The Sun News » Columns http://sunnewsonline.com/new - Voice of The Nation Thu, 30 Jul 2015 18:21:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.6 Spokesmen as the tinkerers’ apprentices? (2) http://sunnewsonline.com/new/spokesmen-as-the-tinkerers-apprentices-2-2/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/spokesmen-as-the-tinkerers-apprentices-2-2/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:05:49 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129243 Now we have established that the governance of Nigeria under APC-Buhari watch is studiedly skewed to serve and be run by sectarian interests. Their claim that they want to build an Eldorado is no excuse, is indeed arrant nonsense. The point must be stated and stressed that even if you want to build paradise it [...]]]>

Now we have established that the governance of Nigeria under APC-Buhari watch is studiedly skewed to serve and be run by sectarian interests. Their claim that they want to build an Eldorado is no excuse, is indeed arrant nonsense. The point must be stated and stressed that even if you want to build paradise it must be by the universal effort of all parties. It must be without discrimination as to who will and will not be the architects, foremen, artisans and labourers. The point is that, we must all be involved as common citizens of a republic and not as slaves of a kingdom or an empire however, great the empire is billed to be.
The idea that some ethnic and religious groups will be architects, giving directions, while others will be consigned to the low and lowly tasks of being yeomen, coolies, by the virtue of their ethnic nations and or religions is completely intolerable. In fact, to so fix Nigeria, is to help bring the nation to its early death and disintegration, deservedly. It is similar to what happened in ancient Egypt. Pharaoh, like Garba and hirers thought that they were the ‘wisest kids’ in the world, and they set about building pyramids to house their mortal remains. And they appointed it unto themselves that only they shall be architects and the rest of the kingdom shall be the slaves. It was the slaves who will build and haul the wood and stones to build the kingdom, the pyramid. A key part of those slaves are the forefathers of the modern day Israelites.
But that act of the pharaohs was symbolic not just to the false and forged greatness of Egypt, but its impending death and collapse, deservedly. And soon enough, pharaoh and his kingdom collapsed. Now, if the slaves of ancient Egypt were deceived to be slaves, shall we, free and proud citizens allow Garba and his sponsors to fool us, that there is a nation, a great nation to build, to serve a mausoleums, as pyramids?
To tie up on this, if Garba and hirers have nothing to hide, they should and must open up this administration at all levels. And it must be especially so in the ground and foundational levels, to all ethnic groups and religious persuasions.
Let us just imagine if the power in Nigeria were as it should be, and that it reflected our diversities. It will be like the picture Buhari took with Madeline Albright, in his latest United States spree. In that picture, our diversities showed its rainbow harmony, in colors and national clothes lines – Okorocha was there with his Biafran suit and his cult-like signature sash, Bakare was there with his Yoruba-style agbada and Rotimi Amaechi in his fisher man suits, gold chains and all, and Buhari in his ensemble looked like the Fulani dude he is, Oshiomole appeared handsome in dapper suits, of course he has a young offshore wife to impress. Truth is, if Nigeria is a natural state and not an empire state, our power and security configurations would resemble this same rainbow harmony. Anything outside it is unnatural and a fraud.
So the question is if our clothesline is a multi-polarity, why is the security in Nigeria a singularity? Why is security in Nigeria disharmonious? Singularity is not harmony. And we must all patriotically repudiate and reject the designing Nigeria by default or otherwise as a unipolar security framework and multipolar cultural troop. And our duty is to make sure that a Nigeria so designed cannot and must not work.
Of course we are aware that many Nigerians as ignorant as the night is dark, are touting America as example of a zone-blind federation. Truth is that America is the most zoned federation in the world and the first to so be, in its innate consciousness. That Americans are not even aware of this – [please read the Economic Consequences of the Peace by Maynard Keynes and one wonders whether Gowon and goons or indeed any Nigerian of power ever read that book]– does not mean it does not exist.
To help reduce the darkness of our ignorance of America, in one of our forthcoming titles, we will x-ray how America and their founding fathers zoned America unto its greatness. This is another proof if one is needed that a great economy must or can only follow in the wake and the heels of a great polity – not vice versa.
Finally, we have to warn this administration and its agents to stop deceiving youths or even themselves. The point remains that if all the basic and infrastructural powers, the independent powers of the presidency, the legislature and the judiciary are all in northern and or muslim grip, it can’t be corrected at the peripherals or administrative bends. The north and or muslims are heading 99.99% of all policy and power posts. It shows something must be rotten in the heart of Nigeria. And be sure that neither 6000 nor 6 million more jobs can offset, or correct for that deliberate lapse. So Garba’s windy promise is to fool even the very elect. Nigerians ronu.
RE: Spokesmen as the Tinkerers’ Apprentices? [1]
Dear Jimanze, on your treatise today, I hereby tell you a living story so you may always watch your back. In 1984, January, I went to see the DG of NSO as it was then over my shipload of rice. As I stepped into the premises I Lagos, I heard a loud shout, ‘Steve, Steve! this is Haroun’. I was twisting and gazing around until somebody pointed at a cell window where an emaciated Dr. Haroun Adamu was incarcerated. On enquiry he said Buhari on taking oath of office, ordered Adamu’s arrest, dead or alive, because Adamu had 2 years earlier criticized Buhari as GOC of 1st Div. Adamu was to be free when IBB came in 1985! Adamu was later given PTF by a wily Obj to deal with Buhari! Note that Haroun Adamu was in PRP with me. Please this is to admonish you to watch your back as we pray for your safety IN JESUS NAME. Steve E. 08023069010
Our reply: When our reader wrote in this, we smiled. We smiled, but not out of naivety. We smiled because we have always known the danger to seeking the truth. We have read at least some of the Great Russian masters who wrote under draconian leaders and tyrants. And any leader or agent who is afraid of open air discussions is a tyrant and a disease unto his country.
For instance, Ward 7 by Valeriy Tarsis, is in part a magnificent meditation on the craft of seeking the truth under the reign of Gestapos, tsars, murderers, assassins and hirers of assassins, in mighty offices. In fact if Mallam Garba has not given up on reading for pursuit and aggregation of powers we did recommend the title to him and perhaps his hirers.
But we smiled because we have never been frightened by man. It is not that we have a life to spare. It is just that to live, to be well and alive, one needed to believe as the Igbo say in eziokwu bu ndu. That is truth is the breath of life. Thus to lie or even to keep silent is to die, to begin to die.  And for us if one died in the cause of espousing the truth then what a glorious ending in the hands of tyrants who can’t live and be free. Yes I am aware that this regime and or her members are or have been or may choose to be murderers, assassins and hirers of assassins in due course. However it is important to us that we seek the open truth, and speak openly about it.
Luckily for them, we are not interested in investigative journalism or in smelling anybody’s rotten armpits or anuses. The Turf Game has a policy. It is that we don’t do investigations to unearth any undisclosed data or fact. Thus, if any party brought any document for and or to us alleging for instance that this man in APC-Buhari administration is this or that, we are not interested at all. Let him publish it in the open. We are only interested in open, not closet facts. For us, there are already enough facts in the open. So why would we want to seek out that which is hidden, which is closeted.
And one last fact. When the murderers, hirers of assassins and or assassin strike, let it never be said we did it for the love of country.  We think it infra dig for a scholar to love a country. If he did who then shall love humanity? Or shall humanity then be orphaned, abandoned, unloved and unlovable? The scholar who loves his nation or any nation is worse than a prostitute. That which is sacred and in his care, his brains, he has tossed to the dogs. That is to say that he has given up on humanity, on the all, for geography, for the part. It is really so cheap to love nations that only fools, sometimes lovable fools do.

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Buhari on honeymoon? http://sunnewsonline.com/new/buhari-on-honeymoon/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/buhari-on-honeymoon/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 22:26:20 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129173 Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos State, has just alerted us to a hard reality- that is that President Muhammadu Buhari is on honeymoon. Consequently, Tinubu has admonished Nigerians to let Buhari be because he is enjoying a well deserved period of rest after fighting hard to wrest power from the ruling Peoples [...]]]>

Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos State, has just alerted us to a hard reality- that is that President Muhammadu Buhari is on honeymoon. Consequently, Tinubu has admonished Nigerians to let Buhari be because he is enjoying a well deserved period of rest after fighting hard to wrest power from the ruling Peoples Democtratic Party (PDP) and its sitting president, Goodluck Jonathan.
We need not, realistically speaking, fret about the load of excuses wafting out from the government of  Buhari or from those around the corridors of power. They are not, altogether, unexpected. They can only come as a shock to those who built castles on air over the expectations from a Buhari presidency.
The major point of departure between concerned Nigerians and Buhari is his slowness. Nigerians are complaining that the president, like a computer device, is still booting, months after assumption of office. They  are worried that it is taking too long for the lights of the administration to come on. The people had expected Buhari to constitute his cabinet so that his government will take off, but the president will have none of that. He said he will wait until September before he appoints ministers. The president was in the United States trying to justify this position. He told us that even Barack Obama wasted time in forming his cabinet when he was elected president of the United States of America for the first time.
Before then, Buhari was in South Africa where he told his audience that there was a limit to what he could  do at his age. He was, in a sense, telling those who were expecting much from him to climb down from the high horse. He was as frank as possible here. But his lieutenants felt that he made a mistake and decided to twist his true confession out of context. But it did not work. Nobody was taken in by their sophistry. The fact remained, and still remains, that Buhari has confessed to being incapacitated by age.
I do not blame Buhari here. In fact, I excuse him on this score. Age is a great limiter. All of us are witnesses to what age can do to mortals. It robs humans of poise and vitality. Buhari is not an exception. His prime years are long gone. He is tottering to the end of his tether. So it goes without saying that he cannot be as vibrant as he used to be.
Just as Buhari’s media aides complicated his innocuous remarks about his age with their misplaced defence, Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has stepped in to defend Buhari’s slowness and inaction. But he has introduced a comical dimension to what is supposed to be a serious national discourse.  Tinubu said Buhari is on honeymoon. He said the president needs a minimum of 100 days before he can take off. According to Tinubu, that is the norm the world over.
I am tempted to say here that Tinubu was being deliberately jocular on this issue. He set out to trivialize the serious business of statecraft by speaking the way he did. But he almost diverted our attention from the joke that was his intervention when he took us through his excursion on governance and statecraft. We know for a fact, contrary to his assertion, that it is not the norm  for new governments to go on honeymoon for a minimum of 100 days before putting their acts together, irrespective of the way they came into office. The truth of the matter is that any new government, anywhere in the world, that has a plan of action cannot go to sleep for as long as Tinubu will have us believe before waking up to action. Suggestions such as that of Tinubu reduce government  to a joke and an arena for mundane entertainment.
But Tinubu  could not have spoken from the heart. He does not believe what he said. He probably set out to complicate issues the more for Buhari. In fact, I smell mockery in his tone. It is possible that he is mocking Buhari for going it alone; for not making him part of the decision-making process in his administration. Buhari will be the worse for it if he continues to remain on honeymoon in line with Tinubu’s suggestion.
But the real problem with Buhari is not necessarily his slowness. It is the lack of a programme of action. If we excuse him for one, we cannot excuse him for the other. In fact, it is not out of place to say that one is a consequence of the other. Buhari is not practising slowness for the sake of it. He is slow because he has no programme of action. If he has one, he will not keep it in the cooler and go on honeymoon as Tinubu would have us believe.
But those who are making light of Buhari’s inaction must not forget that the president is not on this mission alone. Leadership was thrust upon him by a rebellious cabal partly led by Tinubu. If Buhari fails, the cabal that foisted him on Nigeria also fails.
Having wrested power from Goodluck Jonathan, the cabal must realise that power is not grabbed for its own sake. Power must be put to a useful use. Nigerians who reposed confidence on Buhari on account of his tough posturing as military head of state are expecting him to wrought some magic on the system. Buhari, no doubt, has no magic wand. But his backers, at least, expect a modicum of performance from him.
But that performance, if it will ever come, will be long in coming. It is so because the expectation from Buhari was founded on false grounds.
When he came as military head of state, Buhari cut the image of a social reformer. He took up arms against corruption. But his method was woefully flawed. He engaged in a lot of illegalities in his bid to track down the corrupt. He was not known to have drawn any plan of action. There was no development agenda. He just breathed down on the people. The bravado did not last. Within 20 months, Buhari was shown the way out. But because his regime was cut short by a coup d’état, many felt that the tough-talking, unsmiling military leader would have wrought some magic was he allowed to stay. That was the sympathy that trailed Buhari up to the 2015 elections.
The sympathy for Buhari was heightened by what some Nigerians saw as Jonathan’s complacency. The people complained that corruption was tearing the nation’s soul apart. They lamented that terror was sweeping them away from their homes. Jonathan, to be fair, did a lot to tackle these menaces. But the people felt that his best was not good enough. They said that a certain Buhari who, some 30 or more years earlier, wanted to bring corruption to its knees was the right man for the job. They  also felt that the tough-looking General of the Nigerian Army, though retired, would be in a better position to deal with terror in the land. It was considerations such as these that won for  Buhari the  sympathy of many.
But the stage of sympathy is gone. It is now time for action. Buhari is being looked upon to deliver. The people want their expectations to be met. They want the president to bring down the walls of terror. They want him to stamp out corruption. Can he? Will he? We will get to know when Buhari returns from honeymoon.

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The Igbo dilemma (2) http://sunnewsonline.com/new/the-igbo-dilemma-2/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/the-igbo-dilemma-2/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 22:13:52 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129158 IN this riveting second part of “…The Igbo dilemma,” Prof. Anya O. Anya enunciated the disturbing reasons of Igbo perennial predicament, including disquieting hostility against and ubiquitous resentment toward the Igbo in the present-day Nigeria. The excerpts: Nigeria’s Igbo Problem and the Igbo Dilemma in Nigeria There is an inherent paradox and contradiction in the [...]]]>

IN this riveting second part of “…The Igbo dilemma,” Prof. Anya O. Anya enunciated the disturbing reasons of Igbo perennial predicament, including disquieting hostility against and ubiquitous resentment toward the Igbo in the present-day Nigeria. The excerpts: Nigeria’s Igbo Problem and the Igbo Dilemma in Nigeria
There is an inherent paradox and contradiction in the Igboman’s place in Nigeria.  On the one hand given his industry, his intelligence and his enterprise, the Igboman is a desirable gift to Nigeria and the stuff of which great nations and great civilizations can be built.  On the other hand, given his presumptive confidence in his abilities and his unabashed hunger to succeed at whatever cost, he engenders fear and unwelcome visibility amongst his compatriots.   His lack of subtlety, his drive to overcome and his insatiable “greed” for material progress engenders resentment and often inexplicable, and perhaps, undeserved hostility in the host communities.  His “loud” style of life and the facility with which he can adapt to and adopt new ways can also be unsettling to foreign cultural formations that have come in contact with the Igbos including the colonial masters.  There is thus an underlying sense of conflict in the Igbo presence in Nigeria.
As had been noted, Igbo society developed in the tropical forests of South Eastern Nigeria.  While this honed the individualism and independent spirit of daring; it also engendered an isolationist tendency within which the population increased and prospered in its simplicity and self-satisfied balance in its environment.  Colonial interregnum enabled the Igbo to pour out of the Southeastern ramparts to the rest of Nigeria and beyond.  The simple ways of life belied the sophistication and ancient origins of the culture.  This bred an attitude in those who came into contact with the Igbo that often under-rated and even misread or misunderstood the dynamism and effervescence of the Igbo spirit and character.
The prejudices and hostility that has bedeviled the relationship of the Igbos with their other Nigerian compatriots has its roots in this misunderstanding: it can be unsettling to the human psyche to be worsted by those you had under-rated and would have preferred to use for your benefit or even ignore. The love-hate basis of such a relationship can create instability unless skillfully managed with wisdom, tolerance and patience.  This is Nigeria’s Igbo problem.  What is more: patience is at a discount in the Igbo scale of values.  Thus, other nationalities in Nigeria despite mutual antagonisms are often united by their common hostility and fear of the “upstart” Igbo while ambivalent and appreciative of the good that can come from the interaction with the Igbo.
The challenge that confronts the Igboman is how to reconcile his drive for that which is good with discretion and a patient tolerance and understanding of other ways.  Alas, for the Igbo, there are no half-measures – he will adopt foreign ways, hook, line and sinker or he would impatiently display his intolerance of foreign ways.  Nigeria and Nigerians would want to use the genius of the Igbos without paying for it.  But Nigeria needs the Igbo as the Igbos need Nigeria.  What then is the point of resolution, the center of balance?
The Place of the Igbo in Nigerian Politics and the Economy: Neither the history of politics nor of the economy in Nigeria would be complete without mention of the dominant place of the Igbos in the pre-Biafran war Nigeria.  As I have had cause to observe elsewhere, the period between 1934 and 1964 in Nigerian history, politics and economic development can justly be called the Igbo epoch.  From 1934, which marked the graduation of the first generation of western educated Igbo leaders such as Azikiwe and Mbanefo to 1964, the onset of the Nigerian crisis, which was to lead eventually to war, the frenzied pursuit of education was an Igbo rallying cry and preoccupation. Many Igbo communities were activated and mobilized to sponsor gifted and brilliant youngsters, without consideration of kinship ties, to overseas universities and later to the only Nigerian institution of university standing then in existence, the University College, Ibadan for further studies.
The result was an avalanche of youthful and well-educated leaders in politics, the economy, in the professions and the army that Igboland provided to Nigeria.  Such men as Mbonu Ojike, Eni Njoku, Nwapa Emole, Kenneth Dike, Osadebe, Odumegwu Ojukwu, Imoke, Ugochukwu and a host of other worthy Igbos were products of the frenetic onslaught of the Igbos on western education and the western style economy.  The payoff was that in the civil service, the universities, the professions and the army, the Igbos were certainly visible, if not dominant despite the head start of two generations that their Yoruba compatriots had on them.  Even in the fight for Nigerian independence, the venerable Obafemi Awolowo was a latecomer when compared with the time of entry and impact of Azikiwe, Mbonu Ojike, Alvan Ikoku, etc.  All that headroom was lost with the war.
But the war in itself is not a sufficient explanation for the present state of the Igbos in post-war Nigeria.  After all, Japan and Germany were also losers in the Second World War who subsequently utilized the adverse circumstances as new opportunities to reorganize their affairs and their approach to their relationships.  Indeed, some have suggested that the adverse circumstances of the Igbos post-war was made even more precarious by a failure of leadership, a lack of strategic thinking and the needful recognition of the necessity to reposition which was lacking.
But I would dare to add that certain features of the Igbo persona and psyche including our rugged individualism and lack of deference to experience in the latter day Igbo youth have also worked against the rebuilding of that threshold level of solidarity and social bonding that predisposes to the pursuit of a common purpose.  It has undermined our pursuit of our interests within its historical context.  Above all, the apparent inability of the Igbo to recognize the nature of power and influence and how to conserve and utilize them as distinct from temporary positions, offices and ascribed authority with their transient perquisites have made a bad situation worse.  It has predisposed us to short-term stratagems rather than long-term strategies.  It has predisposed us to the worship of the man of today whether it is in material terms or the assumed power calculus of the Nigerian state.  The predictable consequence is the promotion of a short-term culture of opportunism and pursuit of self-centered goals rather than communal and national goals.
We often make a fetish of being outspoken but without the capacity for circumspection and reflection. When you add to this the tendency for facile rationalization of untenable and even contradictory positions, we can understand why it has been difficult to rebuild the infrastructure of Igbo values, which underpinned our competitive spirit and disposed us in the pre-colonial and even colonial Igbo society towards merit and excellence.
All these taken together may offer some insight into the Igbo predicament in Nigeria.  Having lost our position from the commanding heights of Nigerian politics and economy, we have taken to a culture of whimpering and complaining rather than reorganizing and re-strategizing.  In the effort, we have tended to assume that our salvation will come from outside.  This is why Igbo sons and daughters have often been the zealous defenders and mouthpiece of even demonstrated Igbo oppressors and the clandestine manipulators of anti-Igbo positions in the body politic.  What is more, we often take advertised public positions for granted assuming that what is agreed in the public space will faithfully be pursued in the private domain.  But, alas, the real world runs on a different framework where the pursuit of one’s interest is the only constant – all other values in politics, the way it is practiced in Nigeria, can be elastic and accommodating of distortions often accompanied by the undignified intrigues that have in recent times been emblematic of the Nigerian political scene.
In business, we have been relegated to the role of the side street traders and middlemen small time contractors and commission agents.  Very few, indeed, are part of the high points of Nigerian business – in manufacturing, finance, banking or the new areas of telecom or oil and gas.  The result is that no jobs are being created in the Igbo heartland and the drive towards unemployment of the youth including the educated youth and the general impoverishment of the general population continues unabated.  How do we arrest the slide and how do we redirect, refocus and reposition the economy of the East towards a sustainable basis of wealth creation and eradication of poverty?

