Monday, October 31, 2016

Gov Ugwuanyi And The Rampaging Herdsmen

By Dan Amor 
Like a typical Nigerian nightmare, the incessant attacks on some communities in Enugu state by suspected Fulani herdsmen have generated more heat than light. In March this year, 70 youths on a rescue mission to extricate their people from the vice-grip of Fulani herdsmen at Ugwuleshi in Agwu local government area of the state, were rounded up and detained by security forces. 
President Buhari and Gov Ugwuanyi
On April 25, barely a month after the first incident, several indigenes of Ukpabi Nimbo village in Uzouwani local government area were reportedly killed by Fulani herdsmen. And most recently, a seminarian, Lazarus Nwafor, was killed and four others including a pregnant woman, severely injured by the herdsmen. The woman later gave up the ghost from the injuries she sustained during the attack. Apart from the usual pantomimes by the authorities that they would not tolerate criminal herdsmen, the Buhari-led Federal government appears helpless and lacks the political will to confront this hydra-headed monster threatening the peace and security of the country.

It is this ugly development which has generated sustained tension in the state hitherto acknowledged everywhere as the most peaceful in the entire South East geopolitical zone of the country. Standing in the middle of this tension is Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the governor and 'chief security officer' of the state on whose desk the buck stops. And since irrational impulses are not surprising in the stress and tension that characterise a demented society such as Nigeria, many furious indigenes of the Coal-City state are calling on the governor to declare war with the marauders. True, in an atmosphere of violence, reason is sometimes abandoned and humanitarian principles forgotten since the inflamed passions of the time lead men to commit atrocities. But the concern here is not with the psychological pathology of those who commit atrocities but rather with what has turned our nation to a slaughterhouse where human beings are daily murdered with intimidating alacrity.

It would, of course, be absurd to deny that the Federal government is implicitly or explicitly responsible for this carnival of anomie enveloping the nation. In the case of Enugu state where some of us virtually grew up, the lamentable absence of development before now, especially in the rural areas, provides an alibi for the germination and cross fertilization of criminals especially of the herdsmen variety. For instance, Enugu state parades some of the most dreaded and deadly forests in the South East. Some of these forests include Ugwuogo Nike, Umuopu Enugu Ezike, Umuogbo Agu, Ette in Igboeze North, Affa Eke Road by Ninth Mile Express, Akpakwumeze, Nimbo, Obollo Afor, Atakwu, Akwugbe Ugwu, Agwu, Ugwu Onyeama, etcetera. In fact, there are so many thick forests in Enugu state that would even make Sambisa Forests, the Boko Haram battle field pale into insignificance. For so many years, the Fulani herdsmen have been living in these forests and nobody cared any hoot to ask why they prefer to live in the forests like apes. It is in these forests that the herdsmen stay to perfect their strategies to unleash terror on their host communities since even the natives lack access roads and rural telephony to alert the police and other security agencies.

Accommodation Racket At the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN)

By I. B. Nga
Since the commencement of this new academic session, several students of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), have been badly destablised by the very frustrating method deployed by the Student Affairs Department in the allocation of hostel accommodation to students. Worst hit are the final year students, many of whom have been left stranded. Instead of devoting time and energy to their academic work at this very critical and terminal stage of their stay at the university,   they are running from pillar to post trying to secure hostel accommodations, all to no avail.

 The computerised system should have made the process of hostel allocation very easy if it was managed by honest people. To obtain a hostel accommodation at UNN, one has to visit the UNN internet portal (http://unnportal.unn.edu.ng/), log in with one’s Student’s Identification Code and apply for a bed-space. If the student is allocated, he or she will print out an allocation confirmation slip and use it to go to the designated bank to pay for the accommodation.  

But from the very date the university reopened for this first semester, it was an uphill task for several students to even access the UNN portal online. When eventually, some of them succeeded and logged in to apply for bed spaces, the page kept giving out the following message: "All Rooms Have Been Allocated." But while many of the unallocated students remained stranded and distracted from their academic work which has since commenced in full force, those with “connections” always got privileged information as to the exact period the system would be activated by the university officials to start allocating again. And these would rush and log in to the portal to secure rooms for themselves, settle down and face their school work. But when the information eventually spreads and the other students start logging in also, the website would start again to say that "All Rooms Have Been Allocated." After sometime, it would begin to announce something different, namely, "Try Again Later." What a frustrating situation.

Now, despite these developments, there are still many rooms that are yet to be allocated at UNN. And from time to time, those with the "right connections" get informed when the portal would start allocating and would rush to secure rooms before information reaches other students who would only log in when it has stopped allocating. 
Not too long ago, there was a fire incident at one the hostels at the UNN and the building  is yet to be renovated as to be in use. The officials are hiding behind the modest shortage this has caused to perpetrate their nefarious activities. And so they create an artificial scarcity in order to give the accommodation to their preferred students – who probably may have greased their palms.

Nigerians, Beware Of Beauty Pageants!

