Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mismanaging Mr. President’s Wellbeing

By Oseloka H. Obaze  
Analyzing Nigeria is arduous if you seek to speak truth to power. Many Nigerians, mostly the leaders and elite make speeches unceasingly. Such conventional speeches tend to be largely rhetorical. And together, the analysts, the religious, the political leaders and the disenfranchised populace have all become “miserable comforters” of a nation in distress. As asked in the Holy Book:  “Will your long winded speeches never end?”
Nigeria remains the classical outlier nation state. Thus in resignation many Nigerians have thrown in the towel. Some have fled, finding refuge and succour in foreign lands. Yet, many remain, having no option; and some remain to capitalise on the leadership and general disorder in the commonwealth. The latter seek to foster legality from illegalities with the intent to benefit from it.
But there remains one constant. Like Fela Anikulakpo Kuti averred presciently, the state of the nation is nothing but “Confusion” as “Everything Scatter.” As another contemporary musician, Eedris Abdulkareem put it: everything in Nigeria is “Jaga Jaga.” And this brings me to how those charged with minding President Muhammadu Buhari are managing his wellbeing or as some say, his health issues. 
 First, President Buhari is not a private citizen. While he is entitled to some privacy, Nigerians who elected him have the right to know of his wellbeing and the state of his health. He is the CEO of corporate Nigeria, and his wellbeing affects our stocks and holdings. Nigerians are not interested in his minders including the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and media advisers telling us that the president is “fit”, “alright” and “that there is no cause for alarm.” The president did the right thing in devolving power to his deputy. That is constitutional. But Nigerians behold a Deja vu moment. If they are doubtful they have good reasons. Nigeria needs to hear directly from her leader, President Buhari, in accordance with the oath of office he took.
 My friend, Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser on Media has characterised the present reality as “imperfect” but conditioned on “exigencies of the moment.”
He is doing his best in an awkward circumstance. Well, we recall the uncertainties and unpleasantness that led to the “doctrine of necessity” and do not want to revisit that episode under any pretext. Perhaps, Mr. Adesina should have a chat with his professional colleague, Segun Adeniyi on this and related matters.  Nigerians don’t want to be fooled. If President Buhari could speak to President Donald Trump, he can speak to Nigerians. The facilities exist.

The Scourge Of South Africa’s Ingratitude

By Ayo Oyoze Baje  
The recurring ugly decimal of premeditated brutalisation of Nigerians, by South Africans in their country has become a handshake beyond the elbow, calling for a vicious wrestling combat. That, in itself is a most unfortunate development. What with Nigeria’s famed Big Brother role in the African continental politics and economy? What about spearheading the struggle to free the country from the iron-grip of the blood-letting and asphyxiating Apartheid policy that claimed some 21,000 innocent lives, going by statistics from International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO)?
*Jacob Zuma and Muhammadu Buhari
It therefore, smirks of gross ingratitude, quite antithetical to the African Union Charter and the much-cherished African traditional ethos of hospitality that Nigerians should be at the receiving end of the transferred aggression of the same South Africans! According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr. Ikechukwu Anyene, President, Nigeria Union, in a telephone call from Pretoria confirmed attacks on members and looting of Nigerian-owned businesses in Pretoria West on Saturday.
In his words: “As we speak, five buildings with Nigerian businesses, including a church have been looted and burned by South Africans. One of the buildings is a mechanic garage with 28 cars under repairs, with other vital documents, were burned during the attack. The attack in Pretoria West is purely xenophobic and criminal because they loot the shops and homes before burning them. Also, the pastor of the church was wounded and is in the hospital receiving treatment.” He said that the union had reported the incident to the Nigeria mission and South African police. 

What Do Niger Deltans Want?

By Hope Eghagha 
In the wake of the Acting President’s recent media-advertised visits to the Niger Delta, a highly-placed Nigerian posed a question to me as a suffering indigene of the exploited and oppressed zone of the Nigerian State: What do Niger Deltans want? Put differently, the question could be: What should the Nigerian State do for the Niger Delta? The question popped up in exasperation, I suppose. To ask this question some 60 odd years after the Oloibiri discovery shows we haven’t come to terms with the tragic circumstances of the Niger Delta.

If we want to play on words, these questions could be posed in different ways. The first proposition is that what the people want is different from what they have been given. Another flip is that they have been given enough and should just shut up and get on with life. It could also mean that citizens from other parts of the country genuinely want to know what people of the region want. Whatever meaning we give to the question, the plight of the Niger Delta is a sore point in the history of our country.
The question got me thinking though. Is it true that the corridors of power do not know what is good for the region? Have Deltans articulated their wants in the Nigerian polity? What about the tonnes of literature that led to the creation of the NDDC, and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs dating from the 1950s? If the Niger Delta had a son of theirs for five full years in charge of the Nigerian Presidency, do we still as Niger Deltans have the right to complain? In other words, if in five years a Nigerian President of Niger Delta extraction could not chart the course to national transformation, who else can? If past governors of the states in the region did not use funds allocated to them judiciously, how are we sure that resource control would yield anything different? 
I will summarise my submission with an anecdote: Communities which live in abject poverty in spite of billions of dollars that have been sucked from their soil and which still hold billions of dollars in gas reserves are in dire straits. Simply put, the Niger Delta needs a transformation of the environment and infrastructure of the land that has given so much wealth to the Nigerian federation. Either by design or default, we have not been able to achieve this. This is sad, tragic and alarming.

