Stray Bullet kills Tanker Driver In Lagos

A tanker driver, identified as Hassan, has reportedly died after being hit by a stray bullet hot by one of the policemen who went to raid the hideouts of suspected drug dealers and addicts around the Mile 2 bridge.

Heavily armed police officers on raids of drug dealers and addicts under the Mile2 bridge reportedly shot one of them but a stray bullet hit the driver tanker who died instantly,” The Guardian reported.

This has reportedly led to a protest by truckers and tanker drivers at the Mile 2 end of Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, and already compounding the already chaotic traffic situation in the area.

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Oyegun: The APC Needs A Chairman Befitting Its New Status, By Umar Hassan

The current crisis spawned by the Ondo guber primaries in the APC further highlights what was never in doubt-the party is not being run well. Sometimes to move forward in life, you have to leave some people behind. The APC Chairman, John Odigie Oyegun is one of the major reasons why the party still hasn’t grown accustomed to life as Nigeria’s ruling party.

The APC’s primary objective was kicking out the PDP and its really sad that the party’s framework still reeks of that desperation. Oyegun came in handy when the ‘unofficial’ party leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu needed a man that would nod to his every word as party chairman and now that actual leadership skills count, the time has come to make the leap to a Chairman befitting its new status. Having benefited directly from the internal crisis that plagued the PDP under Bamanga Tukur, the party knows first-hand the ills of having the wrong man in charge.

The National Assembly leadership tussle just after the APC assumed power was Oyegun’s first real test and he failed woefully. President Buhari stayed true to his promise of non-interference and with Tinubu reluctantly following in PMB’s footsteps, he was saddled with the responsibility of handling the divergent interests involved. Despite having chosen its preferred candidates in a mini-election, the Chairman still couldn’t rally the troops or at least ensure they all attended the meeting with President Buhari. Like we all know, what followed was the Saraki ‘coup’.

While Oyegun may still boast the support of a lot of party members including the President, he has certainly not done enough to deserve it.

Sometime in March this year, Oyegun said elections into the party’s BoT leadership positions would be postponed by a week because President Buhari wanted to be part of the process and more than 6 months after, the elections have still not held. While I agree Atiku Abubakar squaring off against Bola Tinubu for the BoT seat may have drastic consequences on the party’s well-being, its also a pointer to Oyegun’s ineptitude at preventing or resolving internal conflicts.The major problem the party has had to contend with since its ascent to the apex is its inability to keep the house united at all times and that could ultimately prove its greatest undoing.

I may not agree with Comrade Timi Frank on a lot of things but I’m with him on the fact that the party deserves better than Oyegun. When the deputy national publicity secretary of the APC came at Oyegun for hinting that the party was searching for a capable replacement instead of elevating him to the substantive role, it underscored the fact that the Chairman had lost the respect of some high ranking party members. Atiku Abubakar and Bola Tinubu; arguably the 2 most influential APC members have just being added to that list.

A lot of people expected Oyegun to move against Frank and ensure he is removed to keep the house in order but he never did. A high ranking member coming out publicly to attack the Chairman without having exhausted all means of pressing home his grievances in-house definitely didn’t augur well for the party. Sadly, Oyegun has not only allowed Frank; a man who argued that Saraki’s corruption charges be dropped because he helped the APC win elections continue to paint the party in bad light, he has left the substantive national publicity secretary post vacant.

The time has come for change in the APC. What Tinubu put in place was a haphazard arrangement and the side effects are starting to become obvious as it has become twice as hard to live with the mediocrity they ordinarily would have.

Tinubu reportedly agreed to help secure Buhari the party’s 2015 presidential ticket in return for leading his CPC flock into the APC arrangement and allowing him total control of the party’s machinery.Agreeing to these terms was the only other criteria for leadership positions asides an endorsement by Bola Tinubu.The party has since grown into Nigeria’s ruling party but with a man like Oyegun in charge, the ship might just sail back to the opposition dock.Perhaps they are cut out for that.

Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano.



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Yakubu Dogara: When The Patriot Steps Up For Recognition, By Turaki Hassan

‘Leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.’ —Jim Rohn

Since he assumed office as the speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara has left no one in doubt that he was poised to leave an indelible mark in the sand of times.

Within the short period that he has presided over the affairs of the House, Dogara has brought dignity and prestige, not only to the office of the Speaker, but to the House of Representatives as an institution, but this is not surprising to close observers of the Dogara speakership. Having won a keenly contested election, he made a solemn promise to his colleagues, and indeed Nigerians, that under his leadership, they “shall wage an unrelenting legislative war on Nigeria’s problems”. And this war, he has continued to wage legislatively to confront Nigeria’s myriad of problems.

Speaker Dogara’s stellar performance so far is as a result of a combination of his upbringing and his leadership skill, honed over time from experiences gathered in various positions he held both as a member of the House of Representatives and as a lawyer.

Born in 1967 in Tafawa Balewa Province of Bauchi State, Dogara rose from a very humble background to the apex of legislative leadership, largely through a stint of hard work and favour from God. He was first elected into the House of Representatives in 2007 from one of the most diverse constituencies in the country where Christians, Muslims, and many ethnic groups co-exist in peace. It is this potpourri of ethnic and religious mix that made it easy for him to easily win the confidence is his colleagues across religious and political divides.

Under his leadership, the House of Representatives has improved in leaps and bounds. Apart from setting up a committee to review obsolete and outdated laws, the House, under the guidance of Dogara, set a record by passing for first reading, 130 bills in one day.

It is imperative to point out that in the 7th Assembly, which was rated high in terms of bills passage, 700 bills were presented in four years, while in just one session, about 600 bills were presented in the Green Chamber for consideration under the present leadership and almost 100 of them scaled third reading as at June 9, 2016.