The concluding part of this piece next week would address the above question among other issues.

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Buhari: Two months after http://sunnewsonline.com/new/buhari-two-months-after/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/buhari-two-months-after/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 02:07:24 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129022 Finally, the House of Representatives yesterday conjured a way to make Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila Majority Leader. I’m happy for him - and for his backers too.]]>

Finally, the House of Representatives yesterday conjured a way to make Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila Majority Leader. I’m happy for him – and for his backers too.

Now, I don’t know Gbajabiamila, on a personal level, but a few friends and I toasted and drank to his health yesterday. We were happy that the APC lawmakers, even in their anger and determination to assert their independence, still had the presence of mind to avoid biting the fingers that fed them. The very essence of the emergent APC and the sole shoulder that bore the burden of the opposition party for so long.

It was good that while feasting on the delicious dish now before them, they spared a thought for those who assembled the ingredients, gathered the firewood, started the fire, placed the pot on the tripod and stirred and stewed with the broth until it was done and ready to eat.

As we celebrate, however, let us also spare a few moments to reflect and take stock.

Without the hand of  (Esau) Tinubu seen in the candidacy of (Jacob) Gbajabiamila, the new Majority Leader would probably have emerged Speaker. He was the candidate to beat. It was until when his camp began to over-reach itself by insisting on not only making him Speaker, but also determining who emerges Senate President in the upper house, as well as all the principal officers, that other lawmakers began to baulk at the seeming imposition.

Now, it is not like such imposition is totally new.  No. In fact, it is the norm in the traditional ACN constituency of Gbajabiamila’s APC. And it had always gone largely unquestioned. But at the level of national politics, things essentially assume a totally different hue. There, decisions of ‘elders’ are regularly questioned and dissent does not always tantamount to political hara-kiri.

The problem, as a friend jokingly noted, is that the people who were in the South-west, playing Ludo, and celebrating themselves as grandmasters, suddenly got thrust to Abuja, only to discover that the game has changed from Snakes-and-Ladders to Chess and Scrabble. It was not what they’re already used to.

I believe all the talk about not reading the party’s letter, openly and unabashedly narrowing down principal offices to individuals, the botched meeting with the president at the International Conference Centre, the aborted removal of Oyegun, the vote of confidence, the deliberate misinterpretation of the concept of party supremacy and the president’s declaration that he was ready to work with anybody elected by the lawmakers were all part of the national political Chess game that seemed to have taken the South West APC unawares.

This ‘setback’, notwithstanding, now is time to move on. Now is time for the APC leadership and the Presidency to allow the National Assembly (both the Senate and the House of Reps) get to work.

Much of the CHANGE agenda of the new government lies in working harmoniously with the National Assembly. And there’s no way the APC can make headway if it insists on sacking the leadership of the senate and antagonising the PDP lawmakers.

APC must bear in mind that there is very little it can achieve in the Senate without the PDP. There can never be a two-third endorsement of anything without the backing of the PDP. So, to think you can throw out Ike Ekweremadu or Saraki or any other principal officer is foolhardy. The best thing is to learn from this experience and move on.

Meanwhile, time is going. Nigerians are getting impatient. Today, for instance, is July 29. Ordinarily, there is nothing spectacular about this date, but today makes it exactly two months since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office (and five whole months since March 28, when we voted for CHANGE).

Incidentally, but for the dastardly attack of Boko Haram insurgents on yet another Borno State town on Monday, and early Tuesday, which claimed some 25 lives, I would probably not have remembered that this was the same Boko Haram which, we were promised, would become a thing of the past within two months of an APC presidency. So, could someone, please, help me remind PMB that two months have passed! Welcome to reality, Mr. President.

I remember pointing out that whoever made that pledge, to stop the insurgency in two months, either did not understand the enormity of the problem or had an existing understanding with them, which he was not telling us about. But then, many people read that submission from a partisan perspective and began to accuse me of calling Buhari a Boko Haram sponsor.

I know many of these pledges were made without first thinking them over, especially when we needed to throw in everything to upstage the fumbling PDP, but I just want to remind us that we have yet to overcome the Islamist insurgents.

Of course, I know, it’s not easy. That is why I won’t remind the president about the promise to pay unemployed graduates N5,000 monthly upkeep. Nor the one million jobs that were to come in the first year of his administration. I’m also not looking in the direction of international crude oil price, which our president has yet to stabilise.

Mr. President, although you gave no time frame on the issue of exchange rate, may I also report that those Bureaux de Change operators are still sabotaging your most honest efforts to get the dollar to exchange for one naira to the dollar. In fact, it was the pilgrims board that started this sabotage. Instead of the agreed one-to-one rate, the board approved N160 to $1 for intending pilgrims. And now the parallel market has taken it a notch higher. Only yesterday, with the month of July now in its Passion Week (the week before payday, when most honest salary earners are down to their bottom dollar), I whipped out two 10-dollar bills I’d been saving, for the rainy day, at the bottom of my portmanteau (yes, unlike the PDP government, I actually save for the rainy day) and headed for my neighbourhood bureau de change – which is actually an open space right in front of a filling station. And you know what? I could not believe my ears when my Mallam told me the going rate was N241 to the dollar. My $20 fetched me a whopping N4,820!  Wow! That would go a long way, especially, in these trying days, when Buhari appears to have locked the treasury in Abuja and gone to bury the key in his Daura farm. I can’t shout.

But I would not say Buhari is slow, or not working – simply because he has not appointed ministers. Or fulfilled those pledges which discerning minds knew, from the day they were made, would never be met. Nah!

Even if all Buhari achieved in the last two months was just getting Obama to say those nice things he said about our president and country last week, I think we have good reason to celebrate.

Like I’ve always said in this column, I’m not one of those stampeding Buhari to appoint ministers. In fact, I would say appointing ministers is all about creating jobs for the boys, to compensate those who helped deliver the Buhari Presidency. So far, the DGs, Perm. Secs and the civil service structure have been running the MDAs, and I don’t think there’s anything the president wants done that cannot be done. So, the president might as well take all the time.

My only grouse is with this idea of his looking for those who would pass the integrity test, or denying the fact that the search has already taken too long.

To be concluded next week

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Fixing the President’s inconsistencies http://sunnewsonline.com/new/fixing-the-presidents-inconsistencies/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/fixing-the-presidents-inconsistencies/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 02:05:14 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129020 The more President Muhammadu Buhari speaks, the more he exposes his prejudices against certain sections of the country and the more his media officers]]>

The more President Muhammadu Buhari speaks, the more he exposes his prejudices against certain sections of the country and the more his media officers scramble to twist the president’s words to make him appear. Can anyone, including Buhari’s assistants, really reinterpret the president’s words and decisions to make them more palatable for public consumption?

Buhari is not known to speak in tongues. So, there is no need for anyone to alter or translate what the president said or meant. Nigerians are not naive, you know. There is a limit to which the president’s assistants can regard Nigerians as gullible citizens or people who are easy to fool. When Buhari speaks in a public space, we do not need an official to put a spin on what the president said. Here is one example of how presidential assistants rushed to lessen the impact of a gaffe that Buhari committed during his recent visit to the United States.

Buhari told journalists in the US last week: “Going by election results, constituencies that gave me 95 per cent cannot in all honesty be treated, on some issues, with constituencies that gave me five per cent. I think these are political realities. While, certainly, there will be justice for everybody, the people who voted, and made their votes count, they must feel the government has appreciated the effort they put in putting the government in place.”

That was clearly a major gaffe. It shows lack of political sagacity. A president who pledged in his acceptance speech weeks ago that he would govern for everyone has exposed his bias in the way he would govern.

As soon as the presidential advisers noticed the damage that Buhari’s statement caused to his current image as the immaculate president, they moved in to bend the facts. They failed because words are like a piece of broken china. Once broken, the chinaware cannot be mended. Similarly, once spoken, words cannot be withheld from reaching their destination.   A presidential assistant who tried to clarify what the president said made the situation worse. In his eagerness to defend the president, the assistant admitted: “The President said it truly that people who gave him 95 per cent may get more attention in terms of reward and all that… What that means then is that even those who voted five per cent will get their dues and will not get things commensurate with five per cent votes.”

It is all very confusing. If Buhari said people who cast five per cent of their votes for him cannot expect to receive the same degree of attention as those who cast 95 per cent of their votes, what is the point trying to twist the facts? Apart from a likely error in the structure of that sentence, the clarification by the president’s assistants has turned logic upside down.

Those who seek to defend the president should do well to prepare him on what he should say and what he should not say in the public sphere. Once the president has uttered words openly, those words will be subjected to critical analysis.

Here is yet another example of how Buhari contradicted himself on the subject of corruption, the cornerstone of his presidential election campaign. At a campaign rally in Kaduna on Wednesday, 11 March 2015, Buhari said, as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), that he would pardon certain corrupt people if he were to be elected president. Many people were staggered by that statement.

Specifically, Buhari said that, if elected president, he would not probe corrupt leaders and politicians who were in office between 1999 and the time of his swearing in. Buhari told his audience in Kaduna: “On the issue of past corrupt leaders facing trials in various courts across the country, I would allow the courts to decide on those cases, but whoever that is indicted of corruption between 1999 to the time of swearing-in, would be pardoned. I am going to draw a line, anybody who involved himself in corruption after I assume office, will face the music.” Note the keywords in Buhari’s statement — people found to be corrupt between 1999 and his swearing in on 29 May 2015 will be set free.

Soon after he uttered those words, Buhari was condemned for presenting a spineless manifesto on corruption when the nation wanted a president who would be tough, uncompromising, and non-discriminatory in dealing with corrupt politicians and leaders.

It came as a big surprise last week when Buhari changed his position and said he would target and probe only officials who served under former President Goodluck Jonathan. No one is resenting Buhari’s determination to uncover and recover billions of money stolen by politicians and their partners in crime. The key concern is the decision to limit the probe to officials who served in Jonathan’s government. Why must Buhari start and possibly end his campaign against corruption with people who served in Jonathan’s administration?

That one-sided policy statement has given defenders of Jonathan the courage and temerity to accuse Buhari of starting an enthusiastic, systematic, and dangerous campaign of political witch-hunting directed against Jonathan. Surely, Buhari’s constantly shifting views on his crusade against corruption must be seen as evidence of lack of direction and policy on corruption.

Already, former Kaduna State Governor Alhaji Balarabe Musa has condemned Buhari’s corruption crusade. He told The Sun last Saturday, 25 July 2015, that Buhari’s narrow focus on corrupt officials was unacceptable. He said: “The right thing to do is to probe at least the administrations from 1966 when this level of corruption and criminal wasteful of resources started… For President Buhari to say that he will only probe the immediate past civilian administration is definitely not consistent with the level of integrity associated with him. In fact, this statement warns Nigerians of a return of the 1980s episode of double standard, sacred cows, vindictiveness and even fascism, where civilian governors were clamped into jail for alleged corruption.”

Buhari should have, long before now, constructed and finalised a sound anti-corruption strategy rather than shooting at only officials who served Jonathan. That narrow focus has opened Buhari to accusations of selective anti-corruption campaign.

I have heard a number of tenuous arguments made by those who support Buhari’s anti-corruption focus on Jonathan’s government. The first is that Buhari cannot be expected to probe the governments that preceded Jonathan because Jonathan had the power to do so but simply refused because he was scared of the consequences. The second miserable argument is that, because Jonathan handed over to Buhari, it is logical that Buhari should examine, with the clinical efficiency of a coroner, the ledger left by Jonathan and his officials.

These viewpoints stand reason on its head. A president who is determined and driven to end corruption would go the full length to bring all former leaders — military heads of state, presidents, governors, ministers, commissioners, advisers, assistants, and public officials — to account, regardless of the period they served.

There is no statute of limitation on corruption. There is no law in Nigeria that specifies that people who were convicted of corruption previously should be accorded state pardon after a certain period. Of course, Jonathan did this in obvious abuse of his powers as president when he pardoned former Bayelsa State Governor Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha. But Buhari must avoid such preferential and biased treatment of corrupt officials if he wants the nation to believe in and support his fight against corruption.

Let me be clear. Yes, Buhari must be commended for starting a long-awaited battle against corruption. Yes, his probe can start with any government he chooses. But he must not start and end his struggle against corruption with a focus on officials of one government. Here is why.

Since Nigeria attained political independence, elected politicians and military leaders, including members of civil society who served the nation in various capacities, undermined the nation’s socio-economic development through rapacious and unrestrained plundering of national treasury, through illicit acquisition of government property, and through involvement in stupendous financial fraud.

Certainly, the fight against corruption will not be easy. It was a former chairperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs Farida Mzamber Waziri, who said the reason why no government has been able to successfully suffocate corruption is that when you fight corruption, corruption comes back at you. Essentially, when government confronts officials who are unquestionably corrupt, they fight back ferociously because they have so many vested interests to protect.

Of course, Farida Waziri’s tenure was marked by serious allegations of corruption against her. It was even speculated that Mrs Waziri’s removal from office was based on the monumental allegations of corruption against her. We may never know the true reasons for her removal because President Goodluck Jonathan who eased her out of office in 2011 never outlined the cardinal sins Mrs Waziri committed that led to her removal.

Buhari must show no restraint in his battle against corruption. He must not discriminate or isolate a particular government for special scrutiny. We must keep in mind that corruption is corruption. There is no expiry date for corrupt practices to be forgiven or overlooked. Buhari cannot exempt from criminal prosecution, people who are known to be corrupt merely on the ground that it has been long since they served in government. As long as there is evidence to prosecute corrupt people, the law must take its full course.

Officials who served in various federal and state governments during and before the Jonathan era must be brought to account. Those who raided national treasury since independence cannot be more faultless than those who pillaged national resources during Jonathan’s era. A crime is a crime!

If Buhari is genuinely committed to purge the country of the culture of widespread corruption in our public and private lives, he must be ready to investigate, prosecute, and penalise severely all politicians and public officials who are found guilty of corruption. Anything less would be pointless and half-hearted. What is worth doing is worth doing well.