Meeting A Man Who Fed Biafrans

By Okey Ndibe
One of the fortunes of my frequent travels is that I meet fascinating people at different locations, even when I have no inkling of the possibility of such encounters. In stops in such cities as Los Angeles, Abuja, San Francisco, Johannesburg, London, Washington, DC, Houston and Austin, Texas, I have met classmates from my elementary, secondary school and college days, childhood playmates, former students of mine, elders who knew my parents before they were married, those who knew me as a snotty nosed, impish child, and folks with whom I had communicated for years, by email or telephony.

Last week, I put out a notice on Facebook and Twitter that I was spending a month in Pittsburgh, PA, to give several workshops and lectures as well as present my memoir, Never Look an American in the Eye: Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, and the Making of a Nigerian American. I received a note from Ndaeyo Uko, once one of Nigeria’s wittiest and most popular columnists, who is now an academic in Australia. Ndaeyo, who was a star writer at The Guardian and Daily Times, now holds a PhD. For his dissertation, he researched the daredevil motley of adventurers and philanthropists, who discounted unimaginable risks to ferry food and, in some cases, arms, into Biafra during Nigeria’s ruinous thirty-month civil war.
Ndaeyo’s message was simple: I was not to miss the opportunity, before leaving Pittsburgh, of meeting David Koren, an American, who was part of that team of expatriates – Americans, the British, and Europeans – who, at grave risks to life and limb, undertook the perilous missions to fly-smuggle relief into Biafra. He explained that he had flown from Australia to Pittsburgh to interview Mr. Koren – and had found his recollections memorable.
Via email, Ndaeyo introduced me to the rescue activist. Mr. Koren and I then spoke over the phone. I told him I was a child of the Biafran War, and directed him to a link to my piece titled “My Biafran Eyes,” a series of vignettes based on my childhood recollections. On reading my essay, he responded, “I read ‘My Biafran Eyes.’ It was a touching story.”
Last Saturday, Mr. Koren (accompanied by his wife, Kay) and I met at a bookstore run by the City of Asylum, the organisation that arranged for my monthlong fellowship in Pittsburgh. It was an emotional experience, for both of us.

Monday, February 27, 2017

1967, A Metaphor For Military Slaughter

By Ochereome Nnanna
The international human rights outfit, Amnesty International (AI), has engaged the Nigerian military authorities in a war of wits, accusations and counter-accusations since our armed forces embraced a full-scale campaign to overcome the Boko Haram Islamist threat in Northern Nigeria.

The first sign of tension emerged shortly after former President Goodluck Jonathan, in January 2014, signed the bill outlawing homosexuality (especially gay marriage) in Nigeria. Most Western countries and local and international organisations (such as civil society groups which they fund) propagating their mostly alien and unacceptable values in the Third World suddenly became hostile to Nigeria, particularly the Jonathan regime.

They directly and indirectly added their voices to the growing anti-Jonathan opposition, especially those based in the North which were perceived as using the Boko Haram terrorists as a political tool to oust Jonathan and grab political power. AI, which had harshly criticised the anti-gay law, descended heavily on the Nigerian Army. AI was no longer interested in the horrendous activities of Boko Haram, which were sacking villages and communities, slaughtering people like animals and carting away women whom they dehumanised just as they liked.

These did not matter to AI. Instead, AI beamed its activities on the so-called human rights of Boko Haram fighters killed or captured during operations. Many Nigerians saw AI’s slur campaign against the Nigerian Armed Forces as ill-motivated, hostile and malicious, perhaps due to the anti-gay law. It seemed to meld with the strange reluctance of the President Barack Obama regime to recognise Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist outfit, which also manifested in its refusal to sell arms to Nigeria to prosecute the war on terror.

Obama’s America and its non-state sidekick, the AI, seemed unwilling to even help Nigeria in coping with our explosive humanitarian crisis concerning the internally-displaced persons. Rather, their own headache was the “human rights” of terrorists and the demonisation of our military. Following the change of government on May 29th 2015, and the assumption of power by retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari, the mindset and combat reflexes of our armed forces underwent a sudden psychedelic shift.

