Ninth Assembly: Gbajabiamila Best Candidate For House Speaker – Jibrin

A member of the House of Representatives from Kano state and Chairman, House Committee on Transport, Abdulmumin Jibrin has said Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila remains the best qualified candidate for the House Speaker in the incoming 9th Assembly.

Jibrin, who also doubles as the Director General of Femi Gbajabiamila Campaign stated this on Sunday during the formal declaration by Leader of the House, Hon. Gbajabiamila for the House Speaker at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

According to him, the candidacy of Gbajabiamila was about democracy and bringing civility and global best practices into the legislature.

Jibrin said Gbajabiamila stands out as the best candidate describing him as a bridge builder and a man with experience and legislative knowledge.

He promised to respect other contestants, run issue-based campaigns and urged all members to join the project.

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The Coming Realignment in Yorubaland By Femi Fani-Kayode

There are two events that are of major significance this week. The first is the birthday of a man of immense integrity and a great son of the Yoruba by the name of Olusegun Rahman Mimiko who was 62 years old on October 3rd.

 Much has been said about him over the last few years and encomiums have been deservedly showered on him from all quarters for his birthday. I will only add this: ever since I have known Mimiko when he was a senior colleague in President Obasanjo’s cabinet he has been kind, forthright, courageous, honest, consistent, clear-thinking, hard-working and God-fearing. 

 His tenure as Minister of Housing under Obasanjo was successful and he went on, against all odds, to be elected governor of Ondo state where his work and legacy, particularly in the health sector, is simply outstanding. 

 Anyone that doubts that should simply pay a visit to Ondo State and see for themselves. What he has done in the last 8 years is simply unprecedented and I am very proud of him. 

 He has proved to be a loyal friend through thick and thin and he possesses an uncanny foresight into matters that only the Holy Spirit can give. 

 A devout and committed evangelical Christian, who like many of us, is not ashamed of proclaiming his faith and carrying it into all that he does, Mimiko undoubtedly still has a major role to play in the affairs of our nation. 

 I am proud to be not just one of his political associates and friends but also his brother and I stand shoulder to shoulder with him in whatever his ambitions or aspirations may be for the future. 

 The other significant event is the rapproachement and blooming friendship that exists between two sons of the Yoruba both of whom I have immense respect and affection for. Like Mimiko I have a special place in my heart for them both and this has been so for many years. 

 The first is my brother Ayo Fayose whose courage is second to none and the second is Rauf Aregbesola who is a Yoruba nationalist to the core and who is, in my view, the brightest and the best within the ranks of the APC. 

I got to know Fayose well when he was Governor of Ekiti in his first coming and only a fool will not acknowledge the fact that his return to power a number of years later after suffering the most terrible and wicked form of persecution from his enemies was clearly prophetic. 

 Fayose was accused of corruption and prosecuted by the EFCC. He was also accused of murder and so many other things by those who wanted him dead and destroyed. 

 Yet in spite of it all he defeated his traducers and adversaries in court, he rose again and he has not only become one of the most potent voices and forces in our politics today but he has also metamorphosed into something of a whirlwind and destructive hurricane against the Buhari administration.  

 He is a man that is destined for greatness despite his humble beginnings and he has broken all the norms and crossed all the red lines and boundries of Yoruba politics by proudly and openly defying the powers that be in the west, capturing the imagination of the people and bulldozing his way to the top by popular will. That takes guts and it could only have been done by the finger of God. 

Then comes Rauf Aregbesola who I got to know well in 2013. What I found the most attractive and most extraordinary about him was his loyalty to any cause that he commits himself to; coupled with his total and complete faithfulness and fidelity to his political associates and friends and particularly to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu under whom he served as Commissioner for Works. 

 Apart from that few know that he is an expert and authority on Yoruba ancient history and this informs and feeds his very rare and distinct sense of Yoruba nationalism. 

 I have written about him on several occasions over the years and despite the fact that I disagree fundamentally with him on a number of issues and we do not belong to the same party my admiration and respect for him remains intact and unshakeable.

 We may all have our differences in terms of political party affiliation but one thing is clear: as he rightly told Fayose during their recent meeting in Ado Ekiti a few days ago, there will be a realignment of political forces both in and outside of the south west very soon. There is no question about the fact that he is right about that. 

 And when that time comes we all need to wise up, smell the coffee and accept the fact that we must stand together as one in order to defend the interest of our people. 

 When the lion and the tiger stand shoulder to shoulder in defence of the castle it makes it very difficult for the jackals and the bandits to mount the walls and take the gates.  

 For those that are still asleep and that refuse to recognise the fact that there is a problem in this country kindly consider the following. 

 30 per cent of the oil reserves and 40 per cent of the gas reserves in our country are in Bayelsa State.

Nigeria has become relatively rich as a consequence of this and up until one year four months ago our economy was booming. 

 The oil of the people of the Niger Delta appears to be good enough for Nigeria yet the people of the Niger Delta do not appear to be worthy of anything as far as Nigeria is concerned. 

 After railroading the only Niger Deltan President in our history out of power in a rigged election after just one term and then coming after his family, friends and political associates with everything that they have got, the new powers that be refused to stop there. 

 They went further by doing their best to rig the governorship election in his state but they failed as a consequence of the sheer doggedness and fortitude of Seriake Dickson, the Governor of the state and the defiant and gallant fighting spirit of the people. 

 Yet in an attempt to pay them back for their stubborn streak the President decided to prove to the whole world that Bayelsa, the state that lays the golden egg for the whole nation, was not worthy of even one member of the Board of Directors of NNPC or even one out of the 44 ambassadors that were recently appointed by him. On all counts Bayelsa was left out. 

 Is that fair? Is it justice? Is it equity? I must acknowledge the fact that I was furnished with these interesting facts by the Secretary to the Bayelsa State Government, His Royal Highness Barrister David Serena-Dokubo Spiff, and having cross-checked them they have proved to be accurate and true. 

 This sort of treatment that has been meted to Bayelsa State goes across the board in all the states of both the south-south and the south-eastern zones of our country.  

 The story is the same in both regions: it is one of marginalisation and humiliation. And for some of my Yoruba kinsmen to believe that it will not eventually be applied to them too is the height of naivety. 

 With the attempted demystification of Tinubu the process has already started and we better sit up and learn fast. 

 When your neighbours house is being set on fire by the marauding barbarians and invaders do not gloat because it is only a matter of time before they set their sights on yours as well.

 Yet let me be clear. I do not talk about a realignment of forces with cowards and quislings and neither am I proposing joining forces or closing ranks with those who have sold their souls to the devil. 

 I do not refer to those who have decided to sell their erstwhile mentors, elders, betters and political leaders in the south-west down the river in return for being made a “super-Minister”. 

 I do not refer to those that have consistently rejected the idea of restructuring our country or redefining the composition and nature of our union and who believe that all is well with the structure of our so-called federation. 

 I do not refer to those who have consistently rejected the concept of a handshake across the River Niger from the west with our Igbo and Niger Deltan brothers. 

 I do not refer to those that have consistently derided the idea of southern unity even if we may have had our differences in the past. 

 I do not refer to those who see nothing wrong with the activities of the Fulani herdsmen, who express joy whenever IPOB members are killed, who take pleasure in the military occupation of the Niger Delta and who refuse to acknowledge the challenges and horrific plight that the people of the Middle Belt and the northern minorities are facing. 

 They include those that enjoy watching and hearing about the shaming, suffering and humiliation of their own southern kinsmen and brothers. 

 They include men that have no knowledge of history and that have lost their self-esteem. Men that are suffering from an acute sense of self-hatred and that wish they had not been born into their families or tribes. 

 The earlier that men like Rauf Aregebesola, Ayo Fayose, Olusegun Mimiko and a number of others put their differences aside and join forces to protect and further the interests of the Yoruba people in a wider Nigeria the better. 

 Given what is slowly unfolding in our respective political parties and our country it is obvious that we have little choice. Whether you are in the PDP or the APC the paramount interest must be how to further the Yoruba interest, how to restore the dignity of our people and how to ensure that our country is redefined or restructured before it is too late. Anything less than that will lead to our collective doom.

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“Budget Padding”: Femi Falana’s Misrepresentations Of The Facts And Law By Basil Okonkwo

Mr Femi Falana SAN has enjoyed unequaled public attention over the years because of his activism and principled stand on issues. When I saw his contribution on this padding subject which i have followed closely since its arrival in the public domain, I naturally picked interest. I was however shocked to read his latest piece, entitled “The criminality of Budget Padding”. I am constrained to lament that he has done himself a great disservice by manufacturing facts on the budget issue and making comments solely on facts cooked up suo moto. Based on these concocted stories dressed up as facts he posited legal comments on them rather like a layman on the street.

He claimed that it has emerged that about twenty people sat down after the Budget had been passed and inserted projects including Constituency Projects into it fraudulently. The truth, from my independent findings, is that Constituency Projects subhead or head of expenditure was included in the President’s budget proposals to the National Assembly as has been the practice in the last three years. It was not originated by the National Assembly even though it has undoubted right to do so.