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Spokesmen as the tinkerers’ apprentices? (2) http://sunnewsonline.com/new/spokesmen-as-the-tinkerers-apprentices-2/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/spokesmen-as-the-tinkerers-apprentices-2/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 23:00:52 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129171 Now we have established that the governance of Nigeria under APC-Buhari watch is studiedly skewed to serve and be run by sectarian interests. Their claim that they want to build an Eldorado is no excuse, is indeed arrant nonsense. The point must be stated and stressed that even if you want to build paradise it [...]]]>

Now we have established that the governance of Nigeria under APC-Buhari watch is studiedly skewed to serve and be run by sectarian interests. Their claim that they want to build an Eldorado is no excuse, is indeed arrant nonsense. The point must be stated and stressed that even if you want to build paradise it must be by the universal effort of all parties. It must be without discrimination as to who will and will not be the architects, foremen, artisans and labourers. The point is that, we must all be involved as common citizens of a republic and not as slaves of a kingdom or an empire however, great the empire is billed to be.
The idea that some ethnic and religious groups will be architects, giving directions, while others will be consigned to the low and lowly tasks of being yeomen, coolies, by the virtue of their ethnic nations and or religions is completely intolerable. In fact, to so fix Nigeria, is to help bring the nation to its early death and disintegration, deservedly. It is similar to what happened in ancient Egypt. Pharaoh, like Garba and hirers thought that they were the ‘wisest kids’ in the world, and they set about building pyramids to house their mortal remains. And they appointed it unto themselves that only they shall be architects and the rest of the kingdom shall be the slaves. It was the slaves who will build and haul the wood and stones to build the kingdom, the pyramid. A key part of those slaves are the forefathers of the modern day Israelites.
But that act of the pharaohs was symbolic not just to the false and forged greatness of Egypt, but its impending death and collapse, deservedly. And soon enough, pharaoh and his kingdom collapsed. Now, if the slaves of ancient Egypt were deceived to be slaves, shall we, free and proud citizens allow Garba and his sponsors to fool us, that there is a nation, a great nation to build, to serve a mausoleums, as pyramids?
To tie up on this, if Garba and hirers have nothing to hide, they should and must open up this administration at all levels. And it must be especially so in the ground and foundational levels, to all ethnic groups and religious persuasions.
Let us just imagine if the power in Nigeria were as it should be, and that it reflected our diversities. It will be like the picture Buhari took with Madeline Albright, in his latest United States spree. In that picture, our diversities showed its rainbow harmony, in colors and national clothes lines – Okorocha was there with his Biafran suit and his cult-like signature sash, Bakare was there with his Yoruba-style agbada and Rotimi Amaechi in his fisher man suits, gold chains and all, and Buhari in his ensemble looked like the Fulani dude he is, Oshiomole appeared handsome in dapper suits, of course he has a young offshore wife to impress. Truth is, if Nigeria is a natural state and not an empire state, our power and security configurations would resemble this same rainbow harmony. Anything outside it is unnatural and a fraud.
So the question is if our clothesline is a multi-polarity, why is the security in Nigeria a singularity? Why is security in Nigeria disharmonious? Singularity is not harmony. And we must all patriotically repudiate and reject the designing Nigeria by default or otherwise as a unipolar security framework and multipolar cultural troop. And our duty is to make sure that a Nigeria so designed cannot and must not work.
Of course we are aware that many Nigerians as ignorant as the night is dark, are touting America as example of a zone-blind federation. Truth is that America is the most zoned federation in the world and the first to so be, in its innate consciousness. That Americans are not even aware of this – [please read the Economic Consequences of the Peace by Maynard Keynes and one wonders whether Gowon and goons or indeed any Nigerian of power ever read that book]– does not mean it does not exist.
To help reduce the darkness of our ignorance of America, in one of our forthcoming titles, we will x-ray how America and their founding fathers zoned America unto its greatness. This is another proof if one is needed that a great economy must or can only follow in the wake and the heels of a great polity – not vice versa.
Finally, we have to warn this administration and its agents to stop deceiving youths or even themselves. The point remains that if all the basic and infrastructural powers, the independent powers of the presidency, the legislature and the judiciary are all in northern and or muslim grip, it can’t be corrected at the peripherals or administrative bends. The north and or muslims are heading 99.99% of all policy and power posts. It shows something must be rotten in the heart of Nigeria. And be sure that neither 6000 nor 6 million more jobs can offset, or correct for that deliberate lapse. So Garba’s windy promise is to fool even the very elect. Nigerians ronu.
RE: Spokesmen as the Tinkerers’ Apprentices? [1]
Dear Jimanze, on your treatise today, I hereby tell you a living story so you may always watch your back. In 1984, January, I went to see the DG of NSO as it was then over my shipload of rice. As I stepped into the premises I Lagos, I heard a loud shout, ‘Steve, Steve! this is Haroun’. I was twisting and gazing around until somebody pointed at a cell window where an emaciated Dr. Haroun Adamu was incarcerated. On enquiry he said Buhari on taking oath of office, ordered Adamu’s arrest, dead or alive, because Adamu had 2 years earlier criticized Buhari as GOC of 1st Div. Adamu was to be free when IBB came in 1985! Adamu was later given PTF by a wily Obj to deal with Buhari! Note that Haroun Adamu was in PRP with me. Please this is to admonish you to watch your back as we pray for your safety IN JESUS NAME. Steve E. 08023069010
Our reply: When our reader wrote in this, we smiled. We smiled, but not out of naivety. We smiled because we have always known the danger to seeking the truth. We have read at least some of the Great Russian masters who wrote under draconian leaders and tyrants. And any leader or agent who is afraid of open air discussions is a tyrant and a disease unto his country.
For instance, Ward 7 by Valeriy Tarsis, is in part a magnificent meditation on the craft of seeking the truth under the reign of Gestapos, tsars, murderers, assassins and hirers of assassins, in mighty offices. In fact if Mallam Garba has not given up on reading for pursuit and aggregation of powers we did recommend the title to him and perhaps his hirers.
But we smiled because we have never been frightened by man. It is not that we have a life to spare. It is just that to live, to be well and alive, one needed to believe as the Igbo say in eziokwu bu ndu. That is truth is the breath of life. Thus to lie or even to keep silent is to die, to begin to die.  And for us if one died in the cause of espousing the truth then what a glorious ending in the hands of tyrants who can’t live and be free. Yes I am aware that this regime and or her members are or have been or may choose to be murderers, assassins and hirers of assassins in due course. However it is important to us that we seek the open truth, and speak openly about it.
Luckily for them, we are not interested in investigative journalism or in smelling anybody’s rotten armpits or anuses. The Turf Game has a policy. It is that we don’t do investigations to unearth any undisclosed data or fact. Thus, if any party brought any document for and or to us alleging for instance that this man in APC-Buhari administration is this or that, we are not interested at all. Let him publish it in the open. We are only interested in open, not closet facts. For us, there are already enough facts in the open. So why would we want to seek out that which is hidden, which is closeted.
And one last fact. When the murderers, hirers of assassins and or assassin strike, let it never be said we did it for the love of country.  We think it infra dig for a scholar to love a country. If he did who then shall love humanity? Or shall humanity then be orphaned, abandoned, unloved and unlovable? The scholar who loves his nation or any nation is worse than a prostitute. That which is sacred and in his care, his brains, he has tossed to the dogs. That is to say that he has given up on humanity, on the all, for geography, for the part. It is really so cheap to love nations that only fools, sometimes lovable fools do.

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No presidential library for Mr. Jonathan http://sunnewsonline.com/new/no-presidential-library-for-mr-jonathan/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/no-presidential-library-for-mr-jonathan/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 01:27:23 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=128902 Have you seen former President Goodluck Jonathan lately? I have. It was an online picture of him taken at a location. Wearing a simple-looking shirt and adorning that trademark smile of his, GEJ was still his calm ]]>

Have you seen former President Goodluck Jonathan lately? I have. It was an online picture of him taken at a location. Wearing a simple-looking shirt and adorning that trademark smile of his, GEJ was still his calm unassuming self. There was no way you could tell this was the man who just bitterly lost in a contest everyone expected him to win, in keeping with traditions. There he was smiling and posing with a family who looked happy to be with the ex-president. It’s heart-warming to see that in a world where people who left public office are dumped.

I’m sure ex-President Jonathan now often checks his phones to find out if something was wrong with the connections. The calls are now few and far in between. Gone are the contractors; gone are the pastors with their fake prophecies; gone are the smooth talking politicians who had surrounded him; gone! I know a bit about this because I recall the first time I left office as commissioner. The few weeks weren’t bad as some folks kept in touch (may be in the hope that some stash of imaginary loot still lurked somewhere). But as the weeks rolled into months, I started to check my phones to find out if it was network or something else. I was told my phones were in perfect conditions. Like my egbon, former presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, who wrote that his phones had stopped rigging, I found myself in the cold. The most annoying part is the loss of friends – pals who believed you had ignored them while in office; family members who felt you didn’t make “good use” of your position to better their lot; colleagues who are prepared to punish you for being “arrogant” while in there. Then come the traducers prepared to make one’s life miserable in the form of small talks about one’s “fall”; daily reminders of things one failed to do rightly; wicked gossips aimed at pulling down reputations and distorting records; and deliberate plans to just punish and get even. And Nigerians are the experts when it comes to this. We just love to see people in power go down the drain. We relish the sweet feeling that the big man or woman is now a commoner like us. We love to mercilessly trample on the man down.

“Look,” some would say, “we could even go up to her now and pull her ears. While she was in office, she was the untouchable queen bee but now, behold, how the mighty are fallen!” And as I look at our recent history, I’m amused by the way we have treated people out of power. We danced when President Shehu Shagari was ousted, calling him the naïve leader of a corrupt regime. We quietly enjoyed as many great souls pined away in General Buhari’s gulag. We equally rejoiced when Buhari was booted out by Ibrahim Babangida (IBB) and his horde. We said Buhari was too draconian. Some even rejoiced when he was incarcerated. When the gap-toothed one eventually stepped aside, we rejoiced again, calling him a foxy Maradona, who instituted corruption and derailed democracy. Till today, IBB  bears the June 12 burden. We greeted the ouster of Ernest Shonekan with dancing on some streets of Nigeria, but when General Sani Abacha passed on, some were jubilant again. Abacha, as far as they were concerned, was a tyrant. There were dances to welcome the new dispensation of President Olusegun Obasanjo. But when he left, there were more dances. We said he was the worst thing that had happened to the fatherland.  Obasanjo was painted in the darkest colours possible, accused of all sorts of evils.

Then came President Umar Yar’Adua. When he passed on, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan came on board amid dances and songs, especially among the minorities, who called him the Barack Obama of Nigeria. Everyone liked the shoeless story. But it is the man himself that excited everyone: Quiet, humble, urbane, and full of youthful energies. He was a refreshing break from the past and we warmed up to the man who became the first ghetto president. I saw him twice from a distance when he was in office and each time telling myself that his simplicity was uplifting. But then, he crashed in his re-election bid. Did he fail? Did he succeed? The debates and probes are on. I’m not going to hang him. And instead of writing memoirs in some presidential library, Jonathan silently suffers. I won’t join in stamping a man already down. Besides, I know my fellow countrymen very well. Those screaming hallelujah today would say crucify him tomorrow. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so.


 

From My Mailbox

Re: Eight years of Buhari’s Presidency, why not, if not?

When I read through your article, I pondered over it before putting pen on paper for my reaction, so that I wouldn’t end up with the usual political answer, hence my philosophical submission, as follows: Some of the greatest virtues of a great servant-leader are character (i.e. strength of character) and requisite competence. It is an acclaimed fact (at home and abroad) that Buhari has these in abundance. Buhari’s coming on board wasn’t a matter of “you too, come and chop, we’ve chopped our own” mindset, but of a salvaging assignment, in an emergency, of a nation on the verge of political and socio-economic collapse (Like Greece).

•Engr. Ayo Fatola; 08080732364

Re: Minister: Why Buhari is still searching

I just read your essay on why Buhari is still searching for ministers and other items tangential to it. What caught my attention most was were you said: “…In a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) state, for example, it would have just been a matter of zoning. So, if the governor and his deputy were from, say zone A and zone B, the next thing is for the minister to come from Zone C. Balancing and a certain amount of fairness were the watchword of the PDP as far allocation of offices was concerned.”

That was not true.

In our (including you) state, Taraba, for instance, between 2003 and 2007, the governor, Rev. Jolly Nyame, was from the north, the deputy governors (Uba Maigari, and Armiyau Abubakar) were from the south, and the minister, Ambassador Idris Waziri, was also from the south. Where is the balancing here?

In the current configuration, the deputy governor and the Speaker of the state House of Assembly come from the same zone, leaving Taraba North to its fate. Some may argue that the zone was allotted the SSG slot. Right? They failed to realise that the SSG is not even a member of the Exco, because he has no voting power.

 
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Whispers of our president in Washington http://sunnewsonline.com/new/whispers-of-our-president-in-washington/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/whispers-of-our-president-in-washington/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 01:21:38 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=128900 By many, if not most, accounts, President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the United States was a major personal triumph and represented a significant turn in Nigeria-US relations. President Barack Obama, hosting Mr. Buhari at ]]>

By many, if not most, accounts, President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the United States was a major personal triumph and represented a significant turn in Nigeria-US relations. President Barack Obama, hosting Mr. Buhari at the Oval Office, remarked on his guest’s ethical assets and political focus. “President Buhari comes into office with a reputation for integrity and a very clear agenda, and that is to make sure that he is bringing safety and security and peace to his country,” Mr. Obama said.

In the same remarks, the US president extolled Nigeria as “obviously one of the important countries in the world and one of the most important countries in the African continent. Recently, we saw an election in which a peaceful transition to a new government took place. And it was an affirmation of Nigeria’s commitment to democracy, a recognition that although Nigeria is a big country and a diverse country with many different parts, nevertheless the people of Nigeria understand that only through a peaceful political process can change take place.”

These gushing comments signaled a welcome shift in relations between the two countries. President Obama had voiced warm sentiments when he first met Nigeria’s immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan. Yet, America’s confidence in Mr. Jonathan eroded, as he exhibited little control over the affairs of his country, permitting the country’s looting terrorists as much wrecking freedom as was claimed by Islamist zealots, Boko Haram. Given the perception, within and outside Nigeria, that corruption was the very currency of the Jonathan administration, the US was reluctant to sell weaponry to Nigeria or even to share critical intelligence. President Jonathan hardly helped matters when he proclaimed that Boko Haram was omnipresent, even embedded within his cabinet, but took little action to identify, flush and prosecute the agents of carnage.

Indeed, there were press reports of collaboration between Nigerian military officers and the henchmen of Boko Haram.

President Obama asserted that Mr. Buhari was “very concerned about the spread of Boko Haram and the violence that’s taken place there, and the atrocities that they’ve carried out, and has a very clear agenda in defeating Boko Haram and extremists of all sorts inside of his country. And he has a very clear agenda with respect to rooting out the corruption that too often has held back the economic growth and prosperity of his country.”

Despite all the encomia heaped on President Buhari, his US outing had some disturbing moments that deserve critical attention.

Even though President Obama and other American officials appeared impressed by the Nigerian president’s strategy for combating Boko Haram, there was little indication that the US was prepared to abandon its policy of not selling weaponry to Nigeria. Absent weapons and solid intelligence, the war against Boko Haram is bound to be an interminable nightmare.

On July 20, to coincide with President Buhari’s arrival in Washington, DC, an essay signed by him appeared in the Washington Post. A handy compendium of his administration’s goals, strategies and policies, the piece touched on such issues as terrorism, corruption, and the constitution of Mr. Buhari’s cabinet.

For all the marvelous plans laid out in the essay – in fact, owing to them – Nigerians should be worried. It is wonderful that President Buhari wants Americans and the world to know that he’s serious about changing the way business was done in his country. But Nigerians, not Americans, elected him into office. It is to Nigerians, not Americans, that he must first sell his agenda. There’s something awry in Nigerians hearing whispers from the American or other foreign media about what their president intends to do, and how.

In a piece titled “Who Does Obasanjo Work For?” and published on December 22, 2005, I made the following observations: “There ought to be no question whatsoever about the ultimate source of the proper yardsticks for measuring a leader’s stature and achievements. It is the citizens of a nation, not outside watchers, who in the end must act as arbiters of their president’s legacy. It is they, not foreign observers, who possess the sovereign mandate for evaluating the proficiency and power of a leader. It is on citizens, not foreigners, that devolves the onerous task of weighing a leader’s impact on the affairs of his nation.”

Why was it meet for Mr. Buhari to take to the pages of an American newspaper to explain why he’s not yet chosen a cabinet – and to reveal that he has set a September deadline to do so? Why didn’t he consider offering the information to a Nigerian newspaper, radio or TV – to signify a recognition that he is, first and foremost, a steward to Nigerians?

Since Buhari’s inauguration on May 29, Boko Haram has stepped up its attacks, most of them on civilian targets, including markets, mosques and churches. If the Presidency had a strategy for halting these attacks, it hardly told Nigerians. Yet, Mr. Buhari’s Post article explained, “we are beginning to see a degrading of Boko Haram’s capabilities as a fighting force. In recent weeks, it appears to have shifted away from confronting the military directly to an increase in attacks on civilian areas, as we saw only last week when an elderly woman and 10-year-old girl blew themselves up at a Muslim prayer gathering in northeastern Nigeria.”

