From Young Leaders To Old Looters; The Trajectory Of A Failed Generation, By Olawole Olakunle

Man has the preemptive tenet to stand up against injustice, deprivation, and hardship especially when such is imposed on his society by his fellow man.

There are good men! Yes, great men whose heart would ricochet continuously  until justice is served and society is free from all forms of oppression.
These class of men are called LEADERS, appointed either divinely or socially to deliver the people from oppression.

History has it that majority of the greatest leaders are born without a silver spoon,yet their heart beats for the people with leadership traits similar to the Lincoln and Obama’s of our time, but Alas! the strong rooted vices in our society shattered their defenses and from future leaders, they became future looters.

This is one of the many tragedy that befell our generation!

Within our clime, it is the urge to stop injustice, to speak for the voiceless, to implement the people’s policy, to become the liberator that drives majority of our leaders into the political terrain. Unknowingly, our political environment is too brutal to be kind, as frustration either makes you bow out or bow down.

Unfortunately these leaders, armed only with valor and the will to lead truthfully find themselves in a political environment designed and well rooted into our mental psyche in a way that negates any iota of goodwill and pitches the 20% minority elite against the 80% majority masses.

Africa’s problem is more of followership and less of leadership, because as bad as the political environment is, it is a somber reflection of the kind of followership we have.

Let me not digress to followership, but it is a clear narrative that Africa has the largest amount of poor, corrupt, gullible, and docile followers. Else, this political system of ours would not have been so rooted that it possess the ability to trample and silence any good leader.

Our elite structure is an analogy of the chief and his dog, meanwhile the benefits attached to leadership in our society is way too magnanimous to become satisfied with paltry sums.
These tantamount benefits is not limited to unrestricted access to state treasury, mineral resources, Societal glamour, state defense mechanism, access to spiritual and all other kinds of support.
How then will the good ones not falter? Even the saints amidst us would backslide.

These leaders whose journey into our political terrain is devoid of understanding of the politricks and politicking accrued to our system, do not understand that loyalty as defined by our system is a blinded loyalty to your political godfather, not to the state, society or direct constituents.

They do not understand that in our system, you don’t speak for the 80% masses but you use the influence of the 80% to solicit for wanton benefits only to divert and have it shared within the 20% elite.

They are oblivious of the fact that you do not say NO when your leaders say YES, they do not understand that in our society, you are an activist to the people but a polithiefcian to the elite. Alas, they were not learned in the art of power play.

In their pragmatic vigor, they must have stepped on toes, and they would obviously pay dearly for it!

As products of poor background, in this phase of their political journey the political terrain becomes more challenging and they begin to experience what is called “The seclusion phase”.

Being without any political caucus and short of political information (being the oil of every political vehicle), being secluded from the decision making table ( the 20% dining table) and committee in charge of fat purse project, they are fast approaching political suicide.

Without the financial warhead to stand against electoral vices or to appease their followers, they are not far from betrayal, firstly from disgruntled colleagues to constituents whose leader failed to allay to them the purported dividend of democracy.

As a result of the situation of things, these leaders who came into our political fray with democratic intentions would be forced to become political activist. Although only about 50% of these young leaders gets to this stage of political seclusion without faltering along the line,even at that it only takes a little while more.

Afterall every man has a price!

Having stood the test of time to this level, our future leaders are faced with the reality that our politics is not of ideology and not for the people especially when the people will not stand up for you in times of challenges.
The political gladiators whose political prowess controls the electoral process would have at this point earmarked our future leaders for total removal from the political decision making table since they are not of the same caucus and would not readily play ball.

Hence the politics of rerun begins.

The politics of electoral rerun is the politics of give and take. But alas, these set of leaders are only equipped with oratory opulence and societal goodwill. They have no stake whatsoever in the electoral machinery hence, they are stuck in between getting out of politics for life, becoming full time activist without access to the elite dining table not forgetting how poor their families were, or to throw their weight behind the politics of rerun with assurance of negotiation and counter-negotiations, stringent conditions and extra measures  imposed by the political gladiators who although are the direct enemy of state, but whose hand lies power to dictate who becomes who in our political clime.

I need not tell you the choice our  leaders have taken,the end already justified the means. We need not look too far as to the reason for our compounded woes, because these young leaders came with good intents but you and I who make up the system frustrated them into taking up the last option of negotiation for re-run and thereafter, they became our societies worst looters because of the fear of reject, the danger of ending up poor in a society that stabs the liberator and praises the oppressor.

Know ye not that the policeman who decides to take the route of crime becomes a very strategic and articulated criminal, Hence the lootery regime of our past looters is but a child’s play compared to when an initially pragmatic and intellectually capable leader becomes converted to a treasury looter, the end is always disastrous.

That is the trajectory of a failed generation!

Our society now breeds renewed political personalities who having learned the politics of the land the hard way will play their cards so well that the future of our present generation might as well be looted.

Who then do we cast the blame upon?

Our young leaders who became converted to old looters by the system?

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FG Postpones Niger Delta Summit Over Protests By Key Leaders

Nigerian Government has been compelled to postpone a two-day stakeholders’ Summit on Niger Delta following strong protest by key figures in the region.

The Summit being organised by the Presidency and scheduled to hold on Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 September in Abuja has now been postponed indefinitely.

A statement on Friday by a presidential aide who is the Secretary of the Planning Committee, Donald B. Wokoma, said “the Summit, which was expected to bring participants carefully drawn from across various groups of critical stakeholders together, will now hold at a later date.”

Interestingly, no reason was given for the postponement.

However, Mr. Wokoma, assured that “the intention of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration of providing an enduring political blueprint geared towards a more lasting peace and sustainable development in the Niger Delta region remains unwavering.”