I am sure that if the learned silk had adverted his legal mind to the Acts Authentication Act , 2004, he would have discovered that the only authority who can say authoritatively what the Senate and House of Representatives passed is the Clerk to the National Assembly who authenticated the copy of the Bill as correct and a true reflection of what was passed. We know that Mr Falana, who lives in Lagos is aware of  “Oluwole Market” where fake documents are manufactured but that doesn’t give him the right to presume that a solemn document authenticated by the signature of the Clerk to the National Assembly is fake. The 2016 Appropriation Act has five signatories to it, Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin, Chairman House Committee on Appropriations, Senator Danjuma Goje, Chairman Senate Committee on Appropriations, Rt Hon Lasun Yusuf, the Deputy Speaker who was brought in by the National Assembly leadership to work the Executive to achieve harmony on the details of the Budget, Alh Maikasuwa, the then Clerk to the National Assembly, and finally, President Muhammadu Buhari, who assented to the Bill. Is Mr Falana seriously contending that these people endorsed a fake budget? How low can we go?

It should be noted that even Hon  Abdulmumin has never claimed, in any of his statements, that the insertions into the budget were done outside the legitimate appropriation framework and process, his major claim is that some people padded more than others!! You see , he cannot say otherwise because since he,  rather than even the Speaker signed the details of the budget, after due insertions and processing as allowed by law. if there is anything wrong with the signed budget he will be the first culprit. The Speaker’s signature is not contained in the budget rather it is Abdulmumin’s signature that is there!!. Indeed of the four functionaries he is accusing, only the Deputy Speaker is a signatory.

Having disposed of the fact that Constituency projects is part of Mr Presidents proposal, I will now interrogate another falsehood peddled by Mr Falana. He claimed that the National Assembly has no right to change the figures proposed by Mr President or introduce new budget items. He made no attempt to define what the Constitution means by ‘Heads of expenditure’. It may not be his fault altogether because Falana has never really set foot in any legislature, even though I recall from media reports when he was invited to address the House of Representatives in the 7th Assembly, he apparently does not know that the Appropriation Bill itself has a schedule that contains details of expenditure . It is in the body of the bill itself that the heads of expenditure are contained and even though the National Assembly can under Section 80(4) of the Constitution determine the MANNER of withdrawal from the Consolidated revenue Fund, and this includes discretionary power to add to the figures and propose new line items, it is new line items that some people confuse as heads of expenditure. In spite of introduction of certain words from the British parliamentary lexicon, Section 80(4), clearly has no equivalent in British parliamentary practice which some commentators have sought to rely on. It is indeed surprising that the utterances of Femi Falana, SAN, would seem to suggest that he lacks basic knowledge of the laws governing the budget and appropriation process.

The argument that any other law supersedes the Appropriation Act is patently unfounded. If any previous enactment is inconsistent with a later law, in this case the 2016 Appropriation Act, the later law impliedly displaces and overrides the earlier law. It is only the Constitution that cannot be overruled by a subsequent legislation.

It bears repeating for the umpteenth time that the 2016 AppropriationAct is a law of the Federation duly assented to by Mr President and Mr Falana insults Mr President when he claims that he didn’t know what he was doing when in fact he meticulously scrutinized the Budget before assenting to it. In any case, if he did not assent to the Bill , the National Assembly has power to override his veto. Undoubtedly the National Assembly has primacy in the budget process as provided in Section 59(4) of the Constitution.

Mr Falana further feigned ignorance of the provisions of Sections 3, 30 and even 24 and other enabling portions of the LEGISLATIVE HOUSES ( POWERS AND PRIVILEGES) ACT. Even though there are divergent decisions of the Courts on the constitutionality of Section 30 of the Act , it is clear that it applies in this context.

Permit me to set out the provisions of these sections as follows:
Section 3. “Immunity from proceedings:
No civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against any member of a Legislative House—
(a) in respect of words spoken before that House or a committee thereof; or
(b) in respect of words written in a report to that House or to any committee thereof or in any petition, bill, resolution, motion or question brought or introduced by him therein”.

Section 30. “Courts not to exercise jurisdiction over acts of President, Speaker or officer: Neither the President or Speaker, as the case may be, of a Legislative House nor any officer of a Legislative House shall be subject to the jurisdiction of any court in respect of the exercise of any power conferred on or vested in him by or under this Act or the standing orders of the Legislative House, or by the Constitution”.

24. “Publication of certain statements and writings an offence
(1) Any person who—
(a) publishes any statement, whether in writing or otherwise, which falsely
or scandalously defames a Legislative House or any committee thereof; or
(b) publishes any writing reflecting on the character of the President or
Speaker, as the case may be, of a Legislative House or the chairman of a Committee of a Legislative House in the conduct of his duty as such President, Speaker or chairman; or
(c) publishes any writing containing a gross, wilful or scandalous
misrepresentation of the proceedings of a Legislative House or of the speech of any member in the proceedings of a Legislative House,
shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of two hundred Naira or to imprisonment for twelve months, or to both such fine and imprisonment.
(2) In this section “publish”, in relation to any writing, means exhibiting in public, or causing to be read or seen, or showing or delivering, or causing to be shown or delivered, with the intent that the writing may be read or seen by any person”.

It is important to also highlight the fact that Falana’s charge of arrogant refusal by Speaker Dogara to submit himself to security agencies for investigation is not only faulty on point of law as analyzed above, but indeed faulty on facts because my inquiries reveal that, contrary to public impressions, no such agency has laid any charges or require him to submit himself for investigation. I should like to caution that while the general public may be forgiven for riding with the wind of every allegation it is incumbent that a legal practitioner enjoys no such liberty, he is bound to adopt a judicial mind in analyzing such situations so as not to submit himself to public misinformation and miseducation.

There is no doubt that the National Assembly did not go outside its legitimate lawmaking powers in the processing of 2016 Budget in spite of mischievous, ignorant and unwarranted assertions to the contrary by some loud mouthed pundits and, unfortunately, even gullible lawyers, with an agenda to derail the  democratic gains achieved since 1999 by a very active and assertive legislature that has withstood the autocracy of a rampaging Executive. Attempts to weaken the legislature and render it impotent in the face of daily struggle to curb the excesses of the Executive on behalf of the Nigerian people ,will be regretted in due course especially by  people like Mr Femi Falana who, having committed so much in the promotion of democracy, now appear to be  aiding and abetting this course of action.

Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin’s tirades is clearly not an anti – corruption struggle but the tirades of a man who lost his job and is on a mission to destroy the National Assembly and destroy Nigeria’s image in the international community. He has become a clear and present danger to the security and stability of the country.
BARRISTER OKONKWO
Wrote in from Abuja

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Questions For Femi Falana And Similar Experts On The Alleged Budget Padding By Nass By Linus Okorie

Dear Mr Femi Falana, SAN,

I monitored your opinions on July 31, 2016 via Channels Television on the issue of alleged padding of the budget. Being one person I have admired over the years and have the greatest admiration for on point of law, public advocacy and rights protection, I wish to kindly seek the following clarifications to help me get a better handle on the matters in issue:

  1. Is the budget an act of the National Assembly or a product of Mr President’s desires? Specifically, whose constitutional responsibility is the Appropriation Act (not the Appropriation bill) with particular reference to and combined reading of sections 4, 59, 80 and 81 of the constitution?
  2. Can the estimates presented by Mr President under section 81(1) of the constitution become an appropriation act without the legislative inputs of the National Assembly with particular reference to section 59(2)(3) of the same constitution? Specifically, what in your opinion was the intention of the framers of the constitution in subjecting the budget to same lawmaking process of the National Assembly with specific clarification in section 59 of the constitution?
  3. Can an estimate proposed by Mr President and passed in exact amount by the NASS be deemed illegal and padding under any circumstance simply because the assembly broke the lump sum down into discrete projects for implementation? For instance, the zonal intervention fund or so called constituency projects?
  4. What exactly is illegal or immoral about the constituency projects fund(always proposed and executed by the executive the same way as other capital projects in each budget)? Do you truly believe that the annual constituency projects of N100billion (approx 5% of the 2016 capital appropriation) for the NASS is the greatest source of corruption or executory inefficiency in our budgets!
    Are you aware that it operates much in the same pattern as Porkbarrel projects in the USA and even in greater dimension in Kenya as the National Government Constituency Development Fund, where 2.5% of its federal government share of revenue is set aside for constituency constituency and its budgetary approval and implementation significantly controlled by the legislature?
  5. What exactly in the allegations by Hon Jibrin constitute a criminal act, padding or illegality given that they all relate to alleged proposed budgets for different parts of the country and for which no funds have been expended?
  6. What exactly would the DSS, Police, EFCC and ICPC be investigating given that all documentary exhibits presented by Hon Jibrin are either not part of the signed budget or are parts of the harmonized budget jointly undertaken and agreed to by a harmonization of the NASS and the executive; and ultimately assented to by the President?
  7. If any project in the budget asented to by Mr President is considered “a padding” and therefore criminal, can the President; whose document the signed budget is be exonerated from indictment and; if so, why? If not, what should be his sanction?
  8. Hon Jibrin who is alleging wrong doing against some members is the only member of the house whose signature is on the approved budget in his capacity as Appropriation Committee chairman; meaning that it is his product. Having willfully hidden information of alleged criminality and wrongdoing at his disposal from other members, the President and the public, and having gone ahead to authenticate the document as correct and error free; can he now after removal from office be a credible source of the allegations he’s making and warrant reliance? Should he not be under prosecution as a self confessed criminal?
  9. Is there any project among those allegedly “padded” by named members that is of exclusive personal benefit of the said member and that is designed to be implemented by the member of the Nass instead of the executive?
  10. Is there any evidence that indicts any member of the Nass or suggests that the funds allocated for the projects alleged by Hon Jibrin were released to the member or was to be so released?
  11. Assuming without conceding that those projects were paddings to the budget and the implementation still remains at the discretion of the executive, what exactly constitutes a criminal act now to be punished by any authority; even as none of the projects has been implemented and no public fund is missing thereby?
  12. Under what conditions can the President choose and pick what portions of a law assented to by him, another President or indeed any other extant law to comply or not to comply with? And would you blame the Nass if it decides to defend the constitution and/or sanction such breach of extant laws; including the appropriation act, if it occurs? Would you under any circumstance encourage the President or other executive actors to willfully refuse, fail or refrain from implementing an extant law without the pronouncement of the court as to the law’s unconstitutionality or illegality? Does the Appropriation Act assented to by Mr President fail on any score as an operative law of the nation? How would you then justify a call to investigate, indict or prosecute a member of the NASS for his lawmaking role?
  13. Are you not concerned, as a senior lawyer and rights activist, that this campaign is a violation of the constitutional rights of the legislature and a threat to democracy given that there’s is no judicatory foundation for the  push to criminalize the work of the NASS in its ordinary cause of lawmaking?
  14. Sections 58 and 59 of the constitution prescribe the lawmaking processes by the NASS with section 59 referring specifically to the appropriation and related bills. Do you agree that the only difference between the ydtwo sections is in the prescription of a specific time frame and mode of resolution of differences? Even at that, do you acknowledge that section 59 recognizes the possibility of differences between versions passed by both chambers? What in your opinion may constitute such differences?
  15. Would you be surprised if after this intervention, Hon Abdulmumin suddenly releases further evidence indicting me of “budget padding” as the thirteenth member of the House so indicted?

