Buhari Is A True Democrat With A Slow And Steady Approach To Governance – Tinubu

National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has described President Muhammadu Buhari as a true democratic who is “slow but steady” in his approach to governance.

He spoke on Monday during the launch of a book — ‘Muhammadu Buhari: The Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria’, written by John Paden, a professor of international studies — at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

Tinubu, who was one of the reviewers of the book, also said Buhari was a disciplined and focused person right from his youthful days till the present time.

He stressed that the President was in haste to bring changes as a young leader.

“During the campaign, he surprised many by his agility and the broad canvas on which he operated,” he said.

“In tracing the evolution of Buhari, the national leader, the author’s assertion that military rule is based on the power its holders can wield, while civilian rule is based on the legitimacy derived from elections, is a point with which I dare not debate.

“Buhari’s career embodies this, hence his transition from being a military ruler to being a civilian leader, who subjected himself to the rigors and uncertainty of elections four times. Thrice he patiently went to court, seeking redress from electoral manipulation.

“The author, quite accurately, remarked on the Buhari victory equation, as flowing from Northern grassroots support and coalition-building with the South West as well as with other tendencies.”

Tinubu said: “This authorized biography of Nigeria’s Leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, attempts a broad characterization of the different stages of his life and professional career.

“Essentially, the book explores how his professional career, his personal life and prior experiences in government shaped and prepared him for the momentous assignment he now has.

“From the book’s pages, we see a man who has lived his life on assignments that always intersected with vital moments in the nation’s history. He was a man on assignment, when, in the military, he served bravely in a civil war to keep Nigeria united.

“He was on national assignment when he became military head of state in a well-intentioned effort to straighten things out, and set Nigeria on a better path.

“When he ventured into politics and competed for the Presidency, culminating in his 2015 election victory, he was still on assignment, showing that there was no other way for this nation to go but the way of democracy, no matter how difficult the path may be.

“Now, as sitting President, he is on an assignment, against time, to undo the wrongs of nearly two decades of bad governance.

“Such is the life of this man. Always in the public eye, doing things in his different, disciplined and Spartan way. From this compelling narrative, neatly demarcated into three parts and 24 chapters, the reader is able to glean the quintessential Buhari.”

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Why We Adopted ICT For Governance – Gov. Ganduje

The Executive Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje OFR has adduced reasons why the state decided to adopt Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in running its affairs.

He said the state decided to embed ICT into its affairs, primarily because all over the world, ICT has proven to be the best tool that can be used to run government as it allows transparency and accountability, which ultimately lead to corruption free and effective governance.

The Governor stated this at this year’s Nigeria Digital Innovation Conference with the theme ‘Building a new Nigeria in a digital economy’ held last week in the new campus of the Bayero University, Kano.

According to the Governor, Kano State has leveraged ICT to get biometric data capturing of civil servants in its determination to block leakages in the payment of outstanding annual and promotion increments.

“We introduced the Biometric Data exercise which is designed to provide the government with an accurate and reliable record of its personnel and clean up its payroll and also, the Data collected from the exercise will enable the government to determine whether the billions of Naira spent monthly on staff salaries are paid to identifiable and verifiable civil servants or not,” Ganduje said.

Highlighting some of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and related programmes the state has embarked on since his inauguration last year, Ganduje said the present administration is presently riding on E-Governance, E-Education E-Health and E- Agriculture to deliver dividend of democracy to the citizens of the state.

All over the world, governments are deploying technology solutions to run transparent and effective governance. This, the Kano State government noted it has done by automating its Internal Generated Revenue payment/ collection processes. “We have established the Kano State Internally Generated Revenue Assurance Platform, where all government revenues are managed electronically and online real time,” Ganduje, who received a special recognition award for the adoption of ICT for efficiency in governance disclosed.

Also, as part of the state agenda to be part of the digital economy, Ganduje explained that the government has also repositioned its land administration from analogue to digital. This, the government has done by sponsoring some personnel from the ministry of land & physical planning for a masters programme in the field of Geospatial Science & Technology at the renowned Regional Centre for Training in Aerospace Survey (under the auspices of the United Nation Economic Commission for Africa UNECA) in Ile-Ife, Osun State.

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Osun Monarch Lauds Aregbesola’s Commitment to Good Governance Despite Economic Recession

By Waheed Adekunle, Osogbo

The Oluwo of Iwo kingdom, Oba Abdul-Rasheed Adewale Akanbi has applauded Osun state governor Rauf Aregbesola for drifting the state towards economic prosperity.

The renowned traditional ruler also commended the state government for being focused and determined in piloting the train of the state to promised land even in the face of the present economic realities.

Oba Akanbi gave the commendation why receiving a Grand Royal Eminence Award from the indigenes of the ancient town.

The award presentation and launching
of historic movie titled “Adekola Telu” was organized to honour notable dignitaries in Iwoland.

The monarch who described the current economic situation in Nigeria as ever the worst in history, however extolled governor Aregbesola’s foresight towards socioeconomic, political and religious sustainability in the state.

Oba Akanbi who attributed the present economic adversity to lack of good leadership, therefore called on government at various levels to always prioritize the welfare of the masses.

The monarch who described worldly things as ephemeral, said the time has come for Nigerian leaders and traditional rulers to look beyond their noses and rise to rescue the present economic situation in the country.

Oba Akanbi said the traditional rulers and traditional institutions remained notable mechanism to avert the nation from the current economic woes, thus called on his counterparts to deploy their wherewithal to rescue the country.

He said the traditional institutions should not fold arms till country collapses just as he assured that no stone would be left unturned at ensuring the continuity of the corporate existence of Nigeria.

Oba Akanbi said the time has come for every institution to live up to expectation especially at a time the nation is being ravaged with myriads of challenges.

While itemizing some of the landmark achievements since he ascended the throne of his forefathers, the traditional ruler held that his reign has brought many developments and transformations to the ancient town in the last eight months.

Oba Akanbi said within his few months on the throne, he has been able to bring a study centre on National Open University (NOUN) to the ancient town.

He assured his subjects of continued commitment to pro-masses’ plights, adding that no opportunity would pass-by without being judiciously utilized.

Other awardees include: the spokesman of Osun state governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon (Golden Media Ambassador Award); Former Special Assistant to governor Aregbesola on Legal Matter, Barrister Bola Abimbola bags Legal Icon Award, Former Special Adviser to the Osun state governor on works and transport, Engr. Sabitu Oladepo Amudah bags Community Service Chief Award, among others.

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@DeleMomodu False Analogy As Corroboration Of Negative Historiography Of Governance, By Ade Ilemobade

Philosophical conceptualization of truth has been a controversial subject matter for eon within the discipline of philosophy.