Earlier in the day, key figures including elders like a former Federal Commissioner, Edwin Clark have dissociated themselves from the Summit, stating that serious issue like Niger Delta should not be trivialised into “some academic exercise.”

Those who signed the statement include: Edwin K. Clark, Senator Roland Owie, Air Cdr. Idongisit Nkanga, Ledum Mitee, Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw, Alaowei Broderich Bozimo, Timi Alaibe, Tony Uranta among others.

They noted that holding of such Summit at this time is clearly contrary to the expectations of all right-thinking persons worldwide.

The leaders particularly frowned at the lacklustre attitude of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that for over six weeks, since cessation of hostilities as a result of the intervention by the Traditional Rulers, Elders and Leaders of the Niger Delta, he has not deemed it fit to respond to the demands of the peoples of the Niger Delta for a credible and proper dialogue process.

“The attention of the Leadership of the Pan-Niger Delta Coastal States Stakeholders’ Consultative Forum has been drawn to the circulation of Invitation Letters to some Niger Delta indigenes and others to a Niger Delta Stakeholders’ Summit slated for the 26th – 27th September, 2016, at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja. “Whilst we do not begrudge the right of any authority or persons to convene any talk shop, we feel concerned that serious issue of the Niger Delta should not be trivialized into some academic exercise.

“Rather than doing the needful, the Region has however, been over militarized of its creeks and other spaces, which have resulted in claims of rapes, brutalisation, incidental deaths and undue harassments suffered by our innocent sons and daughters during this period of the ceasefire. Internally displaced people are now littered all over the place.

“However, a significant achievement of the cease fire is the increase in the quantum of oil production of 1.7 mbpd, according to the Hon. Minister of States, Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.

“We wish to state that almost a month has elapsed since militant groups in the region agreed to a 60-Day cessation of hostilities without the Federal Government constituting a negotiation team. Rather, the Office of the Vice President is organizing a Summit of stakeholders purportedly for the Niger Delta.

“It is our considered opinion that for the Federal Government to contemplate a Summit of this nature, rather than proper dialogue and negotiations with leaders of the region is to trivialize the gravity of the issues and opt for a cosmetic approach.

“Any reasonable person looking at the title and composition of attendees, officials, subjects and speeches at this so-called Summit, will discern that it is possible to replace the term Niger Delta with any other area of the country and it will not look odd. “There is no Niger-Deltan of any level of representation there. Worse still, the Speakers at the Summit are mainly government officials, who should at best of times be listening to the people, instead of talking down to the people. In such a gathering, there are definitely no spaces for any meaningful discussions.

“The point to note is that the Niger Delta crisis predates the present administration. In all the previous administrations, we never engaged in futile and cosmetic academic exercise as this Summit, to proffer solutions to the Niger Delta agitations.

“We wish to state in unambiguous terms that the issues confronting the Niger Delta do not require an academic exercise of this nature, masquerading as a Summit to proffer solutions to the Niger Delta issues.

“Rather, a credible dialogue process between the Federal Government, the oil companies and the accredited and authorized representatives of the region.

“As a people we are, still, committed to the vision of a peaceful, prosperous, united and restructured Nigeria where no one is oppressed,” the statement reads in part.

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Tech, Media Leaders Meet In Lagos To Assess Investment And Growth Strategies

Poised to become the technology and investment hub for Africa – Lagos, Nigeria will play host to the event for the first time

LAGOS, Nigeria, September 14, 2016/ — Leading strategy and investment heads from technology and telecom giants including Google, Uber, Intel, Africa Internet Group, Vodacom, Airtel, Nokia and Etisalat are meeting in Lagos on September 20 to discuss strategies for investment and regional growth at TMT Finance Africa in Lagos 2016.

Poised to become the technology and investment hub for Africa – Lagos, Nigeria will play host to the event for the first time, which will see more than 150 regional and international telecom, media and technology leaders, investment bankers, investors, advisers and government representatives meet for a series of panel debates, networking sessions and private roundtable discussions.

“Nigeria is fast becoming one of the most innovative and dynamic places in the world for technology and mobile connectivity, and we are delighted that household names such as Google, Uber, Intel and Africa Internet Group will be represented at the conference alongside some well-known Nigerian tech and media companies such as Sliide, iRoko and Andela, which is backed by Mark Zuckerberg’s Chan Zuckerberg Initiative,” said Ben Nice, Director, TMT Finance Africa in Lagos. “However, there are still many challenges that some of these companies face, including a lack of access to adequate financing, which is where TMT Finance Africa in Lagos should help to plug the gap and get the dialogue going between the genuine decision makers,” Nice added.

Leading investment banks will be represented by key institutions such as Standard Bank, Citi, IFC, Barclays, Africa Finance Corporation, Access Bank and FNB, while private equity firms speaking at the conference include: Convergence Partners, African Capital Alliance, ECP and Carlyle.

Over 80 C-level speakers are confirmed for the conference, and only a limited number of tickets are still available, and can be purchased on the website.

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PDP Leaders Knock Buhari Over Claims Party Left Nothing After 16 Years In Power

Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and lawmakers elected on the platform of the opposition party, yesterday, gave President Muhammadu Buhari hard knocks over his comments that he inherited nothing from the PDP administrations of former president’s Olusegun Obasanjo, late Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua and Dr Goodluck Jonathan.

The trio ruled Nigeria between May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2015 when Buhari took over on the banner of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Buhari made the comment on Monday after attending Eid prayers in Daura, Katsina State on the heels of the economic recession in the country.

”I want Nigerians to realise that what this government inherited after 16 years of PDP government was no savings, no infrastructure, no power, no rail, no road and no security,” he said.

