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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Buhari's Second Coming: A Tragic Mistake!

By Remi Oyeyemi


For those who have followed my writings, it is not news to them that I have no iota of confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari either as a candidate or as President of Nigeria. It is not news that it has been difficult for me to believe that anything good could come out of Buhari’s Nazareth. My convictions are based on his trajectory on the political landscape of Nigeria. A trajectory of corruption, incompetence, deceit, nepotism and a genre of noxious tribalism are the contaminating clouds characterizing his contoured career.
*Buhari 
But for someone like me, who is an avowed unbeliever in Buhari, it is nothing personal. It is all about the future of my children who despite having several opportunities for being Americans have fallen in love first of all with Ijeshaland, the Yoruba Nation, the unfortunate country called Nigeria and the continent Africa. That is the order of priority in which I have tried to educate them and they understand, or rather I did everything to make them understand, why it has to be that way.
 
So, because this is about the future of my children, I have prayed ceaselessly and hoped untiringly that President Buhari would disappoint me in his second coming. This is despite the fact that I did not think he would be able to rescue Nigeria. This is despite the fact that I know his second coming is a tragic mistake. This is despite the fact that I know that Buhari is a born-again corrupt military man turned politician dressed in the borrowed robe of integrity. This is despite the fact that I know that he does not believe in Nigeria.
 
But somehow, you just hope that you are wrong. You hope that the man could have been softened by age and experience. You just hope that at his age he would realize the futility of vanity and would seek to ingrain his name in immortality by doing the right thing and disappoint doubting Thomases like me. You hope that some of your friends and colleagues who bought into him hook, line and sinker would come around to wipe it in your face “we told you so.”
 
It would have been beautiful and worth it if I found myself in that position. It would not have mattered if President Buhari had disappointed me and performed very well. I would have appreciated it. I would have praised him. I would have been converted to one of his hailers. I would have been shameless about making a u-turn. All would have been worth it for the sake of the future of my children.
 
But rather than disappoint me, President Buhari further confirmed why I have been against him in the first instance. He cemented his reputation that made Nigerian electorate reject him three times as a congenital failure and incorrigibly untruthful. He continues to prove that he is not worthy of even the fake integrity with which he has been invested by the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s propaganda machine that ensured his election as Nigeria’s president.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I Reject President Buhari’s ‘One Nigeria’

By Ochereome Nnanna
We are now concentrating on the militants to know how many they are, especially in terms of groupings, leadership and to plead with them to try and give Nigeria a chance.

“I assure them that the saying by Gen. Yakubu Gowon that ‘to keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done’ still stands. In those days we never thought of oil all we were concerned about was one Nigeria. “So please pass this message to the militants, that one Nigeria is not negotiable and they had better accept it. The Nigerian Constitution is clear as to what they should get and I assure them, there will be justice.” – President Muhammadu Buhari, to some residents of Abuja who paid him Sallah homage recently.
*Buhari 
President Buhari President Buhari’s off-the-cuff statement above provides an opportunity for us to pick the mindsets of Nigerians on what they really mean by the concept of “One Nigeria”. It is obvious that “One Nigeria does not have a single meaning for all of us; going by the way we carry on, especially when we find ourselves in positions of power as Buhari currently does.

Let me describe my own idea of One Nigeria. It is a crossbreed between the Zikist and Awoist visions of the unity of Nigeria. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the father of African Nationalism and foremost exponent of Nigeria’s independence, believed in a Nigeria where all citizens would share one vision and national aspiration, irrespective of their tribes, tongues, regions, religions, majority or minority status. That is the kind of nationalism practised in Ghana, a country whose foremost independence proponent and Pan-Africanist, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, was inspired by the Great Zik.

In Ghana, tribe, region and religion are no impediments to national unity. That is why the longest-ruling head of state, John Jerry Rawlings (a minority), was able to seize power and sanitise Ghana. He laid a solid foundation for today’s success story. Contrast this with Nigeria, where an earlier attempt by Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and his colleagues ended up being given an ethno-religious and regional toga. It resulted in a civil war at the end of which Nigeria became a colonial booty of Arewa (the Muslim North). The Awoist version of One Nigeria recognised the differences between the various groups and sought to establish a structure in which all these groups could live within their geopolitical enclaves and aspire competitively for the greatness of a united nation. Nobody’s ethnic, religious or cultural hang-ups would slow down the progress of others who do not share these hang-ups, and yet all would belong equally and equitably to one nation in spite of their complex diversity. This arrangement is often described as “true federalism”.

