Google+ Followers

Saturday, 30 May 2015

LET THE ACTION BEGIN, PRESIDENT BUHARI

dele.momodu@thisdaylive.com

Your Excellency, please permit me to start by congratulating you on your swearing-in as Nigeria’s President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Sir, it has been a very long and arduous journey back to the State House; such an epic battle, to say the least. Yours is an eloquent confirmation of the dictum that it is never over until it is over. There is a lesson for all to learn in your uncommon determination, extraordinary tenacity, great perseverance and tremendous patience and equanimity. According to William Shakespeare “all is well that ends well.”
Now that you’re back in power, it is time to settle down quickly to govern a particularly delicate country as well as a very sensitive people. It is not that Nigerians are too difficult to govern but the fact is that our expectations are rather huge after suffering for far too long in the midst of plenty. An average Nigerian voted for you in the hope that you have the magic wand to turn mass poverty into abundant prosperity. As a matter of fact, they expect you to turn water into vintage wine and if possible raise Lazarus from the dead. That is why the cry for change was overwhelming and reached a crescendo which culminated in former President Jonathan and the PDP being swept away by that proverbial broom of change! Such is the enormity of the burden you must carry today that nobody should envy you for attaining this exalted position once again. Moreover, time is not even on your side. You must therefore hit the ground running right away.
Nigerians, and indeed the world, would be watching and analysing your actions as well as your body language from now on. Your biggest headache would be how to manage the unruly politicians who litter our political landscape. They are going to make your job more complex and complicated than it should be ordinarily because most of them don’t actually believe in your principles and ideology. Their agenda is possibly at cross-purposes with yours. As far as they are concerned, you will have your say while they would always meander their way through the labyrinth of policies that you will have to make in order to give effect to your vision of a corruption free Nation. The Nigeria you’re inheriting today is steeped in filth and all manner of odoriferous mess but you have a chance of redirecting us all.
My candid advice is that you should stick to who you are and what made it possible for you to record this landmark victory. You are not a politician per se but a social crusader. Politics is always the means but never an end. The end is leadership and, ultimately, performance. If you deliver on your promises, no evil shall befall you and you will be celebrated by all and sundry. But if you fail, the same politicians who swarmed all over you singing your praises would jettison you and move on pronto to new suitors.
I do not expect you to fail and many Nigerians, including myself, are praying that you succeed. In case the unexpected happens, and our hopes are dashed again, let the last man remember to switch off the last globe as we plunge into eternal darkness. The candle of hope you hold out to Nigerians at home and abroad is incredible and I am not jealous of you. The last time Nigerians united behind a Presidential candidate was in 1993 when Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola raised the flag of hope and promised to banish poverty from our land. Sadly, many things went wrong and our hopes were dashed and Nigeria was abandoned in a quagmire. The rest is history.
It has taken 22 agonising years to arrive at this juncture and we can’t afford another misadventure. The burden of expectations on you and your highly cerebral Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN, is stupendously heavy. As I wrote in this column on March 14, 2015:
“The People’s General, as I love to call him, is a victim of his own popularity. What ordinarily should have been an asset has almost become a liability, or put another way, a blessing turning to a curse. From all empirical data as well as mathematical calculations, General Buhari looks set to create a major upset on March 28, or whenever it pleases the gods of Abuja to hold the elections…
“To whom much is given, much is expected. General Buhari is thus expected to be the Lamb of God who must be prepared to carry the sins of the world. He must possess the power of optical illusion in order to perform instant magic, in a nation on its bent knees…”
Your first test is how and when you pick your highly anticipated and eagerly awaited “change” team. It is certain you must announce some key appointments immediately. Some States have already taken the lead and this shows a sign of preparedness. I’m impressed with the tone and tempo coming out of Governor Nasir El Rufai’s Kaduna State and Governor Ambode’s Lagos State. The Federal Government must borrow a leaf from such decisiveness. You must never be seen to prevaricate on urgent decisions as if your hands are tied behind your back. Sir, you are now in charge and must do everything necessary to select some of the brightest men and women it has pleased God to bless Nigeria with.  I must confess that I am somewhat agitated on your behalf that no appointment of note has been announced, not even those of your personal and household aides.  If you have already made these appointments please announce them as a matter of urgency.  Modern day governance is a transparent government and not one to be shrouded in secrecy.  That was one of the failings of the previous administration.  You must not make the same mistake, Mr President.
What you’re expected to do is tantamount to a football coach selecting a national team to take to the World Cup. Please, note that every Nigerian sees himself as a competent coach. The first set of appointments can make or mar this government especially if it is overloaded with hard-core politicians and nominees of interest groups. Realistically, it is impossible to ignore the Party that provided the platform that laid the golden egg. But how you maintain the precarious balance would clearly indicate if it is going to be business as usual in Nigeria or otherwise.
Mr President, let me alert Your Excellency right away that you have the media as well as the army of unemployed youths to contend with. The media is no longer comprised of the traditional journalists but the self-appointed publishers and bloggers on social media most of who belong to an angry generation and are very impatient and temperamental. They won’t listen to lame and dodgy excuses. Your media team must be rock-solid from Day One. If your media people do not know their onions or lack the influence within the media fraternity, all the goodwill of the moment may evaporate before our very eyes.  It must be clear to you by now that there must be a distinction between your speechwriters and those that propagate the image of your administration.  Whilst the former may be close to you and are your friends, the latter do not have to be.  What is needed for the latter are those who can connect not only to their network but also to the citizens of this great country.
PDP is not going to be a simple opposition to contain after controlling power for 16 years. The man in the street is hungry and almost disillusioned. Your government would need the services of efficient communicators and not those propagandists who may think telling lies is how to win the hearts and souls of the people. Nigerians have become more sophisticated than in the past when they had government apologists insult their intelligence with impunity. You have built your stock on your integrity.  You therefore cannot afford to have spokespersons that lack credibility because they will tarnish the good image and reputation that you have painstakingly built for yourself over the years.
Your cabinet should be carefully assembled. This is not going to be too difficult once you stick to your avowed yardstick and not to allow anyone drop any deadwoods on you. Nigerians collectively heaved a sigh of relief when you declared that you belong to everybody and yet you belong to nobody! You have a nation of over 170 million people to seek and pick just a few candidates to help your government achieve monumental greatness. There are so many other jobs to be handed over to political jobbers but the soul of government is your cabinet. The Ministers are the Ambassadors of your government. They must be tested and trusted people who can command the respect of all and inspire Nigerians out of the present state of despair and disillusionment. They must not be imposed or foisted on you.  They must be people that align with the tenets of your administration, your visions and your goals.  Your cabinet must comprise men and women that you personally feel comfortable to work with.
There are key areas of priority. What connects every family in any country is education. It is the foundation for success or failure. If we can rescue our education speedily, Nigeria would save millions of dollars being spent on sending our kids to school abroad. In the past, most of us attended schools in Nigeria and only travelled out after A–Levels or first degrees. An investment on education at home can never be a wasted one. It would generate employment and recreate a better society. Illiteracy is the mother of all backwardness. No nation can ever be considered developed if the citizens live in abject ignorance.
Sir, our economy is obviously in tatters. The need for diversification has never been in doubt and is even more pertinent now than ever. Our over-dependence on oil proceeds is stupidity at its worst. We can no longer afford to pay lip service to other vast potentials that bring us wealth and succour. Agriculture is one and thank God you’ve been actively engaged in farming in your personal capacity.  In my childhood days, the richest people around were cocoa and ground nut farmers. But they’ve been sacked and banished to antiquity by the oil barons some of who feasted with reckless abandon on our black gold without making any significant contribution to our economic well-being. A country that oozes crude oil from its pores is unable to fuel the yearnings of its people both literally and figuratively.  That is a big shame.  Once upon a time, we boasted about our groundnut pyramids. The people of Malaysia came to us for our palm seedlings. We had tonnes and loads of Ofada rice. Our yam tubers looked more like the legs of Japanese Sumo wrestlers. Our people fed and were content. We must return to those good old days soonest.
Entertainment is now big business globally. The time has come to properly manage the industry in a manner that will bring high yields to our gifted ones. Millions can be gainfully employed as singers, producers, engineers, event managers, make-up artists, caterers, ushers, models, designers, tailors, deejays, comedians, choreographers, composers, songwriters, instrumentalists, decorators, stylists, and so on, if properly managed and directed in the right direction by your government. It is the same with Sports. Nigerians are very talented in most sports but we have not been able to turn this into the goldmine that it is.
Every Nigerian, rich or poor, is totally frustrated about incessant power outages. Nothing is more pressing than finding a lasting solution to this national embarrassment. It is a jinx that must be broken. If you succeed in doing this, Nigerians will be forever grateful.   As with the oil and gas industry there are very simple ways of fixing the problem.  The first is that you must do away with cartels and engender competitiveness.  There must be transparency in allocation and distribution of these national assets and resources.  In this regard Your Excellency should note that subsidy is not the problem in the oil industry.  It is a mere red herring meant to deceive and hide even more monumental frauds.  In any event the issue of subsidy will not arise if things are done properly.  Our refineries must be made to work and we must price appropriately.
The last major issue that your Government must tackle immediately is the insecurity in our country.  The Boko Haram menace must be curbed.  Your commendable resolve in this respect has already been demonstrated by your directive to the Nigerian military command as their Commander – in Chief to move their base to the heart of the insurgency in Borno State. Also, the increasing spate of kidnappings, political killings and armed robberies must be addressed.
In the next couple of weeks, I will contribute my humble quota as to solutions to our seemingly intractable problems. Every Nigerian must support you by rising above partisanship.
Once again, I rejoice with you, Mr President and pray for your resounding success as you bring about hope and change in our dear beloved country! God bless Nigeria.