The comment elicited caustic remarks from PDP leaders, who accused the president of reversing the gains and achievements of the PDP within 15 months of coming to power and flinging the country into economic recession. They challenged him to publish Dr Jonathan’s hand-over notes for Nigerians to read and take a stand.

While some PDP leaders said they would not dignify the president’s misinformed comment with a response because he has clearly shown incapacity to lead, those who spoke include, pioneer National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Senator Aniete Okon; Former National Publicity Secretary of the PDP and former Minister of Information, Mr John Odey; former Aviation Minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode; Senators Rowland Owie, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Senator Biodun Olujimi, Senator Sunday Ogbuoji, Reps Leo Ogor and Uzoma Nkem-Abonta.

The only voice that supported President Buhari was that of Senator Joseph Waku, who nevertheless urged the president to back up his comments with a probe of the Obasanjo and Jonathan administrations.

His administration is made up of third class ministers – Leo Ogor

House of Representatives Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, said: “First and foremost, let Mr President show us what the PDP administration left behind so that we can pin-point all we achieved in those years.

“Let me not go too far, the rail stations he commissioned recently, can he lay claim to it or the telecommunications industry he met on ground that is second to none in Africa? He chose the PDP left overs that he appointed as ministers to help him run his government and that has led us to recession.

“PDP had the best of the best in terms of economy management and governance and he decided to take the remnants and they have showcased their expertise in making us a poor nation within a very short period. Let him give us back the economy and see how we’ll re-grow it within a short period. PDP left robust democratic institutions, laced with the rule of law but today, it has been jettisoned.

“Before his emergence, Nigeria was the highest exporter of cement and the Agriculture sector was already developing to a world standard. Today, the former Agriculture and Finance ministers work in international organisations a clear testimony to the fact that PDP had top class administrators.

“The dollar was N150 to a US dollar but today, how much is the dollar to the Naira? This government came with policies that have made Nigeria a pauper nation in less than two years.

“This is definitely the product of bad policies and clear indication that APC needs our support to stabilise our policy battered economy.”

Let him publish Jonathan’s hand over notes – Nkem Abonta

Chairman, House Committee on Public Petitions, Rep Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, spoke almost in the same vein and challenged President Buhari to publish the hand-over notes of former President Jonathan to enable Nigerians properly assess the situation on ground.

He said: “This government actually needs all hands on deck to move Nigeria from recession. There is no doubt we must double-leap to beat recession and we must primarily focus on food production. If I may ask, are there no PDP members helping to run the affairs of this government?

“Half of APC governors had worn PDP shirts, are they not part of this administration? PDP had rule of law and, to some extent, good governors. I agree that there is no house without mosquitoes but there must be ability to manage the mosquitoes not to cause malaria.

”GEJ was definitely a better manager of mosquitoes as he made sure we did not go into recession. If we must get out of this nightmare, then we must rally round Buhari now to get the desired results. Blaming PDP for these woes will not solve anything because it’s like blaming a goalkeeper without attack and defence. Dollar was stabilised for five years at N150 and to get out of this doldrums, we must have an economic summit to look inward and focus on agriculture to get us out of recession.”

No sitting president makes such sweeping statement – Odey

Former National Publicity Secretary of the PDP and former Minister of Information, Mr John Odey said: ”I want to believe that he was reported out of context because no sitting president can make such a sweeping statement. Government is a continuum and I strongly believe he never meant that he did not inherit anything from previous governments since 1999. Maybe he meant that if previous administrations were prudent in investing and diversifying the economy, we would have been better.”

The statement is un-presidential – Sen Olujimi

Senator Biodun Olujimi, PDP Ekiti South, said the president may be out of tune with development in the country, else he would not say what he was credited to have said.

“To say that, it therefore means he is not a Nigerian because we know what Nigeria was before now and we know what it is now. If he did not inherit anything, what happens to GSM, what happens to the number of universities that we increased, what happens to the infrastructures in Abuja? What happens also to increased number of experts who came to invest in Nigeria? What happens to all the roads that lead to his state, Katsina and the ones into Abuja?

”I think he just spoke out of context and that is unpresidential of him. That is not what a president should say. A president should appreciate those that had come before him and add value to whatever they had done and not to be continuously running them down. I think he’s just playing politics with everything and that is bad of him.

”Nigerians are going through difficult times because of what he created and there is need for him to sit up to address their suffering. There is no need playing politics with everything, governance is a serious issue.”

He crashed economy built over the years by PDP – Sunday Ogbuoji

On his part, Senator Sunday Ogbuoji asked: “Has Buhari been using GSM at all, is he still calling with land line? When did satellite phones come into Nigeria? The GSM Nigerians are using now, who brought it to Nigerian? Was it APC?

“The GSM he, Buhari, is using today is one of the benefits of the PDP government. It is very wrong of him to have said that. When we say that the man is confused and doesn’t know what he is saying, it is not as if we are saying so as an opposition, it is a statement of fact. He should be ashamed that he crashed within few months in office the country’s economy built by the PDP for 16 years to become the largest economy in Africa.

“PDP government made Nigeria to be the largest economy in Africa only for him, Buhari, to crash it within his few months of being in power. “What does it mean to be largest economy, does he really understand what he is talking about? You can go on and on counting achievements of the PDP successive administrations for 16 years but he chose to be making unsubstantiated statements.”

Buhari should justify his claim by going after Obj, Jonathan – Waku

However, Senator Joseph Waku, who represented Benue North West in the National Assembly between 1999 and 2003, said he is in support of President Buhari, saying the PDP ended up destroying the country within the 16 years it held power. He said the claim by PDP that it brought GSM is false. According to him the GSM was an initiative of late General Sani Abacha, which the PDP merely expanded.

