Promise of N40bn, 5 Private Jets For 2019: Real Reason PDP Govs Dumped Sheriff – Party Chieftain

Fresh facts emerged yesterday on why the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors had to dump Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff as National Chairman at the May 21 convention ground in Port Harcourt.

A high ranking chieftain who gave an insight into why the governors fell out with Sheriff, revealed that the governors had settled for Sheriff as chairman based on promises he made to finance the party’s 2019 presidential campaign with N40 billion.

He was also said to have promised the governors that he would deploy five private jets for the party’s electioneering campaign in 2019.

The PDP chieftain, who is a key stakeholder in the North East zone, however said the governors started to suspect Sheriff’s motives a few days to the May 21 convention.

The party chief, who spoke with our correspondent yesterday on condition of anonymity, said the governors later found that Sheriff had sold them a dummy.

Said the source: “Contrary to his promise to fund the party, they discovered that the ex-PDP chair was spending the party’s lean resources on the few party activities he held during his tenure.

“Sheriff also exploited the ambition of some of the party’s sitting governors, particularly the governors in the southern states, to become the party’s vice presidential candidate in 2019.

“The ex-party chairman had approached five of the governors in separate secret meetings with promises of the party’s 2019 vice presidential ticket, with him as presidential candidate.

“The truth is that some of the governors actually fell for it and they were already scheming along with him without knowing there were five of them fighting for the same ticket.”

The source further revealed that it was during a recent interaction at a critical meeting that the governors discovered that Sheriff had indeed promised five of them the party’s vice presidential ticket.

“The governors were alarmed when they found that Sheriff had sold them a dummy. It dawned on them that Sheriff had wanted to transmute from chairman to the party’s presidential candidate along the line”.

The party chieftain said it was then that the governors realised that the N40 billion and five campaign jets promised by Sheriff were a bait to become chairman and presidential candidate.

But in a swift reaction, Sheriff said the allegations against him were far fetched and that the governors themselves know the truth.

His Media Adviser, Mr. Inuwa Bwala, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone yesterday, said the governors were only being clever by half.

According to him, virtually all the PDP governors from the south were scheming to become vice presidential candidate in the 2019 election, and it was the scrabble for the ticket that tore them apart.

He refuted the claim that Sheriff did not spend his personal resources on the party, insisting that all the governors, except the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who also has a plane at his disposal, made use of Sheriff’s private jets on one occasion or the other.

Bwala said: “Almost all the governors from the South want to be Vice President in 2019, and that was the source of the conflict. It was this bitter struggle that brought the party to its present situation.

“And if they were expecting to get N40 billion from Sheriff just to make him chairman, then they have lost the moral ground to complain for not getting the money as easily as they had wished. They should wait until Sheriff himself is ready to tell the entire story exactly the way it is.”

Commenting on the lingering crisis, another party source told our correspondent that it was a court case filed against the party with Sheriff as one of the plaintiffs that finally broke the camel’s back.

A few days to the botched Port Harcourt convention, Sheriff and two members of the party’s sacked National Working Committee (NWC) had approached a court in Lagos to halt the convention.

Plaintiffs in the suit were the ex-National Secretary, Prof. Adewale Oladipo; ex National Auditor, Adewole Adeyanju and Sheriff. The suit specifically sought to stop election into the offices of National Secretary, National Auditor and National Chairman.

The plaintiffs had averred that their tenure would not be expiring until 2018 and that their positions were not vacant.

But when the governors and other party stakeholders confronted Sheriff on the suit, he claimed that his name was included as one of the plaintiffs without his consent, a claim that the party chiefs took with a pinch of salt.

“That showed the governors the red light. They discovered at the last minute that they were dealing with a man that was ready to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds at the same time”, the party source said.

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The Promise of Change or Change of Promise? By Adamu Tilde

There is no regret (at least not yet) in ousting President Jonathan from the Aso Villa- the seat of power in Nigeria- in the last year’s election. So, to the unrepentant ‘Jonathanians’, spare us the rhetoric of “we have told you”, “this was what we were afraid of” or any incomprehensible babble you are capable of conjuring to push us to the ditch of sympathy for your Master. Come May 29, Muhammadu Buhari will be one year in office as the substantive, democratically elected and sworn-in president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. One year isn’t one month- enough ground to make use of our binoculars to x-ray the journey so far.

Unlike the sojourn of Nasir el-Rufai into public service which was accidental [?], President Muhammad Buhari came to govern Nigeria (for the second time as a civilian) willingly, and passionate about ‘emancipating’ Nigeria from the shackles of corruption that strangulate and hinder its breathing. The impression was (not any longer after breeching with the reality), President Muhammadu Buhari has a full grasp of the problem at hand, by extrapolation, he is in possession of the tools to put Nigeria on its road to becoming the next Singapore of the 21st century.

