Google+ Followers

Saturday, 20 August 2011

BETWEEN PATRIOTISM AND A VINDICTIVE HUE - EL RUFAI.

el-Rufai el-Rufai
On trial for alleged embezzlement of N32 billion housing funds and accused of land grabbing, former minister Nasir el-Rufai is no stranger to controversies. His latest row with the authorities over security spending seems curious. Yomi Odunuga and Jide Babalola examine the situation
Ever since his arrest, interrogation and subsequent release by the State Security Service (SSS) last Saturday, the travail of the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has dominated the headlines. 
Of course, that was not the first time the diminutive former Director-General of the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) would be courting controversy. 
His conduct, both in and outside office, has always generated one row or the other. 
And so, when the news broke  that he had been picked up by the SSS at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja,  over comments he made on the 2011 Appropriation Bill, many Nigerians were anticipating a battle of wits. And that was exactly what they got.
For some reasons, el-Rufai is seen by many as a man who loves to court trouble with both hands. His abrasive tongue, more than anything else, has often put him on the firing line. A few examples will suffice. 
When he was nominated as a minister by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his name was  sent to the Senate for screening, el-Rufai was the only  nominee that accused the Senate of demanding money before screening the nominees. 
Specifically, he said some key members in the Senate leadership had demanded a N45 million bribe to ease his clearance. 
Challenged to name the persons involved and his witnesses, el-Rufai said the Almighty Allah was his witness and those he accused of demanding the bribe felt insulted by what one of them described as totally unverifiable evidence. A deft placatory move by Obasanjo resulted in his clearance and deployment in the FCT Ministry.
It was not long before el-Rufai stoked another fire of discord between him and the National Assembly. Arguably the FCT’s most successful Minister in recent years, el-Rufai’s approach to developmental issues, especially his determination to pull down illegal structures, attracted condemnation and bitter criticisms from both the public and members of the National Assembly who thought things could have been done differently—at least with some injection of ‘human face.’ 
Accosted by reporters to respond to allegations levelled against him by the Senate concerning the demolition, el-Rufai’s response that ‘’silence is the best answer for fools’’ aggravated the strained relationship between him and the lawmakers. 
Feelers from the Senate then indicated that the lawmakers had approached Obasanjo to remove el-Rufai from the  cabinet.  Obasanjo  apologised for el-Rufai’s indiscretion. Though he was later pardoned,  it was clear that many of the senators never really liked his lame apology.
Many other altercations with the authorities were soon to follow. There was his condemnation of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s face-off with Obasanjo. So also was his controversial demolition of a property owned by Dr. Ahmadu Ali, the former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), in Asokoro. His defence of his stewardship as Minister when the Senate probed his tenure and the controversial allocation of land to some of his close associates, including his wives and children, left many in doubt of his anti-corruption credentials. 
There was his critique of the Yar’Adua/Jonathan administration and how the administration was foisted on Nigerians. His decision to go on exile; his controversial return and trial for allegedly embezzling N32 billion housing funds; and his decision to walk out of the PDP and join the Gen. Muhammadu Buhari-led Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) all indicated that he has parted ways with those in power. Recently  he emerged as a columnist in  This Day.  Few weeks into that venture, el-Rufai’s writing has generated so much dust 
Though he has argued that, as a citizen of Nigeria, he is exercising his right to free speech through his writings some have argued that, in doing so, el-Rufai should have been mindful of abusing the privilege that writing confers on him. But the question is: is he doing it for altruistic reason or is there any ulterior motive behind this latest fascination to opinion writing?
A source said the former minister was bitter that he is facing trial for alleged corruption, even as he expects the Presidency to grant him amnesty by entering a nolle prosequi.
Whatever the case, it is increasingly becoming difficult to unravel the el-Rufai personae. More so when he was once very close to the Yar’Adua/Jonathan administration under which he once served as a member of the Energy Board. Political watchers  are still trying to fathom where the party went awry.
Yet, for the ordinary citizens, some behavioural pattern of the elite remains eternally puzzling. They really can’t understand why the men of power do what they do; why some become turncoats immediately something goes wrong. 
They can’t understand the bitter quarrels, the intrigues, blackmail and sudden deep-seated enmity.  Why do they turn against one another with such ease and with much venom? How did el-Rufai find it convenient to turn against Jonathan, whom he once urged to contest  election  when the zoning debate was raging like wildfire?
The perplexities become even more confounding for some who recall that sometime in May last year, the former minister was praising President Jonathan openly in a manner that suggested unreserved support. Early in October, last year, el-Rufai, in a blistering attack on Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, described the former military Head of State as being “perpetually unelectable”. He cited the controversial 53 suitcases affair and the extra-judicial execution of the Buhari era as part of the issues that continue to stand against Buhari’s name.
“Bitterness and unfulfilled expectations might be at the root of el-Rufai’s recent outbursts,” some of his critics have said.
However, to those who continue to support Mallam el-Rufai, such conclusions are  illogical.
In dissecting this issue, it is important to examine the reasons given by the SSS for el-Rufai’s arrest. The authorities, in a statement issued on Saturday, said he was picked up for questioning because he published falsehood contrary to the tenets of the Freedom of Information Act.
el-Rufai was accused of publishing incorrect, inciting and misleading news both on the internet and  in a particular Nigeria daily for the purpose of inciting Nigerians against the government, knowing full well that his positions as canvassed in the publications were untrue.
He had, in the said article, alleged that the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) would be controlling a large chunk of the nation’s annual budget (N208billion) to manage security issues. 
The authorities said it was a packaged lie meant to incite the people and cause disaffection against the government. But an adamant el-Rufai insists the figures were obtained from authentic government data.
Though the matter has been resolved ‘’amicably’’ and the planned court action  also  dropped, the jury is yet to come out with a verdict on how to classify el-Rufai’s latest passion to ‘open up’ government for scrutiny. While he says it is borne out of a patriotic zeal to make governance transparent and accountable, a school of thought believes that it is a vindictive way of hitting back at government for a relationship that has gone sour. 
They wondered why a smart person like el-Rufai would, in his article, lump funds appropriated for the amnesty programme with that of security if he was not out to play games with the intelligence of the people and abuse the privilege of a public commentator. 
They said a patriot with the kind of influence wielded by el-Rufai would have sought audience with the President and advise him accordingly. But the man in the eye of the storm has come out to say that it was his prerogative to take a decision and he has chosen to make his thoughts on policy issues known through his weekly column.

OLD BUHARI VERSUS NEW BUHARI.