Hear him: “PDP did not bring GSM, it was brought by late General Sani Abacha. The PDP only came and expanded it. I am not saying the PDP didn’t do anything, even destroying the economy alone was something they did.

“How can you become the number one citizen, the number one law officer of the country and there was high rate of stealing under you and you did not act? PDP was completely a misfit of a government. The corruption under PDP administration started from Obasanjo and so, if Buhari wants to substantiate his allegation, he should probe all the PDP administrations and he should start with Obasanjo because he (Obasanjo) introduced corruption in our democracy.

“Under PDP, top government officials stole to high heaven and no one was brought to book by the PDP administration. PDP, under the Obasanjo regime spent billions of naira for third term that failed. Obasanjo got $16 billion for energy, where is the money? Obasanjo used Nigerian money to buy very important hotels and buildings including a library at a time he was leaving office without any achievement in office. So, I am in total support of President Muhammadu Buhari.”

Buhari has lost his memory and badly misinformed – Fani- Kayode

Reacting, former Spokesman of ex- President Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Campaign Organisation, Chief Femi Fani- Kayode, took a swipe at President Buhari, saying that the president had either lost his memory or was badly misinformed for telling Nigerians that he inherited nothing from the PDP administrations of Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.

Speaking exclusively with Vanguard, Fani Kayode noted that President Buhari had in the last one year and three months, brought nothing but chaos, destruction, division, fear, deaths and shame to Nigeria compared to the PDP governments he was ridiculing.

His words: “It is obvious that President Muhammadu Buhari has either lost his memory or he has been badly misinformed. If you look at the state of the country in 1999 when former President Olusegun Obasanjo took over and compare it to what it was in 2007 when he left office, you will find out that there was not just development but also a miraculous transformation in every sector; that is what Obasanjo managed to achieve and I am very proud to be part of that government and part of those legacies.

“After Obasanjo left, Umaru Yar’ Adua took over and then came former President Goodluck Jonathan. As far as I am concerned, Jonathan built on Obasanjo’s legacies and foundation and he took us to yet another level.

“If you compare Nigeria in 2015 by the time Jonathan left to 1999 before Obasanjo came in, you will have to thank the PDP for lifting this nation up and taking us from strength to strength. By the time Jonathan left in 2015, we had the largest economy on the African Continent and the fastest growing economy in the world, among other things.

“In one year and three months, all of that have been destroyed by President Buhari and his APC, we are now back in the dark ages. Every sector in the country has been destroyed and everyone is complaining.

“President Buhari has brought nothing, but ethnic cleansing, recession, abuse of power, persecution, genocide, chaos, destruction, division, fear, deaths and shame to Nigeria and they have no other way of running the country, but to intimidate the citizens and threaten them. That is his own legacy.

“It should also be noted that a large number of people that supported Buhari in his quest to become the president, last year, were all originally from the PDP, whether the PDP governors, who decamped or PDP ministers who decamped or PDP legislators who decamped, 70 percent of people that helped to put Buhari in power used to be PDP including former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; Senate President Bukola Saraki; Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; former speakers Aminu Tambuwal, Aminu Masari; Umar Ghali Naaba; former minister of the Federal Capital Territory and governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El- Rufai; Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; former governors Olagunsoye Oyinlola; Segun Oni; Danjuma Goje; Aliyu Wammakko; Rabiu Kwankwaso; Murtala Nyako; George Akume; Senate Leader, Ali; former PDP national chairmen, Barnabas Gemade; Audu Ogbeh, among others.

“When he insults PDP legacy and said that nothing was ever done by PDP in 16 years, he is insulting those 70 per cent that put him in power starting with Obasanjo and I think that this is most unfair and very ungrateful of him.”

He is sounding like a cracked record – Senator AnieteOkon

Pioneer National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Senator Aniete Okon asked President Buhari to go beyond party toga and put in place necessary measures that would rescue Nigeria from the present economic crisis. He said that the president should stand on the pedestrian of fact and truth because he is sounding like cracked record.

His words: “Buhari should be quite honest if Nigerians must take his anti- corruption crusade very seriously. This is not the time for partisanship, he should go beyond the crack in the record because he us sounding like a cracked record.

“He is turning the truth on its head. What about the railway project he commissioned? Was it carried out during his time? The least we expect from him is to acknowledge that certain things have been done before he came. He should remove partisan toga. After one year, this is the time to show results and his fight against corruption should include standing on the pedestrian of fact and truth. With the economic recession we are facing now, he should call the knowledgeable together and build the economy irrespective of party affiliation or coloration.

” Buhari has lost it all – Senator Owie

Former Chief Whip of the Senate and a PDP Chieftain, Senator Rowland Owie simply said: ”The statement shows that President Muhammadu Buhari has lost it all because his failure in government will no longer deserve the sympathy of Nigerians. It is unfortunate.

”Also , Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, PDP, Abia South simply described President Buhari’s comment as ” a disappointing statement.” Buhari lacks capacity to develop Nigeria – Gbishe Former Secretary of the PDP in Benue State, Mr Tertsea Gbishe said the president “is just grabbing at straws because he lacks the capacity to lift the country out of the woods.

“If he said he did not inherit anything from the previous governments, where did he get the money he is operating with? He gave bailout to the states, where did the money come from? What he said is not true. The man is inept. He does not have any idea to run the country. Yes he is fighting corruption but even at that we have our reservations. His method of fighting corruption has raised a lot of questions. He may be passionate but many people think he is being selective. Examples abound. In Benue state for instance, anybody who decamped to APC is now a saint. He is not being sincere in several other ways and we don’t think he is being sincere in his assertion. He is dodging his responsibilities.”