By Uche Ezechukwu
I was billed to officiate at a beauty pageant-cum award giving ceremony, last Friday at Owerri, as keynote speaker. I had written what I considered a good speech and had got an expert to translate it into Igbo, as the entire proceedings at the Asa Igbo pageant would be in Igbo language. It was that refreshing departure from the norm, as well as the assurance by the organizers that it was not going to be like the run-of the mill pageants, about which I had since become suspicious, that had made me to agree to participate fully.
*Chidinma Okeke
I did not only agree to participate but had also made this newspaper, whose editorial board I chair, to throw its weight behind the planning and execution of the event with publicity. We had publicized and popularized the event as professionally as we could. We were convinced that we were supporting a good course, because the Asa Igbo pageant would be an occasion to glorify and promote Igbo language, values and culture.

The paper I prepared was directed at that noble theme. I had since started frowning at the promotion of female cleavages and nudity as signifying beauty. Hence, in the eyes of the different organizers of beauty pageants in the West and which has been copied line, hook and sinker by Nigerian organizers like Ben Bruce and co., the most beautiful maidens are those that flaunt their feminine attributes best and most alluringly before male audiences and judges and most audaciously. As a typical African, this definition of ‘beauty’ appears very defective to me, because in our African milieu, the beauty of a woman, especially the nubile female, is defined more by inside, unseen values than by the outward attributes which can be cosmetically achieved.

In the other words, many of the Miss This; Miss That which most of our beauty pageants have been turning out might, in fact, be painted sepulchers with stinking inside attributes, which to the ordinary African, does not constitute the beauty of a woman.

The organizers of the Asa Igbo pageant had assured us that they had the same lofty objectives as I was espousing when I first discussed with Mike Akabueze, the president of the Asa Igbo Foundation, as a condition for agreeing to the partnership with The Authority. They had assured me that their beauty queen would be one that could stand out any day as the ambassador of Igbo beauty as defined by Igbo culture and philosophy. I was completely bought over and made up my mind to deliver a paper that would add some colour to the event. The title of my paper was: The Woman as the Glory of Her Society, which I would have delivered in Igbo as: Nwanyi bu Ugo Mba.

Obasanjo And His 25 Billionaires

By Remi Oyeyem
The brief exchange (as reported by the News Agency of Nigeria via PUNCH newspaper on October 30, 2016) between Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Mrs. Folorunso Alakija at the 2016 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum last weekend was very instructive in so many ways. It was very instructive because it underscored the kind of mentality possessed by those who have had the chance(s) to govern Nigeria. Or it underscored the misfortune of Nigerians to have been governed by the kind of leaders they have had so far.
*Obasanjo: Celebrating his 25 billionaires? 
Mrs. Alakija, according to reports, had fired the first salvo accusing the Obasanjo administration that it “illegally took an oil block” allocated to her company after her family had “invested all” to “strike oil in commercial quantity.” Mrs. Alakija said the following in addition:
‘She said, “This oil block is in 5000 feet depth of water and was extremely difficult to explore. It took 15 years from the time that we were awarded the licence in 1993 till 2008 when we first struck the first oil.
“When this event happened, 60 per cent out of our 60 per cent equity in the business, was forcefully taken from us by the government of the day without due process.
We had to fight back by going to court to seek redress and it took another 12 years for justice to be served in our favour.”

Obasanjo in his response had reportedly explained that the “action of the government then was in line with the Mining Act which regulates oil prospection and exploration.” He insisted that it was “not fair” for Mrs. Alakija to claim that she was denied what was rightfully hers. Obasanjo –Onyejekwe added “I do not know you from Adam and there is no reason I would have denied you what rightfully belonged to you. So, you struggled, and you have struck oil. God bless your heart.”

Then Obasanjo dropped the bombshell:
“My delight is to be able to create Nigerian billionaire and I always say it that my aim, when I was in government was to create 50 Nigerian billionaires.
“Unfortunately I failed. I created only 25 and Madam, you are one of them.”

There is nothing unusual about Obasanjo’s failing to create 50 Nigerian billionaires as he intended. He has always failed Nigerians in every endeavour he has been involved. But the larger question remains the inability of our leaders to follow due process in exercising power. Our rulers often act as if they are kings of the jungle and that the laws of the land do not apply to them. They exude beastly instincts permeated with ruinous vendetta in manifesting congenital need to demonstrate crude power.

To Mrs. Alakija, until she was allotted oil wells, no one has really heard about her. She was never associated with any known business endeavour. She did not descend from any rich family or was previously married to a billionaire of credible means. She became a billionaire because she was allotted oil wells. She is emblematic of the mis-governance that has always characterized our clime. She got to be allotted oil wells in a system where nothing was ever fair and without due process. She only used her connections with our power aphrodisiacs euphemized as rulers, to get the oil wells.

Mrs. Alakija is a Yoruba woman. Like the retired General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma she got many oil wells because of her proximity to crude power in Nigeria. None of them is from Niger Delta. With the publicly available list of the owners of oil wells in Nigeria, the people of the Niger Delta have been evidently short changed. How many Niger Deltans became billionaire as a result of owning oil wells?