Moreover, Life in general is in great part about seeking truth or the knowledge of truth introspectively or extrospectively and whichever ways we seek truth we are confronted with the obvious reality of its relativeness ontologically speaking.

It is a well known fact in philosophy that it is impossible to develop meaning absolutism within the purview of referential analysis in other to avoid infinite regression.@Delemomodu statement ”I will always tell Baba the truth.” is a typical example of regurgitation that disturbs my logical tranquility. Let us even take it for granted that this is a commonsensical regurgitation, is there any common sense no one ever seriously doubts or do we have to accept @Delemomodu claim to absolute truth commonsense statements as the only coherent truth that it is impossible to deny.

My view, @Delemomodu is confusing belief with truth because you have an opinion or belief about, over, a particular subject matter constructed in propositional term does not make your belief the truth in a philosophically contentious issue as governance in Nigeria.

To talk/write about always telling Baba the truth on governance in a polarised and explosive clime like ours is to negate the biconditionality in the nature of truth vis-à-vis the multiplicity of truth values in our clime: (P) is true if and only if (P), therefore @Delemomodu truth can only be absolute if everyone within the geopolitical entity called Nigeria agrees with his version of truth. I do not see that happening now and not in the foreseeable future.

Another issue that disturbs my logical tranquility is @Delemomodu‘s overexaggeration of his influence and importance in Nigeria. Please, don’t get me wrong he has the right to feel self important but to claim he has a panacea to Nigeria governance issues as oftenly asserted is jejune.

Here is @Delemomodu pontificating and generalizing:

“Our people love the concept of change in the metaphysical sense but not in any way that hurts them and their families or friends.”

Dele our people will have to love the concept of change in the real sense if we are to make progress in Nigeria. Their “metaphysical fantastical delirium” will eventually evaporate when consistency of policy formualtion and implementation deliver dividend of democracy. Pardon me for the quoted phrase.

It is condescending to describe/ascribe to Nigerians some derogatory metaphysical illusion in terms of understanding what is good for the generality of the people, please do not underestimate the intellectual or cognitive capacity of our people to decipher goodness of government actions or inactions.

Nigerians are more discerning than the non descript “They” you mentioned in your article. Who are these people if I may ask.

“Trust me, every government has them. If you ask me, it is one reason most of our governments have failed so spectacularly.”-@Delemomodu

By presenting a jundiced anonymity and non descript ”They” to corroborate negative historiography of governance in Nigeria you are only playing to the gallery of argument from false analogy and argumentum ad baculum as a specificity of the negative form of an argument to the consequences of action or inaction in other to find justification. You can not treathen Nigerians and the government with negative historiography since conditions prevalent are not the same.

I must say here that you are one of the “They” since you claimed you speak truth to Baba always and to previous administrations as a means to ”influence” governance decisions and policy making processes therefore we can take it for granted that some of your opinions played some kind of role in the spectacular failure of previous governments. I assume they must have followed your pontification religiously since you always speak the truth as a panacea to good governance.

What truth I ask.

Is it the truth not to continue with the cause of action in respect of the salient war against corruption, impunity and grand theft of our commonwealth.

Here is @Delemomodu again the oracle in Ghana ”The solid foundation of discipline and incorruptibility he was laying was uprooted in one fell swoop! Nigerians’ penchant for good life and happy living won the day.” I wonder what Dele would not do in the name of hedonistic prostration and materialistic lifestyle.

@Delemomodu you are fond of overgeneralization in most of your articles which is another usurpation of my logical tranquility. Please, most Nigerians do not have a strong inclination for “good life and happy living” that are predicated upon lawlessness, fraudulent behaviour, corruption, stealing and profigacy. Most Nigerians want a diligent good life and happy living that are not predicated on what has predominated your metaphysical view points.

What you have just described is not about Nigerians but a few selfish corrupt people who would rather go for nepotism, corruption and fraudulent machinations in other to advance the so called materialistic lifestyle you are propagating.

I am happy that June 12 1993 was spectacularly truncated, I am old enough to understand the politique and the shenanigans of key players either in politics and in their business life that they do not in my opinion deserve to rule Nigeria really “wat mij betreft” June 12 1993 is irrelevant.

Let us keep the discourse alive. Beliefs and Opinions are not absolute truth, we must be circumspect when people claim to speak absolute truth always because they are burden on democracy.

OTUNBA ADE ILEMOBADE is a philosopher

Twitter: pearl2prince

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We don’t need Window Dressing in Ondo State –  Adeyeye, APC Governorship Aspirant

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With This Victory, We Owe Kogi People Good Governance – Governor Yahaya Bello

The Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has hailed the historic judgement delivered by the panel of judges handling petitions on Kogi State Governorship Election, which upheld his victory, saying the victory at the tribunal is further call to give good governance to the people of the state.

Governor Bello said it was obvious that the All Progressives Congress recorded victory at both the November 21, 2015 general election and December 5, 2015 supplementary election and that the change the people voted for will spur his government to transform the state and empower the people.

He said the victory dedication would not be complete without paying tribute to the late leader of the party, Prince Abubakar Audu, who died in the course of the election that changed the political history of the country, describing the late Prince Audu as a political martyr whose spirit will help enliven the New Direction resolve.

The Governor called on all Kogi people to rally round his administration in its bid to create a state where opportunities abound for the people to aspire to their aspirations. He promised to ensure the protection of the rights of the people of the state and to open up new economic frontiers for inclusive empowerment.

According to Governor Bello, the State Government is building a reliable database for payment of wages and improved workforce for effective service delivery to the people of the state. He said government will generate more revenue for infrastructural development and social security, calling on all his opponents to join his New Direction government to move the state forward, saying it is time to strengthen the ropes of unity across the state.

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Inclusive Governance: Why Dogara Will Interact with 161 Nigerian University Students in Abuja By Turaki Adamu Hassan

“Students should not only be trained to live in a democracy when they grow up; they should have the chance to live in one today.” – Alfie Kohn

In this knowledge-based 21st century that we are in, the continued survival of a nation and its ability to rise and consolidate on the gains that globalization holds, lies in the interplay between policy formulators, implementers and the impact it makes on the target or its future leaders.

That’s why it’s often said, ‘show me the mindset, orientation and intellectual capacity of any student, and I will tell you what future that country has.’

Regrettably, however, successive governments in Nigeria have been unable to formulate and implement deliberate policies and programmes that would carter for the interests of the youths.

Ours is a system which consistently failed the youths and not the other way round, and that is why this intervention by the Speaker is novel and must not only be commended, but emulated by leaders at all levels.