Ordinarily, one will expect the president to, as the popular cliché goes, hit the grounding running given his three attempts and twelve-years preparation to govern Nigeria. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Instead, he hit the ground ‘cat-walking’ by taking solid five months to assemble the team that will help him run the affairs of the country. This isn’t bad in itself if it was purposely delayed to study the trajectories of events and how to tackle them.

Last year’s election was unambiguously believed to be the most polarizing moment in Nigeria’s sojourn in a democratic dispensation. Nigeria was literally on the brink of disintegration. Nonetheless, the country’s unity triumphed over the lack of it. Nigeria has perfected the act of dancing on the brink without falling. So goes the argument of former ambassador of the United States to Nigeria, John Campbell.

A strategist general, after inheriting divisive platoons- each with its peculiar understanding of why the command is not functioning- should, first of all, develop a mechanism of unifying the warring units and understand the various contending social forces and their grievances. S/he should make them see the importance of working hand-in-hand to salvage the comatose battalion. S/he won’t be off the grid by reminding them of Benjamin Franklin’s timeless warning:” We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately”. That should be the first call of the newly posted general.

Unfortunately, President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired general, couldn’t make use of this simple strategy. Instead, from the onset, the presidency displayed an unparalleled and unenvious lack of sensitivity to the other warring fronts perception. A deficiency Pius Adesanmi has repeatedly called the attention of the presidency to in his many essays on optics.

In a total disregard for optics- optics as defined by Pius Adesanmi to means perception, how things are seen, how things are nuanced- the President’s appointments so far fall short of addressing, first, his disposition of an unrepentant tribalist (a trait whether true or not which halted his dream of leading Nigeria on three consecutive attempts), and, second, assuaging the feeling of alienation in other parts of the country. Blindness to optics or a crude disregard for it can have serious consequences in the arena of culture and politics as argued by Pius.

Spare me the nauseating excuse of ” it was so-so-and-so in GEJ era” and its other cousins in illogicality. I didn’t vote out mediocre only to be replaced with another sophisticated one (pardon my French, would you?). It’s a great disservice to the personage of the ‘incorruptible’ Buhari to be gauged on the scale of the former president’s [in]actions.

It’s of no surprise, consequent to the utter disregard for optics, that we are witnessing a growing number of group of people (being felt disenchanted, alienated and left out) displaying their grouse by bombing pipelines (as seen with the Niger Delta Avengers); Shia processions and demonstrations (one can only imagine what is in their heart going by their pronouncements); IPOB continued demonstrations in and out of Nigeria.

Calculated indifference to the lives of ordinary Nigerians (as seen in Agatu killings, IDP bombings, unjustifiable killings of [erring?] Shia members and many atrocious activities of ‘Fulani Herdsmen’) is the chapter one of the instruction manual of the Nigerian Presidency. All his predecessors have been guilty of this offense – Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, Jonathan and don’t even mention the military rulers.  President Buhari was supposed to be the one who changes the course but he has apparently decided not to rock the boat.

Lest one is charged with see-no-good in this administration, and to be fair to the current government, credit must be given to the administration in the way it contains the Boko Haram terrorism. President Buhari has really done pretty well in that dispensation. But before we begin to count our chicks before the eggs get hatched, a quick note of warning must be passed to the administration on the risk of not containing the Niger Delta Avengers threat while it’s still at its infant stage.

One of the greatest challenges inherited by President Buhari’s administration is the dwindling oil price and depleted Federal Reserve. It’s no longer news that the former administration has squandered our foreign reserve recklessly. But great leaders usually emerge in periods of crisis. The challenge for the Buhari regime is to find creative ways of reviving our economy onto the right footage.

It’s unfortunate, as argued by Sen. Ben Murray-Bruce, the administration has a number of noisemakers in the guise of spokespersons and assistants on media than a robust economic team that will help the President in making informed decisions. No ocean is full in itself. Much as president Buhari is erroneously believed in his independent ability to steer the country to the promised land, he needs, like never before, a robust and pragmatic team of economic experts that know the nuances of 21st century economic challenges and are able to proffer realistic and salvaging solutions.

One more thing, enough of this corruption narratives. Spare me the silly excuse of “it’s only because corruption is fighting back”- a modern (read Buhari regime) brand of fighting corruption. We’re just tired of it. If you want to bite, bite but don’t bark!

Despite the never-ending media trial (an exercise much like humiliating those in the opposition), there’s only a single person has been reported to have been found guilty. By the way, why should a government literally ‘waste’ precious one-year fighting what it knows for sure it cannot win? Tell me a corrupt-free government and/or institution and I will show you a herd of whales in the Sahara Desert of North Africa.

