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Friday, 31 October 2014


Fellow Nigerians, let me reiterate here that I’m a latter day convert to Buharism. Truth is it took me years to see the light. I had resisted the conversion due to an overdose of poison from anti-Buhari elements that litter our socio-political landscape. Those who wish to continue the current charade and wish Nigeria would remain in perpetual servitude would do anything and everything possible to make a Buhari Presidency impossible and unrealisable. However lies can run faster than truth but truth will always catch up especially when lies become predictable.
I have received many reactions, and read many comments, on my mathematical calculations about the 2015 elections, earlier published. I have also followed the interventions of my two great Brothers, Simon Kolawole and Segun Adeniyi. We are all committed to seeing a better and greater Nigeria. I don’t think anyone prays for the personal downfall of President Goodluck Jonathan who has obviously faced too many challenges in the last four years. What I see personally is the sad reality that the present problems have overwhelmed him beyond redemption, and asking him to continue is to extend these tragic times for another four years. When Dr Jonathan became President, he inherited a burden heavier than an elephant.  If PDP had managed Nigerian affairs a tiny bit, all the hullabaloo about APC would have been unnecessary. But PDP could not keep its own house in order not to talk of governing well.
The implosion of PDP had long been foretold. It is clear that no political party could ever sustain its level of recklessness and rascality forever. Any serious observer and chronicler of events would have seen and known that a day would come when the rampaging monkey would go to the market and fail to return. Such was the case of PDP which behaved like Nigerians were too docile to react or move against it. Such is the kind of complacency and rudeness that has set Burkina Faso on fire today.
The first sign of trouble came from within during the Nigerian Governors’ Forum election in which Rotimi Amaechi roundly defeated Jonah David Jang the favoured candidate of Mr President. But rather than see the handwriting on the wall that something terrible was about to hit its household, the PDP gladiators chose to dig deeper and engage in unholy wars with whosoever challenged its purported invincibility. Before our very eyes, the Nigerian Governors Forum was dichotomised and decimated in a vindictive manner. Seven PDP Governors rebelled and started a nationwide consultation with different socio-political groups. Eventually, five of them chose to challenge fate and decamped to the new amalgamation of political parties known as APC but two later chickened out for obvious and personal reasons.
The birth of APC was bound to change the political configuration and alter the electoral calculations ahead of the 2015 elections. But again the PDP underrated the influence of the confluence of political parties brought about by the emergence and existence of APC. The arrogant assumption by PDP that its power and glory cannot be challenged by APC is what has become its seeming albatross and possible waterloo.
 However, APC still has a long and dangerous bridge to cross. My mathematical calculation did not write off the victory of President Jonathan who controls an awesome arsenal which he seems ready to deploy against his enemies. I only opined that APC has a stronger and better chance than the opposition has ever had if it manages its internal contradictions very well. Let’s now examine the defection of the Speaker House of Representatives, Waziri Aminu Tambuwal from PDP to APC. I will address this controversial move from its genesis to revelation before moving on with my forecast.
There was nothing surprising about Tambuwal’s dramatic elopement, if it could be called that. Tambuwal from Day One had been living with a lover while pretending to be in a marriage elsewhere. What Tambuwal did this week was to boldly come out by openly revealing the love of his life and damning all consequences. It was sweet revenge against PDP, and payback time for APC, after he’d been rejected by the original lover when it mattered most. Tambuwal would not have been made Speaker but for the benevolence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who encouraged members of ACN in the National Assembly to support his candidacy. Since then the Speaker has remained fervently in romance with Tinubu and company.
 On the possibility of Tambuwal jumping into the APC Presidential race, my answer is a big NO. That was the thinking once upon a time and I was probably the first columnist to write about it. Two major factors affected and aborted that dream.
Tinubu had hoped to groom Tambuwal for the Presidential race. He was seen as a sellable candidate who by virtue of his position and exalted office would readily have his foot-soldiers in most of the Federal constituencies. A lot of work had been done even to persuade the People’s General, Muhammadu Buhari, to come out and anoint Tambuwal publicly. General Babangida had already endorsed him openly. General Obasanjo, the most vocal of the Generals, had no objection to him as everyone knew him to be humble and likeable.
Let me quickly explain before I continue this enthralling saga. Nigeria is a Mafia nation controlled by four different groups. The political Capos are about ten members including Generals Yakubu Jack Dan-Yumma Gowon (the Head of State who fought to keep Nigeria as one country and most senior Army General around), Olusegun Matthew Okikiolakan Aremu Obasanjo (only person to have tasted power as military Head of State and civilian President and has the widest international influence), Muhammadu Buhari (most feared of the lot but closest to the poor people of Nigeria), Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (only military Head of State and military President), Abdulsalami Abubakar (only man who kept his word of serving for only one year without the temptation of elongation), Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (who has never governed Nigeria but is the richest, very cerebral and most taciturn power-house in the country), Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan (who by virtue of his present position is a member of that Mafia even if he looks more like a stranger in the fraternity) and Senator David Alechenu Bonaventure Mark (retired Army General and current Senate President who has worked his way up the Mafioso ladder in Nigeria)… There are of course a couple of others who have been security chiefs at one time or the other.
A few Royal icons are sometimes contacted or consulted by the original Mafia. They include The Sultan of Sokoto, The Ooni of Ife, The Obi of Onitsha, The Alaafin of Oyo, The Emir of Kano, The Emir of Zazzau, The Shehu of Borno, The Lamido of Adamawa, and a few others.
There also exists a super caucus of stupendously wealthy business men who hold the economy of Nigeria together and form the third axis of power in the country. They include Dr Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Isola Adenuga (the enigmatic billionaire who controls substantial interests in oil & gas, telecoms, banking and real estate whose true worth has never been revealed); Alhaji Aliko Dangote (with interests in cement, sugar, rice, salt, refineries, and one of the world’s richest men); Dr Tony Elumelu (Group Chairman UBA, Heirs Holdings and Transcorp Corporation of Nigeria); Mr Jim Ovia (with vast interests in banking, telecoms and hospitality); Mr Femi Otedola (with a firm grip on the diesel market and petroleum products) plus two controllers of wealth, both ladies, Diezani Alison-Madueke (Minister of Petroleum Resources) and Ngozi  Okonjo-Iweala (Minister of Finance). These men and women have unfettered access to power. Add to the mix some very influential religious leaders who space constraint and time would not allow me to name and you have a cauldron of intrigues and machinations everywhere. All the above-mentioned interests have to be delicately managed with that of the political operatives in the process of seeking Presidential power in Nigeria even if there are occasional or accidental miracles like that of President Jonathan. Tambuwal had a robust network with most of these interest groups.
But the technical complexities of declaring his interest while retaining the Speakership became too knotty to untie. In the process, the steam of Tambuwal’s ambition slowly and steadily evaporated. Then something unexpected overtook the game. Tinubu came into the picture as a possible Vice Presidential candidate. It is still unclear who sold the idea to Tinubu or whether he had nursed the ambition secretly all along. The decision of Tinubu and his team was that such ambition could only be realised in conjunction with Buhari or Atiku since other Presidential aspirants would be too little in status to him. The small group then decided to amplify Buhari’s candidacy. This was how Buhari was cleverly persuaded into returning to the race at a time he had almost said goodbye to perpetual electioneering.
The next hurdle was how to sell what would naturally become a major combustible element in this season of religious conflagration in Nigeria, the Muslim/Muslim ticket, which I wrote agaist very early as a true friend of Tinubu. In fact, a very influential Yoruba man had called and lambasted me for saying the Muslim/Muslim ticket would not work this time. The man was livid as I tried to let him see reason with me. I was now convinced that many people were misleading Tinubu who ordinarily is a master tactician and strategist. The group again decided that for the Tinubu project to work, they must get a Christian candidate for Lagos as palliative to shut up the Christian groups. This was the main reason the Akinwumi Ambode Governorship project became a spiritual obligation.
The group also became very chummy with their erstwhile foe, General Obasanjo, hoping he would not openly attack the project.
Their worst fear was confirmed when Obasanjo gave a blistering attack against a Muslim/Muslim ticket last week thus forcing even the APC Chairman to promptly react that no such idea was ever contemplated. The plan B is now how to get a Christian within the group to step forward as replacement. Except Tinubu changes his mind today or tomorrow, Buhari or whoever gets the APC Presidential ticket would have to suffer some serious migraine because the group wants the reward of working for APC right here on earth and not in heaven.
 They are not willing to let go of that VP slot which they are convinced is rightly theirs. The candidate would have to do one of two things, succumb to pressure from Tinubu’s camp or call their bluff. Neither is going to be easy.
The first is the belief that no one can ignore Tinubu’s electoral value in the South West. Some party members are so scared of stepping on Tinubu’s toes even if they believe his influence has waned drastically in recent months. Tinubu’s camp unfortunately is not able to produce a Christian politician with national appeal at this time. The best candidate for the job would have been the wonder-man of Lagos State, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, but there are problems with him on two fronts. The first is that he is a Muslim like Tinubu. And even if his incredible popularity provides him an automatic waiver, he is locked in a battle of wits with his godfather on the issue of who becomes the next Governor of Lagos.
Tinubu is insisting on Mr Ambode while Fashola prefers his former Attorney-General, Mr Supo Shasore.
About ten aspirants have already picked up nomination forms. Ambode has launched his campaign and so has Mr Adeyemi Ikuforiji, the three-Term Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly and probably the most formidable politician in the race. No one knows how things would pan out.
With Fashola out of the Vice Presidential equation, Tinubu is relying on his friends, the three Musketeers: Yemi Osibajo (a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and former Attorney-General in Lagos); Yemi Cardoso aka Headmaster ( an accountant, banker with a Master’s degree in Public Administration and Management from Havard, served under Governor Tinubu as Commissioner of Economic Planning and Budget); and Olawale Edun (with an exceptionally brilliant background in Economics and great career in Merchant banking, corporate finance and stockbroking; he was a Commissioner of Finance under Governor Tinubu).
There is a fourth personality under consideration, Professor Robert Ajayi Borrofice, a distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic from Ondo State who was Director General, National Space Research and Development Agency, with a PhD in Genetics. They are all distinguished and honourable men but many doubt their electoral value in a complicated environment like Nigeria.
Many APC members believe the South West should not produce the Vice President so soon after Obasanjo left power. Their greatest consideration is that the region that lays the golden eggs, the South-South cannot be ignored if peace must reign and President Jonathan is to be pushed aside. The conclusion is that both Governors Adams Oshiomhole and Rotimi Amaechi have the national appeal as well as Executive experience that Buhari would require after so many years out of power.
Amaechi in his case has the additional advantage of legislative exposure as two-Term Speaker of Rivers State while Oshiomhole comes with intimidating Labour credentials.
I will still place my bet on Buhari emerging as the APC Presidential candidate. He’s a safer risk for his Party and one man the other aspirants can unite around. He would now have to be bold enough to take the difficult risk of who becomes his running mate.
I wish him the best of wisdom.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

