Northern Nigeria and All These Talk of Morality By Abubakar Evuti

Too many times the humanity, level of civilization and the claim (or is it the assumption?) that the North is a morally sound region are always drawn into contention. The most recent provocation for the trial of the North is the rejection of the stationing of a film academy in Kano.

Many who kicked against it did so because, according to them, it would corrupt the morality of the youths. And as expected, this incurred the wrath of compatriots from the south. With a condescending attitude, many have said that that is not a sound reason because Kano is already a morally corrupt society. Others even added that Kano is far more corrupt than the societies down south. And there were those who pointed out that it is hypocritical of the people of Kano to have rejected the film academy on such a basis, when they, the people, already engage in many vices. Thus the North was brought to trial, where her inbabitats were reminded of their many sins.

My annoyance with these compatriots is that they cite especially  the abduction and marriage of an underage Bayelsan girl as an indication to the moral bankruptcy of the entire population of North! It bugles the mind how people who claim intellectual superiority deem it proper to use the action of Mr. Yunusa, even if he were backed by his friends and kin, as an indication of the moral standards of the entire an entire people.

When recently a 34 years old man in Enugu married a 12 years old girl, there was no outrage, even from our self-righteous compatriots who care too much about the rights of the  girl-child. Also, when a father, a pastor, chained his son inside a church for several weeks, here too there was scarcely any outrage. And those who condemned the act did so without inviting Christians or Nigerians from the south to explain or apologize for these crimes. But why is this never the case when a Northern Muslim is the criminal? Why are Northerns, all of them, placed on trial, tried and sentenced over a matter they all had no say in?

Although I  personally would have loved for the film academy to be built in Kano, I do not wish to address the rightness or wrongness of the people’s rejection of the academy, at least not in this article. What I am most concerned with is the talk of lack of morality of the Kano society. If, like the people of Kano, other Nigerians too agree that a film academy will introduce some kind of immorality to the society, then the argument about Kano already being corrupt holds no water. It is like this: if man’s house is afire and someone brings petrol, will the man say, “Oh the house is afire, go ahead”? Certainly no.

But there is nothing deep or discombobulating about this. And even the self-appointed gaugers of the morality of the people of Kano can see this clearly. We know that the thing that pushes them to lash out at the morality of the people of Kano, and the entire North by extension, goes beyond the mere talk of the film academy.

Let us close the argument for good by saying the thing we all already know: Northern Nigeria is a region with high moral standards. The many immoralities—like the drug addiction, rape and what have you—does not change the fact that in many homes, even in Christian homes, alcohol, indecent dressing, fornication, disrespect etc are all considered vices. No decent man will hand you his daughter if you’re a drinker of alcohol, a rapist or a drug addict. No mother will bless your marriage to her son if she sees you wearing skimpy dresses, and knows you sleep about.

Now this is not to suggest that these vices are not being practiced. But whether these are practiced in the open or behind closed doors, by a few or by many, doesn’t change the fact that the Northern society, and its religions, frown upon them. And the people are not being hypocritical when they say, “This is not who we are!”

(Please plant a tree today.)


The writer is on Twitter @ngugievuti

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Before Mr. President Appoints A Northern CBN Governor By Sulaimon Mojeed-Sanni

Do not be deceived, this is not an economic juxtaposition of the attributes required of a Central Bank Governor in Nigeria, neither is it an x-ray of our dwindling economy, two digit interest rate, spiraling inflation or a debate on why the naira has refused to appreciate despite its devaluation.
My understanding of economics is quite blur, a major reason I find it difficult to understand why after the Federal Government said it eliminated 23, 846 ghost workers from its payroll, thus saving about N2.293 billion, after telling Nigerians over N3 trillion has been mopped up as a result of Treasury Single Account not to list the huge amounts purported to have been recovered from the arms deal and thieving politicians some who are perpetually on the run, we are still said to be going into recession?
Citizens, unlike those in the Executive Arm of government cannot still fathom why hunger is pervading the land and doom seems looming at every turn.

The socio-economic realities that have bedeviled Nigeria since the quest for change out-ran the desire for transformation have made almost everybody an expert on the economy, the people are getting disillusioned by the day and the change mantra is not changing much in regards to how citizens live. The current administration have been performing below the electorate’s’ expectations, President Muhammadu Buhari is leaving too many things to chances and body language while disconnecting himself from his primary constituents – Nigerians. The lacklustre path the implementation of the belated 2016 Appropriation Act has taken is another in case point which further cast aspersions on the preparedness of the All Progress Congress to govern the country.

All efforts to get Mr. President to remember his campaign promises or that of his Political Party has yielded little results. The President needs to be punctilious, every detail in this conglomeration called Nigeria matters, the macroeconomic cannot be jettison for the microeconomic vis-a-vis.
Despite the bailout to states, there is still a wide range of indebtedness causing strain on the reputation of the Federal Government. If Mr. President or his handlers take time to be sincere to themselves, they will realize there is an unanimous decision about town – that the president is failing the nation and that his nepotism particularly in the area of appointments is become worrisome.

Concerned pundits have put appointment figures as 79 Northerners as against 49 Southerners.  A further division into geopolitical sharing negates the principles of federal character as enshrined in Nigeria’s law books, further putting to question the genuineness of Mr. President to unite the country especially at this critical period when talks of disintegration is loud in some quarters.

Giving the foregoing, one should deliberately caution the current administration in making future appointments. Even though all sorts of animadversions have been made against this government, I still feel in the light of the economic conundrum we have surprisingly found ourselves,  we must tell Mr.  President to be weary in his appointment of the next CBN Governor and not allow the alleged northern nepotism becloud his judgement.  No doubt,  the fluctuating monetary and economic policy embarked upon so far have not heeded much result even the advocates of devaluation of the naira have unceremoniously gone undercover.