It’s beneficial to note that nations aren’t built on the presumed integrity of a single person, no. The right task is to build a strong, robust and independent (with checks and balance) institutions, and corruption will be reduced to the minimal. Before closing, credit must be given to the idea of Treasury Single Account (TSA), notwithstanding.

We already have enough excuses that go round. Brace up for the challenges, our dear president, as you enter the second year of your stewardship. Things are in bad shape. Electricity. Economy. Unemployment. Prices have gone mountain tops. Salaries are no longer rights but privileges and favours. There is suffering in the air. Guys are not smiling (as we say in the Nigerian parlance). It is my fervent prayer that the present hardship is merely a redemptive suffering, a necessary penance before we can start enjoying the dividends of change.

 

Adamu Tilde writes in from Budapest, Hungary and can be reached on adamtilde@gmail.com

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2019 Will Be A Walk Over If APC Delivers On Change Promise – @SpeakerDogara

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, has challenged the All Progressives Congress (APC) to ensure that it delivers on its promise of change as this will make reelection in 2019 a walk over for the party. The Speaker said this when he received a delegation from  Delta State APC under the umbrella of Delta  APC Contact Committee in his office on Wednesday, according to a statement issued in Abuja by his spokesman, Turaki Hassan.

Dogara noted that nothing could sell the party faster and wider than providing tools of empowerment for Nigerians to thrive in their businesses and daily lives through provision of infrastructure and other needs as promised by the party.

While commenting on how Delta and other opposition states can be captured by the APC in 2019, the speaker explained, “a better way of getting there will be for APC states and the APC controlled federal government to deliver on promises. If we are able to do that, you may not even have to suffer or pool resources and you may not even have to campaign, because the people will know that those in APC are serious people who will deliver on their mandate and because it’s been done elsewhere, if they are given the opportunity in Delta State as well, they can replicate that.”

“We know that rebuilding infrastructure is key because only free, empowered citizens can actually contribute in a democracy. That is what democracy is all about, freedom to pursue happiness and how do you pursue happiness when you do not have the tools to do that? And so I believe that as soon as the budget gets underway, the kind of pains that we see right now will lessen and we should be able to deliver on the promise of change, which will also lift Delta APC to a new pedestal.”

“If APC is able to surmount these challenges, if we are able to find pathways through them and Nigerians can see not only the visions that we have articulated but how we have also been able to deliver on these, we would have risen the status of this party to a level where we can take the centre stage and still take all the other states that we don’t have control over right now. We know the potentials that you hold within the boundaries of Delta state and it is a state that every serious government at the centre will want to have.”

Commending the group for planning way ahead of the elections, he noted that “without vision the people perish and maybe if we’ve been in opposition for too long and not been able to wrestle power from the mainstream, it may be that the parts were not well articulated and that is why I love the fact that you are beginning to put your house in order well ahead of time. One thing with vision is that it gives you a destination and once you have a destination, you know the roads or the pathways that will take you to that destination, and with this vision and a defined path, I’m a hundred percent sure that by the grace of God, we will get there.”

Dogara went further to add that the hardship and challenges currently being faced by Nigerians will soon be a thing of the past as the budget of change will be finally brought on stream next week following meetings held with the President on Tuesday, and subsequent ones scheduled to put final touches to the document.

Giving the assurance, he said, “Even though we came at a period when things were difficult, the budget of change is still with the Executive and the Legislature, and although cynical commentators believe that we may not be able to summon the leadership to be able to produce this document, the meeting we held with the President belies that as we reached agreements and arrangements and the issue of the budget will just be a matter of days, not even weeks. Hopefully, we will be able to transmit the document this Friday to the President, or latest, when work resumes after May Day. When this is finally resolved, Nigerians will now see clearly, the visions that are there, the programmes that are articulated and then what we have appropriated in order to deliver on this mandate of change.”

Earlier, chairman of the Delta State APC Contact Committee, Prof Pat Utomi, said they were on the visit to show that the APC in Delta State is ready to bring true, lasting and sustainable peace to the people of Delta State.

“In collaboration with you, we can build a state worthy of our potentials”, he said.

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Osinbajo Fulfills Promise, Presents Buhari’s Scorecard

Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Vice President, is not the regular Nigerian politician. Many citizens of the country only take promises from politicians with a pinch of salt because majority of them are synonymous with unfulfilled promises. But Osinbajo, a legal expert and pastor, knows that failed promises, according to his religion, could amount to a sin. Thus, every promise he has made must be kept.