2015 RE-ELECTION BID: Nigerians Lambast Jonathan

Many Nigerians think and have described President Goodluck Jonathan as an insensitive leader amidst the reactions coming from his steps to formally declare his intention for a 2015 comeback.
Goodluck Jonathan
Goodluck Jonathan
From his said failed administration in terms of the kidnapped Chibok girls, many Nigerians are worried that Mr president is solely about his selfish gains and not his real responsibilities of protecting lives and the property of the citizens  are his utmost priority
The President who had a change in cabinet on Thursday set up a Presidential Declaration Committee with a former Minister of Defence, Dr. Bello Haliru, appointed as the chairman, also former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, was appointed as the Deputy Chairman and Senator Anyim Pius Anyim will serve as secretary of the committee.
Mr President who had made it known some years back that he would not stay in office beyond 2015 has however made Nigerians to have many thoughts ranging from being able to have secured the release of the Chibok girls even before he declares for a re-election.
However, according to punch, the Executive Director, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, Adetokunbo Mumuni, has made it known that the fact that the President had chosen to concern himself about returning to power at this time amounted to insensitivity.
Mumuni, made it known on Thursday that the President could simply have delayed his declaration until when the Chibok girls are rescued.
But in Nigeria, politicians at all levels, not just the President, think mostly about the moment rather than the future. It has become customary that they don’t bother about the situation in the country when their political career is concerned.
“There were reports that the girls would be released last Monday but this is the end of the week and nothing has happened. What the President should have done was to address the nation on this issue and tell us why nothing has happened.”
Mr. David Anyaele, who is the Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities,  also expressed worry over the President’s seeming reluctance to prove to Nigerians that he could provide adequate security for them. Urging that Chibok girls must be rescued, he said:
“Nigerians should demand that the President should produce the girls right now to show he has the capacity to provide security for the country beyond 2015 and that he is not insensitive.
Speaking on behalf of the Chibok girls, the spokesperson for the BringBack Our Girls Campaign, said it would be unfair to the abducted girls for the President to put politics above their safe return.
He said, “For us at BBOG campaign, one of the things we have been demanding is that we need to see a resolve from the Presidency that rescuing the Chibok girls and other boys and girls who have been kidnapped in the past remain number one on the agenda of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“Unfortunately, this is a time we have different political intrigues and the 2015 elections close by. Sometimes we feel they have placed politics above the return of the girls.
“We demand that the government should rescue the girls and communicate with the families of the girls who have been kept in the dark since the news broke that there was a ceasefire and a negotiation.”
An Abuja-based lawyer and social commentator, Mr. Jide Oluyemi, said it is a shame for the president to seek re-election in the midst of the security crisis in the country, especially in the North-East, making it known that the president is totally insensitive to the plight of Nigerians.
Oluyemi said, “Six months ago, Boko Haram abducted over 200 Chibok schoolgirls and they have yet to return home. There are thousands of people displaced and yet President Goodluck Jonathan still has the gut to declare his ambition to seek re-election.
“This is insensitivity at its greatest height; this is unfair to many Nigerians who have lost their loved ones to the insurgency in the North. This display of insensitivity must stop. He should address the insecurity first and lay aside his ambition for now. He was not properly advised on this one.”
Fred Agbaje, a Lagos-based lawyer, says that though the President has the right to seek Nigerians’ mandate for re-election, the timing was wrong.
“There is no law or any process which bars the President from declaring his interest. Once the necessary provisions of the law are met, he can declare. But the question is whether he can still go ahead to declare in the face of mounting insecurity, unemployment, corruption and abduction of Nigerians, among other problems confronting the country.
“Yes, he can still declare but it is now left for Nigerians whether in the face of the social ills that I have highlighted to open their eyes and allow him to continue to rule us and we continue to suffer or we open our eyes and reject his coming back and say we don’t want him.
“Just like the governor of Kano State said, we have had many opportunities to reject Jonathan and vote him out. Just on Thursday, we heard that some group of girls and women were abducted by the Boko Haram insurgents while this government told us it had entered into a ceasefire agreement with the insurgents.
“I am sure the ceasefire agreement the President is telling Nigerians about is not true or done with the wrong people. Otherwise, the original sect would have told us by themselves if there was any ceasefire agreement. That is why they are still going ahead, kidnapping, maiming, and killing people. I agree with Kwankwanso that we have lost opportunities to vote the President out especially in the midst of all the social crises facing the country.”

Friday, 24 October 2014

My Right To Humane Treatment Is Non-Negotiable By Hadiza Bala Usman

I have watched, with keen interest, recent attempts by some principal officers of the Federal Government of Nigeria to discredit me and the #BringBackOurGirls group. This is not new. It has been the case since we commenced our citizens-driven advocacy movement. My initial reaction was to ignore the chatter and concentrate on the noble work of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. Unfortunately, my humble silence is being taken as license to further dissuade and divide the populace by spreading inaccurate information, through advertorials, thereby tagging the #BringBackOurGirls group as an affiliate of the APC.
Hadiza Bala Usman.

I am a card holding member of the APC, and there has been no time I have hidden this fact or tried to mask it. But let’s be very clear, when I worked to mobilize women, men, and Nigerians at large to come out on April 30th to protest that the Government should intensify efforts to #BringBackOurGirls, I did so not as an APC member, but first as a HUMAN BEING, as a WOMAN, a MOTHER, and as a NIGERIAN.

 It was never about politics or political affiliations; it was rather about our shared humanity as human beings. As a mother, I have experienced the trauma of not knowing where my child is for few minutes; does it then surprise many why I would be moved to act on behalf of mothers who are yet to see their daughters for 2 weeks (at the first instance) and now over 190 days after?

I came out as a concerned citizen of Nigeria, one that is very interested in the unity, growth, and development of this nation; one that knows the important role an educated girl-child would play in contributing to the success we all anticipate for our dear country. That these girls dared education in the face of terrorism, insecurity, and other life-threatening circumstances, is a rare display of courage, doggedness, and hope. This is why I, alongside other #BringBackOurGirls campaigners, have been advocating daily for 175 days today to make sure that these girls are not forgotten, but that they are rescued and returned home to contribute their quota to national development.

