The Sun News » Opinion http://sunnewsonline.com/new - Voice of The Nation Wed, 08 Jul 2015 02:14:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.5 Godwin Maduka: A quintessential philanthropist http://sunnewsonline.com/new/godwin-maduka-a-quintessential-philanthropist/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/godwin-maduka-a-quintessential-philanthropist/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2015 01:12:21 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=126353 What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” ]]>

By Emma Umerah

What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”

The above dictum by the erstwhile African nationalist and President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, best describes the pristine virtue of human existence, which is founded on kindness, gregariousness, amiability, generosity and love. 

For the people of Umuchukwu Community in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Dr. Godwin Maduka is an embodiment of impactful living. Like a meteor, he was destined by providence to burn so that their world may be lighted. He was described in the programme of event for Umuchukwu Day of Thanksgiving to God in 2007 as “one whose magnanimity has touched every sphere of human endeavour within and outside his immediate environment” all in succinct recognition  of his numerous strides in improving the lots of his people.

Born to the family of Maduka in the then Nkerehi (now Umuchukwu) community in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State, the young Maduka had his early childhood education in the country before proceeding to the United States of America where he studied Chemistry, Pharmacy and Medicine excelling in all these academic disciplines in flying colours.

Dr. Godwin Maduka bagged a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from Rut College Holy Spring Mississippi in 1984 and a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree from Mercer University of Pharmacy Atlanta Georgia in 1988. He equally completed his Internal Medicine Internship at the University of Tennessee School of Medicine with a Doctor of Medicine Degree before proceeding to the prestigious Harvard University School of Medicine where he completed his Graduate Medical Training, specializing in Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Management in 1997. He is the founder of Las Vegas Pain Institute which focuses on the unique needs of each individual pain patient and development of new levels of relief for all types of pain. He is a recipient of the prestigious “Heart Beat of Africa Award”.

Particularly striking about the personality of this great Nigerian is the fact that unlike his compeers in diaspora, Dr. Maduka never allowed the allure of western life and the concomitant prevailing culture of individualism becloud his sense of communitarian living that is the hallmark of traditional African societies. Hence, he has consistently kept in touch with his local communities through his numerous laudable developmental projects, which span education, economy, transportation, religion, water resources, leisure and recreation, peace-building, hospitality, employment and human capital development, youth empowerment, charities, security, health and philanthropy to mention a few.

Prior to Dr. Maduka’s interventions, Umuchukwu Community which shares common boundary with Abia State virtually had no government presence. The community could only boast of a dilapidated Community Primary School with no secondary school nor hospital, police station and motorable road. He commenced and single-handedly completed the construction of St. Jude Catholic Pro-Cathedral Umuchukwu including a huge mansion for resident priests and in addition sponsored the church to become an independent parish. He also built Umuchukwu Civic Centre, Umuchukwu magistrate Court complex, Umuchukwu Nigeria Police Station made up of four one-storey buildings, and one five-storey and a two-storey block for Trinity Hospital and Maternity with fully equipped ambulance services. Others include the construction of the ultra-modern Immaculate Concept International College together with teachers’ quarters, a magnificent edifice for the traditional ruler of the community reminiscence of the kind of abode inhabited by traditional rulers in other parts of the country and donated exotic cars to ordained priests from the community as well as to other well-meaning indigenes of the community.

Dualization of Owerre-Ezukala-Umuchukwu as well as Umuchukwu-Ogbunka roads were all possible thanks to the kind generosity of Dr. Godwin Maduka who also has, at different occasions, defrayed the cost of accumulated electricity bills of his people amounting to millions of naira all in an effort to ensure that his people never stayed in darkness.

Other areas of interventions by this illustrious African include renovations of St. Paul’s Anglican Church Umuchukwu the residence of the Parish Priest of the said church as well as the comatose Community Primary School; provision of free medical services to indigent indigenes of the community, and award of scholarship to more than thirty persons studying in various institutions of higher learning.