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Nigeria: Democracy Minus The PDP

By Abraham Ogbodo  
This is Nigeria’s fourth attempt at democracy hence the ongoing dispensation is aptly called the Fourth Republic. Ordinarily, some measure of mastery should be assured having gone through the same process four times over. But if nothing is learnt or mastered in subsequent performance and the approach remains constant, sheer repetition of a process is not going to translate to different outcome.
Last week, Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko visited Aso Rock Villa. It could be described as unplanned visit because the decision by Mimiko to be at the headquarters only propped up after INEC had made statements about parties and their candidates in the upcoming governorship election in Ondo State. Specifically, the governor was in Abuja to tell President Muhammadu Buhari that Ondo State is being pushed to the precipice following the decision by INEC to stay with Jimoh Ibrahim, instead of Eyitayo Jegede, as the PDP candidate in the November 26 election.
The background to all of this is rather familiar. There is a certain Ali Modu Sheriff who has become like a shadow that cannot be detached from the substance except darkness is induced. This is what has forced the PDP to have two leadership faces. Modu Sheriff is one and the other is former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi. This monstrous outlook has subsisted even when the party has gone extra lengths within the prescribed rules to prove that it has only one face represented by Makarfi. Somehow, the party is not able to use all the means of communication available to it to say to who its national chairman is and who is not.
Others who seek to reap political benefits call the current state of affairs in the PDP intra-party crisis. Because the crisis is not yielding to judicial arbitration, the capacity of the party to attack and kill the snake in its house is greatly weakened too. If nothing is done, the PDP could be obliterated to free the democratic space of opposition politics. There is no other quicker way for a conscious society to migrate on its own volition from democracy to dictatorship.
For now, this whole thing about the PDP’s inability to solve its problems may taste very sweet. The official position is that the APC and the presidency have no hands in what is happening in the PDP, contrary to the belief in some quarters. The problem has been fully offloaded at the doorstep of the judiciary to crack. It is taken that the courts have the powers to decide even, in spite of the PDP, who between Modu-Sheriff and Ahmed Markafi is the authentic chairman of the party. Consequently, persons and institutions central to the imbroglio and which can at least voice opinions to create a refraction in the narrative are showing an unusual degree of piety.

Buhari’s Strategists Chasing Ants


By Reuben Abati 
President Muhammadu Buhari’s strategists, if they are at work at all, are chasing ants and ignoring the elephant in the room. They do him great disservice. Their oversight is hubristically determined either by incapacity or a vendetta-induced distraction. It is time they changed the game and the narrative; time they woke up. 
*President Buhari 
It’s been more than 15 months since the incumbent assumed office as President, but his handlers have been projecting him as if he is a Umaru Musa Yar’Adua or a Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, first time Presidents who could afford the luxury of a learning period before settling down to the job, and who in addition must prove themselves to earn necessary plaudits. In making this mistake, President Buhari’s handlers created a sad situation whereby they have progressively undermined his image. 

The truth is that Muhammadu Buhari is neither a Yar’Adua nor a Jonathan. He may have sought the office of President in three previous elections, before succeeding at his fourth attempt in 2015, but he came into office on a different template. He had been Head of State of Nigeria (1983-85) and had before then served his country at very high levels as military administrator, member of the Supreme Military Council, head of key government institutions and subsequently from 1985 -2015, as a member of the country’s Council of State, the highest advisory body known to the Nigerian Constitution. 

In real terms, therefore, General Muhammadu Buhari did not need the job of President. If he had again lost the election in 2015, his stature would not have been diminished in any way. His place in Nigerian history was already assured. That is precisely why it was possible to package him successfully as a man on a messianic mission to rescue Nigeria from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and whatever is ascribed to that in the emotion-laden field of Nigerian politics. 

He might have acquired many IOUs when he assumed office in 2015, as all politicians do, but he was not under any pressure to pay back and he was so well positioned in the people’s reckoning and historically that he could call anyone’s bluff and get away with it. That much is of course obvious. Many of the persons and groups who could claim that they helped him to get to power a second time are today not in a position to dictate to him. 

Long before such persons left their mother’s homes for boarding school, he had made his mark as a Nigerian leader. He could look them straight in the eye and cleverly put them in their place. Corrupt patronage is a strong element of Nigerian politics and so far, President Buhari has shown a determination to limit the scope of such politics. Whether that is right or wrong is a matter of political calculations, and if current intimations are anything to go by, that may even prove costly in the long run. 

