Saturday, January 20, 2018

President Buhari And The Herdsmen’s Endgame

By Paul Onomuakpokpo
Of the many traumatic marvels of the President Muhammadu Buhari government, its predilection for crashing deeper into the abyss when we thought that we would no longer be jolted by its blunders, is striking. If his linkage to marauding and bloodthirsty Fulani herdsmen were only a staple of blackmail sustained by his traducers, he has just stoked the suspicion of his fidelity to their ghoulish vision with his response to the killings in Benue State.
*President Buhari 
Buhari did not bother to visit Benue for a first-hand apprehension of the tragedies that the Fulani herdsmen inflicted on the people. Nor was he seen to have expressed deep regret over the killings, except the platitudes that were regurgitated by his aides after a grudging approval from him. Or is this not a true measure of his lack of humanity and a perverted sense of justice and patriotism that while the nation was gripped by grief, Buhari and the governors from his northern region were preoccupied with his re-election in 2019?

Nigeria: Herdsmen’s Killings And A Forsaken Nation

By Emmanuel Onwubiko
I was very rudely awakened from a deep sleep today’s wee hours by a rash of text messages that buzzed noisily for nearly a minute.
These messages were six in number and came in torrents from family members and friends who live in Aba, Abia State; Ogoja in Cross Rivers State and Otukpo in Benue State.
*President Buhari 
These hugely unexpected messages had similar information on the rumoured invasions simultaneously of these places of their habitation by armed gangs of Fulani herdsmen who are said to be getting ready to invade some communities which are agrarian and whose land owners had protested earlier cases of invasions by cows and herdsmen resulting in the destruction of their crops that are awaiting harvest.

Benue Massacre: Are Fulanis Fighting To Conquer Nigeria?

By E.O. Eke
November 2016, after Fulani herdsmen attacked had innocent villagers in Benue and Anambra states, I wrote an article entitled, Is Nigeria Still A Democracy? (Published 16 November 2016).
This is the worst of times, this is the best of times. This is a time to think, this is a time to prepare.
You murder peace when you kill justice. You end unity when you justify discrimination. You lose the trust and confidence of people when you practice nepotism. You invite violence when you make peacefully change impossible. You provoke violent response when you brutalise people by responding to peaceful protest with disproportionate force. These are natural imperatives which hold constant as the law of gravity.

President Buhari And The Herdsmen

By Paul Onomuakpokpo
In a seeming bid to douse his increasing credibility crisis, President Muhammadu Buhari has now belatedly realised the need to absolve himself of killings by herdsmen. No longer does he find comfort in his practised silence in the face of the citizens’ outrage at the atrocities being committed by herdsmen.
*Pres Buhari and Gov El-Rufai
But Buhari’s newfangled disposition has failed to prove the fast-expanding camp of the naysayers wrong. Rather, what has become clear is that Buhari has bungled another opportunity to shore up his credibility. Thus, Buhari’s defence of himself ended up being a reinforcement of his history of incapability to meet the demands of his high office.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Buharism: A Brand Damaged By Nepotism

By Ikechukwu Amaechi
Until recently, the Muhammadu Buhari brand was, perhaps, the most potent and compelling brand in the country. In the north, he was “Mai Gaskiya” (truth avatar). Even as he never gave anyone scholarship, never built a vocational centre or any industry to employ youths or get almajiris off the streets, he continued to get millions of votes from there.
*President Muhammadu Buhari
In the south where he didn’t enjoy the same cult status, he was completely rebranded shortly before the 2015 elections so much so that the Buhari myth became so persuasive almost to the point of deification.
But time makes all the difference in the affairs of not only men but also nations. 

After Victor Umeh’s Senatorial Triumph

By Chuks Iloegbunam
The argument wasn’t on whether or not Victor Umeh would emerge victorious in the January 13, 2018 Anambra Central Senatorial rerun election. It had to do with the range of victory he would post. In the November 18, 2017 Anambra gubernatorial election, Governor Obiano had won in all 21 local government areas in the state. The 100 percent result had led to Obiano acquiring the new sobriquet of '21 over 21'. Was Chief Umeh also going to post a 100 percent result by winning in all the seven local government areas of Anambra Central? He did win all over, earning himself the nickname of Seven Over Seven!
*Gov Obiano and Umeh
Not surprisingly, there have been two antipodal reactions to Chief Umeh’s emphatic triumph. APGA chieftains and foot soldiers are in uproarious celebrations; the losers have been whimpering. The celebrations are not about to end. The licking of wounds will linger for a while more. Both of them are transient, ultimately. They will cease. After they have passed, the pertinent and enduring question of what next will surface and entrench itself. That is the central concern of this piece.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Nigeria: Now An Abattoir Under President Buhari

By Reno Omokri
In July 2012, clashes between natives and herdsmen reached a head in Plateau state leading to tens of deaths on both sides. Then President Goodluck Jonathan, when briefed about the situation insisted that there wouldn’t be such impunity under his leadership and immediately ordered the army to go to the affected communities and fish out the perpetrators and bring them to book.