It is not only in the area of lawmaking that the Speaker has excelled. As far as Dogara is concerned, to lead is to serve. And service he has been doing to not only his colleagues in the House of Representatives, but to his constituents, his state and indeed, the nation. He has used his vantage position as the speaker to draw attention to the deprivation and want of the people in the north east who have bore the brunt of terrorist activities.

In this regard, the Speaker for the first time in the history of the House stepped down from his exalted chair and presented a motion on the urgent need for the rehabilitation, recovery, resettlement and reconstruction of the north east. Again, he is sponsoring a bill seeking to establish the North East Development Commission (NEDC) which will soon be passed into law.

Not only that, Dogara has also been advocating for the convocation of an international donor conference for the rebuilding of the violence ravaged north east. This, is in addition to his humanitarian visits to Internally Displaced Persons camps across the country where he takes the message of hope to the people apart from providing succour to them.

To him, public office is not meant for personal gains but for public good. It is Dogara’s philosophy that leaders should at all times live exemplary lives of service, sacrifice and selflessness.

The Speaker always says that justice is needed in building a civil society, and that for societies to grow, leaders must understand the workings of justice which is necessary in any democracy for equality to thrive. In fact, he strongly believes that establishing both principles is necessary for Nigeria to make any meaningful progress.

Dogara’s argument is that for any society to grow and develop, the process of development must start from the base to the top because where you start from the top, you are digging a grave. He noted that in Nigeria, we have not only dug a grave for democracy but are possibly in the process of burying it, obviously referring to the poor running of local governments in the country.

It is also his belief that democracy, which is the best system of government ever to be invented by man, promises nothing to its citizens other than life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That it is these tools of democracy that free citizens can leverage on and harness their potentials to build a greater, peaceful and prosperous society.

His practice of politics is that which is without bitterness. He believes in consensus building and compromise. It is his political philosophy that leadership is not a zero sum game and that at all levels and at all times, inclusiveness must be the guiding principles of leadership so that greater good can be delivered for the greater number of the people.

That ability to reach out, to concede; to compromise for peace, to expand his tentacles, to build consensus and remain calm and steady even in the face of unwarranted provocation from agent provocateur is what distinguishes Dogara as a leader. In a show of his political sagacity and dexterity, Dogara conceded the House Leadership position to his opponent in the Speakership election; an act which helped in no small way in stabilising the House in the last one year.

The recent show of solidarity to the Speaker by his colleagues when the House reconvened from its annual recess in September is worth a mention here because it once again proved the doubting Thomases wrong and is an attestation to Dogara’s political prowess and wide acceptability amongst his colleagues in spite of deliberate, intentional, calculated and desperate attempts by his traducers to discredit him and tarnish his hard-earned reputation by feeding the rather gullible Nigerian public with total falsehood, lies and by distortion of facts. Thank God that Nigerians have since realised the antics of these disgruntled elements and unscrupulous individuals who are pursuing personal vendetta against him.

Undoubtedly, these ignoble individuals thought that by telling and propagating the same lies again and again against Dogara, Nigerians will take it and believe them hook line and sinker. Unfortunately for them, they have forgotten that even Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s infamous war propagandist, had cautioned against such when asserted that, “there will come a day when all the lies will collapse under their own weight, and the truth will triumph again.” This is the moment of truth.

For all the years he spent in the National Assembly before becoming Speaker last year, Dogara had built for himself a well known reputation as an incorruptible lawmaker. Indeed, it is a well-known fact that in the 6th Assembly when he chaired the House Committee on Customs and Excise, Hon. Dogara rejected $5 million bribe and went ahead to conduct one of the most credible and thorough investigations that resulted in the reform of the Customs Service. What more can one say about him?

As Leadership Newspaper confers this honour on one of Nigeria’s leading legislative icons, this will no doubt spur him to strive harder to impact on the people of Nigeria whose interest is his major concern. It is well deserved.

Indeed, it was in recognition of Dogara’s political prowess and sterling leadership qualities that in June this year, he was conferred with the prestigious Zik Leadership award for Public Service for year 2015.

Interestingly, the Leadership Newspaper Group have also said they chose him for this prestigious award in recognition of his gallant display of political astuteness, quality of social capital and his cosmopolitan disposition.

Hassan (@turakies) is the Special Adviser, Media & Public Affairs to Speaker Yakubu Dogara.

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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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600 Bills ANd 600 Motions In One Year: The @SpeakerDogara Score Card By Turaki Adamu Hassan

Today, June 9 2016, marks exactly one year since Bauchi born Barrister Yakubu Dogara emerged as Speaker of the House of Representatives in one of the most unprecedented and keenly contested elections in the political history of Nigeria since 1960.

In his acceptance speech on that day, Dogara made a solem declaration asserting that the House under his leadership  “shall wage an unrelenting legislative war on Nigeria’s problems”. He told his colleagues that it was now their responsibility to fashion out the legislative instruments that will lead to Nigeria’s renaissance, adding, “Let the word go forth from here that it shall not be legislative business as usual again in Nigeria.”

Since then, the Speaker has kept to his words and moved on with the Consolidation Agenda by embarking on a series of innovations in the conduct of legislative activities of the Green chamber. Today, the House of the Nigerian people is not only busy discharging its constitutional responsibilities to the people, but is doing so with the utmost zeal and patriotism.

By law, the parliament discharges its duties and responsibilities through bills and resolutions which are the major yardsticks of assessing the performance of the legislature. Since bills, motions and resolutions  are the basis of grading how well a parliament has performed or not; then one can say, without sounding immodest, that the House under Dogara has scored 100 percent.

The 8th House has set many firsts, with an unprecedented record of passage of legislation which have begun to change the pace of things in the country. Instructively, Dogara unveiled his legislative agenda even before he was elected – the first of its kind – and tabled same to his colleagues immediately after their inauguration. It was further subjected to debate before adoption by the whole House.