Nonetheless, when a leader assumes office with his kind of helicopter advantages, it should not be expected that he would hit the ground like a tyro in the corridors of power. Not too many persons in his shoes get a second chance to return to power after a gap of 30 years. As it happened in his case, he would be expected to run the country as a statesman, not as a party man, as a bridge-builder, not as a sectional leader and as father of all. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Investigate Allegations Against Amaechi, Onu

By Frank P. Ujuh
The anti-corruption war is getting messier everyday with some startling revelations. After the Department of State Services (DSS) sting operation on some judges in the country and government’s explanation over what most Nigerians regarded as an attack on the judiciary, some of the judges have started dishing out their own side of the story.
Rotimi Amaechi and President Buhari 
First to throw the salvo was one of the arrested Justices of the Supreme Court, Justice John Inyang Okoro. Justice Okoro had in a letter to the National Judicial Council (NJC) alleged that his refusal to do the bidding of the Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, over election matters in Akwa Ibom, Abia and Rivers states is the source of his travails.
According to Justice Okoro, “My Lord, I strongly believe that this my travail is not unconnected with the verbal report I made to you on February 1, 2016 about the visit to my official residence by Rotimi Amaechi, former governor of Rivers   State and now Minister of Transport. In that report, I told you my lord, that Amaechi said that the president of Nigeria and the APC mandated him to inform me that they must win their appeals in respect of Rivers State, Akwa Ibom State and Abia State at all costs.”
However, Amaechi’s media aide, David Iyofo, has denied the allegation. He said that “This accusation from Justice Okoro against Amaechi is a figment of his imagination, concocted to obfuscate and politicize the real issues for his arrest and the DSS investigation of allegations of corruption against him.
"The claims by Justice Okoro against Amaechi are blatant lies, bereft of any iota of truth or even logic. Amaechi did not, and has never approached Justice Okoro in respect of the cases Okoro mentioned or any other case. This is a cheap attempt, albeit, political move to drag the name of Amaechi into something he knows nothing about. Justice Okoro should face his issues and leave Amaechi out of it.”
When the dust raised by Okoro’s allegation is not yet settled, another Supreme Court Judge, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta came up with another weighty allegation of corruption against Amaechi and the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu over election matters. Justice Ngwuta had in a letter addressed to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, explained that his problem dated back to 2014 when Amaechi approached him to set aside Ayo Fayose’s election in order to make way for the former governor of Ekiti State and now Minister of Solid Mineral, Kayode Fayemi.
According to Ngwuta, “My present plight started sometime between 2013 and 2014. I represented the then Chief Justice of Nigeria in an event organised in the International Conference Centre. He begged me to ensure that Fayose’s election was set aside and another election ordered for his friend Fayemi to contest. I told him I would not help him and that even if I was on the panel, I had only my one vote.”
*Dr Ogbonnaya Onu and  President
Muhammadu Buhari
Justice Ngwuta also alleged that a former governor of Abia State, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu contacted him to help sway the Court of Appeal’s decision on Ebonyi State governorship election matter. Amaechi’s media aide, David Iyofo said that “Justice Ngwuta’s allegation is nothing but pure fiction, a dubious diversionary tale concocted to muddle the very serious issues of his arrest and investigation by the Department of State Services (DSS).”
In the same vein, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has denied the bribery allegation by Ngwuta. According to Onu, “ I am astonished that Justice Ngwuta made such statements against my humble self, especially considering that he is my brother, friend and long standing associate of almost three decades.”
Onu further pointed out that “I have labored with other compatriots to strengthen the depth and reach of participatory democracy in our beloved country. in doing so, I am conscious of the essence of the rule of law as a vital component of true and enduring democracy and the important need to treasure, protect and defend it at all times. Even as a student, teacher, engineer and administrator, I have always worked tirelessly to uphold the rule of law.”
Despite the spirited denials by the two ministers, the allegations made by Justices Okoro and Ngwuta against Rotimi Amaechi and Ogbonnaya Onu are too weighty to be dismissed with a wave of the hand. The aim of the fight against corruption will be utterly defeated if these allegations are not thoroughly investigated. In fact, the relevant investigative organs should wade into the matter without any further delay.
The investigation has become necessary considering the fact that the allegations border on bribing judges against election petition matters, especially those in Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Abia, Ekiti and Ebonyi states. It is worrisome that all the states concerned in these allegations are in the hands of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and those named in the bribery allegations are chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
While we hold those mentioned in the allegations innocent until the contrary is proved, we call for urgent investigation of the sundry bribery allegations against the serving ministers of this administration. It is in the interest of the ministers that the matter is investigated.
For the investigation to be thorough, the two ministers must step aside. Since the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has affirmed that corruption is in all arms of government, the fight against corruption should be extended to those involved in the executive arm. Much of that had been the lot of the legislature and recently of the judiciary.
The Federal Government should not bury this matter under the carpet. This matter should not be treated like a family affair. Since these allegations have been brought to the public domain by the Supreme Court Justices, they deserve to be investigated. To do otherwise will jeopardize the current anti-corruption agenda of the present administration.
Every person accused of corruption must be thoroughly investigated and there should be no cover up of any kind. Nigerians are watching to see this happen. It will be recalled that the anti-graft war of the present dispensation has been accused of being selective and political. Nigerians want a departure from such posture. Let all corruption allegations against those in power also be investigated.
Ujuh writes from Abuja