Credit: Vanguard

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Shekau ‘Fatally Injured’ In Air Strike, Other Boko Haram Commanders Killed, Army Says

The Nigerian military says it has “fatally wounded” th leader of the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents group, Abubakar Shekau, after a “most unprecedented and spectacular air raid” in Sambisa forest.

Acting director of army public relations, Sani Kukasheka Usman, in a statement he released very early on Tuesday morning said Shekau was injured in his shoulder.

He said the operation held on August 19, 2016 as the terrorists were performing Friday rituals at Taye village, Gombale general area, within Sambisa forest, Borno state.

“In what one could describe as the most unprecedented and spectacular air raid, we have just confirmed that as a result of the interdiction efforts of the Nigerian Air Force, some key leaders of the Boko Haram terrorists have been killed while others were fatally wounded,” Usman said.

“The air interdiction took place last week Friday 19th August 2016, while the terrorists were performing Friday rituals at Taye village, Gombale general area within Sambisa forest, Borno State.

“Those Boko Haram terrorists commanders confirmed dead include Abubakar Mubi, Malam Nuhu and Malam Hamman, amongst others, while their leader, the so-called ‘Abubakar Shekau’, is believed to be fatally wounded on his shoulders. Several other terrorists were also wounded.”

This is not the first time the army is claiming to have killed Abubakar Shekau.

The army first said in 2013 that it had killed the leader of the sect. Then, in September 2014, it again said “Sehkau” had been killed — though it later clarified that the man killed in 2014 was a Shekau impostor who went by the names Isa Damsaka, Bashir Konduga and Bashir Mohammed.

However, the following month, Shekau released a video dismissing reports of his death, saying: “Here I am, alive. I will only die the day Allah takes my breath. I am running our… Islamic caliphate and administering sharia punishments…

“Nothing will kill me until my days are over… I’m still alive. Some people asked you if Shekau has two souls. No, I have one soul, by Allah.”

Between March 2015 and 2016, Shekau was noticeably absent in videos released by Boko Haram, only to release a video in March 2016, go quiet again and release another in August, where he threatened the mother of all attacks against Abuja, the federal capital territory

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Sheriff: PDP Leaders Plan New Party As Dokpesi, Secondus Is Knocked Out Of Chairmanship Race

As the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP continue preparations for its next national convention scheduled for Port Harcourt on August 17, highly competent sources close to its leadership hinted THISDAY last night that a “Plan B” is in the party’s bag, in case former acting national chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff continues to distract the party.

The party has been in turmoil, several weeks after its last National Convention in Port Harcourt, where the tenure of Sheriff was terminated and Ahmed Makarfi appointed as acting national chairman.

However, Sheriff refused to recognise Makarfi and has been parading himself as acting national chairman, while also using the court to frustrate efforts to properly reposition the party.

An apparently frustrated member of PDP’s Board of Trustee, BoT who pleaded for anonymity, said that every effort being made to unite the PDP was being frustrated by Sherriff “despite several court orders that effectively nullified his tenure as interim chairman.”

The source said the party’s leaders had resolved that should all the peace overtures to the renegade Sheriff fail, they would all leave the party with all the governors and national assembly members to form a new party with a new name and “leave the rump to sherrif, to continue with his charade.”

He added: “Sheriff is President Buhari’s in law (his son is married to one of Buhari’s daughers). The thinking among the party leaders is that the All Progressives Congress is using him to continue this distraction of the PDP. The APC has found in Sheriff a willing tool to destabilise the opposition party. We know their game plan. But we will not allow them to kill the opposition; more so now that Nigerians are being pummeled by the APC government. The APC is struggling to face the reality that it must pack out of Aso Rock by 2019. A weakened PDP is in the interest of President Buhari and the APC and Sheriff is there to ensure they achieve their objective.”

The source also revealed that PDP is ready to move on from its loss of power, reposition itself for 2019 in order to do that it needs to earn the trust of Nigerians by providing a virile opposition which Sheriff is frustrating.”

Meanwhile, the

ambition of media mogul, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, to lead the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appears to have been truncated by leaders of the party from the Southwest, Southeast and Southsouth.

PDP governors, National Assembly members, ex-ministers and other leaders from the South at a crucial meeting in Port Harcourt on Thursday ahead of the August 17 national convention billed for the city, zoned the post to the Southwest.

Also out of the race is Uche Secondus, former acting national chairman, who is from Rivers State.

Dokpesi is from Edo State. Edo and Rivers are in Southsouth.

Although Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who briefed reporters at the end of the meeting, said any member willing to contest any position was free to do so, he was quick to advise them to respect the zoning formula.

Also zoned to the Southwest are the positions of national treasurer and deputy national publicity secretary.

PDP zoned the positions of first deputy national chairman, national legal adviser, deputy national women leader and deputy national auditor to the Southsouth, while Southeast got national organising secretary, national youth leader and deputy national financial secretary.

The party’s stalwarts from the Southwest, who have signified their intention to contest the national chairmanship include former the Chairman of the Nigerian Port Authority, Chief Bode George and ex-minister Prof. Taoheed Adedoja.

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@MBuhari Ranked 14th Most Influential World Leader On Social Networks In 2016

Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari has been ranked the 14th most influential leader on social networks in 2016.

President Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) with a twitter following of 562,000, 184,000 Facebook likes and 49,000 followings on Instagram was ranked ahead of 36 other world leaders by the Burson-Marsteller’s 2016 Twiplomacy study.