I shall be most grateful to hear from you. You must permit me also to share these thoughts  with the public using every media available to me. In so doing, I will hope that other experts will also contribute to enriching my knowledge of the issues at stake and further empower me to more effectively address the them as a participant.

Accept the assurances of my esteemed regards.

Rep. Linus Okorie,FCA represents Ohaozara/Onicha/Ivo federal constituency of Ebonyi state.

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Enemies Within Buhari’s Govt, National Assembly Frustrating Anti-corruption War – Femi Falana

The anti-corruption campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari is being repelled on two fronts from beneficiaries of corruption in the previous administration, and “enemies within” the government, a senior lawyer and activist, Femi Falana, has said.

In his lecture at the investiture of Dele Ologbede as the President of Rotary Club, Ikoyi, in Lagos on Sunday, Mr. Falana said after Nigerians had backed the government to reject claims of lopsided prosecution of anti-corruption campaign by those “from outside”, it was time for Mr. Buhari to fight the enemies within.

As enemies within, he made references to Minister of Interior and former Army Chief, Abdulraman Dambazzau; Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai; Comptroller-General of Prisons, Jafaru Ahmed; and the National Assembly.

“Since the Buhari administration commenced the war against corruption last year it has enjoyed the support of the Nigerian people,” Mr. Falana said in his speech which he sent to PREMIUM TIMES. “However, corruption is fighting back on two fronts. From outside the battlefront, the beneficiaries of corruption have accused the government of selectively targeting its political opponents in the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). The allegation has been dismissed by Nigerians as all the suspects arrested by the EFCC have not denied their involvement in the mega looting of the treasury. Apart from the fact that majority of those who have been arrested are military officers and government contractors a number of the suspects who are members of the PDP have actually refunded part of the loot.”
He continued, “From the home front, it is evidently clear that some highly placed public officers who have been linked with corruption are trying desperately to discredit and sabotage the war. Disturbed by the clamour for the removal and prosecution of such individuals the government has urged Nigerians to stop making baseless allegations against serving public officers. In spite of the clarification by the government the online media have continued to substantiate the allegations of corruption against the Chief of Army Staff and the Minister of Interior.

“Instead of attacking the imaginary enemies of the government, the anti-corruption war calls for an urgent review of strategies. For instance, it was recently reported in the media that 3 ex-chiefs of army staff had been indicted by the arms procurement panel. But when the report was eventually released the name of one of the 3 security chiefs who is a serving minister was missing. Not unexpectedly, allegations of cover up were raised in the media. Embarrassed by the development the government reacted by denying any cover up and explained that the panel had not investigated the arms procurement from 2007-2010 when the minister served as the chief of army staff.

A fact-check by PREMIUM TIMES, showed that contrary to government claims, the arms procurement (2007-2015) probe panel investigated Mr. Dambazzau’s tenure as Army chief.

However, when the report was released, neither Mr. Dambazzau or Mr. Buratai were indicted, amidst allegations that the report was doctored. The federal government later said the probe exercise did not cover Mr. Dambazzau’s tenure as Chief of Army Staff.
“Before the release of the controversial report a group had alleged that the Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai had purchased some properties worth $1.5 million in Dubai, United Arab Emirates,” Mr. Falana said.

“In defending the allegation the Nigerian Army claimed that the general bought the properties from his legitimate earnings. In confirming that the properties were declared the Code of Conduct Bureau claimed that the army chief had declared them in the name of his wife! Aside the statement the CCB should proceed to investigate and confirm that the properties were legitimately acquired from the income of the general. This investigation should be speedily and transparently conducted to assure the Nigerian people that there are no sacred cows in the prosecution of the war against corruption.

“Another official whose conduct ought to be investigated by the government is the comptroller-general of prisons, Mr. Jafaru. According to media reports which have not been denied the prison boss is alleged to have reduced his age by two years. Since two judges were recently dismissed for reducing their ages and ordered to refund the money they had illegally collected the comptroller- general of prisons ought to be removed from office without any further delay. Similarly, having identified the top civil servants in the Presidency who padded the 2016 national budget the federal government should hand them over to the EFCC for prosecution.”

In his speech, Mr. Falana expressed worry that the All Progressives Congress-led National Assembly is also allegedly frustrating the anti-corruption war.

Apart from the hot scandal of budget padding to the tune of N40 billion involving top members of the House of Representatives including the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, Mr. Falana said both Senators and House members short-changed Nigeria by sitting below number of days constitutionally stipulated but collecting full “jumbo” pay.

“Whereas section 63 of the Constitution provides that the Senate and the House of Representatives shall each sit for not less than 181 days in a year section 68 thereof states that any legislator who fails to attend the proceedings of the house or senate for less than one third of the required number of days shall automatically lose his or her seat. For the first legislative year which ended on 9/6/16 the 8th session of the national assembly did not meet the constitutional requirement. Specifically, due to incessant recesses the House of Representatives sat for only 104 days while the Senate sat for 96 days. This means that the senate sat for barely 50 percent of the required sitting period. Indeed, some of the senators who had to attend criminal courts where they are standing trial for corrupt practices did not seat for up to 70 days throughout the legislative year.

“The Senate was actually shut down on a number of occasions to enable the senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki to attend the proceedings of the Code of Conduct Tribunal where he is standing trial for false declaration of assets. And in solidarity with him, a number of senators abandoned their duties to accompany him to the Tribunal. Since the labour policy of “no work no pay” is applicable to all public officers the federal legislators ought not to have been paid when they did not perform any legislative duty. In other words, having failed to sit for the mandatory period of 181 days the legislators were not entitled to payment of full salaries and allowances for the whole legislative year.

“Having been paid full emoluments when they failed to sit for the required number of days the federal legislators ought to refund some money to the treasury. In the circumstance, the Accountant-General of the Federation should ensure that the legislators are made to refund the money collected for the number of days they failed to sit in the national assembly,” he said.

He asked the Government not to compromise the anti-corruption war. He also said that officials who cannot explain sources of their wealth should be thrown out. He called for prosecution of suspected corrupt officials.

Credit: Premium Times

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Femi Fani-Kayode: A Bigot In Jail, By Usama Dandare