Tinubu And The Paths Once Travelled

By Debo Adesina
As All Progressives Congress (APC) governments at all levels in many places, not all, strike a pitiable or pitiful sight, it is impossible not to be overwhelmed by emotions.
So much goodwill, so much hope, so much disappointment and, now, so much anger! All within two years!
*Bola Tinubu
But blame the people first.
The climate in which the party thrived ahead of the 2015 elections was only genuinely ripe for deceit and empty promises by any candidate who could successfully inflame emotions, escape rigorous scrutiny even as he basked in ignorance of or poor preparation for the enormity of the task ahead.
Having been short-changed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for 16 years and particularly the Goodluck Jonathan-led brigandage, the people had every cause to abandon reason and hold on to emotions, such fertile breeding ground for gullibility.
Houses for all who had no shelter. Money for those who were out of jobs, for widows and the disadvantaged. Abundant life for the weak and vulnerable, the APC promised it all.
But what could compel disbelief more than the promises the party made then? What should have set the alarm ringing that Nigeria was in for a fantasy ride into fallacy than the promise of millions of jobs in a year? Should the promissory note on which the idea of social security-like payments to the poor was written not have been trashed by a discerning people? What could be less convincing than the avowal of true federalism in the manifesto of a party whose leading lights shunned the finest attempts yet at beginning the journey as represented by the 2014 National Conference?
Under normal circumstances, such promises as APC made would have been subjected to the most rigorous interrogation by the media and the people. But such was the incompetence of the then government and the odium of its ways that the more unbelievable the alternative was, the greater its appeal.
More importantly, that alternative had a political master gladiator as its leading salesman.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu had long established himself as a smart political tactician and grand strategist long before he teamed up with Muhammadu Buhari for the 2015 presidential election. He ran a good shop in Lagos, laid a good foundation for its development and entrenched a succession scheme that has worked very well so far. He perfected the art of surrounding himself with the best and the brightest and had constantly expanded the pool of talents from which he has always picked the most suitable for any assignment.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Before President Buhari Returns Home

By Dele Momodu
Fellow Nigerians, something major is happening in our dear beloved country and it is very positive. Every disappointment they say is a blessing. While we are very sad that our President, Muhammadu Buhari, has not been feeling too well for some time now and needs treatment and recuperation abroad, I now believe that God wants him to also have some time for sober and deep reflection. Someone asked me about two weeks ago, on Twitter if I have given up on the Buhari government? My answer was an emphatic NO! And the reason I gave was simple and straight-forward enough: I believe in miracles. 
*Buhari and Osinbajo
What has happened in Nigeria in the past few weeks, even days, can only be a testimony to that miracle I prophesised. When President Buhari left Nigeria he formally wrote to the Senate putting his Vice-President in charge as Acting President until he returns. That singular act which is merely a repetition of what was done during previous extended personal visits abroad by the President is salutary as it is stellar and itself heralded the transformation in this government that we are witnessing. It seems to me that President Buhari knew that his government needed some change in direction, some fillip, and in his infinite wisdom chose a subtle way to initiate that change without seeming to jettison his kitchen cabinet. 

When I flew out of Lagos to Johannesburg last Monday, February 20, 2017, a US dollar was selling for about 520 naira in the omnipotent black market. As at Thursday, it was selling at around 475 Naira. By yesterday, Friday 24 February 2017 the Naira was exchanging at about 460 Naira to the Dollar.  What a difference a week makes.  This remarkable resurgence of the Naira is coming on the heels of new policies and directives that the CBN has been mandated to put in place by the rejuvenated economic team that the Acting President is the driving force.

Not just that, I received a report from Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi that the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, paid an unscheduled visit to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport on Thursday, February 23, 2016, and caught the airport officials napping. My joy knew no bounds. Only last Saturday, I had complained bitterly about that unfortunate airport on this very page. 

In the past seven years, I must have written countless times about that that gory airport. It was one of the reasons I disliked President Jonathan’s government because it had done a wishy-washy renovation of the place and was celebrating it as if we can now compete with some of the best airports in Africa (note that I did not mention Dubai, Europe or America). I took pictures of dead escalators, comatose elevators, jet bridges in blatant darkness, leaking roofs, cranky conveyor belts, flooded and stinking toilets, murky basements, potential structural deficiencies from a disused underground car park and generally an airport in various stages of disrepair, dilapidation and decay. We did what we could to alert our leaders to the monumental disgrace at that airport. 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Hypocrisy Of President Buhari And El-Rufai, His Mini Me

By Reno Omokri

 With President Muhammadu Buhari's lawyer's 500,000 'gift' to Justice Adeniyi Ademola while the certificate case was being tried before that judge and with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation's Grasscuttergate scandal, can we all stop pretending and accept that the anti corruption war is dead?
*President Buhari and Gov El-Rufai
I believe I now know the reason why God allowed President Buhari to come back to power. It was to expose him for who he really is. Not a saint, but a hypocrite!

A hypocrite of the highest order. A so called anti corruption crusader who writes letters to cover his corrupt Secretary to the Government of the Federation and whose lawyer gives gifts to a justice that is being tried for collecting gifts from others. Do as I say, not as I do!