So, in this Nigeria of my dreams, those who want to practice Islamic Sharia in their home zone can go ahead. Those who want to cut off the hands of their thieves and overpopulate their home zones with illiterate citizens will not be an impediment to my section which wants to exercise population control, give good education to the young people and offer them a modern, civilised lifestyle comparable to the best in the world. You use what you produce to cater for your people but pay rents to the Federal Government to maintain the common services that bind us together as people of One Nigeria. But you do not use your landmass and population to parasite upon and terrorise others and suck their resources dry in the name of “One Nigeria which, you insist, is “non-negotiable”.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Nigeria’s Unity Is Negotiable, Mr. President

By Godwin Etakibuebu
A few days ago, President Muhammadu Buhari was quoted as telling a group of agitators from the Niger Delta region of the country that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable”. He went further by pulling from a former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, most popular quote while the Nigeria/Biafra war lasted to buttress his point. That quote said: “to keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done”. 

I want to convince myself that the President meant this “clarion” call of “non-negotiable of the Nigerian nation’s unity” for the attention of all militant groups or agitators in the country. This is necessary because what is good for the goose of the Niger Delta geo-political region of Nigeria is even better for other and all geo-political zones of the country. Of course, this slogan of Nigeria’s Unity not negotiable” is not new; it is an age-long and over-used phrase by most political leaders in Nigeria. Proof at hand is that this slogan has failed the test of time.

It is time for us therefore to go to the other side of the current bargain of “non-negotiable” in finding solution to the peculiar and perilous challenge that may likely put Nigeria asunder sooner than expected by exploring the benefits of “negotiating the unity” of this geographical enterprise called Nigeria. First and foremost, there was no country by the name Nigeria until 1914 when the amalgamation took place under the watchful eyes of Lord Lugard. He happily adopted the name Nigeria’, a loudly pronounced thought of that British journalist, Dame Flora Louise Shaw [1852 – 1929], who later became Lady Lugard – the adoption itself was negotiated.

 In a well-researched lecture given very recently [2013] by one seasoned and old British Scholar in the Nigerian House, London, under the chairmanship of Dalhatu Sarki Tafida, then Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, the revelation on the reason for the 1914 amalgamation by the British Empire was laid on the table. I was there at the lecture just by co-incidence of events. The two separate protectorates of both south and north coming together in 1914 was “based on the economic consideration of running the protectorate of the north which could not pay its bill”, according to the scholar/researcher, adding that “while the south protectorate was economically self-sufficient, the north protectorate was not”. It is in the face of this reality that the decision was taken by the Home Office to fuse both north and south protectorates together “so that the ‘unified’ country would be self-sufficient economically.

We, the people of this “area of the Niger, as opined by Lady Lugard, were “negotiated” into a nebulously packaged unity by powers and influences out-side, even the continent of Africa, purely for the economic exigency of the British. I want to submit therefore, that a clarion call for the survival of this fraudulent unity that is operational in Nigeria presently should be negotiation-based, by the Nigerian people. Any opposition to this is begging for rapturous disaster. Let us pull from one major historical event of the past to be surer of the most likely profitable route, in enduring national survival, which we need to follow in this matter. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Ndigbo: Why Joe Igbokwe’s Self-Enslavement Worries Me

By Jude Ndukwe
In his well published diatribe against the Igbo people of Nigeria, Joe Igbokwe, the Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Lagos State chapter, who is also a son of Igbo, poured invectives on the Igbo nation while making spurious allegations against them. For those who know Igbokwe’s leanings and past stance on national issues, his latest scurrilous attack on the great people of the South Eastern part of Nigeria did not come as a surprise, the only surprising thing is that this latest attack seem to come somehow awkwardly late and too far apart given the man’s relentless and unrepentant penchant for always attempting to ridicule Nigeria’s most resilient and enterprising people in an essay full of contradictions, lame postulations and outright insults.
*Tinubu and Buhari 
His grouse is that, according to him, the Igbo have refused to move on since after former president Jonathan lost the last presidential election to the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari. In one fell swoop, he accused the Igbo of ethnic bigotry and still went ahead to wonder why it is that the people of the South South region have since moved on while their South Eastern brothers have refused to move on from that election. If the Igbo were ethnic bigots, how would they be so concerned about the loss of a Bayelsa man in an election to the extent that a certain Joe Igbokwe is riled by their stoic and unwavering support to such a man even more than a year after his loss?