I came out as someone who, from a very young age, watched my (late) father always advocating and standing up for what is right, no matter the cost. These are values he passed down to me and there was no way I was going to sit down, keep quiet and get on with my live while 276 girls are abducted and held in captivity by a terrorist group. If my father was alive today he would have lent his voice to the Chibok girls.

No one should be denied the right and opportunity to express their natural sense of empathy because of interests and political affiliations. When we allow such divisive narratives as that being peddled by people paid with taxpayers’ money to fester in our national discourse, we must see that rather than gain, we lose instead. Rather than come united, we become disunited.

This moment offers for us a rare opportunity to stand united as a nation, whether you are in PDP, APC, or any political party; Christian or Muslim; from the North or the South. The issue of the abducted Chibok girls is an opportunity to UNITE and not DIVIDE - to stand against insurgency, terrorism, and every common enemy that seeks to divide us as a people. We must unite to ensure that every girl and boy in Nigeria has equal access to education. We must unite to change the narrative that no matter one’s tribe, gender, religion, social strata, interests, and political affiliations, we can all come together as one to build beloved nation.

I, Hadiza Bala Usman, choose to tow the path of UNITY; I will not be intimidated by anyone and I will continue to stand for the Chibok girls regardless of my tribe, religion and political affiliation.


The general elections of 2015 have been described as those that would mark a watershed in the political history of Nigeria. Nothing can be nearer the truth. To be sure, the unprecedented attention that the elections will attract has little to do with the state elections as they affect the governorship and state houses of assembly. Nor has it anything to do with the national elections as they affect the Senate and the House of Representatives. The attraction that the next year’s poll has to do with the presidential election that has been slated for St. Valentine’s Day-February 14. That is the particular election that is expected to be epoch, if all goes well. It is the election that will determine the direction that the country would go-whether or not it would chart a new course or continue on the same path that has it has been since the return of democratic rule in 1999.
Having walked for 16 solid years (by 2015) on one side of the street, Nigerians are desirous of crossing to the other side, if only for the purpose of experiencing life on that side. For that long, the people of this country have been fed with the same dishes, with the lie that the no other dish could taste better.
A fair assessment of governance under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the advent of the Fourth Republic shows that it is perhaps in the last three years or so that the country could be said to have recorded any semblance of development mainly in agriculture and privatization of power sector, which benefits Nigerians have yet to experience, though there is reason to be optimistic.
In the area of economy-undeniably the most critical aspect-ythe rebasing of the economy, which has sen the Nigerian econmy overtaking South Africa’s as the biggest on the African Continent, has not had any impact on the lives of the people. While government officials celebrate the development as indicative of the country’s growth, the hopeless situation in which a vast majority of Nigerians lives; the failing standard of education; poor healthcare; high rate of unemployment, insecurity and alarming rate of corruption give lie to the claim of improved standard of living in the country.
While some credit could be given to the Jonathan administration for its effort at revamping the economy and solving some of the multifaceted challenges that face the country today, indeed its reluctance to get to the root of the country’s perpetual state of underdevelopment-corruption-makes all its effort to pale into insignificance. As a matter of fact, President Goodluck Jonathan‘s kid gloves handling of corruption-related issues has rubbished any claim that he might make about building a new Nigeria. The foundation has to be new; if the society is to be new.
But thank God for democracy. We are no longer in the military era when people suffered in silence because they had no choice. Now they have choice. Every four years presents an opportunity for Nigerians to make new choices. Despite bogus figures that government officials bandy every day, the fact remains undisputable that Nigerians are not happy. They are unhappy not because the country is poor and lacking in resources to make life more meaningful to everybody. They are unhappy because the resources of the country are being mismanaged by a handful of people who have ensured that the generality of the people remain perpetually in lack, want and are subservient to the few that hold the reins of power. Next year, Nigerians have an opportunity to make a choice between remaining in poverty in the midst of plenty and being content to utter a few muffled voices of complaint, or breaking free to begin a new life. That choice has come about with the existence of the All Progressives Congress (APC). But while the party offers Nigerians the hope of a better alternative to the suffocating and exploitative influence of PDP, its choice of presidential flag bearer in the all-important election will either reinforce that alternative or ensure that the country continues to engage in what may be referred to as stagnant movement.
Before now, it was possible to differentiate APC from PDP as not being a party that is dominated by the hawks that have bled the country and brought it to its knees. Now the story is different. In its effort to swell its ranks for the battle to dislodge the ruling party, the opposition now boasts of members who cannot seriously look PDP in the face and call it a party of corrupt people without being labelled the kettle that called the pot black. The party now harbours people who hitherto hobnobbed with those they now describe as corrupt. And these are the people who want Nigerians to believe they are different from the pack in the PDP, and can save this country from its current slide down the abyss.
But despite that they have created in the minds of Nigerians on the suitability of APC for the struggle to give Nigerians a breath of life, one man stands shoulder above the rest, unarguably the only one that has what it takes to rescue the country from the ruin. He is the former Head of State, GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI(RTD).Among those that are touted as presidential aspirants on the platform of the party today, the former military leader is the only one that does not come with any bag of political liabilities that borders on integrity. He is the only one that can pass the integrity test, discipline and commitment to the emancipation of Nigeria from economic slavery in the midst of plenty.
Buhari’s credentials as the leader, Nigeria needs at this crucial stage of its history bear no repeating. He stands today as the only Nigerian Leader-dead or alive-with no blemish trailing his tenure in all the offices he has held, which include state governor, minister of petroleum , head of state and chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), an agency that was more or less a parallel government , because of the enormous financial resources at its disposal. This agency was far richer than the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The two qualities that Buhari has, which are lacking in Nigerian leaders, namely, integrity and discipline, stand him out of the pack in the APC as the only one that the people of this country can see today as a better alternative to Jonathan. The president is not known to be corrupt, nor has he been linked with any corrupt practice. His greatest undoing lies in his lack of political will to fight the canterworm that have destroyed the Nigeria fabric. His weakness lies in his willingness to sacrifice the country’s interest for his own personal political interest.
Buhari is not known to protect officials whose hands are soiled to lucre, just to protect his political interest. Were he to be the prudent,. There is no way a minister would remain in office after sending young and hapless job seekers to their early graves as a result of greed. Buhari, a president, would not keep for an extra day in office a minister that flies about in private jets hired with tax payers’ money. His was on corruption would be by example, starting with his appointees.
Would Nigeria, under Buhari be the laughing stock that the country has been turned into in the past few weeks over questionable arms deals in South Africa?
As a civilian president, the former military leader would not condone the level of waste that goes on in government circles, especially at the federal level. His track record in all the places where he held office bears him out. With a drastic cut in wastages, the country would have more money to provide the basic needs of Nigerians.
It is worthy of mention that those who are pushing for open primary election to choose the presidential candidate of APC intends to capitalize on Buhari’s lean financial resources to ensure he does not get the party’s ticket. They know that not having amassed wealth in all the offices he held, the retired general will not be able to match the competition to buy the pockets of delegates to the convention. In other words, they want the party’s presidential ticket to go to the highest bidder.
Herein lies the choice that APC members have to make, which will in turn determine the choice that Nigerians will make next year. Do they want an aspirant who will line their pockets with monies whose sources are questionable, with the certainty that if elected into office next year, his immediate propriety would be to recoup what he spent to win the party’s ticket? Or do they want a candidate who , not having spent a dime to bribe everybody to get the party’s ticket, faces squarely the business of instituting the change that Nigerians yearn for, from the first day he assumes office next year?
Beyond the one question of integrity and discipline, the question that APC members needs to answer is-who among the aspirants is capable of taking advantage of the current yearnings in the northern part of the country for the next president to come from that party? Who, between Atiku Abubukar and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, can pull half of the 12 million votes that Buhari got in 2011 election, with over 80 percent coming from the North?
It does not take an expert in political strategy to know that APC needs only to win in the North about the same number of votes that Buhari won in 2011, and win the South West, to clinch the presidency next, regardless of what it gets from the South-South and South-East geo-political zones.
Those who see Buhari as a serial election looser should read Abraham Lincoln’s political history to know, as the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo said, what matters is not how many times a man falls ,but his ability to get up each time he falls. Between 1832 and 1859, Lincoln failed election into Illinois State Legislature; failed two times to win election into Congress; failed two times to win election into the Senate; failed once as vice president and won election in 1860 as president.
It is not by accident that after failing in three attempts to get elected president; Buhari is alive to strive to contest election into the nation highest office again. We believe that the same factors that worked against him in previous elections will work in his favour this time around. He may not have been accepted is the South before now because of the wrong perception that people in that part of the country had of him as a sectional leader. With the current political enlightenment as to who is truly a national leader, coupled with the strength of APC in the South West, which attracts the second highest number of votes , after the North, the 2015 election will be a different ball game altogether.
That the former head of state commands a cult-like followership in the northern part of the country is not in doubt. The figures are there for anyone to see. Only a party that is not interested in winning an election that means the whole world to it and, by extension, Nigerians would not want to take advantage of this strength. With the sure victory of the party in the South West (despite the strong challenge by PDP) and its expected reasonably good showing in the South-South and South-East, it would be difficult to see how next year’s presidential election would be a tea party for PDP.
The APC constitution provides for the selection of candidates through Consensus. More than at any other time, this is the time for the party to adopt that option and choose Buhari as its flag bearer. The man was there when it mattered most. He laboured to make the party attractive to the latter day entrants who may have scoffed t his attempt to form a credible opposition party. The party should not make the mistake of putting its fate in the hands of people who cannot be trusted not to be the dog that goes back to its vomit when it and a better food is not in sight.
We must put aside primordial sentiments that have held this country back for decades and face the truth that continues to stare us in the face. If the country is to break away from the cycle of underdevelopment that has given it a stunted growth in 54 years. That truth is simply the fact that Buhari is the only leader that can save the country today. He is the only leader that can ensure the wealth of the country goes around. The 2015 presidential election may be our last hope.