By Moses Ochonu
Muhammadu Buhari appeals to our sense of nostalgia. His candidacy thrives on Nigerian’s disillusionment with the PDP incumbency and its twelve year mismanagement of Nigeria.
Amidst this PDP-engineered gloom, Nigerians have increasingly succumbed to the seduction of Buhari’s image as a can-do, courageous man of integrity and action. This image has grown in reverse proportion to the PDP’s bungling of our affairs in the last twelve years.
Buhari’s modest support in Southern Nigerian is particularly rooted in an emotional investment in this mystique of Buhari as the ultimate anti-establishment candidate who can courageously cleanse the system of its layered rot. This mystique is founded alternately in factual, revisionist, and embellished retelling of Buhari’s populist exploits during his stint as military head of state. His action against corruption, drug trafficking, and indiscipline inspire nostalgia in today’s Nigeria, where public morality and ethics have broken down, seemingly irreparably. 
Whether this mystique is true or constructed is up for debate. But the populist yearning for the Buhari of 1985 is at once nurtured by hope and desperation. Hope that trusts naively and a desperation that leads to a belief in an anybody-is-better-than-the-PDP mindset. In this climate of national helplessness, Buhari’s truncated presidential experiments in social reengineering twenty-five years ago have acquired something of a mythical, seductive character. Against the background of active governmental cultivation and promotion of vice and corruption, Buhari’s war against indiscipline and corruption, a problematic and controversial war to be sure, have emerged as a glowingly seductive contrast.
Buhari himself has done little to trumpet his past social reforms. The reforms instead have simply reappeared and are now ingrained in the public’s imagination as the search for alternatives to the present meltdown has become urgent and less discriminating. The social narratives of the reforms have taken on a life of their own; they are romanticized and lionized, and their contradictions have largely been ignored or erased.
Lately though, a few critical voices have raised legitimate questions about the nature and mechanics of those reforms and about less than patriotic biases that may have underpinned some of Buhari’s presidential actions. Previously unscrutinized details have attracted robust critique. The Buhari government’s draconian enforcement of its regime of discipline and public morality and his assault on press and political freedoms have become staples of a new narrative seeking to demystify the candidate.
These questions have been posed by credible voices and by those who were victimized by some of the freedom-curtailing decrees of Buhari’s government. The credibility of victimhood has lend power and emotive persuasiveness to these narratives. They have become louder as Buhari’s public persona and the myths of his integrity and competence has grown.
The Buhari regime’s granting of a waiver to the Emir of Gwandu and father of his ADC to clear 53 imported suitcases at a time when all national borders were closed has been advanced credibly to nibble at Buhari’s image of integrity and impartiality. Even the differential treatment that his regime meted to Shehu Shagari and Alex Ekwueme in the wake of their overthrow has made cameo but powerful appearances in new, critical commentaries on Buhari’s image. These are weighty, if circumstantial, allegations against Buhari, and they clearly contradict the most familiar aspects of the candidate’s political personality. So far, these questions have dominated elite chatter and have yet to transition into the Nigerian political street. Their impact on Buhari’s electoral prospects therefore remains uncertain.
Another aspect of Buhari’s populist appeal that is largely misunderstood is his peculiar cult-like popularity among the common folk of Northern Nigeria. The genealogy of this popularity dates back to statements attributed to Buhari in the wake of the Sharia debate in the early years of Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration. When a spokesperson for the Obasanjo administration announced that the council of state, of which Buhari is a member, had decided to suspend Sharia implementation in Zamfara state and in other early implementer-states, Buhari publicly and courageously disputed the statement, saying that no such decision had been taken by the council.
At a time when the yearning for Sharia as a populist solution to the problems of corruption, vice, and political abuse was a genuine item on the menu of beleaguered and disenchanted Northern Nigerian Muslim masses, Buhari’s perceived courageous defense of Sharia implementation proved to be an instant, if unintended, hit at the Northern Nigerian Muslim grassroots.  Buhari reaped immense and immediate political capital from this proclamation. The failure of fellow Northern Council of State members, Shehu Shagari, Ibrahim Babangida, and Abdulasalam Abubakar to publicly contradict the position of the Obasanjo government on Sharia’s purported suspension carved a special place for Buhari in the hearts of many Sharia-loving Northern Nigerian Muslims: he emerged from the episode as a courageous defender of Sharia and its promise of social and economic justice.
This simple, unscripted, contrarian statement of Buhari’s transformed his image from a simple former Northern head of state to a hero of the Sharia Islamic revolution—to a champion of the masses. Buhari’s unintended advocacy of Sharia implementation—or more precisely his perceived opposition to its suspension— recast his image overnight and showed a different side of the general to his Northern co-religionists. Because the yearning for Sharia was largely about the desire for economic justice, accountability, equity, and redistributive fairness, and because this yearning was driven by the grassroots concerns of regular Northern Nigerian Muslims, Buhari instantly became a hero to the masses in the popular political imagination, a man of integrity, truth, courage, and piety. A political myth and a political cult of personality were simultaneously born.
Buhari earned the reverential name of mai gaskiya—man of integrity. This is the genealogy of Buhari’s political reinvention. Since then, he has become the most credible political figure in Muslim Northern Nigeria. Opportunistic politicians and true believers alike have flocked to his side, canonizing his every word and move, and helping to further renovate his political image and to reinforce the public myth of his exceptional integrity.
When in 2003, he was widely reported to have said that Muslims should only vote for Muslims the ensuing debate and controversy only added to his Islamic credibility and solidified his political image in the North as a champion of Islam and Islamic notions of justice, equity, good governance, and public morality. His efforts to disown the statement and to dispel unsavory impressions created in Southern Nigeria and the Middle Belt by that controversy and by his earlier disavowal of the Sharia suspension statement did little to blur the shine of his political persona in Muslim Northern Nigeria. In fact, the Southern Nigerian press’s focus on this disputed aspect of his personal politics only boosted his credibility in Northern Nigeria, as his hardcore supporters embraced his perceived, if disputed, Islamic activism in favor of the interest of the masses.
The controversy, while ultimately beneficial to Buhari in his Northern Muslim constituency, plunged him into a political quandary. His disputed Islamic activism for social and economic justice was admired in Muslim Northern Nigeria and helped expand his political base throughout the Northwest, the Northeast and parts of the Northcentral regions. But this foundation of his Northern popularity was precisely why Southerners and Middle Belt Christians regarded him with suspicion. This suspicion spawned myths and made-up tales about a secret Buhari agenda to Islamize Nigeria or to implement Sharia nationally. His political asset in the Islamic North became a burden in other parts of the country, where he was increasingly perceived as possessing a narrow, sectional, and religious perspective on Nigeria’s challenges. Managing this contradiction (nurturing his political persona in the North while not reinforcing his perceived image in the South as a champion of Sharia and Islamo-Northern interest) has been the supreme challenge of Buhari’s political aspiration in the last two presidential election circles. 
This regional bifurcation in Buhari’s political appeal is still a hurdle in the way of his ambition that he has to overcome. Pro- and anti-Buhari attitudes and myths seem to have ossified in the North and the South respectively. But as the PDP’s dysfunctional approach to governance at the national level has reached depressingly new lows, many people in the South with reservations about Buhari’s ability to transcend region and religion and about some of his past policies as military Head of State, are giving the candidate another, more sympathetic look. These are not unqualified or enthusiastic endorsements; they are merely the expression of disillusionment with the PDP’s twelve-year regime of waste, and of the concomitant hunger for alternatives, even imperfect ones.
These new, unlikely longings for Buhari reflect the depth and pan-Nigerian character of the epidemic of political helplessness than it does a belief in Buhari’s ability to reverse the dysfunction. Rather than wearing thin, Buhari’s surprising political novelty has acquired more luster as Nigerians have increasingly contrasted an admittedly romanticized and glossy picture of Buhari’s short regime to the PDP’s putrid statecraft. Buhari’s new, unlikely supporters, like prominent Guardian columnist, Sonala Olumhense, are projecting their political despair and hopes unto Buhari in a last ditch belief that the Buhari of 1985, in all his imperfect political flavor, may return and sanitize the polity and play the role of a revolutionary transitional figure. How this gamble will pan out is up in the air.