Things were already bad enough until the President's spokesman released his statement trying to justify the 'gift'! 

When Femi Adesina, President Muhammadu Buhari's spokesman, says PMB's lawyers 500,000 payment to Justice Ademola was a 'gift' not a bribe he must think that Nigerians are on the bottom of the ladder in the rational thinking food chain!

So if I take a bribe and call it a 'gift', according to Femi Adesina, it automatically transforms from corruption to 'gift'? So President Buhari believes in the Transformation Agenda after all! Who would have thought so! 

So why can President Buhari's lawyer give gifts but Andrew Yakubu cannot accept 'gift'? The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission should just release everybody they are trying because they took 'gifts' not bribe. After all, President Buhari and his lawyer have shown us the way!

The Justice Ademola that is currently being tried is accused of taking bribes because people gave him gifts. So why were their gifts proceeds of corruption and Lawyer Awodein's (Buhari's lawyer) a proceed of friendship?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a bribe is defined thus:

Friday, February 24, 2017

Buhari Is Not Coming Back!

By Toyin Dawodu

There is a saying in Yoruba Land: “Orun a re mabo.”
Translation: No one comes back from the dead.
Buhari may not be dead, but he might as well be – too sick to rule, too greedy to leave.
Do I wish Buhari dead? Hell no! I wish him well. But as the president of Nigeria, he needs to either serve in his full capacity as president, or immediately resign. There is no third option here, at least not one that benefits Nigerians.
For weeks, Buhari’s administration has been reporting that he is healthy, that he is simply on an extended trip to London for medical tests. He has been away for weeks, and his administration is unwilling or unable to tell Nigerians if or when their president will return, according to the LA Times.
So, what we know for sure is even if Buhari is not sick - which is improbable, considering his appearance of late - and he is just more comfortable spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on his current medical tour instead of getting these “medical tests” done at the State House Clinic Abuja, the fact remains he so  preoccupied with his health that he is unable to lead his country. And Nigeria does not seem to have another leader poised to take his place.
I agree with Okey Ndibe that Buhari should step down.

$2.5 Million Set For President Mugabe’s 93rd Birthday Bash

*Flanked by family and friends, Mugabe
cuts his 92nd Birthday Cake
The ruling party of Zimbabwe is reportedly looking to spend some $2.5 million on President Robert Mugabe’s 93rd birthday celebration on February 21, a media report said on Wednesday.
“Each of the ten provinces is expected to [participate in raising the] $2.5 million for the ceremony.
“They expect to raise it through provincial structures, individuals, private companies, parastatals and local authorities,” Zanu PF party officials said.
However, opposition parties have attacked Mugabe for wasting money on extravagant revelry while “93% of Zimbabweans are wallowing in poverty caused by his incompetence and misrule”, NewZimbabwe.com reported.

APC: Govt Of Liars, By Liars And For Liars

By Dr. Arthur Agwuncha Nwankwo
Recently, a senior official of the Buhari administration came out on national television to tell us that Nigeria is now the second largest producer of rice in the world. This is the most ridiculous claim I have heard in the last couple of years.
*Dr. Nwankwo
I know that the Buhari administration, even those that can be numbered among his kitchen cabinet, is full of clowns and morons bereft of intellect; but honestly I didn’t know that somebody can be this naïve and crass to come and tell us that Nigeria is a world class producer of rice.

Why do people lie so brazenly? Does he think that he is talking to kindergartens? I do not understand why this government has made lying an article of faith and governance. How can anybody in his right senses make such useless claim?

How and where did he get the statistics? If his claim is true why is a bag of local rice still going for between N18000 to N20000? If this claim were true why would the UN only a few days ago, include Nigeria among famine-threatened countries in Africa alongside Sudan and Somalia?

I know that Nigeria is not famous for statistical records. This is a country that does not know its population; the number of unemployed graduates; the number of the poor; does not even know the number of secondary schools in the country or anything for that matter.

Yet this is a country that wants to pay monthly stipends of N5000 to every unemployed graduate and the poor. As a matter of fact, I have come to the conclusion that APC is a fraud. Democracy is said to be government of the people, by the people and for the people.

But strangely, the APC government has become “government of liars and thieves, by liars and thieves and for liars and thieves”. I want you to understand that this type of APC government is the perfect setting that creates deep-seated social resentment and which also leads to the inevitable death of nations.