Thereafter, the Speaker – with the speed of light – embarked on review of obsolete and outdated laws by setting up a committee of experts which is still working but nevertheless  has turned in  about 200 bills, while hundreds more are in the offing. The panel which comprises of legal luminaries  have been  working for months and have recommended scores of bills for consideration with the aim of cleaning Nigeria’s statute books  adopted from Britain under the Statutes of General Application in force in England as at 1st January, 1900.

One major startling revelation from the panel is that Nigeria is still using some laws that are over 100 years old which were adopted from England whereas Britain repealed, amended and/or updated them more than 50 years ago. The committee has so far submitted three reports to the Speaker with the last being on Thursday 2nd June, 2016 where 53 additional bills were recommended for modification.

Before then, specifically in December, the House set a record by passing for first reading, 130 bills and on May 26 2016, 19 bills were considered and passed under the watchful eyes of the Speaker who sat from 11am to 5pm on the floor. The same thing happened on June 1 and on June 2nd, 25 more legislations were passed and in all,  the Speaker sat while the bills were considered and passed,  and just yesterday, June 8, 100 more bills passed first reading and this will continue until all pending bills are passed.

Consolidating on the spectacular performance of the 7th Assembly, which was rated high in terms of bills passage,  where 700 bills were presented in four years, the 8th House under the youthful Barrister Dogara,  in just one session, over 600 bills of high quality were presented for consideration, most of which were from the recommendation of the Statutes Reform Committee constituted by the Speaker.

Now, almost 80 of those bills, representing about 18 percent of all bills presented have been effectively passed by the House as at the time of penning this article thereby setting another record in itself.

On motions and resolutions, as at the last sitting in May, the House had considered almost 600 motions. Indeed, there can be no better way to perform than this. This is even so when the intent of the bills and motions are in tandem with the yearnings of the Nigerian people for a better life and in consonance with the change agenda.

Dogara also became the first Speaker, since return to democracy in 1999, to have stepped down from his exalted seat when he sponsored a motion on the urgent need for rehabilitation, resettlement and recovery of the violence ravaged North East region. He didn’t stop at that and in December, the Speaker again stepped down to the floor to lead debate on a bill he personally sponsored, titled “The North East Development Commission Establishment Bill”, that will soon be passed into law.

Dogara didn’t restrict or limit his intervention on North East to the hallowed Green Chambers of House, but has been championing the cause of the region and its people by embarking on visits to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps across the country and has also been advocating for the convocation of international donor conference to rebuild the region.

In keeping with the legislative agenda, last month, Dogara’s House embarked on sectoral debates on different aspects of the Nigerian economy with the aim of assessing how far Nigeria has gone with diversifying the economy and to know if the legislature needs to make any law or laws that will support and enhance the project for the overall benefit of  Nigerians which was first of its kind. Every appearance made by the ministers in the epoch-making and novel session was beamed live on national television with ministers taking questions from lawmakers and putting Nigerians in the know of what they have been doing to diversify the economy in the face of dwindling oil revenue.

In addition, a special session on the deregulation of the down stream sector and other changes in the petroleum industry was also held by the House where the lawmakers sought to know the nitty gritty of the removal and how it will benefit the Nigerian people. As a follow up to the sectoral debates, a date will be set for members to debate the submission of the ministers before passing their recommendations to the Executive.

In yet another unprecedented move and in compliance with the 8th Assembly’s Legislative Agenda, Dogara introduced electronic voting system and e-parliament in the House. It is worthy of note that, since 1999, legislation and resolutions were passed using  “voice vote” and efforts made by previous assemblies to change that couldn’t come to fruition.

With the new system in place, records of  members’ punctuality and voting patterns can easily be accessed by constituents and members of the public which is in tandem with Dogara’s commitment to and open National Assembly. Other initiatives that have been introduced include the establishment and equipping  of a Parliamentary Information Centre where information and documents of the National Assembly will be made available.

Doing this will further increase citizens’ access to the legislature and solve the problem of public access to authentic documents of parliament. Indeed, by the time all bills and motions passed in the last one year are compiled, the House would again record another unprecedented feat in the history of Nigerian legislature in fulfillment of the Speaker’s pledge of “waging an unrelenting legislative war on Nigeria’s problems.”

Also within the period under review, the House Standing Orders were reviewed, Code of Conduct for Honourable members was introduced, in addition to the introduction of a new set of templates, guidelines and procedures for processing of reports by committees.

In yet another unprecedented initiative, the Speaker organised a two-day interactive session with youths and student leaders from over 100 Nigerian universities. The students were nominated from their respective institutions, and brought to Abuja where they interacted with him in a question and answer session.

On the world stage, last August, the Speaker, in New York, called on world leaders to return Nigeria’s looted funds at the United Nations during a conference of presiding officers of parliament under the auspices of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). In fact, it was in New York that he secured China’s endorsement of Nigeria’s bid for a permanent seat on UN security council.

Worthy of note is the fact that all these records and unprecedented landmark achievements will not have been possible but for Dogara’s maturity, patience, sterling leadership qualities, politics of compromise and consensus building which helped in no small way to stabilise the House and cement cleavages of rancour and divisions in the green chamber.

Indeed, his magnanimity, selflessness, shrewdness and intellectual capacity has set him apart and earned him so much respect both among his colleagues and outside the House, including the harmonious relations between the House and the Executive.

It is his political philosophy and conviction that the two arms of government  were not elected to engage in supremacy battle over their powers. They also must not fight before they can  deliver on their mandates since they were not elected by the people to engage in turf war but to work together while not compromising the doctrine of separation of powers and principles of checks and balance as enshrined in the 1999 constitution. This informed the decision to re-examine the 2016 budget after concerns were raised by the Executive. This was also first of its kind in history of budgeting vis-a-vis Executive-Legislature relationship in Nigeria.