Giving that the major regulatory objectives of the CBN as stated in the CBN Act are to, “maintain the external reserves of the country, promote monetary stability and a sound financial environment, and to act as a banker of last resort and financial adviser to the federal government,“ objectives one can say the CBN is finding difficult to judiciously perform.
It is no gainsaying the current CBN is overwhelmed by the situation and needs to be eased out for the injection of fresh ideas to address our economic woes.
Appointments of CBN governors since the return to democratic rule have been significant to the rejuvenation of Nigeria’s monetary market. The background of persons chosen to occupy the exalted seat often contribute significantly to the direction of the apex banking body as it relates to the needs of the nation at that point in time. Starting with Charles Chukwuma Soludo in 2004 who was the former Chief Executive of National Planning Commission and spearheaded the 25 billion recapitalization of banks at a time we had massive proliferation of paperweight “family” banks that cannot finance the smallest of enterprise. The restructuring of the banking industry at that time helped in attracting funds from local and foreign investors which increased banks’ ability to lend to customers, thus creating the right atmosphere to boost the private sector driven economic agenda championed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Being a risk manager, the appointment of Sanusi Lamido Aminu Sanusi in 2009 helped prevent the imminent collapse of about ten leading banks, saved depositors money and put regulatory precautions in place. It was Sanusi who first gave a hint into the financial imbalance of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation  (NNPC), an outburst that led to his suspension and subsequent sack by former President Goodluck Jonathan.  Sanusi’s ouster led to the appointment of the current CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, a former Chief Executive Officer with Zenith Bank, who has held several strategic positions in his 18 years in the banking industry, however, his appointment also coincided with the buildup to the 2015 general elections, a time the then ruling People’s Democratic Party needed to open the Federal Vault to wage an all-out war against All Progressives Congress. What became of that “padi-padi” CBN-Presidency banking relationship is all out and not the major thrust of this piece.
Considering the call from some quarters that power should change hands at the apex banking body, it is a matter of time before Mr. President succumbs particularly when it gives him an opportunity to appoint an new helmsman with the financial discipline to drive his change mantra – here lies the crux of this piece because of President Buhari’s previous lopsided appointments.

When I joined many to catch the “Buhari, Sai Baba” bug after campaigning vigorously for generational shift in leadership structure of Nigeria (in 2011, I was on Nuhu Ribadu’s Team),  one restraining factor I had was that if General Muhammadu Buhari (as he then was) became the President,  he will pick his old folks but again I thought we could rely on the wisdom of the old to restructure our fractured structure. Unfolding events since that euphoria victory of April 28, 2015, has shown that I was not wrong on whom PMB will involve in his government but I was wrong on their sense of judgment on the urgency we need to put things straight. Nigeria expects something different, something inspiring, and something that represents a new beginning. Nigerians are desirous of a President that will be comfortable to visit every state, relate with every tribe and feel the pulse of every region. Not a President that see good only up North or dwells on a 95% to 5% voting pattern.

Most of the young, creative and energetic personnel that help sold PMB’s candidacy to Nigerians have been tactically showed the way out of the government (I guess it is only that Photographer, Bayo Omoboriowo who is left…maybe the President couldn’t get an old friend who can handle modern photography gadgets).
A 21st century president needs to be contemporary; he should have the mental acuity to blend across geopolitical and demographic strata. He should be able to read minds and see news in its real content, above all he should have the temerity to swallow his pride and listen to the voice of the street no matter how archaic it might sound.
I am still with Mr. President but my reservoir of patience is on the low. One can only hope that moving forward; Mr. President will give his government a nationalistic outlook, embrace those divided across the block, negotiate and develop economic policies to put smiles on the people’s face. And when the time comes to appoint the CBN Governor, he will not pick somebody from the North!

Below are five possible candidates Mr. President may like to consider;

Tony Elumelu
Tony Onyemaechi Elumelu is an economist, who was ranked 31st richest person in Africa by Forbes Magazine in 2015. He is the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation. Known for his daring act of turning around near comatose enterprises, he would be a very good hand to be injected into the economic team of President Buhari.

Uzoma Dozie

Dozie is the current Group Managing Director of Diamond Bank. 47-year old Dozie took over from Dr. Alex Otti in 2014 and has been extraordinary in managing the fortune of the new generation bank. With banking career of over two decades cutting across Credit and Marketing, Planning and Financial Control and Business Process Re-engineering, Mr. President will find his clout and youthfulness worthy.

Fola Adeola

Tajudeen Afolabi Adeola was the Pioneer Managing Director and Chief Executive of Guaranty Trust Bank, the banking role he manage diligently for 12 years. He was a Vice Presidential candidate alongside Mallam Nuhu Ribadu (Presidential candidate) and once served as Chairman of the National Pension Commission. He is the founder and chairman of the FATE Foundation.

Olusola David-Borha
Sola is the Chief Executive Officer of StanbicIBTC Bank.  She holds a (Econs) and MBA.  With more than a decade of banking experience and an enviable background in Corporate Finance,  Project and Structure Financing,  she will serve Mr. President well in his quest to improve infrastructure funding in the country.

Segun Agbaje

Mr. Agbaje is the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, with over 19 years investment and international banking experience. Prior to joining Guaranty Trust Bank plc, he worked with Ernst & Young, San Francisco, USA.  He is young and brilliant with the international background to drive investment

Pascal Dozie

Mr. Pascal G. Dozie is the Co-Founder, Partner, and Non-Executive Partner at African Capital Alliance. He is the Founder of Kunoch Limited. He was the Founder of Diamond Bank PLC. Mr. Dozie served as the Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Bank Plc and also as Chairman of MTN Nigeria.

NB: this last name is necessary should Mr. President finds the younger Bankers to be hyperactive and need an old war horse in his generation.

Sulaimon Mojeed-Sanni lives in Abuja and write via
Tweets from @OmoMojeed

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Why Many Northern Nigerians Use The Names Of Their Hometowns As Surnames By Rotimi Fabiyi

Alhaji Aminu Kano was a popular politician in Nigeria’s First Republic and was even more popular and colourful during Nigeria’s Second Republic (1979 to 1983). One of the many things that were interesting about late Aminu Kano was that his surname “Kano” was the same as the name of his hometown “Kano” in Kano State, Nigeria.