In all serious societies and especially democracies, young people are the most important segment of the population sought after by politicians and leaders alike, who ensure that their interests are taken care of in the process of policy formulations.

Today, there are over 50 million young Nigerians in schooling age from primary to secondary schools, polytechnics, colleges of education and universities who look up to this present government of change for a better future after making their voices heard during the 2015 elections.

Conscious of this and keeping in mind that the Nigerian youth are the cornerstone to the country’s societal and developmental rejuvenation, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara, has decided to start meeting with the Nigerian youths, especially tertiary students. In such first interaction, the Speaker will meet with 161 students from all 141 public and private universities across the country from Monday 8th May, 2016.

The immediate impact to such interaction which holds over a two-day period will be the broadening of the understanding of the Nigeria student to the workings of the legislature, and ensure the fulfillment of the Speaker’s promise to promote youth inclusion in governance and encourage their active participation in democracy.


The dialogue is also aimed at exposing stereotypes that have constantly pitched the people against the National Assembly due to general misconception and misunderstanding of the legislature, as a result of prolonged military rule in Nigeria and the interplay of politics that has ensured that the Nigerian youth plays a less satisfactory participatory role in the national scheme of things.

The Citizen Engagement and Youth Development programme, a sole initiative of the Rt Hon Speaker, aims to be a regular interactive forum with the Nigerian University students, and is part of the fulfillment of the 8th House of Representatives’ Legislative Agenda to bring Nigerian youths closer for their voices to be heard.

As a proactive and revolutionary leader, this strategic move by the Speaker will, in no small way, promote active youth inclusiveness in democracy and redress the old thinking of exclusionary politics which has been identified as the bane of sustainable democratic consolidation.

Because of this exclusionary politics, Nigeria is yet to fully tap into the benefits of having a country with a well-prepared and equipped youth that is ready to take on and surmount the challenges of leadership. In fact, if Nigeria prepares its youth well – like the Speaker is preparing to do – its future lies not in oil but in the articulated, confident and highly motivated youths it is able to produce.

Apart from the goal of enhancing  democratic engagement, deepening students’ knowledge and understanding of Parliamentary activities, legislative processes, Parliamentary history and oversight of government by the National Assembly, this innovative interface will also encourage sustainable discussion on national developmental issues between students and elected representatives; thereby, creating better understanding of the legislature, creating an opportunity to demand for accountability from their representatives, build trust and redefine public perception of the legislature.

Furthermore, it will create a rare opportunity for the participants to make contributions and recommendations to the Speaker on areas they would want addressed. Significantly, the president of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) will address the Speaker on the role of students in nation building, as a way of fully gauging the mindset of the Nigerian student. The association will also facilitate a debate on youth unemployment.

Overall, the parley is expected to a) Expose students to the legislature: what it is and what it does


b) Learn about perceptions and values of democracy and knowing what factors influence the functioning of democracies.

c) Enhance dissemination of legislative information materials to students and school libraries.

d) Support students to directly observe legislative processes

e) Improve public trust in the Legislature as an arm of government

f) Enable students and young people meet elected representatives in the National Assembly

g) Engage students in a learning process outside the classroom by actively participating and improving their knowledge and understanding the perspectives of the Legislature.

h) Development of leadership skills in students and young people.

Facilitated by the National Institute for Legislative Studies, the interaction is expected to have far-reaching impact on promoting citizen engagement with the legislature.

Thus, if this is fully achieved, it will lead to a gradual erosion of the frustration, hopelessness and lack of confidence the average Nigeria youth has for it leaders and the way the country works. It will pave a way for an all round development of the Nigerian youth which should instill in him, the confidence needed for him to achieve both his desire and the development of the country.

This is keeping in mind that the vision of the country to be among the 20 top developed economies in the world by the year 2020 is only four years away from reality, and unless the youths are brought up in an environment that encourages and inspires confidence in them, we will get to that target year and realize that it’s still a dream.

Indeed, it was Rachel Jackson who said that there is great danger in a system that deliberately fails to carter for today’s needs of the youth “the very youth who are being treated the worst are the young people who are going to lead us out of this nightmare.”

Hassan is the Special Adviser on Media & Public Affairs to Speaker Yakubu Dogara

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Naij.com Report On The State Of Governance In Akwa Ibom State: A Rejoinder, By Inibehe Effiong

Dear Naij.com Editor,

I write to draw your attention to a misleading report published on your site on Monday the 18th of April, 2016 on the current state of governance in Akwa Ibom State under governor Udom Emmanuel.

While re-publishing an investigative report originally published by Sahara Reporters on the new lavish mansion built by governor Udom Emmanuel within few months in office, you made a very wrong appraisal of the governor’s “performance” by crediting non-existent projects to his administration.

Precisely, the last two paragraphs of your report states thus:

“The banker-turned-politician is redefining how governance should be in Nigeria. Perhaps because of his extensive background in the private sector, Governor Emmanuel has started on a bright note.”

“Among his achievements so far are the commissioning of a led factory at Itam and an automobile assembly plant at Itu.

Sir, this is not correct.

The truth of the matter is that there is no “led factory at Itam and an automobile assembly plant at Itu”, or in any part of the State.

I am an indigene of the area (Itu). I can confirm to you on good authority without any fear of contradiction that the project(s) you reported as having been commissioned do not exist anywhere.

Sometime in July 2015, the governor performed a so-called “ground breaking” exercise of the purported Automobile Assembly Plant while he was still defending his election in the courts to convey the false impression that he was working and should be allowed to continue. It was a scam – until the contrary is proved.

The Israeli company (MIMSHAC Merkavim Transportation Technologies Plant) that was fronted by the governor for the setting up of the plant had since disappeared.

I have attached the photos of the current state of site of the so-called Automobile Assembly Plant in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State for your attention. You can see that there is nothing on the ground. The site has been overgrown by weeds. This is pure fraud. You can visit the site for verification if you doubt me.

As at today, the governor has obtained more than three credit facilities (loans) from commercial banks. Civil servants in some establishments and pensioners in Akwa Ibom State are being owed arrears of salaries and pensions, respectively. The State government has not commissioned any tangible project in the state since its inauguration on May 29, 2015. Nobody knows exactly what is going on in Akwa Ibom State, it seems the government is on sabbatical.

The above assertions are factual and verifiable. Given your wide readership, it is pertinent for the public not to be misled. I strongly recommend that subsequent appraisals of the government of Akwa Ibom State should be preceded by objective and dispassionate research and investigation.