The military immediately obeyed the then President’s orders and sent troops to Barkin Ladi Local Government Area. They ordered all residents to leave their residence for temporary accommodation provided for them so they could conduct a joint air and ground operation to flush out the armed herdsmen who had been suspected of killing innocent Nigerians. 

Political Killings In Rivers State

By Peter Ovie Akus 
Rivers of blood flowed in Omoku,  Rivers State, on New Year day when over 20 people were killed and 12 more injured after they were attacked by unknown gunmen as they journeyed home after their participation in New Year’s Eve services in various churches.

This bloodletting, which was carried out on a day that was meant to be a day of celebration for all, has been trailed by condemnation from all and sundry with many calling for the investigation, arrest and prosecution of all those involved in this dastardly act.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

George Weah: A Remarkable Feat

By Dan Agbese
Remarkable. That about sums up the incredible feat of the newly elected Liberian president, George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah. Bedecked, not burdened, with six names, he is sure to stand out among African and world leaders.
*George Weah, Liberian President-elect
Let me begin this by offering you the obvious information about him. Weah is a former professional footballer. It bears repeating that he is a remarkable man and achieved remarkable feats in the world of soccer. When he retired from professional football, he left his large footprints, not on the sands of time but on the soccer marbles for all time. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

As President Buhari Insists On Re-Contesting…

By Bolaji Tunji
It is no longer news that President Muhammadu Buhari is going to again contest. It had been an open secret for a while that the president would go for another term in office. Pray, tell me, which of the Nigerian leader had ever felt the need to put the country first and voluntary relinquish power due to ill health or the fact that younger elements needed to be mentored or given the chance to administer the country with modern ideas? None. It is stretching it a bit far to even believe that an elected president in this clime would willingly relinquish power. Even if such individual wanted to do, the hawks and the power mongers would not allow it. Sadly, there is hardly anyone willing to speak truth to power due to what they stand to gain in allowing the status quo to remain.
But I do not want to begrudge our president his right to contest for a second term. I am only concerned that most Nigerians and especially the younger elements are making the exercise such an easy one for him. Yea, if PMB is not magnanimous enough to tell us he would not contest, the ticket should not be handed over to him on a platter of gold. 

This Anti-Corruption War Must Be Firm And Total

By Dan Amor 
For most dispassionate observers of the Nigerian political scene, the only thing which has destroyed the fabric of this country, after the Civil War, Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen killings, is corruption. This hydra-headed monster has become Nigeria's middle name. Aside from the untoward image this menace has wrought on the country and the insult and embarrassment it has caused innocent Nigerians abroad, it has inflicted irreparable damage to the basic foundations that held the country together.
Corruption has stunted our economic growth, our social and physical infrastructure, our technological and industrial advancement and has decapitated our institutions, which is why our over 40 research institutes are no longer functional because they are headless. Even our academic and military establishments and other security agencies cannot in all sincerity be exonerated from the deadly effects of unbridled corruption.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

What Do The Igbo Want?

By Obi Nwakanma
In an angry retort to a question thrown at him in his recent Media chat not too long ago, President Muhammadu Buhari asked, What do they (Igbo) want? Who is marginalizing them?

In Biafra, under three years, they were making their own rockets and calculating its distances; distilling their own oil and making aviation fuel, creating in their Chemical and Biological laboratories, new cures for diseases like Cholera, shaping their own spare parts, and turning the entire East into a vast workshop, as Ojukwu put it.
At the end of the war, the Ukpabi Asika regime brought together these Biafran scientists and set up PRODA. The initiative led, in the first five years between 1970-1975 under the late Prof. Gordian Ezekwe and Mang Ndukwe, to designs of industrial machinery models and prototypes for the East Central State Industrial Masterplan, which remain undeveloped even today. The Murtala/Obasanjo regime took over PRODA in 1975 by decree, starved it of funds, and basically destroyed its aims.