Senator P.O Ani
(National Coordinator)
Culled from : The Nation, Friday October 24, 2014

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Buhari’s place among African heroes

by Mika’ilu Barau

Brooding over national and personal issues induced about two-hour insomnia in me the previous night. The role of the Nigerian media in misleading the gullible public carried greater part of my attention.
I explored this phenomenon in relation to the way media have been working in giving one of our greatest national figures in General Muhammadu Buhari a sectional outlook. This concern took me into the adventurous appraisal of GMB’s personality in the context of contemporary Nigerian society and Africa. I was shocked to discover that sometime this week, one Ibrahim A. Waziri drew a conclusion similar to mine, namely that none of Sir Ahmadu Bello, Mandela and others measured up to GMB in national service.
It was indeed consoling to find someone sharing a seemingly radical conclusion and making it public. This piece is considered necessary in that it will aim at reinforcing Waziri’s view by presenting an alternative procedure for drawing the same conclusion. I approached this evaluative endeavour from the perspective of three wars that General Buhari fought, which no other African hero was privileged to fight in and survive. This I consider as ‘triple war angle’ thus: 1. CIVIL WAR: General Buharei fought a real battle to keep Nigeria one. Even his adversaries among Nigerian Army Generals attest to Buhari’s courage and valour in the war that nearly tore the populous African nation apart.
2. CORRUPTION WAR: Immediately after the Civil War, most Nigerian top military figures used their participation in the war as a license for looting the nation’s resources and treasury. The wealth amassed by many of those who participated in the war, and several other post-civil-war army officers, could hardly be explained within the boundaries of legitimate earning. General Buhari outstandingly survived that battle by emerging out as a corruption free personality after serving as Head of State, Military Governor, Petroleum Minister and Chairman of the Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund of Abacha days. I read an interview in which Buhari confirmed that the only corruption he would live to regret was reading Things Fall Apart that he borrowed (and returned) from the library of University of Nigeria Nsukka without the permission of nonexistent librarian during the civil war!
3. MEDIA WAR: This war is ongoing. Ever since General Buhari decided to participate in politics and save Nigeria from the onslaught of its thieving politicians, he has been the subject of negative media campaign of the dreaded Lagos-Ibadan axis of the press. They falsely attribute divisive tendencies to this outstanding General in order to appease their paymasters and continue to deceive average Nigerians. If divisive tendencies did not manifest in Buhari during his crucial and sensitive services earlier mentioned, it will be a lot ridiculous to imagine that it would happen at the stable post - sixty phase of his life. The performance of Buhari in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 election is indeed a good indication that he is surviving the evil media war that sent many good people and policies to their graves prematurely. I strongly feel, he will in one way or the other harmonize this victory in the 2015 election.
I loaded many African personalities (Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ahmadu Bello, Obafemi Awolowo, Nelson Mandela, and Kwame Nkrumah, etc) as variables in my triple war equation but only General Buhari remains in the bracket. Most of our first generation African heroes did not fight real wars while the later ones faltered in the battle field of corruption. The few that have been enduring (General Gowon for example) could not take the risk of politicking and bearing the corollaries of blackmail of the so-called Mgbati press. Thumbs up to the People’s General: a tree that makes a forest; one person that makes a crowd and a politician that makes a party!
Barau wrote from Kofar Dawaki, Talata Mafara, Zamfara State


Recent events have compelled us to put up
this writing so as to enlighten some gullible
Nigerian masses on the mischievous
campaign of calumny waged against General
Muhammadu Buhari by some enemies of
progress that he is a religious fanatic, this
piece we believe will put to rest the
fallacious and mischievous propaganda
circulated in the past and being re-echoed
now for political expediency, that the
People’s General represents the interest of a
certain group in the Nigerian Nation.
Since the entry of General Buhari into
politics in 2002, there has been this
baseless, histrionically made and vexatious
allegation by some elements that he is a
religious extremist. Unfortunately, those
who succumb to these illogical
vituperations, based their argument on a
particular make believe statement that was
credited to him, even though no one has
ever reproduced the said speech to
substantiate the mater , thereby makes it
not only out of place but a fiction of political
As a formidable group championing the
cause of good governance , justice and most
importantly , the unity of Nigeria, we have
resolved to use this medium and expose the
real person of the man in question, which
has been ironically misrepresented by these
political opponents, in their imagination
their by so doing, they will reduce his
awesome popularity and electoral value.
Furthermore, it is an established fact that
his regime while as Head of State undertook
a thorough fight against graft and in the
course of doing that, nobody was targeted
based on their chosen faith or any other
primordial tendencies. Those that were
found guilty of graft, abuse of office and
sundry offences were the ones that had to
face the wrath of the law. And this was done
without exception, regardless of status,
class, creed; which to a greater extent made
Nigeria the pride of Africa and Nigerians
were respected home and abroad.
It is also on record that, the era was
Nigeria’s most progressive and glorious
moment, second only to the regime of
General Murtala Mohammed, to which the
Buhari’s regime was off-shoot indeed.
The import of this piece is to draw the
attention of Nigerians to this very man who
has been falsely and deliberately maligned
is a true and patriotic Nigerian leader who
has no prejudice of any kind whatsoever.
Even in politics, he stands out as the most
decent man among the present political
leaders jockeying for power in Nigeria today.
We are proud to substantiate our position
by just a glance on the composition of his
domestic staff, inter alia:
1.) Staff Sergeant Isah Abdullahi-Driver. Isah
is an Akwei, from Shendam Local
Government Area of Plateau State and an
active member of the Roman Catholic
Church, he has been working very closely
with the General for a very long time and
their closeness is purely defined by the
former’s diligence and dedication to duty.
He has been the official and personal driver
of the General for a very long time.
2.) Mr. Don Friday Bethuel-Principal Private
Secretary. He is Jenjo by tribe and from
Karim Lamido Local Government Area of
Taraba State. An evangelist, band member
and Projector Operator at The Saviour
Chapel of NDA, Kaduna, he is holding one
of the most sensitive positions in the
General’s Office as a result of his
competence and sincerity. He is directly
responsible for the official and private
correspondence of the General.
3.) Mr. Martins Agbor-Office Cook. He is
Mbube by tribe from Ogoja Local
Government Area of Cross River State. An
active member of St. Andrews Catholic
Church, Kakuri, Kaduna State, and his
choice was purely based on his skills and
dedication to duty irrespective of religion.
He is directly responsible for the General’s
recreation during office hours.
4.) Mr. Sunday Nalle Awosemo - Home
Cook. He is Yungu by tribe from Song Local
Government Area of Adamawa State; an
active member of The Lutheran Church of
Christ in Nigeria, he has been working for
the General; for a very long time and his
dedication to duty and trustworthiness has
earned him the long standing relationship
with his boss. He is directly responsible for
the preparations of the General’s and family
From the foregoing, it can be seen that
most of the sensitive positions in General
Buhari’s office and house are held by other
tribes who are Christians and not his tribe
and religion.
Also, among other apprentices is Comrade
Richard Tersoo Mnenga, a Tiv by tribe from
Kwande Local Government Area of Benue
State. And as a member of the Roman
Catholic Church and a strong chorister, he
took his choir members to sing Christmas
carols for the General at his residence in
2009, a gesture he considered a very great
honour. Richard is one of the closest and
trusted apprentices of the General.
Professor Tam David West has vividly
captured the personality of the General in
his two books-“Who Really is General
Muhammadu Buhari” and “The Sixteen Sins
of General Buhari” ;also, Dr. Adamu Kyuka
Usman , another Christian Scholar too
elaborated more on most of the issues
raised here in his book” General
Muhammadu Buhari: The Spirit of A Man” .
Nonetheless, we believe this our little effort
through this medium will also serve as a
great deal in reaching out to many more of
three mass of our people.
08095190089; 08053944236; 08033797926;
 Daily Trust,

Buhari: The Locusts' Converge.