A New Nigeria Beckons As Buhari Takes Over


•     To relocate defence headquarters to Maiduguri as Boko Haram is taken head on
Onyebuchi Ezigbo, Senator Iroegbu, Jaiyeola Andrews and Chineme Okafor in Abuja
Amidst great expectations, Muhammadu Buhari was on Friday sworn in as the fifth civilian President of Nigeria, with a promise that his administration would firmly tackle the Boko Haram terrorists head on.

 In this regard, he said the Defence Headquarters would be relocated to Maiduguri from Abuja.

 The new President also pledged to tackle corruption, insecurity, epileptic electricity and a number of other challenges.

 Prof. Yemi Osinbajo earlier took his own oath as Vice President at very colourful ceremony held at the Eagles Square in Abuja.

 It was a historic moment as both the incoming president and outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan shook and embraced each other to the admiration of all who were gathered at the Eagles Square.

 For Buhari, it was a dream come true having tried three times to return to the office he left 30 years ago without success.

 Clad in flowing white Agbada kaftan dress, Buhari walked confidently to the podium at about 10.45 am to take the oath administered by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmud Mohammed.

 Buhari swore with the Quran. After the swearing-in, the Eagle square went into a joyful shout.

 Buhari, also like Osinbajo signed the register of the oath of office.
 Thereafter, Jonathan handed over the national flag to him and a copy of the constitution. The two are the instruments of office.

 In a symbolic manner, the old National flag and the defence flag were lowered symbolising the end of Jonathan's era as President and Commander-in-Chief.

 The flags were later folded by the military officers and handed over to the Regimented Sergeant Major (RSM) and later handed to the Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Barde who in turn handed it to Jonathan.

 Later, a box containing two new flags were given to Buhari by Jonathan who also handed the flags over to Barde.

 Barde in return gave the flags to RSM to be hoisted, which signified the beginning of a new era of Buhari's administration. At this stage, Jonathan stepped out with his vice-president, Namadi Sambo and were driven out of the square.

 Jonathan left for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport for onward journey to Otuoke via Port Harcourt. Namadi Sambo left straight for Kaduna.

 At 11.09 am, Buhari released pigeons signifying peace and later the 21 gun salute heralding his administration followed. The President in mounted open jeep waved and acknowledged cheers from the crowd.
 Buhari also inspected a Brigade of Guard parade.

 All former living Nigerian Presidents and military Heads of State were in attendance at the Eagle Square.

 General Yakubu Gowon and his wife, Victoria were the first to arrive.
 Others that arrived later were General Ibrahim Babangida, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, Chief Ernest Shonekan, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and wife and former President Shehu Shagari.
 
 Inaugural speech…
Buhari in his inaugural speech said he was immensely grateful to God who made the day a reality.

 He said Nigerians had shown their commitment to democracy and were determined to entrench its culture.

 The President said: "Our journey has not been easy but thanks to the determination of our people and strong support from friends abroad we have today a truly democratically elected government in place.

 "I would like to thank President Goodluck Jonathan for his display of statesmanship in setting a precedent for us that has now made our people proud to be Nigerians wherever they are. With the support and cooperation he has given to the transition process, he has made it possible for us to show the world that despite the perceived tension in the land, we can be a united people capable of doing what is right for our nation.

 "Together, we co-operated to surprise the world that had come to expect only the worst from Nigeria. I hope this act of graciously accepting defeat by the outgoing President will become the standard of political conduct in the country.

 "Having just a few minutes ago sworn on the Holy Book, I intend to keep my oath and serve as President to all Nigerians."

 He added that he belonged to everybody and belonged to nobody.

 The President urged every Nigerian not to exercise fears about his administration: “A few people have privately voiced fears that on coming back to office I shall go after them. These fears are groundless. There will be no paying off old scores. The past is prologue.”

Buhari promised to tackle all challenges. He said: “At home we face enormous challenges. Insecurity, pervasive corruption, the hitherto unending and seemingly impossible fuel and power shortages are the immediate concerns. We are going to tackle them head on. Nigerians will not regret that they have entrusted national responsibility to us. We must not succumb to hopelessness and defeatism. We can fix our problems.

 "In recent times, Nigerian leaders appear to have misread our mission. Our founding fathers, Mr Herbert Macauley, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Malam Aminu Kano, Chief J.S. Tarka, Mr Eyo Ita, Chief Denis Osadebe, Chief Ladoke Akintola and their colleagues worked to establish certain standards of governance.

“They might have differed in their methods or tactics or details, but they were united in establishing a viable and progressive country. Some of their successors behaved like spoilt children breaking everything and bringing disorder to the house.

 "Furthermore, we as Nigerians must remind ourselves that we are heirs to great civilizations: Shehu Othman Dan fodio’s caliphate, the Kanem Borno Empire, the Oyo Empire, the Benin Empire and King Jaja’s formidable domain. The blood of those great ancestors flows in our veins. What is now required is to build on these legacies, to modernise and uplift Nigeria.

 "The Federal Executive under my watch will not seek to encroach on the duties and functions of the Legislative and Judicial arms of government. The law enforcing authorities will be charged to operate within the Constitution.”

He said the legislative arm of government must keep to their brief of making laws, carrying out over-sight functions and doing so expeditiously.

 He also said the judicial system needs reform to cleanse itself from its immediate past: “The country now expects the judiciary to act with dispatch on all cases especially on corruption, serious financial crimes or abuse of office. It is only when the three arms act constitutionally that government will be enabled to serve the country optimally and avoid the confusion all too often bedeviling governance today.