Since his swearing in, President Buhari has not deemed fit to clarify his anti-corruption policy to Nigerians. Yet, he seemed more comfortable accounting to the readers of the Washington Post: “So, the path we must take is simple, even if it is not easy: First, instill rules and good governance; second, install officials who are experienced and capable of managing state agencies and ministries; and third, seek to recover funds stolen under previous regimes so that this money can be invested in Nigeria for the benefit of all our citizens.”

As strategies go, the plan outlined by the president is sound. But why were Nigerians not the primary audience for the message?

Besides, the reference to “funds stolen under previous regimes” represents either a shuffle or waffle on the president’s part. Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, had stated about the same time that Mr. Buhari would limit his anti-corruption efforts to the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, his immediate predecessor. If Mr. Adesina’s claim is true, then one foresees the certain collapse of Buhari administration’s anti-corruption policy.

In a country where recourse to ethnic, religious and “zonal” sentiments is seductive, any policy that singles out Mr. Jonathan and his officials for graft would be perceived, one, as a witch hunt, and, two, as a corrupt gimmick to offer blanket forgiveness to the men and women who stole Nigeria blind under previous military and civilian administrations. I’ve argued before that Mr. Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) has enough corrupt people to rival the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). To declare a moratorium on the investigation of corrupt deeds by administrations that preceded Mr. Jonathan’s smells of a scheme to shield Mr. Buhari’s APC cohorts. Nigerians will see through any such charade, and may not stand for it.

 

Please follow me on twitter @ okeyndibe

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Re: Obasanjo, Jonathan and Niger Delta http://sunnewsonline.com/new/re-obasanjo-jonathan-and-niger-delta/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/re-obasanjo-jonathan-and-niger-delta/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 00:22:04 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=128733 TODAY is the readers’ day, as I surrender this column to views and comments of readers to my last week’s piece: Obasanjo, Jonathan and Niger Delta. Please, go ahead… A sincere write-up Thank you for your sincere write-up on “Obasan­jo, Jonathan and Niger Delta.” I would buy more of Daily Sun now because of Eric [...]]]>

TODAY is the readers’ day, as I surrender this column to views and comments of readers to my last week’s piece: Obasanjo, Jonathan and Niger Delta. Please, go ahead…

A sincere write-up

Thank you for your sincere write-up on “Obasan­jo, Jonathan and Niger Delta.” I would buy more of Daily Sun now because of Eric Osagie!

…Franklin. C. Igwe, 0801-574-6133

A masterpiece

Your last issue was simply a masterpiece! The analysis you made are simply germane. Jonathan allowed himself to be destroyed by crooks. I am sure he is full of regrets by now. God bless you.

…Fabian (Seminarian) 0703-723-9598

You are detribalised

“Obasanjo, Jonathan and Niger Delta,” repre­sents a very remarkable, disinterested and mind-arresting piece that encompasses the multiplicity of unspoken facts about the failed Jonathan presi­dency, and need I say further that Eric, whom I suspect is a South- Southerner of Edo stock, is one of the detribalised few, who critically see and say things the way they are, even at the risk of being labelled as a renegade.

…Barrister Edet Essien, Calabar South, Cross River State

Obasanjo unfair to Jonathan

Eric, your piece on the above subject was a bal­anced one. At a certain age in life, a true elder does not engage in endless altercations with younger ones in the open. He settles such on personal grounds. It is obvious that because Jonathan did not play the ‘errand boy’ to his master, a usual sce­nario to his emergence as president, that is likely the reason behind Obasanjo’s consistent attacks on him.

Was it not the military that infested the polity with corruption? Who can then swear he is not culpable? Even the touted ‘saints’ amongst them, if subjected to thorough screening would fall flat on their faces. Nigerians are no fools. Jonathan was distracted by the insurgents and political op­ponents. And his media outfit failed in its duty to publicise his achievements at the right moments. But, let no one who has led Nigeria in the past claim excellence!

…Lai Ashadele, 0706-767-7806

OBJ should give GEJ a break

Re: Obasanjo, Jonathan and Niger Delta. Yes, without the past, there’s no history and the future seems bleak. Methinks Obasanjo has given Jona­than enough tongue lashes. What should occupy his mind now should be fatherly advice to the incumbent, PMB, to enable him succeed. I will also not be surprised if Obasanjo turns against his ‘newly found bride’ PMB, in the near future. Only time will tell. For Joanthan, he did his best. Shall we continue to cry over spilt milk? OBJ should give Jonathan a break!

…0805-590-1450

Jonathan didn’t fail Nigerians

Jonathan can only be seen as a failure by people like Obasanjo and their like, but the ordinary Nige­rians love him and his government.

…Victor, Lagos, 0802-351-9930

OBJ as guilty as Jonathan

Eric, among majority of Nigerians, the verdict is clear: PDP misruled the country since the past 16 years, eight of which was Obasanjo’s. Between Jonathan and Obasanjo, Obasanjo’s government was more corrupt. What is his legacy in the petro­leum industry? Electoral integrity? Infrastructural development?…The man should just respect him­self and keep quiet! His vision and judgement for putting forward Yar’Adua and Jonathan doesn’t make sense. Period.

…0809-592-6550

A big let down

Eric, this is one article you of all people ought not to have written at all, if you wish to keep your credibility. Only little minds listen to Obasanjo’s insults on Jonathan, that have become so custom­ary of Obasanjo, to be worthy of any comment by any serious person!

Let Obasanjo tell the Niger Delta people or the Ijaw nation what he gave them, that Jonathan took way? Jonathan has no personal presidential library in his home town. Please, people should just ig­nore Obasanjo, who is still fighting the civil war, and regards Jonathan an Igbo man.

…Chief (Sir) D.O. Nwodoh, Isi Enu Obol­lo, 0805-245-2933

Niger Delta proud of GEJ

Nigeria has a second chance after Obasanjo’s missed opportunity due to greed for power, through his infamous third term debacle. Jonathan was unfortunate to work with governors, many old enough to be his father, but they failed their peo­ple. Buhari is lucky to be older than his governors, who will not push him around. Niger Delta will ever be proud of Jonathan for not being greedy with power. He’s world hero and pride of Africa.

…Hon Ihuoma, Abuja, 0803—443-2855

He was only for a few

Dear Osagie, Jonathan belonged to nobody but a few cronies!

…0806-332-8580

OBJ right on GEJ

Eric, your piece on “Obasanjo, Jonathan and Ni­ger Delta is splendid. When we watched Obasanjo expose Jonathan’s illicit acts in office, Nigerians described him as an ingrate, betrayer, wicked, etc.. Many of us, political analysts, knew that Jonathan was rather on the path of self-destruction when he went against Obasanjo. Now, it is clear to all that Obasanjo was right. Now, South-south will be made to pay an innocent price for the greed of Jonathan and his cronies. What a shame!

…Prince, 0808-381-8034

Jonathan blew his chances

Hello Eric. I read with every seriousness your article on The Sun newspaper of today July 20, 2015, back page. I agree with you completely. My heart bleeds as I write you my comment based on your write up. Our former President Jonathan blew up a God- given opportunity to be a democratic president, ( first not elected) but by divine provi­dence and later was elected by popular demand of Nigerians through voting. He wasted these chances by not reforming Nigeria sincerely and with commitment to fight corruption. But like you noted, he ended up creating few Nigerians who are today super rich at the expense of dying and poor Nigerian masses. Please, keep up the pattern of you write ups. I like reading them any time I come across one. Cheers and bye.

…Onyeka N.D Onyekand@ yahoo.com,09023340444

Niger Delta full of credible leaders

Dear Eric,

Former President Jonathan’s outing as a presi­dent should not be used to judge the entire people of the zone. We have a lot of credible men/women that can serve/govern this country excellently.

One man’s opinion should not affect the aspira­tions of a zone and their children yet unborn.

Congratulations on your elevation!

God bless you.

…Ekaette

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The spell of Laloko http://sunnewsonline.com/new/the-spell-of-laloko/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/the-spell-of-laloko/#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 00:04:35 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=128659 Elemona was a peaceful community. The people were not rich but you cannot also call them poor. Theirs was a life lived in contentment. They were at peace with their neighbours and had no wars. The Balogun and the Oluode enjoyed the benefits of their titles without having to strap up for war within or [...]]]>

Elemona was a peaceful community. The people were not rich but you cannot also call them poor. Theirs was a life lived in contentment. They were at peace with their neighbours and had no wars. The Balogun and the Oluode enjoyed the benefits of their titles without having to strap up for war within or without. Whatever milk or honey the soil of Elemona could not produce , the people bought from neighbouring towns. All was well with both the young and the old until one dusty day at dusk when a stranger sneaked trouble into this community.

Covered in dust and looking like he was going to collapse any moment, Laloko arrived Elemona just as the sun was returning to its place of rest and farmers were hanging their hoes and hunters their guns. Everybody had had a long day, on the farm, in the market and it was time to reach for the gourd of palm wine. Maybe it was because it was that time of the day everybody just wanted to put their feet up or it was the sweet tongue of Laloko that changed the course of life in Elemona. All that the people knew was that after that day, nothing was ever the same, not for a century after.

Laloko told the people of Elemona that he was shocked, in fact disappoint­ed, that there were still people who did not have beautifying marks on their faces and bodies. He shook his head in disbelief as his eyes roamed from one face to the other, as if looking for one ‘beautified face’ in the crowd. Ah ah, he clapped his hands and shook his head some more; how could people so blessed not know that it was impor­tant for them to have marks on their faces to distinguish each family and look more beautiful. He volunteered to do the job for free if the commu­nity would build him a house with small windows. Because the parents were already old, he advised that the children be the beneficiaries of his special beautifying craft. Each family would bring a child and he would work on them all night and the parents could check his handiwork every morning. He boasted of his prowess and how he had left indelible prints of his craft in seven villages.

Either the Elemona people fell for the free-of-charge part of the package or Laloko was a fantastic marketer but the deal was sealed and he went to work. The women supplied their ‘cosmetolo­gist’ pounded yam, vegetable soup and bush meat. The men ensured he never ran short of freshly tapped palm wine. And Laloko went to work. He started with one of the sons of Kaabiyesi, the king. After a long night of meticulous craftsmanship, Laloko was ready to hold up his art for his public to see. Through the high small window. He held up the beautified prince’s face and the people hailed Laloko.

How come we didn’t think of this before?

This man surely knows his onions.

I will bring all my chil­dren, especially the girls.

This Laloko is truly a gift from the gods.

The people of Elemona were sure they had made the right decision. They thank their ‘Alale’ (the gods) and their ances­tors for sending Laloko to them. They brought a new child for Laloko every day and every morning, Laloko showed a face that he had worked on through his small window. But he told them that they would all have to be patient until the beauty scars healed before they could take their brand new wards home and that the night before the children would be presented to the public at the village square, there must be absolute quiet in the town. Everybody must go to bed early. Everybody must stay in his compound until the first cock crowed. According to Laloko, there were rites and sacrifices he must do to thank the deity that endowed him with the gift of his spe­cial craft. He must also appease the gods so that the children he had worked on would live long. The people agreed and supplied him with more children. Even­tually, a day was set for the return of the ‘new’ children. They prepared a feast, the hunters supplied bush meat of all kinds and the women cooked like never before. The king summoned drummers from the neighbouring villages.

With baited breath, Elemona waited for the first cock crow. Of course, the parents, especially the mothers, of the ‘brand new children’ hardly slept a wink. The excitement and anxiety kept their eyelids from meeting.

And when the cock finally crowed, the drums, the flutes and the beaded gourds took over. The maidens led the way to Laloko’s house of craft. This was the day, a special day. Oh yes, it was a special day indeed, one that the people of Elemona have never forgotten. So special was the minute, the moment that when they threw open the door of Laloko’s house, most of the women fainted. The men turned in circles as if a pestilence of dizziness had struck all of them. There was wailing and cursing. There was confusion and cacophony. Laloko had disappeared in the night, and with all the children he was given, except one. Apparently, the first child he beautified was the only and same one he held up through the high small window every morning, and that ritual he needed perfect quiet for was his escape. Some families lost three children, others more. The shock killed not a few. Till date, many wondered, as you are most likely doing as you read this, how Laloko got away with everything. Was it a spell, advanced juju or uncommon carelessness by Elemona? How could one man have fooled an entire communi­ty, taken away so many children, brought sorrow into so many homes? How?

Hmmmn, so much for folk tale. Let me share another gist with you.

A second-term governor told a gather­ing of editors how a committee made up of governors tried to understand why NNPC was making so much money and the federation account was so slim, like the case of the pastor looking robust while the congregation got thin? They were angry and determined to get to the root of the matter. How could the nation that gave NNPC everything to work with come up empty? Didn’t that just sound like Laloko and the people of Elemona? Anyway, these governors asked for files and documents and figures on how much crude was being lifted, how much mon­ey Nigeria made and where the money was being kept. Trust NNPC whiz kids, their gift of craftsmanship is from the gods. They whipped out pie charts and graphs. They had maps and ratios and percentages. They had answers for every question. They smiled and held their designed power point presentations. According to the governor, after hours of staring at the screen suffused with linear and parabola graphs of international best practices and OPEC rates and ration, the governors were at their wits’ end. They were so confused they didn’t know whether NNPC was owing Nigeria or Nigeria was owing NNPC. At the end of the day, all they could ask was: so, how much is available for the states?

Ah, we are like the people of Elemona in many ways and this ‘gift from the gods’ called NNPC is hard to under­stand.

May our ancestors protect us from every Laloko in the Nigerian system.

Re: Are we back in Egypt?

Government as we all know, is a con­tinual process.

Boko Haram’s attack was rapidly dwin­dling, in fact it almost vanished

towards GEJ’s last days in the Villa. Buhari, as his successor,

should have stayed on the same path, used same strategies and add more

forces to clinch the trophy which was already within reach. He could have tri­umphed f if he had not parted ways

with his prediscessor’s foot print. If san­ity must be restored,

Nigerians must learn to become watch­dogs, soldiers must return to their

various checkpoints and Mr. President must go back to his drawing board.

–Eze Kingsley

Re: Strange firers and firees

Our God is not the author of confu­sion. The same God that spoke in Rom.1:26-29 couldn’t have created ‘them’ to be what they, by cooperating with the devil, have chosen to become.

For those of us who choose (isn’t life all about choices?!) to remain the way God created us, we must do everything (hu­manly and spiritually) possible to ensure that we remain unpolluted. And as parents we have a great job on our hands as par the children God has given us to watch over, for we shall give account on each of them. We need to be more involved in their lives, give them Godly counsel from time to time and pray over them because the ultimate victory can only be attained on our knees.

–Mrs Abimbola Awosedo

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LET Saraki, Ekweremadu, Dogara be http://sunnewsonline.com/new/let-saraki-ekweremadu-dogara-be/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/let-saraki-ekweremadu-dogara-be/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 23:50:19 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=128631 The nation’s political scene is indeed bubbling and throwing up develop­ments, yet if I were to draw a conclusion, I would not go the way of most Nigerians, who believe that some awkward situations have come into be­ing. Ask them what it is they are talking about, they point to the crisis in the National [...]]]>

The nation’s political scene is indeed bubbling and throwing up develop­ments, yet if I were to draw a conclusion, I would not go the way of most Nigerians, who believe that some awkward situations have come into be­ing. Ask them what it is they are talking about, they point to the crisis in the National Assembly over choice of leader­ship and particularly over the inability of the ruling party to settle matters in-house and then to the situation, where an opposition member emerged the Deputy Senate President, which for them is an absurdity indicative of big trouble ahead. I don’t share the pessimism. For me, everything has played out to expectation and I want to state with emphasis that noth­ing new or surprising has taken place, for those who know his­tory and particularly history of development of nations.

In America, for instance, there were times strong political parties that even won seats in parliament dissolved at the speed of light. I even came across one hilari­ous occasion, when a president elected on a particular platform, decided to abandon the party to form a new one, taking along with him the mandate he got on the old platform. Boko Haram even though under a different guise also happened in America. At some point in that nation’s history, especially under the era of Great Awakening, many youths carried arms and said they did not want education. They threatened society, disrupted activities and even killed inno­cent citizens. Cultism was there as well as kidnappings; it is this knowledge that makes me remain stable amid the things happening in this nation, knowing that they are just a passing phase.

Today, those vices are either no longer part of the American democracy or exist in much diminished form that they don’t constitute obstacles or threat to the wheel of progress. For us, some of these vices are here with us in various dimensions much against our will. I use the phrase against our will restrictively and this is within the context that a few knowledgeable ones among us would have wished that with the availability of history we ought to make far lesser mis­takes. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case and the reason is we have become a people immune to happenings around us. Some say that we are “unshockable” and I agree; we have succeeded in creating a subculture, which sedates and makes us passive and aloof to the significance of events around us, consequently rendering us inca­pable of appropriate response(s) when occasion so demands. That America today has an orderly nation was not by accident; it was and still remains a case of painstaking efforts, with the executive branch, the legislature, the politicians and the people re­sponding to every aberration with new laws and sanctions applied without fear or favour. Discipline was the watchword and I think that is what is lacking here.

The issue in focus is the crises that hit APC, shortly after win­ning power and especially, the bungle that APC leaders made over leadership matters in the National Assembly. The fracas in the National Assembly is a testa­ment of what many of us feared was a simmering difference in the party over a long time. Even then, I hold the strong view that the explosion that eventually came to be was avoidable if ours were a nation where we take the lessons of history very seriously. Past political history and behav­iour show clearly that coalitions are always a difficult thing to manage and we all know that our politicians are first driven by their ambitions before anything else. So experiences would have taught that early discussions, negotiations, compromise and consensus are the pathways to stability. The indication we have now shows that the motivators of this great party did not come to terms with the above factors and as such what was obviously an avoidable trouble landed on their laps to their chagrin and of course, discomfort.