“God willing am in custody of EFCC, but to me is a great time to communicate with God just the way Paul and other brethren did in their days. I am here not only because my party gave me money to campaign for them like every other politician even in APC. But if it might interest you to know,what is going on is the persecution of Christians. Before i forget,this message should be taken to apostle Johnson Suleman the founder of OMEGA fire ministry. I had a revelation that they are planing to attack him. Because he is one of the major voice crying out for justice in the body of Christ. The Muslims are out to persecute the Christians.” ~ Femi Fani-Kayode
The speed with which Femi Fani-Kayode (FFK) manufactured his latest hypocrisy admonishing Nigerian Christians to take up arms against their Muslim brothers in retaliation of the ongoing persecution and assault against Christians and Christianity – as Femi Fani-Kayode concocted from his prison cell – by the current incorruptible regime of President Muhammadu Buhari has absolutely left all well meaning spectators (I inclusive) in deep amusement. This latest hypocrisy perhaps prompted the penning down of this piece, with an intent to find answers to these fundamental questions: why is FFK all out to brainwash and incite our Christian brothers against Nigerian Muslims? Does he have some interior motives in marrying his ongoing corruption trial with his religious belief?
First, Femi Fani-Kayode, was accused of diverting campaign funds when he was the spokesman for the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation, and got arrested by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on Monday, May 9, 2016, after undergoing interrogations at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja. Since then, he has been in detention at EFCC detention facility. Until earlier this week when he was arraigned before an Abuja high court on a 17-count charge of corruption and money laundering to the tune of N4.7 billion, alongside Mrs. Nenadi Usman and others, they were all remanded in prison pending a court hearing of their bail application later today. FFK is alleged to have took part in the illegal withdrawal of N2.5billion directly from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and disbursed to chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Goodluck Support Group (GSG), where the don allocated to himself a whopping sum of N840 million, while the remaining funds was used in blackmailing opposition politicians and sponsoring hate speeches with the intent of dividing Nigerians along ethno-religious lines through some hate media channels.
News coming out from Kuje central prison disclose that FFK has Metamorphosed into a self acclaimed pastor overnight and had commenced parading himself as a holy man of God, to an extent of liking himself to Paul (who unarguably equals no other human figure in the Bible that demonstrated more humility while sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ) and other biblical brethrens whom suffered monumental persecution while preaching Christianity during their days. He wakes fellow prisoners up every morning with worship and praise songs and subjects them daily to intense prayer sessions by the hour, and also going round the prison cells vowing fellow inmates that he will intervene in their favour and start strategic public relations efforts in their interest to repair their badly damaged reputation. What a comedy!
Well, it isn’t a surprise in anyway to see FFK shelving his true colours and disguise as a man of God to score some cheap political points. It’s only habitual of a man who always changes colour when it serves his purpose, and change identity to go in line with his hypocritical way of life. However, what is surprising and perhaps more alarming is his latest venomous vulgar liking his ongoing corruption trial to a crusade against Christians and Christianity to pave way for President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda of Islamizing Nigeria. Lest I forget, this is a man who just yesterday was part of the political oppurtunists that committed a monumental rape on our national treasury, plundered the nation’s wealth, and even headed the campaign for the re-election of the most dangerously and recklessly corrupt administration in the history of man. Yet, the same man is now shamelessly trying to play religious cards in a bid to cover up his daylight robbery on our hard earned resources.
After taken part in stealing all the savings in our nation’s coffers, FFK is now hell-bent on creating confusion and mixing religion with the ongoing degoatification process in an attempt to instigate religious violence, when it’s glaring that his trial has nothing to do with religion. Yes, several Christians were arrested and currently on trial as we speak, likewise several Muslims are also facing the same retributions. If as long as you want me to believe that the ongoing anti-corruption crusade embarked upon by the government of today is religiously motivated, then you must without any delay tell whether Col. Sambo Dasuki is an Anglican or a Catholic. Which church did Murtala Nyako attended last Sunday? Which church did the likes of Sule Lamido, Mal Ibrahim Shekarau, Bello Halliru Gwandu, Col. Ja’afaru Isa, and Attahiru Bafarawa to mention just a few converted to Christianity?
Ironically, Femi Fan-Kayode presents the sharp, narrow shadow of an irresponsible and drunk religious bigot. Religious intolerance is an unfortunate trend which Nigerians have turned into a socio-political culture adopted in their day-to-day activities. And with the likes of Femi Fani-Kayode’s hypocrisy, religiously laced writings having the tendency of inciting Nigerians to turn against one another, the citizenry are therefore distracted from focusing on allegations of corruption and financial misappropriation against the thieving elites. Thus, transferring individual culpabilities into communal or religious liabilities. With his tales of hate, enmity and sheer hypocrisy against Muslims and Islam, FFK could easily pass through ISIS recruitment test – who are all out to destroy Islam. I am very optimistic he can easily build an illustrious and fruitful career in helping the enemies of Islam (ISIS and Boko Haram) to cleanse the entire Muslim population.
Instead of FFK to answer his corruption charges and do exactly what the holy bible instructed, he’s here lashing out at imaginary foes in continuation of the idiotic and irresponsible tradition of his late father – overheating the polity. Since FFK is claiming to be a good Christian, though I wonder which born again Christian will have children out of wedlock, this is what the holy Bible says to him and his likes: In Leviticus chapter 6:2-7, God said to Moses: “When a person sins and commits a trespass against the Lord by deceiving his fellow citizen in regard to something held in trust, or a pledge, or something stolen, or by extorting something from his fellow citizen, (6:3) or has found something lost and denies it and swears falsely concerning any one of the things that someone might do to sin – (6:4) when it happens that he sins and he is found guilty, then he must return whatever he had stolen, or whatever he had extorted, or the thing that he had held in trust, or the lost thing that he had found, (6:5) or anything about which he swears falsely. He must restore it in full and add one fifth to it; he must give it back to its rightful owner. (6:6) Then he must bring his guilt offering to the Lord, a flawless ram from the flock, convertible into silver shekels, for a guilt offering to the priest. (6:7) So the priest will make atonement on his behalf before the Lord and he will be forgiven for whatever he has done to become guilty.”
So, FFK should shut his tap running mouth up and do the needful, the earlier he stop viewing everything about Nigeria from the prism of ethnicity and religion, the better for the rest of us. His bigotry and religious hypocrisy have no place in the collective psyche of Nigerians unless the gullible few,  nor a solution to regain his freedom. What Femi Fani-Kayode and his likes need to understand here is that the ongoing anti-corruption crusade is just starting and no amount of pressure, hypocrisy, threats or intimidation can stop Nigeria’s readiness to fight and conquer corruption and its siblings no matter how and when. Fani-Kayode has only succeeded in substantiated the fact that he is an unrepentant bigot, a war monger displaying his unrefined and undiluted mediocre and religious stupidity. He should for his own good face his trial with evidences and facts if any, and stop contaminating our atmosphere with hate and vulgarity. He should also be ashame of himself for doing what God disliked with passion – stealing – being him the good Christian he claimed, if only he knows anything called shame, but if he doesn’t, Christianity and the entire Christian world are collectively ashame on his behalf.
Usama Dandare is a social commentator, he writes from Sokoto. Contact him via osadaby@yahoo.com or on twitter @osadaby.
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Okonjo-Iweala: The Global Anti-Corruption Super Star, By Femi Hassan

A year after leaving public service as Minister of Finance of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala remains the most sought after personality that served under the immediate past administration led by former President Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

Since she left office, a week doesn’t go by without her name being splattered on the pages of traditional newspapers as well as on online media outfits. Many detractors and paid hands have gone the length and breadth to link her with almost every corrupt deal that happened during her time as Coordinating Minister of the Economy.

Despite the campaign of calumny, she continues to soar high and gain more recognition in the international scene, as she maintains her anti-corruption stance. On June 2, 2016 she gave the keynote address at the MIT Doctoral Hooding Ceremony 2016 Commencement, becoming only the second speaker to achieve this feat thereby sealing her status as a global citizen. She took it a step further on June 7, 2016 as she addressed graduands of the Columbia University’s School of Public Policy, SIPA; the world’s most global public policy school at their Commencement.

It begs to question that if Dr Iweala was indeed corrupt as her detractors would want us to believe she would not have the temerity to continuously kick against corruption during her speeches, and such invitations would not have even been offered to her because the international community has close to zero tolerance for corruption as they would not want to associate with individuals who are ‘perceived’ to be corrupt.

Just recently her detractors tried to portray her as corrupt. From SERAP’s misguided N30 Trillion attack using a baseless allegation by a former Central Bank Governor, Professor Charles Soludo to the call made by the Civil Society Network Against Corruption accusing her of colluding with a former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke (SAN) in what it termed the ‘judgment scam’.

But Dr Iweala remains unflustered as she continues has stuck to her anticorruption stance in and out of office.

Speaking at the Africa CEO forum on March 21, 2016 she stated categorically that those involved in corrupt practices should be made to pay for their actions, and that technology should also be employed in stemming the tide.

“We have to fight corruption in two ways; one is by punishing those who steal, and making sure they pay for what they do.

“But we also must plug all the holes by building institutions and systems that prevent corruption in the first place.

“If you have a financial system for running your financial accounts that is not computerised, that is not technologically based, you are still transferring cash, as we were doing in my country up until 2003, 2004, then you are opening up the place to a lot of leakages,” she said.

It is this same Dr Iweala who advised Dr Goodluck Jonathan to bring an end to the fraudulent subsidy regime, a decision that led to the kidnap of her aged mother by the corrupt cabal.

It is high time her enemies and detractors come to term that Dr Iweala is a global superstar, and all attempts to pull her down will continue to hit a brick wall.

Femi Hassan is a social commentator and resides in Lagos.

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The Future of Newspaper and of The Government Spokesman, By Femi Adesina

It’s my pleasure to be here to deliver this lecture. It is for me always heart-warming to find myself back amidst colleagues, fellow pushers of the pen, as we are known by outsiders.

This lecture will be a combination of two themes, each one of them dear to my heart. One has to do with the fate of the printed word in the age of the Internet and Social Media, and the other has to do with my experiences in making a transition from the newsroom, after 29 years as a journalist and editor, to the corridors of government. Both have a lot in common, which I shall get to later.

Let me speak about the impact of the internet on the journalism profession, particularly, the newspaper. The starting point is this: The newspaper has been dying for a long, long time, not only in Nigeria, but also around the world. If there is one obituary that keeps being re-written and re-issued, it is that of the newspaper.

It is of course the oldest of the forms of mass communication that are still with us today. In 1859, the first newspaper in Nigeria – it wasn’t even called Nigeria then – was founded. Iwe Irohin, a Yoruba newspaper by the Anglican Missionary, Henry Townsend. Radio did not show up until when the British expanded the BBC’s broadcast to the colony of Nigeria. Television followed in 1959, when Chief Obafemi Awolowo launched Nigeria’s first television station, in Ibadan.

At every one of these moments when a new means of mass communication showed up, and began to quickly democratize itself across the population, it felt like print had come to the end of its road. Radio and Television carry the appearance of being more engaging than print, considering that they offer us the chance to see and hear human beings, unlike a newspaper that is a static medium, cold ink on dry paper, with no element of human interaction in the form of a voice or a moving image.