But is the Buhari of 1985, the insatiably patriotic, passionate, and courageous military revolutionary who can be forgiven for his overzealous overreach and other indiscretions, still possible?  Let’s look at the objective indicators.
If Buhari’s recent actions, utterances, and gestures are a guide, then it is fairly safe to conclude that the Buhari of 1985 is dead to Nigeria. Nigeria, by the way, seems to have returned the favor. First, when Buhari speaks now, he sounds withdrawn, disinterested, and aloof. I recently participated in a telephone interview with the General. It was organized by Nigeriavillagesquare.com. I was struck by how passion-less he sounded throughout the chat. And it wasn’t because we didn’t probe. We asked tough questions but also soft-ball ones that should have given him a platform to impress us with his diagnosis of Nigeria’s ills and his vision for curing them. Instead of punchy, substantive responses to our questions, we got platitudinous, banal, over-scripted political generalities.
Buhari’s political speech has become stale and bland, lacking the fierce urgency, to paraphrase Barack Obama, of Nigeria’s rescue mission. Buhari’s other recent interviews betray the same frustratingly noncommittal attitude and a seeming reluctance to make bold, promissory pronouncements about his intentions. He now speaks like a typical Nigerian politician; the same unimaginative vocabulary; the same vacuous rhetoric; the same lack of specifics; the same general, predictable promises about rooting out corruption, making government work, and improving security. The “how” of all this has been missing from the political gestures and pronouncements of today’s Buhari.
If this is an effort on his part to project a less fearful persona so as to appear less threatening to Nigeria’s elite kingmakers, then it illustrates the contention that we now have a morphed Buhari who would seek the approval of or compromise with the architects of Nigeria’s current predicament. If it is an attempt to tone down the firry rhetoric of his political youth, it is not striking the right cord and comes across as a capitulation to the pragmatics of the Nigerian political establishment. If it is evidence of a waning enthusiasm for public service or a loss of reformist fervor, it is even more depressing.
The most recent showcase of this new, diminished Buhari is the presidential debate organized by the NN24 TV channel. Buhari seemed faded and jaded, uninterested, and inarticulate. His plans for reversing the current rot, if one can call them plans, seemed scattered, impractical, and indiscernible. Mostly, he spoke in empty, familiar platitudes of the Abuja type. Even questions that seemed designed to draw out the old Buhari—questions on corruption and misgovernance—elicited disappointing, old, boringly banal, and non-substantive responses. His answers left more questions than they answered.
An objective, if a little cynical, assessment of Buhari’s political promise, then, has to conduce to a conclusion that Nigeria, age, and political disappointment have consumed the Buhari of 1985. The Buhari of 2011 is a frail, boring, typically Nigerian politician, indistinguishable from the rest of the political elite except in matters of personal integrity.
What about Buhari’s democratic bona fides? Here, too, Buhari’s current demeanor falls short of the urgent task of national reclamation. Starting from 2003 and in the ANPP, one of Buhari’s well known but constantly ignored political tendencies is his penchant for poor judgment in empowering every political opportunist who pledges allegiance to the Buhari brand. The result has been: 1) the imposition of Buhari-favored candidates in many Northern states and the exclusion of actual winners of party primaries; and 2) the political empowerment of incompetents and establishment politicians who rode to power on the Buhari name only to abandon Buhari’s principles for the crude, familiar politics of patronage and survival.
One prime example and embodiment of this problem is Ibrahim Shekarau, the Kano State Governor who stood side by side with Buhari in the recent debate as the ANPP presidential candidate and who was imposed on Kano ANPP by Buhari in 2003, displacing the winner of the party’s gubernatorial primaries, Ibrahim Ali Amin. Shekarau has since abandoned everything that Buhari claims to stand for and has, for good measure, wrestled the ANPP from his political mentor. That Shekarau stood on par with him at the debate as a rival candidate is the ultimate dramatization of Buhari’s inability to manage the affairs of his political party.
If a man cannot exercise good judgment and is not a democrat in internal party matters, it is doubtful if he can conjure up these assets in the presidency. The CPC, which Buhari formed after naivety and aloofness cost him control of the ANPP, is today a party in turmoil, with tales of candidate imposition proliferating across the North at all levels. Buhari has even publicly—shockingly—justified his imposition of candidates and the sidelining of primary winners. The crisis engendered by candidate impositions, mismanaged primaries, and Buhari’s biased interventions in some races and calamitous aloofness in others is currently threatening the prospect of a party that should otherwise sweep local elections in the Northwest and parts of the Northeast. So severe is this crisis that even die-hard Buhari supporters like Aliyu Tilde have commented critically in public on Buhari’s inability to use his enormous political capital in the North to build a coherent, orderly and just political party. The problems of the ANPP and now CPC illustrate a major weakness in Buhari: he is a poor manager of people and institutions.
Finally, there is the matter of Buhari’s personal integrity, namely his incorruptibility, which he has nurtured and treasured throughout his long career in public service. No one can take this away from Buhari. In this presidential race, he towers above all the candidates in this department. A man who has been exposed to national resources at many tempting levels and has emerged unscathed from all of them deserves the ethical pedestal that Buhari occupies.
 But personal integrity alone is not enough. It was not enough in 1979-1983, and it will not be enough in 2011-2115. Shehu Shagari was, by all accounts, not corrupt. But his political reputation of poor management and indifference meant that he presided over one of the most corrupt regimes in Nigerian history. His political associates gorged on the national patrimony while he fiddled and fidgeted with statecraft, content to dwell in the aura of the presidency and satisfied with the adoration of his thieving political allies. There is a legitimate fear that Buhari has all the makings of another Shagari.
At the height of Buhari’s current brand of politics is the cult of personality. Translated into simple political language, it means that Buhari is today surrounded with incompetent, corrupt, opportunistic, but loyal associates. Word on the Northern political street is that members of Buhari’s inner political family can do no wrong; their loyalty to Buhari buys them impunity, which they have sometimes used to enrich themselves and to brutalize and discredit rivals.
In hidden conversational scripts in Northern political circles, there are whispers that Buhari’s advisers and inner circle members are the greatest threat to his political brand in the North. They continue to trade patronage in a manner that dents Buhari’s brand. All this has happened and continues to happen at a sniffing distance away from Buhari. Yet, he is incapable of seeing these shenanigans because he is blinded by loyalty. Buhari is known throughout the Muslim North to value political and personal loyalty above all else. Because of this he is powerless to act against corrupt, incompetent, and misbehaving associates and aides. This is what doomed Shagari’s presidency. It may doom Buhari’s.  This should be a real concern to Buhari’s supporters as it is to this distanced admirer.
A compelling illustration of this reality is Buhari’s PTF chairmanship. It is very well known that the PTF was constituted by design or by reason of Nigeria’s established tradition of ethnic patronage, into a small family of Buhari’s associates, admirers, and kinsmen. No case of corrupt enrichment or personal waste has been brought against Buhari as a person despite a lengthy probe of the Fund’s activities by the government of Mr. Obasanjo. However, the PTF, it s well known, was a cesspool of waste and a cash cow for members of the emergent group of Northern admirers of Buhari. Many young kinsmen of Buhari’s and of his Adamawa-born wife emerged from the Fund as multimillionaires. Waste and unethical enrichment plagued the Fund, creating a class of moneyed and fiercely loyal group of young and middle aged Northerners around Buhari. Many of these people have struck out on their own politically; others have remained loyal to their benefactor.
The point here is that, like Shagari, Buhari ran a less than transparent, patently patrimonial organization while avoiding the stain of corruption. A Buhari presidency may amount to Buhari’s PTF regime writ large.
What good is personal integrity if it does not trickle down from the president to the associates below and if it does not find its way into institutions of government? Of what use is personal integrity if an inexplicable obsession with personal loyalty on the part of the president prevents him from insisting on and enforcing probity and transparency at all levels of government, including those run by his loyalists?
In Bakare, Buhari has a running mate who would not let loyalty trump accountability and public ethics, a running mate who would not let loyalty get in the way of transparency and the desire to do good. But since initiative and overarching authority resides with the president under our political system, it remains to be seen if a strong-willed, principled, intelligent, and uncompromising vice president can have any consequential impact on the ethical identity of a government or if he can exert any effective influence over politicians allied to the president or over aides appointed by and loyal to his principal.