I have heard some people talk about politicians being selfish and over ambitious. My response has always been to enlighten that behind every man’s desire is an aspect that has to do with enlight­ened self-interest. The pipe that carries water can’t but be wet; also there is nothing wrong about harbouring an ambition and to have passion as its twin brother. Without the two, destiny would become a mirage. The truth is that most of man’s activities are capable of inflicting harm on society but harmful effects are guided against by the rules we put in place, how vigorous we apply them and the values we im­plant in our citizens. So, what can be done on this matter? Simple: the core APC leadership should embrace Saraki and Dogara and declare them once again their own property. They must receive verifiable assurances that they will not come to any harm as a result of what transpired. Presi­dent Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu will lead on this mission. I have been taken aback by the president’s position that he won’t interfere on such matters.

The truth is that given our kind of political structure, the Presi­dent, once he emerges becomes the leader of the party and even if he were not to be so explicitly named, the President commands so much influence which at all times should be deployed to the advantage and well-being of his political party. In this instance, Buhari is the biggest single influ­ence in the party while Tinubu stands for the biggest tendency. So, their collective pull is what is needed to give APC plenty of stability. Any other path other than this is likely to leave APC deeply bruised and highly frag­mented. As it is today, parties to the conflict on the APC side have been hurt and a veiled demarca­tion created, and in the minds of Saraki and Dogara, their best line of defense remains the PDP, so any unfriendly push may force them to cross the Rubicon.

But a warm embrace has all the potential to make them remain steady and keep their loyalty to the president and of course to the party that brought them to power. I have not had a close, face-to-face encounter with the two men at the center of the conflict at the National Assembly, but from their activities they have proved to be great patriots, who love this nation so much and would never do anything to create problems for it. APC certainly needs the political sagacity and reach of Saraki and Dogara. If Dogara belongs to Winners Chapel as we have seen on television, I can swear that he is a good man both at heart and in action, and like Buhari, is transformative in ideals. My advice to the two, however, is that they must also take steps to reassure the party that they are not up to any harm and that they subscribe to party supremacy, because many other issues will crop up in coming months that would test their belief in the concept of party supremacy. For all members of APC and indeed other political parties, Ekweremadu has become like the pest on the scrotum, es­pecially now that he carries Igbo sympathy. In-spite of this initial hiccup, I am optimistic APC as a party would acquit itself very creditably under the Buhari leadership.

 

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Can evil triumph over good? (4) http://sunnewsonline.com/new/can-evil-triumph-over-good-4/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/can-evil-triumph-over-good-4/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 23:42:06 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=128555 The story that has inundated the airwaves and pages of newspa­pers and magazines in Nigeria in the past two weeks is that President Muhammadu Buhari is too slow in delivering the dividends of democracy to the masses. For instance, they argue that the in­ability of the President to appoint min­isters underscores his weariness and bankruptcy [...]]]>

The story that has inundated the airwaves and pages of newspa­pers and magazines in Nigeria in the past two weeks is that President Muhammadu Buhari is too slow in delivering the dividends of democracy to the masses.

For instance, they argue that the in­ability of the President to appoint min­isters underscores his weariness and bankruptcy of ideas to ably pilot the af­fairs of the nation.

As if to add petrol to fire the critics have been having a feast day ever since writing and saying all kinds of things to justify their position with unceasing rabidity.

But I beg to disagree that President Buhari is to too slow. Whoever holds a contrary opinion must be suffering from jaundice of the mind or habouring un­justified ill-feeling against the present regime.

Who in Nigeria does not know that it usually takes a little time for a new government to find its feet and set out for full operation? This is not peculiar to Nigeria. It has happened in the United States under the Obama administration.

The reason is that a new government needs time to study the handover notes and do some comparisons, hold consul­tations with the permanent secretaries it inherited, lay out the operational guide­lines, assemble the team, based on what is on ground, and wait for other arms of government, such as the legislature, to find their rhythm.

If this should be the case why then do armchair critics castigate the new administration for doing what it is ex­pected to do? In the present circum­stance, we have a peculiar scenario where the new government is making efforts to clean the Augean Stable. Ac­cording to President Buhari, he needed time to tackle the numerous problems bequeathed to his by the Jonathan Ad­ministration.

I remember vividly that President Bu­hari begged Nigerians immediately after he was sworn in as President to give him more time before expecting the divi­dends of democracy to start flowing out of Aso Rock. To buttress the President’s position the chairman of his Transition Committee, Ahmed Joda, said that the last administration did not allow them access to vital information during its as­signment and that that would affect the pace at which the present administration would work initially. And he was right.

From the report of the Transition Committee it was clear that the delay in handing over important notes to it by the Jonathan government affected its work and is now indirectly affecting the overall governance of the country.

Now, what justification do the critics have for demonising President Buhari and calling him names? I have taken time to study Buhari and can state here that he is in control of governance of the country. Forget the wicked insinuations by detractors things are gradually look­ing up.

I know that Nigerians are in a hurry to see him perform but they should not lose sight of the fact that his adminis­tration inherited a huge burden from the last regime. The issue of unpaid arrears of salaries by states was a part of it. Imagine what would have happened if he had closed his eyes to the plight of workers and not bailed out the states? As a caring and empathic leader he quickly found a way round the problem. Today, the states can now breathe some fresh air and concentrate on building new opportunities to make life better for their people.

Resorting to the bailout was a very in­genious step by the Buhari government. No other way would have arrested the drift as promptly as the bailout package had done. This is why it has to be cher­ished by every Nigerian – particularly the jaundiced critics. The exciting thing is that the bailout plan is structured in such a way that none of the parties in the deal would suffer any disadvantage. States, as well as the guarantors – the Federal Government – have generous moratoria to meet its terms and condi­tions without stress.

What about a few appointments made by the President so far – from his media team to the Service Chiefs? These ap­pointments have demonstrated in a very special way the desire by the President to overhaul the system and restore san­ity to governance.

Do not forget the crises in the Nation­al Assembly, instigated by some persons to garner undue advantages and cause confusion. If not for the wisdom of the President and other stakeholders the situation would have boiled over. Such crises achieve nothing other than set the pace of governance back.

Another reason it seems the President is slow is the Boko Haram wahala. No administration would do well in the face of growing threat to peace and security. Boko Haram has been a pain in the neck of the immediate past and present gov­ernments. The six years of Jonathan’s presidency was characterised by persis­tent insecurity with little time for actual governance.

It was when it seemed things were looking up for him that he was voted out, leaving the Buhari government to grapple with the burden of dealing with the conflict. The complex nature of ter­rorism has made the fight against it look arduous. This has made many people believe that the chances of winning the war appear bleak.

Nevertheless, for the discerning ana­lysts, the approach of Buhari differs significantly from Jonathan’s. That was expected. After all, Buhari is a retired army general with international clout. His style should ordinarily be different.

The increased onslaught by Boko Haram should not create the impression in the minds of people that the govern­ment is not winning the war. What Bu­hari is doing is a combination of force and diplomacy. And the developed countries seem to be comfortable with it. No wonder the United States rolled out the red carpets to receive him!

If Buhari were slow and not perform­ing the US would not be doing all it is doing for him and Nigeria. Add this to the generous welcome he received when he attended the meeting of the G-8 in Germany in May – even before he was inaugurated.

The current disposition of the world, especially the US, towards Nigeria un­derscores the optimism that is growing among members of the global commu­nity and the triumph of good over evil. The machinations of the enemies of Ni­geria were that it would never see the light or receive anything good from the outside world. But all that has changed. Their plots have fallen through and Ni­geria is being steadily favoured.

The visit of Buhari to the United States was a huge success. It has helped immeasurably in laundering Nigeria’s image.

As for ministers: my position is that the President should take his time and choose the best for the country. Why the hurry? Selecting ministers to work with the President is a very serious assign­ment that requires meticulousness, dili­gence, proper investigation, contact and scrutiny. It is not something that is done in a hurry. Again, appointing ministers when the system is not ready to receive them is not the best thing to do.

I think the strategy of the President is to lay the foundation on which the min­isters would build their programmes is a perfect one. This foundation will enable him to monitor and evaluate closely their performances.

In any case, the restructuring of the ministries to produce a more acceptable and manageable number accounts for the delay in appointing ministers. The number of ministries under Jonathan was seen to be on the high side consid­ering the gargantuan costs of maintain­ing them. The plan under Buhari could be to trim the number as a way of cut­ting wastes and plugging all loopholes through which government resources were frittered away.

Many observers of political hap­penings in the country may not have realised that it is the intention of Bu­hari to nominate men and women of unquestionable integrity and character. Naturally, this exercise would take time as security checks and other measures would have to be carried out on them before their names are announced.

The practice in the past was for ministers to be appointed less than 48 hours after the swearing-in of the Presi­dent. But from experience this has not worked out positively. There is also the argument that the incoming administra­tion should have been ready with the list long before it came into office. Both situations cannot obtain in the present circumstance as the scenarios are quite different now.

What should concern Nigerians is the calibre of the persons to be appointed ministers and not the time it takes to appoint them. Without any disputation those opposed to what the President is doing do so for their selfish interest. They are not guided by patriotism or altruism.

I wish to drum it into the ears of those who are yet to come to reality with the reason God chose Buhari to pilot the affairs of Nigeria at this time of our national life that no amount of tirades or criticisms will make him not to suc­ceed. The state of things in our nation demands meticulous planning, personal sacrifices, patience and understanding of the citizenry. Criticism, just for the sake of it, will take us nowhere.

Why must Nigerians allow them­selves to be used to thwart the good in­tentions of our leaders? President Buha­ri has shown by the things he has done so far that he knows where he is taking the nation to. He is not a newcomer to the office. He had been there as a mili­tary Head of State. His long years of re­tirement from service and the tortuous journey he had had in politics have com­bined to make him a better civilian and, therefore, a good President.

President Buhari is sufficiently pre­pared to take up the gauntlet to lead this nation. For this reason nobody can ac­cuse him of lack of experience and pas­sion for the job. Surprisingly, nobody has accused him of highhandedness, which is what military leaders usually have penchant for. Since he was sworn in President Buhari has subjected him­self to the tenets of democracy and due process. When he appointed his first set of advisers and key staff he sought the approval of the Senate. The same thing applied to the appointment of the Ser­vice Chiefs who are now acting pending their confirmation by the Senate.

In any case, what the critics of the President have failed to appreciate is that governance has taken a completely new shape. It is not business as usual. Square pegs are now being put in square holes. There is no room for nonentities and mediocrities in this government. And I think it is these charlatans that make the most noise in the name of criticisms.

Nigeria is in a brand new era en­trusted to us by God. The years eaten by locusts are gradually being restored. For the enemies of Nigeria, it is a mira­cle that it is yet to disintegrate going by their doomsday prophecy. In the build-up to the 2015 general elections there was apprehension in the land of possible break-up. Countless articles were writ­ten by different interested persons warn­ing about the impending cataclysm.

Today – 3 months after the elections – Nigeria is still intact, marching forward with renewed energy and vigour. The broken parts of Nigeria are systemically being fixed, while the bruises are gradu­ally healing. What we need to achieve full healing and institutionalisation of new democratic principles and ethos is the support and cooperation of all Nige­rians to the new administration.

For sparing Nigeria from the brink of collapse God has given us another opportunity to repent and try again in rebuilding our nation. Our forbears sac­rificed their all to secure independence for us. Why should we now allow their efforts to be wasted on the altar of greed and ethnocentricity?

How do you think the incoming gen­eration will see us if we failed to build a sustainable future for them? Should we allow evil to triumph over good when we have all it takes to enthrone justice, equity, peace and progress in our na­tion?

The current state of things in Nigeria calls for more dedication to duty, trans­parency, honesty and development. We must make sacrifices as individuals and organisations to ensure that evildoers do not conquer our nation and continue to sow seed of discord among us.

There is no evil we cannot defeat if we worked together, bury our differ­ences and embrace peace. Evil seems to overwhelm good, because we have failed to confront it with equal zeal and vigour. We have allowed our differences politically, religiously and culturally to continue to divide us when in essence we should unite as one indivisible peo­ple.

To be continued

 

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Sad man of Nigerian Journalism http://sunnewsonline.com/new/sad-man-of-nigerian-journalism/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/sad-man-of-nigerian-journalism/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 23:36:10 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=128541 A writer writes late into sunset, into darkness, into old age. So I learnt. This is how the poet Dylan Thomas puts it: “Do not go gentle into that good night. Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of light.” At 80, how I wish he is [...]]]>

A writer writes late into sunset, into darkness, into old age. So I learnt. This is how the poet Dylan Thomas puts it: “Do not go gentle into that good night. Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of light.”

At 80, how I wish he is still writing his ‘Sad Sam’ column as is the trend in the journalism world out there far beyond our shores where old journalists still ply their trade till death do them part. Like wine, their writing tastes mature, tastes better and better with age. They have seen it all. For them, there is nothing new under the sun.

But my old columnist and hero Sam Amuka-Pe­mu popularly known as Sad Sam in his writing days stopped the music long, long ago and went into silence and oblivion, far from the madding crowd of today’s young, garrulous columnists throwing jaw-breaking words around like reckless boxers in the ring of life. Hahahahahaha! Don’t mind me.

So, why did Sad Sam stop writing at his old age? He was 80 on June 13 and a book of essays is to be launched in his honour next Thursday at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos. Why did the music stop? This was the question I was dying to ask him.

As a young man, he had done everything I did. He turned column-writing into everything, into an art, into an adventure, into drama, into a narrative of the life of ordinary people, interesting people, telling their untold stories. In those days of innocence, Sam Amuka as Sad Sam used to go about town, venturing into sometimes dangerous and forbidden places, looking for stories to turn into a column. Such an audacious and daring jour­nalist he was!

“A good journalist must be daring,” he told me. “You must not be afraid of anything. You must not be afraid to ask any question. In journalism, there is this maxim that ‘knock many doors, there is a story.’”

But to Amuka’s regret, “that credo is dying nowa­days.” It has been replaced with what he calls “arm­chair journalism” which is responsible for “so much weakness and untidiness in journalism of today.”

He looks at today’s papers and spots so many gram­matical errors—errors that should not have gone into the paper.

Old age brings along nostalgia: the dreams of the good old days gone by. Amuka is no exemption. “In our days, journalists were more thorough than today,” he says with a tinge of regret. “In our days you were groomed as an all-round newspaper professional. Newspapers then were more professional than what we have today. You had to learn it. These days they don’t bother to learn the trade. They don’t take the pains to learn how to produce a newspaper.

“When a reporter files his report to the news editor who sends it to the sub-editor, the sub-editor takes the report and breaks it into pieces to get his own angle. If he needs any extra information, the reporter would be there to supply it. The sub-editor invariably rewrites the story. Professionally, the sub-editors in the Daily Times were highly skilled. We don’t have that now. To­day, if a reporter makes a mistake, that mistake would end up published in the newspaper.”

He continues: “We had the culture of sub-editors. They are the behind-the-scene journalists who, un­like reporters, are not known because they don’t have bylines. They are the custodians of house style and good grammar. They are the ones who through edit­ing and corrections help largely in grooming the young reporters on how to report accurately in good readable prose. Today, sub-editors are endangered species in the newsroom. That very important aspect of newspaper work is dying and we are all suffering from the absence of sub-editors.”

Still waxing in nostalgia, the sad man of Nigerian journalism still kept looking at the rear mirror trying to capture his past of over half a dozen decades in journal­ism all gone:

“When I started newspaper work, people were more careful. You didn’t take people’s name in vain. Repu­tation was highly guarded. When I look back, those were the days of innocence. The country changed with the war—when soldiers went to war and came back. That was a watershed in our history. Everything else changed.”

About that time, Amuka wrote one of his most popu­lar columns titled “Night in Kakadu”. Kakadu was the hottest nightclub in Lagos where Fela and other reign­ing stars of the era used to play. There he encountered a prostitute and out of the experience with the prostitute he wrote a column.

“In those days, I was a young man about town, who was just observing the society and having a big laugh,” he recalls. “We told the truth about real life encoun­ters—interesting life encounters. I wrote about inter­esting people I met. I remember the column ‘Night in Kakadu.’ It was an experience I had with a young pros­titute. She was drinking and we got to talk. Here you find a girl opening her heart to you, telling you about what led her into prostitution, her disappointment with the society. I wrote about that sort of thing. Real life encounters. As a columnist, I just said what I liked. I went out to town, reported as I saw them and expressed my views. With Sad Sam, I had a big laugh. I had fun. I am still having fun, but I cannot say the things I see anymore.”

So, why did he stop writing? The question again. This time, he gave reasons he quit column-writing.

“I stopped writing my Sad Sam column because I grew old. I lost my innocence. Times change. Things I wrote then when I was doing a column, I couldn’t do them now. We are talking of over twenty-something years ago. It got to a stage where people expressed confidences to you and you couldn’t let them down. I grew old for the column.”

The Sam Amuka interview was conducted while working on the book Segun Osoba—The Newspaper Years by Mike Awoyinfa and Dimgba Igwe, published by Corporate Biographers Limited. He paid tribute to Osoba as the quintessential reporter, one of the best this country has ever produced.

“Osoba’s métier was news,” he declared. “He was a newsman to the core. That is what he is known for. As for me, I am features man. I have very little reporting background. But Osoba’s niche was newsgathering. He wasn’t a features man, and he wasn’t a columnist. He was a newsman.”