 The President also pledged to curb corruption at all levels of government. He said: “Elsewhere, relations between Abuja and the states have to be clarified if we are to serve the country better. Constitutionally, there are limits to powers of each of the three tiers of government but that should not mean the federal government should fold its arms and close its eyes to what is going on in the states and local governments.

“Not least, the operations of the Local Government Joint Account. While the Federal Government cannot interfere in the details of its operations, it will ensure that the gross corruption at the local level is checked. As far as the constitution allows me, I will try to ensure that there is responsible/accountable governance at all levels of government in the country. For I will not have kept my own trust with the Nigerian people if I allow others abuse theirs under my watch."

 The President described the Nigerian press as the most vibrant in Africa and appealed to the media – including the social media – to exercise its considerable powers with responsibility and patriotism.

 He stressed that his appeal for unity among Nigerians was predicated on the seriousness of the legacy Nigerians are getting into.

 Buhari noted that with depleted foreign reserves, falling oil prices, leakages and debts, the Nigerian economy was in deep trouble and would require careful management to bring it round and to tackle the immediate challenges confronting it.

 He listed the challenges as Boko Haram, the Niger Delta situation, the power shortages and unemployment especially among young people.
 For the longer term according to the president, "we have to improve the standards of our education. We have to look at the whole field of medicare. We have to upgrade our dilapidated physical infrastructure.”

On Boko Haram, he pledged to bring the menace to an end: "The most immediate is Boko Haram’s insurgency. Progress has been made in recent weeks by our security forces but victory cannot be achieved by basing the Command and Control Centre in Abuja. The command centre will be relocated to Maiduguri and remain until Boko Haram is completely subdued. But we cannot claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents.

 "This government will do all it can to rescue them alive. Boko Haram is a typical example of small fires causing large fires. An eccentric and unorthodox preacher with a tiny following was given posthumous fame and following by his extra judicial murder at the hands of the police. Since then through official bungling, negligence, complacency or collusion, Boko Haram became a terrifying force taking tens of thousands of lives and capturing several towns and villages covering swathes of Nigerian sovereign territory.

 "Boko Haram is a mindless, godless group who are as far away from Islam as one can think of. At the end of the hostilities when the group is subdued, the government intends to commission a sociological study to determine its origins, remote and immediate causes of the movement, its sponsors, the international connections to ensure that measures are taken to prevent a recurrence of this evil. For now, the Armed Forces will be fully charged with prosecuting the fight against Boko Haram. We shall overhaul the rules of engagement to avoid human rights violations in operations. We shall improve operational and legal mechanisms so that disciplinary steps are taken against proven human right violations by the Armed Forces.

 Buhari said Boko Haram was not only the security issue bedeviling the country. He included the spate of kidnappings, armed robberies, herdsmen/farmers clashes, cattle rustlings, which he said helped to add to the general air of insecurity in the country: “We are going to erect and maintain an efficient, disciplined people – friendly and well – compensated security forces within an over – all security architecture,” said the President.

 On the amnesty programme in the Niger- Delta which is due to end in December, he said his government intends to invest heavily in the projects, and programmes currently in place.

 Buhari said: “I call on the leadership and people in these areas to cooperate with the state and federal government in the rehabilitation programmes which will be streamlined and made more effective. As ever, I am ready to listen to grievances of my fellow Nigerians. I extend my hand of fellowship to them so that we can bring peace and build prosperity for our people.”

On the power crisis, the new president promised Nigerians a new dawn: “No single cause can be identified to explain Nigerian’s poor economic performance over the years than the power situation. It is a national shame that an economy of 180 million generates only 4,000MW, and distributes even less. Continuous tinkering with the structures of power supply and distribution and close on $20b expanded since 1999 have only brought darkness, frustration, misery, and resignation among Nigerians.

“We will not allow this to go on. Careful studies are under way during this transition to identify the quickest, safest and most cost-effective way to bring light and relief to Nigerians."

 He concluded: "Your Excellencies, My fellow Nigerians I cannot recall when Nigeria enjoyed so much goodwill abroad as now. The messages I received from East and West, from powerful and small countries are indicative of international expectations on us. At home, the newly elected government is basking in a reservoir of goodwill and high expectations. Nigeria therefore has a window of opportunity to fulfill our long-standing potential of pulling ourselves together and realising our mission as a great nation.

Tinubu: Nigerians Are Heroes of Democracy.



By Jaiyeola Andrews in Abuja
Following the presidential election that ushered in a new government, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, last night said Nigerians who voted out the incumbent government were the heroes of true democracy.
Tinubu spoke during the Presidendial Inauguration Gala Night at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said the electorate shunned all monetary inducement aimed at buying their votes and conscience during the election.   
"Despite heavy inducement to move otherwise, the people were not induced or intimidated. The people voted for their better destiny at last election. The average Nigerian, decent, hardworking, unseen and anonymous, they voted.
"They are the heroes of this glorious moment. Without their faith in democracy and belief in a better future, this election would not have been had and we will not be celebrating the inauguration of a new president tonight.
"Congratulations to millions of Nigerians at home and abroad. Congratulations to Africa, Nigeria is ready to lead. Today we celebrate; tomorrow we will turn our energy ... and our polity to the task at hand, giving better life for the people and our beloved country.
"A new era is upon us; all here are blessed by the hand of great providence to witness the awakening of our nation. This noble moment will endure for long after we have expired. A new president has been inaugurated, a new government established and a commitment to build a new Nigeria has been consecrated and ... of our people.
"We celebrate the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari. In him, we have a leader who is principled, bold, determined, passionate and determined to lead. He is like those leaders who have led their nations to greatness in time past. We celebrate because his election was a testament to the path of human decency and sovereignty of the people ... of power."
"We celebrate Nigeria's friends from Africa and around the world joining us today. Your presence is an expression of goodwill that shall never be forgotten.
"Your presence underscores for us the importance that Nigeria holds in the community of nations. That we have accomplished a peaceful transition of administration from one different political party, that is an historical landmark" the APC national leader added
He urged Nigerians to pray for the success of President Muhammadu buhari and his government.
"They come into power at a difficult moment and we grapple with multiple of challenges. we will be there for you and with you, Mr. President.  May his administration take the first mighty step in reconstructing a new and better Nigeria for all our people. May he begin to lay the foundation for a better house for all of us. Faith now ushers in a period of light and revival that will guide us to the upper road and a higher purpose. We thank God for this chance, for it was not guaranteed by our labour or by our effort. But it comes from the power of God Almighty.
"General Muhammadu Buhari and other African head of state here. From one programme to the other, the African renaissance must start with him. The challenge is yours. We that are looking up to you will continue to do so with great commitment and perseverance and all sense of value that Africans must build Africa to show that Africans can compete, Nigeria must lead. We dare not squander this good thing given to us," Tinubu asserted.
Buhari, at the occasion, thanked African and world leaders that came to Nigeria to witness the inauguration of the new government.
He also urged for more prayers from Nigerians in order to succeed in office.
According to him, one of the quickest ways to boost the Nigerian economy is through agriculture and mining.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Chairman of APC, John Oyegun and former Bayelsa State governor, Timipre Sylva, also gave glory to God for the new dawn

Inaugural Speech by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, following his swearing -in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 29th May, 2015.