The political itinerary of the so called
Fourth Republic in Nigeria, whose
dubious provenance is traceable to the
subterfuge and sustained grand
conspiracy against the rest of us by the
very people who hold aloft some dubious
patriotic credentials, prominent among
whom are Obasanjo, Danjuma and
Ibrahim Babangida, David Mark and a
later conscript, Abdulsalami Abubabakar,
who currently pontificates on the path to
peace and progress, adorning a fake
cherubic mien, is replete with histrionics
of, oftentimes, tragic dimensions.
Since the inception of civil rule in 1999,
up till this moment, there has been an
undisguised determination by these
nation wreckers and their civilian sidekicks
to hold the nation by the jugular in their
bid for continued relevance. The duo of
Danjuma and Babangida ensured that
Olusegun Obasanjo succeeded the
disgraced military adventurers who
hurriedly departed from the political
scene. He was packaged from prison to
become the President thereby
neutralizing, effectively, the struggle of
the ordinary Nigerians. Chief Olu Falae,
the IMF apologist and converted Afenifere
activist who contested against him stood
no chance in hell once those military
marauders had decided that he was the
best person to protect their political and
economic interest at that time.
There was this asinine propaganda on the
need to placate the South West region of
the country for the criminal annulment of
June 12, 1993 election won by M.K.O
Abiola, by Babangida, ably supported by
these felons and their civilian
collaborators. To support this grandiose
charade, another round of elaborate
deception, the culmination of which was
the emergence of the omniscient
hypocrite, Olusegun Obasanjo, was
devised. I shall not dwell much on the
consequence of this contrivance. We are
all living witnesses to the deleterious
impact which the ruinous reign of
Obasanjo is having on the polity.
Those who are satisfied with mere
appearances refer to this period with
glee, referring to the corrupt-ridden
arrangement dubbed debt buy-back as a
deft economic stroke, which was designed
to free us from the debt nexus. After N60
billion "commission" paid to some
nebulous agents of the same thieving
government, our debt "sins" were
forgiven and no one can assert, with
certitude, how much was owed and what
remains to be paid. That is a story for
another time.
Obasanjo handpicked his successor, Umar
Yar Adua, a terminally ill and pliable
preference to his Vice, Atiku Abubakar,
who was considered too independent and
dangerous to be entrusted with power.
He also brought, from relative obscurity,
Goodluck Jonathan, an erstwhile mediocre
politician and colorless academic, to serve
as deputy to him. These mediocre
elements were brought to succeed him
when it was clear to him that his bid to
remain in office in perpetuity had been
extinguished completely. It was for this
reasons that he declared that politics was
a do-or-die affair. He played god in the
affairs of Nigerians.
General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) had
contested against Yar Adua and many had
thought that the time for change had
come. Obasanjo and the ruling party,
PDP, had other ideas far withdrawn from
the romantic expectations of the
incurable optimists who had believed in
the possibility of effecting change in
leadership through the ballot box. The
conduct of agents of government and the
so called Independent National Electoral
Commission, INEC, left no one in doubt
as to the resolve of the party to cling to
power at all cost. The elections were
massively rigged to favor PDP candidates
in most states and at the federal level.
The last contest between Buhari and the
incumbent president of the country had
ended with a tragic anecdote. Many of his
supporters in the north, who had felt
cheated, reacted violently with the
attendant loss of lives and properties. It
was obvious that the electoral umpire,
headed by Maurice Iwu, and the ruling
party, manipulated the election. There
were glaring cases of malpractices of the
most brazen type. There was the case of
some southeastern states, which
recorded more votes than the registered
voters. There was a particular state where
no registered voter died between the last
general elections and that particular one.
Virtually all eligible voters cast their ballot
in favour of the then relatively unknown
and perennially reticent incumbent. The
Supreme Court returned the verdict of
substantial compliance with the
provisions of the Electoral Act. The
incumbent was declared as validly
elected. He, however, acknowledged that
the elections were fatally flawed and he
begged his "brother", Buhari, to forget
the past and join him in "moving the
country forward".
Yar Adua soon died in office and the Vice,
who had been reduced into a glorified
senior clerk in Aso Rock, assumed office
as President after sustained agitations
from the same people his hirelings now
castigate. I remember the heroic role of
the Nigeria Bar Association led by Rotimi
Akeredolu, SAN, at that time before some
commercial agitators seized the moment
for maximum advantage. Very few will
disagree that the country has not had it
this bad. There is pervasive insecurity in
the land. We now have a rag tag militia
hoisting the flag of banditry on Nigerian
soil in spite of the declaration of a State
of Emergency in three states. Over two
hundred girls were kidnapped from a
school in Chibok and nobody knows their
whereabouts. $20billion is still
unaccounted for and the activities of the
whole administration are a compendium
of sleaze. Jonathan says stealing is not
corruption. Members of his
administration are indeed stealing. EFCC
under him is comatose. It is not even
capable of witch-hunting anybody as it
was the case under the just denuded
Ribadu. Anybody accused of stealing
under Jonathan is assured security of
Buhari has just declared his intention to
contest once again for the much-coveted
seat, for the fourth time, and his interest
is generating, expectedly, much
controversy. There are those who believe
that his record as a former military Head
of State is enough to keep him out of
public office, especially the one that
requires an exercise of democratic
preference. He is widely regarded as a
tyrant, despotic megalomaniac who
abused power while in office. Many
indeed are his sins. But the greatest
enemies of this enigmatic character are
the funny elements in the all-embracing
platform for hustlers called APC. Can
anyone imagine that these charlatans are
indeed serious that a presidential
candidate of their brand of progressive
politics must pay N27.5 million to pick an
ordinary nomination form? I am waiting
to read from the commercial public
intellectuals on this undisguised
conspiracy against Buhari. One Femi
Aribisala has made too much weather of
this misstep amidst deliberate falsehood
liberally bandied to justify the logic of his
prosaic treatise on why he will not win.
There has been strident opposition to the
candidacy of this former Army General,
Head of State, GOC, Military Governor,
Federal Commissioner for Petroleum,
Chairman, PTF, and Presidential candidate
of ANPP, CPC and hopefully, APC. Nobody
appears to be analyzing the ruinous rule
of the Ijaw President. There has been this
easy recourse to ethnicity and religion in
justifying why Nigerians should persevere
with the affliction called Jonathan. The
APC has given the opposition an easy
platform to launch its attacks on the
fabled integrity of this man. The social
media is now awash with jokes of a poor
man who is able to pay N27.5 million for
a mere form for declaration of intent. It
matters little to those who cast aspersion
on the decision of Buhari to pick the form
that Atiku had forgotten ever going
through the same process. It means
nothing that the sole candidate of the
most corrupt party in Africa will pay N20
million. Every hack is quick to put pen on
paper to lampoon the man of the
moment. Buhari remains the issue.
It is not difficult to see that Buhari's
enemies labour in no small measure to
convince the converted that this man is
not honest after all. There was indeed no
substantiated allegation of sleaze against
him save the beer parlour gossips on his
phantom wealth arising from his "theft"
of N2.8 billion, 53 suitcases that Atiku
refused to allow in as a Customs Officer
until he was removed from the airport
unceremoniously, the killing of three drug
convicts with retroactive decrees and the
hypocritical attitude of his deputy, late
Tunde Idiagbon, who took his son to
Mecca to perform the Hajj after outlawing
same, the indecorous attack on the
residence of the sage, Chief Obafemi
Awolowo, the conviction, with long and
ludicrous jail terms of corrupt politicians,
the detention of notable members of the
opposition parties to the then ruling
party, NPN, and the detention of
perceived radical elements, especially
from the south, among others.
I should throw in this caveat without
hesitation. I do not see Gen. Buhari as
the only person who possesses the magic
wand to turn around the fortunes of this
serially raped country. I am also educated
enough to know that there is a wide world
of difference between the young Buhari
who was a military Head of State and the
one seeking to lead through deliberative
process. I equally know that a mobilized
parliament can yank him off his illusion
as a man of power. If anyone is in doubt,
the case of Murtala Nyako, a former
Admiral, and impeached governor of
Adamawa State should clear that unbelief.
But in spite of all these, I am still waiting,
anxiously, to read about any direct
allegation of theft against this man who
has held virtually all important positions
needed to be quoted on the Stock
Exchange. Only beer parlor gossips are
issuing forth, the latest being the
hagiographical musings from one Femi
Having said this, I proceed to assert that
no individual living or dead, in Nigeria,
has created this cult-like following and
sustained hatred from certain sections of
the country since the demise of the
legendary Awo. Never in recent years has
the personality of an individual been
subjected to acerbic criticism, libelous
innuendoes and unjustified vilification as
we have witnessed in the case of Buhari.
Not even the sitting erstwhile "shoeless"
President has caused many people to
secrete bile at the mere mention of his
name. Yet there has been no mention of
his name in connection with any fraud,
either remotely or directly. Aribisala failed
woefully in his bid to indulge in faction in
propagating falsehood. N2.8 billion was
declared missing under General Obasanjo
and not Shehu Shagari. Obasanjo had
explained the reason for the movement of
the money into an escrow account. It was
to avert a retaliatory measure from the
British government for the nationalization
of British Petroleum in the 70s due to her
support of apartheid.
There are those who still believe that he
contributed to the massacre of the Igbos