Nigeria: Where The Dead Lead The Living

By Paul Onomuakpokpo
If the German-speaking Jewish writer Franz Kafka were in Nigeria now, he would observe that it is not only in the imaginative space that there are boundless possibilities in the depiction of the human condition. A validation of his art would have been that his brand of surrealism that is a staple of the imaginative provenance has assumed actuality in the human realm. In that case, Kafka would have been spared being sniggered at on account of Samsa Gregor, a human being, mutating into a vermin in his The Metamorphosis.
This kind of validation was the lot of Chinua Achebe when his prediction in A Man of the People of the epochal termination of the nation’s first democratic experience was fulfilled by the military who sacked the wayward politicians of the 1960s and triggered a series of cataclysmic events that provoked the civil war. But Kafka and Achebe would have been at the same time amused and shocked that the boundless and surrealistic possibilities in their fictional worlds could be located in the realm of actuality in Nigeria – even beyond their imagination.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2019: Because Buhari Is Too Old To Run

By Martins Oloja
I would like rely on some ancient words of a wise king who once said, “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heaven”. Yes, there is a time to be quiet. There is a time to be loud; a time to be politically correct in the interest of peace. And there is a time to refrain from political correctness and speak truth to power in public interest. And this should include a time to tell our best friends the truth and nothing but the truth, especially the one to set them free from unnecessary fear. I am therefore fully persuaded that it is time to tell our friends, especially in the far North, some plain truth about NigeriaYes, Nigeria whose destiny all of us are gambling with at the moment. 
For the record, I have more friends in the North. I have had some personal relationship with the North that spanned about three decades. My professional profile was remarkably shaped in December 1990 when the premier newspaper in Abuja owned by investors from the North appointed me Editor of their newspaper, The Abuja Newsday. I once narrated part of the remarkable story of the first newspaper in the nation’s capital here. I had then noted that Alhaji Bukar Zarma, former editor of New Nigerian who hails from Borno state, set up the newspaper and appointed all the editors without consideration for religion and ethnicity. The Chairman of the Board of Directors was Alhaji Hassan Adamu, Wakilin Adamawa.

How Much Does Nigeria Matter To You?

By Dan Amor
It is the biggest question of the day! Does Nigeria really matter? Like an inscrutable nightmare, the ponderous mystery of the Nigerian national question, which is ultimately the nation's enduring essence, is still at issue. Jolted by the scandalous and shocking display of of the obvious limitations of the human evolution, the unacceptable index of human misery in their country, and willed by a recent memory of oppression inflicted upon them by discredited soldiers and their quislings, Nigerians have been singing discordant tunes about the state of their forced Union.
*President Buhari flanked by wife, Aisha and political
associates mark his 73rd birthday
This has further been exacerbated by disarming pockets of inter and intra-communal clashes, wanton killings by Fulani herdsmen, senseless Boko Haram bombings, violent robbery and mindless kidnappings across the country. Therefore, the matter for regret and agitation is that a supposedly giant of Africa has suddenly become the world's most viable junkyard due to the evil
machinations of a fraudulent ruling class and the feudal forces still determined to keep the country in a permanent state of medieval servitude. 

2017- A Year Of Power Sector Highs & Lows

By Idowu Oyebanjo, MNSE CEng MIET UK
This year has had its “ups and downs” and the power sector is no exception. The year started with a generally low mood in terms of the quantum of power generation available for distribution from none to a peak of 5,222MW on 18th of December, 2017. Early on in the year, the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) decried the generally low level of remittances from the distribution companies (DisCos) which has led to the rising spate of on-going debt and general illiquidity in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).
 The average monthly remittance from the DisCos was as low as 30 percent with all the operators trading blames on who is responsible for the situation. This has led to the inability of the generating companies (GenCos) and the transmission company of Nigeria (TCN) to pay for services procured in generating and transmitting power to the DisCos. The illiquidity in the NESI has resulted in a generally low mood for all stakeholders including Banks, financial institutions, relevant ministries, departments, agencies, potential investors (local & international).