BUHARI AND POST ELECTION VIOLENCE.

By JOSEPH JEGEDE
The presidential elections have come and gone, at least results have been declared and a winner announced. Like in every activity of man, the ripples continue. The piece is necessitated by the so called reactions to the declaration of the results. To every follower of events and canny observer and discerner, the violence did not come as any surprises.
General Buhari, the presidential candidate of the Congress for progressive change, CPC, did not leave any one in doubt that should he not win the elections, he will instigate violence.
He was reported to have said that he will not go to court, but that t5he people should go and fight for themselves. The court is the prescribed forum, under the law as in civilized societies, for those aggrieved, to seek redress. The land mark judgments of the courts these past years speak eloquently well of this standpoint and hence, the reason for the simple minded and honest gladiators to take recourse to the courts. This is not in any way making the option attractive to the general. According to him, he has been to the courts twice without success. What did he take to the courts? How many times did Gani Fawehinmi go to courts? How many times did lawyers go to courts over the people that he detained without trial? How many times did Alao Aka Bashorun, Femi Falana, Bamidele Aturu, etc go to courts to seek redress? The reason is that Buhari has no respect for the courts. That some judges favour his case was not new. Chief Obafemi Awolowo of blessed memory experienced a similar thing. Indeed, he own was worst, it was never to be sited in legal arguments. It was in the interest of the state Nigeria. History is replenished of the likes the world over.  General Buhari as a former head of state, should know this. Whether you call it state security or state interest, they mean one and the same thing.
What gave General Buhari the impression that he will win or that he should win? The crowds at the campaign grounds? Over eighty percent of these people at campaign rallies attend all the rallies. The reasons are not far fetched. They are hungry victims of the planlessness of the past leaders of whom General Buhari was one. They came o see if they will receive stipends to take care of the stomach. Democracy of the stomach – courtesy Bro Chief KO Mbadiwe, God bless him. Besides it is too rudimentary to say that crowds at rallies do not translate to votes. Are you sure how many of them are registered/ how many of them actually voted? How many of them actually voted correctly if they had wanted to vote for CPC. The high number of voided votes, over a million, attest to this. It is part of the fall out of General Buhari and co planlessness; low level of education and general low level of human capacity building.
I do not want to believe that that was why the general ran such a lack luster campaign, a half hearted presentation of self to the people. If so, it was too much an assumption, given the sophistication that is the Nigerian electorate today. Many thanks to the civil society organizations, including the Save Nigeria Group, SNG, whose convener, Pastor Tunde Bakare, later became his Vice Presidential candidate. Let the general publish for the reading public what his party structures look like in the South west, South South and the South East. These should include names those running for elective posts, the offices, and so on. It was beyond rumour that CPC boasted that they did not need the Igbos to win. Why then the hues and cries about votes from the south East? What was his campaign itinerary? Does he also count the middle belt as part of the monolithic north? Else where was he expecting the winning votes form? A candidate that did not prepare for examinations must blame himself, and only himself for his eventual failure and no one else. What is the raison d’être of this overconfidence naivety or mischief? It could not have been naivety because the General and his team are knowledgeable enough to know the potency of the odds. Mischief then becomes more likely. Knowing that he could win, began to sow the seed of discord and violence. The Yorubas say when a child falls down, he looks at where he falls, but when an adult falls he looks out for what caused him to fall. Call it what you may, despite his being president, Dr. Jonathan used every available means and opportunity to campaign ditto his wife.
Another misnomer was the term ‘Stolen Mandate’. Where was the mandate given? Who gave it?  Who stole it if there was any thing stolen? This was another way by which the General infuriated his foot soldiers and motivated them into violence. He is experienced and knowledgeable enough to know the the level of the people’s education and understanding to be able to weigh his statements before dropping verbal bombs. Every ballistic expert knows that bombs, just like earthquakes, have after effects, in this case, the so-called post election violence.
If the rat can not eat the beans, it will at least waste them.
Just a cursory look at the General pedigree or antecedents. How has he explained his past actions among which are the following:
a.    Cancellation of the Lagos metroline project?
b.    The 53 suit cases that came into Nigeria during his regime against regulations?
c.    Illegal detentions and selective dispensation of justice?
d.    Decree 20 and its use?
The defeat of CPC and by extension, General Buhari, at the polls is prayer answered.  His autocratic and one-man riot approach to governance and administration is innate in him. Till date he will not accept General Sanni Abacha’s son as governorship candidate of the CPC in Kano despite judgments from courts of competent jurisdiction. He was in Kano at the Emir palace but will not go to the CPC rally organized by the party because Abacha was there. Is that the person for the president of Nigeria in 2011? It is therefore obvious and crystal clear why he will not go to the courts but rather send his foot soldiers to unleash mayhem on the land. Democracy is about negotiations, rule of law, lobbies, etc is not a one man show. It was his bulldozer or totalitarianism that truncated the famed but doomed ACN-CPC alliance talks. ACN was sincere and flexible with its demands. CPC stubbornness truncated it all. His presidency is most likely to truncate or stagnate the country or bring national governance to a stalemate.
It was to his credit that he apologized for the wanton destruction of PDP offices in Gombe by his party people. It however goes to show the language of the party: VIOLENCE.
Now through his spokesman, Bro Yinka Odumakin, dares President Jonathan to arrest him. Dr. Jonathan may not. Firstly it will be arbitrary for now. Secondly he has ‘no enemy to fight’. The hardworking, visionary and energetic president-elect has enough of Nigeria’s problems begging for attention and solution to attend to rather than allow himself to be drawn into unnecessary ground battle. He will prefer to make more friends. However there are the ones that will arrest and judge between all; the moral court of the people, posterity and ultimately, God Almighty.
Frustration of the General made him weep. Was he weeping for Nigeria? I very much doubt that. He possibly wept because it dawn on him that his ambition is shattered because faulty preparations. It flows from that that he is not that man of steel that we were made to believe that he is. It is human. It is understandable. There is a score point here, the country, Nigeria, enters the Guinness Book of World Records by producing “a weeping general”. Generals that weep in public are very rare. The events and circumstances that produce generals conditioned them well enough to control their emotions in public places.
Pray, if all he wants is to ‘help’ Nigeria, then why not accept the people’s verdict through the instrument of the ballot box? The General has options. He could continue trying according to the law of the land or quit. He has chosen the latter. It is however yet to be seen how the presidential candidate will not go to court but the party will go. Double speak or….? He is a party in the matter. Me think he should have done it in a more respectable and state manly manner. Simply congratulate Dr Jonathan and moves back to prepare his preferred candidate for the next elections. Development is a process. King David prepared for the temple but his son Solomon built it. There is honour for them both. It is part of statesmanship.
As a General and former Head of State, he must have had operated with his own intelligence network not sycophants. What did they tell him? What did he find out?
Let the General do a re-think. There is something called ‘tactical withdrawal’ it si not cowardice. He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day. Think of how many innocent Nigerians have lost their lives. The youth corps members, the hope of their parents, the future of Nigeria wasted prematurely. He has had his time and chance. He was Head of State. He mismanaged it. Simple apology could have suffice but not fro the tough General but who weeps like a baby at the news conference, now whipped at the polls. Nigeria has moved. He misread the sophistication of the electorate and he paid dearly for it. States are now withdrawing their corps members back home. There are calls for a review of the scheme. How will the General feel if he is the cause of the reason for the cancellation of a noble instrument of National Unity put in place by his own primary consistency, the Military? What kind of a legacy will that one be?
GENERAL BUHARI VP FACTOR
His VP candidate, Pastor Tunde Bakare, was hand picked via a phone call on the 15th of January 2011. Pastor Bakare, arguably is perceived as ‘enemy’ by many of his counterparts in the Church because of unbridled criticism of his colleagues. He is not a member of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, or the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN the umbrella bodies for the Christians. He too, was another lone ranger in the church like General Buhari.
He was however supported on the platform of the SNG but seen as a traitor on joining CPC. Professor Wole Soyinka was reported to have felt used by Pastor Bakare. The October 2, 2010 report in The Punch by Demola Oni that he Pastor Bakare spoke by the Spirit of the Lord, that General Buhari  belonged the old that was decaying raised another query. Question is , why did Pastor Bakare joined himself to the decaying stuff? Did he actually hear God at the time? If yes, then he has disobeyed God by joining the stuff that God said that is decaying. Pastor Bakare knows god too well to know that when god speaks, it must happen. Again, did he lie ab initio? This is very much unlikely, because Pastor Bakare is noted for the truth. Could he have “erred in vision and then stumbled in judgment?” is that we do not understand the prophesy? Was he misquoted? These questions made many more people to see him as self serving rather going to serve the land.
He has consistently preached that Nigeria is a republic, hence, he is not a subject of any traditional ruler. During the electioneering campaigns he was there with the same traditional rulers whose positions and authority he berated and disparaged for so long. Then question, ‘Can this man change just like that just for elective posts?’ People asked ’how reliable is he’ in the face of all these inconsistencies.
These were some of the things that prevented them, CPC and  General Buhari from winning. No mandate was given not to talk of its being stolen.
JOSEPH JEGEDE
22, Pastor Ojediran street,
Orilowo. Ejigbo, Lagos.
Tinubu: Is Jonathan running a Government of Compromise?  
by Dada Popoola

Bola Tinubu
Apart from those playing ostrich to the question of rule of law and its application in Nigeria, discerning minds in the country believe that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) and the Nigeria legal system vis the rule of law have moral burdens. These burdens include the mess that the judiciary has become on one hand and the continued treatment of some individuals in the country as sacred cows on the other.
Last week, the judiciary lost yet another opportunity to cleanse itself and restore its credibility in the eyes of Nigerians and the world, when in its bid to save one of its own, the National Judicial Council (NJC) asked the President Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami to apologise for lying on oath!
Fundamental questions are already being raised on the outcome of the NJC probe, one of which was the rationale behind the non-treatment of the affidavit sworn to by Senator Umaru Dahiru on the relationship between Justice Salami and the former Governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu. Whereas, the Justice Umaru Abdullai-led panel went ahead to hold that the President of the Court of Appeal committed perjury on the same Sokoto issue. No doubt, the decision of the NJC was simply tailored to cover-up the affected jurists on esprit- de-corps basis. More than the NJC probe on which the last is yet to be heard, however, is the greatest cancer which if not checked, will eat up everything Nigeria soon.
That cancer is the application of our laws to some individuals in the country, who are now seen probably as being above the law. One of such individuals is Senator Bola Tinubu, the imperial lord of Lagos, whose criminal cases include alleged forgery of his academic records, lying on oath to contest the Lagos State Governorship poll in 1999 and above all, operation of foreign account while in office as governor of Lagos State.
In 2003, an Alliance for Democracy (AD) governorship aspirant in Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Olowu deposed to an affidavit at the Federal High Court, Abuja, affirming that Tinubu lied on his age. He stated that on Form CF 001, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu claimed to have been born in Lagos on March 29, 1952 whilst by passport No. A158399 issued by the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 16th February 1988, he claimed to have been born on 29th March, 1954 in Iragbiji, Osun State of Nigeria. While still in government, Tinubu was also accused of having 16 foreign accounts operated with different names, including those of his children and relatives. The operation of a foreign bank account by a public officer is contrary to Section 7 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap 56 Laws of the Federation, 1990 and punishable under Section 23 (2) of the law. The Act is incorporated under Paragraph 18, Part I of the 5th Schedule to the 1999 Constitution.