The ranking named Burson-Marsteller twiplomacy, refers to the use of Twitter and other social media sites by government agencies and officials to engage with the public, disperse information and even leverage global influence.

It looks at how Head of states and Government, Foreign Ministers and International organistions use social media channels.

Aside ranking 14th in the world, the @NgrPresident account which is the official account of Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s president was also ranked 38 in the world.

@Magufulijp and @alsisiofficial, the twitter account of John Magufuli of Tanzania and Abdel Fatah elsisi of Egypt respectively are the only two African countries who made the list of the 50 World leaders. They are ranked 36 and 43 respectively.

Other social media accounts ranked include that of the President of the United States, (@POTUS) which was ranked Number 1 as well as King Salman (@KingSalam) of Saudi Arabia ranked number 2.

Pope Francis (@Pontifex) is ranked number 3, Barack Obama (@barackobama) in his personal capacity was ranked number 7, while the Saudi Foreign Ministry (@ksamofa) was ranked number 50.

A statement on the ranking posted by the organisation said it identified 793 Twitter accounts of heads of state and government, foreign ministers and their institutions in 173 countries worldwide.

“The study analyzes each leader’s Twitter profiles, tweet history, and their connections with each other.”

“Data was collected on May 1, 2016 using Burson-Marsteller’s proprietary Burson Tools to analyze the 628,000 possible Twitter connections between world leaders. Other variables considered included: tweets, following, followers, the date the user joined Twitter, tweets/day, retweets, percent of retweets, @replies, percent of @replies, tweets retweeted, average number of tweets retweeted.”

“Burson-Marsteller looked at each account to see if it has a header picture, if the account is dormant, active or protected and if the world leader tweets personally. We checked the language the account tweets and checked for the presence of Twitter lists.”

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How They Mislead Our Leaders By @DeleMomodu

Fellow Nigerians, let me start by apologising for my absence on this page last week. I could not believe the torrents of comments on social media and the number of calls from friends and well-wishers from far and near enquiring about my welfare. Everyone was concerned because they know how much dedication and discipline goes into writing a weekly column. Even I sometimes wonder how I’m able to keep a date with you week in and week out.

Once in a while we all suffer from what’s often referred to as mental block. It is a writer’s affliction that makes it impossible for you to think and write meaningfully. That was exactly what happened to me and I’m glad you understood and accepted my predicament in good faith. Your love for Pendulum propels and keeps me going. Once again, I experienced that love last week and I was deeply touched. From the bottom of my heart, I say thank you and may God shower you with His abundant favours always.

Thank God, I’m back this week with my weekly epistle to fellow Nigerians and Africans. You must be wondering about the title of my article today, especially the word “they” and who it refers to ultimately. You don’t have to guess too much as I will explain to you in a jiffy. The “they” are those groups of men and women who litter the corridors of power in our dear beloved country Nigeria. They are some wonderful people who understand how to manoeuvre their ways through the labyrinth of power. They are professional hijackers who know how to hold powerful people, particularly our leaders, hostage. Nigerians usually call them the cabal or Mafia or whatever nomenclature is in vogue at the time. Truth is, they exist in reality.
What is often baffling is that these folks perch like rattlesnakes and pounce at the slightest opportunity on the men of power. They inflict their poison and, sooner than later, their victim begins to behave unusually, even sometimes irrationally. The more the poison permeates the body, the more the victim sinks deeper into the abyss and onlookers begin to observe a complete transformation and transfiguration. Surprisingly, these guys were and are never around during the struggles. Once the struggle is over, they crawl out of whatever holes they were ensconced in whilst things were hot! And they soon become the greatest beneficiaries of a campaign they never partook of. Trust me, every government has them. If you ask me, it is one reason most of our governments have failed so spectacularly.

My preamble is predicated on my deep observation of what is going on in Nigeria at the moment. I can say I know President Muhammadu Buhari reasonably well even if I was a latter day convert to Buharism. But once I got hooked like a drug addict, I was ready to go the whole hog and I have never looked back. Buhari’s appeal is based on his populist credentials. We all saw him as a man of the people and a Mr Scrooge who would never waste scarce resources on frivolities. But the “they” of Nigeria have repackaged Baba to the extent that many now refer to him as the “Gucci President”. Every fashion designer’s delight, as he has become a veritable fashion trendsetter. Of course, this is not to denigrate the President because his previous austere style suits him as much as his now trendy look becomes him! The fact is that by his handsome, gangling and fit nature, the President will always appear impeccably turned out and well groomed. However, now, his paraphernalia of power has become somehow bloated and overly flamboyant as well. How are the mighty changing!

The existing theory is that President Buhari has inadvertently fallen victim of political 419ners who have persuaded him about how powerful a Nigerian President is and why he must play the part always by being overtly fashionable. I’m sorry to say that they are stylishly setting Baba up for monumental failure. I expect their agents to swarm the internet and abuse anyone who dare say anything about the grand scam currently going on but it won’t be strange. Every government I have known since I became an adult had such acolytes to sing their praises and hold them up as infallible. But no sooner than the baton of power changes than they disappear only to reappear sometime and somewhere in the no distant future screaming adulations of the unsuspecting new leader.

I vividly remember the period of the Shehu Shagari Presidency. The poor teacher and humble farmer could do no wrong. There was a popular Yoruba song specially composed and sang for him: “Oluwa lo yan Shagari, Shehu Shagari…” Shagari’s apotheosis was instantly assured. Those who saw the rot in the outlandishly profligate government were tagged dangerous dissidents and told to shut their traps up. Wole Soyinka, our own William Shakespeare, was one of the most vociferous critics at the time.