Biafra Not Nigeria's Problem

By Chuks Iloegbunam
Biafra is not one of the problems besetting Nigeria. Those un­able to appreciate this fact may require a dose of creative thinking. Nigeria's stubborn thorn in the flesh is its adamant repudiation of the self-evident concept of the changelessness of change, upon which sits a crippling unwillingness to engage that same constancy of change. There are two random but famous declarations – one little remembered today, the other something of a mantra – that neatly wrap up the na­tional antiparty to inexorable change and its management.
Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu taking
 the oath of office as the Head of State of the Republic  of Biafra in 1967 
On January 15, 1970, there was a ceremony at Dodan Barracks, Lagos, the then seat of political power. Biafran acting Head of State, General Philip Effiong, Colonel David Ogunewe, Colonel Patrick Anwunah, Colonel Patrick Amadi and Police Commis­sioner Patrick Okeke had gone to submit Biafra's docu­ment of surrender, which of­ficially marked the end of the civil war. "The so-called rising sun of Biafra has set forever," declared Head of State Gen­eral Yakubu Gowon, on that occasion. In the leaps and dips of Nigeria's turbulence, it is common to hear politicians of varying persuasions de­claring, as a way of "helping" to stabilize the listing ship of state, that "Nigeria's unity is not negotiable."

Between Gowon's pre­sumption of Biafra's finality, which rode on the crest of tri­umphalism and was hailed as prescient by many, including Gowon's biographer Profes­sor Isawa Elaigwu, and the incessantly voiced exclusion of terms on Nigeria's one­ness, lies the country's prob­lematic. General Gowon is alive and bouncing. Were he to honestly comment on his 45-year old declaration today, he would readily admit to not having thoroughly considered all sides of everything. For it is clearly outside the bounds of political authority to decree the irreversible amputation of human predilection and proclivity. The current hoopla around Biafra lends credence to the assertion.

Now, there is something baffling in the oft-repeated statement on Nigeria's unity not being negotiable. The statement does not mean that Nigeria's unity is a fait ac­compli. It simply insists on a spiteful denunciation of any thought of mapping out a sus­tainable road on which the assumed or anticipated na­tional unity must travel, free from iniquity and cataclysms; a method for mastering the imperatives of national unity which is, anywhere in the world, a particularly daunt­ing proposition. It is because Nigeria has kept its back ob­durately turned to change that even the littlest molehill on its uncharted road invariably becomes a precipitous moun­tain. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Rotimi Amaechi: Test of Buhari’s Anti-Corruption War

By Wale Suleiman
A judge is not a lawyer, and neither is he an advocate. A judge is a priest. His vineyard is the temple of justice. But a judge doesn’t make prophesies. He doesn’t have a crystal ball. He only makes pronouncements. But he’s guided, not by the gods, but by the rules that define justice. He is an interpreter of the law when justice is at stake.

That is why he is a revered priest because in his interpretation lies life and death. He must not succumb to the human whims, yet he is a human being. He must keep fidelity to the lifeless words of the law. That is why the law has been described as an ass. The law is a tyrant, and the judge is always a victim of that tyranny.
That is why dubious politicians don’t take chances. They find ingenious ways to sway the judge. They hire lawyers in good reckoning of the judges who act as go between, and dangle sometimes irresistible offers. Some judges succumb to the lucre and desecrate the temple. They compromise the law, and justice. This country has seen it often and often.
Thus when the Department of State Security recently raided the residences of some senior judges believed to have soiled their robes, many were not surprised. But many were scandalised only by the manner of the raid, which portrayed the system as crude and uncivilised.
But since after the raids, the tables have started turning and the hunters are becoming the hunted. The judges whose homes were raided started fighting back. It was Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal Capital Territory High Court who fired the first shot. He wrote a well-publicised letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, and Chairman of the National Judicial Council, NJC, explaining why he became a target of the DSS. He pointed fingers at the Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice as the man behind his travails.
He said his arrest was a revenge from Malami, whose arrest and detention he ordered over a professional misconduct while he was judge in Kano between 2004 and 2008.
But when Inyang Okoro, a Justice of the Supreme Court, made his own ‘pronouncement’, and narrated how Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transport, committed blasphemy, it was not only damning, it was earth-shaking! Okoro, in a letter to the CJN wrote that his ordeal was tied to Amaechi’s visit to his residence, alleging that the minister “said that the President of Nigeria and the All Progressives Congress mandated him to inform me that they must win their election appeals in respect of Rivers State, Akwa Ibom State and Abia State at all costs.”

