deemed out of place for budding legal practitioner like myself to criticize some anachronistic customary practices in our society. The Chief Justice of Nigeria, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Walter Onoghen affirmed this, too, at the July 21, 2017 call-to-bar ceremonies while addressing the new wigs.
It should be noted that customary practices like ‘Oro’ and ‘Agemo’ as prevalent in some Yoruba communities are not only repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience, but incompatible with the provisions of our laws, and against public policy.
Let it be known that these customary practices are very illegal and thus are alien to our jurisprudence. Though, Section 315(3),(4),(b) and (c) and section 265 and 280 gives special attention to customary law and makes provision for the establishment of the customary court of appeal for the Federal Capital Territory as must as of customary courts of Appeal for each states respectively.
Importantly, in law , it is settled that for a customary law to be deemd to be valid, it must pass through some validity tests, which customary practices like ‘Oro’ and ‘Agemo’ have failed. Hence, they cannot be rendered to be valid.
The court has held in the celebrated case of Agbai V. Okagbue that the importance of these validity tests is to fine-tune customs so they might maintain relevance in our legal system. Section 315 of the 1999 Constitution is the basis of these tests.
The repugnancy test is the first test of validity. This test requires that any custom or customary law must not be repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.
Natural justice is obviously a test of fairness and fair hearing of a custom. This is upheld by the grundnorm where Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution guarantees the fundamental right to fair hearing.
In the popular case of Guri V. Hadejia Native Authority, it was exclusively held by the court that such Malik custom preventing fear hearing of a suspect accused of high way robbery was not fit to be classified as customary law as it was against natural justice.
It would be of golden benefit to note that natural justice upholds two key principles: ‘audi alteram partem’ which guarantees fair hearing and ‘nemo judex in casua sua’ which also prevents one from being the judge in a case of interest to him. See the landmark decision in the celebrated case of Garb &  Ors. V. University of Maiduguri.
Hence, for traditional rulers to display fascist-like tendencies by decreeing that punishments will be meted out to those that have refused to follow their anachronistic, draconic and illegal orders is everything but an insult to our sacred laws. Let it be known!
In the same vein, customary laws must not be against equity and good conscience. Equity in its totality is fairness, rightness, and justice. Any custom must have the nature of equity while it must be born of good conscience, purpose and reason. See Inasa V. Oshodi.
Another test is the incompatibility test. This test requires that any rule of customary law must not be incompatible with any existing provisions of the constitution nor any existing statute for the time being in force in such a community in Nigeria. See Re Effiong Okon Ata where the court held that the right to administer with the property of a slave was now incompatible with the Slavery Abolition Ordinance No. 35 of 1916.
Pursuant to the above, it is crystal clear that this is where the traditional rulers have goofed. What a big time goof! It is a common knowledge that during these ‘Oro’ and ‘Agemo’ festivals, the fundamentally guaranteed right to the freedom of the inhabitant of such communities are always restricted. See Section 41 of the 1999 Constitution.
It should be a point of note that during ‘Oro’ and ‘Isemo’ festivals, females are mostly restricted to their homes as they are not allowed to move freely. This is not only an aberration of their rights to freedom of movement, as expressed hereinabove, but also a gross infringement of their right to freedom of discrimination as provided in Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution and several international covenants and protocols like the Covenant on the Eradication of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), though not yet domesticated in our jurisdiction. Notwithstanding, the proviso of the grundnorm still hold sway!
No doubt, this prompted the decision of the court in Mojekwu V. Mojekwu where a customary law discriminatory against female children was held to be against Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution and not enforceable.
Lastly, as a matter of necessity, customs or customary law must pass the public policy test. Public policy principally centers on the security and welfare of the people which is the primary purpose of the government as provided in Section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution. This formed the line of decision in Okonkwo V. Okagbure.
In the final analysis, to predicate on the above expostulations of the law, it can be deduced that customary practices like ‘Oro’ and ‘Agemo’ as trodden in some Yoruba communities are not only repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience, but also mitigate the provisions of our laws and against public policy. Hence, they should be jettisoned.
Anyone who disagrees with the already established arguments hereinabove is either delusional or deliberately violating the already established facts, empirical precedents and statutes.
No dilly-dally, these customary practices are not only illegal but an affront to justice. Can the traditional rulers claim to be oblivious of the law? Are they above the law?
In Nigeria, can we for once, be lawful?
‘Yinka Oyesomi is an undergraduate of law and the Secretary-General, Legal Minds for Good Governance Initiative(LMGGI). He can be reached via adeyinkaoyesomi@gmail.com and +2348143490113.
[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Jibrin Baba Ndace : Changing The Narrative Of Information Management, By Fodio Ahmed