Then, the Federal Government had filed charges against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT). Tinubu, according to the charge sheet, failed to declare the accounts in the assets declaration form CCB-1, which he submitted to the Bureau when he was elected governor in 1999. In a seven-paragraph affidavit supporting the initial charge, deposed to by Ikechi Iwuagwu, a Deputy Director in the Conduct Bureau, the prosecution claimed; “That on 4th March, 2003, before the expiration of the first term in office of Governor Bola Tinubu, an asset declaration form CCB-1 was sent to the accused person as a public officer.
“That the accused person declared his assets and liabilities in the said form and returned the form to our office on 6th January, 2004. A copy of the said form is hereby attached and marked as Exhibit “A” “That all the assets declared by the accused person are as indicated in the assets declaration from CCB-1.
“Accused person did not declare any other things/assets or the operation of several foreign bank accounts in the said assets declaration form CCB-1submitted by the accused person marked as Exhibit A.
“That I was informed by Mr. O.T Olatigbe, counsel handling this matter and I verily believe him that the accused person is still operating several foreign bank accounts which he did not declare before the Code of Conduct Bureau.”
The foreign bank accounts listed against him in the earlier charge which was just slightly amended by the bureau included; First Heritage Bank, Country Club Hills, Illinois, USA, Account Name: Bola Tinubu, Account No: 263226700. Citibank NA New York, USA, Account Name: Bola Tinubu & Compass Finance and Investment Company Ltd, Account Nos: 39483134, 39483396, 4650279566, 00400220, 39936404, 39936383. Citibank International New-York, Account Name-Bola Tinubu, Account No-52050-89451952 and 52050-89451953. HSBC, 177 Great Portland Street London, WIW 6QJ, Account Name-Sen. Bola Tinubu, Account No-71253670, SORT Code-40-03-15. HSBC, Account Name-Sen. Bola Oluremi Tinubu, Account No-71253670, SORT Code-40-03-15. HSBC, Account Name-Sen. Bola Tinubu.
Others are; HSBC, Account - Tinubu Habitat Oyindamola (Miss), Account No. – 1320960111. HSBC, Account Name- Tinubu Zainab Abisola (Miss), Account No. – 172447101. HSBC, Account Name- Tinubu Oluremi Shade, Account No. – 1916667988 and HSBC, Account Name- Oluremi Shade Tinubu, Account No. – 41421522.
Interestingly then, when the case was mentioned, one Mr. Gbenga Adeyemi, who appeared for Tinubu cited immunity, wondering why the trial was commenced in spite of several judicial pronouncements that a governor enjoyed immunity by virtue of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution.

Ironically, now that Tinubu no longer enjoys immunity, the case at the Code of Conduct Tribunal has remained more of a riddle than reality. First, it was stories that the trial could not be commenced because of the death of the tribunal chairman, Justice Adebayo Muritala Sanni. Later, the story changed to lack of quorum. We have also been told that two nominees from Benue and Cross Rivers State to bring the tribunal membership to five. But now that the tribunal now has three members and an acting chairman in person of Justice Danladi Umar Yakubu, what is holding the trial of Tinubu and other high profile cases reportedly sent to the tribunal by the Code of Conduct Bureau?
Again, a certain Tunji Olowolafe, a notable member of Tinubu’s party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) sometimes last year. The arrest was at the wake of the reported crisis of confidence between Tinubu and his godson, Governor Babatunde Fashola. Olowolafe was detained for days and was later released, but up till today, EFCC has remained silent on this high profile case.

Also, Nuhu Ribadu, the former chairman of this same EFCC had said sometimes in 2007 that the commission was investigating Tinubu in a case that had an international dimension. So what has happened to the case and its international dimension? Has it ended with Tinubu and Ribadu holding hands at campaign rallies?
As it has been asked on several occasions; when is Code of Conduct Tribunal commencing Tinubu’s trial? Is Tinubu above the law of the land? Or better still, has he pocketed all the major correctional institutions in the country like the judiciary, the security agencies, the anti-corruption agencies, the media, pro-democracy organizations and other men of good conscience?
Most importantly, has Tinubu pocketed President Jonathan or the president is running a government of compromise?

Dr. Popoola is the Coordinator, Justice For All Nations (JFAN), USA.
Country Club Hills, Illinois, USA, Account Name: Bola Tinubu, Account No: 263226700. Citibank NA New York, USA, Account Name: Bola Tinubu & Compass Finance and Investment Company Ltd, Account Nos: 39483134, 39483396, 4650279566, 00400220, 39936404, 39936383. Citibank International New-York, Account Name-Bola Tinubu, Account No-52050-89451952 and 52050-89451953. HSBC, 177 Great Portland Street London, WIW 6QJ, Account Name-Sen. Bola Tinubu, Account No-71253670, SORT Code-40-03-15. HSBC, Account Name-Sen. Bola Oluremi Tinubu, Account No-71253670, SORT Code-40-03-15. HSBC, Account Name-Sen. Bola Tinubu.
Others are; HSBC, Account - Tinubu Habitat Oyindamola (Miss), Account No. – 1320960111. HSBC, Account Name- Tinubu Zainab Abisola (Miss), Account No. – 172447101. HSBC, Account Name- Tinubu Oluremi Shade, Account No. – 1916667988 and HSBC, Account Name- Oluremi Shade Tinubu, Account No. – 41421522.
Interestingly then, when the case was mentioned, one Mr. Gbenga Adeyemi, who appeared for Tinubu cited immunity, wondering why the trial was commenced in spite of several judicial pronouncements that a governor enjoyed immunity by virtue of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution.

Ironically, now that Tinubu no longer enjoys immunity, the case at the Code of Conduct Tribunal has remained more of a riddle than reality. First, it was stories that the trial could not be commenced because of the death of the tribunal chairman, Justice Adebayo Muritala Sanni. Later, the story changed to lack of quorum. We have also been told that two nominees from Benue and Cross Rivers State to bring the tribunal membership to five. But now that the tribunal now has three members and an acting chairman in person of Justice Danladi Umar Yakubu, what is holding the trial of Tinubu and other high profile cases reportedly sent to the tribunal by the Code of Conduct Bureau?
Again, a certain Tunji Olowolafe, a notable member of Tinubu’s party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) sometimes last year. The arrest was at the wake of the reported crisis of confidence between Tinubu and his godson, Governor Babatunde Fashola. Olowolafe was detained for days and was later released, but up till today, EFCC has remained silent on this high profile case.

Also, Nuhu Ribadu, the former chairman of this same EFCC had said sometimes in 2007 that the commission was investigating Tinubu in a case that had an international dimension. So what has happened to the case and its international dimension? Has it ended with Tinubu and Ribadu holding hands at campaign rallies?
As it has been asked on several occasions; when is Code of Conduct Tribunal commencing Tinubu’s trial? Is Tinubu above the law of the land? Or better still, has he pocketed all the major correctional institutions in the country like the judiciary, the security agencies, the anti-corruption agencies, the media, pro-democracy organizations and other men of good conscience?
Most importantly, has Tinubu pocketed President Jonathan or the president is running a government of compromise?

Dr. Popoola is the Coordinator, Justice For All Nations (JFAN), USA.