This practice of using the name of one’s hometown as one’s surname is very common among northern Nigerians either prominent or less than prominent. The practice, as interesting as it is, should not be confused with the way Americans name and rename some of their towns and cities after the surnames of prominent American individuals (e.g. United State’s national capital Washington DC was actually known as Columbia before it was renamed after the country’s first president George Washington), or with the way 7,641 islands on the Pacific Ocean were grouped together (by the islands’ Spanish colonial masters) and named Philippines after the Spanish King Philip II , or with the way China was named after Chin Shi Huang who became the emperor of the country 2,237 years ago in 221 BC. In essence, the names of the towns and cities in northern Nigeria are not derived from the surnames of individual northern Nigerians; it is the surnames of some northern Nigerians that are derived from their individual hometowns.

In the light of this, myself Rotimi Fabiyi have elected to list 50 prominent northern Nigerians whose surnames were derived from the names of their hometowns, though it should be noted that not all northern Nigerians use the names of their hometowns as their surnames

  1. Alhaji Aminu Kano, the socialist politician who was once the chief whip of Nigeria’s House of Representative, who was once Nigeria’s minister of health, and who was once a presidential candidate during Nigeria’s second republic, was a native of Kano, Kano state, Nigeria.
  2. Bashir Tofa , the industrialist-businessman–oil trader who was once the national finance secretary of the now–defunct National Party of Nigeria, NPN and who was the presidential flagbearer of the now defunct National Republican Convention , (NRC), is a native of a town named Tofa in Kano State, Nigeria
  3. Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai , the trained teacher that later joined the Nigerian Army and is presently Nigeria’s Chief of Army staff , is a native of Buratai town in Biu Local Government, Borno State, Nigeria.
  4. Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the United Kingdom-trained schoolteacher that later became Nigeria’s Prime Minister, was a native of a town named Tafawa Balewa in Bauchi State, Nigeria.
  5. Major General Mamman Kotangora (rtd), who was one of the first candidates to be admitted into the Nigerian Defense Academy when it opened in 1964 and who was once the military administrator of Abuja FCT, is a native of Kotangora, Niger State, Nigeria.
  6. Major General Hassan Usman Katsina (rtd), the one–time Governor of Northern Nigeria and also Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff from 1968 to 1971, was a native of Katsina, in Katsina state, Nigeria.
  7. Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who was Nigeria’s finance minister from 1971 to 1975 and also Nigeria’s executive president from 1979 to 1983, is a native of Shagari town, Sokoto State, Nigeria.
  8. Alhaji Ali Yerima Bularafa, the commissioner for information in Yobe state, is a native of Bularafa, a town in Gulani Local Government Area of Yobe State, Nigeria.
  9. Barrister Ahmed Goneri, one–time commissioner for justice and attorney general of Yobe State, is a native of Goneri, a town in Gujba Local Government Area, Yobe State, Nigeria.
  10. Alhaji Mai Mala Buni, the national secretary of the All Progressives Congress political party, is a native of Buni Yadi town in Yobe State, Nigeria.
  11. Alhaji Aliyu Makama Bida, the first minister for education in Northern Nigeria, was a native of Bida, Niger State, Nigeria.
  12. Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, the United Kingdom-trained executive governor of Kano State from 1979 to 1983 and also a PDP presidential contender in 1999, was a native of Rimi town, Sumaila Local Government Area, Kano State, Nigeria.
  13. Sokoto State Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who was the speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015, is a native of Tambuwal town in Sokoto State, Nigeria.
  14. Alhaji Aliyu Sabo Bakin Zuwo, who was a senator from 1979 to 1983 and also Kano State Governor from October to December 1983, was a native of Zuwo town, Kano state, Nigeria.
  15. Former Kaduna State Governor Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, who is presently a senator, is a native of Makarfi town in Kaduna State, Nigeria.
  16. Alhaji Usman Baba Pategi, the northern Nigerian stage and film actor, is a native of Pategi, Kwara State, Nigeria.
  17. Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, who was the speaker of Nigerian House of Representatives from 2003 to 2007, is a native of Masari town in Katsina State, Nigeria.
  18. Brigadier Zakariya Maimalari, the well-respected senior Nigerian Army officer who was cold–bloodedly murdered by tribalist coup plotters in 1966, was a native of Maimalari town, Yobe State, Nigeria.
  19. Mai Kachalla Gujba, an executive director of First Bank of Nigeria, is a native of Gujba town in Yobe State, Nigeria.
  20. General Garba Wushishi (rtd), who was the minister for information during Shagari Adminstration, is a native of Wushishi town, Niger state, Nigeria.
  21. Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau, a former Nigerian minister for agriculture and later a minister for industries in Nigerian Second Republic, was a native of Gusau town in Sokoto State (not to be confused with the Gusau that is the capital of Zamfara State).
  22. Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a former governor of Kano State, is a native of Kwankwaso town in Kano State, Nigeria.
  23. Taraba State Governor Danbaba Suntai, a pharmacist who was once Taraba State commissioner for education, is a native of a town known as Suntai in Taraba State, Nigeria.
  24. Alhaji Muhamadu Ribadu, who was minister for mines, minister for lands, minister for Lagos, and minister for defence during Balewa Administration, was a native of a town known as Ribadu in Adamawa State, Nigeria.
  25. Alhaji Abdulrahman Okene, who was a prominent politician during Abacha military junta, was a native of Okene town in Kogi State, Nigeria.
  26. Alhaji Abba Musa Rimi, deputy governor of Kaduna State from1979 to 1981 and governor of Kaduna State from 1981 to 1983, is a native of a town named Ungwan Rimi in Kaduna State, Nigeria.
  27. Incumbent Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who had his doctorate degree from University of Ibadan, is native of Ganduje town in Kano State, Nigeria.
  28. Senator Bala Tafida Yauri, a prominent northern Nigerian senator, is a native of Yauri, Kebbi State, Nigeria.
  29. Alhaji Mamuda Aliyu Shinkafi, the former governor of Zamfara State, is a native of Shinkafi town, Zamfara State, Nigeria.
  30. United Kingdom-trained Dr. Ahmad Galadima, who once won the Bank of Scotland Prize for writing the best MSc dissertation in United Kingdom in 2008, is a native of Galadima town in Zamfara State, Nigeria.
  31. Alhaji Abubuakr Saleh Michika , the first civilian governor of Adamawa State who is reputed to have 96 grandchildren, is a native of Michika town, Adamawa Satte, Nigeria.
  32. Alhaji Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, who was Sokoto State governor from 1999 to 2007, is a native of Bafarawa town, Sokoto State, Nigeria.
  33. Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, the University of Pittsburgh, USA graduate who was Sokoto State Governor from 2009 to 2015, is a native of Wamakko, a town in Sokoto State, Nigeria.
  34. Alhaji Sanni Umar Ganduje, a northern Nigerian traditional ruler that was recently dethroned, is a native of Ganduje town, Kano State, Nigeria.
  35. Lieutenant Colonel Abubakar Sadiq Zakari Maimalari (rtd), a former military administrator of Jigawa State, is a native of Maimalari town, Yobe State, Nigeria.
  36. Alhaji Inuwa Wada , the former Nigerian minister for works and survey and later a minister for defence, was a native of Tudun Wada, Kano State, Nigeria.
  37. Major General Muhammed Shuwa (rtd), who was the general officer commanding 1st Division of Nigerian Army from 1967 to 1969 and who was Nigeria’s minister for trade from 1975 to 1979, is a native of Shuwa town, Borno State, Nigeria.
  38. Shettima Ali Monguno, who graduated from University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom and who was the president of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries , OPEC from 1972 to 1973, is a native of Monguno town, Borno State, Nigeria.
  39. Nuhu Ribadu , pioneer chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, is a native of Ribadu town , Adamawa State, Nigeria.
  40. Alhaji Salihu Sagir Takai, a former contender for Kaduna State Governorship seat, is a native of Takai town in Kaduna State, Nigeria.
  41. Lieutenant General Inuwa Wushishi (rtd) , the Nigerian Chief of Army Staff from 1981 to 1983, is a native of Wushishi town, Niger State, Nigeria.
  42. Colonel Dala Aji Goniri, former commander of Nigerian Army 241 Recce Batallion, is a native of Goniri town, Yobe State, Nigeria.
  43. Tahir Mohammed Monguno, an incumbent member of the Nigerian Federal House of Representatives , is a native of Monguno town, Monguno Local Government Area, Borno State, Nigeria.
  44. Nigerian Federal House of Representatives member Aliyu Bahago Ahman Pategi is a native of Pategi town, Kwara State, Nigeria.
  45. Babayo Garba Gamawa, former speaker Bauchi House of Assembly and also a former Deputy Governor and senator, is a native of Gamawa town, Bauchi State, Nigeria.
  46. Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), the Nigeria’s incumbent national security adviser who holds master degree in International Relations, is a native of Monguno town, Borno State, Nigeria.
  47. Alhaji Usman Dakingari, the incumbent governor of Kebbi State, is a native of Dakingari town, Suru Local Government Area, Kebbi State, Nigeria.
  48. Alhaji Adamu Aliero, a former governor of Kebbi State, is a native of a town known as Aliero in Kebbi State, Nigeria.
  49. Former Jigawa State Governor Ali Sa’ad Birnin-Kudu, who is a veteran lawyer, is a native of Birnin-Kudu town, Jigawa State, Nigeria.
  50. Alhaji Audu Sule Katagum, the chief of staff to Bauchi State Governor Mohammed Abubakar, is a native of Katagum town, Bauchi State, Nigeria.