The Vice President was at the Victoria Garden City, his base in Lagos on Saturday, 27 February, 2016. It was not just a visit; it was to keep one such promise – to always report back to the people of the area concerning the activities of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, for which he is the number two citizen of the country.

During the campaign, he told the residents that he would always come back for dialogue, present the activities of the government and get residents to make suggestions that could help the government succeed. This time, he told them of how the government was turning the around the economy of the country.

Chrisland School, the venue of the meeting, was full to capacity with Osinbajo reminding them that the Buhari administration had kept faith with the cardinal programmes of the administration. He named the programmes as security, governance, corruption and the economy. The people are already familiar with the activities of Boko Haram, but he told them the sect has been decimated by the country’s military might. With their strength weakened, Osibanjo said the terrorists have now resorted to carrying out attacks on soft targets using children, especially girls, as suicide bombers in some parts of the North-east of the country.

Now, what is more of concern to the government, the Vice President said, was the orphans and widows, which is the current consequence of the atrocities carried out by the sect. Thousands of Nigerians have been killed by the terrorists with many children orphaned and many others widowed. Farmers were seriously affected. Osinbajo disclosed that the Federal Government was working towards resettling the internally displaced persons in their homes.

Besides insurgency, Osinbajo noted that there were concerns in the Niger-Delta due to militant activities. Pipelines have been blown out and there are feuds between farmers and herdsmen. He noted that the government was waging a strong war on corruption in both the public service and the private sector. He told those at the meeting that the government was making efforts to revive the economy which the government met with sharp drop in revenue in May 2015. The foreign exchange reserve was depleted by the previous administration from about $40 billion to about $27.5 billion and because of this, most states could no longer pay full salaries to workers because they depend entirely on the revenue from the federation account. This was the reason for the bail out the Federal Government granted the states recently.

The Professor of Law said government had solid plans for diversification of the economy through a revolution in agriculture and solid minerals. This would also shore up the revenue of the country and create jobs. He said that in agriculture, emphasis would be on improving the entire value chain and turn the nation into a net exporter of rice. The Vice President said that government was intensifying effort to refine petroleum products locally adding that by 2018 the nation would achieve the optimum in refined petroleum products.

Aside from this, the administration will encourage private refineries to meet the local needs for petroleum products, according to Osinbajo, who further said a lot of progress had been made on rail transportation in different parts of the country with the Chinese firm handling the projects. The government is further looking at putting all roads linking major cities in good shape.

Then it was time for questions and answers and Osinbajo restated the position of the Federal Government not to devalue the naira. He also said that the call for the repeal of the Land Use Act would not be a solution for youths going into agriculture. He revealed that the Federal Government was designing a lot of materials for teachers education to improve standards adding that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics would be given priority. “Our priority is how to give relevant education for the 21st century,’” he said.

Accordingly, he said that the administration would engage 500,000 graduate teachers for the rural areas of the country and that the Federal Government was proposing to extend the National Health Insurance Scheme to accommodate every Nigerian. He said the country had a complete policy on the protection of copyright and intellectual property which would be made to work.

In an address, Architect Olusegun Ladega, chairman of the VGC Forum, thanked the Vice President for being an active member of the VGC community. He requested Osinbajo to intervene in the flooding of the estate caused by the non-provision of ancillary drainage on the Lekki-Epe Expressway by the Lagos state government. Apart from this, he asked the Vice President to look into the possibility of giving development associations a voice, through law.

Also, Dr. Tochi Okwor, a resident, expressed concerns about the high rate of communicable diseases such as TB and sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and AIDS. She said this could reach unacceptable proportion if nothing was done. She then advised the Federal Government to remove the National Centres for Disease Control from the Health Ministry and make them independent organisations to enable them to play their roles effectively.

Joseph Sanusi, a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, suggested that the government should be serious with its policy on Public Private Partnership and put it in place in the area of road maintenance. This, according to him, would allow for the tolling of major roads to raise money, for not only the maintenance of existing roads, but also for building new ones. Sanusi also opined that the naira is already devalued. He asked the Federal Government to take a good look at the issue.

In all the townhall meeting was, for most of the participants, a welcome opportunity for the people to remain engaged with the Buhari administration. At least Pastor Ade Asekum, one of the organisers of the meeting, put it clearly: “it was a very good meeting indeed.”

– PM News

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Buhari’s Promise: Are Nigeria’s Army Chiefs Not Meant To Be In Maiduguri? By Peregrino Brimah

Correct me if I misunderstood, President Muhammadu Buhari clearly and categorically promised us that he was moving the Army central command to the northeast as the necessary action and impetus to quickly and reliably bring the Boko Haram menace to an end.