But print refused to be fazed by either of these revolutions. Even as television gained ground in the 1970s, we had newspapers like the Daily Times, printing and selling more than half a million copies daily.

Even in the difficult 1980s, when a combination of military rule and economic problems afflicted the country, newspapers and magazines thrived. A new generation of investigative and boldly confrontational journalism was born in Nigeria of the 1990s, with the advent of Tell Magazine, The News, Tempo, and the others that followed in their steps.

In the 1990s, a wave of ‘liberalisation’ hit the radio and television airwaves, and an industry that had long been dominated by state-owned media suddenly found itself the darling of private investors. Today there are scores of TV and radio stations in Nigeria; most of them privately owned. And there’s evidence to suggest that we’ve only just seen the tip of that iceberg. With the recent commencement of the switchover to digital television, we are going to see a lot more TV stations emerging.

And then there is the Internet. If TV and radio were the mediums that emerged to stun newspapers, then the Internet was supposed to be its undertaker; the medium that would lay it to final rest.

And the numbers appear to strongly support that. Every month, 16 million Nigerians use Facebook. That’s a number that newspapers can only dream about. There are more than 150 million mobile phone lines in Nigeria; and more than half of them are connected to the Internet. Our mobile phones are our constant companions. It is not unlikely that there are many young people in Nigeria who have never bought a newspaper in their lives. But all of them would be regular buyers of Internet data, and regular consumers of online news.

The appetite for news has not diminished in any way, but the means by which people satisfy that appetite has undergone transformative change.

“We all currently do our journalism in the teeth of a force-12 digital hurricane,” said Alan Rusbridger, former Editor of the UK Guardian, in the memo he wrote recently while stepping down from a position he was due to take up later this year, as Chairman of the Trust that owns the revered paper. Under his long watch as editor, he transformed the venerable print newspaper into a digital giant. But like many other papers around the world, the UK Guardian is struggling. Many other popular publications that dominated the market in the past have either vanished, or are only online now. Talk about Reader’s Digest, Newsweek, Encyclopedia Brittanica, Broadstreet Journal, and many others.

In Nigeria we saw PM News become an online-only publication last year. This is the reality of the age in which we live. And yet amidst the upheaval, I still retain a strong conviction that the newspaper is here to stay. Circulation numbers may dip, and appetites may wane somewhat, but the printed newspaper will continue to be an important part of our lives for a long time to come.

I am willing to bet that the much predicted demise will not happen. I might of course be biased, having enjoyed a long and fulfilling career in that field. I have watched technology transform the way we reported, contacted sources, met deadlines and even printed our papers.

In 2013, the American billionaire, and one of the world’s richest people, Warren Buffett, said: “I believe that newspapers delivering comprehensive and reliable information to tightly-bound communities and having a sensible Internet strategy will remain viable for a long time.” A “sensible internet strategy.” That is what Nigerian newspapers need, as it currently does not exist.

Perhaps I am biased, but I very much share the optimism that the newspaper won’t die. Let me paraphrase the American writer and humourist, Mark Twain, and say that rumours of the demise of the newspaper are very much exaggerated. But survival will depend on how creative you can be as investors, stakeholders, and professionals.

Writing in a magazine called Financial Nigeria, Jide Akintunde, in an essay titled ‘The bad news that hit Nigerian media and journalism,’ posited that “the future of a professional Nigerian media is far from assured.” He says further bad news has hit the mainstream media through a formidable disruption, which is the social media, and then submits:”The charlatans of the social media, relieved of organisational wisdom and ethical considerations, are trumping professional journalism.”

Very well said. But then, look at these two pieces of good news from across the seas. Last week, The Times of London ran these headlines:”Readers shun ebooks and rediscover the pleasures of paper.” The second one;”Daily Mail publisher appoints digital guru as chief.” The two stories indicate that more people are returning to patronising the printed word, as opposed to the electronic version. And a giant newspaper conglomerate appointed a digital guru as chief executive, rather than a core journalist. These show that we need to tweak our business models as demanded by the exigencies of time and technology. The publications that reinvent themselves and their business models will always survive. Gone are the days when you can survive on just one product line. You need to have multiple streams of income, even while still keeping an eye on your core calling, which is newspapering.

The second theme I would like to address, is a much more personal one. It is, like the fate of the newspaper in the age of digital, a matter related to my professional life, but it is also very personal in the sense that it has to do with the interesting transition I have made, from being a journalist and a private citizen, to being a government official.

In less than two weeks, it’ll be one year since I took office, as Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity. I am of course following in the steps of a number of professional colleagues, all of whom you know. Before I talk about how my appointment came to happen, I think I should provide some context for the relationship between myself and President Buhari – this is something I have also previously written and spoken about. My admiration for him actually started when he was in office as military head of state, in the 1980s. I was at University then, and was impressed by his single-minded dedication to making Nigeria a better country, and tackling the rot and corruption that had long plagued us. I was of course disappointed when he was overthrown, and excited when, many years later, he joined partisan politics and decided to offer himself as a candidate for the presidency of Nigeria. I have been a passionate supporter of his ambitions since then; readers of my weekly column in the Sun Newspaper will be able to attest to this. What I found interesting was that from time to time, I would write about him in the column and he would get in touch with me on the phone and we would discuss it. He was often full of gratitude. I actually did not get to meet him in person until about 2009. In 2013, he pleasantly surprised me by attending the christian service for the funeral of my mother. I had sent him an invitation, but had no idea he would attend. He sat through the entire service. And that was a man some people had wrongly labelled religious bigot.

I’ve taken the time to lay out this context in the hope that it will provide some background to the circumstances that triggered my decision to transit from being a journalist and editor and ‘newspaper-man’, to a presidential spokesman. I have always believed that President Buhari would be a great President of Nigeria. I have always been impressed by his qualities – his personal incorruptibility and strong desire to see Nigeria break free from the curse of corruption, his commitment to Nigeria’s teeming poor, the lowly, and downtrodden.

And so for me, getting a chance to work for and with him has been a privilege, and an opportunity to support a man I have long admired, to enable him implement his vision for the country.

One question many of you will be asking is this: Did I ever imagine that I would one day find myself on the other side of the divide, the proverbial ‘Other Side’?

No and Yes, I would say. Let me say that I never really had any desire to work in government. I had, at the time of my appointment, two high-profile and influential jobs, one as Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the Sun newspapers, as you all know one of the highest-circulating papers in the country; the other as the President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors. My hands were full, as they’ve always been throughout my working career. I had also actually just been re-elected for a second term as President of the Editors’ Guild, having already completed one term of two years. It is easy to see why I can say I was not looking for another job, and certainly not in the uncertain waters of politics.

But – there had always been a caveat to this stance. Never say never, the old saying goes. It had always occurred to me that there was a possibility of shifting my position regarding serving in government – on one condition, and no more – that the government in question was one headed by President Buhari.

On the day he was declared the winner of the Presidential elections, I got a surprise phone call from him, during which he thanked me for my support over the years. Yet another pleasant surprise. I had elected to stay away because I knew that in the post-election euphoria, he would be under a lot of pressure both from well-wishers and from people seeking one favour or the other from him. But I could not escape for long. I got an offer, thought much and consulted widely about it, and the rest, as they say, is history. Here I am working for the only man with the power and moral authority to draw me from the newsroom to the presidential villa.

I have touched on two seemingly disparate themes – one about the survival of newspapers in a digital age, the other about moving from the newsroom to the corridors of power. Seemingly disparate, but only on the surface. You only need to scratch a little deeper, and realise that both narratives share a great deal in common: they are about transition, about the inevitability of change, and the importance of seeking to always adapt to changing times and circumstances.

If there is one thing the newspaper and I share in common, it is that we are both trying to do our work in an age that has been ‘disrupted’ by social media and digital technologies. Earlier on, I quoted Alan Rusbridger: “We all currently do our journalism in the teeth of a force-12 digital hurricane.” Every government spokesperson today could easily – and accurately – rephrase that as “We all currently do our communicating in the teeth of a force-12 digital hurricane.” Just as printed newspapers have to struggle to cope with mobile devices and applications and changing habits and news consumption patterns, government spokespersons also have to deal with staying on top of their game in a world where everyone has a means of expressing their sentiments and opinions directly to the world.

As a government communications person in the 1990s, you only had to deal with a finite number of editors from the print and electronic media. Even the underground media, in the vanguard of the opposition to military rule, could be counted on your fingers.

In 2016, you’re dealing with a vastly changed world. With the profusion of digital publishing tools, one now has to deal with an unlimited number of publishers and editors and bloggers and citizen journalists. The traditional gatekeepers of news have got and are still getting a massive challenge from the new kids on the block. The publication conventions of print newspapers and radio and television bulletins have been upended by the ceaseless 24-hour news cycle.

There are upsides to the revolution, but it also has its downsides. We are in an era where –as a recent profile of President Obama’s communications strategy, written by Michael Grunwald and published in Politico, put it – “conflict is the click of the realm, where lies travel at the speed of tweet while the truth is still annotating its Medium post.”

While government is still crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s on a press release, falsehood is already trending on social media. Unfortunately in most cases there are no consequences for online irresponsibility, but that is a discussion for another day.