In an age where news is now mainly sourced online, Amuka still loves the crispness and the freshness of a daily newspaper which he compares to the birth of a new baby every new day. It’s a life-long love affair that doesn’t wane with age.

He says: “For us in this business of journalism, every day is a new day. Holding an edition of a newspaper is like holding a new baby. It is exciting. You get fulfilled. A time would come when you would realise that money is not everything. If it was, those people with money won’t be asking you have their names eight point in the newspaper, to see their pictures in newspapers. News­paper has power, has influence on the society.”

There was this series I was doing in this column titled ‘100 Heroes of Nigeria at 100.’ Remember it? I was going round interviewing Nigerians who themselves are heroes and asking them to pick their heroes. I met Sam Amuka at a conference and asked him to name his hero. His answer dazzled and confused me: “My he­roes are Mike Awoyinfa and Dimgba Igwe. And I mean what I am saying. For two of you to pioneer Weekend Concord, make it successful and to repeat your success in creating The Sun newspaper from the scratch make you my newspaper heroes. And when you left The Sun, you reinvented yourself by churning out books. I love how you have been able to stick together through thick and thin.”

WORLD EDITORS BOOK FOR DIMGBA IGWE

To mark the anniversary of Dimgba Igwe’s death, WORLD EDITORS, a book of interviews with 50 edi­tors around the world co-authored by Mike Awoyinfa and Dimgba Igwe will be launched on September 15 at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Lagos. Our chairman of the occasion? Who else other than our hero: Sam Amuka-Pemu formerly known as Sad Sam? The sad man of Nigerian journalism.

For all of you who wished me happy birthday on July 23, thank you very much. May we all grow and pass 80. Like our Daddy and Granddaddy Sam Amuka-Pemu who has made his mark as a journalist and entrepreneur.

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If only we’ll allow Buhari to work (2) http://sunnewsonline.com/new/if-only-well-allow-buhari-to-work-2/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/if-only-well-allow-buhari-to-work-2/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 23:25:41 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=128508 This concludes last week’s piece in this column. I had said that in Ni­geria, we have a particular manner of responding to every new govern­ment and that President Muhammadu Bu­hari’s has not turned out to be any differ­ent. I tried to explain that, although these responses most reasonably have been in­structed by our experiences in [...]]]>

This concludes last week’s piece in this column. I had said that in Ni­geria, we have a particular manner of responding to every new govern­ment and that President Muhammadu Bu­hari’s has not turned out to be any differ­ent. I tried to explain that, although these responses most reasonably have been in­structed by our experiences in the hands of successive governments, however, it would now seem that we have grown pathologi­cally resistant to the virtues of “benefit of the doubt.” Of the three stages of re­sponses – excitement and expectations; apprehension and impatience; criticisms, accusations and conspiracy theories – we are now stuck in the last. “In the last one month-plus since President Muhammadu Buhari took over,” I had said, “we have been through these responses; or let’s say, the first and second episodes. Now we are stuck in the last episode: criticisms, accusa­tions and conspiracy theories.”

That is where we are now and as it is with the nature of the doctrinaire, no one would expect that perceptions would have changed or held-ground yielded in the last seven days. And, indeed, they have neither changed nor moved. We are still trapped, not just in the mire of criticisms and accusations of the things the president has done and/ or the ones he has not done, but more tellingly, we are chocking in poisoned conspiracy theories. To date, the president has not revealed the entire menu of his administration, even though the full pro­file of its potentials is obvious. However, the little he has shown has not stopped causing so much consternation and in fact open, public disquiet. The anxiety may not have graduated to a public tantrum, or to a genocidal prompt­ing as the extreme of it, but it has all the ingre­dients to achieve any of two ends.

Today, the most-talked-about action of the president is the recent appointment of the military high command. On the face of it, the outcome of the exercise is skewed; there is no question about that. In want of basic, appropri­ate way of putting it, a section of the country has been heavily favoured by it, whereas the others appear like Lazarus at the dining table. In truth, anyone with a sense of self-worth, and also has concerns for communal destiny, would be unsettled by this – assuming the per­son is in brother Lazarus’ circumstance, that is. Therefore, in all things fair, the reason for criticizing the outcome of the exercise can hardly be faulted. After all, if you are look­ing for competent, experienced persons, they also can be found in those other sections of the country. Concentrating such appointments looks obviously like an exercise in inclusion and exclusion.

Good, watertight propositions. Perhaps. However, we should also be concerned about intention. Without trying to undermine the sentiment of those who feel aggrieved – or to use the most common expression, marginal­ized – I want to believe that, yes, the deed may have come the way it does, but the thought behind it was noble and utilitarian. What am I standing on? Well, on the personality in­volved, the president. As I said last week, neither the man’s past nor his present has given me reason(s) to rethink my perception and conviction of his person, as authentic and therefore someone you may not necessarily and cautiously want to add salt to whatever he tells you. Consistently and stridently, almost to a point of swearing, Buhari has told Nige­rians that he has no intention to dominate the country, by whatever guise or disguise, hood or creed. Buhari has sufficiently articulated the deep undertows of the nation’s emotion. And I think it ought add to our confidence level.

Of course we can ascribe degree of inten­tional fallacy in those appointments. Which is not a crime at all. In fact, it even adds to the conversation. But trying to stretch and project into it, so much so that it begins to acquire a life of its own, poses great the danger. And the danger I see is that we begin to read sinister, destructive meanings to an otherwise good, harmless intentions. We begin to imagine and conjure the worse of our situation; construct­ing and deconstructing and who knows where that would lead. We can hazard a guess. It could take us eventually to that monster, that ogre we had imagined and constructed. And ogre is definitely not anybody’s friend. Ogre has the same character as that famed mon­ster Victor Frankenstein created. It doesn’t acknowledge its creator, it doesn’t respect its origin. It takes them on and devours them as they come.

That’s also how conspiracy theory behaves. We may know where and how it starts, but no one can tell how and when it will end – of course the idea that it is unbound is given. Once it is constructed, it takes the life of its own. In the face of that, I can’t see anything the country would lose if what is being dis­cussed now informally in public as “sectional agenda”, is tweaked to read “national agenda in time of national emergency.” Of course we are in emergency. Nigeria is in emergency on several fronts, but mostly on security, morality and ethics. This is the time to congregate all efforts and pull from one direction, rather than drawing from base sentiments and pandering to crass opportunism. Inflammatory rhetoric has never been of any help in times of national angst. And it cannot be of help to Nigeria, even in these times.

The job he has taken on is not a popularity contest. So, no one should expect him to play to the gallery, as our traditional politicians are wont to do in the circumstance. And in fact, not all that is popular is rational. For all you know, some leaders in his shoes could choose, in the face of such scathing criticisms and wicked conspiracy theories, to yield to street or popular rattling. And popular rattling, in most instances, is as good as mob temper.

But let me say that most of what is besetting us today is the nature of our politics. In Nigeria we play dangerous politics and trust is one of the first casualties. Which is why I sympathize with President Muhammadu Buhari. Do we really do politics? It is doubtful. What we do essentially is politicking and in the environ­ment of politick, the original intent for contest for power is always the poor victim. Nigeria’s brand of politics has its peculiar principle and it is all about who gets what and who is where. That is the full length and the breadth of our politics; its full stretch – allocation of space and resources to party Honchos. Which is why trust is high priced, if unaffordable. In the first part of this piece last week, we talked about the place of trust. How and why the average Nigerian reacts to public issues and policies the manner he does. The average Nigerian, in the main, has become a reliable purveyor of skepticism, even falling on the outer fringes of cynical. He has to, because of years of unceas­ing betrayal by his leaders.

That is the reason, I want to believe, many are still not very sure of President Buhari. Re­ally they cannot be blamed. As we said last week, their standpoint in such matters will always be justified. We started with the as­sertion that “there is every justification to feel and respond the way we have, and the manner we are doing. We have every justification be­cause we have been let down almost at every occasion; betrayed miserably by those who had come in the name and fashion of knights in shining amour. Indeed, we stand justified because we have always been sold back to slavery; always thrown back to the wolves by those we thought had come to rescue us from internal, familial invaders and predators.”

It is unfortunate, but that is how it is. And so many other things of malevolent imports are just stressing the country. So, if we have a credible promise to clean up the mess and put us back in a respectable pedestal, why wouldn’t us give it a try? If the sheriff who has come is the one we already know; the same person whose ideals and ideas we had pri­vately and publicly romanticized about, why then would it be difficult to allow him into our community to work? Or at least, we can afford the risk of putting his words of promise to test. We just have to. It is not about the devil we know. It is about the man who has passed this way before; a man we have experienced. We should also be concerned that we have a man of transparent honesty, acknowledged by all.

I am also concerned about what men and women of power do with public money. We have been living through easy, free money. In fact, there are two ways to make money in this country, big money for that matter. One is through politics. The other is by constituting oneself into a public or community problem or nuisance with the mind of extracting undue concession from government. At the end of the day, we get assaulted with huge monies in wrong hands. Only a fool will think that a country can survive with that kind of plague; with such obscenity and assault. It is another reason it is desirable to give Buhari a chance, to allow him to work.

 

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Re: APC vs APC http://sunnewsonline.com/new/re-apc-vs-apc/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/re-apc-vs-apc/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 01:22:19 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=128419 The All Progressives Congress (APC) as a party must understand the reason 15 million Nigerians voted for it. The 12 million that voted for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)]]>

Buhari should call his men to order

The All Progressives Congress (APC) as a party must understand the reason 15 million Nigerians voted for it. The 12 million that voted for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) felt that the devils they knew were better than the Angels they were yet to meet. However, the majority of the Nigerian poor that were despondent with the system of things that nearly wiped the struggling majority out of extinction decided that power must change hands. Nigerians did not vote for APC but voted for President Muhammadu Buhari, just as they did during the time of Goodluck Jonathan when they voted for LUCK.

President Buhari should call his men to order but should not allow the infantile fight for power in the National Assembly by his party men to distract him from the work he has been chosen to do. He has to work on power (PHCN), employment, housing, economy, health and security of life and property.

Most Nigerians are happy with Saraki being the Senate president and Ekweremadu as the deputy because of the national outlook the combination gave to Nigerians. Therefore, to save APC from tearing apart, the national leaders of the party must shelve their ambitions of having their men in position but work towards the advancement of Nigeria and the well being of the electorates that voted them into power.

-– M. J. GOLD, The Mass Movement for Responsible leadership, Lagos, Nigeria; massmovementnigeria@yahoo.com

No difference between PDP, APC

Your piece in APC vs APC cannot be faulted. It is saying the truth irrespective of whose ox is gored. However, you seemed to have missed the point by placing too much premium on owners of APC, as if there is any remarkable difference between them and their PDP counterpart. As far as we know and most ordinary Nigerians too, they are exactly the same. May be a case of half full and half empty at best. Most of them were lucky to have rode to victory on the goodwill of Buhari. Mind you, all this bickering and infighting is never for the interest of you and I. Rather it is for their selfish interests.

– Samson Iroka, 08025772652

APC must let Saraki, Dogara be

I read with great interest your article. As articulate and highly intelligent as it is, I’ll like to add that if APC refuses to give Saraki and Dogara room to perform, that would be the beginning of the end of APC.

Both Senator Saraki and Hon Dogara are bonafide members of APC. They were both in the struggle that made the party what it is today. So why should anybody or clique feels so uncomfortable with their emergence in the leadership of National Assembly? Why should they be dictated to in the styles of leadership, against the interest of the generality of the masses that voted the party in? A house divided against itself can never stand!

– Nwachukwu, Christopher M; 08025772655

 

Re: APC: ‘P’ is for precarious

Presidency should deal with Saraki, Dogara

I agree with your submission on the National Assembly crisis that APC and Saraki are currently in precarious positions. But I wish to add, with due respect, that President Buhari is in the most precarious position as a result of the crisis. He has lost the control of the two chambers of the National Assembly from day one due to his initial trusting and laissez-faire leadership style, which will weaken his leadership of the country. His case is even worse than that of former President Jonathan who lost the control of only one of the chambers from day one in 2011. This devastating loss, which was instigated by the rival power brokers of like minds within and outside the chambers, was the beginning of his losing control of the major co-ordinates of power in the country. Now, history is repeating itself. The National Assembly problem is already having glaring adverse effects on Buhari’s young administration. And if not properly handled, it will lead to a shared and weakened presidency, which is the objective of the rival power brokers, and his eventual failure in office as observed in the failed Jonathan’s tenure.

Indeed, Buhari’s divinely destined second coming must not be scuttled by some unpatriotic conservatives opposed to the critically needed and popularly demanded progressive change of our dear country.  Therefore, the president must have a correct understanding of the grave situation as well as its wide implications and take prompt, courageous, appropriate and effective actions to regain full control of his government made up of the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary, not only the Executive. He must expertly deploy all constitutional powers at his disposal to stamp early his authority over one government and one presidency to deter other future daring challenges by some unscrupulous pseudo-executives to his elected position with a national mandate as President who is constitutionally defined as the Head of State, Chief Executive and Commander-in- Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the de jure and de facto leader of the governing party, APC. The supremacy of the presidency must be solidly protected by all at all times.

Also, I agree with you that Saraki and Dogara will not back down in the crisis. In fact, they are digging deeper in their acts of disobedience, disloyalty, indiscipline and rebellion to the majority party and the presidency while hiding behind the fingers of spurious legislative independence to arm-twist and disgrace the executive presidency. Saraki is already issuing directives to MDA of government as if he occupies an executive position. He should be warned. Unfortunately for Saraki, he is an over-ambitious privileged young executive with an over-blown ego struggling to occupy a non-executive legislative office meant for a level-headed, fully mature occupant. He is a fore-told certain disaster waiting to happen!

Finally, to solve the National Assembly crisis, the following actions are recommended. If Saraki and Dogara, without qualms, have used unorthodox Boko Haramic strategies and tactics, the presidency is at liberty to do same. So far, the initial ethical strategies of appeal and persuasion have apparently failed. The next strategy is to frontally attack their personal interests, which they have been promoting, preserving and consolidating. Fortunately, the Speaker and the Senate President and other like mind allies (and they are many) have no constitutional immunity. Therefore, any pending disciplinary actions on the duo as well as their allies and mentors must be immediately reactivated through executive, electoral and legal processes in order to restrain, remove, shame and annihilate this disrespectful, disloyal, arrogant, recalcitrant, selfish people with inordinate ambition.

– OLOYE; kolaoloye2000@yahoo.com

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Saraki, Dogara’s victory must be respected

The emergence of Saraki as the third in political hierarchy of nation must be respected, just the same way the President was elected into the office. Anything less than that is dictatorial and undemocratic, which the nation cannot afford at this material time. The same is also applicable to Dogara, the speaker. Any false move by the ruling party would make PDP to assume control of the red chambers. Forty-nine PDP members would team up with the aggrieved APC members to make David Mark the Senate president.

– Bile Samaila.

 

This is not the APC we know

The impression one is getting from APC’s hullabaloo and body language is that of a party en route to self-destruction.  They have become a complete negation of nobility and dignity, lost their organisational astuteness and sagacity we saw during the last elections.  They seem to have submerged their dynamism in the euphoria of electoral successes, causing great pains in no small measure to their numerous supporters.

– Johnny, Abia; royalhighchief1@gmail.com

 
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Buhari’s American wonder http://sunnewsonline.com/new/buharis-american-wonder/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/buharis-american-wonder/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 01:17:44 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=128417 In the four days that President Muhammadu Buhari visited the United States of America, where he met with the country’s President, Barack Obama, Vice President, Joe Biden, Secretary of State, John Kerry, former Secretary ]]>

In the four days that President Muhammadu Buhari visited the United States of America, where he met with the country’s President, Barack Obama, Vice President, Joe Biden, Secretary of State, John Kerry, former Secretary of State, Medline Albright, other state officials and members of the business community, among others, one song that played out in my mind was: “Come and see American wonder, come and see America wonder.” Indeed, the visit brought to the fore what I would call, “the Buhari American wonder,” as the president found the visit auspicious and much important to make quite some profound pronouncements, which he never did on the shores of the country.

Yes, it took Buhari’s visit to the United States for him to tell Nigerians and the world that just as the law of the land is against gay marriage, he is also. It took the US visit for the President to personally tell Nigerians that he could negotiate with Boko Haram, if that would ensure the release of the Chibok schoolgirls, who were abducted more than one year ago and who have been in captivity ever since. It took the US trip for Buhari to admit that the United States has, indirectly, frustrated the fight against terrorism with the Lealy Law, which is about human rights violation, prompting the non-supply of arms to Nigeria. It took the US visit for Buhari to come out to directly accuse former ministers of illegally selling crude oil and pocketing the money.

With these presidential pronouncements, coming at a time when Nigerians want to know what the Buhari government is doing, at a time some people are beginning to conclude that the government’s momentum is low, one was almost tempted to say that Buhari’s visit to the US should continue. If the President would only talk about things Nigerians have been expecting him to say, in the US, he should continue the foreign trip. Just as the Chinese say: If music is the food of life, play it on. However, it is not as if I am disappointed that Buhari felt more comfortable making major pronouncements in the US, instead of at home. He’s living true to type. Past leaders of the country did the same. From Obasanjo to Jonathan, Nigerian leaders appear to prefer talking abroad. I suspect that they do so to grab international headlines.