Weeks after he, Jibrin Baba Ndace was appointed Chief Press Secretary to the dynamic Governor of Niger State Alhaji (Dr.) Abubakar Sani Bello, my boss Dr. Mustapha Jibril during our normal discuss informed me that,  the newly appointed press secretary of Mr.  Governor is very impressed with the little know-how of my handling his media activities and that he wants to meet me.
First,  I was shocked but most importantly, it challenged me to even put more effort considering that,  my modest ability is been noticed and recognized by an A-Class Journalist, PR czar and fine public analyst.
But “make I no lie, my big head come increase in size, I mean would you blame me ? I doubt”  .The thought of having a media heavyweight recognise my passion for journalism further deepened and restamped my resolve to keep pushing for greatness in the field.
Jibrin Baba Ndace, a persona whose humility, compassion and affections were tender and warm, his mentoring and encouragement can be best captured as simple and sincere.
An image maker with distinguished characteristics, a spokeperson who truly understand what professionalism stands for against all temptation by over-zealous persons’.
Ndace did not only succeed in refurbishing the narrative of the job description of press secretaries and information managers, he designed stand-out strategies of selling the restoration agenda of his principal, Governor Sani Bello.
Notable is the fascinating manner that Ndace deliberately adopted in handling the non-stop and notorious proposed ‘Pig-Fight’ laid by a ‘Sin-nator’ from  Zone B senatorial district of Niger State, Ndace saw the need not to engage in rejoinder-riot  with a distractor, the more reason the ‘Sin-nator’s frustration got even louder.  Silence is Golden, they say.
Admirably, the scenario I love most is how Ndace has been able to manage the unprofessional and likely-sabotaging acts canvassed through interfering with his Job Description  by those who arrogantly think or rather believe that they are too important to do what they want and Nothing will  happen,  I mean those who feel the Abu Lolo Government is their ‘Yahuza Chicken’  and ‘HABEEB FURA DA NONO’ .
Between Niger State Government and Nigerlites, information is what binds us to, remain informed with government activities and policies,  appreciate as well  hold accountable our public officers which is a citizen’s fundamental rights, so information is necessary,  if not a must. In that regard,  Ndace has displayed and sustained decorum and ethical image making and management, communication and publicity objectives.  Kudos. !
It was Henry Anatole Grunwald that opined “Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air”.
On Social Media: Despite the atrocities, excessive blackmail and raw e-yellow journalism (sensationalism gone digital, Lols) Ndace stood out by ensuring that there is a harmonious co-existence between citizens and the administration of his Boss. Of worthy mention is how he was able to manage freedom of speech, objective criticism and even ‘hate’ by citizens devoid of intimidation and harassment.
His ethical rationalism of respecting the diverse views and opinions of all, an attribute that reminds me of a saying by Ted Rubin ( @tedrubin ) “Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth”
The role of media in all aspect of human and society is as crucial as existence itself
and should never be underestimated, therefore,  with a vision that read thus  “to continuously, consistently, strategically and tactically deploy PR and media skills, expertise in reputation management of Mr Governor, Alhaji Dr. Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State in line with the cardinal priority of the administration and for the good of Nigerlites” what else do I say, if not keep excelling boss.
To this end,  Happy birthday Media-Bull and game changer.  More blessings, grace pon grace.
[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Buhari/Osinbajo Synergy Continues To Inspire, By Akinyemi Ayo

Last week was an array of political brouhaha ranging from the various defections of lawmakers and governors from the ruling party to the opposition party but amidst all, the siege on the National Assembly cannot be Jettisoned as Masked Armed Personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS) barricaded the entrance thereby restricting lawmakers and staffs of the National Assembly from gaining access into the complex.

Recall that in April, the security details of the National Assembly were compromised and some hoodlums invaded the hallowed chamber of the senate, stole the mace which was an emblem of authority.

There were assertions that the besiegement of the parliament by the masked DSS Personnel was an attempt to avert another invasion due to intelligence report but on a contrary, it was tantamount to coup against Nigeria’s Democracy bearing in mind that recently, there has been intense criticism concerning the DSS involvement in some political activities from being illegally deployed to the Nigeria Football Federation’s office Abuja to eject the President, Chris Giwa out of office and to also being used to orchestrate the planned impeachment of Benue State Governor on the basis of “Orders from above”.

However, the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, swiftly terminated the appointment of the DSS Director General, Lawal Daura; and the DSS personnel at the National Assembly retreated afterwards.

The acting President in a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, described the unauthorized takeover of the National Assembly complex as a gross violation of constitutional order, rule of law and all acceptable notions of law and order.

According to him, the unlawful act which was done without the knowledge of the Presidency is condemnable and completely unacceptable.

By this statement, Professor Osinbajo assured Nigerians that all persons within the law enforcement apparatus who participated in this travesty will be identified and subjected to appropriate disciplinary action.

The Prompt action taken by the Acting President in intervening in the siege of the National Assembly has generated a lot of remarks thereby regarding him as a true democrat and leader.

Nevertheless, the sack of the DG DSS has also generated a lot of controversies asking if the Acting President has the powers to fire Daura.