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Bola Ige: Sixteen Years Without Justice For The Justice Minister

By Dan Amor
A calculated insult and the guilt preceded his death, stealing from the actual murder all its potential impact and drama. There never was a crime more dramatically rehearsed, and the tale only provides it could not have been otherwise. Yet there are no clues to be uncovered, no enigmas to be revealed; for this was a murder almost predicted like its predecessors. As a principled and astute politician, even though he agreed to serve in former President Olusegun Obasanjo's cabinet, Chief Bola Ige did not preach to Nigerians. But he provoked questions and left us in no doubt as to where he stood . He shared none of the current tastes for blurred conflicts, ambiguous characters and equivocal opinions. Nor was he disdainful of strong dramatic situations building up for firm climaxes. From the critic's point of view, the plot of Ige's senseless murder in December 2001, in its high velocity treachery, summarizes modern Nigeria in one word: "shame".
*Late Bola Ige
In his epic novel, Shame (1983), Salman Rushdie, the Indian born controversial English writer, paints the picture of a disconcerting political hallucination in Pakistan, which he calls "Peccavistan" - existing fictionally as a slight angle to reality. The major thrust of the novel is that the shame or shamelessness of its characters returns to haunt them. Yet the recurrent theme is that there are things that cannot be said, things that can't be permitted to be true, in a tragic situation. To this end, fiction and politics ultimately become identical or rather analogous. That so banal and damaging an emotion could have been so manifestly created from within the Yoruba nation itself, is a ringing surprise to us keen observers of that macabre drama. But the truth or falsehood of the accusation or counter-accusation is not of the first importance.

Nigeria: A Change From Better To Worse?

By Dan Amor
Even as the River Niger surges still along its wonted path to its dalliance with the River Benue and the consequent emptying of the passionate union into the mazes of the Delta, and, thereafter, into the vast, swelling plenitude of the all-welcoming seas, it is Nigeria, our Nigeria. True, Lagos is still Lagos; Abuja is still Abuja. It is, indeed, injury time in a new country under a new democracy, our democracy! Yet, everywhere you look, things look pretty much as they always have been. Still, the sway of buffoonery and unintelligent greed; still the billowing gown arrogance of the supposedly powerful, the surface laughter of the crashing rivers celebrating the disquieting crisis of democracy, the riveting appearances of things. Splendid is the current! Yet, into the heart of the average Nigerian pop uninvited intimations that we live today in the cusp of a new age, a new country and a new democracy. 
*Buhari and Tinubu
Alas, it is a new era. But in the lull between the passions and exertions and excitations of our workaday world today, at these times when the body yields to repose and the mind nestles in shades of quietude, it hits you: it is the dawn of change! But, what manner of change is this? From better to worse?

'Dead' President And Dead Men in His Cabinet

By Erasmus Ikhide

The discovery of dead persons names on President Muhammadu Buhari's boards' appointments made last weekend signposted a nation in constant trauma, plagued by inept leadership and a stubbornly disoriented clique that has held Buhari's Presidency hostage, while the people who are at the receiving end languish in abject penury. We are talking about dead; its meaning and those in President Buhari's government. Termination or expiration of existence sounds most profound — a dead government, organisation, organism or a person is dead to reasoning; emotion, recognition and feeling — or when leadership can no longer put a face to its name. 
Literarily speaking, President Buhari has been a dead 'man', as much as his presidency. He fails to put a face to his presidency by ensuring that he fulfils all or some of his electoral promises to the mass of Nigerian people. Buhari is 'dead' for refusing or failing to fulfil his 2015 Presidential manifesto to revive and reactivate our minimally performing refineries to optimum capacity.

Subsidy Removal, Fuel Scarcity And Buhari's Grand Failure

By Dan Amor
Over the years, Nigeria's four decrepit refineries which were built to refine crude oil into petroleum products for local consumption and possibly for exports were left to rot just to make room for the importation of petroleum products by the governing elite and their contractors. This makes it pretty difficult for the importers or oil marketers to bring the products to the reach of the final consumers without incurring additional costs. The effect of this excess tax on the consumers in the name of landing and other costs of carriage from the ports to depots across the country is what government tries to cushion so that the products would be affordable for the common man. This extra payment government makes to the oil marketers in order to maintain an affordable price regime for the products is what is generally referred to as oil subsidy.
Subsidy is therefore a government policy that would act as a palliative due to fluctuations in the international market. But what makes this policy so controversial in Nigeria is that everything about the oil & gas sector is shrouded in secrecy. Ever since the military administration of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida introduced the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in 1988, whose major intention was to vend juicy national assets to willing buyers, those companies not sold to government officials or their cronies, were allowed to rot in other to attract the sympathy of Nigerians for their privatization. The refineries, two in Port Harcourt, one in Onne near Warri and one in Kaduna, are part of those assets. Since the Babangida era, Nigerians have been living with this menace. It triggered a lot of civil unrests during which several Nigerians including university students were killed.

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