*Dr. Nwankwo, an eminent intellectual, author and publisher shared these thoughts on his facebook page

Fashola: How Not To Work

By Emeka Nnaka
It was like a shuttle in a projectile – let’s call it the BRF projectile. Of course, BRF being Babatunde Raji Fashola, the three-in-one federal minister in charge of Power, Works and Housing. He has been on a blitzing visit of major road projects across the country. Starting a few weeks back with on-going roads in the southeast zone of Nigeria, his last run was across seven states of the Niger Delta – in three days.
*Fashola in Benue State (pix: Guardian)
As one of the reporters in the shuttle, my verdict is: how not to work. Imagine starting a trip by road from Calabar to Uyo, then Aba to Yenegoa, Port Harcourt to Sapele and then Benin City – in just three days!
On paper, it may look easy and straight-forward, but out there on the poorly kept and dangerous Nigerian roads, it surely is an excruciating way to carry out a task. Of course, there are modern digital mapping devices that can locate projects even in the most remote outposts and highlight them with real life high definition. But understandably, such facilities are not available to the ministry right now but that must be the way forward. 
The first call of the inspection was the over 200 kilometres Calabar – Akampa – Ikom – Ogoja – Ugep – Katsina-Ala highway. A long-winding, seemingly interminable and indeed treacherous road. After travelling for about two-hours of twisting and turning and side-tracking endless streaming of heavy-duty trucks, it turned out that one of them had upended ahead before the project site. BRF had to make a U-turn, missing the first target.
This road which connects about four states and leads up to Makurdi in Benue State is as strategic as highways go. It is a single-carriage road, which is bad enough; but it is dilapidated and derelict in many sections. When the rains come, according to Cross Rivers State deputy governor, many sections are flooded impassable.
The contractor, Messrs Sermatech that had abandoned site for over two years for lack of payment is back at work. He was mandated to commence remediation work quickly before the rains. Important too is that hundreds of people are back to work once again: goods and service will move and zonal economy will flourish.
From the Akwa Ibom axis, the Ikot-Ekpene-Aba Road has suffered total collapse at Umuakpo. The Minister had to do a detour through bush paths and remote village tracks to re-enter the highway. This road that connects two very important towns of Ikot-Ekpene in Akwa Ibom State and Aba in Abia State was also awarded but unfunded. The contractor abandoned site. They are back now.
On the Aba-Port Harcourt section of the now notorious Enugu-Port Harcourt highway, BRF and his team did on foot, a very long stretch of the project under-going massive renewal and expansion on foot. It has numerous on-site workers and as we learnt, is generating hundreds of auxiliary jobs in material supplies, food and drinks vending.

Shifting Narratives Over Buhari’s Health

By Robert Obioha
Since President Buhari left Nigeria for London on medical leave, over a month ago, Nigerians have been fed with differing and sometimes conflicting statements over the health status of the number one citizen. And because Buhari’s media handlers dish uncoordinated tales, which most Nigerians now take with a pinch of salt, the rumour mills are agog with scary tales, especially the uncontrolled social media, which the All Progressives Congress (APC) used to its advantage to come to power in 2015.
The hapless citizens, after waiting anxiously for Buhari’s return, which has no fixed date, have tended to believe information emanating from the rumour mills. They no longer believe their government and its numerous spokespersons because their chaotic tales sound like fiction to majority of Nigerians. Rumour thrives in an atmosphere where facts are hoarded; where there is attempt to misinform the people; and where truth is deliberately hidden or utterly distorted. This is basically the corner the APC government has literally boxed itself now.
When the president failed to return after the expiration of the 10-day’ vacation, Nigerians were told that he needs to do more medical tests as advised by his doctors. While this drama was still unfolding, the presidency insisted that the first citizen is ‘hale and hearty’, a phrase that is fast losing its intended meaning in Nigeria’s peculiar case. They even said that the president was not in any London hospital, that is to say that he was not hospitalized but having a good rest at Nigeria’s House in London.
When the president reportedly transmitted another letter to the National Assembly asking for more time for another round of medical tests without stating exactly when his leave will be over, the anxiety over his health status heightened and Nigerians started asking questions which Aso Villa handlers were unable to provide credible responses. Perhaps, they do not have adequate information on the president’s illness or they are just hoarding it from Nigerians or saying what they are asked to tell worried Nigerians.
Nigerians are more worried not because a president cannot be sick or seek for better medical treatment abroad considering our comatose healthcare system; they are worried because they have travelled this ugly path before when former president Umaru Yar’Adua was sick and the details were hidden from Nigerians. Incidentally, Buhari hails from the same Katsina State with Yar’Adua, although from Daura axis. During the Yar’Adua episode, those in information apparatus of APC now then demanded for a daily update on Yar’Adua’s illness, which is legitimate.

Nigeria: A Snake Without Head

By Ndubuisi Ukah
Most of the time, one cannot but wonder if something is uniquely wrong with Nigeria’s destiny, considering that any forward step she takes is immediately followed by a thousand ones backward. We are one of the few countries whose leaders unashamedly and openly display their complete lack of trust in their system and in the country that they purport to lead; we are one of the few countries in the world whose healthcare infrastructure is fitting only for their unlucky, impoverished and forgotten citizens, and not their ruling class.