Corruption: Suspension For All

By Paul Onomuakpokpo  
While the plaudits tend to dim the caution against the danger of repudiating the constitutional forts that guarantee the stability of our society in the guise of prosecuting the anti-corruption campaign, we must keep on reminding ourselves of the desiderata for the realisation of the vision of a transparent society that President Muhammadu Buhari seemingly holds.
*Buhari 
As this column has often stressed, there is no doubt that corruption is an enervating plague that must be rooted out of our society to pave the way for an equitable distribution of the wealth with which this nation is immeasurably endowed.
Yet, in arresting and prosecuting the corrupt among us, we must guard against being befuddled by our identification with the ruling party. It is such uncritical alignment that has blurred the vision of those who should have declared the obvious excesses that have smeared the anti-corruption campaign intolerable.
True, no one who is keenly aware of the grim reality that the nation has suffered despoliation due to the complicity of the corrupt guardians of the laws of the land would query the raid on the residences of judges who allegedly have been living on sleazy funds. Again, we cannot easily render impeachable the idea of the judges being on suspension until they exonerate themselves from their alleged involvement in practices that strongly detracted from their professional integrity.
Thus, the National Judicial Council (NJC) may soon buckle under the pressure being mounted on it to suspend the judges. The NJC may no longer bear being accused of complicity with the judicial officers whose residences the Department of State Services (DSS) raided for allegedly perverting the course of justice after being bribed with dollars. Of course, apart from the DSS and the president, no one else knows how compelling the incriminating evidence against the judges are. But to save the judiciary from the moral absurdity of judges accused of corruption presiding over cases of financial sleaze, they may have to be suspended while their investigation lasts.
But it would remain an ominous omission that mocks the anti-corruption drive if it is only the judges that would be on suspension because of the allegations against them. This is where the Buhari government must allow equity to lend credibility to the anti-corruption campaign. The judges have alleged that they are being haunted by the security agency of the government not because their professional credibility is in question, but simply because they have refused to do the obnoxious bidding of some of those in the ruling party.
Indeed, they did not mince words. Justice Sylvester Ngwuta accused the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and Ogbonaya Onu of asking him to influence judgments in their favour. Ngwuta alleged that Amaechi asked him to illegally remove Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and Nyesom Wike of Rivers State as governors. Before then, Justice John Inyang Okoro accused Amaechi of asking him to pervert justice by making sure that election appeal cases for Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia states favour him.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Those Spoiling Nigeria

By Sunny Ikhioya
The foundation of any nation state is based sorely on unity, you cannot attain unity without peace and justice. And, you cannot attain peace and justice without love and honesty. To enable us understand this further, let us look at our national anthem that we all stand up everyday to honour.

 Those who composed our national anthem had this in mind when they wrote in the last verse of the first stanza thus: “One nation bound in freedom, Peace and Unity”. Have we really considered the weight of this verse as we recite when the opportunity presents itself? Have our leaders really tried to govern this country in an atmosphere of fundamental rights, as enshrined in the United Nations charter on freedom?

Has it not been a situation of the strong always oppressing the weak ? Have the minority rights ever been upheld to the letter as enunciated in our Constitution? One good thing that is happening in this country is the discovery of crude oil in places outside the Niger Delta, like in Lagos and a few in the north as being touted in certain circles. Will these oil producing areas be treated the same way the Niger Delta region has been treated, with disdain and neglect? My answer is no.

Already, the rumour mill is rife with stories about relief and compensation given to areas affected by the oil drilling activities in the north, especially to  Emirs. The NNPC is in position to clarify details on this but surely they will not get the Niger Delta treatment. I do not know if our leaders take time to read and digest the national anthem, the second stanza, verses five and six which speaks of  building a nation  “ In love and honesty to grow, And living just and true”. Have we related to ourselves in love and honesty? Where the Jigawa man is saying that the oil in Bayelsa belongs to Jigawa?

 Why have the Niger Delta people been completely deprived of the control of their natural resources? The Petroleum Industry bill, PIB, designed to take care of the interest of all, has been kept in the cooler by the majority ethnic groups in the National Assembly for almost eight years now. Where is the justice in that? The last verse of our national anthem says; “To build a nation where peace and justice shall reign”.  It is indisputable that, in a nation where peace and justice reigns, progress is guaranteed. The composers of our anthem noted this fact and all of our past and present leadership have accepted it as such. It therefore follows that all the past leaders,  including the present leader ship have failed to govern with justice, honesty, fairness and equity.

The Buhari/Aisha Squabble

By Wale Sokunbi

Three important events caught the imagination of many Nigerians in the past fortnight. But, I will dwell on one of them. Nigeria’s First Lady, Aisha Buhari, and her husband, President Muhammadu Buhari, were in the global spotlight for reasons that were less than salutary. Aisha threw potshots at the president at an interview with the Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), saying his government had been hijacked by “strangers” who were not involved in his campaign for the office of president. The president replied with an unfortunate gaffe in the worst place he could have made such a mistake – in front of one of the most powerful women in the world, German leader, Angela Merkel.
President Buhari and wife, Aisha
Buhari, to the shock of the lady and the enlightened world, said his wife’s place was in the kitchen, the sitting room and the now infamous “the other room.”
Aisha’s statement castigating her husband had, last week, won the hearts of many who felt that the president needed to be told the home truth that she told him. The statement was particularly pleasing to those who are happy to hold on to any straw to condemn the president and project his many perceived “failings”. Indeed, one writer, on account of what he regarded as Aisha’s identification with ordinary Nigerians on their disenchantment with the Buhari administration, actually saw in her someone who should run for the office of vice president in 2019.
What is the import of the Buhari/Aisha spat? For me, Aisha’s outburst mirrors her frustration with the president for not making the appointment of persons into his administration a “family and friends affair”, but one of strange bedfellows who were coming in to reap where they did not sow. In that sense, all the anger is not so much about the baking of the nation’s legendary “national cake”, but the sharing of it in a manner that did not reflect the efforts of those who contributed in making the cake available for sharing by Buhari in the first place.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Before We Destroy Nigeria