Rather than paint the Igbo in such uncomplimentary, yet, false light, Joe should turn his focus on his principals and paymasters who are working tirelessly to continually divide Nigeria along ethnic and religious lines. When the president of a country has officially divided his nation into two political, ethnic and religious lines by the virtue of the “97% vs 5%” declaration of no person less than the president himself, the Igbo view him as one who does not mean well for the nation.

 In this light, the Igbo view Jonathan as a hero because, even though he is not Igbo, he would never have made such a divisive and unpresidential statement not to talk of acting it out. And as if to prove that declaration as an official policy of his, President Buhari’s appointments have not been federal either in character or in intent. To this extent, the Igbo view themselves as endangered species in a nation that easily preaches one Nigeria but state actors do the exact opposite. The president’s continued seclusion of certain parts of the country from State offices and projects, if there is anyone at all, is what is crippling Nigeria. The cry of the Igbo, which the likes of Igbokwe have misinterpreted to serve their own selfish purpose, is that Buhari should not crash the nation with his own hands.

 If anyone sees this as ethnic bigotry, the person has urgent need for an optician and a psychiatrist! With the level of poverty visited on us in Nigeria by the Buhari administration, it is enough to make people like Igbokwe spew nonsense in the name of criticism, and also makes it imperative for regular brain checks to be part of such people’s daily menu. When armless and harmless Igbo embark on peaceful rallies and the military shoot at them without provocation, killing many in the process, not once, not twice, and hurriedly bury them in mass shallow graves in military barracks and elsewhere in order to cover their evil, Joe Igbokwe expects Ndigbo to applaud rather than criticize state actors for their wickedness and insensitivity. Enough is enough! 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Our Quintessential Soyinka At 82

By Dan Amor
It was once the fashion to single out four men of letters as the supreme titans of world literature - Homer, Dante, Shakespeare and Goethe - each the embodiment of a great epoch of Western culture - ancient, medieval, Renaissance and modern. These four literary icons of all times remain secure, but acclamation of Professor Wole Soyinka as the prototype of the inquiring spirit and courageous intellect of modern man has been sharply appreciated in our time, especially as we pass beyond the more leisurely issues of the post modernist era.
*Soyinka 
The intensely contemporary character of his works has made him the tallest iroko tree in the post-modernist forest of global dramatic literature. Yet, the commencement, two weeks ago, of the Wole Soyinka 82nd Birthday Festival, which ultimately climaxes today, July 13, his date of birth, unfortunately doesn't seem to wear the official insignia of the Nigerian government especially because he has started telling them the truth about the Nigerian condition. But, it is expected, as Christ Himself says in Matthew 13:57, "A prophet is not without honour, save his own country and his own house." 

In retrospect, in March 1996 when the Nigerian artistic and literary community was agog with the explosion of a series of events to mark the tri-centenary and two score anniversary of the birth of Von Goethe (1749-1832), the German creative genius and great thinker of all times, the Sani Abacha-led military junta, despite its sadistic, base and tyrannical complexion, surpassingly accorded the celebration an official recognition while declaring Soyinka, the custodian of our artistic signature wanted, dead or alive. Given the authoritarian intolerance of the Buhari government and the President's implacable disdain for anything cerebral, no one actually expected less from them especially at a time when Soyinka is telling him to listen to the cries of the Igbo and the minorities in the country, and to heed to the call for the restructuring of this lopsided federation. Oscar Wilde, the great Victorian English epigrammatist, in a state of protracted gloom once observed that: "Formerly we used to canonize our heroes. The modern method is to vulgarize them. Cheap editions of great books may be delightful, but cheap editions of great men are absolutely detestable." Indeed, the brilliant Wilde cannot be faulted. But there is no more breeding ground for such critical vituperation than our current socio-political climate.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Killing The Economy To Kill Corruption