However, some analysts saw it as insubordination on his part making claims that the acting president carried out this orders without proper clearance from the president himself.

Prior to that, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina disclosed that the actions taken by the acting president in sacking the DG DSS shows that there’s unanimity in the government and it confirms the full transition of power by President Buhari to his deputy before proceeding on his vacation.

It should be noted that the Acting president will always maintain conscious correspondence with the President over the matters of the Nation after all the Buhari led administration is all about change agenda and it is subject to the duo.

Meanwhile, it is very important to note that the head can never stand alone; neither can the body making it clear that Prof Osinbajo could not have carried out these orders without the consent of the president.

Recall that days before President Buhari embarked on his 10-day vacation, he wrote the National Assembly and categorically informed them as he is expected to do constitutionally, that Vice President Osinbajo will assume the role of Acting President and as an Acting President, he has all the powers of the President, hence he can hire and fire as much as the President can.

The provisions of Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution makes this clear when it says the Vice President as Acting President shall discharge all the functions of the President.

Aside from the constitution, the undoubted loyalty of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is second to none, which means his decision is after liaising with President Buhari, his Boss, because of the synergy between them.

Even the Emir of Daura, HRH, Alhaji Farouk Umar Farouk, attested to the loyalty of Prof Yemi Osinbajo during the courtesy visit to his palace, in his remarks he said “We are happy with you and we are particularly proud of the way you have supported our son, President Muhammadu Buhari in leading our country Nigeria to prosperity and that explains why loyalty and trustworthiness among political class is being talked about, you stand as an example worthy of note. I wish that you carry on with this level of trustworthiness and continue to uphold the confidence that our son has in you”.

You would admit that the duo, President Buhari and Prof. Osinbajo always work together on everything, hence it would be fair to conclude that the Vice President consulted with him before taking this key decision that many Nigerians are applauding.

It would also be fair to shower the accolades on the duo rather than limiting it to one because what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander and a neck cannot function properly without the head.

The sack of the DG DSS is clearly a strong indication that the rule of law remains sacrosanct in Nigeria, the Buhari-led administration is proactive in its fight against corruption and bad leadership hence no stone will be left unturned.

Ayo is a Lagos-based journalist and public commentator

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Development And Infrastructure In The Niger-Delta: Fruits Of Buhari – Osinbajo’s Stabilizing Interventions, By Chukwudi Enekwechi (JP)

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has become famous among Nigerians for gainfully using the powers of his office to advance the socio-economic agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. For example in the heat of the Niger Delta crisis when militants resorted to blowing up oil installations, which crippled the country’s economy Professor Osinbajo  took up the gauntlet and waded into finding  lasting solutions to the problems in the Niger Delta region.
His interventions as manifested in his engagement with the Niger Delta leaders under the umbrella of Pan Niger Delta Forum led to the acceptance of dialogue by the Niger Delta agitators who eventually dropped their arms and saved the country from a total economic collapse and perennial restiveness in the region.
While it clear that some demands of the Pan Niger Delta Forum have not been fully implemented by the federal government, yet we see an obvious commitment on their part to fulfill most of their obligations to the Niger Delta region, and Professor Osinbajo is at the helm of seeing all these come to fruition. His inclination towards the maintenance of peace in the region has helped to stop the incessant interruption in the production and exploration of oil as a result of militancy, thereby improving the country’s economy and development.
In finding solutions to the problems confronting the region he has adopted some pragmatic approach, and the results are visible to all Nigerians. The reopening of Maritime University Okerenkoko in Delta state and establishment of modular refineries resonated well with the people and stakeholders of the region. The setting up of the modular refineries is a practical solution to the degradation of the region’s environment traceable to oil exploration.
Gladly the Buhari/Osinbajo administration is committed to the environmental remediation of the region as exemplified in the start of Ogoni clean-up programme.
The various empowerment programmes of the federal government which are targeted at supporting the youths of the region to lead useful lives have helped to provide the youths with gainful employment. In addition, the impartation of knowledge in various skills to the youths has played an important role in enhancing the productivity of the companies and other public institutions in the region.
The strengthening of the capacity of the Niger Delta Development Commission to deliver maximally on its mandate has raised the tempo of development in the region, especially in the area of infrastructural development and improvement in living standards.
As Nigerians continue to applaud Professor Yemi Osinbajo for his proactive leadership style, especially in the latest sacking of the director general of Department of State Services, Mr. Lawal Daura for acting ultra vires in the security siege at the National Assembly, it is discernible that the duo of Acting President, Professor Osinbajo and President Muhammadu Buhari are determined to bring succour, not only to the people of Niger Delta but to all Nigerians.
His timely intervention in bringing the National Assembly siege to a stop played a significant role in restoring the confidence of Nigerians to the security agencies, and reemphasised that rule of law remains sacrosanct in Nigeria.
By Chukwudi Enekwechi (JP)
An Abuja based Journalist
[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]