On best advice and after wise counsel, Muhammadu Buhari realized as indicated by his promise and the touting of it during his independence speech and later on across the world, that having the heads of service resident in Maiduguri and Adamawa was strategically and technically invaluable in restoring safety and security, the constitutional rights of the citizens.

However since making that promise, apart from routine photo-ops doing push-ups with the troops and breaking bread every now and then, Chief of Army Staff General Tukur Yusuf Buratai has been anywhere but relocated-to-Maiduguri.

To make matters worse, it was now, for the first time in years that Maiduguri was attacked successfully, twice by Boko Haram. Once at Christmas last year and the recent Dalori massacre of as many as 300 innocent men, women and children. After the December Boko haram deadly attack on Maiduguri, the people protested that the city still remained vulnerable to attacks.

After the Dalori attack, when Nigerians showed their frustration at the government’s appearing insensitivity and indifference towards the victims of the rampaged town, a government delegation went to visit and Secretary of the Government, David Babachir accused the people of “lack of vigilance,” being responsible for their tragedy.

However, is the protracted success of Boko Haram against Borno and Maiduguri not because Buhari broke his promise of stationing Buratai and co there to put a final lid on the menace? We the people recognized the military wisdom in stationing the chiefs there. While they refuse to stay there, we have rather noticed them getting involved in a lot of politics, local and international sectarian and other controversies, including massively deadly actions and events currently under global investigation, in the stead of the police.

The Kaduna massacre which ‘coincidentally’ happened to take place just two weeks after Boko Haram attempted to disband the processions of the same group in Kaduna, with a deadly bombing of the same victims, on procession in the same Kaduna, has put the army chief without doubt in a mangled web of controversy and global sectarian hooey. The national natural consequences of breaking promises cannot be better elucidated.

Can President Buhari please tell Buratai to go to Maiduguri and end the insurgency?

Dr. Peregrino Brimah @EveryNigerian

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Thoughts on Buhari and the Boko-Haram Promise By Festus Ogun

The Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, has being one of Nigeria security challenges. Thousands of lives have being lost to various attacks by these dreadful terrorists. It started operation and became in 2009 and it is still in town up till date. The erstwhile administration has tried all its best in combating them to soil level but all ‘efforts’ was in futility.

Though, there were series of steps taken by Jonathan’s administration to fight Boko-Haram, what the news is unveiling of our political masquerade’s face has made us understand that the Jonathan’s ‘war against Boko-Haram’ is a fraud. The money meant for procuring arms for fighting Boko-Haram have being diverted and shared among some unscrupulous ones. With these and many more reasons, the government has failed to put an end to this pressing issue.

With the advent of Buhari, the people expected a huge ‘change’ from, among others, Boko-Haram trouble to a peaceful and enabling government and environment. It should be noted, before going further, that the terrorist group carry out their operations mostly in the northern part of the country (northeast, precisely) and neighboring countries. With the ‘Change’ mantra, it is believed that the terrorist group will cease from existing in our society.

Apart from this believe, it is one of Buhari’s campaign promise to wage serious war against the sect once he’s elected. Who knows maybe that was why the citizens of the country voted out Jonathan, and voted for Buhari in order to deliver them from the present sorrow.

Buhari’s election promise was to metamorphose Boko-Haram to a thing of history within few months of emerging as the president.  That’s known to all and sundry. Now that he is in power, why do these dreadful monsters still celebrate Xmas with us? That’s the question asked several times by average Nigerians. If one have voted Buhari because of his promise to erase Boko-Haram out of the country’s drawing book within few weeks, then, the person have failed to think deeply on what it takes to fight terrorism. To be frank, it is practically impossible to fight Boko-Haram within few months of his gaining the control of government.

For the purpose of this piece, let me say that since the government of Buhari have been so busy with, among others, constituting his government throughout last year, let me give him that as an excuse for not successfully destroying Boko-Haram. But, the point is that, since 2016 is a new year, the target of Buhari on the Boko-Haram must be a serious one which is going to facilitate the grinding of the sect to halt.

To be sincere, some steps President Buhari took towards combating Boko-Haram last year are so lame that it failed to produce the desired result. There were some err in some decisions which are not supposed to be taken by the president. Anyway, the purpose of this piece is not to criticize any government but to suggest some possible solutions and warn the government not to commit such errors in the future – especially this year, 2016.

One, for president Buhari to successfully fight the Boko-Haram sect, he shouldn’t make any provision for negotiation. Though, he had said it at thousands occasions that his government will negotiate with the leaders of the daylight terrorist group, he should not negotiate with them. It won’t work out successfully. These people are criminals. The ways in which they think clearly differ from ours. To us, we think killing our fellow men is not just humane, but to them, they see it as a necessity, for them to get to heaven and drill as many feminine holes as possible on the last day. That is their religious belief.