By Abraham Ogbodo    
The battle against corruption has become the sole purpose of the Buhari Presidency. It is being prosecuted as if all other things that define good governance shall follow automatically as soon as victory is proclaimed. I can go ahead to suggest that the appointment of ministers in this month of September, which has only 10 days to finish, as early promised, be shelved. It is no longer necessary since the entire business of government has been consolidated into a single effort – war against corruption.
One man or at most one ministry to be called Ministry of War Against Corruption can do the whole job. News that Buhari has branded ministers as noise makers is very encouraging. No serious war anywhere in the world is fought and won with noise makers. In the spirit of the new revelation, a proposal for amendment of the operating constitution to make the appointment of ministers by a sitting president discretionary can be forwarded to the National Assembly for consideration.
I am not even too sure if the NASS itself will fit properly into the new order. The members are even noisier than the ministers. They are rascally and violent too; often using fists like junior school pupils instead of debates to settle issues. They are also very lazy. They work for one week and go on recess for four weeks. This war against corruption is neither for noise makers, rascals nor lay-abouts. All of this considered, we can push for another amendment of the constitution to operate this democracy without the NASS. It sounds alarming but since kings can legitimately kill to survive in a Machiavellian setting, we cannot go wrong if we allow the robust end of achieving a permanently corruption-free Nigeria to push us to disband the useless National Assembly.
With PMB, we have one in a millennium chance to catch all the thieves in Nigeria and change our circumstances. And so, if he asks to shut down the banking system, as he has done, to catch thieves who hide their stolen dollars in domiciliary accounts, he should be obliged. He is working to preserve the life of Nigeria and as we all know, in the rule of life, self preservation comes first. On this note alone, the threat by one self-appointed global regulator called JP Morgan to punish Nigeria on account of Buhari’s approach should be completely ignored.
JP Morgan or whatever it is called is not a very reliable teacher. It teaches nonsense and this has serially got it into trouble with the authorities in Washington DC and to which it has paid billions of dollars as fines. Besides, what does JP Morgan know that our own dear JP Clark or any other JP in Nigeria does not know better? And by the way, who made JP Morgan judge over Nigeria that is presided over by PMB?
The Central Bank as directed by PMB (since there is no finance minister till perhaps September 30) is doing a fantastic job. The point is that when there is too much money in the system and the citizens are behaving like lunatic astronauts, going to the moon to build houses, the thing to do is a serious mop up to precipitate a liquidity squeeze that will instill some sanity. This is what Buhari has done. It is a fundamental micro-economic principle and one does not need a certification by Harvard Business School to understand it. I don’t understand why JP Morgan, which should know better, is nagging over this like a bad house wife.

Buhari: A President Frozen In Time

By Ikechukwu Amaechi
There is hardly any Nigerian who is not in a state of despair right now. Since Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as president last year, despondency has enveloped the nation. Disappointment makes the misery worse.
In the build-up to the 2015 elections, Buhari was cast in the mould of Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle (Charles de Gaulle), the legendary French military general and statesman who founded the Fifth Republic in 1958 and was elected the 18th president of France, a position he held until his resignation in 1969.
*President Buhari 
To some others, he was Nigeria’s Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the Turkish army officer and revolutionary, who became the first president and founder of modern Turkey.
So beholden was Atatürk to his people that his surname, which means father of the Turks, granted to him in 1934, was forbidden to any other person by the Turkish Parliament.
Many of the promoters of the Buhari candidacy then assured us that by the time he was done with governance, he would be deified.
To be fair, there are still some Nigerians who believe that Buhari is Nigeria’s messiah but they are in a pathetic minority now.
And that is a big tragedy, not only for us but for the man himself, who failed to rise to the occasion when it mattered most. The president has demystified himself.
Yes, demystified himself because his injuries are self-inflicted.
A friend raised a poser last week which I consider very pertinent. What do you do when you have a president who did not come to power through the barrel of a gun but the ballot box and yet does not care a hoot about public opinion, about national mood?
What do you do when even the most sincere attempt to say, ‘hey, wait a minute Mr. President, you are going the wrong direction,’ is hoisted on the pole of deceit as evidence of corruption fighting back?
The answer to this poser, I must confess, is not as easy as it seems; which, perhaps, explains the melancholic atmosphere all around us.
But it seems Buhari is beginning to take the people for granted. His grandstanding is becoming offensive. His ‘do as I say and not as I do’ attitude is beginning to rankle.