In the last couple of weeks before the US trip, many a Nigerian had wondered what Buhari’s position on gay marriage was. Although Nigerians knew that legally speaking, same-sex marriage, albeit homosexuality and lesbianism, was illegal, as the National Assembly already passed a law against it, they wanted Buhari, who was not in power when the controversy broke, to say something. Buhari’s silence on the matter did make some mischief-makers to insinuate that the preference the US and the West showed, in their body language, for Buhari, in the last presidential contest against former President Goodluck Jonathan, was because of the perception that under his government gay marriage may fly. Now, Buhari has spoken and nobody is in doubt where he stands on gay marriage. But what he said in the US is what he could have said in Nigeria, even before embarking on the US trip. If he had done that, it would not have been an issue in the US, as he visited.

Just as he was not forthcoming on the gay marriage controversy, Buhari also did not say anything about the allegation by the immediate past Jonathan government that the US was indirectly frustrating the fight against terrorism in the country, until he visited the US. Indeed, the last Federal Government shouted at the rooftops about the US’ refusal to sell arms to the country’s military as well as the country’s attempts to get other nations not to arm the Nigerian military, in the guise that there were human rights issues in the way the war was being prosecuted. Owing to this, the Jonathan government had called off the US training of Nigerian soldiers. Now, it’s still the same Nigerian military that is prosecuting the war against Boko Haram, led by the same field commanders, irrespective of the change of guards at the Service Chiefs’ level. But the US has pledged better cooperation with Nigeria. Whatever the reason is, the fact is that while the Jonathan government complained about the US posture, Buhari, in the heat of campaign, may have seen it as an excuse of a president, who was failing in securing the country. Even after taking over government, Buhari still kept quiet over this. At US, the truth came out: Leahy Law amendment of the US is aiding and abetting Boko Haram, says Buhari. Who says the US trip is not magic?

Thank God, indeed, for the US trip of Mr. President. Who would have thought that Buhari, a retired General, who fought the Nigeria-Biafran war, among other risky ventures in the military, would consider negotiating with the “genuine” Boko Haram for whatever reason? How wrong were we! Although the presidential spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, had once flown a kite that the government could consider dialogue with Boko Haram, before the trip, Buhari never said anything. Nobody should misunderstand me. I am not in any way saying that there is anything wrong negotiating the release of the innocent Chibok schoolgirls. Far from it! What I am saying is that our President could only reveal this abroad.

No doubt, some people would say that Buhari unfolded his plans and positions because he was being interviewed by the CNN and also because he addressed international audience. That’s true. But has the president given Nigerian journalists the opportunity to talk to him? Apart from the interview he granted the NTA last week and when he met with State House press corps, the Presidency has not given Nigerian journalists such generous audience, as he gave the CNN.

While there were still speculations on when Buhari will eventually constitute his cabinet, it took his US trip for him to tell Nigerians that this will happen in September. At home, in Nigeria, groups and individuals commented on what they perceived as delay in appointing ministers. Buhari kept quiet. But the American wonder happened on Monday, when he published an article in Washington Post, revealing that his cabinet would be constituted in September. Our President did not find The Sun, This Day, The Guardian, The Nation and The Punch, Daily Telegraph and other Nigerian newspapers worthy to publish an article wherein he made a fundamental statement on his coming cabinet. It is Washington Post that is better for such publication. I ask again: Who said that there is no magic about the US trip?

I am persuaded that the Buhari US trip made the impact it desired. The President met with Obama and other US state officials and they talked heart-to-heart. Buhari said he did discuss with Obama his refusal to visit Nigeria, which he acknowledged is one of the most important countries in Africa and the world. He also said that he was going to extend an official invitation to the US president to visit Nigeria. If he is able to pull this through, who says there is no magic in Buhari’s US trip?  Obama’s trip to the country means a lot to Nigeria. It would afford the US President the opportunity to assess things himself, first hand. With this, he may better appreciate the challenges in Nigeria. And perception may change.

Also, since the United States has pledged to help Nigeria in the fight against terrorism, this gives more impetus to the military operation in the North East.  Terrorism is a global crime, which should be tackled by all. Where terrorism is treated as a local matter, like the Boko Haram insurgency was, it would grow wings and fly out of the window. Al Qaeda may have started in Afghanistan or Middle East. ISIS may have started in Syria, Iran/Iraq and Middle East. But these terror groups have spread their tentacles across the world, as they are recruiting converts daily globally. If Al Qaeda and ISIS were treated as Afghanistan, Iranian/Iraqi and Syrian problem and left to be handled by the countries alone, other nations would wake up to discover that they are also under the threat of these groups. Therefore, the US pledge to better help Nigeria is good, indeed.

However, the US should not play politics with its assistance towards the fight against Boko Haram. A situation where the US is shouting against human rights violation in the entire operation is like tying Nigeria’s hands, in the face of a problem, which impedes its peace and progress. I guess that the US did tell Buhari how it fought Saddam Hussein of Iraq over alleged nuclear weapon acquisition and others, to the extent of devastation the infrastructure of Iraq and its economy, without recording human rights issues. This “American magic,” which did cost Iraq millions of dollars to rebuild its country, certainly is a controversial model, which the US needs to educate us on. Or is it a case of different strokes for different folks?

Taking all these together, you can then see why more US trips should happen. It took only four days for Buhari to bring about many activities in Nigeria. Now we know that former ministers are oil thieves. Now we know that former ministers will be probed and brought to book. Now we know that only the Jonathan government will be probed. Now we know that ministers will be appointed in September. Now we know that Buhari can’t be sympathetic with gays. Now we know that Boko Haram can sit at a table with government to negotiate. Now we know that US law is Buhari’s headache. This is, indeed, a mouthful for four days. And therefore, let the music play.

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All the ‘jazz’ about Amnesty International http://sunnewsonline.com/new/all-the-jazz-about-amnesty-international/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/all-the-jazz-about-amnesty-international/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 01:14:12 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=128415 There is a way of losing a good cause through poor argument. An example is the indictment of some Nigerian military officers by Amnesty International. Accordingly,]]>

There is a way of losing  a good cause through poor argument. An example is the indictment of some Nigerian military officers by Amnesty International. Accordingly, the humanitarian body recommended that the officers concerned be tried possibly for crimes against humanity. Without necessarily so indicating, it was obvious that the mindset of Amnesty International was that the military officers should be tried at International Criminal Court, at the Hague.

That should have made it instantly easy for Nigeria not to bother itself. All the same, two facts emerged. Amnesty International was here in Nigeria to indict our military officers without being molested. That was evidence of freedom of speech and the right of even foreigners to express opinion. This cannot be guaranteed in some countries in Africa and the developing world.

The take off is the bitter truth that no conflict of the Boko Haram stuff, local or international could pass even for a short time without real or imagined violation of human rights. The 1967 Arab-Israeli war lasted for only six days and the fall-out is partly responsible for today’s hostility between Israel and its neighbours. On the other hand, our local Boko Haram conflict (has) lasted over five years without the prospect of ending soon. In fact, only two days ago, Gombe (in North-east Nigeria) experienced four bombing incidents in less than an hour. The casualty figure is better imagined.

Amnesty International’s report, criticising Nigeria’s conduct could not have been entirely misplaced. There, therefore, might have been violation of human rights by both Nigerian soldiers and the Boko Haram insurgents. It is accordingly an act of desperation to claim that Amnesty International picked on Nigeria without reason. After all, at different stages of the conflict, Nigerian army accused Boko Haram of intimidating and ill-treating civilians suspected as informants or collaborators of Nigerian soldiers.

On the other hand, Boko Haram alleged professional misconduct by the soldiers. In such a situation of accusation and counter accusation, a probe or indeed, trial of suspected culprits on both sides is inevitable. And if such a fact-finding effort is to be frustrated, tenable ground must be established. Countries like France, Britain, Israel and United States take it on themselves to deal with such military misconduct.

France, for example, only lately indicted, at least, twelve of its soldiers to be soon tried for violation of human rights during the crisis in Mali. The same France has also indicted four more of its soldiers for violating human rights during their assignment in Democratic Republic of Congo.

What is more, even United Nations has just indicted about four soldiers for alleged violation of human rights in Southern Sudan. It was, therefore, escapist of Nigerian army to claim that the Amnesty International report was an attempt to discredit our armed forces or the Nigerian state. For a repeat, any area of military conflict will always trigger the need to bring offending combatants on either side to book.

Worse still, even if allegations of violation of human rights during a war are to be challenged, such must be based on tenable reasons rather than blackmail or group persecution complex. In that process, even the opportunity to exonerate an innocent (at least, until proved guilty) officer. General Azu Ihejirika was cited for alleged war crimes strictly in his status as a Nigerian military officer, the Chief of Army Staff for that matter and not because he is a South-easterner.

As if in anticipation of the ambush of its report, Amnesty International seemed to have employed federal character in compiling the list of Nigerian army officers accused of alleged war crimes. Still, Amnesty International could not win as the body was partly accused of trying to discredit General Ihejirika. It must, of course, be mentioned that General Ihejirika himself has, even till now not sought refuge in his ethnic origin. All the same, he could have earned some acclamation by publicly dissuading those defending him solely on ethnic ground.

Threatening hell and brimstone that General Ihejirika was picked out to be discredited? That was untrue as other officers from different parts of the country (noticeably North and South) were similarly indicted by Amnesty International. Apart from General Ihejirika, other officers indicted were his successor, General Ken  Minima, other service chiefs like Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, Generals Obida Ethnam, John Ewasiha, Ahmadu Mohammed, Brigadier General Austin Edo Kpayi and Brigadier General Rufus Bamigboye. These officers couldn’t have also been indicted because of their part(s) of the country.

Ironically, among the lot, it was (and is still) easiest to exonerate General Ihejirika, through simple logic, which could have been lost in the mob reaction supposedly in his defence. Not long ago, the very same General Ihejirika was, rather strangely, accused by a foreign confusionist, Australian Stephen Davis, of funding Boko Haram. A serving chief of army staff funding an opposing insurgent group? The Australian Stephen Davis, was embellished in Nigerian circles as an expert hostage negotiator and sympathiser of Nigerian cause. Indeed.

And then the charge that General Ihejirika spearheaded the violation of the human rights of Boko Haram. The retired army chief could not, at the same time, be playing the two controversial and indeed criminal roles. At the worst, he was one and not the other. At the best, he was neither. That was the solid defence for General Ihejirika rather than the nonsense that he was being discredited because of his ethnic origin.

Quite rightly, President Muahmmadu Buhari assured that his administration would investigate the allegations of violation of human rights made by Amnesty International against his military officers. That is in line with what France did in Mali and Congo as well as the United Nations in South Sudan. There the story must end.

Investigation of the Amnesty International allegations would return a verdict of guilty or not guilty against the accused Nigerian military officers, depending on facts available. Any officer found guilty should be tried in Nigerian court or military tribunal. That is the standard practice in United States, Israel (if at all) Britain, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Russia, etc. None of these countries surrenders its soldiers to be tried at any international court. United States and France in particular do not extradite any of their citizens to be tried for any criminal offence in another country.


Media in Britain, US and Nigeria

By centuries-old convention, British monarchs rarely get involved in controversy, especially on matters remotely related to politics at the local level. The only exception was Queen Victoria two centuries ago. She aimed at wielding more executive power with an equally stubborn Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston. Between the two, it was controversy unlimited.

Current British monarch, Queen Elizabeth the second, has just engulfed herself in a controversy although for purely personal reason of controlling her media preference. Yet, in Nigeria, such an issue by a head of state or state governor, would have earned her (Queen Elizabeth) fire from the media.

Throughout the campaigns for the 2015 presidential elections in Nigeria, African Independent Television (AIT) was the most hostile to All Progressives Congress candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari. Documentaries, news items and discussion programmes were all slanted maliciously against Buhari. Contrary to the television station’s calculations, Buhari emerged the new President of Federal Republic of Nigeria. Almost miraculously, Buhari’s temporary residence in Abuja became the Mecca in Africa. The desperation was such not to be left out.

Among the organisations attracted, if only for compelling professional reasons, was the same AIT. But with sad memory of the obscene bias of AIT throughout the election campaigns, those around the new President did not, tenably, welcome the AIT crew. In a surprise twist, the politically born-again Buhari thought otherwise and reversed the ban on AIT. That, at least, ended the growing criticisms in some quarters. AIT television station was then desperate to cover President Buhari’s early days of victory? That was good news.

From Abuja, a similar story occurred at Makurdi, Benue State, where the newly elected House Speaker reportedly sent Channels Television crew packing. Benue State House Speaker also ruled that the Channels Television crew should be allowed to resume coverage. That was after some criticisms.

In Britain, BBC radio and television world services virtually monopolise over fifty years coverage of state activities, especially on all matters involving Buckingham Palace and royal family. The main feature of BBC media is not necessarily as echo chamber but for free flow of reverence and loyalty to the Royal Family. Somehow, in the past few years, the same BBC media stations at both domestic and world service levels have become radicalised at times, recklessly.

Notably, even the private lives (if anything of that exists) of key members of the Royal Family, specifically the Queen, her husband, Duke of Edinburgh, and heir to the throne, Prince Charles, are no longer immune. It is a thin line between modern aggressive journalism and undisguised hostility. Well, Queen Elizabeth, with her right to choose, has dropped the BBC media monopoly. Instead, Her Majesty has conferred on hitherto inconsequential rival, ITN (Independent Television News), to cover her 90th birthday celebrations next years.

The matter has passed almost unnoticed but certainly unquestioned as the Queen, despite her status as the British sovereign is conceded the right to her privacy. The equivalent would be a Nigerian President, offering priority to a private television station in place of NTA.

Before Queen Elizabeth’s clampdown on BBC (the most powerful and credible electronic station in the world) was United States President Barack Obama, who ended the fifty years career of Helen Thomas as a Correspondent at the White House. As the longest serving reporter at White House, Helen Thomas had covered the tenure of, at least, ten consecutive American Presidents.

Helen Thomas offence? She made remarks considered to be offensive to Jews and Israel. The poor lady apologised but Obama would have none of that. She left White House in 2010 and into retirement.

The lesson? Anywhere in the world, despite freedom of the press, journalists are circumscribed by objectivity. On that score, Britain, United States and Nigeria are on the same level.

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Obasanjo on the South South http://sunnewsonline.com/new/obasanjo-on-the-south-south/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/obasanjo-on-the-south-south/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 00:20:35 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=128300 FORMER president, Olusegun Obasanjo, is not letting up on his derision of the South-South region of Nigeria. When he had cause, in 2013, to write the then president, Goodluck Jonathan, he remarked that Jonathan was behaving as if he was elected into office by his Ijaw ethnic group. He went further to say that Jonathan [...]]]>

FORMER president, Olusegun Obasanjo, is not letting up on his derision of the South-South region of Nigeria. When he had cause, in 2013, to write the then president, Goodluck Jonathan, he remarked that Jonathan was behaving as if he was elected into office by his Ijaw ethnic group. He went further to say that Jonathan might be the only Nigerian president of Ijaw extraction given what he saw as his (Jonathan’s) ethnic disposition.

Since he released that tumultuous open letter to Jonathan, Obasanjo has stopped at nothing in his scathing criticism of Jonathan. As far as Obasanjo is concerned, Jonathan’s performance in office as president of Nigeria was mediocre. It was below average. Many do not agree with Obasanjo on this score. But he has continued to insist on it.

But Obasanjo has gone a step further. He is saying that his low rating of Jonathan is not for him alone. It is for the entire South-south region that produced him. When, a few days ago, Obasanjo spoke as guest lecturer at Benson Idahosa University in Edo State, he remarked that “the performance of Jonathan while in office will haunt the people of the South-south region for a long time to come.” In other words, Jonathan is the face of the South-south. He is the yardstick with which the region can be measured.

Obasanjo’s insistence on Jonathan’s performance as well as his linkage of it to the South South is rooted in history. It is a product of familiar prejudices and shibboleths. We know that the South-South region does not exist, in fact. It is an artificial contraption hobbled together for purposes of administrative convenience. The people that make it up are strange bedfellows. They have no historical or cultural ties with one another. What affects one may not, necessarily, affect the other. They constitute the people that are classified as indigenous peoples of southern Nigeria.

Since the military got consigned to the barracks in line with their constitutional mandate, Nigerians have been taking stock of the damaging effects of military incursion into politics. They have also been working out the arithmetic of which region of Nigeria has ruled for how long. By the time, Obasanjo was leaving office as president in 2007, the South-South was the only region of Nigeria that appeared the most disadvantaged in terms of who had attained the most commanding political height in Nigeria. For this and some other unspoken considerations that best served the interest of Obasanjo, he opted for a South-southerner from the Ijaw ethnic stock to occupy the country’s number two position. The lot fell on Goodluck Jonathan who was then governor of Bayelsa State. Obasanjo and his cohorts did that to compensate the minorities of southern Nigeria.

However, chance was to play a role in the political equation. Umaru Yar’Adua, whom Jonathan was serving under as vice president, died. An opportunity had presented itself to Jonathan. He became the president. The scenario suggested that those who gave the southern minorities the chance to get to that level should go the whole hog by electing Jonathan as president. The idea was to compensate them for their life-long association and support for the northern power brokers who had always held sway in Nigeria.

By this token, Jonathan’s presidency was not borne out of the struggle or sweat of the South- South region. It was a compensation; a mere concession. To a large extent, therefore, Jonathan was in office at the pleasure of those who made it possible in the first place for him to become the vice president and, eventually, the president. In this regard, those who threw up Jonathan believe, rightly or wrongly, that his failure or success must, inextricably, be tied to his people and his region. His emergence was also a way of saying to the people of the South-South: We have given you the chance to occupy the office of president. So, you will have no justification to complain again about being shut out from the commanding heights of Nigerian politics.