I am immensely grateful to God Who Has preserved us to witness this day and this occasion. Today marks a triumph for Nigeria and an occasion to celebrate her freedom and cherish her democracy. Nigerians have shown their commitment to democracy and are determined to entrench its culture. Our journey has not been easy but thanks to the determination of our people and strong support from friends abroad we have today a truly democratically elected government in place.
I would like to thank President Goodluck Jonathan for his display of statesmanship in setting a precedent for us that has now made our people proud to be Nigerians wherever they are. With the support and cooperation he has given to the transition process, he has made it possible for us to show the world that despite the perceived tension in the land we can be a united people capable of doing what is right for our nation. Together we co-operated to surprise the world that had come to expect only the worst from Nigeria. I hope this act of graciously accepting defeat by the outgoing President will become the standard of political conduct in the country.
I would like to thank the millions of our supporters who believed in us even when the cause seemed hopeless. I salute their resolve in waiting long hours in rain and hot sunshine to register and cast their votes and stay all night if necessary to protect and ensure their votes count and were counted. I thank those who tirelessly carried the campaign on the social media. At the same time, I thank our other countrymen and women who did not vote for us but contributed to make our democratic culture truly competitive, strong and definitive.
I thank all of you.
Having just a few minutes ago sworn on the Holy Book, I intend to keep my oath and serve as President to all Nigerians.
I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.
A few people have privately voiced fears that on coming back to office I shall go after them. These fears are groundless. There will be no paying off old scores. The past is prologue.
Our neighbours in the Sub-region and our African brethenen should rest assured that Nigeria under our administration will be ready to play any leadership role that Africa expects of it. Here I would like to thank the governments and people of Cameroon, Chad and Niger for committing their armed forces to fight Boko Haram in Nigeria.
I also wish to assure the wider international community of our readiness to cooperate and help to combat threats of cross-border terrorism, sea piracy, refugees and boat people, financial crime, cyber crime, climate change, the spread of communicable diseases and other challenges of the 21st century.
At home we face enormous challenges. Insecurity, pervasive corruption, the hitherto unending and seemingly impossible fuel and power shortages are the immediate concerns. We are going to tackle them head on. Nigerians will not regret that they have entrusted national responsibility to us. We must not succumb to hopelessness and defeatism. We can fix our problems.
In recent times Nigerian leaders appear to have misread our mission. Our founding fathers, Mr Herbert Macauley, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Malam Aminu Kano, Chief J.S. Tarka, Mr Eyo Ita, Chief Denis Osadeby, Chief Ladoke Akintola and their colleagues worked to establish certain standards of governance. They might have differed in their methods or tactics or details, but they were united in establishing a viable and progressive country. Some of their successors behaved like spoilt children breaking everything and bringing disorder to the house.
Furthermore, we as Nigerians must remind ourselves that we are heirs to great civilizations: Shehu Othman Dan fodio’s caliphate, the Kanem Borno Empire, the Oyo Empire, the Benin Empire and King Jaja’s formidable domain. The blood of those great ancestors flow in our veins. What is now required is to build on these legacies, to modernize and uplift Nigeria.
Daunting as the task may be it is by no means insurmountable. There is now a national consensus that our chosen route to national development is democracy. To achieve our objectives we must consciously work the democratic system. The Federal Executive under my watch will not seek to encroach on the duties and functions of the Legislative and Judicial arms of government. The law enforcing authorities will be charged to operate within the Constitution. We shall rebuild and reform the public service to become more effective and more serviceable. We shall charge them to apply themselves with integrity to stabilize the system.
For their part the legislative arm must keep to their brief of making laws, carrying out over-sight functions and doing so expeditiously. The judicial system needs reform to cleanse itself from its immediate past. The country now expects the judiciary to act with dispatch on all cases especially on corruption, serious financial crimes or abuse of office. It is only when the three arms act constitutionally that government will be enabled to serve the country optimally and avoid the confusion all too often bedeviling governance today.
Elsewhere relations between Abuja and the States have to be clarified if we are to serve the country better. Constitutionally there are limits to powers of each of the three tiers of government but that should not mean the Federal Government should fold its arms and close its eyes to what is going on in the states and local governments. Not least the operations of the Local Government Joint Account. While the Federal Government can not interfere in the details of its operations it will ensure that the gross corruption at the local level is checked. As far as the constitution allows me I will try to ensure that there is responsible and accountable governance at all levels of government in the country. For I will not have kept my own trust with the Nigerian people if I allow others abuse theirs under my watch.
However, no matter how well organized the governments of the federation are they can not succeed without the support, understanding and cooperation of labour unions, organized private sector, the press and civil society organizations. I appeal to employers and workers alike to unite in raising productivity so that everybody will have the opportunity to share in increased prosperity. The Nigerian press is the most vibrant in Africa. My appeal to the media today – and this includes the social media – is to exercise its considerable powers with responsibility and patriotism.
My appeal for unity is predicated on the seriousness of the legacy we are getting into. With depleted foreign reserves, falling oil prices, leakages and debts the Nigerian economy is in deep trouble and will require careful management to bring it round and to tackle the immediate challenges confronting us, namely; Boko Haram, the Niger Delta situation, the power shortages and unemployment especially among young people. For the longer term we have to improve the standards of our education. We have to look at the whole field of medicare. We have to upgrade our dilapidated physical infrastructure.
The most immediate is Boko Haram’s insurgency. Progress has been made in recent weeks by our security forces but victory can not be achieved by basing the Command and Control Centre in Abuja. The command centre will be relocated to Maiduguri and remain until Boko Haram is completely subdued. But we can not claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents.
This government will do all it can to rescue them alive. Boko Haram is a typical example of small fires causing large fires. An eccentric and unorthodox preacher with a tiny following was given posthumous fame and following by his extra judicial murder at the hands of the police. Since then through official bungling, negligence, complacency or collusion Boko Haram became a terrifying force taking tens of thousands of lives and capturing several towns and villages covering swathes of Nigerian sovereign territory.
Boko Haram is a mindless, godless group who are as far away from Islam as one can think of. At the end of the hostilities when the group is subdued the Government intends to commission a sociological study to determine its origins, remote and immediate causes of the movement, its sponsors, the international connexions to ensure that measures are taken to prevent a reccurrence of this evil. For now the Armed Forces will be fully charged with prosecuting the fight against Boko haram. We shall overhaul the rules of engagement to avoid human rights violations in operations. We shall improve operational and legal mechanisms so that disciplinary steps are taken against proven human right violations by the Armed Forces.
Boko Haram is not only the security issue bedeviling our country. The spate of kidnappings, armed robberies, herdsmen/farmers clashes, cattle rustlings all help to add to the general air of insecurity in our land. We are going to erect and maintain an efficient, disciplined people – friendly and well – compensated security forces within an over – all security architecture.
The amnesty programme in the Niger Delta is due to end in December, but the Government intends to invest heavily in the projects, and programmes currently in place. I call on the leadership and people in these areas to cooperate with the State and Federal Government in the rehabilitation programmes which will be streamlined and made more effective. As ever, I am ready to listen to grievances of my fellow Nigerians. I extend my hand of fellowship to them so that we can bring peace and build prosperity for our people.
No single cause can be identified to explain Nigerian’s poor economic performance over the years than the power situation. It is a national shame that an economy of 180 million generates only 4,000MW, and distributes even less. Continuous tinkering with the structures of power supply and distribution and close on $20b expanded since 1999 have only brought darkness, frustration, misery, and resignation among Nigerians. We will not allow this to go on. Careful studies are under way during this transition to identify the quickest, safest and most cost-effective way to bring light and relief to Nigerians.
Unemployment, notably youth un-employment features strongly in our Party’s Manifesto. We intend to attack the problem frontally through revival of agriculture, solid minerals mining as well as credits to small and medium size businesses to kick – start these enterprises. We shall quickly examine the best way to revive major industries and accelerate the revival and development of our railways, roads and general infrastructure.
Your Excellencies, My fellow Nigerians I can not recall when Nigeria enjoyed so much goodwill abroad as now. The messages I received from East and West, from powerful and small countries are indicative of international expectations on us. At home the newly elected government is basking in a reservoir of goodwill and high expectations. Nigeria therefore has a window of opportunity to fulfill our long – standing potential of pulling ourselves together and realizing our mission as a great nation.