Monday, July 11, 2016

How Buhari Ruined Our Economy, Bankrupted 34 States Despite Fuel Price Hike

By Deji Adeyanju
In about one year of Muhammadu Buhari’s misrule, Nigeria dropped from being the largest economy in Africa to who-knows-where, as well as the number one investment destination in Africa to number 13. What a difference one year can make.
Inflation rate that was below 9% when former President Goodluck Jonathan handed over to General Buhari on May 29, 2015 is now at 15.6% under Buhari. In one year, Buhari has taken our inflation rate from single digit to double digits.
*Buhari 
Our GDP growth rate was at 6.95% under Jonathan, now it is -0.36%, the worst in Nigeria’s history. Officially, our GDP is in ‘recession’. If this is not a sign that President Buhari has ruined the economy completely in just one year, what is?
In 2013/14, Nigeria was the 3rd fastest growing economy in the world, now we are 29th in the world. With the country’s current negative GDP of -0.36, Nigeria is set to be kicked out of the top 50 economies of the world in no time.
It is important to note that there are only 4 countries with negative GDP growth in Africa in the last quarter and Nigeria is now one of them.
The notion that President Buhari met an empty treasury when he took over is false because President Jonathan handed over $30 billion in Foreign Reserves, $5 billion in accrued Liquefied Natural Gas dividends, $3 billion in the Excess Crude Account, and around $2.4 billion in the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
Buhari was handed over a budget of about N4.5 trillion passed by Jonathan, few weeks before handover. Around N5.3 trillion was received as oil income in 2015, how was this money squandered by Buhari?
With the landing cost of petrol to the country at N89 per litre given the drop in price of crude oil, the Buhari’s federal government still increased fuel price to N145 per litre. Effectively Buhari is making a profit of N56 per litre of petrol bought by Nigerian. So, why does Buhari keep giving the impression the country is broke?
With this increased revenue from a new income stream, why hasn’t the Buhari government this new income? Why can’t states get more money from the federation account? Why can’t states pay salaries?
There are those blaming governors for their inability to pay salaries after spending one year under Buhari. They are simply naive or uneducated.
The federal government of NigeriaAbuja – is a quasi colonialist that controls everything from the states, yet it starves the states of their own money. When people say governors go to Abuja to beg for funds, I laugh.
What does Abuja generate? Absolutely NOTHING.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Wither Osun State! We Are Watching

By Anthony Okogie
In Nigeria today, Religion is always used for wrong reasons. We witnessed the OIC palaver of 1986 which nearly split our country in two, the religious riots in the old Kaduna State during which a number of churches were set ablaze and innocent lives were lost, the Sharia controversy in some states in the North in 2000 which also led to loss of human lives and harassment of the Christian minority in those states, the subjection of Nigerians to noise pollution issuing from churches and mosques, the exploitation of religious differences by politicians who would do or say anything to get votes, the use of religion to justify the obviously politically motivated Boko Haram insurgency, to mention but these.
*Okogie 
Religion is once again in the news, this time in Osun State on the wearing of HIJAB.  The much publicized hijab controversy in Osun State and the ensuing altercation between Muslims and Christians in the state should make peace-loving Nigerians apprehensive. Osun State is in the South West, a part of Nigeria that is noted and envied for its inter-religious harmony. It is a part of Nigeria where one could find siblings who practice different religions without acrimony. Let it not be that the hijab controversy in Osun State is the beginning of the end of inter-religious harmony in south-western Nigeria.

Osun State Governor (Ogbeni) Rauf Aregbesola has, in some quarters, been accused of instigating the crisis. The governor, for his part, has pro-tested his innocence. He has asked his accusers to provide evidence to prove the accusation. His accusers, for their part, believe rightly or wrongly, that his protestations make him look like the man who, according to a Yoruba allegory, having shot an arrow, now uses a mortar as his helmet. They believe, again rightly or wrongly, that the government he heads comes across as a government of questionable neutrality in this matter.  

But let us identify the real problem in Osun State. It is neither the wearing of hijab nor the wearing of choir robes. The problem of Osun State is the problem of many of the states in the fissiparous federalism Nigeria has been operating. Osun State, like an overwhelming majority of states in Nigeria, has failed to demonstrate that it is economically viable, and there are sufficient indices to back the assertion. The state government has not been able to pay salaries of workers for months. From the uncompleted intersection at Gbongan on the Ibadan-Ife Road, through the entire state, it is clearly evident that roads in Osun State are among the worst in Nigeria. It is hardly possible to drive one kilometer without a pothole, sometimes a crater.