Though, I question if that is what the Holy Quran teaches, but the question is: how do we negotiate with this set of people? Those that have lost common sense to their religion? How? Criminals are not negotiated with, criminal are destroyed totally. Where in the world has ‘Negotiating with terrorists’ worked? What if the negotiators are even bombed in the process of negotiating? I even trust the suicide bombers for something- they will never negotiate with the government. They may or will think the negotiation is a means by which the government will use in arresting and prosecuting them. Yes! Those who have lost and are involved in the ultimate search for their common sense will think that way. So, to put an end to this terrorist group, they mustn’t be negotiated with.  In the words of George Bush, “No nation can negotiate with terrorists. For there is no way to make peace with those whose only goal is death”

Giving deadlines is another issue to be taken very serious. The Buhari government has promised to crush totally the subject matter for at least two occasions. And the witty aspect of the drama is that the more the date set by the government to defeat the ‘afemishofo’ people gets near, the more the rate at which bombing news increased. Bombing has almost become normal news in Nigeria. We see it as normal since it is something happening virtually everyday. Everyone is just confused about what to do. A total sorry case. But, it is worthy of noting that towards the end of last year, the rate of bombing reduced. But, when our government, Lai Mohammed to be precise, boasted that the sect have been ‘technically’ defeated, they (Boko-Haram) quickly ‘rejoindered’ that they are still active and alive on the land of the living. This rejoinder wasn’t a written one but a reply given by several suicide bombings. The Boko-Haram quickly inform the public about the fact that the statement made by the Information minister was guilty of fallacy. With their bombing, common sense tells us that the group hasn’t been defeated.

Why should we even be told about the defeat? To fool us? To make us happy? To make us trust the government? To make us believe in the words and manifestoes of the government? Is the information even for the interest of the people or government? Wait a little, what is technical about defeating Boko-Haram? Is either you are still on the process of defeating, you have defeated or you haven’t defeat. It is either of them. Not technically defeating the sect.

Let me draw the attention of this reader to the fact that the government promised to defeat Boko-Haram and not to ‘technically’ defeat them. That’s not even the point. The main issue is that, revealing to the public the time to defeat Boko-haram is not solving the problem but adding insult to the already sustained injury. It is rather adding fire to the flame in the sect. Even if the group have decided to put an end to their deadly activities, on hearing that they have been defeated will spring up the evil absorber in them. It is natural, nobody wants to hear of his/her defeat, even if they have been defeated, they will try all means to prove the said defeaters wrong. In this case, they’ve not even been defeated, so, it is very easy for them to disclaim the fallacious information. Since informing the public about the deadline will bring about several additional attacks, it should be discouraged. I keep thinking of this: what benefit has it to the people of Nigeria when we are informed about the defeat? No benefit. Or is it that they want us to be happy even when we are still living in a sad society? To the best of my understanding, I think, the government need not inform us about the defeat, once the sect are defeated, it will be known by all – home and abroad. No need to tell us, when we hear no news of Boko-Haram bombing, it will be visible to the blind and audible to the deaf that they have been defeated. As simple as ABC.

To fight the Islamic religious sect, the armed forces should be well equipped. Since the money meant for procuring arms have been dasukigated by the past administration, it is the duty of the present administration to get more arms for our men. The Bokos can’t be defeated if the soldiers are not well equipped. How do you expect a soldier with ‘shakabula’ to fight a Boko-Haram member with Ak-47? It is impossible. So, the army need enough weapons to fight the terrorists.

These soldiers shouldn’t be procured arms alone; they should also undergo special military training. These Boko-Haram sect are undoubtedly those with technical military training. So, to make sure these monsters are vanished from our midst, our men should be given special training, from time to time, so as for them to be victorious in the war. The training the writer is talking of is that which is much more tactful than that of the terrorists. None specially trained soldiers will not get to the promise land of defeating specially trained terrorists. Take it or leave it.

Additionally, the soldiers should be adequately remunerated. These men should be encouraged by giving them incentives. Let the family of the departed ones be compensated. These and many more will encourage the soldiers to be bold and carry out their job without fear or favor. The fact is that if these people are not encouraged by the government, the government also will not get the desired result. Hence, they should be catered for.

The issue of recruitment is also to be taken into consideration. There should be no corruption in the recruiting process. This may sounds funny to many. This is because, it is our believe that everything in Nigeria is ‘runz’. See, the issue of ‘runz’ is a leading cause of all the mess we find ourselves today. When an ‘ajebutter’ is recruited as an army through ‘runz’ and leaving behind competent and qualified able bodied men, how do we expect such ‘ajebutter’ to deliver the expected goods? It is, today, one of the problems of Nigerian army. Where some soldiers are incompetent, how do we expect them to defeat the competent terrorists? This issue should be properly addressed by the recruiting department of the army if Boko-Haram is to be defeated.