In one sense it is easy to argue – and only half-jokingly – that the newspaper and the government spokesperson are both endangered species. But that’s only one side of the coin. The other side of the story is that there is no better time than in situations like this, for reinvention. We need to constantly be asking ourselves – how do we continuously make ourselves relevant in changing circumstances. As the president’s spokesman, I have had to become a lot more familiar with social media. I had no choice in the matter; it’s the reality of our age. I have had to balance my thinking like a newspaperman and newsroom editor with thinking like a digital ‘native’ – how might this press statement be mis-interpreted once it makes its way into the public square that is Twitter or Facebook; what kind of reception should we be anticipating for this announcement.

Twenty years ago, City People burst on the national scene as a unique celebrity magazine. It has made strides, and done good business, bringing returns to the investors and stakeholders. But is the business model today the same as it was 20 years ago? It can’t be. Are the stories that excited the market 20 years ago the same as today? No. Therfore, my conclusion is that the printed word is under a heavy barrage. But just as it survived the onslaughts of radio, of television, it will also survive the digital media. But that would not be without great creativity from the professionals and stakeholders.

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Femi Aribisala: Time To recover From Trauma, By Olalekan Waheed Adigun

It is now over a year since Nigerians made history proving to the world again that peaceful transition was, in fact, possible in Africa. The election having been won and lost, it appears that some people still feels the scars of the pains of defeat as though it happened yesterday. One of such persons is a political commentator, Femi Aribisala.

Notice I used called him a political “commentator”, not an “analyst”, as he wants many of his readers to believe he is. In other to be seen as a being scientific in his write-ups, he sometimes taught us “How to Lose Presidential Elections Four Times” not minding the fact that he will later tell us “Why Buhari Will Never be President of Nigeria”. As funny as the premises on which some of his arguments were based, he had those who based their “analyses” on many of his unscientific conclusions.

At one point, in one of his articles, he paraded his “credentials” of been an authority in elections. He told his readers: He has been a student of elections for over 40 years. While studying for a degree in History and Politics at Warwick University (England), he obtained a scholarship to visit the United States to study the circumstances behind the 1973 election of Maynard Jackson as the first African-American Mayor of Atlanta. These reasons were just enough for his readers to believe whatever he tells them as gospels. Needless to say that it was in that same article that he gave a famous verdict: Goodluck Jonathan will win the 2015 presidential election by a landslide!

In parenthesis, this prediction reminds me of former Soviet’s leader (Nikita Khrushchev’s) famous statement, “We will bury you” speaking to Western diplomats about Soviet’s confidence of “burying” their rivals in the heat of the Cold War in 1956.

After winning a gold medal for his woeful predictions, Femi needs to save his face. To do this, someone or something has to be the scapegoat. Only recently did I read his, “How Jega Defeated Jonathan For Buhari”. As I finished reading this, I concluded that he, after searching all over for whom to blame for his wrong diagnoses (if he ever did any), chose Professor Attahiru Jega, the then INEC Chairman, as his perfect whip boy.

Like a typical public school pupil who failed his papers, he blames his dismal performance on anything and everything but himself-his teacher, his parents, his friends his foes, the test questions or anything that can easily justify his point!

Let us be quick to admit, writing from firsthand experience working as a psephologist, that the job of predicting the outcomes of elections could be mucky, complex and dangerous (requiring you sometimes to put your career on the line). Predicting elections requires some level of dispassion. When you get too involved and end up with a wrong prediction, one ends us frustrated like Femi because there are often too many variables waiting to alter your experiment and get you frustrated.

The lack of emphatic details led to the famous Literary Digest  fiasco in 1936 which wrongly predicted a defeat for US President Franklin Roosevelt. Many will equally not forget the recent case of Gallup Poll which predicted a victory for the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney against President Obama in 2012.

I cited these cases to show how complicated predictive analyses can be sometimes. If these reputable institutions can err this much, Femi needs neither to rant nor look for scapegoats since no one is infallible. All that was expected of him was simply be professional by updating his system of analyses like Gallup and others have done!

This should not be a platform for reminding brother Femi what is and what is not political analyses. But, I will to say that every political analyst (except if so-called) should know that some experiments that cannot be performed for ethical and practical reasons in political analyses. We cannot, unfortunately, re-run the 2015 presidential election under another INEC chairman to test for differences in outcomes. If Jega were not the Electoral Commission boss and it was someone else, whether the outcome of the election would have been significantly different is to say the least, counter-factual or virtual history.

Because we consider it futile to engage in virtual history, let us go back in time to compare data that are real. To argue, like Uncle Femi did, that Jaga “rigged” the election for Buhari is to note that the 2007 elections would have had a different outcome had Professor Maurice Iwu not been the then INEC chair. Or that had Femi Aribisala been the chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) during the June 12, 1993 election, Chief MKO Abiola would have been sworn-in as President!

Let us still hold on to his postulation that Jega, not APC “defeated” Jonathan in the 2015 election. Perhaps, Femi needs to be consistent since he told us in another article that just immediately after the same Jega he now criticizes, announced the postponement of the election by six weeks, that the party was low on cash and therefore, in shambles and crumbling. Where is consistency? Where is coherence in your “analysEs”? Was it also Jega that “rigged in” Jonathan in 2011? Mr. Femi!

I am aware that some people will bring in the point that the APC appeared stronger now than the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) or the Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN) was in 2011 making it comfortable enough for it to be rigged into office in 2015. If we take this on its face value, then our firm conclusion will then be that the APC won the 2015 presidential election because it was stronger in all intent and purposes having grown massively over a period of four years as against its PDP counterpart!

Looking at the three-party game that played out in 2011, one will see that Jonathan won due some complications. I do not expect many people to agree with this, but had the ACN entered into any form of agreement with the CPC then, the election would have ended in a re-run whose outcome is highly unpredictable as the events in 2015 clearly show!

The same situation played out in 2015 the only difference being that the progressive forces achieved what many doubted as a possibility-the formation of APC. It should therefore not surprise objective political analysts why the party won.

The professional thing expected from Femi Aribisala after making such wrong prediction was simply to apologize to his readers and move on rather than look for scapegoats. His post-election rants against Buhari and the APC, including his recent display at an event in the University of Lagos, show that he is yet to recover from the trauma of 2015 electoral defeat of the “hero of democracy”.

Could this be why there was so much campaign from Jonathan’s supporters to sack Jega just weeks to the 2015 elections?

Olalekan Waheed Adigun is a political risk analyst and independent political strategist. Email: olalekan@olalekanadigun.com, adgorwell@gmail.com. Follow me on twitter @adgorwell.

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Dear Femi Adesina; Take Heed Lest You Fall By Ogundana Michael Rotimi

Dear Mr. Femi Adesina; I bring to you this passage from the Holy Bible: Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he falls- 1 Corinthians 10:12”. That is my message for you today. Meanwhile, I will try as much as I can, to keep it brief but concise, lest you call me a wailing wailer.

Sir, may I remind you that your appointment into your present position came on the 31st May 2015, you resumed officially into office on the 9th June, 2105 and on the 1st July, 2015, barely a month after your resumption into the President Buhari`s led administration as the special adviser on media & publicity to the president, you coined the phrase- “wailing wailers”.

Sir, if you remember vividly, that tweet and the phrase- wailing wailers, was not without condemnations from all well meaning Nigerians including myself who feel every Nigerian include those that wanted the last administration to retain power for another 4 years deserves the right to challenge, criticize and condemn any action or inaction of the present administration.

Government owes it to the people to explain politely to them whatsoever calls for an explanation. It is called transparency and accountability- I know that isn`t difficult for anybody grown enough to be a special assistant to the president to comprehend.

We may actually live in a society where politicians are only seen to be humble and assessable during the electioneering period and immediately after the elections are over, they return to their real self and become invisible. Eating up every word they’ve said and denying every promise they have made. But even at that, it doesn`t still justify why their spokesperson like you, should go the line of insulting those that voted their boss in power.

Few weeks ago on a live television show- Sunday Politics with Mr. Seun Okinbaloye, you called out Nigerians to go hold vandals responsible for the blackout that has befallen the country for a while now. In your words: “If some Nigerians are crying over power outage, they should hold those people who vandalized the installations responsible”. Sir, that statement was ridiculous and insensitive, least expected from a spokesperson to the “President of Change”.

As if that was not enough, just last week on “The Osasu Show”, you again descended on Nigerians for asking you why the President has not visited Agatu after the massacre. In your response, you likened Nigerians to children whose lollipops have been taken away. In your words: “Now, how will a new administration…and maybe whenever the president says something, you just start hearing noise, wah, wah, wah, wah, like a child whose lollipop has been taken away”.

Sir, with all sincerity, you sounded much more responsible and thoughtful before your appointment. How you suddenly became vulgar and choose to go the way of your predecessor- The Attack Lion, baffles me. I doubt if the president knew about your vulgarity before appointing you. And if he did, then I fault him for having you come on his team in the first place.

At this rate you`re going, there is no better way to define “the arrogance of power” but by the actions you have displayed since your resumption as spokesperson to the president. Your vulgarity is fast becoming unbearable, embarrassing and worrisome.

Democracy gives room for the people to ask and for the leaders to answer politely. I do not shy away from the fact that some questions may seem insensitive and purposely directed to malign you or your boss. But then, there is always a way to respond to a foolish and insensitive question without one sounding controversial and insensitive. This is the quality expected of you as a spokesperson to the president.

Lola Shoneye gave a clue on how you could have answered the question on the Agatu visit without you necessarily insulting any group of people. Check this out: “The president was greatly saddened by the conflict in Agatu. As C-in-C, he is unwavering in his commitment to rid Nigeria of the violence that’s causing hardship and disruption for so many. Naturally, president Buhari wishes he could visit and commiserate with the affected communities whenever these tragedies occur, but engagements and meetings, many of which are economy or security –related, mean he sometimes has to be represented by senior governent officials”. I know you can do this and even do much more better than this.