In 2015, Osun State was ranked 29th of the 36 states in performance in the senior secondary school certificate examination. Quality of life in Osun State ranks among the worst in Nigeria. It would therefore amount to a distraction to make wearing a religious garb — whether it is hijab or choir robes— the issue in Osun State. It betrays a depressing lack of focus. This is the time for the governor and the people to live up to their beautiful name, to think and act like omolua-bi, since they call the state Ipinle Omoluabi. The problem of Osun State I dare say is not religion but the scandalous under-development of the state. Why is it that a portion of Nigeria that is so richly endowed is inhabited by impoverished people? The potentials for agriculture, tourism, sports, education in Osun State and the poor living condition of the people of the state raises a big question about quality of governance, past and present, in Ipinle Omoluabi. Instead of quarreling over religion, the people of Osun State would do well to call all its governors, past and present, to explain why, since the creation of the state in 1991, that state has simply failed to take off.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Holidaying While Nigeria Decays?

By Reno Omokri

For a nation that has already had one quarter of negative economic growth and is in danger of having another negative quarter (which would invariably put us officially in a recession), I was shocked, like many right thinking people, when the Federal Government extended the Eid-el-Fitr holidays which had initially been declared for Tuesday the 5th and Wednesday the 6th of July, 2016 to now include Thursday the 7th of July.
*President Buhari and his wife, Aisha
This record three day holiday effectively rendered the week beginning on Sunday July 3rd, 2016, a wasted week because Nigerians would naturally spend Monday the 4th preparing for the holiday and no right thinking person would expect any serious business to hold on Friday the 8th after the whole nation had been on holiday for the three days prior to that.

The economic implication of this decision is that when the Gross Domestic production of the third quarter of 2016 is being calculated, Nigeria would not be able to count on any meaningful production for one business week.

Flowing from the above, no one needs a crystal ball to predict that Nigeria is headed for another round of negative economic growth when the next quarterly GDP data is unveiled.

Yet this is the same country where 18,000 babies are born everyday and it is doubtful that up to 1,800 new jobs are created everyday. With this grim statistic, no one around the President thought it wise to advise him against making the small percentage of Nigerians who are employed to be underemployed by at least one week because of a holiday.

Is it that we do not understand the economic implications of our actions and how they effect the financial and economic well being of our nation?

Nigeria should be doing everything it can to ensure that it does not have consecutive periods of negative economic growth for the simple reason that having an economy in recession would lead to our economy being further downgraded. The implication of a downgraded economy is that we will not be able to attract the level of Foreign Direct Investment we need to drive growth. Further implications are that we would only be able to access credit at higher interest rates. The resultant effect of that would be loss of value in our stock exchange and a downward pressure on the value of the Naira (further devaluation) and when that happens, it would mean more people out of work and a worsening of Nigeria's Human Development Index.

The question is this-aren't there people around President Muhammadu Buhari who can explain this to him? Should Nigeria be holidaying while Rome burns?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Buhari Is Championing Nepotism – Junaid Mohammed

 …His Relatives Dictate Aso Rock policy
*President Buhari 
Interview by Ishaya Ibrahim (Acting News Editor)
Muhammadu Buhari’s relatives are the ones dictating policy in Aso Rock for 170 million Nigerians, adding nepotism to the festering allegation of narrow mindedness levelled against the president, who critics say surrounds himself with Northerners in running national affairs.
Junaid Mohammed, radical politician and Second Republic lawmaker, named at least seven relatives of the president who are the power behind the throne in the Villa – apart from the heads of all vital security agencies who are from the from the North.
In a telephone interview from his base in Kano, Mohammed accused Buhari of giving key positions to his cousins, nephews, and in-laws, and is therefore guilty of the corruption he is trying to fight.
Mohammed, a virulent critic of former President Goodluck Jonathan, and originally a supporter of Buhari, said nepotism compromises Buhari’s ability to rule the country well, fight corruption, and deal with rogue lawmakers who pose a threat to his administration.
Junaid Mohammed 
His words: “As far as I am concerned, nothing will come by way of contention with the National Assembly (NASS) and the executive branch, because both of them have a mindset which is completely antithetical to democracy. Both the president, particularly his principal adviser, his nephew, one nonentity called Mamman Daura; then the Chief of Staff [Abba Kyari], who in fact was brought up by Mamman Daura; and the scoundrel who is the Secretary to the Government of Federation [Babachir David], including most of the incompetent ministers, are not cut out to work harmoniously in a political environment with the legislature. On the legislative side, they want to continue business as usual; that will mean impunity, blackmail, open corruption to extort money from ministries, departments and agencies of federal and state governments, because they did not come into politics to serve. They came to make money. That is the basic fact. 
"You can see why it is impossible for anybody, no matter how reasonable, to work with the National Assembly, especially the Senate, because unless you are prepared to open up the national treasury and offer it to them, there is going to be no peace between the executive branch and them. And of course, there is the unfortunate, additional bad luck of Buhari being surrounded by his own relations who are not politicians. They are not even members of the APC (All Progressives Congress) but dictate policy, especially Mamman Daura. So I can see no peace, I can see no cooperation, and God save Nigeria.”