Before Our Own Riots Start…

0101 SK-backpagex.jpg - 0101 SK-backpagex.jpg
Simon Kolawole Live!: Email: simonkolawole@thisdayonline.com
Let’s be honest: we did not foresee the London riots. We did not foresee the arson and the looting. Many of us grew up thinking London was heaven, the best place on earth. Our parents and grandparents never ceased praying for us that one day, we would visit “Ilu Oba” (The Land of the Queen). Go to the UK High Commission and see crowds of young Nigerians desperately applying for visas. A frustrated cousin of mine called me last month seeking my approval and support to travel to London. He has graduated, done his youth service and has been applying for jobs for the past two years. There is no job in sight. He is downcast, completely tired of living off the goodwill of friends and family. “I want to travel to London. I don’t mind washing toilets to help out my widowed mother and my younger ones,” he said. If only he knew that “London” is not what it used to be and even toilet-washing jobs are now very hard to come by!
The London riots—which spread to other cities in England in a matter of hours—took many by surprise. The immediate cause, it seems, was the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan in Tottenham by the police. Duggan, who was riding in a minicab, died from a single gunshot wound to his chest. He was said to have been on the watch list of the Met Police. His family members and friends organised a peaceful protest to register their displeasure and seek justice. It initially went well. But then some young persons seized the opportunity to unleash mayhem, burning and looting at will. The gory spectacle shocked millions around the world.
Why did the people—most of them youths—resort to looting and arson? The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, described the carnage as the handiwork of criminals. He said angrily: “And to the lawless minority, the criminals who have taken what they can get, I say this: We will track you down, we will find you, we will charge you, we will punish you. You will pay for what you have done.” In his opinion—and in the opinion of many British politicians and commentators—what happened on the streets last week should be considered as criminality, pure and simple. Some guys just gathered and started looting. And they will pay dearly for it. Cameron even spoke about poor parenting, poor discipline in schools, general lack of morals and an erosion of ethics and values. Not a mention of economic hardship.
If you hold a contrary opinion—say you suggest there is more to the mob action than a mere mind for criminality—you are likely to be accused of justifying the looting. It’s a delicate line. Labour MP Harriet Harman said government cuts were to blame for the riots; she was virtually slaughtered for this. Maybe she was being partisan, her party having been rooted out of power by the coalition of the Conservative Party and Lib Dems. It is easy to think Harman was just trying to play opposition politics. However, I align with her, partially. While I would not hold government cuts solely responsible for the carnage, I would say the warning signal had been there for a while but the politicians and economy managers refused to acknowledge it.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, is your typical neo-liberal economist: cut social expenditure to the barest minimum; go for the jugular of subsidies; ignore public reaction as much as possible and continue to insist there is no alternative to your policies. With the global economic crises hurting consumption globally in 2008, the Labour government under PM Gordon Brown reduced VAT from 17.5 per cent to 15.5 per cent for 13 months to stimulate consumer spending. The coalition has since increased VAT to 20 per cent as it tried to plug the holes in public finance. But this had a negative impact on purchasing power. Yet, nobody seemed to pay attention to that.
The coalition government went on an expenditure-cutting spree. The youths were the worst hit. Their weekly benefits were reduced, thousands of jobs cut, civil service recruitment frozen and university tuition fees tripled (from next year, the fees could move from a range of £2,500-£3,000 to anywhere near £9,000). Student debts are mounting. University students have been demonstrating since the fee rise was announced, with some of them getting violent. Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla were once physically attacked, while a young student was imprisoned for throwing a fire-extinguisher at a building during the protests. These were signals of what was to come, but it was easily missed. Nobody seemed to pay attention.
Meanwhile, Britons watched as MPs piled expenses on expenses; taxpayers were made to pay for a lawmaker’s obsession with pornography. The expenses scandal was all over the newspapers. The bankers too, who ran their banks aground and were bailed out with public funds, did not give up their taste for insane rewards: many of them were still collecting fat bonuses, presumably for their recklessness, at taxpayers’ expense! Public anger was brewing but nobody paid attention. Resentment was rising. The politicians and economy managers went about their normal business, assuming perhaps that there was nothing to worry about.
For me, the Duggan murder was the tipping point. The initial demonstration, hough peaceful, offered an opportunity for pent-up anger to be let loose. The ensuing riots, we all know, had nothing to do with Duggan. There is no link whatsoever between the fatal shooting and the looting spree. But too many issues had piled up; too much resentment against government had been bottled up; too much anger had been residing in the recesses of the minds of the youths. Nobody paid attention to the warning signals that had been flashing. Suddenly, an unrelated event happened; suddenly, the youths had an excuse to go on the streets; suddenly, the criminally minded seized the opportunity to unleash terror on an otherwise peaceful, orderly society. I do not justify the crime, by any means, but something bred the anger. Something fed the crime. We should not ignore that as Cameron is trying to do. Yes, the gangs are criminal. But that is not all there is to this brigandage.
I have heard many Nigerians say this kind of riots cannot happen here. Our people are docile, they say. Even in the face of blatant looting of national treasury and economic hardship, Nigerians are going about their normal business as if they are enjoying the spectacle. Fela sang: “My people dey fear too much!” Beautiful Nubia added: “My people too dey suffer in silence. They will never talk until it’s too late for them.” I differ slightly. There were spontaneous riots all over the country in 1989—called SAP Riots. The immediate cause was the Ebony Rumours—the incredible allegations made against the then military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, falsely claimed to have been published in the American magazine. But there had been pent-up frustration in the land: the rumours simply triggered an explosion. Since Nigerians have rioted once, they can riot again.
In the last 12 years, we have been inundated with reports of mindless corruption in public office. Billions of dollars stolen; emergency billionaires, who are nothing but money launderers and thieves, are walking on our heads. The roads remain in poor condition. Power supply is as horrible as it could be. Public schools are an eyesore. Jobs are so hard to come by. Out there, we have a lot of frustrated youths. I mix with them. I talk to them. I see their pains. Anytime they read stories about the jumbo allowances of the lawmakers, they are very bitter. When they hear of the billions of naira spent on power sector and yet we live in the Dark Age, they let out curses. I don’t know if they will take to the streets one day, burning and looting, but I know that the ingredients for a London-style upheaval are available. We should not ignore the flashing signals.
In a way, the riots have already started, but a different kind of riots caused by unemployment and idleness. The senseless kidnappings are a form of riot. There seems to be a belief that kidnapping the wife or children or mother of a public officer and the rich is a way of getting some benefit from the system. Boko Haram, militancy and motor park touting are forms of rioting. Nigerian politicians need to know that there is a lot of anger and frustration on the streets. Nigerians may look docile. But, let’s be honest: we never knew frustrated London youths would one day resort to looting over a matter that was basically none of their business. That is how resentment works.

And Four Other Things...

Fuel from Niger
Good news for Nigeriens—soon, they could be exporting petroleum products to Nigeria. It could be as early as December this year, according to the Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou. His target is Northern Nigeria, which he said would be getting supplies from the Zinder Refinery in Niger. We also learnt during the week that Chad has achieved sufficiency in local refining, meaning fuel importation has come to an end in that country. Where does this leave Nigeria? Many years ago, I did ask that since those who got refinery licences were not willing to build because of our regulated market, what should we do? Fold our arms and watch? I did suggest that government should build new refineries to achieve sufficiency in production, lease out the management and then sell off the companies later. The policy makers laughed at me. Six, seven years later, we’re still waiting for a new refinery to be built while we continue to burn billions of dollars on fuel importation. That’s Nigeria.
Lessons from UK Riots
A 20-year-old British soldier, Liam Bretherton, 20, is on trial after walking into a shop with a £2000 guitar moments after it was looted in Manchester during last week’s upheaval. The owner of the shop became suspicious when Bretherton offered the guitar for sale. He checked the serial number on the instrument, locked the soldier in the shop and called the police. He was eventually arrested and charged to court, where he was ready to plead guilty to “handling a stolen good”, claiming he bought it for £20 from a looter. He insisted he was not the one who looted the shop; he only bought a stolen item. The point I want to make here is: if it was Nigeria, the soldier would probably have resisted arrest, while his colleagues would have attacked the police station for daring to apprehend him. By the way, what has happened to those who killed the DPO and DCO at Badagry? Another case of “unknown soldier”?
…And the Jokes
Nigerians are quite witty, and the social media is offering them a good platform to display their skills. In the heat of the UK riots, many jokes were flying around on facebook, twitter and blackberry.  One said: “FG plans to evacuate Nigerian citizens from London.  Citizens reply: Mr President,​ thank you for your concern... we prefer the riot!" Another said President Goodluck Jonathan had called PM David Cameron and offered two detachments of MOPOL to help quell the uprising and stop the looting. For football followers, what about this? “Riots get to Old Trafford. Wenger caught on CCTV looting trophies!!!!”
Adios, Fabregas
One of the most prolonged transfer sagas in football history—Cesc Fabregas moving from Arsenal to Barcelona—will hopefully end this week. To football followers, it is one of the most bewildering moves ever. Fabregas, who was not homesick when he moved from Spain to England at the age of 16, is now homesick at 24! He is not guaranteed first-team football at Barcelona, with star performers like Xavi Hernandez, Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta well-established in the first eleven, and Alcantara Thiago on the rise. Incredibly, Fabregas is reportedly taking a huge £5 million pay cut to make this move. Why? Given that Arsenal has not won a league title in seven years, Fabregas' motivation is very clear: he wants to win trophies—even if it means sitting on the bench like Aleksander Hleb, another gifted one who left Arsenal for Barcelona and won five trophies the following year, virtually without kicking a ball!