The tragedy of history is that man hardly learns from it. But in your own case, learn from it! Do not go the way of your predecessor- who chooses to be called the “Attack Lion” and then ending up doing more harm than good to his boss. Learn from his trajectory!

Do think about this Sir and do not see it as an act of unnecessary wailing.

It is my wish that you succeed in your present position and endeavors. It is my wish that the president Buhari`s led administration succeeds too. And it is my uttermost wish that Nigeria works for all. However, you must not fail to recognize that it is the right of the people to continuously question the government while it is the duty of the government to humbly provide suitable and responsible answers to their question as it deems fit.

This is not a voice of a wailing wailer; it is a passionate caution call for you to take heed lest you fall.

Yours sincerely,

Ogundana Michael Rotimi is a Nigerian Biochemist, Socio-economic & Political Commentator, and Public Speaker. He tweets @MickeySunny.

 

 

Editor: Opinion expressed on this page are strictly those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of abusidiqu.com and its associates

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The Deluded Son Of An Ethnic Miscarriage: A Rejoinder To Femi Fani-Kayode’s Verbal Masturbation, By Usama Dandare

“The year was 1965. I was an innocent starry-eyed 13 year-old and Nigeria was in turmoil. It was the era of the “wetie,” when the houses of politicians and key public-figures were burnt down in the brouhaha that was then Western Nigeria.

We lived in Oke-Ado in Ibadan and our next-door neighbour was Chief Ogundiran, a minister in the government of Chief S.L. Akintola , the Premier of the Western Region. (Ogundiran was famous for only wearing white.) In the spirit of the times, a mob came early one morning and burnt down his house. He jumped out of the window and managed to escape.

Fani-Power, Fani-igbo: I was having private lessons in Mathematics at the home of a colleague, Enitan Abiodun, when we heard the noise of a crowd outside. We rushed to the veranda to see Chief Remi Fani-Kayode (alias Fani-Power), then Deputy Governor of the Western Region, standing on the seat of a moving convertible. He was surrounded by a mob, which was shouting and hailing him. On hearing the noise, Enitan’s mother rushed to the veranda shouting “Awo!” only to discover that the people outside were not supporters of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, but those of his arch-enemies.

 

The shout of “Awo!” by Mrs. Abiodun brought the procession to a screeching halt. “Who said that? Who said that?” demanded the mob, enraged. “Fani-Power” turned and looked up at us. His eyes were the usual blood-shot red. At the time, many claimed it was because he regularly smoked Indian-hemp. Fani-Kayode pointed to our building and identified to his thugs that the offending shout came from our direction. We did not know that the floor of the convertible he was standing in was loaded with empty bottles. His thugs reached for the bottles and rained them down on us as we all scrambled back inside the house for dear life.” Femi Aribisala describing Chief Remi Fani-Kayode, the father of Femi Fani-Kayode.

 

Like father, like son: Today, Femi Fani-Kayode, the son of “Fani-Power” is gladly continuing the irresponsible tradition of his father. In recent years, he has been throwing inciting vituperations and launching venomous attacks on some ethnic and religious groups, all in an attempt to remain relevant and score cheap political points. Of recent is this his immorality, bigotry, gross irresponsibility, and sheer ignorance of history displayed in one of his usual inciting write-ups, titled “The Sons Of Futa Jalon” in which he foolishly voiced his sheer hatred against the Fulani tribe, Ahmadu Bello Saurdana of Sokoto, Caliph Shehu Usman Bn Fodio and Islam as a whole.

 

I have learnt a very vital lesson in life which i always tend to reflect upon in the course of my daily interactions with people of all colours on this earth: SILENCE IS THE BEST ANSWER TO A FOOL. However, in as much as one might be entitled to his opinions which he owe nobody an apology for any reason whatsoever, he must in every respect make sure those opinions remain within personal jurisdictions but in a scenario where such opinions have the tendency to influence or distort the thinking of others or affects their wellbeing, then such a person cannot and will never said to be entitle to such opinions. When people foolishly voice out their opinions to influence the psychology of the gullible few, then it becomes imperative to call them to order for the good of all and sundry.

This prompted the need to call Femi Fani-Kayode to order over his recent ethnic ejaculation against the Fulani race, because ignorance is communicable and once an ignorant person releases the pheromones of his ignorance with pride, the gullible ones could be tempted to emulate him and in no time, the spread of ignorance become imminent. Therefore it will be heinous not to call Femi Fani-Kayode to order, if nothing, to at least lower the spread of ignorance.

 

I read with dismay and at the same time pity the way Femi Fani-kayode’s half baked-truths and vexatious fallacies derided the great Usman Ibn Fodio, Northern leaders, Fulani tribe, and Islam. Which perhaps catalyse the adrenaline to dilute his gross verbal stupidity and educate him a little bit: but before then, permit me to use this medium to condemn the activities of some alleged Fulani herdsmen in some parts of the nation and expect all well meaning Fulani to do the same: it is inhuman, ridiculous and absolutely barbaric to find joy in taken the lives of innocent citizens for any reason whatsoever. Albeit the activities of these so-called Fulani are worrisome and disgusting to a certain extent, i however feels it’s idiotic to distort facts just to paint the entire Fulani race and Islam black as Fani-kayode has often been doing in recent time. To me, Fani-Kayode’s piece “The Sons Of Futa jalon” is nothing but a continuation of his defeat aggressive syndrome against the northern region and northerners for the region’s refusal to return his demigod “the ineffectual buffoon” for another 2nd-term after failing to make any impact in the first period, through which medium he intends to incite some section of the country against others and plunge Nigeria into another civil war, just to make governance uneasy for President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

In his usual hypocrisy to paint the north black, the hate-monger quoted Ahmadu Bello Sardauna’s speech of out of context and even went ahead to quote the demonic Abubakar Shekau (a non Fulani), his ethnic hypocrisy further got thicker by quoting yet another concocted hogwash against the personality of President Mohammadu Buhari – despite all apologies to the President by the fabricators of such fallacy – all in an attempt to buttress his islamaphobic points. The unrepentant bigot again publicised his ignorance of history and geography of religion by insinuating that Fulani tribe originated from ??Futa Jalon in modern-day Guinea, because he read that ?Usman Ibn Fodio came from somewhere near there.  This is a clear indication that Fani-Kayode lacks every bit of history and geography of the Fulani stock. Let me for the emphasis of education, educate him and his gullible sympathisers a bit:

 

History has it that the ancestor of Fulani is Jacob son of Israel, son of Issac, and son of Abraham. When Jacob left Canaan and went to Egypt where Joseph was established. The Israelites prospered and grew in population while living in Egypt. Fulani people descended from them. After a long time a new Pharaoh who did not know about Joseph’s fame in Egypt, came to power. He made the Israelites work hard at slave labor. The Pharaoh oppressed the people, including Fulanis who were rich in cattle. They emigrated from Egypt, some of them went back to Palestine and Syria under Moses guidance and the other crossed the Nile with their cattle and headed west. They took the name of fouth or foudh meaning those who left. A group from the latter moved along the edges of the Sahara to Touat-Air and then to West-Africa.

Those who came to Masina (in present day Mali) spread to the neighboring regions where they were rejoined by Fulani groups from Morocco. It has established that about 700AD, Fulani groups from Morocco, moved southward, and invaded the regions of Tagout, Adrar, Mauritania, and Fuuta Tooro. The cradle of the Fulani group is situated in the Senegal River valley, where Fulanis established kingdoms. Until the beginning of the IX th Century. Around that period they continued their migration in the regions of Bundu, Bambouk, Diomboko, Kaarta, and Bagana. Finally those who were concentrated in the Ferlo from the XI to the XIV century moved in various groups to the Fuuta Jalon, to the Volta river basin, to the Gurma, to the Haussa land, and to the Adamawa, Boghirme, and to Ouadai. See  (Tishkoff SA, et al. (2009) The Genetic Structure and History of Africans and African Americans, 1035–1044).

At the time of their arrival to Hausa land in the early fifteenth century, many Fulani settled as clerics in Hausa city-states such as Kano, Katsina, and Zaria. Others settled among the local peoples during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. By the seventeenth century, the Hausa states had begun to gain their independence from various foreign rulers, with Gobir in present day Sokoto becoming the predominant Hausa state.

The urban culture of the Hausa was attractive to many Fulani. These Town or Settled Fulani became clerics, teachers, settlers, and judges—and in many other ways filled elite positions within the Hausa states. Soon they adopted the Hausa language, many forgetting their own Fulfulde language. Although Hausa customs exerted an influence on the Town Fulani, they did not lose touch with the Cattle or Bush Fulani. See (Ehret C (2008) The Early Livestock Raisers of Southern Africa, 7–35.)

 

In his drug induced elucidation, Fani-kayode thought Sokoto was where the Fulani settled first when they came to Nigeria as claimed in his  mischievous piece, not knowing there were Fulanis scattered allover parts of the northern region even before the birth of Shehu Usman Ibn Fodio. And to say that it was from “Sokoto that the Fulani waged a bloody islamic war led by their spiritual father, infiltrated and conquered all what is known as Northern Nigerian today” isn’t only hypocritical of him but a sheer ignorance of history. Sheik Usman Ibn Fodio came and met established Fulani towns/kingdoms in Adamawa and several other places across the North, what Ibn Fodio did was to only call them to order.