On the purported second term advocacy by some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State, my simple response is that people are entitled to express their views. You will however agree with me that it is sheer sycophancy and utter nonsense for anyone to be campaigning for a second term for a governor that is yet to exhaust the first year of his first term in office.

The Nigerian public are very aware of the sham that took place in Akwa Ibom State on April 11, 2015 in the name of an election. The verdict of local and international observers on the election is a matter of public knowledge. The judicial approval of that sham cannot obliterate the memories of Akwa Ibom people and Nigerians.

No court judgment can alter settled facts of history. It is therefore ludicrous and repugnant for anyone to be talking about a second term when the crisis of legitimacy of the first term is still hanging on the governor’s neck.

I am not writing this rejoinder because I believe that facts are sacred and should be respected. I urge you to avail members of the public the benefit of reading this rejoinder.

Please accept the assurances of my highest esteem.

Inibehe Effiong, Esq.

Legal Practitioner and Convener of the Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD).

inibehe.effiong@gmail.com

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Religious Tolerance And The Challenge Of Democratic Governance In Nigeria, By Governor Tambuwal

CONVOCATION LECTURE OF FOUNTAIN UNIVERSITY, OSOGBO, DELIVERED BY RT. HON AMINU WAZIRI TAMBUWAL CFR, (MUTAWALLEN SOKOTO), GOVERNOR, SOKOTO STATE ON MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2016

INTRODUCTION

It gives me great pleasure to have the privilege of addressing this distinguished audience. I am immensely grateful to the Governing Council, Management and staff of this highly esteemed university for giving me a worthy platform to share my thoughts with you on this auspicious moment of Fountain University’s 4th & 5th Convocation Ceremony.

When I was approached to deliver this Convocation Lecture, I readily agreed, for it is a great honour to be associated with educational endeavours. It is also an opportunity to interact with men and women of integrity and academic excellence. Undoubtedly, the whole of human civilisation was built by intellectuals and other exemplary men and women of wisdom and intellect. Their sustained efforts steer institutions that promote good governance and socio-economic development. In this respect, our highly placed Fountain University, Oshogbo, is certainly a shining example of a citadel of learning that is being driven by the lofty ideals of a reputable religious organisation – Nasrul-Lahi-L-Fatih Society of Nigeria (NASFAT).

In the letter appointing me to serve as the Guest Lecturer at this ceremony, the organisers so benevolently allowed me to choose a topic that touches on issues of interest to our national life. Accordingly, and taking into cognizance the background and foundation of the Fountain University, as well as the prevailing reality of our times, I decided to speak on the topic: “Religious Tolerance and the Challenges of Democratic Governance in Nigeria”.

My choice of this topic is anchored on the conviction that nations just don’t happen by historical accident. Rather, they are built by men and women with vision and high sense of resolute. Building a polity, therefore, entails avowed determination and sacrifice to address the incessant tensions and conflicts, which tend to mar our aspirations for building a united and prosperous nation.

I will initially discuss the challenges of nationhood with which Nigeria has been grappling. The second and third sections dwell on the causes of conflicts in the Nigerian polity, and the potentialities of democracy as a viable tool for good governance, the last section is a modest attempt to propose a way forward towards religious harmony and tolerance in the country. My humble experience as a legislator, a legal practitioner and a politician presiding over the executive affairs of the government of Sokoto State is likely to influence the direction of my lecture. So, bear with me!

The Nigeria Project

The project for the construction of Nigeria’s nationhood commenced with the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates of the Niger in 1914 and ended with Nigeria’s Independence in 1960. As in all cases of nations across the globe, the challenge has not been one of constituting the nation, but of preserving and sustaining what, in the case of Nigeria, could be said to have been established, fait accompli. Invariably, all nations possess unique challenges in sustaining their nationhood. Some survived, while others could not pass the litmus test. For instance, the United States had to go through a bloody civil war from 1861 – 1865. However, India broke away after its independence of 1947. The issue of Bangladesh is a case in history. The most recent example is what happened or is rather happening to Sudan. Certainly, “it is one thing to construct and secure a nation; it is another to sustain it”, as one scholar recently noted.

The historic amalgamation of Nigeria has often been attributed as the foundation of the rancorous relationship between the two regions of Nigeria. Northern Nigeria consisting of three geopolitical zones with largely Muslim population. It was the centre of a pre-colonial Islamic Empire – the Sokoto Caliphate and its vast Muslim population. Heirs to the Caliphate are inspired by the wider Muslim world, in terms of religious, socio-political and cultural values. The South, an ethnically diverse region, also having three geopolitical zones, is largely Christian. The major socio-political inclination is towards western culture and traditional African heritage. Each of the two Regions have ethnic and religious minority, harbouring their own grievances. These grievances are often expressed through bitter politicking, or sectarian crisis, more or less pauperized by political jobbers and negative media rhetoric.

History has also amply demonstrated that prior to independence, Nigerian nationalist leaders have fully discussed all issues relating to the transition to self-rule. Similarly, there were also interactions after independence on the effect of what is regarded as the arbitrary colonial unification and necessary strategies designed to reconcile differences in aspirations, priorities and vision. However, there were deep and, in some instances, subsisting sentiments because some people saw Nigeria as “the mistake of 1914”, whereas others considered it as “a mere geographic expression”. There were also fears, hopes and anxieties from a wide spectrum of groups in the two regions, even if exaggerated. For instance, Christians do express concerns that “politically dominant Muslims could Islamise national institutions and impose Shari’ah on non-Muslims. Muslims, on the other hand, have the fear of what they regarded as “unbridled westernisation that is antagonising the Islamic belief system”, according to one commentator. The issue, however, is whether the amalgamation was an act of colonial convenience; or even that it was a “mistake”. The reality on the ground is that, for better or for worse, Nigeria is a political entity bounded by a common destiny. So, we need to focus on the fundamental task of nation building.

Nation building is, in itself, a complex task that requires the fixing of so many inter-woven issues. With the attainment of independence, more than five decades ago, the expectation was that Nigeria would emerge as a strong nation, commanding respect among the comity of nations. However, the soaring rise of poverty, unemployment, ethno-religious crisis, poor infrastructure, environmental hazards, insecurity, as well as leadership deficit have conspired to deny the country the advantage to reach the benchmark of development in the 21stcentury. The phenomena of ethno-religious conflict has plagued and threatened the very existence of the nation owing to the aforementioned factors.