in South East during the civil war. No one
seems to remember that it was T.Y
Danjuma and Murtala Muhammed who
abducted Aguiyi Ironsi when he was
visiting Ibadan. It is of no moment that
Danjuma once granted an interview
confirming that he was the one who killed
Ironsi. Cowards and irredentists would
rather dine with him and vote against
Buhari. Not a few people agree with the
tag of a religious bigot pinned on him
since his regime's misadventure to
Organisation of Islamic Countries at the
time Nigeria had no diplomatic relations
with Israel. He has since graduated from
a mere fanatic to a terrorist. He has been
accused of planning the attack, which
almost took his life to gain popularity. He
is believed to be a major sponsor of Boko
Haram, the confused group of lunatics
whose real objectives for killing and
maiming innocent Nigerians remain hazy.
The Goodluck Jonathan's government is
now negotiating with Boko Haram and
their main "sponsor", Buhari, is not in the
The type of interest that this man's
involvement in current politics has excited
is such that should cause political
scientists and other serious researchers
to scrutinize his life and times. Some
members of the opposition are even
expressing their preference for Atiku
Abubakar who is also an aspirant. Nobody
questioned the rationale behind an Atiku
picking a form for that humongous
amount. Buhari's avowed ascetic
disposition should raise a genuine query
on the propriety of having an exemplar
move with the madding crowd on a
hypocritical political platform called APC.
Aribisala, a so called public analyst, does
not seem to know how Buhari got his
bullet proof jeep. He equally cannot
differentiate between the Naira and the
US Dollar. Too simplistic!
Let me make bold to say that in spite of
all the afore-mentioned facts and fiction,
the simple reason that he remains the
issue is enough for all good men and
women to root for him. I am not unaware
of the fears of some who are convinced
that he will further advance the cause of
parochialism which a certain tendency
among the adherents of Islamic religion
represents. I shall also not pretend that
there are no valid objections raised to his
conduct in the past. There are those who
strive to convince some of us who
genuinely desire change that he should
not be forgiven for the perceived sins of
the past. I will also not fail to assert that
many of these allegations are on false and
sinking premises.
How easy could it have been for a junior
officer of Buhari's status to have
successfully stolen a whopping sum of
N2.8 billion under a greedy superior like
Obasanjo? Who actually gave instructions
for the invasion of Awolowo's house at
Park Lane, Apapa, Lagos? Were the
executions of the three men convicted for
drug pushing under decree 20 justified?
Why were Nigerians forced to queue in
public places and what has become of
that legacy? How much was the debt of
the country when the duo ruled and how
much did Babangida set the whole
country back with? Reports on the
activities of his are too many in the public
space for any jaundiced analyst to get
away with falsehood.
Buhari did not permit any political
discussion but his successor spent N40
billion on an endless transition
programme which culminated in the
annulment of the June 12, 1993 election.
Abdulsalami is praised today for handing
over to the civilians in 1999 but nobody
remembers how he depleted our reserves
like no other Head of State has done
since the flag independence of 1960.
Buhari managed the sale of crude oil and
maintained the value of the naira through
the government's economic policies. His
successor devalued the currency and laid
the foundation for this seamless slide
into the abyss. The current rulers
continue to tread this path of perdition.
Buhari promulgated Decree 4, 1984 and
curtailed press freedom. Babangida soon
allowed it and Dele Giwa became history.
Many media organizations were shut
down. And remembering the jailed
journalists, Nduka Irabor and Tunde
Thompson, it will not be out of place to
remind Nigerians that it was Nduka
Irabor, as Chief Press Secretary to Admiral
Aikhomu, the former Chief of General
Staff, who announced the annulment of
June 12, presidential election won by
Abiola. He was the one who distributed
the unsigned press statement and advised
Nigerians not to allow a section of the
country that is Yoruba, plunge it into
Buhari supervised the construction of at
least two refineries while serving as a
Federal Commissioner. No refinery is
functioning today. Jonathan and the
World Bank prefect in Nigeria, Aunty
Ngozi, consider the current madness
wherein our crude oil is taken to even
Niger Republic and brought back as an
imported product to justify the
monumental scam currently going on
under the name of fuel subsidy. In 1981,
Buhari displayed his unwavering
commitment to the preservation of the
territorial integrity of the country when he
pushed back the Chadian soldiers who
had invaded some parts of the north,
taking away our women and children.
Buhari moved right into Ndjamena until
the OAU intervened. That was the last
time they ever came. The inept and
corrupt government of Shehu Shagari
reportedly came to an expected end
partly because of that episode.
The current scandalous practice wherein
the security of our pipelines is given to
Asari Dokubo, Tompolo, Ateke Tom and
other glorified miscreants while the
armed forces are starved of the necessary
equipment with which to realize their
mandate to secure and protect the
territorial integrity of the country as well
as maintain internal peace cannot happen
under a Buhari Presidency. The noise of
Asari Dokubo can better be appreciated
along this line of thought. A former
minister, Musiliu Obanikoro, confirmed
that the Nigerian army was last equipped
twenty-five years ago in spite of yearly
humongous budgetary allocations. Boko
Haram has established its own
"Caliphate" on Nigerian soil and this
government is completely clueless.
Isn't it curious that most of the acerbic
criticisms against Buhari have decidedly
ignored the sterling contributions of this
man to national development? In as much
as no right thinking person will support,
uncritically, some of the glaring excesses
of the military regime of that era, are we
saying that we have since forgotten that it
was under him as Federal Commissioner
for Petroleum that two major refineries
were constructed and put into maximum
use? Can anybody point at this man's oil
bloc as we can confidently assert about
Danjuma and other military adventurers
whom some will describe, affectionately,
as "blunt, disciplined, forthright and
principled" in spite of the incontrovertible
fact that Danjuma's colleagues and he are
a pestilential burden on the country?
Have we chosen to ignore the fact that
Buhari participated actively in the
construction of most major roads in
Nigeria at that time? Is anyone ready to
deny that supply of electricity was stable
throughout his regime before Babangida
introduced "settlement" into our lexicon?
Who will deny that it was his regime
which commissioned the Egbin power
plant? Is there anyone who can point at
real instances of indecorous and primitive
stealing during his regime as we now
operate as a national policy?
I am often amused at the level of pain
through which the current traducers of
this uncommon Nigerian traverse to
convince us that we should espouse and
promote the dour, dull, uninspiring,
bovinely stupid and thieving propensities
of some characters on account of age,
ethnicity and religion. Beyond the often
repeated charges bordering on religious
bigotry, rigid adherence to personal
viewpoints, the very fact that no one has
been able to point at the obscene edifices
erected to showcase vacuity, properties in
Dubai, fat accounts in major countries of
the world or at his acts of sheer
benevolence exhibited in the wanton
display of ill-gotten wealth through
monstrous donations to institutions and
duplicitous charitable organizations,
stands in condemnation against all
suborned peddlers of mendacious yarns
designed to confuse the youths of this
For the simple reason that Buhari is not
responsible for the collapse of basic
infrastructure in the country, I will cast
my ballot for him in the next election. I
will ignore the rantings of ill-educated
Internet activists and proclaim to those
who are capable of reasoning that he
remains the only one at the moment who
can look Obasanjo straight in the face
and tell him to prepare for the hottest
part of hell. I will ask the youths of this
country whose future these thieving
politicians have mortgaged to join others
in ensuring that Buhari is elected as the
next president to arrest the current drift. I
will not fail to tell the carpetbaggers and
their acolytes that Buhari is not as averse
to modernity and human progress as they
who ask the youths to ignore science and
embrace miracles.
I will tell anyone who cares to listen that
his name has not featured in the list of
the beneficiaries of import duty waivers,
some of whom are the prosperity pastors
on the expressway. I will proclaim to the
whole world that I rever the name of Fela
more than those of the imported
prophets of the transposed and imposed
religions from the Middle East, that I felt
pained when Buhari jailed him to prove a
point, that I cursed the day he was born
and hated everything that he represented
at that time. I will also not fail to mention
that as Remo indigenes, Awo to many of
us is a god. His person remains, even in
death, inviolate and sacrosanct.
The offspring of Awo's adversaries, the
children of the bankrupt Agbonmagbes of
this world, the notorious descendants of
the exponent of "maul e", which became
corrupted as "Molue", a progenitor of the
power- mongering band, and other
indolent votaries at the altar of power,
will do everything to obliterate the
memories of inglorious past of their
forbears. No mortal will seek to desecrate
that cherished memory, the abiding
legacies of the legendary Awo, and still
enjoy the respect of true sons and
daughters of Remo, nay Ijebu and indeed
Yoruba. Even at that, we concede to this
man of exemplary character who was
accused of masterminding the invasion
and violation of that hallowed space.
I personally still find it strange that
Buhari will be on the same podium as
many of these characters whose sordid
deeds have brought us to this sorry pass.
Short of asking him to inherit the carcass
of the fraudulent template employed by
Mimiko and Dan Iwuanyanwu to fleece
the people of Ondo, or to team up with
Baba Oodua, Frederick Faseun's Unity
Party or, better still, Olu Falae's SDP, the
only credible alternative to PDP is its
other half, APC.
Voting for Buhari and engaging the
political merchants in his party afterwards
is the only viable alternative. The other is
to resign to fate and allow the Jonathans’
transformation train crush the polity.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