TINUBU GOES TO LONDON.


Bola Tinubu at Chatham House
By Uchenna Osigwe
Bola Ahmed Tinubu was at the Chatham House, London the other day, to tell the world that the PDP won the last presidential election in Nigeria. This declaration was necessitated by the fact that Buhari and some of his supporters were at the same venue earlier to tell the same world what actually happened during the said elections. The question that comes to mind then is, is Tinubu working for the PDP?
A good number of Nigerian journalists have been writing fictions for a long time now. But I don’t think the story with the caption:  “Jonathan won April election – Tinubu,” in the Punch of Wednesday, 20 July 2011, was fiction. The paper quoted Tinubu as saying: “I believe Jonathan won the election but that the returns attributed to him in some parts of the country obviously appeared exaggerated.” Tinubu, according to the report, attributed Jonathan’s victory to the “unique circumstances of Jonathan’s rise to power” which made the public to see him “as a distinctive figure.” How, in the world of Tinubu—who wanted to become a running mate to Buhari, and who said that the candidate of his own party, Ribadu, was a Sarkozy, a Cameron and an Obama rolled into one—Jonathan was transformed overnight into a more ‘distinctive figure’ than Buhari and Ribadu, remains a mystery to many.
Tinubu, in his ‘lecture’ blamed the ‘weak’ campaign of the opposition for their defeat, saying that they naively thought that the public’s disenchantment with the PDP “was enough to get rid of them at the polls.”
In the report, Tinubu took a swipe at “a group of people dissatisfied with the outcome of the general elections,” who through their “political machinations” are worsening the security situation in the country, referring particularly to the Boko Haram menace. He then pledged his “‘full sympathy and support’ for the President in finding solution to the disturbing phenomenon.” 
Anybody who had followed Tinubu’s words and actions during the so called alliance talks with Buhari’s CPC would not be very surprised at what Tinubu told the world in London. While Buhari consistently held out hope for a possible alliance, or at the very least, a working plan with the ACN, Tinubu had from the very beginning—once his request to be Buhari’s running mate was rejected by the latter on the grounds that it would be a Muslim- Muslim ticket, which, given the situation in the country, would be DOA—saw the alliance as doomed (in Tinubu’s words in the same report, “the opposition parties danced with each other but did not embrace”). Buhari, on the other hand, called for what he described as a ‘political maturity’ from both parties, who are in a way ideological soul mates, in order to dislodge the PDP. So, while Buhari was holding out hope for a workable alliance, Tinubu had gone to town to rule out any such alliance.
Campaigning in Kano on the 22nd of March 2011for his presidential candidate, namely Nuhu Ribadu, whom he compared to Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy of USA, UK and France respectively, Tinubu declared that the CPC was parading ‘expired leadership.’ Juxtaposed to what he said in his Chatham House ‘lecture,’ to the effect that the insecurity in the country was caused by the political machinations of a group who were not happy with the outcome of the general elections, you have a good idea of who Tinubu was referring to. There was undoubtedly a question of good faith in the alliance talks. Initially, when Buhari refused to run under ACN, again for good reasons, they agreed that the CPC would provide the presidential candidate while the ACN would provide the running mate. CPC was the first to ratify their presidential candidate and instead of ACN respecting their agreement, they went ahead and produced a presidential candidate. From that point on, the alliance was as good as dead. Again, Tinubu coming out to insist on being the running mate to Buhari, according to CPC sources, makes it clear that the party wasn’t serious about a workable alliance in the first place.
Why was Tinubu insisting on such an unpromising ticket?
One of the revelations that came out in the run up to the April 2011 presidential elections in Nigeria was the allegation the former governor of Sokoto state, Attahiru Bafarawa levelled against Tinubu, accusing the latter of being a PDP agent whose brief was to frustrate any alliance with Buhari’s CPC. But Tinubu was the first to make the allegation that there were PDP agents planted to frustrate the alliance, whereupon Bafarawa told him he might have to look in the mirror to recognize one such agent! Was Tinubu’s insistence on being Buhari’s running mate part of the plan to frustrate the alliance talks? That insistence was like telling Buhari: damn if you do, damn if you don’t. If Buhari accepts Tinubu as a running mate, the ticket would be doomed from the beginning, if he doesn’t, Tinubu would blame him for being intransigent. In both cases, Buhari would be the loser. But who really loses when there’s no good governance in Nigeria, is it Buhari or hapless Nigerians? For instance, in a space of one month the president has gone from constituting a mediocre cabinet to the nonsensical tenure elongation gambit to the declaration that petroleum subsidies are a ‘drain’ on the economy to the announcement that Nigeria will soon be importing fuel from the Republic of Niger! It’s not Buhari that loses at such manifest mediocre governance but the suffering masses of Nigerians.
There’s a pattern here: each time Buhari comes out to contest, the PDP sends their agents after him, possibly making one of those agents his running mate. They failed in 2003 because his running mate, Chuba Okadigbo, stood firmly with him, but that cost him his life as he was ‘teargassed’ to death during a rally to drum up support for their electoral petition. Chuba was an asthmatic and the teargas he inhaled from the PDP goons, some of whom appeared to be police officers, triggered a fatal asthmatic attack. With Chuba gone, Buhari’s case at the tribunal suffered a big blow. In 2007 both his running mate and his party abandoned him and went into an alliance with the PDP. That game was again attempted in 2011. Since they couldn’t plant someone close enough, his running mate, Pastor Tunde Bakare, was smart enough to understand that those same agents were trying to trick him into signing a post-dated letter of resignation. In other words, they wanted to blackmail him in advance and, through that, weaken Buhari once again. Currently there is a serious effort to divide the ranks of the CPC by creating ‘factions’ in the party.
Tinubu v ACN
Tinubu’s declaration that Jonathan won the presidential election is not only commenting on a case that is sub judice but also diametrically opposed to what his party said immediately after the election. The ACN, as widely reported in the press, said the presidential poll was ‘most systematically rigged.’ According to Lai Mohammed, national publicity secretary of the party, "What the PDP did last Saturday was simple: They colluded with security agents and INEC officials to cook figures which have now turned out to be their undoing, because the cooking was not intelligently carried out." (Thisday, 22 April 2011)
Mohammed continued: “A few examples will suffice: In the South-south and South-east, where President Jonathan is believed to have strong support, the average turnout was 67% each of registered voters, compared to 32% for the South-west where he is believed to have a strong opposition. In the North-west and North-east, which is considered a bastion of opposition in the north, the average turnout of registered voters was 54%.
“And whereas high voter turnout was recorded in states perceived to be sympathetic to President Jonathan in the different geopolitical zones (Bayelsa in South-south 85%, Imo in South-east 84%, and Plateau in North-central (62%), the opposite was the case for areas where the opposition was believed to be strong. Even in Katsina, Buhari’s hometown, the turnout was a paltry 52%! Ditto for Kano (53%); Sokoto (40%) and Zamfara (51%).
“It is also instructive that even though Edo State is in the South-south, the turnout was only 37%, apparently since the state was not believed – by the figure cooks – to be sympathetic to President Jonathan, being controlled by the ACN. The turnout figures for the South-west are also revealing: Lagos (31.8%); Ogun (28%); Osun (39%) and Oyo (33%). Also, while the margin of victory for the PDP in the South-south is 98% and for the South-east 98.9%, the highest margin of victory for the CPC in the North-west, where Buhari comes from, is 55.8%.”
No one can successfully refute facts with an argument, no matter how clever the argument. What the ACN is saying in its allegation is that those figures are too good to be true. The fact that both INEC and PDP are refusing to allow an inspection of the electoral materials that gave such a victory speaks volumes.
However, from the benefit of hindsight, we can reasonably conclude that by coming out with such credible accusation of rigging, ACN was publicly telling the PDP that their ‘agreement’ was just for the presidential election and does not include state elections, that if they repeat the rigging in the state elections, they will be glad to meet them at both the presidential and state elections tribunals. The PDP got the message and the ACN has been quiet ever since.
But what the party said is on record and it flies in the face of what Tinubu said in his Chatham House lecture.
If anybody or any party would know the PDP’s ways of rigging, that would be Tinubu and his ACN (formerly AC, formerly AD). So, it’s puzzling that while his party (which is inseparable from him) told the world that the PDP rigged the presidential election all over the country, Tinubu had to go to London to contradict his own party!
Was Tinubu used by the PDP/NPN to once again keep their nemesis out of power?