As the Speaker rightly reminded his colleagues exactly one year ago that members of the House  are heirs to a long tradition where debates are robustly undertaken, where radicalism flows as an institutional prerogative; the House under Dogara has truly demonstrated that it is the bulwark for the defense of the rights and privileges of the common man, the champion of the rights of the weak and poor and anchor for the wellbeing of the Nigerian people.

The responsibility now lies with the Executive to complement the  giant strides taken by the 8th House by implementing  resolutions and interventions, but more especially the President to sign the bills into law so as not to repeat the mistakes of the last administration when  former President Goodluck Jonathan refused to assent to scores of bills forwarded to him while his ministers went public describing parliamentary resolutions as “mere expression of opinion”.


Turaki Adamu Hassan is the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Rt. Hon. Speaker.

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Niger Delta Avengers: Peace Is Cheaper Than War By Umar Hassan

History will forever remember late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua’s handling of the Niger Delta Militancy when he was President. He vigorously pursued peace by dangling the amnesty programme and establishment of the Niger Delta ministry.

Government ‘Tompolo’ controlled one of the most vicious groups then and he was the very last to drop arms and meet the President. I admired Yar’adua for meeting him personally and smiling through it all for the Cameras. Tompolo on the other hand, appeared shy and somewhat overcome. It was obvious a lot had been put into getting the much dreaded ‘Government’ to sit on that table in the mood he was in and President Yar’adua deserved very much to reap the reward of his hard work. That was crisis management at its finest.

The Niger Delta avengers is at the fore front of a recent bid to establish a Sovereign nation of the Niger Delta and it has promised to cripple Nigeria’s oil producing capacity to zero level till it wards off all resistance. The group has been on a crazy spree over the last few days, bombing two Chevron oil wells-RMP 23 and RMP 24 because the company embarked on repairs of installations it had bombed earlier and then a Shell oil facility on June 3rd to round up an unprecedented attack of key oil installations in a matter of days that had affected almost everyone from NNPC to Agip.

I seriously doubt if President Buhari can handle this crisis in the manner President Yar’adua did then judging from how he has gone about things. The attack on Gbaramatu Kingdom in Delta state by the Nigerian military was irrational to say the least. The only thing it succeeded in doing was raising human rights questions in the international community and if one also considers the army’s massacre of innocent shi’ite members in Zaria along with the destruction of the sect’s properties and the continued detention without trial of its leader, I wouldn’t be surprised if the US and its cronies refuse to sell us arms on grounds of human rights violations. Like they did the Jonathan government when he sought to buy some to fight boko haram, such refusal could just be when we need the weapons most.

There are reports of how innocent people were harrased, maimed and intimidated in Gbaramatu and it is hard to figure out what the Commander-in-Chief and his troops were hoping to achieve.
Even if it had succeeded in arresting some members of the militant group, there was always the possibility of that inciting the others to increase the spate of attacks so as not to appear defeated as is common with such elements.

Well, shortly after the army’s visit, they bombed three key installations in quick succession to further buttress their readiness to see out their cause.

These happened after the deployment of about 100 gunboats and numerous warships to tackle the militants. That is a clear pointer to the fact that the government has adopted the wrong approach. Dialogue remains the government’s best option in this. There must be a tactical and ‘respectful’ wooing of the militants to the discussion table. Whether or not we can defeat the Niger Delta avengers is not what is important, the paramount consideration should be the damage they are capable of causing before they are subdued (that is if they are subdued).The country’s oil production has been cut down by more than 40,000 barrels per day and Delta state is already reporting a N2.6 billion loss in revenue due to the activities of vandals. Peace is cheaper than war and this war is quite expensive if you ask me.

The British high commissioner, Paul Ackright has lent his voice to the call for the government to tow the path of reason. There couldn’t possibly be a better way of resolving this crisis. It would heal the wounds the pathetic handling by the Buhari administration has already caused. A lot of regrettable comments have been made by key members of his administration before the militants increased the heat and it is advisable to watch whose help he enlists because of the heightened sensitivity involved at this stage.

People like Brig.Gen Paul Boroh (Rtd) the Presidential Amnesty co-ordinator must be immediately removed from the fore front. The man claimed to have practically relocated to the creeks to help get the militants to the table and went on to convene a meeting with 50 militant leaders at the Transcorp Hilton without those of the Avengers (the real threat).He not only dashed a lot of expectations but wasted precious time and resources as well.Such power should no longer be afforded such a man as his exercise of it could be counter-productive and outright wasteful. We have heard how millions of dollars were reportedly squandered by the Jonathan administration all in the name of negotiations. It is best to have only those who can reach out directly to the targets and no one else.

Furthermore, Boroh came out to categorically state that the government will not dialogue with the Niger Delta avengers and that has automatically made him a bad choice of go-between as it would be highly unwise to entrust him with the duty of luring them to the table. The government must avoid getting unnecessarily confrontational this stage.

All hands must be on deck to ensure the Niger Delta avengers give up their cause without further damage being done.
If the government can’t guarantee the security of our installations, then at least it must guarantee us that.

Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano


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Jonathan’s Top Aide, Hassan Tukur, Makes Shocking Revelation Over Chibok Girls’ $40m Scam

The lid over the $40 million allegedly withdrawn by the Jonathan government to ‘negotiate’ with Boko Haram appears to have blown open with revelations from a former top aide of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Abusidiqu had reported earlier that the whereabout of the cash allegedly drawn from the Office of the National Security Adviser is unknown, prompting a probe by the Federal Government.