Our situation somehow reminds one of a passage in Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar
There is a tide in the affairs of men which,
taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life,
Is bound in shallows and miseries.


We have an opportunity. Let us take it.
Thank you
Muhammadu Buhari
President Federal Republic of NIGERIA
and
Commander in-Chief of Armed Force.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

A Word For Muhammadu Buhari.

 

 
Olusegun-Adeniyi-bkpg-new.jpg-Olusegun-Adeniyi-bkpg-new.jpg
The Verdict By Olusegun Adeniyi; olusegun.adeniyi@thisdaylive.com
As the Coaster bus tried to meander through the surging crowd and the sea of human heads, chanting “Sai Baba”, Mr. Muhammadu Buhari tapped his running mate, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, by the shoulder, pointed in the direction of the vehicle’s window and asked: “Look at that man; what can you see from his face?”
Osinbajo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who was then apparently just adjusting to life as a politician, replied: “I can see real excitement on his face. Like many others here, the man is obviously very happy to see us.”
Evidently not satisfied with the response he got, Buhari asked Osinbajo to look at the man again. When the former Attorney General of Lagos State returned the same answer, Buhari decided to lecture him: “That man you are looking at believes that if we win this coming election, all his problems will be solved within 24 hours after we take over.”
The import of that scene and the ensuing dialogue in Gusau, Zamfara State on January 21 this year, as captured by Osinbajo at the first Abuja edition of ‘The Platform’ on May Day, is that Buhari is well aware of the burden of expectations that he carries as he becomes president of Nigeria tomorrow. Yet he has no magic wand with which to revalue a Naira of our national currency to approximate to an American Dollar “with immediate effect”. He cannot snap his fingers to conjure electricity to power our homes. Fuel queues will not disappear from our petrol stations because Buhari has just been swept into office with the promise of ‘change’. And Abubakar Shekau’s army of Boko Haram killers are not likely to surrender to the authorities after Buhari assumes office tomorrow.
In his article on democratic transitions, Dankwart Rustow draws a distinction between theories that seek to explain the genesis of democracy and theories that address democratic stability and our situation today approximates more to the latter. Yet, according to Rustow, the ability to build consensus by finding common grounds in the wake of a regime change depends on the capacity of the leader who must have a long-range vision of what he wants to achieve. That, I imagine, is where the expectations from Buhari derive because he comes to the number one job more prepared than any of his civilian predecessors in office.
Buhari is the first Nigerian civilian to personally seek to be president and pursued his dream (even after three defeats) until he realised it. All his civilian predecessors became president or prime minister either by accident or through the benevolence of some other do-gooders. This is an issue I have written about before but on a day such as this, it is important to remind us of what Buhari’s victory truly represents.
At Nigeria’s independence in 1960, Sir Ahmadu Bello should have been the Prime Minister as leader of the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) which won majority of the seats at the parliamentary elections. But for personal reasons, the late Sardauna of Sokoto ceded the office to Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa who became Prime Minister instead.
During the Second Republic in 1979, Alhaji Shehu Shagari was seeking to go to the Senate on the platform of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) which had heavyweights like Maitama Sule, Adamu Ciroma, Shettima Ali Monguno and the late Abubakar Olusola Saraki jostling for the presidential ticket. At the end, Shagari became our president. In August 1993, Chief Ernest Shonekan was appointed by General Ibrahim Babangida to head his contraption called Interim National Government after the June 12 presidential election annulment fiasco.
In 1998, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was in prison praying for God to deliver him from the clutches of General Sani Abacha when fate played a fast one on his jailer. With Abacha dead, Obasanjo was released from prison and offered the presidency of Nigeria to which he famously retorted, ‘how many presidents do you want to make of me?’ As it would happen, after spending two-terms in office, Obasanjo began to play Oliver Twist, by asking for more years. But by the time his third-term ambition collapsed in 2006 with no room left to manoeuvre, not only did Obasanjo handpick the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua as successor, his wish eventually became Nigeria’s command. And finally, through the misfortunes of others, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s legendary good luck catapulted him from deputy governor to governor to vice president until he became the Commander-in-Chief.
What the foregoing says most eloquently is that in Buhari, Nigeria will have its first civilian leader who consciously sought the presidency which presupposes that he must have an idea of what he would do in office. Buhari also defeated the incumbent president, the first of such to happen in Nigeria.Notwithstanding all these, what is perhaps Buhari’s biggest selling point today is that he comes to office with what is usually described as “Referent Power”. He is generally trusted as a man who would not fiddle with the treasury in a society where integrity in the public arena is very much in short supply. But leading by example does not make Buhari a perfect man, and that is what worries me about the way some of his supporters are going on as if we have just elected a prophet.
Buhari will do this. Buhari will do that. Those are the tales we have been hearing from some time-servers who may not even know the man but are already positioning themselves through the media in the bid to hijack him and our collective destiny. Yet, the reality of our national condition today is that Buhari can do practically nothing without seeking the patience and understanding of Nigerians. And for that to happen, Buhari must be seen to be human. That means having the courage to admit to mistakes and failings (where they occur) along the way and being bold enough to make course corrections.
For sure, there are many weeks, months and hopefully years ahead to write about Buhari who will, from tomorrow, be on the “line of fire” for whatever fate befalls our country. But as I wish him well, I want to end my piece with a simple story about the true essence of leadership by example which requires enormous sacrifices. It is a lesson that will serve Buhari who should be wise enough to dispense with the cult of personality being built around him if he does not want to fail.
Concerned that her son was addicted to eating a lot of sugar, a mother sought appointment to see the legendary Indian leader, Mahatma Gandhi. When she finally did, with her son in tow, she said: “The whole nation listens to you, please tell my son to stop eating sugar, as it is not good for his health”. Ghandi replied, “I cannot tell him that. But you may bring him back in a few weeks and then I will talk to him.”

Upset and disappointed, the mother took the boy home.Two weeks later, she came back. This time Gandhi looked directly at the boy and said “Son, you should stop eating sugar. It is not good for your health.” The boy nodded his head and made a solemn commitment to heed the admonition. Puzzled, the boy’s mother asked Ghandi, “Why did you send us away two weeks ago when you could have simply told the boy what you just did?”

Gandhi smiled and said: “Two weeks ago, I was eating a lot of sugar myself.”

May God grant Buhari success as he assumes the mantle of leadership tomorrow as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Thank You, President Jonathan
In a piece titled “Goodluck to the President”, published on this page on 31st May 2012 at a period Dr. Jonathan was marking his first year in office as elected president, I reminded him of what I told his handlers in May 2010. My thesis was that courting public adulation, as they were doing at the time, could ultimately prove to be counter-productive. To drive home my point, I used a fictional account of the events which followed the death in 1997 of Princess Diana as depicted in ‘The Queen’, a multiple award winning 2006 British film starring Helen Mirren.