When would folks ruling us realise that the healthcare systems they admire and run to each time they are ill are made possible by fellow humans in positions of public trust, just like them? When would our clueless and hypocritical ruling class realise that Nigeria is blessed with top talents capable of replicating same medical feats available in these foreign lands that they constantly run to? When would the ruling class come to its senses, think right and do right? Are these folks so clueless as to not know that some of the top talents in these foreign lands – doctors, PhD-level scientists and engineers – are Nigerian-born and Nigerian-educated? As such, the problem is not the ruled, but the rulers.
The doctors in these foreign hospitals do not have higher IQs than most of the doctors in Nigeria; the doctors in the U.K for example, are able to provide better care and cure more diseases simply because they have access to more advanced medical facilities at their hospitals. Period.
We are probably the only country on earth, whose number one public figure could just leave the citizens guessing and wondering, even in the midst of what I consider the worst economic recession of the country’s life time. Our currency has plummeted by more than 150 percent in the last sixteen months with no halt in sight and with no coherent explanations from people in-charge.

President Buhari: Bye Bye To Anti-Corruption

Press Release
Buhari: Bye Bye To Anti-Corruption
 War Says PDP 
The Letter by President Muhammadu Buhari which was read on the Floor of the Nigerian Senate on Tuesday, January 24, 2017, clearing the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir David Lawal has finally confirmed our earlier assertion that the ‘Anti-Corruption War’ of the APC led administration is a ruse; a witch-hunting mechanism to harass PDP members and perceived enemies of this administration.
It is no longer news that all those who are serving in the government of President Muhammadu Buhari or who are members of his Party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) within the last two years of his administration have all been cleared of any wrong doing; notwithstanding documentary and other incontrovertible evidences to the contrary. The Presidency in today’s dispensation is the ‘Judicial Clearing House’ issuing clean bill of health to all accused corrupt officials who are members of the APC and friends of the administration.
It is quite disturbing that the President cleared his SGF of wrong doing despite the weighty evidences of his “Grass-cutting abilities” uncovered by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, implicating Babachir of complicity in the Award of Contract relating to the IDP Camp in Borno State amounting to over 200 million Naira.
It is more worrisome that Mr. President made light of the DSS Report which directly indicted the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu of several unwholesome and corrupt practices in the line of his duties. President Buhari saw nothing wrong in the Report but was quick to order the invasion of Judges homes in a Gestapo and commando-style following the Same DSS report. What a double standard! It appears that the APC led government is implementing two constitutions in Nigeria; one for the PDP and other opposition parties and their leaders while the other is for the Ruling Party, the APC and friends of this administration.
Again in 2016, General Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff  was cleared of all accusations even with convincing evidence of owning choice properties in Dubai beyond his income; and also overwhelming evidence of misdeeds while serving as Director of Procurement in the last administration.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Stop Airing Big Brother Nigeria — Lawmaker

By Segun Olulade
We have culture and tradition in this country that we must not allow to die. The Federal Government, through the Minister of Information and Culture, needs to reconsider the implications of Big Brother Naija on our culture and youths.

The content of Big Brother Naija reality show is alien to our culture. This show is contrary to the rich cultural values we are trying to promote and bring to the front burner.

It is sad that our young children including adults are made to watch such content. This kind of programme promotes obscenity and immorality. We must not encourage such if our hallowed cultural heritage would be preserved. We cannot prevent our inquisitive young ones from watching the obscene displays that permeate the show.

I think the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) should, without delay, stop this programme if this government means business in the promotion of our cultural values. 

President Buhari And The 20-Month Jinx

By Femi Fani Kayode

Permit me to begin this contribution with an interesting and historically accurate observation made by the Vanguard Newspaper on 3rd February 2015.  
They wrote: "Between 1983 and 1985, Peter Onu of Nigeria was Acting Secretary-General of the OAU. 
“At the 1985 Summit in Addis Ababa, statesmen like Julius Nyerere, President of Tanzania, lobbied for his election as substantive Secretary-General. 
“However, there was a major stumbling block to Peter Onu’s candidature: his Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, was campaigning against him. 
“Buhari claimed: ‘This generation of Nigerians and indeed future generations have no other country than Nigeria.’ 
“But when the crunch came, his allegiance to Nigeria disappeared. In the election of the OAU Secretary-General in 1985, Buhari voted against Nigeria and for Niger instead. 
“He secured the election of Ide Oumarou, a Fulani man from Niger; as opposed to an Igbo man from Nigeria
“By so doing, Buhari became the first and only Head of State in the history of modern international relations to vote against his country in favour of his tribe".
Graphically illustrated and succinctly put, that is the mindset of the quintessential General Muhammadu Buhari for you. Yet even in his triumphs and all his glory he has suffered immense pain and his challenges and travails are legion.
Consider the following. In 1983 he toppled the much-loved democratically-elected civilian President Shehu Shagari in a military coup and became Head of State.
He ruled with an iron fist for exactly 20 months (31st Dec 1983 - 27th August 1985) after which he himself was overthrown in another military coup led by his erstwhile and again much-loved Chief of Army Staff, General Ibrahim Babangida. Thereafter he was detained for three years in Benin City.
Exactly 30 years after he was removed from power in 2015 he was "elected" civilian President on the platform of the APC.
Once again he presided over the affairs of our country for another 20 months (29th May 2015 - 19th January 2017) until he was struck by an undisclosed yet strange and debilitating illness, fell gravely ill, was compelled to formally transmit his presidential powers to the Vice President, was rushed to the United Kingdom where, up until today, he has remained incommunicado and on "indefinite medical leave".