The list is actually endless like a recurring decimal but it should be noted (as earlier stated) that not all northern Nigerians use the names of their hometowns as their surnames and also noted should it be that the practice of using the name of one’s hometown as one’s surname is not limited to northern Nigerians (former Nigerian Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Kenneth Minimah (rtd), is a native of Minimah town in Opobo Nkoro Local Government Area, Rivers State, Nigeria, a town in the southern part of the country while the former United States National Security Advisor Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski is a native of a town known as Brzezany in the then Poland but now located in Ukraine).

Nothing needs to be further said about why many northern Nigerians use the names of their hometowns as surnames

Engr Rotimi Fabiyi , 08184741410 ,

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Northern Nigeria Development Company To Establish Bank, Commends Governor Ganduje

Northern Nigeria Development Company, NNDC, is set to establish a strong and viable bank, the chairman of its board, Alh. Bashir Dalhatu has announced.

The chairman, who disclosed this during a visit to the governor of Kano state, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje in Kano, on Wednesday, explained that the Northern governors have already given approval to the company to lead a move to actualize the plan.

He said the company has already approached several Northern business people on the matter with a view to establishing what he described as “a very viable and strong Northern bank”, since the nine banks hitherto owned by the some Northern states are no more.

The chairman stated that the company is also vigorously pursuing the search for oil and gas in the Lake Chad Basin and the Niger-Benue trough, pointing out that a British company has already being engaged to assist the NNDC towards realization of the ambition to exploit the oil and gas potential especially in the Lake Chad region.

Alh. Bashir also announced plans to establish an Agricultural Commodity Board, to guarantee market, quality and more farm produce in states in the region as well as the establishment of a multi faceted Agricultural Industrial park that will assist in fast tracking economic productivity.

The chairman who restated commitment of the NNDC to establish a strong foundation for Northern Nigeria to be self sufficient in food production, financial services and other sectors thanked the government of Kano state, under Dr. Ganduje for its unrelenting support, being the largest share holder in the company.

In his remarks, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje lamented that the region, which used to be the nucleus of economic activities in the country has declined significantly due to dependence on oil.

He said governors of the Northern states have resolved to step u collective political will to put the region ahead of others in terms of socio-economic growth.

Governor Ganduje stated that governors from the region are also determined to improve agriculture, consistent with the Federal government’s resolve to transform the sector.