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Pres Buhari, Take A Hard Look At Nigeria’s Map

By Okey Ndibe

I recently surveyed President Muhammadu Buhari’s top appointments recently and was left wondering when last he took a long, hard look at Nigeria’s map. Before the president makes another important political appointment, he would do well to spend some time looking at the map of the country that’s under his charge.
*President Buhari
President Buhari’s disdain for geopolitical spread and religious diversity in his appointments is so stark as to constitute a scandal. As far as appointments go, it’s as if the man believes that Nigeria is reducible to one half of its geography, the north, and one major religion, Islam.

As a presidential candidate, Mr. Buhari was frequently characterized as a man given to excessive clannishness. Some critics alleged that his fealty to the northern half of Nigeria and partiality to fellow adherents of the Islamic faith trumped his belief in Nigeria and commitment to treat people of other faiths with fairness.

Since his presidential ambition aroused such anxiety, Mr. Buhari might have taken care to reassure Nigerians—as he stated in his inaugural speech—that he belonged to all of them. Instead, he seems to have gone out of his way to validate his critics’ worst fears. His personnel decisions as president have suggested a man whose mindset is as sectional as his political instincts are terrible. In one year as president, his appointments have deeply disappointed many Nigerians’ expectations of equity. He has operated as if unaware of the longstanding requirement that important political appointments ought to reflect the country’s federal character.

I believe every section of Nigeria has a pool of talented people. Therefore, the president’s default stance, choosing candidates for major positions from his own geographic area and religious group, is troubling. Is Mr. Buhari’s vision so blinkered that, each time he looks at Nigeria, he sees (mostly) Muslims and Northerners? And has he no handlers and advisers willing to speak honestly to him, to save him from his parochial instincts, to tell him, quite simply, that his appointments don’t tell a flattering story about him?

During Mr. Buhari’s first few months in office, some excused his lopsided appointments on the ground that he needed to surround himself with people he knew closely, whose loyalty he could count on. But even that apologia was untenable. Here was a man who ran for the Nigerian Presidency four times before he got elected. I don’t recall him professing that, if elected, he would fashion himself primarily into a Northern president. Surely, we should expect that a man who spent so much time and energy seeking to govern his country would have made some effort to broaden his base of loyalists.

Marching In Circles, Walking In Circles

By Chuks Iloegbunam
We must invite Hon. Yakubu Dogara, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to come to our immediate assistance. On Thursday June 9, 2016, Mr. James F. Entwistle, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, petitioned Speaker Dogara, accusing three members of the lower chamber of the National Assembly of improper conduct, attempted rape and soliciting for prostitutes while participating in a political programme in America.
*Buhari 
The following is a part of the Ambassador’s petition: “It is with regret that I must bring to your attention the following situation. Ten members of the Nigerian National Assembly travelled to Cleveland, Ohio, as participants in the International Visitor Leadership Programme on good governance. We received troubling allegations regarding the behavior of three members of the delegation to the U.S. Government’s flagship professional exchange programme.

“The U.S. mission took pains to confirm these allegations and the identities of the individuals with the employees of the hotel in Cleveland. “The conduct described above left a very negative impression of Nigeria, casting a shadow on Nigeria’s National Assembly, the International Visitor Leadership Program, and to the American hosts’ impression of Nigeria as a whole. Such conduct could affect some participants’ ability to travel to the United States in the future.”