READ: Jonathan’s Govt Withdrew $40m To ‘Negotiate’ Chibok Girls Release, Whereabout Of Cash Unknown – Report

But a report by SaharaReporters said the Hassan Tukur, who served as principal secretary to former President Goodluck Jonathan, has been making shocking disclosures regarding the fund since his was arrested and detention last week by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)

The paper said two senior EFCC sources confirmed that Mr. Tukur was arrested over allegations that he diverted the sum of $40 million ostensibly meant for the negotiated release of 219 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram militants in April 2014.

One of our sources disclosed that Mr. Tukur has told investigators that he diverted the funds with the approval and at the instance of the ex-president.

Another source said Mr. Tukur realized he was in deep trouble last Friday after he met the conditions for “administrative bail.”  “We told him that orders had come from above to get to the root of the matter, and that’s when he began to make useful statements,” said the source.

Mr. Tukur reportedly received $40 million from the office of the National Security Adviser after he boasted that he was in a position to negotiate the release of the abducted Chibok girls using some contacts in Chad, including Chadian President Idriss Deby.

However, the EFCC sources said the ostensible negotiation were botched from the very beginning by Mr. Tukur’s deceptive moves. For example, President Déby reportedly received only $5 million from Mr. Tukur, who then helped himself to $35 million.

One EFCC source said the former presidential aide has claimed that he shared the bulk of the “negotiation” funds with his boss, Mr. Jonathan.

Mr. Tukur’s alleged disclosures are bound to be unsettling for the former president’s camp, one source said. According to him, Mr. Tukur has volunteered information regarding his role in other financial scandals unrelated to his arrest.

A source at the Presidency told SaharaReporters that President Muhammadu Buhari was shocked to learn from the Chadian president about the insincerity of the former administration’s actions regarding the abducted schoolgirls.

According to the source, during the recently concluded Regional Security Summit in Abuja, Mr. Buhari had pulled aside his Chadian counterpart to find out why Mr. Deby collected $40m from Nigeria to secure the release of Chibok girls and did nothing in return.

The Chadian president reportedly revealed that he was only told that the Jonathan administration had voted only $10 million for the negotiations. He added that Mr. Jonathan and his aides had abandoned the negotiation midway, forcing Chad to abandon its efforts even though Chadian troops were close to cornering Boko Haram militants and freeing the girls.

Mr. Deby reportedly told President Buhari that Mr. Tukur and other Nigerian officials to reach Mr. Jonathan to discuss the rescue plan.

The source stated that on one occasion when the Chadian leader reached the former Nigerian president, Mr. Jonathan feigned ignorance about the negotiations. At the time, the funds had apparently been diverted.

Chadian troops finally withdrew from Nigerian territory after a breakdown of talks even though they had made great progress in pursuit of Boko Haram insurgents, helping Nigeria’s vastly depleted army to free up territories captured by the Islamist terrorists.

Mr. Tukur made a total of five trips to N’Djamena, the capital of Chad. Our Presidency source said Mr. Tukur used presidential jets to ferry cash during the failed negotiations to release the Chibok girls.

The detention of Mr. Tukur is considered a major blow to ex-President Jonathan. During Mr. Jonathan’s five-year reign as President, Mr. Tukur was popularly referred to as Prime Minister. The Adamawa-born civil servant served as a go-between for Jonathan, his ministers and aides.

Ironically, Mr. Tukur was Mr. Buhari’s personal assistant in 1984 when the Nigerian president was a military head of state.

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EFCC Detains Ex-gov Yero, Jonathan’s PPS, Hassan Tukur

The immediate past Governor of Kaduna State, Ramalan Yero, was a guest of the EFCC for the last 48 hours where he is being quizzed for allegedly receiving N700m.

Sources at the EFCC said Yero was being investigated for his alleged role in the $115m shared by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The money, which was handled by Fidelity Bank Plc, was said to have been used in bribing several officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission during the build-up to the 2015 presidential election.

According to a reliable source at the EFCC, Yero was still being grilled as of 8pm on Tuesday.

The source said, “He was arrested after two officials of the Peoples Democratic Party in Kaduna State implicated him. We were told that he personally handled N700m during the election. However, he said all the money was distributed to party members during the election.

“He is still in our Kano zonal office.”

All attempts to speak with the spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, proved abortive.

In a related development, the EFCC has arrested a former Principal Private Secretary, to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Hassan Tukur.

Tukur, it was learnt, was arrested by operatives of the EFCC in Abuja on Monday.

It was, however, not clear as of press time, why the ex-aide was being detained.

However, Tukur had been on the radar of the EFCC for several months over the alleged $15bn arms scam.

He was said to have been given money to help negotiate a peace deal with Boko Haram during the Jonathan administration.


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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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The APC’s Shortcomings And The PDP ’16 Year Rule’ Escape Route By Umar Hassan

“The best way to avoid becoming a scapegoat is to find one”-Warren Eyster

The latest version of the ‘PDP massive 16 year damage’ song was by the Special Assistant to President Buhari on political matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu. He disclosed in a recent interview how previous administrations doled out farewell gifts of $100,000 or $50,000 at the very least, to politicians and monarchs visiting the Presidential Villa.

While I admit I was intrigued by such a revelation that went as far as disclosing even the ‘standard’ tip pattern: driver-$500, PA-$1,000 & girlfriend-$200, it didn’t have the effect it would have had over me about 7 months ago.

The APC in calling for patience, sings in high pitch about the maladministration of the PDP over the years and as a result, have started to bore a lot of us almost to the point of death. They forget we wouldn’t have kicked out the PDP if we didn’t already know just how badly led we were. The APC is so buried in its self-righteousness that it fails to notice just how similar it appears to be with the previous governments. Every administration from 1999 till date has asked for ‘patience’ and each with its own assessment of the damage on ground.