He, therefore, described the Commodity Marketing agency floated by the NNDC as a step in the right direction, pointing out Kano state is already taking the lead to revamp the production of rice and wheat.


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Northern Elders Declare Support Subsidy Removal

The Northern Elders Council has expressed support for the partial removal of fuel subsidy.

According to the group, the long term benefits of the decision outweigh the short term pains associated with it.

Chairman of the council, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai said this in a telephone interview with our Correspondent, in Abuja, on Thursday.

He explained that he has personally been a strong supporter of withdrawal of fuel subsidy for the last twenty years.

The elder statesman explained that this position was informed by the fact that ordinary Nigerians have not benefitted from the subsidy regime because the actual beneficiaries have been marketers and their collaborators in successive governments.

Yakassai said, “Marketers and smugglers have been the main beneficiaries of the policy.

“Besides, as long as the petroleum products price would be cheaper in Nigeria than in our immediate neibouring countries, nobody can stop smuggling of the products from our country to our neighbours.

“If the government removes the subsidy, the money that would be saved as a result can be put to better use in dealing with more pressing problems bedeviling our nation such as problems of endemic unemployment, dilapidated infrastructure, modernisation of agriculture, addressing the need for robust education and healthcare delivery.”

The former Presidential Laison Officer further explained that above all, Nigeria will save a lot of resources lost to corrupt individuals and corporations who have together conspired to deny Nigerians the better life they deserve.


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Nigeria ’ll Boil If Jonathan Is Arrested, Northern CAN Warns Buhari

HE Northern branch of Christians Association of Nigeria, CAN, yesterday advised President Muhammadu Buhari against purported moves to arrest former President Goodluck Jonathan, saying Nigeria would boil should the man regarded as the “hero of democracy” be arrested by the government.

The body urged President Buhari to focus on arresting the menace of marauding and murderous herdsmen, erratic power supply and an economy that was getting weaker since his assumption of office.

CAN, in a statement in Kaduna by its Public Relation Officer, PRO, Rev. John Joseph Hayab, one-time Adviser on Religious Affairs (Christians) to both late Governor Ibrahim Yakowa and former Governor Ramalan Yero of Kaduna State said: “Every honest Nigeria knows that the feelers on the ground are that this administration’s popularity is dwindling rapidly among the Nigerian people. It is therefore not advisable to think or plan to arrest former president Goodluck Jonathan. Let me warn that such a misadventure will set a wrong precedent and only open door for mischievous people to set this nation into confusion. What Nigerians need urgently is availability of fuel, electricity, prompt salary, security of lives and properties etc.

“If the purported plan to arrest Jonathan is to please the international community and prove to them that we are fighting corruption, then let us know that these same international community are busy celebrating him as hero of democracy and even those who seriously wanted him to go for a change to happen are now singing a new song about him. Former President Jonathan is deservedly seen in Nigeria and beyond as a hero of democracy because of his actions before, during and after the 2015 elections. As such, it will be curious for the Buhari administration to initiate the arrest of such a statesman.

”Government must know that there are individuals serving today that have also been accused of corruption, but since there are claims that nothing has been established against them, they are walking and speaking like saints. While ignoring all these people, government now wants to arrest a man of peace like Jonathan?

According to the statement: “CAN Northern states wishes to advice that such an action, if actualized, has the capacity to lead to serious confusion that will affect Nigeria economically and otherwise. We are afraid that such an action may spark chain reaction.

“If our President wants to arrest anything for now then he should arrest the incessant spate of herdsmen attacks in Nigeria which has led to the deaths of almost a thousand innocent Nigerians under his watch. He should arrest the dangerous slide in the power sector; he should arrest the slide in the economy. We believe at this time and with the current realities our former president must not be denigrated but honoured, because honour must be given to whom it is due.”

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The State Of Education In Northern Nigeria, By Hafsah Muhammad Lalo

I was scrolling down my timeline on twitter when I came across a group of guys arguing over something that caught my attention; that universities in northern Nigeria accept 140 as cut-off marks. I stopped by and told them that it is a lie and anyone who says so should come forward with the name of such universities. I was annoyed but later asked myself; why all the accusations? A voice inside me told me that it might be true, for the north lags behind in education. I realized that I could not deny this because this is more than a fact now—it is a truth. It is a common knowledge that the north is lagging behind academically, but it is also a lie that northern universities accept 140 as cut-off marks, I believe.

Coincidentally, a friend of mine sent me the analysis of 2014 WAEC results through whatsApp and that is what prompted writing this piece. Looking at the current state of things and the available data on the ground, you can’t help but say the future is at stake if we don’t wake up from our slumber and pull our weight.

The overall performance across the country was poor but that of the north, especially the far north, was pathetic. The state with the highest performance was Kaduna with 36.38% which was apparently, unimpressive too. Eight out of the country’s thirty seven states (including the FCT) recorded a less than 10% score. All these states are from the north. They include: Adamawa, Yobe, Bauchi, Sokoto, Gombe, Jigawa, Zamfara and Kebbi states. Although there was a slight improvement of performance in 2015, it was also not worth celebrating.

Our educational problem is not from our children, the youth, lack the brains or the enthusiasm. The lion share of this blame will always go to our leaders. They have destroyed our educational sector; diverted the money meant for education into their personal pockets and sent their children to study abroad, while they use the masses as political and religious thugs for their campaigns and so on.

However, from what we have read and heard about our past Arewa leaders, the like of Sir Ahmadu Bello Sardauna, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, among others; may Allah rest their souls, amin. Those erstwhile gentlemen contributed immensely towards the development of education in the region. They did everything within their powers to ensure that the then Arewa youth have gotten a qualitative education. Unfortunately, our present leaders have failed to emulate them, far worse, they have failed them.

Nevertheless, they say, it is better late than never. So if our present leaders will do anything to alleviate this issue that has been bedeviling our region for a very long time now, they should institute a scholarship board for sponsoring the Northern youths and children that are less privileged. They should employ passionate teachers, as a large number of the ones we have today are only there because they could not find employment of their choices, which is also another problem. The government should make teachers welfare a priority by, among other things, paying them decent salaries and on time. The government should also improve the standard of our primary and secondary schools by providing good learning materials, well equipped laboratories and libraries for effective learning. The value of teaching as a job should be rejuvenated in our societies.