While Queen Elizabeth IIsaw Diana’s death as a private family affair, then newly elected Prime Minister Tony Blair exploited the situation by reflecting the public wish for an official expression of grief. This instantly earned Blair public acclamation while the Queen became so unpopular that many were even calling for the abrogation of the monarchy. The instructive dialogue from the encounter (as depicted in the film) which may also serve Buhari who assumes office tomorrow as President of Nigeria goes thus:

Queen Elizabeth II: You don't think that the affection people once had for me, for this institution, has been diminished?
Tony Blair: No, not at all. You are more respected now than ever.
Queen Elizabeth II: I gather some of your closest advisers were less fulsome in their support.
Tony Blair: One or two but as a leader, I could never have added my voice to that chorus.
Queen Elizabeth II: Because you saw all those headlines and you thought: 'One day this might happen to me'...
Tony Blair: Oh... er...
Queen Elizabeth II (cuts in): ...and it will, Mr. Blair; quite suddenly and without warning...
Today, to put it mildly, Blair is not a very popular man in Britain. Similarly, I am sure President Jonathan cannot claim to be happy with the way he is being perceived today, 24 hours before he leaves office, against the background that when he took over power in May 2010, he could do no wrong. Incidentally, many of his fair-weather supporters who were hailing him yesterday have moved on as he himself admitted two weeks ago.

Notwithstanding, I believe President Jonathan has in the last five years tried his best for our country, and considering the manner in which he conceded defeat after the election, he can leave office with some pride. Not only did he save the nation from what could have been a serious crisis, he demonstrated the power of personal example that helped set the tone for several other defeated candidates at the elections. And with that, he has left a democratic legacy for which he will forever be remembered.

It is therefore my hope that the incoming Buhari administration will accord President Jonathan nothing but respect after office. He deserves it.


Still on the Subsidy Book
Perhaps because it came at a time the nation was groaning under the yoke of acute fuel scarcity that has affected all the critical sectors, the manuscript of my book, ‘The Inside Story of the Fuel Subsidy Scam’, released online http://bit.ly/1EY9s80 last Thursday has been generating considerable interest. And I hope that the next administration will pay attention to the details therein so that they don’t continue to make the same mistakes that have culminated in the crisis we are going through today as a nation.
However, following my intervention on the subsidy issue, I have in the last one week had to respond to several mails, all pointing in one direction: that I am now only advocating for the removal of fuel subsidy because a new government is coming and that I did not support President Jonathan’s efforts in that direction. Nothing can be farther from the truth.
I have for long understood the danger the subsidy regime portends to our economy and for that reason, been an advocate against it as demonstrated in my piece of last week - House Report and Buhari’s First Major Call. But even before then, when it became evident that President Jonathan was finally resolved to put an end to the rent element of the downstream sector or the petroleum sector, I came out clearly to endorse removal of subsidy, even though it was not a popular position to take at the time.
Because the piece, titled, “Lend Me One From Tomorrow’s”, and published on this page on 13th October, 2011, still speaks to the current situation, I am reproducing it so that readers can better appreciate how the subsidy regime remains antithetical to our economic well-being as a nation:
==================================================================
If the morning, as they say, shows the day, then we should brace up for trouble in the coming weeks. Following the public release of the 2012-2015 Medium Term Fiscal Framework and Medium Term Expenditure Framework, there is already a groundswell of opposition from labour and other stakeholders. And in the last few days, I have received several mails from readers who plead with me to throw my lot with ‘the people’ by opposing the complete deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum sector otherwise called removal of fuel subsidy.
I want to preface my intervention with a story I told sometimes in 1999 or thereabout which is still very relevant today. And like I did back then, I seek the indulgence of readers because the story is about a supposedly loving couple having problems which bordered on sex. The husband happened to be a man with healthy appetite hence he would not allow his wife any breathing space. After putting up with his antics for some years, she took the matter to her in-law as the 'court of first instance'. After narrating her story, her mother-in-law asked whether her son was maltreating the wife in other ways; she said no. Was he providing for her as he should? She answered in the affirmative. The parents of the husband declared that the wife had no case because their son was only claiming his rightful entitlements. Case dismissed!
Defeated, the poor woman accepted her fate for a while before reporting to her own parents. Let us call this the 'court of appeal'. Here, they equally asked the same set of questions her in-laws asked. Her mother however added: "Is your husband dating another woman?" She said no. In the ruling that followed, they scolded their daughter for attempting to shirk her marital responsibility. The appeal therefore failed and the man continued to claim his entitlements. Ultimately, the wife took the matter to their local pastor as the final arbiter, if you like the ‘Supreme Court’. Having listened to the tale, the pastor sent for the husband so he could hear both sides. When the husband came, the pastor asked the wife to retell her tale which she did. "Is it true?" He replied: "It is true Sir but the problem is that I don't want to have affairs outside."
This to the pastor was a serious problem but after a discussion that involved bargaining and trade-offs, it was agreed that a maximum of three times a day was enough for any couple. Thus a ceiling was effectively placed on how many times the man could 'harass' his poor wife a day. It was a Friday evening and back home, the man, quite naturally, claimed his 'quota' for that day. Then came Saturday: To cut the story short, by mid day, the husband had performed his matrimonial obligation three times and the wife thought she would be left alone. When he therefore started behaving funny again, she exploded: "What is the problem? Have I not met my responsibility for today?"
Looking crestfallen, the husband replied: “Yes, I know, but please lend me one from tomorrow's".

The friend who told me this story said it was a real life situation. He may be right or it may just be a ‘fabu’ but what is not in doubt is that the tale is a metaphor for the Nigerian condition and our proclivity to borrow from the future. Like the irresponsible husband in the story whose marriage was definitely bound to crash at some point, we have been borrowing so much from the future that it is only a matter of time before we reach rock bottom. But I understand what the current agitation is all about.
Like most commentators, I can make a thousand arguments on why it is callous to overburden the poor of our people by removing the current subsidies on fuel. I can canvass brilliant ideas to justify why, if it is only cheap petrol that the people enjoy, so let it be. I can present moving stories of the social consequences of the removal of subsidy: The pain, the anguish and the tears to come. Yet given the situation on ground, there is no way we can continue with the corrupt, inefficient and unsustainable subsidy regime. To do so will amount to entrenching a culture of continually borrowing from tomorrow.
I have followed the drama in the Senate concerning a proposed motion by Senator Bukola Saraki where he noted that in the 2011 Appropriation Act, the sum of N240 billion was allocated for subsidy yet by August ending, N931 billion had been spent with a projection that by the end of the year, “we will have a fuel subsidy bill of over N1.2 trillion as against the N240 billion budgeted in the Appropriation Act.”
Making allusion to the (mis)management of the federation account and the subsidy abracadabra by NNPC, Saraki drew the attention of the lawmakers to the fact that the 2011 Appropriation Act was based on “a Capital budget of N1.1 trillion for the entire country yet a single agency of government can incur the same amount without due approval of the National Assembly.” As former Governors’ Forum Chairman, I understand where Saraki is coming from but he is also aware the problem did not start with the 2011 Appropriation Act as fuel subsidy accounts mostly for the distortions we have had in budget planning and execution in the last decade just as it feeds the monumental corruption in our oil and gas sector.
Fortunately, President Goodluck Jonathan has finally come to terms with the reality that you cannot rule a country by Facebook! Given my understanding of Nigeria, our president, especially in these difficult times, must be like the man leading the orchestra: he has to back the crowd. Now President Jonathan knows. And he deserves our support. We must understand that he didn’t create the situation under which we find ourselves today. All the leaders before him, with our collective connivance as a nation, had been borrowing from tomorrow. Now that he has mustered the courage to say, “thus far and no more," the least our lawmakers and other critical stakeholders can do is to offer their understanding and support.
There is a way in which the series started three weeks ago on this page (on a fiscal regime that will freeze oil money away from recurrent expenditure) ties in with this issue. But my support for the economic direction of the Jonathan administration is a qualified one. I want to see concrete plans as to where the ‘savings’ from fuel subsidy will be targeted because it makes no sense to me to impose heavy burden on the people and then be funding dubious projects like the N30 billion National ID scheme. I also want to see greater commitment to the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (original version).
While the argument for withdrawing fuel subsidy is compelling, there is an urgent need to carry along critical stakeholders in the media, civil society and labour because, to borrow an adage, it is much more productive to erect a fence at the top of the cliff than to build a hospital below. The days ahead are definitely bound to be very difficult and the month of December will be particularly critical. But I believe there is an extent to which we can continue to borrow from tomorrow...