Mismanagement of our resources and misrule by the elites from all corners of the country have been the other major factors, which impoverished and denied opportunities for growth to many Nigerians. Indeed, religious rhetoric blaming members of other religious groups has been appealing among the masses owing largely to their relatively low level of education and awareness. The quest for a religious utopia has given some opportunistic political gladiators the excuse to seek legitimacy by hoodwinking the citizenry via false religious pretentions. Since independence, religious and ethnic rhetoric has leveraged claims to political representation and opportunities. On the other hand, corruption and incompetent leadership have added another dimension to the ugly phenomena in not only preventing equitable distribution of resources and opportunities but also in making the politics of religious and ethnic exclusivity more appealing. The nation, therefore, needs to evolve a system of leadership selection and accountability, which produces the sort of leaders that can confront the challenges associated with our history, socioeconomic inequality, and the establishment of strong institutions for democracy and good governance.

The pertinent questions to ask at this point are: Why is the task of nation building so difficult in Nigeria despite our enormous human and natural resources? What are the challenges and threats associated with nation building? To what extent has leadership confronted these challenges? How do we identify weak political and development institutions with a view to strengthening them?

I share the view of some scholars that the negative effect of colonialism on the development of a nation has been exaggerated. The success of many Asian countries supports this viewpoint. In fact, many of these countries had industrialised and attained enviable levels of development, despite colonial experiences. What Nigerian need is the willpower and determination to succeed in addressing the challenges of the day. In this way, we can aspire to build an illustrious future. Imagine, Malaysia is a major exporter of oil palm and it is from Nigeria that it imports its palm kernels!  Haba!!

ETHNO-RELIGIOUS CONFLICTS AND DISHARMONY IN THE NIGERIAN POLITY

With over 400 ethnic groups belonging to several religious sects, Nigeria since independence has remained a multi-ethnic nation State, grappling with the problems of ethno-religious conflicts. Ethnicity and religious intolerance have led to the recurrence of ethno-religious conflicts. Major motivations behind most religious conflicts are economic and political, for, as one scholar puts it: “in the struggle for political power to retain the monopoly of economic control… the political class instigates the ordinary citizen into mutual suspicions resulting in conflicts”.

This is not to underplay other factors, such as ways of propagating religions, mistrust and suspicion between followers of various religions and ethnic groups, selfishness and illiteracy. Religion can indeed serve as an instrument of social cohesion, but it can also spur adherents towards violent acts. Hence, its description as a “double-edged sword” by some public policy analysts.

The fact is that colonialism did not cause the primordial conditions that generated conflicts between Christians and Muslims, but it made them worse. Indeed, colonialism established the basis for using identity politics as a means of accessing political and economic resources. Consequently, religious differences come to worsen political crisis. From the early 1980s, religion has been making increasing in-road into the political development of Nigeria, in spite of the official legal status of the country as a secular state. This is a status accepted by the majority of Nigerians, and it is clearly laid down in the constitution.

Nigeria is at the moment experiencing major challenges. It is one of the fastest growing nations with a population that doubles every two and a half decades. Access to higher education and healthcare is limited. Poor infrastructure and weak leadership deficit have also conspired to impede the development of the country.

Notwithstanding this perception, it is important to attempt an objective assessment of the role of religion in the task of nation building in such a way that it will be a unifying factor rather than a divisive one. The spate and magnitude of the crises caused by religious disharmony has been captured by NEMA in its 2015 Annual Report, thus:

In 2014, insurgency, communal clashes, floods, windstorms and fire were primarily the main causes of people’s displacement, physical damages and loss of lives in the country. The Northeast and North Central parts of the country had more human induced emergency situations than any other part. The others experienced more of natural causes. Insurgency caused more havoc that affected more population and obstructed the normal functioning of local economic activities in the affected areas.

Obviously, religious intolerance in itself is the outcome of the way and manner that religious education is taught in various religious groups. This is especially glaring in terms of insurgency, which is, for the most part, caused by poor education or the lack of it and religious bigotry. However, all factors as mentioned have been amplified by Nation’s conspicuous challenges to do with unemployment, poverty, and leadership deficit.

It is pertinent to state that the Nigerian Constitution has evidently created a balance of power between all religions, so as to make it difficult for any religion to realise the dream of becoming dominant. There is, therefore, the need to cultivate tolerance and co-operation that will promote peaceful co-existence. However, the balance tends to provoke tendencies for confrontation leading to religious conflicts capable of derailing our democratic culture and unity of the country. Causes of disharmony or conflicts amongst religious groups in the country, as variously propounded include:

  1. Conflicts or misunderstanding fuelled by socio-political, economic and governance factors
  1. Disharmony facilitated by Government’s neglect, oppression, domination, and related discriminatory processes

iii.         Conflicts and disharmony aggravated by the weak nature of State institutions.

  1. Conflicts and disharmony provoked by, for example, disparaging publications, vilification of other people’s views, values, wrong perception of other people’s faith.
  1. Conflicts essentially triggered by religious intolerance, fundamentalism and extremism, which are mostly caused by poor education or lack of it.

Seen in this context, there is a need to put religion in its proper perspective in the nation’s building process. Indeed, religion has been made to be both an emotional and explosive issue in Nigeria. The scenario could create problems too serious to solve. The civil war of 1967-1970 was largely fought for political, economic and ethnic reasons. The nation survived it mainly because it was hardly a religious war. However, religious grip is growing firmer and increasingly determining the politics and culture of Nigerians in all walks of life.

Some writers are of the view that “nothing has threatened Nigeria’s nationhood more than religion”, I would, however, argue that it is the narrow interpretation or misinterpretation of religion that has been the problem. This narrow interpretation in the context of Nigeria’s politics has created the basis of tension in the struggle by religious groups to assert superiority and dominance in the socio-economic and political spheres. While the Nigerian constitution has taken steps to moderate the excesses, the gap as to whether Nigeria is a secular state or a pluralist one has to be resolved.   I, for one, do not go along with the contestation as to the possibility of the State being neutral in the religiosity of its people. In my view, the illiteracy factor is the most potent variable, which should be controlled. This is obvious, as we are quite aware of the enormous contributions being rendered by religious organisations, such as NASFAT, in the educational development of this country.