As days climbed days and months rode on months, the Shagari government became neurotic and saw enemies everywhere real or imagined. Out of fear for its safety and stability, the Nigeria Police Force was over-militarised as if in competition with the Nigerian Army. We watched incredulously as the police under the iron grip of probably the most powerful Inspector-General Police Nigeria ever employed, Mr Sunday Adewusi, became ostensibly omnipotent. The Shagari government controlled the heavens and the earth. The 1983 general elections was the last straw that broke the back of that government.
The end came on December 31, 1983. A terse announcement by a relatively unknown soldier at the time, named Sani Abacha, shattered the invincibility of the Shagari regime into smithereens. A new Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari and his ‘deputy’, Babatunde Idiagbon were promptly installed. They in turn wasted no time in pronouncing the direction of their government which was predicated on ‘war against indiscipline’ (WAI). That war encapsulated everything that was wrong with Nigeria. While it was a worthwhile, expedient and necessary move, the government failed to understand the complexity of Nigerians. Our people love the concept of change in the metaphysical sense but not in any way that hurts them and their families or friends. That was the reality that soon hit Buhari and Idiagbon like thunderbolts. While they were busy jailing and punishing the corrupt politicians, they were undoubtedly amassing enemies. They were goaded on by fifth columnists within and before long, it was time to strike. The end came on August 27, 1985.
The same Abacha who announced Buhari’s arrival pronounced his departure. It was such a cruel twist of fate. A supposedly friendlier, humane and urbane Head of State, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, was catapulted on to the national stage. He was projected as Buhari’s fairer alter ego. He opened up the cells and disgraced and humiliated politicians in their various stages of dilapidation spilled out like locusts. Buhari immediately became the bad guy and Babangida the benevolent dictator. Where Buhari was stern-faced, Babangida wore his famous toothy smile like the archetypal good guy. That was it. Everything Buhari had built got dismantled. 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.
It wasn’t long before the “they” started digging the grave for Babangida himself. He assembled arguably one of the best teams ever, no doubt, but it remains a mystery who his real advisers were that persuaded him to turn Nigeria into a game of football. His sobriquet of Maradona, though very apt, was also an albatross. He dribbled so much and resorted to endless transition time tables. So much so, that he eventually dribbled himself into scoring an own goal. Politicians were banned and unbanned according to the whims and caprices of one man. When the elections eventually took place, on June 12, 1993, they were programmed to fail spectacularly. Till this day no one knows what truly happened that led to our best elections ever being truncated and annulled. Pity that none of the influencers in the Nigerian polity could dissuade Babangida from committing this unfortunate and costly hara-kiri. Even worse, no one or group has come out to say they advised him against such perfidious act but he did not listen. Nigeria is yet to recover from that stupendous tragedy.

The fall came on August 27, 1993, when he suddenly stepped aside and handed over to a lame duck Interim National Government (ING) headed by Chief Ernest ‘Degunle Shonekan.
This government was as weak as they come. It lacked the liver to deliver on revalidating the annulled mandate freely given to the winner of the Presidential election, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola. This would have enjoyed the wide support of the people but sadly such opportunity was missed by the inept team and the interim government was soon sacked by General Sani Abacha. Babangida had apparently set up the ING with a view to returning as a civilian President but man proposes and God disposes. His nemesis was Abacha his erstwhile compatriot and friend!

The understanding when Abacha seized power in a military coup was that he was going to right the wrongs of the June 12 elections, clean up the remnants of the Babangida loyalists and give power back to the man elected freely by Nigerians. That turned out to be a classic case of naiveté at its most ludicrous. The man simply collected power pronto and sat down pretty. No Jupiter was going to remove him from that gilded cage. The Abacha government failed like others to learn the lessons of history and most importantly that no leader had ever succeeded in enslaving Nigerians…
I’ve deliberately taken us down memory lane to demonstrate how the demons of power have sentenced Nigeria perpetually to stupidity and backwardness. And it seems a fool at 56 is almost irredeemable from its tomfoolery unless a miracle happens. That’s the miracle we gave to President Buhari last year on a platter of gold after his fourth attempt. But things seem to be spiralling out of control. I know the President would be told all is well by those benefitting from the current state of things but, walahi, I will always tell Baba the truth. I’ve come to see him as the last hope of the masses and if he fails we all fail.
The first truth is that this government is looking too elitist and ceremonial. I’m not sure this is intentional. The amount of time, energy and resources being deployed on hosting this and that is becoming ridiculous. Whoever suggested that the President should break Ramadan fasts with so much fanfare did not do any good for a government with too many horrendous challenges. If I had any influence in this government, I will advise that government needs to demonstrate its commitments and seriousness at tackling the intractable problems. We should see pictures of brainstorming sessions. We should have and see a brilliant economic team at work. We should see the President supervising projects nationwide in his jackboots. We should see the President appointing the many Nigerian geniuses that litter every part of the world to assist him use the power God has bestowed on him to benefit ordinary Nigerians. The qualities of appointments we are seeing lately have become appallingly lacklustre. This is not the best Nigeria can offer.
I do not really care if even if all appointees come from Daura, I would leave that agitations to others, who may be myopic or selfish. I’m more interested in the merit, competence and patriotism of such people. President Buhari can make do with a star-studded team regardless of political and religious affiliations. It is never too late to CHANGE!

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It’s Time To Move On, Atiku Tells Tinubu, Other APC leaders

A former Vice President and chieftain of APC, Atiku Abubakar, has urged leaders of the All Progressives Congress to shift from “extreme positions to a centrist one for the interest of democracy and the party, the new administration and the country at large”.

The former Vice President made the call Thursday against the backdrop of the APC NEC meeting in Abuja.