They have all failed to make a decent lemonade out of the lemons they were thrown as each is ever willing to take the convenient ‘bad hand dealt’ route where excuses and more excuses reign supreme.
While I agree with President Buhari when he says Nigeria has nothing to show for 16 years of oil boom, he has however, given me cause to doubt his competence severally from a very objective perspective. Times when It would be hypocritical and unjust of me to tag along with him to the ‘PDP damage’ escape route.

There was so much expectation of a drastic cut in the cost of governance primarily due to PMB’s promise of doing so when he was elected. As it is, much hasn’t been done in that regard if you ask me.
Those who called for absorption of the Ministry of budget and national planning into the finance ministry were vindicated when the budget padding incident occurred. The Special duties and Niger-Delta ministries are ones we can live without and at worst, should have been integrated into other ministries and not left to gulp precious taxpayers’ money.

The Presidential fleet still boasts 9 aircrafts at a time when some of our African brothers with far lesser numbers are selling off all that they have.

Though one must commend the Buhari administration for setting aside a most impressive 30% of the 2016 budget for capital expenditure, the president has failed to lead by example in ensuring the menace of excessive spending on recurrent expenditure is checked by putting a stop to unnecessary appointments in these dire times.

He has not only a special adviser but also a personal assistant on new media as well in addition to his two SAs on media. In line with the thoughts of people like Sen. Ben Murray Bruce, it is better to have a bloated team of economic advisers than of media. At least one or more would advise him to not cite the unsuccessful outcome of a devaluation exercise of the naira in the 70’s or 80’s as his reason for not considering the option in this time and age. The popular notion is that the quality of a leadership sells it and to worry excessively about public perception technically implies that the leader isn’t too confident in his abilities hence the resort to an army of spin-doctors.

A lot of us are starting to laugh hard at our ignorance for daring to think the President might even work with as little as 19 ministers when he assumed office.

16 years of PDP misrule has nothing to do with his inability to efficiently cut down costs neither is it responsible for all the bad calls that ultimately rub off on our destiny.

I received a message from a friend sometime in March detailing PMB’s ‘achievements’ in less than a year in as president. He listed the huge amount being saved by the removal of fuel subsidy as one of them and I remember arguing that the viability or otherwise of such a move could only be tested when our filling stations had fuel. It would only amount to a good decision when we have an unhindered and sustainable supply of fuel in abundance without the payments because it might very well turn out to be an ill-advised move that would save government a lot of money at the detriment of innocent Nigerians and that won’t quite add up to a wise call.

Before we got to test the decision, the government started paying N5.84 subsidy on every litre of fuel in a measure that portrayed it not only as confused but also as rash. No one can say the removal wasn’t a mistake after a careful look at the whole picture and No, I won’t blame the PDP for that.

It’s so ironic how one would rate Buhari low on security even after seeing the commendable manner in which he is tackling the nation’s number one threat-the Boko Haram insurgency. Under him, we have watched a reinvigorated military gradually crush the insurgents. But it is sad that a few lamentable situations exist to wipe out every point he scores from the war against insurgency. The atrocities of the fulani herdsmen have been allowed to linger for too long unchecked.

After the killings in Agatu and a few others in Ondo and Ibadan, they massacred about 40 people in Enugu just days ago. The herdsmen have gone on a nationwide killing spree and if something is not done fast, we would have a bigger war to contend with. Quite regrettably, the President hasn’t really done much.

The mere fact that a member of his team had to come out to ‘remind’ us that a statement was issued in that regard all the more confirms that. If Buhari had been consistent in his condemnations and expressing sympathy towards the families of the victims, there would be no doubt as to whether he had ever spoken on the matter or not.

A crisis that has claimed numerous lives and properties and the question was whether the President of the Federal Republic had ever issued a statement regarding it or not, Pathethic.

The Afenifere while expressing worries over the government’s seeming indifference to the wanton killings by the fulani herdsmen across Nigeria in a meeting on Tuesday 26th, called on President Buhari to speak up on the matter and take urgent action. It also went on to reject the preposterous statement credited to the Minister of information, Lai Mohammed that ‘government was working silently’ towards ridding the country of this problem by demanding that all actions of government be open as people weren’t being killed silently. I couldn’t agree any more with these assertions.

Not a few voices condemned the disclosure by the DSS that it had discovered the bodies of five slain herdsmen in the South East because of the weighty security implications accompanying such. The Enugu massacre seems a reprisal killing for those five.

There are reports that there was prior intel of an impending attack in Enugu by about 500 herdsmen yet the DSS could do nothing to prevent it. President Buhari travelled all the way to his village to drag the current DSS boss from retirement for reasons best known to him. Its Buhari’s cross to bear, the PDP has nothing to do with these shortcomings.

The current fuel scarcity and poor power supply plaguing us is being attributed to the activities of vandals. Much like the previous administrations, this government has so far failed us on the issue of pipeline security and it is also noteworthy that never have Nigerians had to suffer this much as a result of of vandalized pipelines or installations.

This government is overseeing probably the longest and most hard biting fuel scarcity in our history while our Power generation is at a pitiful 2000+mw.We set a record for ourselves by hitting 0mw power generation at about 12:58 pm on March 31st 2016.

I would have to say the PDP governments appear more skilled in crisis management for the simple reason that they didn’t subject us to this much hardship. Corrupt as they may be.
Its high time the President and his gang understand that we wouldn’t have voted them in if we didn’t know just how bad the PDP years were. Its high time they settle down into the business of ‘Changing’ things rather than reminding us on a daily basis why we kicked out the PDP for them.

Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano.


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Dogara’s Approach to Legislature-Executive Relationship By Turaki Adamu Hassan

In a presidential system of government like ours, where the doctrine of separation of powers is deeply enshrined in our constitution, each of the three organs of government enjoys its independence.

Indeed, the framers of the 1979 constitution – which was recommended by the Constituent Assembly and later adopted as the 1999 constitution – deliberately set out to ensure that both the doctrine of separation of powers and principles of checks and balances are adhered to so as to safeguard our democracy from tyranny and dictatorship.