The Autumn of the Young Patriarch.

 Tatalo Alamu

From GEJ To GMB: A Poisoned Chalice.

 by Olatunji Dare

Saturday, 23 May 2015

2015 Election Scam: Police Commission Staff Fingers Ex IG Okiro In N274 Million Fraud.

2015



 
 
By Danlami Nmodu
(EXCLUSIVE) Even as the ruling Peoples Democratic Party,PDP  struggles  with post election trauma after it was defeated by the All Progressives Congress, more reports are emerging indicating that some managers of federal institutions may have used the election as a cover to defraud the government.
A clear case in point is that of Mr Mike Okiro, former Inspector General of Police and incumbent chairman of Police Service Commission who has been accused of  election related scam in which he allegedly swindled  the commission of over N275 million, according to a staff.A petition already with anti graft agencies accused  the retired  Inspector General of Police of inflating the staff strength of the commission to justify a fraudulent act.
Undoubtedly, the  days ahead  will  be full of troubles for Okiro  as a staff of the Commission has written a petition to some anti-corruption agencies accusing the chairman of fraud.Newsdiaryonline learnt that a Mr.  Aaron Kaase, a principal Admin officer(press and public Relations ) of the police service Commission has written and submitted a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC  as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission ,ICPC.A copy of the petition  against Okiro submitted and acknowledged today (Friday May 22nd )  by  the EFCC was obtained by Newsdiaryonline .
It’s titled: “Petition against sir(Dr )n Mike Mbama Okiro,Chairman ,Police Service Commission for Corruption,Abuse  and Fraudulent Act To Swindle The Police Service Commission  To the Tune of N275,525,000(Two Hundred And Twnty Five Million,Five Hundred And Twenty Five Thousand Naira Only”.
In the opening paragraph, the petitioner said “Iam Aaron  Kaase, a Principal Admin Officer(Press and Public Relations Unit)of Police Service Commission.
“This petition is based on my findings and concerns as a citizen of Nigeria and a staff f the Police Service Commssion,whose Civic Responsibility amongst  others includes fighting corruption in our society.”
Presenting what he said  were  the facts  to justify his petition  against  the Commission’s chairman,Mr Kaase said “ As a  build up to the 2015 General Elections,the Police Service Commission relying on  provisions of its establishment Act,sought for  and obtained   the sum of N350,000,000.00(Three Hundred and Fifty Million )Naira only from the National Security Adviser(NSA) purportedly to train her (sic) staff in Monitoring  the conduct of The Nigeria Police in the concluded General Election”
“With the funds in hand of the Commission , (and) as statutorily required , the Commission sought for approval to use  same vide two letters to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP)with RefNo.PSC:1499/VOL/111/138 dated March 12 and received on March 19,2015;the Commission requested  for  the issuance of “No objection” to adopt selective tendering Method for the training  of Commission staff  on Monitoring of Police conduct during the 2015 general elections.
“In the said letters,the Chairman of the Commission Sir Mike Okiro fraudulently and  knowingly claimed that the training  programme(s)  were in three(3) separate lots to be carried out in (a)Abuja (for headquarters staff) for 500 participants;(b)Kano(out station staff)200 participants and (c)Lot (3) for 200 staff participants in Lagos.
According to the petition “The Chairman of the Commission quoted the prices for the  training as follows(1) Abuja(Abuja staff) 500 participants,awarded to Bobec &Associates at –N95,525,000.00(N95,255,000 Million) ;(ii)Kano staff(200 participants) awarded to Direct Knowledge Consult limited at=N95,000,000(N95Million) and (iii) Lagos staff,200participants awarded  to Tzone Communications Ltd at-N85,000,000(N85Million)”
The petitioner made further revelations which exposed the fraud in Okiro’s  deal .According to him, “It is however  a  verifiable fact that the entire Police Service Commissions staff are not up to  400.
“It is also a fact that the Commission has  no office in Lagos and the entire South West
“It is also a fact  that the Commission has less than 10 members of staff in Kano
“It is a miracle that  the Chairman  would claim  the Commission has almost a thousand staff”
Kaase  in the petition ,also further accused commission’s chairman   of fraudulently deceiving the Bureau of Public Procurement,BPP to obtain  an approval for his scam.He said “I want to state here categorically that the Chairman of the Commission  fraudulently deceived the Bureau of Public Procurement(BPP) to obtain approval dated March 23,2015 with reference N.BPP/S.I/15/VOL.1/050 to carry out the fraud.”
The petitioner further argued that “instead of public bidding  by the Commission decided to award  the contract to his  girlfriend (name withheld)
“That instead of  the four day approval  granted by the Bureau of Public  Procurement,a mock training of 2 hours  was conducted at Northgate Hotels Limited,Mararaba Nasarawa State ,instead of Kano state.
He asserted that Bobec & Associates -(run  by)  a known friend  (name withheld) that grounded BEN House ,an agency of Benue state government  -which was   listed to conduct the exercise in  Abuja, hurriedly put together  a 2 hour training in Oasis Hotel in Mararaba,Nasarawa state.
“Mr Okiro has failed  to refund money granted for the other 3 days in his request letter.”
He also alleged “That Mr.Okiro has severally collected money from the Police Service Commission under the pretext of travelling abroad for official duties without doing so”
In the petition, names of several aides to the chairman and the amounts of  money they collected  for their boss were  listed. It  was  further  alleged that “Mr.Okiro also collected the sum of N4.6 Million as first class  ticket to travel to the U.S in 2013 without doing so”.
Kaase wrote that “You can crosscheck   his international Passport to ascertain this and PSC account books”.He also noted that in utter disregard to an official circular,Okiro has used an aide dubbed as SA media  to “make frivolous claims in the name of media settlements, facts which are contained in the Commission’s account books”.
The petitioner stated clearly that he was aware of the risk he had taken by serving as a whistleblower. ”That I know as fact that the Chairman will viciously fight ,as no one fights  corruption  and goes unscathed.Iam ready to pay the supreme price if need be”
“I can assure you  the Commission has become a cesspool (of corruption) as a scratch will certainly unveil more”.
He also alleged that Okiro’s fraudulent acts  were worse than those of Chief Bode George, a PDP chieftain who was “prosecuted  for a mere  contract splitting”.
Kaase assured  the anti graft agencies  that he would be available to give further information. “Iam very much available for further information and to buttress my assertion with the required documents as I neither use a pseudo name nor  a fictitious name and will not rest  till these people are brought to book”
Newsdiaryonline  contacted the spokesman of the Police Service Commission ,Mr Ikechukwu Ani  who   pointedly said that  to the best  of his knowledge ,there was no  expenditure by the commission  on training  for election monitoring.
“There is no such expenditure on the training of the commission’s   staff for election monitoring”he told Newsdiaryonline.
When he was told  that there was evidence from  BPP  mentioned  in  the petition   showing that the chairman sought and got procurement  approval for  the training programme, the spokesman of Police Service Commission  said,  “on others Iam not aware”.

GMB Visits British PM In London, Discusses Vital Issues.