In Nigeria, Boko Haram Is Not the Problem

 January 02, 2012
GOVERNMENTS and newspapers around the world attributed the horrific Christmas Day bombings of churches in Nigeria to “Boko Haram” – a shadowy group that is routinely described as an extremist Islamist organization based in the northeast corner of Nigeria. Indeed, since the May inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the Niger Delta in the country’s south, Boko Haram has been blamed for virtually every outbreak of violence in Nigeria.
 But the news media and American policy makers are chasing an elusive and ill-defined threat; there is no proof that a well-organized, ideologically coherent terrorist group called Boko Haram even exists today. Evidence suggests instead that, while the original core of the group remains active, criminal gangs have adopted the name Boko Haram to claim responsibility for attacks when it suits them.
The United States must not be drawn into a Nigerian “war on terror” – rhetorical or real – that would make us appear biased toward a Christian president. Getting involved in an escalating sectarian conflict that threatens the country’s unity could turn Nigerian Muslims against America without addressing any of the underlying problems that are fueling instability and sectarian strife in Nigeria.
Since August, when Gen. Carter F. Ham, the commander of the United States Africa Command, warned that Boko Haram had links to Al Qaeda affiliates, the perceived threat has grown. Shortly after General Ham’s warning, the United Nations’ headquarters in Abuja was bombed, and simplistic explanations blaming Boko Haram for Nigeria’s mounting security crisis became routine. Someone who claims to be a spokesman for Boko Haram – with a name no one recognizes and whom no one has been able to identify or meet with – has issued threats and statements claiming responsibility for attacks. Remarkably, the Nigerian government and the international news media have simply accepted what he says.
In late November, a subcommittee of the House Committee on Homeland Security issued a report with the provocative title: “Boko Haram: Emerging Threat to the U.S. Homeland.” The report makes no such case, but nevertheless proposes that the organization be added to America’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. The State Department’s Africa bureau disagrees, but pressure from Congress and several government agencies is mounting.
Boko Haram began in 2002 as a peaceful Islamic splinter group. Then politicians began exploiting it for electoral purposes. But it was not until 2009 that Boko Haram turned to violence, especially after its leader, a young Muslim cleric named Mohammed Yusuf, was killed while in police custody. Video footage of Mr. Yusuf’s interrogation soon went viral, but no one was tried and punished for the crime. Seeking revenge, Boko Haram targeted the police, the military and local politicians – all of them Muslims.
It was clear in 2009, as it is now, that the root cause of violence and anger in both the north and south of Nigeria is endemic poverty and hopelessness. Influential Nigerians from Maiduguri, where Boko Haram is centered, pleaded with Mr. Jonathan’s government in June and July not to respond to Boko Haram with force alone.
Likewise, the American ambassador, Terence P. McCulley, has emphasized, both privately and publicly, that the government must address socio-economic deprivation, which is most severe in the north. No one seems to be listening.
Instead, approximately 25 percent of Nigeria’s budget for 2012 is allocaated for security, even though the military and police routinely respond to attacks with indiscriminate force and killing. Indeed, according to many Nigerians I’ve talked to from the northeast, the army is more feared than Boko Haram.
Meanwhile, Boko Haram has evolved into a franchise that includes criminal groups claiming its identity. Revealingly, Nigeria’s State Security Services issued a statement on Nov. 30, identifying members of four “criminal syndicates” that send threatening text messages in the name of Boko Haram. Southern Nigerians – not northern Muslims – ran three of these four syndicates, including the one that led the American Embassy and other foreign missions to issue warnings that emptied Abuja’s high-end hotels.
And last week, the security services arrested a Christian southerner wearing northern Muslim garb as he set fire to a church in the Niger Delta. In Nigeria, religious terrorism is not always what it seems.
None of this excuses Boko Haram’s killing of innocents. But it does raise questions about a rush to judgment that obscures Nigeria’s complex reality. Many Nigerians already believe that the United States unconditionally supports Mr. Jonathan’s government, despite its failings. They believe this because Washington praised the April elections that international observers found credible, but that many Nigerians, especially in the north, did not.
Likewise, Washington’s financial support for Nigeria’s security forces, despite their documented human rights abuses, further inflames Muslim Nigerians in the north. Mr. Jonathan’s recent actions have not helped matters. He told Nigerians last week, “The issue of bombing is one of the burdens we must live with.” On New Year’s Eve, he declared a state of emergency in parts of four northern states, leading to increased military activity there. And on New Year’s Day, he removed a subsidy on petroleum products, more than doubling the price of fuel.
In a country where 90 percent of the population lives on $2 or less a day, anger is rising nationwide as the costs of transport and food increase dramatically.
Since Nigeria’s return to civilian rule in 1999, many politicians have used ethnic and regional differences and, most disastrously, religion for their own purposes. Northern Muslims – indeed, all Nigerians – are desperate for a government that responds to their most basic needs: personal security and hope for improvement in their lives. They are outraged over government policies and expenditures that undermine both.
The United States should not allow itself to be drawn into this quicksand by focusing on Boko Haram alone. Washington is already seen by many northern Muslims – including a large number of longtime admirers of America – as biased toward a Christian president from the south. The United States must work to avoid a self-fulfilling prophecy that makes us into their enemy. Placing Boko Haram on the foreign terrorist list would cement such views and make more Nigerians fear and distrust America.
Jean Herskovits, a professor of history at the State University of New York, Purchase, has written on Nigerian politics since 1970