Nigeria: At Once Poor, Proud And Profligate

By Bayo Sodade  
Nigeria parades a plethora of unflattering socioeconomic indices. With a poverty head count of 53.9%, the population of the poor in Nigeria of about 100 million is more than the whole population of Egypt(93m), United Kingdom (65m), France (64m) , Turkey (79m), Democratic Republic of Congo(79m) among others. Nigeria’s Human Development Index value for 2015 of 0.514 is below the average for sub-Saharan Africa, putting the country in the low human development category, positioning it at 152 out of 188 countries and territories under the UNDP ranking.

Nigeria’s life expectancy at birth of 52.8 years is among the worst in the world compared to 60.6 years average for other low HDI countries and 64.1 years for Ethiopia and 58.7 years for Democratic Republic of Congo. The World Economic Forum uses Human Capital Report to rank countries on how well they are deploying their peoples’ talents. The index takes a life-course approach to human capital, evaluating the levels of education, skills and employment. The 2016 Human Capital Report ranked Nigeria 127 out of 130 countries, the worst country in Africa except for Chad and Mauritania.
Juxtaposed with these bleak statistics is monumental profligacy enshrined in our ethos and manifesting in the debasement and perversion of our cultural values. We habitually squander scarce resources on our routine household and business tasks, on parties and celebrations.
According to experts, for every one million population 1000 megawatts of electricity is required to satisfy every need. With a population of about 180 million, Nigeria’s optimum power requirement is about 180,000MW compared to more than 50,000MW that South Africa, with a population of 53 million, generates and distributes. Ironically, enormous amount of the grossly inadequate energy is being wasted. A study carried out by Lagos State revealed that 4,358Kwh of electricity is wasted annually. By switching to energy saving bulbs only, N12.7 billion could be saved in Lagos State alone. Only 1% of Lagosians practise energy conservation leaving the planet groaning with 9.5 billion pounds of carbon footprints per annum.

Nigerians And Xenophobic South Africans

By Paul Onomuakpokpo
What eminently captures the tragedy of contemporary Nigeria is that its citizens who lack a huge helping from the national treasury are vulnerable to being haunted at home and abroad. Overwhelmed by the hostility of their home country sired by decades of the monumental failure of government, they go overseas with the hope of finding succour. But here a bleaker fate awaits them as their supposed host becomes their haunter.

Nigerians could bear their tragic lot if there were no expectations of warm reception in the first place. And these expectations were by no means misplaced. In the case of Nigerians in South Africa they justifiably expected to be treated well. Clearly, Nigerians who are in South Africa have only gone to reap where their country has sown. The resources of Nigeria were used to secure South Africans freedom from the apartheid stranglehold.
Notwithstanding, Nigerians have not asked to be allowed to enjoy the benefits of staying in South Africa without bringing their own contributions to the development of the society. Most of the Nigerians who are being harassed are effectively contributing to the economy of their host country. They are running their legitimate businesses. It is these businesses and the lives of Nigerians that often come under attacks. If there were some Nigerians who violated the laws of South Africa, these should be punished and every Nigerian should not be treated as a villain. But we should be alert to the possibility that these recurring attacks are being provoked by South Africans’ envy of the success of their guests. Or why do these South Africans often target Nigerians’ shops for looting? 
The South Africans who do not know how to use their post-apartheid freedom over two decades after blacks took the reins of governance should be humble enough to ask enterprising Nigerians in their midst to teach them how to be successful in their own country. South Africans should not blame Nigerians if their lack of competitiveness makes the latter to take over their jobs. If these attack-obsessed South Africans were profitably engaged, they would not have the time to trouble Nigerians. So instead of being befuddled by the allegations of Nigerians being criminals, prostitutes and drug dealers, the South African government should find ways to profitably engage its citizens.
 Optimism about an easy resolution of this crisis would not have been out of place if it were only the younger generation who do not know their history that are responsible for the xenophobic attacks. But apparently, these young people are perpetrating these attacks with tacit official approval. This explains why when these attacks occur, the police do not come to the rescue of Nigerians. Apparently, the police see these attacks as a fulfillment of their wish that Nigerians be subjected to such brutalities. This is because the South African police have on several occasions brutalised Nigerians to death.