This is why the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary are all run and inhibited by different individuals in a manner stipulated by law. As a student of constitutional law and politics, I have, over time, come to understand and agree with the fact that, of the three arms, the legislature enjoys enormous powers more than any other.

Perusing through pages of the 1999 constitution, one easily notices that our nation’s grand nom is replete with so many powers to the legislature; while lawmaking is the primary responsibility of the parliament, there are also other powers, functions and responsibilities that are constitutionally discharged by the MPs.

These include but are not limited to confirmation of nominated ministers, ambassadors and heads of parastatals, powers to investigate any matter, especially those under the exclusive legislative list, summon any person, quasi-judicial powers to investigate and indict, expose corruption, powers over the budget and appropriation or power to approve expenditure of government, confirmation of appointment of Judges, including Justices of the Supreme Court, powers to impeach the president, and so on and so forth.

The reason why the constitution accords the lawmakers such powers and responsibilities is borne of the fact that they are directly elected by the people. In other words, they represent the sovereignty of the people because in a democracy, sovereignty rests with the people.

More than the two other organs of government, the legislators are the direct and number one custodian of the social contract and the parliament is the heart, nerve and hub of democracy without which there can be no democracy.

More specifically, in Nigeria, where we have a bicameral legislature, while the Senate represents equality of states, the House of Representatives, on the other hand, represents equality of the people.  This is why there is hardly any ethnic group in Nigeria that does not have representation in the Green Chamber.

This explains why the House is popularly referred to as the people’s chamber or House of the Nigerian people.

Historically, this very important Chamber has consistently been led by progressive young leaders and this tradition was upheld on June 9, 2015, when Barrister Yakubu Dogara was elected Speaker.

Since his historic election, Rt. Hon. Dogara has not left anyone in doubt as to his philosophy, principles and leadership style. The Speaker strongly believes in dialogue, negotiation and consensus building, which are the cardinal pillars of his leadership.

Sadly, the Green Chamber has been tainted with incidents where a person or group of persons who are in the top hierarchy or in some cases, members of the legislature, abuse their offices but the last 10 months have revealed the innate sterling leadership qualities of Dogara and his impeccable character.

His quality of being peaceful and one who strongly believes in building bridges of friendship and love across the divides has in no small way, helped in putting the House of Representatives back on track post-election.

Today, the rancour and bitterness that trailed the election on June 9 last year have been effectively confined to the dustbin of history as a result of Dogara’s maturity, humility and politics of compromise, which saw the emergence of his opponents as leaders and chairmen of committees in the House. No wonder he has continued to enjoy enormous support and loyalty from his colleagues, who acknowledge his transparency and open-door policy.

As one who opens new frontiers, the relationship between the House and the Executive is more than cordial under Dogara’s leadership, as both the Speaker and his colleagues are at peace with the governing party – which he belongs to – and the government; working together to deliver good to the people. It is his belief that the Executive and the Legislature must not fight or be engaged in a supremacy battle before they can work to move the nation forward.

At every opportunity, he emphasises that the primary interest of leaders at all levels should be the people and not their ego or power tussle. At every forum, Dogara has clearly made it clear that the bickering that characterised the relationship between the two arms of government in the past should never be allowed to rear its head again under the change administration of the APC because this government, which came on the promises of change, cannot afford to fail the people.

However, in some quarters, many pundits have been asking questions; why is the parliament not slugging it out with the executive? Why is it that the legislature seems to not be utilising its powers to the fullest? Why is it that the House of Representatives does not adopt a confrontational approach in relating with the Executive? Why are they not fighting the Executive?

Speaker Dogara had cause to provide answers to these questions when he visited Olowo of Owo, Oba Dr. David Victor Folagbade Olateru- Olagbegi in Ondo State recently.

The Speaker underpinned the fact that the House under his leadership does not see their role or relationship as a confrontational one but that of support for whatever the Executive is doing to lessen the burden of the Nigerian people and improve their living condition.

“We don’t adopt a very confrontational posture just for the sake of proving that we have separate powers as allocated to us by the constitution, we cooperate more to ensure that good is delivered to the people,” he stated.

But this stand should not in any way be misconstrued to say that the parliament should be subservient to the Executive or will be its stooge or that it will close its eyes to any infraction by either the president or any of his agents.

He maintained that it is only when democracy is threatened that “we raise our voices”, adding, “I remember we have been doing that in this government. How we handled the crisis in Kogi State House of Assembly. It was actually an APC leader who led investigation into the matter and we condemned the impunity even as members of the ruling party. This is the change we are talking about.?”

It is Dogara’s philosophy that as leaders, their primary responsibility is to work out solutions in the midst of crisis and not add to it or engage in petty squabbles, or issues that constitute distractions.

Another clear example is the way and manner he handled the crisis that trailed the 2016 budget as passed by the National Assembly. When concerns were raised by Nigerians and the Executive on some provisions of the document, the Speaker adhered to the voices of the people and announced that the House has resolved to re-examine the document.

It is his belief that although the power of appropriation as clearly stated in the constitution is vested in the National Assembly, such powers should always be exercised with caution so that public interest is not endangered.

He kept to his words, knowing well that working together, the three arms of government can deliver greater good for the greater number of Nigerians and lift them out of abject poverty since the primary purpose of government is the security and welfare of the people. This is also in line with his philosophy of non-confrontational approach to Executive-Legislature relationship.

This is the change that Nigerians have been yearning for, the change they voted for and the change they need desperately in these difficult times.

Turaki Hassan is the Special Adviser, Media & Public Affairs to Speaker Yakubu Dogara.