Our private entrepreneurs, on the other hand, should invest in primary and secondary schools, combined with Madarasa and make them affordable for the masses. This will allow them improve the northerners educationally on both sides because the focus on western education is another issue, but I will save that story for another day.

In conclusion, I am not pessimistic at all about our current sorry state. I have high hopes and dreams that we could achieve metamorphosis from our present situation. Because we have every desirable potential; we have the brains which no psychologist can underrate; we have the fashion and passion for education. What we lack is the motivation of our leaders. Arewa can be rescued and repositioned. It’s never too late!

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And President Buhari’s Northern Party Continues By Umar Hassan

A lot of my brothers down here in the North who read my article criticizing President Buhari’s pre-ministerial appointments-, felt I was being too harsh on him and that it didn’t matter who was appointed, what mattered was their competence. Getting them to realize I wasn’t criticizing his performance but only his appointments was not easy. There was not a single ibo man among the 29 made then and every time i defended my position, I couldn’t help deeming those appointments PMB’s sad contribution to a world where it was becoming increasingly difficult to stay objective.You had to be all on one side or not.

It didn’t augur well for this nation that a man was publicly fulfilling his promise to place the interests of those who voted for him en masse above those who didn’t. If you count appointments where he has the right to exercise total discretion; ones that would eventually constitute the yardstick for judging whether or not he was unbiased or detribalized, nothing has really changed.

ln the space of a few days, we have been notified of two appointments by President Buhari-the appointment of Maryam Uwais as Special Adviser on Social Protection plan which a source in the Presidency claimed was made weeks ago and that of Lt. Col Muhammad Abdullah (rtd) as NDLEA boss in a statement released on January 18th 2016. Both of them are northerners. Take out the ministerial appointments where every state has to produce one as stipulated by our constitution and you would understand my source of worry. The most notable appointment after the ministers was that of Ibrahim Magu from Borno state as EFCC boss and if you add that to the latest appointments, you would agree with me that the northern party seems destined to last till mama calls. Nothing seems to suggest otherwise.

It was really sad watching the President try to rationalize the sidelining of ibos in his appointments during his maiden Presidential chat.The President obviously aware he was being questioned about non-ministerial appointments, pointed to Ibe Kachikwu’s as boss of EFCC and Junior minister of petroleum. The President asked if Delta (a state in the South-South region where Kachikwu hails from) wasn’t part of the South-East and after he was corrected, proceeded to talk about restrictions placed on him by the constitution.

The only restriction placed on him by the constitution as regards appointments is the ‘Federal Character’ requirement which is so blatantly being flouted. The ibos are actually being sidelined if one can’t point to a single non-ministerial appointment out of a possible 31. My biggest fear is that this could set a bad precedent for subsequent administrations. Never has a government since the return of democratic rule to Nigeria, so shamelessly favour a particular set of people over others.

The President needed more deliverance sessions to cast out his autocratic demons before labeling himself a born-again democrat. What we have now is a government by northerners where equity can only be guaranteed when there is no escaping from it. The implications of the President’s appointments are far-reaching. They add a tinge of legitimacy to the illegitimate call for a Biafra Republic by Kanu and his cohorts – the ibos are being told they have to play second-class citizens because they didn’t vote this government. Tompolo and his gang of militants can blow our oil pipelines and installations at will and tell us it is not in protest of the government’s resolve to prosecute him, it is because the government has proclaimed its preference for those who voted for it over those who didn’t. Any of such persons can quote all quotable on the dangers of staying silent in times like these in defence of their criminal acts. There is little or nothing anyone  can do to defend the President’s pro-northern appointments. The South-West who turned up for him in numbers don’t even boast as many non-ministerial appointments as the South-South. So by and large, a northern party is what it actually is. But I have said this before and I will say it again-Nigeria belongs to everybody, it belongs to nobody.

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



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Start Your Anti-Graft War With The Trial Of Fleeing Ex-EFCC Boss Ibrahim Lamorde, Northern Youths Urge Buhari

Northern Youths under the auspices of Northern Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) on Monday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to start his anti-corruption war with the arrest and trial of former Chairman of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC ), Ibrahim Lamorde for misappropriating recovered loot worth over N1trillion.

Lamorde has since last year fled abroad following a probe into his mismanagement and diversion of over N1trillion recovered from corrupt persons. He has failed to honour several invitations by the Senate and House of Reps panels investigating allegations of corruption against him, insisting that he is innocent of the accusations.

The youths condemned the invasion of residence of a former Comptroller-General of Customs, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko, by EFCC operatives of, describing it as undemocratic, barbaric and worst form of prosecution. NYCN alleged that the EFCC also failed to obtain search warrant before barging into Dikko’s residence and scattered his family and personal belongings.

The group said it was in support of the war against corruption, saying it should have started with former EFCC boss, Ibrahim Lamorde, who allegedly failed to account for a whopping N1trillion recovered loot to proof to the world that charity begins at home.

Addressing newsmen on Monday in Kaduna, National President of NYCN, Comrade Isah Abubakar, said EFCC should accept blame for its inability to get Dikko at home, adding that the commission’s ways of tracking suspects are full of disappointments.

He said, “In 2009, Alhaji Dikko set benchmark in capacity building especially in terms of service delivery, breaking new grounds in areas of re-orientation, training and retraining of customs officers.

“The NYCN is once more constrained to bring to the notice of Nigerians the opportunistic antics devised by EFCC in their quest to remain relevant by abusing people’s right, while applying tactics that had since become obsolete and uncivilized.”

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Breaking The Silence: Letter to Northern Nigeria Intellectuals By Adamu Tilde

Dear Intellectuals,

Save yourselves the burden of what and who an intellectual is- this is not an academic exercise, you are an intellectual inasmuch you have a fringe of interest in the goodness of Northern Nigeria. This letter is long overdue.