In conclusion, I will urge the Buhari led government, as a matter of urgency, to look into these issues before the sect takes over the whole country. All the loop holes identifies above should be properly filled and blocked for we to have a Boko-Haram free Nigeria. Lest I forget, the government should also try her best in identifying and prosecuting the sponsors of the sect, if victory is to be ascertained. 

Festus Ogun is a ‘lawyer-in-training’, socio-political commentator and blogger.( festusoguntv@gmail.com)

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Burkina Faso Coup Leader Apologises, Promise To “Hand-over Power” To A Civilian Govt

Leader of the September 16 military in Burkina Faso, Gilbert Diendere, has apologised to the nation, saying he would hand over power to a civilian transitional government.

Diendere, who led the presidential guard under longtime leader Blaise Compaore until he was forced from power in a popular uprising last year, issued the apology in a statement on Monday.

Gilbert’s decision to hand over power was one of the key conditions of a draft agreement that resulted from weekend negotiations with regional mediators.

Earlier Monday,the military warned that its forces would converge on the capital and forcibly disarm the soldiers behind the power grab.

Heads of the National Armed Forces warned that troops would disarm the presidential guard. While they said soldiers aimed to do so without spilling blood, the ultimatum raised the spectre of clashes on the streets of Ouagadougou.

But in apparent submission to the will of the people, Diendere has decided to abide by the terms of the negotiation, saying his presidential guard unit “confirms our commitment to giving power back to civilian authorities.”

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Clean Up Of Ogoni Land – A Promise Kept By Buhari, By Chukwudi Enekwechi

On January 9th 2015 in the course of his presidential campaign at a town hall meeting in Ogoni land, Rivers State organized by then Governor Rotimi Amaechi, President  Muhammadu Buhari had promised that if elected president he would approve the clean-up of Ogoni land as recommended in the UNEP report. Over the years, the problem of environmental degradation in oil-bearing communities of Niger Delta has been a recurring one. Indeed, the issue was at the heart of the struggle by Niger Delta youths before peace was restored through the amnesty programme. With this approval by the Buhari administration the people of Ogoni land can heave a sigh of relief that their decades of struggle over environmental related issues have finally yielded result.

What this goes to show is that Buhari is a listening and caring president, and has the interest of all Nigerians at heart. This again casts doubt on the false claims by some cynics that Buhari’s administration is engaging in acts of favouritism and nepotism.

Considering the negative impact which environmental degradation has on the Niger Delta ecosystem, especially aquatic life, agriculture and water pollution, we can safely draw the conclusion that the recent approval to commence the clean- up will greatly improves the quality of lives of the people of the Niger Delta in general and Ogoni land in particular.

Though this is coming some decades after the agitation by late Ken Saro Wiwa started, yet it is gratifying that a new administration has made it a priority in their policies.While this policy direction is laudable, it is hoped that as the clean-up starts in earnest, that preemptive measures will be put in place to avoid a repeat. This is to ensure that the remediation programme endures and achieves its defined objectives.

It could be recalled that due to the massive degradation which oil exploration had on Ogoni land, its farmland, waters and peoples, the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People began a campaign for the greater control of oil and mineral resources through the “Ogoni Bill of Rights” in 1990. This was under the military regime of the President Ibrahim Babangida. By November 1992. MOSOP made a demand for $6 Billion to be paid by Shell within 30 days as compensation for oil spills on their land and its environment impact, failure which the company was asked to vacate Ogoni land.

Subsequently in 1993 Saro Wiwa mobilized a crowd numbering over 300,000 to press home their demands, and this opened a pandora’s box in a way that violence enveloped the Ogoniland and later consumed the lives of four prominent Chiefs, whose role some members of the community considered treacherous towards the realization of the main objective.

The resultant effect was that the government of the day blamed the killings on Kan Saro Wiwa and his followers, and after undergoing a secret trial he was put under the hangman’s noose in November 1995.

The agitation culminated in the intervention of the United Nations at the behest of Obasanjo administration which undertook a comprehensive study of the area and released a report, which itself formed another platform for the continued struggle for total restoration and remediation of the affected areas by the Ogoni people.

Since then, no administration has made any tangible or strenuous effort to address the concerns of Ogoni people until President Muhammadu Buhari came to the saddle. By redeeming his campaign promises to the Ogoni people, he has demonstrated by extention an irrevocable commitment towards the needs and aspirations of all Nigerians.