The Ambassador requested “in the strongest possible terms” that the Speaker should share his government’s apprehension with the National Assembly so that the members will understand the “potential consequences” of their actions. The Ambassador had acted appropriately. As was to be expected, the matter sacked every other topic in the Nigerian media, orthodox and social. Calls sprang from the four corners asking for the heads of the accused legislators. Some, more merciful, demanded their imprisonment or, at the very least, their letters of resignation. It was at this point of cacophony that Speaker Dogara stepped in with a dose of fresh air. He called the American Ambassador’s petition by its real name, which is Allegations. And he tweeted severally: “He who alleges must prove. That’s the law. As we speak, no evidence has been put forward other than the letter sent to my office and copied to many others.”

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Nigeria:A Problem Like Rice!

By Ray Ekpu  
Over the years rice has grown into Nigeria’s stable food. It can be made in several ways: cooked, steamed, fried, ground. You can have it the way you want it, as coconut rice, waterleaf rice, jollof rice, tuo shinkafa or you can have it in a form that those who like it call “combined honours,” that is rice and beans.
*Ray Ekpu
In the 50s, in the Eastern part of Nigeria, rice was not the staple food. In the rural communities it is still not the main event today, Garri and Yams still rule the roost and rice is considered a Christmas, New Year or special occasion delicacy. But in the urban centres rice is the king. It is the king of foods because it is easy to cook; even a bachelor can cook it. It is kind to the tongue and kind to the stomach.
In the 50s, the rice we ate was grown in Nigeria. It was not polished. When it was rice day a mat would be rolled out and the rice poured on it. We would sit around and pull the rice aside in small bits and fish out the stones. It was fun since we knew that what we were doing was likely to give us food that will be kind to our teeth. It would be stone-free. We did not consider rice to be a problem.
Today, rice is becoming a problem of a sort because of its price tag. A year or so ago, you could buy a 50kg bag of rice for N10,000 or less. Today you may have to buy it for N15,000 or more. There is a report that some officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) were caught recently trying to rebag for profit rice that was meant for internally displaced persons in the North East. They did not know that rice, while a friendly commodity, has always had a big hunger for trouble especially when one tampers with its price. They may soon find out.

The Japanese government found that out in 1918. For about two months, July to September of that year, about 10 million people in 33 cities, 104 towns and 97 villages took part in the most notorious rice riots in history. The problem was that the price of rice had doubled within a few months while wages remained stagnant. This generated a spontaneous mass uprising particularly because rice is Japan’s staple food. The placards read “sell rice cheap” “down with wicked dealers.” The workers raided rice shops and the houses of profiteers. It took huge contingents of the police and 50,000 soldiers to quell the riots and bring the situation to normal.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Okojie And Liberalization Of The University System

By Dan Amor
A breezy and cheering news item on page 38 of The Authority  (Daily) of Monday January 4, 2016, made my day. Titled, "NUC targets more private varsities", the report, quoting the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius Okojie, circulated that the Commission would ensure that more private universities are established in the country in the near future.
 
*Prof. Julius A Okojie
Indeed, Prof. Okojie must be commended for the quantum leap his tenure as Executive Secretary of NUC has brought to the university system in Nigeria. With a paltry 73 universities (both public and private) in the country upon assumption of office in August 2006, Okojie, a scholar of international repute and professor of forestry, has grown the number of universities in Nigeria to 141 in less than a decade. That Nigeria with a population of about 170 million already has a total number of 141 universities is not even encouraging as this is not enough to meet the yearnings and aspirations of our teeming youths for tertiary education.

According to a recent study, the United Kingdom with a population of about 60 million has 120 universities while the United States of America with a population of about 260 million has 345 universities. India, with a population of about 1.5 billion people has 398 universities while Australia with 17 million people has 36 universities. It is against this backdrop that I support the establishment of more private universities in Nigeria.

In 1999, the Federal Government licensed the establishment of four private universities namely, Heritage University in Kaduna; Igbinedion University at Okada, Benin City; Babcock University at Remo, Ogun State, and Madonna University in Onitsha, Anambra State. This was a step in the right direction. Also, in 2003, the National Universities Commission (NUC) approved the establishment of more private universities, among which are: Bowen University, Iwo; Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State; Redeemers University, Ede, Osun State. Besides a few private universities that had existed before such as Benson Idahosa University, Benin City; Pan African (now Pan Atlantic) University, etcetera, we now have new ones including Bells University of Technology; Lead City University; several newly established State universities and the 13 new Federal universities established in one fell swoop by the Goodluck Jonathan administration.


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