Records abound on the considerable role of Muslim Organisations to the development of education, peace and unity of this country. Some of these include Ansaruddeen Society (established in Lagos in 1923), Anwaruddeen Society established in Abeokuta in 1939, the Ansarul-Islam Society of Nigeria established in Ilorin in 1943, the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria established in Lagos in 1954 and indeed, the Jama’atul Nasril Islam, with its Headquarters in Kaduna, and established in 1962. Through the activities of these organisations, Muslims were given basic training, which empower them to contribute to the manpower development of Nigeria. In fact, it has been contended by scholars, such as Prof Balogun, that “the problem of imbalance between the quantity and the quality of personnel in the public sector would have been more acute” if not for the opportunities provided by these organisations for the acquisition of western education within a congenial Islamic atmosphere. The glaring contribution of NASFAT in this regard, hardly needs to be mentioned. NASFAT’s presence and conspicuous contributions in the dissemination of orthodox religious values amongst all Muslims in all parts of the country is so obvious to require explanation. There are also other Islamic organisations in the modern times such as the Qadiriyya and Tijjaniya Sufi orders; Jama’atul Izalatul Bidi’a Wa’ikamatus Sunnah, National Council of Muslims Youth Organisation, Muslim Students Society of Nigeria, Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria, that are working concertedly to prove that Islamic civilisation is not a perversion of its distortion designed by unfortunate forces causing conflicts, violence or insurgency of any type. The organisations are also working round the clock to orient the Muslim Ummah to embrace the true tenets of Islam within the context of prevailing ethno-religious reality of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The formation of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in 1974 and its various programmes and activities thereafter abundantly proved that Muslims could effectively discharge their religious duties within the context of a multi-religious nation.

On the other hand, the role of the early Christian missionaries in fostering Nigerian nationalism is very clear. Certainly, the colonial era in Nigeria was one that witnessed a significant and extensive growth in Christian evangelism. Over the years, organisations that helped in bringing all Christians together to promote unity such as CCN, was founded. In August 1976, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) was formed under the auspices of both Catholic Church and the Protestant Churches, with the “aim of promoting understanding among the various people and strata of the Nigerian Society, and above all, to propagate the Gospel”. Many scholars have written extensively on the contribution of Christianity to nation building, especially in the areas of education and healthcare delivery.

Forces of non-integration of the Nigerian people may have had roots in colonialism, but it is important to understand that societies cannot be parochial localities – autonomous unto themselves. Inevitably, they have to interact with others, to exchange ideas, goods and services. Religious organisations of all divides must be conscious of this fact, and must endeavour to educate adherents, especially those vying for political power to imbibe the virtue and sanctity of human dignity, freedom of will and tolerance. The phrase “supposing we are all created equal like office pins”, as once thoughtfully raised by Ahmad Deedat, is full of wisdom. God has given the human race the liberty to choose, and as such, it will be sheer naivety for anybody to imagine that he can compel people to follow his own chosen faith. Indeed, what is required is concerted effort to rise against moral decadence, illiteracy and spiritual bankruptcy, which are fanning the embers of religious intolerance and conflicts.

DEMOCRACY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE

It is a popular consensus in modern times that democracy has the highest capacity and potential for propelling good governance. In fact, the task of evolving an enduring and all-inclusive sustainable political culture that will guarantee freedom and opportunities to all is the cornerstone of democratic governance. The majority of Nigerians have confidence that the myriad of problems and challenges facing the nation are surmountable if only a truly democratic government is operated in the country. Central to democratic governance, as it is well known, is the respect for rule of law, fundamental human rights, freedom of expression, separation of powers,  fairness and equity, as well as the strengthening of institutions for effective service delivery.

The problems of ethnicity and diversity can actually be blended to be a source of strength under democratic governance. Undoubtedly, citizens of this country, belonging to different races, tribes and religions are united together by common history, nay destiny. Democracy, on the other hand, has the capacity of effecting the desired integration. In this regard, we can craft an enduring political system that effectively counters disharmony and intolerance under the democratic culture. The essential ingredients, to my mind, are as follows:

  1. Prevalence of peace and security
  2. A leadership that is genuine in its intention and nationalistic in outlook

iii.         Provision of an enabling environment for wealth creation

  1. Provision of equal opportunity to all ethnic and religious groups, which will enable them to participate actively in the governance of their country

Let me stress, at the risk of sounding obscure, that beyond the question of amalgamation lies the survival of the Nigerian State, because this is the reality on the ground. We need to fully understand the forces working to derail all efforts aimed at nation building. Knowledge of the historical links and appreciation of socio-political values within the democratic system of government must, therefore, be clearly delineated. For instance, prior to British colonial rule, Islam had already become well established in Nigeria, with the exception of Igboland and Niger Delta, manifesting itself as a religious creed, a political force, a legal system, as well as an intellectual and cultural tradition. In fact, Islam has enjoyed the status of a state religion in all parts of northern Nigeria in the 19th Century. It is, therefore, necessary to understand that there is varying conceptual understanding of the role of religion in different parts of the Nigerian polity.

It is the duty of politicians and leaders to establish standards of governance, by using different tactics or strategies. Unity of purpose, patriotism and selflessness are, in this regard, most crucial for building a dynamic democratic culture that will ensure the integration of all ethnic and religious groups on the basis of fairness and justice. Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardaunan Sokoto, and indeed other founding fathers worked assiduously to ensure that ethnic chauvinism and religious bigotry found no place in the political process. In fact, the depth of integration amongst ethnic and religious groups in northern Nigeria in the 1960s has continued to resonate until today.

The consensus, then, is that the nation’s route to sustainable development is democracy. Building a democratic culture that is capable of achieving the objective of national integration, in my view, is contingent on the following hard truths:

  1. The executive arm of government should not encroach on the duties and responsibilities of the legislature and judiciary.
  1. The legislature must endeavour, at all times, to undertake its oversight functions, selflessly and patriotically.

iii.         The judiciary must show probity and be assertive in jealously guarding its integrity, by ensuring that justice is done to all without fear or favour.

  1. Public and political office holders, at all levels, must adhere to constitutional stipulations, and ensure responsible and accountable governance.
  1. The Public Service is in need of restructuring and reform, guided by integrity and merit, thereby engendering global best practice in everyday operation of all ministries, departments and agencies of government.

No doubt, challenges of democratic governance do manifest themselves in different outfits. The most critical of these challenges, however, is in the context where misguided criticisms, negative politicking, eccentric or bigoted preaching are used as instruments of destabilisation. Certainly, our experience with democracy in Nigeria has amply demonstrated that true democrats can effectively address issues of socio-economic inequality, promote access to basic education, health and housing. It can also help us to find ways of curbing ethnocentric exuberance and religious bigotry.

SOLUTIONS TO RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE

It is obvious, that religious and ethnic rhetoric have been used as a cover to claim political representation and opportunities. Invariably, most politicians could hold at anything in the struggle for power, damning the consequences. In this regard, political differences have ignited many sectarian crises. It is therefore essential to free religion from the grief of dark forces – either as charlatans, religious bigots or unfortunate political jobbers. Controlling religious intolerance in this country has to ensure that causes of disharmony are squarely addressed. In my view, the democratic system of government could undertake this exercise. However, in this undertaking, the capacity of democratic institutions must be strengthened to ensure that unpatriotic and mediocre politicians are cleared out.