By Malachy Uzendu
Nigerians are superbly interesting set of people. Every moment presents itself as placebo for throwing away serious punches. We seem to love to be dribbled; we enjoy flash in the pan situations. We seem not to have deep thinking faculties. Our handling of situations is always on the ephemeral plane.
*Buhari 
A few months ago, the issue on the lip of Nigerians were “Senate Standing Rules” forgery or no for­gery; whether it was the national leadership of the ruling All Pro­gressives Congress (APC) that holds the prerogative of determin­ing who becomes a principal offic­er of the National Assembly or not. It did not matter that people who were elected to that arm of govern­ment from the different constitu­encies in the country have even if we chose to call it some form of pedigree, neither did it matter that they have a contract with their var­ious constituencies. A privileged few must determine who becomes what and what happens there.

Nigerians made a lot of noise on this issue: some people called for the public execution of Sena­tors Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekw­eremadu. Some people who were obsessed by their self righteousness even postulated that National As­sembly members should not on their own aspire to any portfolio in that arm of government but should wait for portfolio to be assigned to them by the executive arm of gov­ernment either directly or indirect­ly through the instrumentality of the ruling political party.

Conversely, some persons who hold alternative view points insist­ed that capitulating to that level was dictatorial, diversionary, myopic and banal and had nothing to do with the essence of true democracy.
After several months of legal fireworks, propaganda and pub­lic odium for Saraki and Ekwere­madu, the executive arm of gov­ernment, withdrew the forgery lawsuit slammed on the two prin­cipal officers. To Nigerians it was a matter of case closed; no qualms, life moves on to the next issue. The master has spoken and so be it. The public never bother about the eco­nomic and social costs. This was a typical case of the executive dis­tracting the legislature and the pub­lic, the polity pays the price.

Monday, October 24, 2016

In Jonathan's Confab Lies The Future Of Nigeria

By Dan Amor
In Culture and Anarchy, Matthew Arnold, one of the greatest social and literary critics in Eighteenth Century England, according to a reviewer, “employs a delicate and stringent irony in an examination of the society of his time: a rapidly expanding industrial society, just beginning to accustom itself to the changes in its institutions that the pace of its own development called for.”
*Jonathan 
Coming virtually at the end of the decade (1868) and immediately prior to W.E. Forster’s Education Act, Culture and Anarchy according to the same reviewer, “phrases with a particular cogency the problems that find their centre in the questions: what kind of life do we think individuals in mass societies should be assisted to lead? How may we best ensure that the quality of their living is not impoverished?” In this little book of about 238 pages, Arnold “applies himself to the detail of his time”: to the Reform agitation, to the commercial values that working people were encouraged to respect, and to the limitations of even the best rationalist intelligence.
I do not know how much of Arnold had former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan read. But a critical or psychoanalytic study of the former President’s inaugural speech at the National Conference 2014, in Abuja on Monday March 17, 2014 advertises a clear departure from the wayward past. Despite whatever anyone may say, the composition of the team of delegates was the best anyone could put together anywhere in the world. It was an assemblage of dynamic personalities, of the men and women who forged our freedom as a country. And in spite of my well-articulated reservations about some of Jonathan's previous speeches, I saw his address at the Confab inauguration as sublime. In that beautifully crafted, inquiring and highly readable speech, the President brilliantly shows how in the course of a single lifetime, Nigeria changed from a confident continental power into an uncertain, reluctant and domestically fragmented member of the African Union with all her institutions almost failing due to a misbegotten leadership.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Many Lies Of John Paden, Buhari's Biographer

By Reno Omokri


The book Muhammadu Buhari-The Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria  by Professor John Paden is not only an intellectually lazy work, it is also a fallacious document hastily put together to paint the protagonist in the borrowed garb of an effective leader who is cleaning the Augean Stable of misrule and corruption in Nigeria, but my question is this - how can you fight corruption with lies?
President Buhari, his wife, Aisha, Gowon and Prof Paden
I have taken my time to x-ray the book and I cannot help but agree with the national leader of the ruling All Progressive Congress that Paden has done a great disservice to the truth. If I were Paden, I would consider a career in fiction writing. His talents are much better suited for that than to scholarly and investigative work.

On page 52 of the book, Professor Paden declares that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan declared for the April 2011 Presidential election on Saturday, 18th of September 2011. 

But for a man who was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University, Paden did not show much scholarliness because if he did, he would have established that Dr. Jonathan made world history by being the first ever Presidential candidate to make his declaration on the social media platform, facebook, on Wednesday the 15th of September, 2016, a feat which was featured on the New York Times, the Washington Post and in several international news media. 

If this was the only error in the book, one could forgive Paden, but the errors go on and on. 