As The Church Slept… (4)

Jeremiah Emmanson's picture
Thu, 04/08/2011 - 12:33am | SHARON FALIYA CHAM
Gen. Muhammadu Buhari
And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.” Matthew 8:31 & 32. Remember, “For the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God…..” Therefore, all the swine possessed by evil spirits that are troubling Nigeria with mischief and deceit will soon be drowned in the sea and waters of God’s anger and judgement. Nigeria cannot continue like this.
Again, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain”.
Nigeria is at the moment in search of a credible leader with unimpeachable character and integrity. And of the major contenders for the presidency in the just concluded elections I dare say, without any fear of being contradicted, that Gen. Muhammadu Buhari fitted the bill handsomely, but because corrupt politicians have mastered the art of using religion and ethno-religious sentiments to cause splits when and where they perceive they are going to lose woefully, they deploy it effectively, usually with the grease of heavy cash.
This much was reported on page 7 of Leadership newspaper of Thursday, April 14, 2011 (two days before the presidential election) in a story captioned Yakowa Takes Campaign to Churches, which was reported by Isaiah Benjamin from Kaduna city. Part of the report reads: “LEADERSHIP gathered that few days before the National Assembly elections, Governor Patrick had gathered Christian pastors in a meeting at the Redeemed Christian Church of God on bank road in Kaduna where series of discussions between him and the pastors took place after which prayer session was held……. Sources also close to some of the pastors visited who pleaded anonymity disclosed to LEADERSHIP that Yakowa would always give an executive handshake to appease the Church leaders and followers before leaving.” Now, it’s never wrong for politicians to meet with religious leaders.
In fact, it should be encouraged if it is purely advisory for enhancing good governance, but for religious leaders to be appeased or induced financially by politicians as the story suggests in order to win their support is not healthy for the Church and the nation, for it means a much credible person without funds to give an executive handshake for appeasement will be ignored, and it amounts to Church-support-for-hire.
Could this be one of the reasons General Buhari was worked against by C.A.N., for the General ran a very austere campaign with very limited funds while the P.D.P. ran theirs for Jonathan with huge funds and incumbency factors? Corruption in the Church as in the society leads to spiritual blindness, and that which is good could be missed by both Church and society: “Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him. They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not…..” Hosea 8:3 & 4. Is the enemy pursuing the Church already? ”For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind…...” Hosea 8:7. Is the whirlwind already tormenting the Church?
This brings the question: Can a Muslim become president or governor in a heterogeneous society like Nigeria if he or she has the required capacity to lead? The Bible has the answer: “Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.” Ephesians 6:8. This settles the controversy and should suppress the unhealthy appetite for “it must either be one of us or not at all”, for this Scripture says “any man”, and whether “bond or free.” If you like, it means whether believer or unbeliever. You could have a Church-going politician who is bereft of vision, honesty, character, charisma and integrity and we have plenty of such in Nigeria, whereas a non-Christian could have such attributes.
You only have to look at Obasanjo himself, Olabode George, some State governors and a host of others that are Church attendees. Also, recently some Bible clutching bank executives have either been sent to jail or are still undergoing trial for looting depositors’ funds and other sundry financial crimes. When it is clear that such people have run the nation aground should the Church just blindly back any person with a name lifted from the pages of the Holy Bible, or because the person attends Church? The devil can also boast of having his name in the Holy Bible and also attends some Church. The Church should and must see persons the way God sees them as long as we are on this earth, for “….if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.”
James 2:9. As sons and daughters of God we must imitate Him, for “….God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” Acts 10:34 & 35. So, a non-Christian with a good conscience and integrity can be supported into political or business office for the good of all, for “Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.” Ecclesiastes 5:9. This Scripture didn’t say the profit of heaven; it says the profit of the earth. The parameters for going to heaven are different from how we govern ourselves here on earth, even though some of the sound qualities for good behavior and good governance, like honesty and integrity, could be assets for the journey to heaven.
That is why the Church cannot afford to be partisan, rather she could educate the voters in her midst to prayerfully choose candidates based on honour, honesty, integrity, character and vision, but surely, surely not because a candidate goes to some Church. So, a non-Christian who is known to have sown the seed of integrity, honesty and sound character in public life can be supported based on the injunction we read earlier; “Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.” Ephesians 6:8. God further qualified this Scripture this way: “…….for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7.
This is a universal law – the law of seed time and harvest time. That is why a generous Muslim will be more prosperous than a stingy Christian, for “….God is no respecter of persons.” That is why for the Church to allow herself to be used by unscrupulous and dishonest politicians to frustrate noble and honest politicians like Gen. Muhammadu Buhari is tantamount to fighting God and His principles, for it was a clear and dangerous effort to deny the General his God given harvest.
This is one of the cases God will surely judge in the Church, thwarting a legitimate harvest based on selfish and unworthy sentiments. And the nation will not be better off in this kind of sentiments, for I have not seen how Goodluck Jonathan will make roads for only Christians to ply, markets with good prices for only Christians, steady electricity for only Christians, steady and qualitative education for only Christians, etc, etc and neither can I see how General Buhari can Islamize Nigeria in a democracy as uninformed and gullible Christians have been made to believe of him. The bottom line is we need honest people that will provide good governance based on justice and compassion.
We must understand that as long as we remain on earth we must have a symbiotic relationship with all other groups till eternal judgement time. Dapo Thomas, in the same article referred to above capture this truth succinctly. He said, “Indeed our interdependence is deliberately designed by GOD to remove absolutism from the reach of man because of the evil that man can do with it.”
Before the flight to eternal paradise, what does a group in a heterogeneous and multicultural society like Nigeria want to monopolise power for, considering that the region, or group that was hitherto accused of such monopoly has denounced and rejected such monopoly and has opened up to power sharing?
Is it to engage in absolutism with its inherent tendency for evil as suggested by Dapo Thomas, or is it for revenge? And does God want us to revenge any perceived injustice? And by the way, which injustice? A senior editorial staff and columnist with the Daily Trust newspaper sometime last year wrote about how some northern intelligentsia including himself, all of them Muslims, met at a location in Kaduna and discussed how to get a credible presidential material from the north that will unite the glaringly fractured north, and will also have a sentimental appeal to the southerners. They unanimously agreed on Gen. T.Y. Danjuma, a Christian and a well known middle belter, after which they met him and told him of their consideration of him. He declined, citing some personal reasons. Till date the General has not denied this story.
Now, I brought this up so that certain prejudices against certain groups or persons should be known as misplaced. By God’s injunction the tendency for vengeance by man is foolish and could lead man to fall into the devil’s snare.
Therefore the Church cannot afford to be partisan, by way of instructing worshippers to vote persons only because they attend some church, and not because of proven piety, honesty, integrity, character, passion and compassion for the less privileged and for national development. Bishop David Oyedepo, in a press briefing ahead of the 30th anniversary of his ministry said, “Prophets cannot afford to be partisan or else they will lose God’s backing.”
(The Nation, Friday, April 29, 2011, page 8.) I wish this great man of God has made this press briefing before the elections, for it would probably have helped the Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor led C.A.N. from the wholesale endorsement and pulpits campaigns for President Jonathan.
This has the potential of causing rifts within the Christian community as every worshipper could have a different perception of the candidates; some based on ethnic or regional affiliation; some based on a proper study of the character and antecedents of the candidates; some based on the manifest vision or campaign manifesto of the candidates, etc. Imagine a presidential contest in which Prof. Maurice Iwu and Prof. Attahiru Jega, or Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo and Mallam Lamido Sanusi, or Godswill Akpabio, Godson Ikedi Ohakim and Raji Fashola are the major contenders and you go to Church one morning and the Pastor instructs that you should vote “in defence of the faith.”