Sunday, 19 October 2014

My Head Of State Story – Gowon

My Head Of State Story – Gowon
Reuben Buhari
— Oct 19, 2014 | 10 Comments
Former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, has revealed how 46 hours after his arrival in Nigeria in 1966 from a course in the United Kingdom, providence and insistence by junior military officers led to him reluctantly becoming the head of state at the age of 32 years old.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP Sunday ahead of his 80th birthday today, Gowon said he didn’t even want to be the head of state, but the love for his country and the confidence that his fellow officers had in him, influenced him to change his mind. He added that the decision became one of the biggest challenges in his life.
“I never had any question of being a head of state, but as it happened, I am a soldier, I love my country, and I want to do whatever I can in my profession for the country. I was out of the country and when I came back in early January from abroad and arrived home in Nigeria, within 46 hours of my arrival, there was unfortunately a coup, and all my colleagues from the same school, from the same area, were killed. I was the only one of that particular group that is alive today,” the general said.
Speaking further on how he became head of state, Gowon said, “If you remember, there was about 48 hours when nobody was head of state and the permanent secretaries wanted somebody to be head of state from whom they could receive orders to carry out their duties.”
He said it was then the young military officers decided that they wanted him to become the head of state. “It was the young officers that more or less put me there. But it was approved by senior officers,” he said.
Introspectively looking at the 30-month civil war of 1967, Gowon said it remains another big challenge he faced to ensure Nigeria remained united.
According to him, they did their best then to stop the riots in the north and return the country to normalcy, peace and progress, but the civil war became unavoidable when the independence of Biafra was declared by Ojukwu.
In addition, General Gowon said he initially wanted to use only police action to restore order in the east. “You can be sure that the civil war was a result of the declaration of independence by Ojukwu. If there was no declaration, or him saying they had broken up from the country, honestly, there would not be civil war. There would probably have been only police action to restore law and order, and that was what I tried to do before the civil war.
“There would have been police action, so that we can bring back the break-away into the fold. But when it went beyond that, with the invasion of the Mid-West and that they wanted to come to Lagos and probable divide the rest of the country from the central government, it was at that stage that I changed and said it should be full military action.”
Speaking further on some of the greatest challenges he had to face as Nigeria’s head of state, Gowon revealed that he never really wanted to be Nigeria’s leader when he was called upon to become one.
“I didn’t want to be head of state, I just wanted to be left with the Army so that I could restore the discipline, the loyalty, the love of the country that we had before. The younger officers said no, they didn’t want anybody else to give them leadership but me, because they knew the sort of officer I was as the adjutant in one of the battalions and later Adjutant-General of the Nigerian Army, who was in charge of their wellbeing.
“They respected me so much and out of that, they said I would be the one. So, that was how I became the head of state, not that I wanted it, but since the junior officers would not accept any other senior officer from any part of the country except me,” he said, adding that he agreed to their demand because he has been trained to face any situation and deal with it.
According to him, the civil war was not a total war against a total enemy, but against only those who were against the unity of Nigeria. He further explained that, that was why the civil war was fought in such a way to ensure minimal damage and hurt.
The end of the civil war, according to the former head of state with a PhD in Political Science, was one of his happiest day, and the fact that the end of the civil war didn’t see the emergence of guerrilla warfare.

Buhari, Atiku plot PDP fall in Kaduna

Hassan Ibrahim -Kaduna

As part of efforts by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the North to approach the 2015 presidential election as a united front, presidential aspirants on the platform of the party and other party chieftains met in Kaduna on Saturday to renew their strategy on how to defeat President Goodluck Jonathan.
Specifically, an aspirant and former head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari told the gathering that should the Jonathan-led Federal Government be allowed to continue in 2015,Nigeria would go down the drain.
In the same vein, representatives of the Arewa Consultative Forum(ACF) and that of the Northern Elders Forum(NEF), Mr Solomon Dalung and Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed respectively, have admonished APC presidential aspirant not to vie for the exalted office just to satisfy their families and pockets but to work for the development of Nigeria.
The duo threatened to disown anyone amongst them who decided to turn into a selfish leader, saying they would rather remain with the Nigerian masses.
Buhari, who spoke for himself and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar during the APC stakeholders meeting, said 2015 was another year of extreme concern to Nigerians calling on APC chieftains not to allow their members to be disenfranchised during the 2015 elections.
The APC, he said, was now in a better position to wrestle power from the PDP, urging for vigilance among APC members to check all manipulations.
He said “I contested the presidential election three times in this country and failed and ended up in supreme court, losing the case. The first time, the Judges agreed that there was no election, they (the judges) were all Southern Christians. The second time, the Judges that declared the PDP winner despite clear irregularities were Fulani from Adamawa and Taraba and another Nupe man. That was when I understood it is not about religion and ethnicity, but about Naira and Dollars.”
 He said the amount of soldiers, police, SSS deployed to Ekiti during the election, if same were to be deployed to the troubled North-East, the release of the over 200 abducted Chibok girls would have long been secured.
“Nigeria is tired of incompetent leadership, so we must be ready to make sacrifices that will salvage the country, let us not allow our people to be disenfranchised during the elections, we must be united to ensure free, fair and credible elections in 2015.

AFTERMATH Ceasefire: Boko Haram attacks Borno

  James Bwala, with Agency reports

•Kills jubilating residents in Abadam, Dzur •Sect to name Nur as Shekau’s successor
A dangerous twist seems to have been introduced into the ceasefire agreement between the Federal Government and the Islamic terror group, Boko Haram, as the sect killed no fewer than 30 innocent civilians around Gwoza town and another five in Abadam Local Government Area of Borno State in the last four days.
Thirty persons were killed by the sect before the ceasefire deal, after which the sect members headed into the Cameroonian side to engage Cameroonian forces, where they eventually suffered heavy casualities. However, between Friday evening and Saturday morning, nine persons were killed in Dzur and Abadan. Sunday Tribune learnt that the victims were civilians jubilating over the ceasefire.
A security source said: “The people were celebrating the ceasefire before Boko Haram came to attack them. There isn’t much details, but I think you can contact the authorities for details.”
Another attack on the village of Dzur on Saturday morning left at least eight people dead.
The ceasefire, which was sealed on Friday after discussions in Chad, was expected to culminate in an end to the orgy of violence already perpetrated by the terror group as well as ensure freedom for the over 200 schoolgirls abducted in Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok.
Meanwhile, barring last minute changes, the sect may eventually announce the election of a new leader if reports circulating in Borno are to be believed. A member of the Civilian JTF who volunteered the information maintained that the sect was not ready for a ceasefire, alleging that politicians claiming to be representatives of the sect were only deceiving the Federal Government.
In his words: “The sect is only trying to buy more time to enable them to regroup and announce Mamman Nur as their new leader. Should that happen, we are far away from any peace deal, as his name rings a bell in terrorism circles from Borno to Sudan and other places across Africa.”
According to him, the military is better placed to overrun the insurgents now that they are operating without a leader after the killing of Abubakar Shekau in Konduga.
Attempts to get the Spokesman of the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army and the Borno State Police PRO to speak on the development did not yield results as of the time of filing this report.
Kano residents, others commend FG over ceasefire
Meanwhile,  residents of Kano have commended the Federal Government for the ceasefire agreement it reached with members of the Boko Haram sect.
 Some of the residents, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano on Saturday, expressed happiness over the development. According to them, the agreement was a welcome development as it would ensure peace and economic development in the North and the country at large.
One of the residents, Alhaji Musa Hassan, said the ceasefire would go a long way to restore peace and socio-economic activities in the affected states.
 He urged members of the insurgents to keep to the agreement in view of what happened during the previous attempts by government to dialogue with the group.
Another resident and a journalist, Alhaji Ali Kakaki, said he was happy about the development because of what Kano people went through, especially during the peak of the Boko Haram attacks in the city.
“This is a welcome development and we are happy about it provided the insurgents will keep to their words,’’ he said.
Also commenting on the issue, a trader at the popular Kantin Kwari Textile market, Alhaji Auwal Mai’atamfa, said the ceasefire was a clear testimony that the Federal Government was concerned about the senseless killings of innocent citizens in the country.
“The agreement between the Federal Government and the insurgents is an indication that the government is concerned and ready to end the crisis,’’ he said.
Most of those who spoke with NAN also expressed gratitude to God for making the agreement possible and prayed for its sustenance.
They, however, urged the government to come up with programmes which would promote peace and ensure economic growth and development of the affected states.
In  the same vein, the Society for Peace Studies and Practice has commended the ceasefire agreement between the Federal govt and the Boko haram sect. A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the Society, Ademolu Okuneye, described the development as a right step in the right direction. The society expressed delight that, for the first time, it was acknowledged that both parties were talking.
“It is only through dialogue that a peaceful resolution of the conflict could be achieved.  It is a well known fack that similar conflicts across the world had been resolved through interactions by parties in conflict,” it said.
 The society however called on both parties to take advantage of the ceasefire for the benefit of the people of Nigeria, West Africa and the continent at large.