Gov Okorocha Has Confirmed Sheriff Is APC’s Lackey – PDP

Re: Respect Appeal Court Ruling, Don’t Heat Up The Polity – Okorocha…This Is Another Confirmation That Sheriff Is A Lackey Of The APC – PDP
The attention of the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), led by Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, CON, has been drawn to the statement credited to the Governor of Imo State and Chairman of APC Governor’s Forum, Mr. Rochas Okorocha, wherein he said the PDP should respect the ruling of the Friday, February 17, 2017 Court of Appeal Judgment and not to heat up the polity.
2.    This statement coming from Okorocha is not all that surprising. He is not known to be a person who exercises caution or restraint before making unguarded statements. His constant vituperation on matters small or big is indicative of an over excited mind desperately in need of a large dose  of tranquilizer. It is curious that while he would want the PDP to accept the verdict of the court of Appeal and not exercise its right of appeal to the Supreme Court, he was nowhere to be found when Sheriff refused to accept the judgment of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt but instead proceeded to the court of appeal. In any case, what is Okorocha’s special interest in the PDP matter? Need Nigerians any further conviction that the APC is the unseen hand stoking the fire of crisis in the PDP and Sheriff and his cohorts mere puppets in their hands?
3.    The desperate attempt by APC to exonerate itself only further exposed its duplicity. The Police excuse for preventing a peaceful assembly of distinguished PDP members on alleged but unproven “security threat ” is an insult to the intelligence of Nigerians. It is the duty of the Police to provide security if they suspect any breach of peace . It is a gross abnegation of its responsibilities to prevent people from exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right of peaceful assembly.  No one is in doubt today that the Police has submitted itself to total control and direction by the APC.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Grace Mugabe: Zimbabwe’s Next President?

By David Smith
During a state banquet in Pretoria, South Africa, in April 2015, I had a brief encounter with Grace Mugabe, the first lady of Zimbabwe. I was asking her husband, Robert Mugabe, about the question of her succeeding him as president. “She doesn’t have those ambitions,” began Mugabe, the spectacles perched on his nose reminiscent of an elderly librarian, a narrow moustache clinging to his upper lip like a caterpillar.
*Grace Mugabe 
Suddenly he interrupted himself with mock alarm: “Careful, there she comes!” The frail 91-year-old, who increasingly resembles a hanger for his well-tailored suits, remained seated. I rose and turned to behold his 49-year-old wife, with her cropped hair and long black dress, lace hanging daintily at the wrist. Grace, who had been the subject of persistent gossip about a serious illness, was returning from an interlude on the dancefloor that delighted dinner guests.
“Hello, David Smith of the Guardian. We were just talking about you.”
“I just wanted to ask you if it’s true you might like to be president one day,” I asked.
Her hard features, which can resemble a mask with striking dark eyes and sculpted cheekbones, dissolved into a laugh. She did not deny it. “I don’t know, I don’t know.”
Just then a band struck up and I beat a retreat, past the glares of South African protocol mandarins, one of whom ordered me to leave, snarling: “I hope we never see you again.”
Few women in Africa provoke such fascination, or such loathing, as Grace Mugabe. Loyalists describe her as “Amai” (Mother), “The Lady of the Revelation” or, predictably, “Amazing Grace”, while detractors prefer “DisGrace”, “Gucci Grace” or “First Shopper”. There are reports that the couple have substantial foreign properties and multiple offshore bank accounts, Grace’s overseas shopping expeditions are legendary: she was widely reported to have spent £75,000 on luxury goods in one day in Paris in 2003, and to have taken 15 trolley-loads of purchases into the first-class lounge of Singapore airport. She has been forced to deny rumours that she has been unfaithful to the president and defends herself against accusations that she is pampered and lazy.

The four-decade age difference between her and her husband has invited urgent questions about what will happen to her after his death. She stands to lose the presidential credit card and possibly the luxurious mansion in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare. She has grown up in a country where proximity to power is no guarantee of survival, and knows how quickly loyalties can turn. Mugabe’s long years of cunning divide and conquer have left the ruling Zanu-PFparty and the country without an obvious successor, creating an atmosphere among the ruling elite that seethes with mutual suspicion and treachery, and bitter factional divisions.
Grace had always appeared acquiescent, an adornment, mother of the president’s children. No one, until now, considered that she might have political ambitions. But late last year, the world met a new Grace Mugabe. Suddenly, without warning, she transformed from smiling president’s wife to political player in her own right. In early December, she was elevated to a senior role in Zanu-PF and confirmed as the new head of its women’s league. She then embarked on a national promotional trip, nicknamed the “Graceland tour”, flying across the country to attend a series of rallies, where she delivered tirades against her husband’s perceived enemies. At one of the rallies, Grace made her agenda clear. She declared: “They say I want to be president. Why not? Am I not a Zimbabwean?”
The political establishment was rocked back on its heels. Ibbo Mandaza, a former civil servant who has known the president and his wife for years, said: “Grace was always sedate, sitting in the background looking beautiful. Then suddenly this woman is someone else you can’t recognise. She was uncouth, unbecoming.”

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