The task primarily involves the laying of a solid foundation for a democratic culture, whose operators are fair to all irrespective of their circumstances. In essence, politicians, public officials and political office holders must be those who are not necessarily detached from religion, but who have the understanding that religion is in itself a tool for peace, progress and sustainable development. Such leaders would work to address the challenges of our history, the challenges of socio-economic inequalities, and indeed, the challenges of building vibrant and strong institutions for democracy and sustainable development.

To ensure that religion plays its vital role as a source of harmony, truth and hope for the nation within the prevailing democratic culture, I proffer the following suggestions:

  1. Exposing and penalising all divisive agents of violence and lawlessness, within the purview of existing laws. Leaders, law enforcement agents and traditional rulers have a concerted role to play in this regard.
  1. Sincere and open discussions and dialogue amongst religious groups and organisations. JNI, NSCIA, CAN, leaders, security agencies and traditional rulers at all tiers of government will need to constantly discuss areas of interests, agreements and disagreement with a view to promoting unity and understanding.

iii.         Mounting robust enlightenment programmes that would foster inter-faith understanding. The tremendous achievements recorded by Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) need to             be consolidated by finding more strategies that would promote its envisaged objectives.

  1. The need to control the many factors that are impacting directly or indirectly bearing on religious disharmony such as unemployment, poverty, inadequate security, depletion of cultural values, unhindered movement of persons along the frontiers and more conspicuously – bad politicking.
  1. The need to discouraged disparaging publications and negative utterances by scholars and unpatriotic media practitioners.
  1. The recurring need for religious organisations to embark on rigorous educational training and the enlightenment of adherents as exemplified by JNI, NASFAT and other orthodox religious groups.

vii.        The enlightenment of the general populace to differentiate between true democrats who are in politics for the development of fatherland and those who are in politics for their selfish aggrandisement.

viii.       The need for the citizenry to be proactive in promoting good governance and fighting corruption and bad leadership within the limits of the law.

CONCLUSION

Distinguished audience, let me, in conclusion reiterate the point that ethnic and religious harmony has been exemplary in the history of Nigerian polity. Disputes and conflicts witnessed over the years in Nigeria have been more or less caused by poor education or lack of it among our people, who are mostly hoodwinked by unpatriotic persons seeking to advance their self-interest. These unpatriotic citizens are to be found mostly in the corridors of political and economic power. Democracy, being a system, which gives freedom to people more than any other system of government, is open to abuse by unpatriotic citizens for their own narrow interests. However, I have argued throughout this lecture that democratic governance could effectively solve the problems of religious intolerance through the election of politicians of high calibre, who are patriotic, selfless and people-oriented. A people-oriented system of government will, then, have the capacity of understanding our differences and inspiring all groups to contribute to nation building, without losing their identity. It is my ardent hope that my lecture will elicit further discussions on the subject.

 

Thank you. 

 

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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Bukola Ogunyemi: The Making of Ambode’s Lagos – A Trilogy of Excellence in Governance

Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better, and your better best…

The origin of this well-known rhyme is a matter of dispute, but the message is not – there is always room for improvement, no matter how good a thing seems or how well a person is doing. It is a call to the relentless pursuit of perfection.

Lagos is a country – this has become more of a reality than just a saying for the $91 billion economy cramped within the smallest state in Nigeria. Lagos houses over 12 percent of Nigeria’s 170 million population all cramped into the nation’s smallest landmass when comparing states. Lagos accounts for over 60 percent of all industrial and commercial activities, and a quarter of the nation’s GDP. If Lagos were a country, it would be the fifth largest economy in Africa, bigger than Kenya, Ghana and Tanzania, and indeed bigger than 25 African countries put together. Lagos is also one of the fastest growing cities in the world, growing 10 times faster than New York.

Lagos, going by these credentials, has always been faced with peculiar challenges and as such requiring special needs in terms of political leadership. Now on its third governor since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999, Lagos has been blessed with exemplary leaders who have approached the development of the state with a relay race mindset rather than a 100m dash. From Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the visionary, who laid the foundation for a financially independent Lagos, when through foresight he put structures in place for the state to finance itself through internally generated revenue (Lagos generates 75% of its revenues without having to depend on federal allocation), to Babatunde Raji Fashola, the demolition man, who set Lagos on the path of economic boom through radical infrastructural development, and now Akinwunmi Ambode, who in 10 months has embarked on building a legacy of unprecedented social development.

5 months into Ambode’s administration, I wrote an opinion piece ranking him and Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna as the top two governors from the class of 2015. A number of people disagreed with my assessment then, but in 10 months Ambode has through his clearly visible and undisputable achievements made his supporters proud, converted unbelievers and silenced all opposition.

It hasn’t been a jolly ride all the way. Despite the amount of work done by his predecessors, Ambode met on a ground a Lagos that was buckling under the pressure of a teeming population and infrastructure that was stretched thin especially on the outskirts. Insurgency in the North and the promise of a better life in Fashola’s Lagos had seen an influx of people into Lagos in the last 2 to 3 years like never before, the traffic situation was hellish and security seriously compromised. The constitutional framework for policing in Nigeria puts the control firmly in the hands of the federal government, but Ambode is not a man given to excuses, so it became a case of “what if we can’t have our own police, we equip yours”. N4.765 billion later, the governor handed security equipment and vehicles over to the state police command and the Rapid Response Squad, including 100 4-door salon cars, 55 Ford Ranger pick-ups, 10 Toyota land cruiser pick-ups, 15 BMW power bikes, 100 power bikes, Isuzu trucks, three helicopters, two gun boats, 15 armoured personnel carriers, revolving lights, siren and public address system, vehicular radio communicators, security gadgets including bullet proof vests, helmets, handcuffs, uniforms, kits and improved insurance and death benefit schemes for officers.

It didn’t take long to see the fruits of that investment. Criminals and hoodlums met their waterloo in the hands of newly equipped and highly motivated police officers. More than 200 arrests have been made since then and crime rate in Lagos has reduced to an all-time low. Ambode’s finest moment as Chief Security Officer of Lagos State however came via his efforts in the rescue of 3 school girls abducted by gunmen from Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary School in Ikorodu. It was a scenario that seemed to Nigerians like a recurring nightmare. Almost 700 days ago, during the dark ages heralded by the ousted Goodluck Jonathan, Boko Haram terrorists abducted over 200 girls from Chibok and despite global demands for their release, the girls are still in captivity. Unlike the former president however, Ambode proved to be the leader the former president never was by rising to the occasion and mobilizing all security agencies in Lagos to go after the abductors and rescue the girls. Six days later the girls were reunited with their parents and Nigerians saw first-hand what is achievable when a leader knows it take more than luck to run a government.