In case it sounds harsh to your hearing and bitter to your taste or perhaps timeworn to your hefty and hectic brains, let it be known at the outset, I am full of rage writing this letter. I am very angry, with all of us. I have to tell us this without mincing words- we should all cover our faces in shame. We have failed our society, woefully! We fail to live the expectations of our society.

Our ancestors must be very angry with the way we betray their trust. All hope is not lost, anyway. We can still turn things around if, and only if, we take a holistic invoice of our stocks; what do we have and what is in short supply? Where are we heading to and how can we reach there? Are we on the right direction? If yes, how can we sustain the momentum? If no, are we to have 180-degree turn-around i.e System Overhaul, or we can sustain the momentum but change direction or continue on the direction but adjust the momentum? As an intellectual, your call is not that of political thug that wallow in the pond of his ignorance.

Yours is not that of a monk that seeks solace in the solitude of his shrine. Yours is not that of a bigoted citizen who expresses his unenvious sophistry in exonerating his faults by heaping the blames on non-existing and better-imagined enemy. You are neither known to be intimidated by a mere barrage of insults, nor to be succumbed to a superficial cum pedestrian scholarship. You weigh things, happenings and occurrences on their own merit and deduce your conclusion therefrom.

Your task, as observed by one of our finest thinkers, Sarki Muhammadu Sanusi II, “…is not one of blending into the opaque consciousness of the tumultuous mob around you, your voice drowned in a cacophony of misdirected protests. Your task is to remind us of who we are and what we ought to be. Our values are not to be taken from conduct of our adversaries but from the great heritage of our people”.

If the above is your calling, then, why do you find solace behind your screen? Why should you maintain silence in the face of threats to the general survival of your very community? Why are you at ease, given the existential threats of ignorance, poverty, intolerance, religious rivalry that are staring (or to be more appropriate, occupying) at [the] society? What have you done? Agreed that you are bound by limitations but could there be a stopping stage in salvaging the plight of one’s society? That one should even entertain the thought of bowing-out? I acknowledge the small that you have done and are still doing, but is that enough?

Yes, many of us are shielded from the ravaging and dispossessing poverty that befalls our communities. Yes, many of us are insured against the dehumanizing ignorance. Yes, many of us are very tolerant to diverse views, beliefs, traditions and philosophies. Yes, many of us will never succumb to the thoughtless ideologies that give birth to ragamuffins who will kill in the name of religion, political leaning, ethnicity or regional loyalty.

Dear Intellectuals, we have to acknowledge the role your parents played in making you who you are today. But, come to think of it, what will be your prediction if the circumstances of your birth are removed from your make-up as you are today? I am not making excuses for the failure of the failed citizens. But many of them are accidental victims. They could have been like you if opportunities have been provided for them to exercise their potentials.

And this is the crux of my letter to you. You can avenge their plight. You got all it takes. Sit down. Think. Articulate. Come up with something tangible. We shouldn’t subject them to further hardship beyond this one. They already suffer more than enough. To be ignorant, poor and tools at the hand of religious ideologues, political gladiators and ethnic jingoists is the greatest of all dehumanization.

I choose this space to communicate my message to you because it is a platform that you can use to salvage the fate of many. You are blessed with the knowledge of languages, the writing skill: an instrument for ethical illumination, political consciencisation and social mobilisation. Like I said before, it is not that you have not done anything, no. You have done a lot and we applaud you for that. But is that enough? Can you relent? Absolutely no!

Why shall we relent when the sentiment-driven politicians are hell-bent on exploiting the poverty of the hunger-stricken masses? Why shall we relent when the god-forsaken-ethnic-jingoists are all-out to absolve their failures by beating the drum of war? Why shall we relent when crowd-maniac religious ideologues are feasting on the ignorance and gullibility of their religious followers?

If the above are hell-bent, never-tiring and rat-racing in advertising their devilish cause—a cause that erodes all sense of communal living, antithesis to development and freedom—why shall we, dear intellectuals, be secluded from the marketplace of ideas and go into self-imposed hibernation in our comfort zones because of our assumed safety? My dear, you are not safe. We are all not safe. We are as vulnerable as the vulnerables. Ask Indimi if his riches could buy him access to his mansion in Maiduguri GRA.

We have committed most of our free time exhibiting genius and making trouble by banging on the doors of literary rhetoric, political correctness and isolationist mentality. But at best, we might have been blowing a mute trumpet. Of course, at another level, we could ask why, beyond the entertainment and artistic value of our writings, engagements, sophistry exhibition, what is the value of our intellection? Who exactly are we intellectualizing for and for what purpose? Why have our writings/engagements not effected any significant change in our societies? What is the scope of our narratives? We blame our politicians but in reality are they not doing much better than us? Are there no lessons we can learn from the distances they cover to sell their messages? How is it that members of political parties crisscross the country in a way and manner that intellectuals do not?

Your being an intellectual is not for nothing. It is a burden. We owe the society a great deal. You are to challenge the propositions of religious ideologues, counter the narratives of ethnic jingoists and of course render the sweet-melodies of politicians to what it is, LIES.

I leave you with these lines:

Mu de hakkinmu mufada muku ko ku karba ko kuyi dariya
Dariyarku ta zamkuka gaba da nadaman kin gaskiya.


Your disciple
20. 12. 2015.

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Army/Shi’ite Clash: Northern Govs Ban Unauthorized Procession in 19 States

Governors of 19 states under the auspices of Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) have placed a ban on all unauthorized procession.

They said the procession could hold but it has to do be done with the approval of relevant authorities and it must not violate the fundamental rights of other Nigerians.

The NSGF reached this decision after a closed door meeting in Kaduna on Saturday.

In a communiqué read at the end of the meeting by the Borno State Governor and chairman of the forum, Kashim Shettima, the NSGF resolved to support Kaduna state in its bid to review and resolve the army/Shi’ite clash.

Last weekend, the army has a clash with members of the Shi’ite Islmaic Sect which led to the death of not less than ten members of the sect while leaving over 100 injured.