Clement Ejiofor


President-elect Muhammadu Buhari, has had a meeting with the Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron, today, May 23, at Downing Street, London.
According to a press release issued by a Downing Street spokesperson, Cameron and Buhari discussed the challenges facing Nigeria.
GMB Visits British PM In London, Discusses Vital Issues
Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron (L) stands with Nigeria’s President-elect Muhammadu Buhari following a meeting in Downing Street, central London on May 23, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL

“The Prime Minister welcomed President-elect Buhari of Nigeria to  this morning. Both leaders congratulated each other on their recent election victories and discussed the challenges facing Nigeria. The Prime Minister stressed the UK’s wish to work for a stable, prosperous and secure Nigeria. The leaders discussed security in the region and the fight against terrorism, particularly the threat posed by Boko Haram. They discussed the need for a regional approach and agreed to continue working together to build the capacity of the Nigerian army, with the UK continuing to provide military training and intelligence support,” the spokesperson said.
Speaking about corruption, they both agreed that a fight against corruption in Nigeria is a priority to ensure Nigeria’s prosperity and success. The Prime Minister agreed to look at what technical assistance and support the UK could provide to the Nigerian government as it looks to undertake its reforms.
 


They also discussed the need to tackle organised crime and the links between the UK and Nigeria.
Finally, they talked about the challenges posed by migration from Africa to Europe and the president-elect, said he would do all he could to secure Nigeria’s borders.
GMB Visits British PM In London, Discusses Vital IssuesGMB Visits British PM In London, Discusses Vital Issues
GMB Visits British PM In London, Discusses Vital IssuesGMB Visits British PM In London, Discusses Vital IssuesGMB Visits British PM In London, Discusses Vital IssuesGMB Visits British PM In London, Discusses Vital IssuesGMB Visits British PM In London, Discusses Vital Issues
It would be recalled that, former British prime minister, Tony Blair, visited Buhari on May 13 in Abuja. Blair, said that the key to success to make Nigeria great as the UK is not to waste time while in office.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Will Jonathan Win A SecondTerm?


By Bayo Olupohunda.
 The handwriting is on the wall. The bold imprints are seen in the failings of this administration. Now the dashed expectations of the Jonathan’s presidency all seem to be
leading to one predictable end — he may not be re-elected in 2015. There are strong reasons to believe that his fairy tale journey to the Presidency may end in his first term.
Apart from the unfolding infighting threatening to tear his party apart, President Goodluck Jonathan appears to have squandered the goodwill that ensured his becoming
Nigeria’s first minority president. There is a depressing sense in which one cannot just imagine that this country would endure another term of this administration for another
four years in office ending in 2019. This will be suicidal. Even now, 2015 looks too distant into the future in the eyes of ordinary Nigerians. In 2011, the president won the
election by playing the underdog card. The 2011 presidential election was won because ordinary Nigerians insisted on voting en masse for the country’s first minority president — the man who said he walked
barefooted as a child; the man who also became the symbol of an end to the North’s bragging right to power since Nigeria’s independence from British rule. In 2015, Jonathan
will not have the luxury of leveraging on the sentiments that swept him to power in his first term. Now, he will have to look for other reasons. Except that this time, he will not
be able to whip up emotions based on his poverty as a child. His ethnic background will also not matter. If he does, no one will believe him again. Rather in 2015, the President
will be confronted with the record of his performance. He will have to answer hard questions about his first term in office. And if truth be told, if the present situation in the polity
is anything to go by, President Jonathan will be heading back to his hometown in Otuoke come May 29, 2015. The President will not stand a chance against a formidable opposition with the right candidate in a free and fair election. But even at that, it still does not matter because it
appears any type of candidate will still beat this President. His performance so far makes him vulnerable to defeat in a free and fair election. He just has not lived up to the
expectations of Nigerians. And I suspect the President and his party are in for a surprise. Perhaps, for the first time, Nigerians will witness the power of their votes. The
incumbency factor will not matter in 2015 because the President is poised to lose the election. But President Jonathan should not blame anybody for his predicament if he
loses. He has so far been the architect of his own misfortune as a President. He had no excuse not to perform. Let’s face it, the President has fallen short of expectations that
Nigerians had of his presidency. There is no better expression to measure his performance since 2011. For a President that came into office to have squandered the enormous goodwill and support from
Nigerians is evidence of opportunities gone awry; of hopes deferred. The only people who will support the President are the army of praise singers from his ethnic group who
have been singing his praises to no end. And this brings me to the attitude of the so-called Niger Deltan activists and leaders. The leaders of the region have been so
disappointing to say the least. This attitude of it-is-either-Jonathan-for-a-second term-or-we-will-all-perish does their ethnic group no good. It is even an embarrassment to the
office of the President. Why do they act as if Jonathan is the President of only the Niger Delta? Why are they threatening to bring Nigeria down if Jonathan does not get a
second term? Did the President emerge in his first term only by the region’s votes? Can threats make a non-performing President stay in office in perpetuity? The culture of entitlement that pervades the region is the reason why the Niger Delta might still be backward even if Jonathan gets a second term. They should know that it was the support of
Nigerians that got the President a first term. Nigerians thus have the right to demand performance from him. And right now, the situation in our country today does not look
good. In 2015, President Jonathan will have to present his scorecard. Nigerians will ask him why corruption which he promised to tackle in his inaugural address has become a hydra-headed monster in his administration. He will have to explain
why his administration has not so secured a single conviction in spite of massive corruption in the land. Nigerians will in 2015 ask this President why all the cases of corruption
involving individuals in his government have all died a natural death. The President will explain why all the anti-corruption agencies have all become toothless bulldogs. It has
become glaring that President Jonathan has lost the trust and goodwill of Nigerians. The dominant view of Nigerians is that this government has failed. The impunity that has
become a culture in the country today is because the president has not been decisive in the fight against corruption. That is why all the agencies of government have been left to their own devices. The culture of impunity has been so pervasive. Take the power sector for example. The
President has not arrested the unending conundrum that has dogged the unbundling of the sector. This should not continue beyond 2015. Meanwhile, the power situation
continues to get worse. The 2015 elections should be about performance and the President has a lot of questions to answer about his stewardship unless something drastic
happens between now and the election date. The President also has to explain why million of Nigerian youths cannot find jobs. All we hear from this government is how the economy is growing at an unbelievable rate.
Pray, how can the economy grow while millions are unemployed? What kind of voodoo economy is that? Didn’t the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the
Economy say the last time that the unemployment figures give her sleepless night? What further evidence do Nigerians need that this government is not providing an enabling
environment for job creation? The millions of youths who had hoped in this government will ask hard questions in 2015. The security situation in the country is a cause for
grave concern. The other day, about 40 pupils were murdered by suspected terrorists in Yobe State. As I write, nobody has been apprehended for perpetrating the dastardly
act. The Jos crisis continues to claim more lives. In many parts of the country, lives and property are not secure. Yet, the government blames everybody else except itself. How
can a government whose primary duty is to safeguard lives and property fail woefully in performing the same duty? Meanwhile, the country also lags behind in all development
indexes. The argument advanced by the supporters of this government is that our problems are not created by President Jonathan. But has the administration demonstrated
the political will to tackle the problems head on? Does government not exist to solve problems no matter how old they have existed? However, there has been some good news lately. The President recently inaugurated the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. Let’s just hope the project will not
become abandoned like the previous attempts. The federal roads across the country are also said to be getting the attention they deserve. This is not forgetting the ongoing
rehabilitation in the nation’s airports. But all this will pale into insignificance when compared to the dashed expectations of this government. It is for these reasons that
Jonathan may lose in 2015. All things being equal, anyway. Punch