Shehu Usman Ibn Fodio, a Fulani of the Torodbe clan migrated to Gobir, in present day Sokoto, many generations before. He was born in 1754 into a scholarly family and he and his younger brother Abdullahi, were given a broad Islamic education. At that time of his youth, Gobir, as have seen, had become the most powerful of the Hausa states, particularly in Zamfara and Kebbi, but Gobir’s domination was hated. The people generally resented the heavy taxation that was used to maintain the armies and to make the big men in society greater and richer than before. The weak feared enslavement by the strong. Though the kings at that time thought of themselves as Muslims, they did not always follow islamic principles and often tolerated and even participated in ‘pagan’ practices. The Muslim communities of Hausaland deeply resented the ‘paganism’ of their rulers and their failure to do justice to the poor. When Usman dan Fodio, at the age of twenty, returned to Gobir from Agades, where had has been taught by a Muslim revolutionary teacher, Jibril, there were many who were willing to listen to someone who would challenge their rulers. Usman dan Fodio held the attention of large crowds when he criticized the Hausa rulers for their bad government, he found eager response from his listeners. In such circumstance, many flocked to join Usman dan Fodio who was becoming a major political force in Gobir.

At a time when Shehu was oblivious of the potentials of his growing companions, the Hausa rulers were certainly not. For Shehu, the growth of his followers may only mean an end to the ignorance that propelled him into action in the first place and a hope for a more enlightened and therefore peaceful Muslim community. But for the Hausa rulers, every growth of Shehu’s followers represent a shrink in their power base and more seriously it represents a threat to their tyrannical and corrupt status-quo, where the rulers did as they pleased. As early as 1797 or so, following the rise to power of a new king in Gobir, Napata, in 1796, Shehu’s companions started to face organised state persecution, in the form of physical attack, arrests and imprisonment. Having sensed danger, Shehu started to prepare the community for a confrontation that turned out to be inevitable. The tension continued to heighten and Yunfa who took over from Napata as the king of Gobir in 1803 only made matters worse. The mood of the community had changed and the followers grew restive. Following a skirmishes and a threat for an all-out attack on the community from Yunfa, Shehu called for a migration to Gudu, a place on the boarders of Gobir just to maintain peace and avoid violence.The migration itself started in February of 1804, and before Shehu and his folowers could finish assembling at Gudu, they came under attack, first by Yunfa and consequently by other kings of Hausa states, and this was what prompted the war between Shehu and the Hausa rulers. Until April of 1806 when Shehu’s loyalists captured Kebbi, they had no base and had to be constantly on the move, carrying their families as well as their libraries, often pursued by their enemies. It was here that Shehu wrote a letter to all Hausa rulers calling them to accept good governance according to Islam principles, those that accepted Shehu’s request were subsequently issued with flags symbolising his endorsements while others who refused to accept declared war on him (Usman Ibn Fodio), Shehu with help of other kingdoms under his control fought them and eventually conquered their kingdoms. Thus forming what is today the Sokoto Caliphate.

 

Going by the aforementioned, one must concur with the fact that all what Fani-kayode have been saying about Shehu Ibn Fodio was a mere blackmail to portray the great Danfodio as violent and non-peaceful.

To further upgrade his gross ignorance and hatred towards the fulani tribe, Fani-Kayode went ahead to draw ethno-physical and postural similarities between the Tutsis of East Africa and the Fulani of Nigeria, tactically calling on other tribes to apply the ?”?Hutu solution” on the fulani. Thus advocating for an ethnic cleansing of the entire fulani race in Nigeria.

Worst still is Fani-Kayode’s double standard and his hypocritical support for Igbo tribe and Biafra, a tribe he once waged verbal war on with all manners of fabricated blackmail against the great Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe, calling him an ethnic bigot and describing the agitators of Biafra as terrorists. For Fani-Kayode to insinuate that “a Fulani-led Federal Government and Fulani-led Armed Forces are killing thousands of young igbos in the east simply because of their support for Nnamdi Kanu and their call for the establishment of the independent state of Biafra”, he’s clearly indicating his support to a group he once called a terrorists group. Should one be wrong to call him a terrorist sympathyser? It is not surprising that the hate-monger has now became an Igbo friend, and so also not surprising to see the gullible Igbos accepting him back as a friend. This is a man who always changes colour when it serves his purpose, he’s always changing identity to go in line with his hypocritical way of life.

Fani-Kayode even cited the Zaria fracas between the military and the members of the shiite islamic movement  as a move by President Buhari and  Gen Tukur Burutai to implement the Fulani agenda of Islamizing Nigeria. All in his quest to demonise Islam, Muslims, the Fulani tribe(s) and the present day leadership of President Mohammadu Buhari. What a hypocrisy!

 

What Femi Fani-Kayode and his likes need to understand here is that the ongoing crisis involving Fulani herdsmen in some sections of the country has no religious affiliation neither ethnic, the Fulani herders feel victims of injustice because their cattle are killed or stolen and are not compensated for losses incurred, the anger resulting from this situation thus drives them to behave in the terrible way they have been behaving so far. As one can see, the problem is primarily economic not religious or ethnical contrary to how the agents of ethno-religious division have been pointing out in recent times. I am not trying to justify the actions of these so-callled Fulani herdsmen, what I am not contend with is making their atrocity a communal crime rather than individual, the point I am trying to make is that persecuting Islam or the entire Fulani tribe for the actions of some demonic few or aligning it to the struggles of Shehu Usman Ibn Fodio is absolutely an injustice to Islam and the Fulani clan in general. Crime knows no tribe, region or religion, we have criminals from all races and beliefs who are involved in various acts of crimes worldwide. Is it fair to demonise the Yoruba tribe for reasons that their kinsmen are involved armed robbery or demonise the Igbo for the actions of kidnappers and baby factory operators? Then why Fulani? Why Islam?

 

Sincerely speaking, Fani-Kayode with his write-up has only substantiated the fact that he is an unrepentant ethnocentric and eccentric, who view all races apart from his as inferior and second-class, he has only succeeded in displaying his unrefined and undiluted mediocre and ethnic stupidity. I pity those who see him as a role model, because all they will be gaining from their role model is gross ignorance, hypocrisy, irresponsibility, and a large chunk of dedicative immorality. At a time when Nigeria continue to heal gradually from the blatant rape on its national treasury and outrageous pen robbery supervised by Jonathan and co. (Femi Fani-Kayode inclusive), the unrepentant son of an ethnic miscarriage continue to heat up the polity and ignite violence in continuation of his commitments to see Nigeria fail under the stewardship of President Mohammadu Buhari.

Sincerely, Fani- Kayode’s article under reference is the most idiotic, pitiful, hypocritical, devilish and watery article I have ever read. He is indeed all a graduate of Cambridge University should not be – a loose, unpatriotic and an ineffectual buffoon. He has so much degenerates himself into an ethnic nuisance, a political liability and a religious jackass. Calling anyone Femi Fani-Kayode in Nigeria today, is a cool and polite way of saying that person is an IDIOT.

 

 

 

Editor: Opinion expressed on this page are strictly those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of abusidiqu.com and its associates

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Second Niger Bridge Project Captured In 2016 Budget – Femi Adesina

Contrary to speculations making the rounds, the second Niger bridge project was captured on 2016 budget handed over to the National Assembly by president Muhammadu Buhari in December, Special Adviser to the president on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina has said.

He stated this in an interview while playing guest on Radio Continental, 102.3 FM.

“The second Niger bridge is on the budget in 2016. Let’s recall that the last President sometime in 2011 said that he would complete that second Niger bridge before 2015. He didn’t even go beyond the architectural drawing, but in 2016 budget, that project is there,” Adesina said.

Asked if the president hate Igbos, Adesina said the president does not hate Igbos.

He went memory lane to explain how President Buhari has helped an Igbo family to join the oil industry and asked if the president would have picked his running mates from the Igbo race during his previous attempts to become the president of the country if he hates them.

“When the President ran for political office in 2003, who was his running mate? Dr Chuba Okadigbo. And in 2007? Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke. If he hated Igbos would he run with them?
That shows you the respect and the regard he has for Igbos, it was political reality that compelled him to come south-west in 2011 and in 2015. Let me tell you a story.”

“There is a prominent Igbo family in this country, if I mention their names you would know them, they are very prominent in the society. They told me a story that in the 70s, President Buhari was Minister of Petroleum, the family wanted to join the petroleum industry and then they made a bid. By then, there were not too many Nigerians playing in that industry, and there was a lot of scepticism from those around the then Lt Colonel Buhari, who was Oil Minister.”

“They all said they don’t believe that the company as represented by that family had the capacity to play in the industry. This family told me that eventually, they got to Lt Colonel Buhari, he listened to them, and asked them; ‘Are you sure you have the capacity to do this?’ And they told him, ‘we can do it’. Then he removed his military cap, banged it on the table and told them, ‘it is done.’ And he instructed that they give them that opportunity they wanted in the oil industry and today that family is so big and they never forget that the then Colonel Buhari as oil minister gave them the break they needed. They told me that story about three weeks ago.”

“The next day, when I saw the president, I told him the story. He laughed and then went on to tell me that when people say he is against the Igbos, it baffles him, that really he never knew that family, he just trusted the assurance they gave him that they could play in the oil industry, and today they are very big. He went further to say that even under PTF, so many Nigerians, including Igbos, benefitted a lot. So there is no way you can say the man hates Igbos.”

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