The forum in its resolutions “reaffirmed that all Nigerians should respect the law and constituted authority; and that every organisation, religious or social should operate within the confines of the law.

“Henceforth, procession must necessarily be with police permit and protection as prescribed by law.”

The forum appealed to all Nigerians to fight “our common tragedy of poverty, destitution and illiteracy.”

While speaking with journalists before the meeting, Shettima said “We are very confident in the governor of Kaduna state, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, his competence and character have never come under any doubt.

“Soon after the Zaria crisis, the governor was at the scene and he spoke with the leader of the Islamic Movement and met the Chief of Army Staff. He addressed the people of Kaduna state on Thursday, December 17, 2015 and the government took some firm far reaching measures it considers necessary.

“Malam el-Rufai is the man on ground, he knows the subject matter more than us and he knows the steps he deems most suitable after his extensive consultations. So, we are not here to do his job.

“We are not in any way comparing the Islamic Movement with Boko Haram, no. But we don’t want the same mistake that happened over the Boko Haram crisis to repeat itself. When Boko Haram went wild in July 2009 with clashes between them and the police in Bauchi on 25th and 26th in Maiduguri, most Nigerians saw the issues as the problems of Bauchi and Borno.

“When they continued to attack Borno and Yobe, it became the affairs of Borno and Yobe States. All of a sudden, there was suicide attack in Abuja in 2012 and then everything went out of control and we are where we are today.

“So, like I said, we do not make any comparison between the murderously violent Boko Haram insurgents and the Islamic Movement but we are here to analyse and ensure that we take measures that will close any avenue which some people may want to seize to create violence in the immediate or long run. Moreover, Kaduna is the socio-political heart of the northern Nigeria. Kaduna is to us, what Lagos is to the South West. What affects Kaduna State invariably affects the whole north.

“If you notice, we make it a duty to travel to Kaduna to hold our meeting instead of holding it in Abuja. Kaduna is the headquarters of the northern Nigeria but it will have that significance if we accord it the relevance it deserves. We have a duty to preserve history and our values by coming here.

“While here, we will be briefed on the Zaria incident and we will compare thoughts analytically and extensively. We will also be looking any other matter that affects the well-being of the north and we shall brief the media on issues that we don’t consider too security sensitive to make public.”
En savoir plus sur

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Northern Muslim Elite Laid Foundation For B’ Haram – Bishop Kukah

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, says terrorism in Nigeria indirectly created by northern leaders, who used religion to deceive poor Muslims.

Kukah said this in his keynote address at a conference organised by the Islamic Welfare Foundation at the Fountain University, Osogbo.

At the event titled, ‘The Muslim agenda for Nigeria: Challenges of development and good governance’, the cleric said the fresh agitation for an Islamic state by Boko Haram could be traced to the promise made by northern leaders to ensure the total implementation of Sharia law.

He said, “A hypocritical elite continues to believe that it can claim the benefits of democracy but use it only to consolidate its hold on power. This is what has laid the foundation for what is now Boko Haram.

“We must locate the current crisis of Boko Haram within the context of the inability of the northern Muslim elite to live by their own dubious creed of being Muslims. They preached Sharia Law but only for the poor. They preach a religion that encourages education, yet their own people are held in the bondage of ignorance.

“They came to power on the basis of a democratic society but they turned around and declared Sharia to generate a false consciousness among the poor that they want a theocracy.

“They did not wish to live by the same standards, so they decided to live their own Islam in the capitals of the world away from the prying eyes of their own people. Boko Haram began as a revolt against this mendacity, subterfuge and hypocrisy.”

Kukah said northern leaders failed to explain to the poor masses that Sharia law and democracy could not co-exist.

The cleric stated that the normal argument that Boko Haram was not a Muslim group was nonsensical because Boko Haram’s aim was the total implementation of Sharia law, which Muslim leaders had promised them in the past.

Kukah added, “Now, I hear Muslims in northern Nigeria hiding under the cover of the facts by saying: ‘These Boko Haram people are not Muslims. They do not represent us’. Well, first, they are your own children. You must take responsibility for what has made them what they are today and to the rest of society.

“They claim they have been inspired by the Quran and no other holy book. They say they want to build an Islamic state. So, they are Muslims. After all, from the debates of the Constituent Assemblies of 1979, 1988, and 1995 and beyond, did their fathers and grandfathers not stage walkouts, demanding Sharia Law? Was it not to tame them that President Ibrahim Babangida declared what he called ‘no-go areas’ in the debates about our constitution?”

The cleric noted that the kidnapping of the Chibok girls and the use of girls as sex slaves in the North were in line with the ideology that a girl, who is still an adolescent, could be married off to an older man.

He said, “The promise to institute Sharia has become the most potent tool for political mobilisation and organisation. Till date, the tactics may have changed, but the essence has not. Rather than face the tough questions of how and why over 15 million children in the northern states are on the streets; how and why the northern states are falling behind on almost every index of development, the northern Muslim elite continues to live for just the moment, with no plans for tomorrow.

“Should we pretend that a society that allows the forced marriages of its young daughters could frown on the idea of a group kidnapping and forcing young girls into sexual slavery? Islam must have an honest look at the mirror and have an internal discussion.”

The Catholic bishop urged northern leaders to stop pretending as if they did not know the root cause of Boko Haram.

He said they should ask themselves why Boko Haram was headquartered in the North and not in other zones of the country.

Kukah added, “Although we all seem to pretend that Boko Haram has caught us unawares, the worst thing is that we continue to hide our heads in the sands of self-deception by further denying the roots of this ugly side of our humanity.

“That Boko Haram, its disciples and victims are localised to northern Nigeria, should be instructive. What this calls for is an honest review of the root causes. We need to ask what it is about the past or the present that has led us to this ugly and deadly path.

“It is my considered view that northern Islam has to confront the realities of taking its religion into the modern world of democracy seriously. Muslims in northern Nigeria cannot accept democracy and reject the inclusive nature of its philosophy as it is the case today.”

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