For example on page 53, Paden, without citing any proof or evidence, called Dr. Jonathan's margin of victory in the South south and Southeast 'nonsensical', but then he goes ahead to accept President Buhari's margin of victory in the North as valid even though they mirrored Dr. Jonathan's margins in the South.

On page 55, Paden called to question Jonathan's handling of the economy but then in page 60 he admits that the 7% GNP growth Nigeria attained under Jonathan was "impressive". Does Paden suffer from a split personality? Here he is calling into question former President Jonathan's ability to manage an economy that he himself admits generated an impressive growth yet he is praising a President Buhari under whom Nigeria has gone into recession. I don't get it Paden! 

Perhaps Paden should have written a book singing Jonathan's praises instead of President Buhari's!

Then he attacks Dr. Jonathan in page 55 over the 2012 attempt to remove fuel subsidies and pointed to the street protests that broke out in reaction, but curiously failed to mention that such protests were instigated and led by the then opposition members including President Buhari's former running mate, Pastor Tunde Bakare, who was openly at the fore front of the protests and Malam Nasir Elrufai, who coordinated activities during the Occupy Nigeria protests. This is nothing short of intellectual dishonesty.

Muhammadu Buhari Vs Aisha Buhari

By Julius Oweh
The relationship between a husband and a wife is so iron clad that no person or matter can come between them especially in a blissful atmosphere.  Wives are known to protect the interest of their husbands especially in the public domain and the stakes are even higher should the husband be a politician and a president at that. Aisha Buhari, the spouse of President Muhammadu Buhari cuts a perfect picture of a dutiful and obedient spouse.
*President Buhari and wife, Aisha
The highly urbane and articulate Aisha was initially not involved in the soap box oratory and campaigns until Madame Patience Jonathan drew her into the arena. Since then, she has continued to distinguished herself as a proud wife and mother both to her children and husband. She has brought intellectualism and dignity to the office of the First Lady even though she has refused to bear the title and preferred to be to as the wife of the president. A case of six and half a dozen!
Courting the mass media is a dangerous terrain to those not aware of its enormous power and influence. The mass media can make or mar any personality depending on the level of interaction. That is why those who know the power and influence of the mass media tread carefully. It is one civics lesson Aisha Buhari may learn rather too late. Speaking to the Hausa service of the BBC, Aisha Buhari lamented that the government of her spouse has been hijacked by a cabal, adding that those who worked for her husband’s victory have been left in the cold.
Listen to part of that interview: "He is yet to tell me but I have decided as his wife that if things continue like this up to 2019. I will not go out and campaign again and ask any woman to vote like I did before. I will never do it again… The president does not know 45 out of 50.I don't know them either despite been his wife for 27 years. Some of them don't even have voters card and those who made sacrifice have been reduced to nothing and certainly, I ‘m not happy with the way things are going."
The Aisha Buhari assessment is full of candour and the best description yet of the Buhari administration. It has nothing to do with the partisan views of Peoples  Democratic Party, PDP, or that of Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State. Coming from a better half of the president, it is really on the mark. It is more of a struggle between spouse obligations and the spirit of patriotism. In this case, patriotism seems to have the upper hand.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Aisha Buhari: New Face Of The Opposition?

By Steve Nwosu
First Lady, Aisha Buhari, is definitely working for the PDP.
And we can now officially enthrone her as the matriarch of the Wailers. Now, don’t ask me if she has ‘officially’ joined the PDP yet. But to underscore the fact that Hajia Aisha is currently being tempted to publicly tear her APC membership card (OBJ on my mind), President Muhammadu Buhari told a press conference in Germany last week that “I don’t know the party my wife belongs to”.
*Aisha Buhari 
So, officially, husband and wife are no longer in the same political party. My only problem for now is that I don’t know whether she belongs to the Makarfi/Wike faction or the Modu Sherrif faction. I also don’t know how much the umbrella people paid her to do what she’s doing.
Yes, if I or any other journalist or political commentator had said what Mrs. Buhari told BBC Hausa Service about Buhari and his government, I suspect the DSS, Police or EFCC would since have come calling. Yes, they might not resort to pulling down our doors or sneaking up on us like any gang of armed robbers and kidnappers would but bank accounts might have been frozen by now. And Lai Mohammed would be on air, talking about how we had been contracted and generously paid, by the PDP, to discredit Buhari’s government.
I think Aisha is coming from our rich and long production line of strong women in the corridors of power and leadership. Soft exterior, steely interior!
In Nigeria, we are not new to presidencies where the women wear the trousers and have the balls (if you’ll indulge me that expression).
Those who were close to the Goodluck Jonathan’s would swear that it was Mama Peace that had the balls. I was not close to the Umaru Yar’Aduas, but I’ve heard stories about Hajia Turai. President Olusegun Obasanjo may have been as stubborn as a he-goat, but people close to the then first family attest that his beautiful wife, Stella, was one woman OBJ could not put down.
I don’t know how the military leaders coped with their own wives, but legend has it that IBB stood no chance of ever making it to Maryam’s bedroom again if he had insisted, with the then Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC), that Asaba should not be the capital of the then about-to-be-created Delta State.

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