If anyone was still in doubt about his determination to make Lagos a crime-free zone, Ambode had these words for them – Let me warn that the State Government will not tolerate kidnapping or any forms of crime in the State. Our position is clear and unambiguous, Lagos state has the capacity and the will to go after every form of crime and criminality in order to safeguard lives and property in the state.

Anyone who had insight into the prudent use of state resources during the Fashola years could be forgiven for finding it hard to imagine a more frugal regime. But the chartered accountant in Ambode has done just that. One of the governor’s first moves is to reduce the cost of governance in the state by N3 billion monthly. The implication being that in 10 months the state has saved N30 billion which is being re-invested into massive infrastructural development. No wonder then that the state managed to repair a record number of 300 roads in just seven months. The average Lagosian bears witness that there is a road in his area that has been touched since Ambode assumed office. And the show has just started. Just last month the government flagged off the construction of 114 roads in the 57 LGAs and LCDAs in the state at a cost of N17.5 billion.

Another interesting trend visible in Ambode’s Lagos is the synergy and nexus between the different projects being undertaken. In a well thought out, bottom top approach to development, each project complements another and like a master builder, Ambode rests one stone on another for the making of a beautiful edifice. Take for example the provision of security equipment to the RRS and the LightUp Lagos project that has seen crime reduce drastically. Crime thrives in darkness, and the wisdom behind ensuring every street is lighted at night gels perfectly with more efficient policing. Also the introduction of the 112 Toll-Free Emergency Number (the only one of its kind in Nigeria) was backed with the provision of 20 mobile intensive care unit ambulances and 26 transport ambulances. The General Hospitals in the state were also provided with 26 mobile x-ray machines and 22 power generating sets ranging from 350 – 500 KVA to ensure 24-hour power supply.

Ambode has also shown he’s the leader to trust with the task of making difficult decisions especially as it concerns the opportunity cost of certain policies to the welfare of the people. Just this week it was announced that the state will no longer sponsor pilgrimages to Mecca and Jerusalem. He also cancelled an agreement the state had with the NURTW over the operation of the BRT service and backed it up with 434 brand new buses plying the Ikorodu route and easing traffic gridlock on other major roads. The demolition of illegal structures at the popular Oshodi market also lends credence to this assertion.

About N2.5 billion has been spent on the rehabilitation of schools, construction of new classroom blocks and provision of furniture. In addition to that, over 4,000 school teachers were recently employed to add to the human capital in education. The line rail project is well on course for completion by December and a N25 billion Employment Trust Fund was instituted to address issues of unemployment and promote wealth creation through entrepreneurial development.

Perhaps one of Ambode’s biggest wins is in efforts at communicating with the people of Lagos State on his plans and programmes, and sometimes the rationale behind some of the steps taken by his government. It is easy to become aloof once a politician crosses that pedestal between candidacy and the office, but Ambode has shown he is one of a kind. We have seen good administrators who fail at communication, and we have seen poor governments spend obscene amounts on image making and propaganda, but Ambode has mastered the art of backing achievements with effective communication. While his works speak for him, the Governor has not failed to grab the mic himself when he deems it necessary. Two town hall meetings have been held since he assumed office, the first at Abesan and the second at Lagos Island, and he went to great lengths to not only give account of his stewardship, but also feel the pulse of the people and get their feedback.

Alec J. Ross, a key figure in Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, it was who said if governments are not engaging in social media, they are essentially ceding influence and power. With Ambode, Lagos has entered an era of digital participatory democracy through socially responsible and strategically responsive use of social media. Not only is he one of the most active public officers on social media in Nigeria, he also has one of the largest following. He has perfected the art of making the people dance to his melody without blowing his own trumpet. The timely manner of his responses to issues raised on social media show he has a media team that that is properly aligned with his vision of accountability in governance.

The vision of Lagos a megacity laid 16 years ago is fast becoming a reality with the pace at which Ambode is going about the business of delivering excellence in leadership. Tinubu was good, Fashola was better, and if what we’ve seen from Ambode’s 10-month reign is anything to go by, the best is well and truly on the way.

Bukola Ogunyemi, a digital marketing executive, writes from Lagos.

 

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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Women ?The Bedrock Of Governance  – Stella Oduah

Senator  Stella Oduah the Lawmaker representing Anambra North Senatorial District and Vice Chairman Committee on Women Affairs ? has described Women Affairs as the Bedrock of any government.

She stated this on Wednesday, 27th January 2016 at the inaugural meeting of the Committee of Women Affairs held at the National Assembly Complex, ?Abuja.

?Oduah called for the main streaming of Nigerian women to ensure a more developed society, one that has gender balance .

“As far as am concerned Women Affairs is the bed rock of any government , I do not see how we can move forward if we fail to mainstream Women Affairs.

I want to believe that the change we have coming now will have women mainstreamed; be it in capacity building or involvement in governance. ?We also know that a healthy society is a society that has a balance in gender.

The Ministry has to be really funded and we will be doing a proper budget analysis.”

Speaking to the Director National Centre for Women Development, (NCWD) Onyeka Onwenu, Oduah pointed out major areas where she expects the agency to focus on, urging the DG to ensure that Nigeria Women will be better taken care of.

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Persecution Of Our members, Ploy By Buhari, APC To Cover Up Governance Lapses – PDP

The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that the ongoing corruption charge against its members is a ploy by President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government to cover up its lack of ideas on governance.

PDP further claimed that not even “the heinous and draconian agenda” of the APC-led administration to decimate it will succeed as they are coming up stronger.

The National Secretary of the PDP, Prof. Adewale Oladipo, stated this in a statement made available yesterday. He further claimed that the APC, in a desperate mood to cover up its obvious lapses and the clear lack of governance direction in the last eight months, has plunged all its energy seeking imaginary PDP faults.

According to Oladipo, the APC, having realized that it lacked what it takes to deliver its numerous bogus campaign promises to Nigerians, has   resorted to intimidation and harassment of the opposition through its set-out witch-hunt policy.

He said, “In all democracies, viable opposition is recommended for stability and growth of society, but the APC in is seeking to decimate opposition so foist its dictatorial agenda of installing one party state without economic direction and where the rights of the citizens are trampled under-foot.

“Nigerians have seen through the campaign deceptions and the now unfolding agenda of the APC and are now apprehensive about the health of the country as the reality of the type of party and leaders they voted into power gradually dawns on them

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