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Serial Rants Of A Bad Spokesperson: Open Letter To Timi Frank, By Umar Hassan

Dear Comrade Timi Frank,

First, I would like you to know I understand how hard it is for someone like you to hold your present position in the APC hierarchy.I would rather your party had made you deputy youth leader or youth leader than shrink you into an office that demands you speak more for the party than yourself-the activist; Comrade Timi Frank. In almost all cases,’Poster boys’ share a lot of similarities with showbiz stars.

While the stars have to worry about what they say or do in public so they don’t hurt the marketability of their brand, you also watch what you do before us because you are acting on behalf of an entire party. Not just a party in some obscure place but the ruling party in the most populous black nation on earth.

I have had cause to share a joke or two about Alhaji Lai Mohammed wearing a bow tie to a press conference in broad day and when you assumed his position albeit in an interim capacity, I laughed over just how literally not picture-perfect for the job you were. A more well-fed man in agbada or suit would appear more cut-out for what they had in mind.You looked more a student union leader than an (Acting) National Publicity Secretary of the APC.
Perhaps i wasn’t entirely wrong.I have come to doubt your competence over time. My ?main reason for writing you this letter is to draw your attention to some recent utterances of yours and just how unbecoming they are of someone of your calibre and who you represent.

I was very disappointed in the manner in which you reacted to your party chairman’s comments about an impending congress to nominate a spokesperson for the APC. In ?paying tribute to your former superior turned Minister of Information,Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party chairman described him as a man whose shoes would be hard to fill and that it was only a matter of getting someone capable of coming close. It ?was giving honour to a man who had served the party well.But you took offence with that and claimed it was meant to discredit your person and other capable hands in the party.Hard as I tried, I couldn’t decipher any such message in his comments.You didn’t stop there.You went on to label his comments baseless, reckless and unwarranted while staking a claim as the rightful National Publicity Secretary of the APC in waiting.

You neglected to tell us whether or not the constitution of your party stipulates automatic transition to the substantive role.However, what is not in doubt is the fact that Comrade Timi Frank gave imported meanings to a message we clearly understood and even tried to incite other party members by saying they were ‘discredited’ as well.You remember what I said about spokespersons being like showbiz stars?.It is one thing for the face of the party to vilify the party chairman and it is another to manufacture sub-standard interpretations in so doing.That is suicide.

You not only hurt your reputation but that of the party as well.I don’t know what may be happening behind the scenes but from the little I see and hear, you owe that man and other chieftains a whole lot of gratitude for not plotting your downfall after you publicly renounced your membership of Timipre Sylva’s campaign organisation in the run-up to the Bayelsa gubernatorial elections.One would have expected you to do so quietly considering your standing in the party and not gone ahead to raise unnecessary dust.This was not too long after you had called for the Party Chairman’s resignation; a move you still can’t defend till date.Your best try was -“Well, it is politics”.

Radicals don’t always make good spokespersons. They tend to speak for what they believe in when they should be doing so for the people they represent. And in your case, you upgraded to fighting them right before us.
Just when I ruled out any more drama from your end at least till the ‘congress’ was held, you made arguably your most preposterous comments ever. You berated the leadership of your party for not speaking out against the trial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki by the Code of conduct tribunal (CCT). You said Saraki was a good man who went to immense lengths to help kick out the Jonathan administration among other things and that he was being paid back with evil. ?Frank, if you hadn’t gone as far as citing laws and how the CCT acted on them in similar cases, I would have thought you didn’t know what he was being accused of. He is being arraigned on a 13 count charge of false declaration of assets. Assets he was scared of disclosing to us because it would be obvious he had been stealing from us and there were also ones he listed as his even before he had bought them.And you blame your party leaders for ‘keeping quiet in the face of evil?’.What would you ordinarily have them do?.Beg President Buhari to legitimize his criminality or pat Saraki on the back for a job well done?.

Just so I remind you, the change you claim to have fought for alongside Saraki isn’t one that doesn’t regard stealing as corruption.The anti-corruption card was very instrumental to your party’s victory at the polls and an acting spokesperson of the APC publicly urging its leadership to kick against the prosecution of the Senate President because he worked hard for the party is despicable and unacceptable.Even if it is true the President declared war on him in retaliation for how the NASS elections went down, it doesn’t in any way mean he was framed.

I voted for a government that promised to fight corruption to a stand still and not one that would overlook a man’s sins because he helped put it in place. Need I remind you that a lot of people still feel the Senate President and his fellow decampees from the PDP rushed into the APC out of frustration and not for a genuine love for what it represents? If they had been granted their wish of having a northern flagbearer from their midst, they probably wouldn’t have joined the APC till maybe it had won the elections.

Comrade, I don’t envy you one bit. You once said anybody who knows you knows you always speak your mind and that is a good trait.We have that in common but unlike you I am not a spokesperson for the ruling party. I don’t have to worry about its image while exercising my freedom of speech as? it is, you most likely won’t get the job on a permanent basis because like my people would say: ‘You don shit plenty for shrine’. Making you the substantive spokesperson person would be kissing a hot stove. Someone told me you were the Director of Outreach in an anti-corruption NGO and of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if you still retain the office despite the Saraki outburst. In ?a different setting, you would thrive and not have standards as burdensome as ones that accompany your National Publicity Secretary role.Some of your statements would win you a lot of supporters if you were an activist still in school.I don’t see you getting ‘That Timi guy no dey hear word’ compliments anywhere else for your comments.

For someone who can’t help saying it as he sees it, I would advice you to resign even if you are made the substantive spokesperson.Your job demands you speak first for the APC and consider its best interests when doing so for yourself.

Be the best you can possibly be.I hope you move on to a more conducive terrain and if you don’t, then like your party’s famous mantra, I hope you ‘change’.

Best Regards.

Umar Sa’ad Hassan Esq.

Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano.

Twitter: ?@alaye26?

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