To demonstrate the seriousness he attaches towards the realization of the above stated objectives, he has constituted the board of Trustees and Project Management Team of the Hydro Carbon Pollution Restoration roject (HYPREP) in accordance with the recommendations of the United Nations. The report had also recommended an initial capital of $1billion to be contributed by oil prospectors  in the region, with particular emphasis on Shell which has its oil pipes traversing the length and breadth of Ogoni land.

By Mr. President approving an initial $10 Million to be contributed by the oil companies operating in the area within a period of 30 days, he has demonstrated in concrete terms government’s avowed commitment towards ameliorating the environmental problems besetting the Niger Delta. There is no gainsaying that this part of Nigeria has borne the major burden of oil exploration, and the decision to pay attention to their plight is commendable.

To successfully tackle the environmental problems of Ogoni land and Niger Delta in general, there is the need for a coordinated approach by all stakeholders. Oil companies, local communities, states and local governments, civil society organizations must pull resources together to restore the environment.

By paying attention to the problems, the Buhari administration has demonstrated clearly that they are willing and able to carry all Nigerians along in their policies and programmes. Indeed, President Buhari is a listening leader and every now and then his interventions have helped solve age-long intractable problems. The direction Mr. President is going is an indication that finally a Daniel has come to judgment, as we shall begin to witness a proactive leadership.

It takes a man with fidelity to keep promises that were made during political campaigns. I believe that with his methodical approach, President Buhari will eventually address various issues affecting the six geo-political zones of the country. As the popular adage goes “Rome was not built in a day”, and what this implies is that noticeable differences will be witnessed in all facets of our national life sooner than many cynics think.

Also, the composition of members HYPREP which comprises two members of the community, oil companies and NNPC will have between the four members, one representative each from the Federal Ministries of Petroleum and Environment the “impacted” state – Rivers and a Project Manager to head the secretariat will form the membership of the governing council of the newly constituted Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP).

By all means, this is a formidable team that can turn around the fortunes oil polluted communities, especially Ogoniland  which has become the focal point of the effects of environmental degradation in that of the country. It is also gratifying that the various groups, especially the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni people, MOSOP has appreciated the effort of the Buhari administration in deliberately addressing the concerns of the region and indeed all other regions.

Worthy of mention also is the role of the United Nations Environmental Programme in arriving at a workable solution on the environmental degradation of Ogoni land. Their involvement stemmed from the request of then President Obasanjo in July 2006 to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the environmental and public health impacts of oil contamination in Ogoni land and Rivers State, with options for remediation. UNEP did a comprehensive assessment of the affected areas by deploying their specialized manpower and eventually came up with work plans and realizable budgets for the clean-up to the Federal Government in 2007.

With these proactive moces by the Federal Government, it is expected that all stakeholders, especially the major oil companies who caused the problems in the first instance will cooperate fully to ensure the realization of the Federal Government plan. Government should also go a step further to make the Programme all inclusive by incorporating all the affected communities.

On a general note, we can easily draw conclusion that President Muhammadu Buhari as a man of fidelity has kept his promise to clean up Ogoniland, and this is the case in all other sectors as he has continued to live up to Nigerians’ expectations.

 

Chukwudi Enekwechi

An Abuja Based Journalist and Politician

Kwechis19@yahoo.com

08065507972

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Three Weeks To Go: President Jonathan Makes A Huge Promise, But How Realistic Is It?

With hjust three weeks to the end of his tenure, President Goodluck Jonathan known to be a man with many promises have yet made another huge promise.

The president, while inspecting the Musa Yar’dua expressway, stated that though his tenure would end on May 29, his administration would make sure that the projects, which have attained 98 per cent completion would be completed before he leaves office.

According to him, “This project is a project that all my colleagues, the Heads of State that visited Abuja always appreciated. I remember the president of The Gambia the last time we had the centenary anniversary, he said anytime you are coming to Abuja, you see something different, that he cannot recognise Abuja again because this road really changed the face of Abuja.

“Be rest assured that this project will be completed before the 29th of May. When you visit a country, the airport and the roadblocks leading to the airport give you the first impression of the country and that’s why we are quite passionate about it, and we want to do a similar thing in Lagos”.

While inspecting the rail project, Jonathan expressed satisfaction with the level of completion, which he noted was dear to him, and insisted that without a functional rail system in any nation, “you cannot talk about mass transit”.

“Mass transit cannot be built on taxis, small buses and even the big buses are too expensive, they are for short runs. But for real effective mass transit where commuters are meant to pay very low rate, then of course the rail system is key,” he added.

The president explained further that that was why the government has plans for city rails like this and inter-city rail system, stressing that the target was at the national level, and to make sure that every state capital is linked up by the railway system.

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Buhari Has No Right To Promise Jonathan, Others They Are Safe With The Loot By Peregrino Brimah

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