A statement released by his media office in Abuja on Thursday, quoted the former Vice President as calling for the concentration of positive energies on building unity, cohesion and harmony among party leaders and other stakeholders.

“We can resolve our differences when our leaders individually and collectively shift ground from extreme positions and move to the centre in the interest of our party and our country.”

Atiku, who was outside the country to perform Lesser Hajj (Umrah) in Saudi Arabia, said that he was deeply concerned that, soon after capturing power, the APC is torn apart at a time more energy is needed to attend to the objectives of the change agenda for which it was voted into power.

The APC has been rocked by crisis over the election of National Assembly leaders.

Atiku is believed to supports the emergence of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, against the wish of the party’s leaders, including the chairman, John Oyegun, and a former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu.

The former Vice President said it was high time the party overcame its current crisis of confidence arising from the National Assembly election of principal officers.

He said the current blame games targeted at individuals was an unnecessary diversion of energies at the expense of the urgency of the mission of the party to make life better for Nigerians.

According to the former Vice President, the vilification of individual party leaders and members in the face of challenges facing the country was painful to him, adding that the party should learn the lessons and move ahead.

While restating his commitment to the party and its change agenda, the former Vice President advised the party leaders not to allow people of bad faith to fuel division and acrimony among the party, adding that all positive energies should be directed towards sustaining the morale of the voters who look forward to the APC to make their lives better.

He reminded party leaders that any division could be exploited at the expense of the party. He extended his goodwill to the party for successful deliberations and assured the party of continued support and loyalty at all times.

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Religious Leaders Commend Niger Gov, Bello For Prudent Management Of Resources

Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has been commended by religious leaders in the state for his prudence in the management of the state resources and for his administrative style.

The commendation was made when the governor hosted leaders of both Islamic and Christian faiths to observe Iftar (breaking of fast) in Minna, the state capital on Tuesday.

Shiek Nasir Abdulmuhyi who led other Muslim leaders praised the governor for steadfast in his administrative approach to governance.

The cleric commended the prudence management of the state economy despite the meagre resources available to it.

According to the Shiek, “worthy of mention is the massive road rehabilitation and construction across the state, the beatification of Minna city Road, construction of hospitals and rural electrification schemes”.

The state Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Mathias Echioda accompanied by four other leaders of the association, also commended the administrative style and acknowledged the sincerity of purpose in actions taken so far by the governor.

The CAN leader noted that the convocation of a stakeholders meeting where the governor briefed the cross section of the state on the state of finances of the state has shown him as a transparent and prudent leader.

“We commend the good heart of Mr. Governor. Your detailed explanation of the state of the finances of the state showed high level of transparency and accountability. We are pleased with your administrative style.

“To this end, Christians in the state shall work and cooperate with you to see that you achieve the dream you had for this state before you were elected,” Echioda assured the governor.

The two clergymen prayed for the progress of the nation’s economy and the peace of the state, country at large and our leaders at various levels.

The governor thanked the religious leaders for their support to his administration and promised to ensure the realisation of his cardinal priority programmes.

The governor also urged the religious leaders to continue to preach tolerance and to encourage their members to appreciate the differences in their faiths with a view to accommodating one another.

The Special Adviser to the governor on Religious Affairs, Alhaji Tanko Baba Ahmed and the Director General, Bureau for Religious Affairs, Malam Umar Farouk were in attendance at the event.

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Fathers’ Day: Dogara Urges Leaders To Play Fatherly Role By Providing Qualitative Leadership

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has urged Nigerian leaders to play a fatherly role in governing the affairs of the country by providing qualitative leadership. According to a statement issued by Turaki Hassan, the Speaker’s spokesperson, Dogara made the call on Sunday during the Fathers’ Day service at the Aso Villa chapel, where he represented the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

 

The service, which was presided over by the chaplain, Pastor Seyi Malomo, had a special segment during which children appreciated fathers, and the Speaker was presented with gifts of indigenous artworks from the Chapel for the President, the Vice President, the Senate President and for himself.

 

Speaking on the importance of fathers, Dogara said that: “the word “father”, in the Bible, stems from the word “Abba”, which means sustainer. That is what a father is. As the sustainer, the father is then the foundation and the root of the family, and no matter how beautiful a building is, it is not defined by the colour but by the strength of its foundation. When God created man, He said: “be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth” and in other versions, it says to dominate. The family institution is the way through which this mandate to have dominion over the earth can be achieved and as long as the family unit is disorganised, there is no way humanity can exercise the dominion that God has given us, and that is why it is important that we honour our fathers as they are the foundation of the family institution.”

 

The Speaker further stated that the Bible lays emphasis on honouring and obeying parents, explaining that the commandment about honouring parents was the first to have a condition attached. “I guess that is the importance of this day and whoever instituted this day, I believe, did so in line with the commandment of God which says to honour our parents.

 

“As the chaplain said, what do you do with fathers who are abusive, those who are never there and those who abdicate their responsibilities? We should honour them whether they deserve it or not, as God’s word is eternal and will never change. In such situations, the most important thing is forgiveness and if you haven’t learned how to forgive, then you have not taken the first step in Christianity. When we say the Lord’s prayer, we ask God to forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us, and this includes those categories of fathers.”

 

Dogara also urged Nigerian fathers to live in accordance with God’s commandments, saying: “when you honour God as a father – praise Him and live by his dictates – that moves God to make you a father of nations like he said and did to Abraham.”

He concluded his address by stating that leaders are the fathers of the nation, and should play their role by providing qualitative leadership and providing strong foundations.

Pastor Malomo, in his address, urged fathers to be more steadfast and to strive harder in raising children in accordance with God’s directives. The service ended with Dogara praying with the children in the kids’ section of the chapel.

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