Going by this overview, it becomes easy to see why Jonathan faced a tough challenge of reelection. Those who made him felt that the southern minorities had taken their turn. One term in office was considered enough for them. After all, their benefactors reasoned, they did not struggle to get to the presidency. It was a mere award. They should, therefore, be content with what they got.

Jonathan has since left office without a whimper. He has retired into a private, peaceful life. His South-South region is not complaining. The people raised no voice of protest against the gang-up that saw Jonathan out of the presidency. Their disposition is worse than that of a defeated people. A conquered people can, at least, show signs of fatigue after a tortuous struggle. They can, at least, display anger and disappointment. They are entitled to depression. But you cannot see any of these in the disposition of the people of the South-south. They seem not to care a hoot about Jonathan’s ouster. This, to a large extent, confirms our earlier suggestion that the people of the region have this disposition because there is nothing binding them together.

But Obasanjo seems to be interested in drawing their attention to what they never thought about. They never imagined that Jonathan’s performance, whether good or bad, would be linked to them. They also never realised that they should have rallied round Jonathan when it mattered most. They left him as a political orphan. He had nobody to intercede or intervene for him. That may partly explain why Jonathan threw in the towel. A General does not go to battle without troops. Jonathan had no troops. So, he had to back out of the imminent crisis that loomed large in the horizon.

Since Obasanjo believes that Jonathan failed, he would have the people of the South-South believe that they failed. But there is something sinister about Obasanjo’s insistence on forcing this point of view down the throat of the people of the South-South. Obasanjo wants to associate them with the stigma of failure and non-performance. He also wants to associate them with complacency and low acumen. The whole idea is to stigmatise them in this way so that they will not, in future, seriously lay claim to the office of the president.

But before Obasanjo diverts our attention from the facts of the matter, somebody needs to remind him that he is not in a good position to assess Jonathan. As the president of Nigeria, Obasanjo’s performance was not sterling. Nobody has ever associated Obasanjo tenure with any glorious achievement. When, for instance, people accuse the PDP of wasting Nigeria’s 16 precious years, they are invariably pointing fingers at Obasanjo who alone spent eight of the 16 years. The problem here is that Obasanjo is talking without listening. He should come off that grandstanding especially in the light of the fact that Jonathan is not even responding to his diatribe.

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Spokesman as the Tinkerers’ Apprentices? (1) http://sunnewsonline.com/new/spokesman-as-the-tinkerers-apprentices-1/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/spokesman-as-the-tinkerers-apprentices-1/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 00:08:23 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=128285 IF a fact is let out in the open, it can, indeed it must, be openly discussed. You can’t censure logic. Mother A’Endu. Adewale Maja-Pearce is something of a sage, but a cult sage. This is at least true for the many who are at literary productions in Nigeria. In a ca­reer line that has [...]]]>

IF a fact is let out in the open, it can, indeed it must, be openly discussed. You can’t censure logic. Mother A’Endu.

Adewale Maja-Pearce is something of a sage, but a cult sage. This is at least true for the many who are at literary productions in Nigeria. In a ca­reer line that has seen him practice at home and abroad, he is been an author, editor, journalist and controversial biographer, of J.P. Clark. Mr. Pearce was a guest at the Smooth Radio Book Review on 18-07-115. He made a statement that is interest­ing. I quote and amplify from memory. For Pearce, Nigeria is a complete fiction. And it would thus be wasteful for her fiction writers to labor to be inven­tive. All they needed was to be faithful and dedi­catedly map the strangeness that is Nigeria. In just doing that prospective, Nigerian fiction writers, in his well-considered view, would have already got­ten their great novels going, or roundly made.

In other words, it may be said that Nigerians are living a lie, and Nigeria is a living lie. And nothing illustrates this sense of living the lie, than the quote made by the Presidential media flunkey, Mallam Garba Shehu. As reported:

The President is also being pilloried for alleg­edly favoring the North in the appointment he had made so far. But, “I (Garba Shehu) think President Muhammadu Buhari is sensitive to the diversity of this country. He has more than 6,000 appointments to make. Therefore, why would anybody use less than 10 appointments to judge the President on this matter? Again, it boils down to the lack of pa­tience. This man is an experienced leader. Nigeria stands to gain from the accumulation of wisdom that he has garnered over his long life on earth. He has sworn to an oath that he’s a President of all.

“This government will make as many as 6,000 appointments. And he is bound, even if he doesn’t wish it, by the constitution of the Federal Repub­lic of Nigeria to reflect federal character.’’ Buhari to make 6000 appointments – Presidency. Punch July 19, 2015.

But that is being clever. The worst part of it is that Nigerians seem not to be noticing the scam, how they are being scammed out of their joint in­heritance by persons and their megaphones, who dedicatedly will to turn Nigeria, a federation, into an empire, their empire-state. To make this matter pretty clearer, let us quote a recent piece by Akin Osuntokun. Osuntokun who often tells he is an Obasanjo footman had this to confess:

I took a cue from this precedent and beat a rapid retreat from my tentative association with the PF. I was soon exposed to the corollary of this lesson — that proximate kith and kin identity is a salient criteria in the appointment of personal aides (es­pecially those that border on personal security) of political principals. It was this frame of reference that aroused my curiosity on the appointment of Owu born Colonel Kayode Are as the director general of the State Security Service (SSS) under President Olusegun Obasanjo. Further probing confirmed my hypothesis and was to a larger or lesser degree borne out by the successor regimes of Presidents Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Good­luck Jonathan. Continuity and Change (2) 17 Jul 2015, This Day by Akin Osuntokun.

Now, there is little that is wrong with that as a principle of survival, prudence and even disingen­uousness. The point that is disgusting however is the lie, the fiction we live and believe to be real­ity. The fact is that no Nigeria leader (save Aguiyi Ironsi in what must now appear to be his own na­ivety) trusts any other Nigerians outside his own religious-ethno-regional zone for his own security. That is to say that no Nigerian leader so loves Ni­geria, he can entrust to any others, apart from his own peoples, his existential briefs, including per­sonal security and defenses. Yet these leaders as ethno-religious-zone-centric as devils are prank­ish, insist and tell themselves and their nation, the lie and or fiction, they are nationalists. And insistently the facts betray them. Now no Nigerian head of state since Jack Gowon has ever been a nationalist save by chorus and words of mouth. For instance, despite Gowon’s loud mouthed pro­fessions for unity, the same Gowon made sure, absolutely and famously sure, his personal guards were exclusively his own peoples. Yet this was a Gowon, dictator, who was ordering that millions be killed or starved to death, for a one Nigeria he never believed in, or at least never practiced, in issues of fundamental importance to him, like personal security. So, these men are accomplished actors. It is just that Buhari appears to be the first democratic leader to insist that Nigeria remain a war booty for his peoples, by instincts and policy.

That is one and all they know they are not and never were nationalists, were mere actors. So their nationalism has a false and forged bottom. As a Pearce would have said, their nationalism is fictive and has no basis in reality. They only try to act it, costumes, retinues and all. But with the least map­ping it can all be ‘unveiled’ you have been sold a monkey, blood-soaked monkey (?) for a baboon, an ugly duckling for a charming princess?

Despite all these, we will be the last ones to ask that Muhamad Buhari entrust his security to non-northern, non-Muslim operatives. All we demand is that that the insistent fact of ‘my security is best and only assured in the hands of my tribes, zones and religious men’ be acknowledged and used as working data. And that the truth be acknowledged is a fair demand and we ask for it in the name of humanity.

Now the implication of Nigerians and their leaders acting out and never doing their national­ism is as follows. If you can’t outsource your se­curity and if you can’t trust another, except your fellow tribesmen and regionalists and or religion­ists, why falsely claim you are a nationalist, you are on national duty, defrauding the national and her peoples by your lie?

The other implication, more insidious is exhib­ited by Garba. In his feigned smartness, Garba is actually twisting the knife. He is really telling the rest of Nigerians we are fools, and that we are in­capable of understanding that we are being fooled. So he disingenuously claims his hirers will make up for their willed lapse of federal character. This is literary grandstanding, even fraud. The details are as follows.

Now under APC-Buhari’s watch the president of Nigeria is northern and Muslim, the head of the next independent arm, the Senate, is northern and Muslim, the head of the next independent arm, The House of Reps, is northern and Christian, the head of the judiciary is northern and Muslim, the national leader, so called, of the party is Muslim and non-northern, the spokesman of the party is Muslim and northern, the head of the electoral um­pire, INEC, is northern and Muslim and a personal (not institutional) choice of Garba’s hirers, the head of NSO is northern and Muslim, and the head of defense intelligence is also dedicatedly northern and Muslim. Meanwhile in the security chain, the only southerners known to this correspondent in the Buhari-APC power contraption are the head of the joint chiefs and head of the navy. Incidentally being the joint chief is a non-core largely non op­erative assignment and to head the navy is to head the weakest of the armored forces. And one man cried out loud, is this then the Federal Republic of Northern Nigeria? Go ask the devil I thundered back.

Boy it is, it is an imperial arrangement. Only colonial masters have been this brazen and power-maddened. Now we ‘entered’ in a ‘one chance’ contraption that is similar to colonial outpost pos­sessions and regions. That is what explains that the entire policy and leadership framework on one hand, and the security platform on the other, are in the lock grip of the colonizers, the internal colo­nizers, who consider Nigeria their war booty and have elected Garba a mouth piece, verbal halitosis and all. It is deliberate policy plank. And nobody should fool the fool in you, if you are.

So it is ignorant and or self-serving of certain ‘eminent Nigerians’ to advise we give coloniz­ers, internal colonizers, time to adjust their policy and practice planks or pranks. To argue that is like our forefathers arguing we should give the Brit­ish time, to correct their having colonized us, since they came innocently, allegedly – on a civilizing mission. If we did it is certain that like a Profes­sor Chinua Achebe in Things Fall Apart, we would in the end cry out: The white man [now internal colonizers]is very clever. They came quietly and peaceably with their nationalisms. We were amused at their foolishness and allowed them to endure. Now they have won our brothers, and our nation can no longer be one. They have put a knife on the things that hold us together and the nation is about to fall apart.

What Achebe wrote is fiction. But our curse is that we shall live it as reality, in a not too distant future. That is at this point we are there is noth­ing anyone can do to remedy the situation, save to dismantle it. You don’t remedy or make over evil, you acknowledge and dismantle evil. Thus even if Garba, goons and or his hirers choose to award the remaining 6000 jobs to the others, the structures for the internal colonization of these others have been fixed. And that is to say that the 6000 jobs or more can’t save these others even if they were ex­clusively shared out to them. In fact the so called 6000 jobs is PR deceit. It is strategically in sync with how the grand ole men of colonialism, the British, ran Nigeria and other of their possessions. The British with a few men, repeat a few men, like Garba, goons and hirers, seized the commanding heights of policy and security, and left the rest, the now famous 6000 odd jobs to Nigerians and other colonials, each according to their countries. So our first duty to being free is to know and recognize this fraud of the British, which a Garba and hirers are canvassing, are cloning.

And Garba who is dedicatedly Muslim, and northern, is really a Mallam, a Hausa/Islamic equivalent of Professor, knows these things or should. He is only like the practiced dissembler and actor he is, wanting to fool the very elect, the rest of the nation. His game is to achieve his colo­nialist dream of turning Nigeria into an empire not a nation-state. Simply put he now preaches to us to finance and authorize our own internal coloniza­tion by his masters, who never loved this nation. Or is it perhaps, that this nation, a living lie, is not lovable?

 

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The Igbo dilemma (1) http://sunnewsonline.com/new/the-igbo-dilemma-1/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/the-igbo-dilemma-1/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 23:55:56 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=128255 THE primacy of political or economic power: The Igbo dilemma” was the title of a scintillating key­note address Prof. Anya O. Anya, D.Sc. (Hon.), FAS, OFR, NNOM, sent to me as the National Chairman of Pan Ndi-Igbo Foundation USA (PNF USA) on the occasion of Pan Igbo Political Con­ference in May 2005 to deliver on [...]]]>

THE primacy of political or economic power: The Igbo dilemma” was the title of a scintillating key­note address Prof. Anya O. Anya, D.Sc. (Hon.), FAS, OFR, NNOM, sent to me as the National Chairman of Pan Ndi-Igbo Foundation USA (PNF USA) on the occasion of Pan Igbo Political Con­ference in May 2005 to deliver on his behalf. In the light of Igbo perennial problems, Prof. Anya’s address is aptly relevant today.

Professor Anya O. Anya is a leading member of the Nigerian intellectual community who played a key role in piloting the intellectual content of the Vision 2010 Report. The content of his address is significantly relevant in the current Nigeria’s socio-political environment. The excerpts:

Introduction

There is pain in the Igbo heart. There is con­fusion in the Igbo mind. There are excruciating aches in the Igbo body politic and society. The source of all that is the dilemma that faces every Igbo man and woman as he/she observes or par­ticipates in the affairs of contemporary Nigeria. There are varied explanations for the pain, for the confusion and for the aches. Some ascribe them to the apparent disunity that seems to be a persistent but uninvited guest in any conclave of the Igbos since the end of the Biafran war. Some would rather lay the blame on the so-called marginaliza­tion of the Igbos. If you belong to the disunity school, then the solution to the problem lies within the Igbo context. If you, however, believe in the marginalization thesis, then obviously the solution lies outside the Igbos – indeed in the Nigerian con­text given the skewed and irrational political and economic arrangements, which seem deliberately designed to offend and constrain the Igbos. The question really is: between disunity and margin­alization, which is the cause and which is the ef­fect? Or put another way, we seem to be in the chicken and egg situation. Perhaps, we need to start from the beginning or as our compatriot the revered Chinua Achebe would put it: we need to know where the rain started to beat us.

Igboland in Historical Perspective

There is evidence that the Igbos have been in their present location in South East Nigeria for the last 5000 years. As I showed in the 1982 Ahia­joku lecture, the Igbo culture bears the imprint of the forest location where the culture developed, for example, in the rugged individualism, which is emblematic of the people. As the Igbo Ukwu bronzes attest by 968 A.D., the culture had blos­somed into a sophisticated civilization whose ge­nius is underscored by the fact that the quality of the Igbo Ukwu bronzes was clearly better than the Benin and Ife bronzes that came along 500 years later.

It has been suggested that there is a 500-year hiatus or gap in the tapestry of Igbo history; this it has been speculated could have arisen as a result of an epidemic rather than war. The recovery of the civilization had just started when the depreda­tions of the slave trade was visited on the people and with it the colonial interregnum. History teaches that unlike the situation in other parts of Nigeria and West Africa, the occupation of Igbo­land was a protracted and piece-meal affair, which was achieved literally village by village as a result of the decentralized political organization of the people.

While this must account for the republican temper of the people, it has also bred a short-term perspective in the people’s appreciation of their history, which can often be mistaken for a lack of the sense of history. What is more, it does explain to some extent, the misunderstanding and under rating of the achievements of the culture by the colonial authorities. The important point to note is that the history, politics and culture of the Igbos bear the imprint of their ancient origin, of their adaptation over the centuries to their environment and of their salient difference from their latter day compatriots, the Yorubas and the Hausas. When the Igbo man attempts, often unsuccessfully, to imitate the political and cultural usages of these latter day compatriots, he does a grave injustice to himself and to his roots. The justly recognized, feared even if resented industry, drive and intel­ligence of the Igbos are the consequences of their successful adaptation and acculturation to their forest environment. “Man know thyself” is an advice that the Igbo can use with great benefit and which should breed in them a degree of circum­spection, caution and discretion in the adoption of foreign modes and usages rather than the loud and often ostentatious mien that we present to the outsider. It should breed in us a resilience of spirit and an inward looking and proud affirmation of who we are rather than the self-deprecating and whining disposition that seems to have overtaken us and particularly the younger generation. For it must be stated with some pride that the zest and zeal with which our people embraced western education and which enabled them in thirty short years (1934 – 1964) to overtake and some may say to “dominate” the social, political and economic landscape of modern Nigeria was unprecedented. Indeed, the exploits of the scientists and profes­sionals in the Biafran war and after were in itself a worthy testament of the genius and resilient spirit of our people. No other African group in modern times have shown as much pluck and serendipity. There is, therefore, a lot to be proud of.

The Contemporary State of the Igbo Nation

Most unfortunately, the current reality and por­tents extant in the Igbo heartland are different and often discouraging. On the social front, we project a picture of a society, which is not only fraying at the edges but one whose center seems unable to hold together. From one homestead to anoth­er, from one community to the next and indeed throughout the five states of the Igbo homeland, there is disaffection and a general lack of the sense of solidarity and social harmony; chieftaincy dis­putes, violent crimes, youth restiveness, lack of trust in one another is shown in various ways – it is often as if no one in particular is in charge. There is a general lack of respect for the elders and for the leaders.

On the political front, it is as if there are no more rules. It is no longer the politics of service and decorum as we saw in the days of Zik and Okpara but rather a cash and carry political sys­tem in which the highest bidder is the victor no matter how unsavory his/her political past may have been. The leaders of the political system at the local, state and national level are often men of questionable credentials and past. It is as if a sense of responsibility and integrity has become hindrances rather than aid to the emergence and sustenance of a leadership elite that cares and serves the people.

The result is the abandonment of the politics of principles and ideas for the rule of the mob-thugs and toughies are often the ones that dictate political outcomes. The result has been a general repudiation and lack of interest in the affairs of the community and the state by members of the professional and leadership elite.

 

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