Dr. Maduka has equally built houses for the less privileged both in Umuchukwu and Owerre-Ezukala, a neighbouring community. His youth empowerment programmes span also the provision of soft loans, cars motorbikes and buses to youths and youth groups in the community. He has, through his contacts, secured employment to many graduates even as he has provided succor to the aged, bereaved and infirm.

As a way of boosting the moral and spiritual rejuvenation of his people, Dr. Maduka spearheaded the siting of monastry at Umuchukwu and actually doled out millions of naira in materials and logistics to make that dream a reality. He embarked on gigantic rural water scheme and by so doing successfully delivered clean potable water to his people and the inhabitants of neighbouring communities. This singular initiative has enhanced the health conditions of his people as it has effectively curtailed outbreak of water borne diseases and other communicable diseases that hitherto ravaged the community. He also constructed two bridges linking Umuchukwu and Ogbunka and by so doing strengthened inter-communal relationship between the two communities.

Even in the face of needless provocations and bile by a few disgruntled individuals in the community who at a point elected to disparage, impugn  this great icon of generosity for standing for the general good of his people, Dr. Maduka has remained undeterred, firm, unfazed and fearless according to his own conscience in the service of his people. Little wonder he has resolved to set up a state-of-the art pharmaceutical plant at Umunze. Work is also ongoing at the fourteen storey Community Building Complex which upon completion would serve many purposes including recreation, shopping malls, conference venues and so on for various government and non-governmental organizations.

•Umerah writes  Lagos  via emma11umerah@yahoo.com

 

]]>
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/godwin-maduka-a-quintessential-philanthropist/feed/ 0
Arase and repositioning of Nigeria Police http://sunnewsonline.com/new/arase-and-repositioning-of-nigeria-police/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/arase-and-repositioning-of-nigeria-police/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2015 01:08:28 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=126351 The appointment of Solomon Arase as Inspector-General of Police (IGP) by former President Goodluck Jonathan will undoubtedly go down in history as one of his best decisions while he held sway.]]>

By Ojay Itua

The appointment of Solomon Arase as Inspector-General of Police (IGP) by former President Goodluck Jonathan will undoubtedly go down in history as one of his best decisions while he held sway. Although many had questioned the refusal of the former president to appoint the quintessential police officer as IGP long before he did, it is still safe to conclude that ‘it is better late than never’.

The image of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) had long been seriously battered. ‎Universally, it is a well-known fact that the Police is one of the most important organs of government as it has the responsibility of maintaining law and order in the society. Despite this fact, there is a love-hate relationship between the Nigeria Police Force and Nigerians. The reason for this unfortunate scenario and mistrust is attributable to a number of reasons; chief amongst them is the long and sustained history of police officers who have taken advantage of innocent civilians they are supposed to serve and protect. As a result of this, Nigerians are usually not sympathetic when Police officers fall victim of hoodlums. In fact, the NPF is often derided and looked down upon by Nigerians and this is not helped by the fact that police officers are notorious for collecting bribes from drivers at checkpoints and roadblocks, which the new police boss immediately disbanded nationwide upon assumption of office. On top of that, Arase is coming at a time that the country is waging guerrilla warfare against Boko Haram Islamists. As can be imagined, this creates another dimension to his job as Nigeria’s number one Police Officer.

Clearly, the task before the new Police Boss is well mapped out and seems daunting but it is also interesting to note that Arase is adequately equipped and trained to change the wrong perception about the NPF and bridge the perceived gaps between Nigerians and NPF. I would like to briefly throw some light to corroborate the fact that this Edo-born Police boss is pre-eminently qualified to take the NPF to the next level.

Arase was born in Sapele, Delta State on June 21, 1956 but hails from Oredo Local Government Council of Edo State. He enlisted in the NPF on December 1, 1981. The cerebral Police boss bagged a degree in Political Science from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1980 and subsequently proceeded to study for his Masters’ Degree in Political Science from University of Benin which completed in 1998. He went further to study for a degree in Law and obtained his Bachelor of Law in 2001. He also completed his LL.M in Corporate Management and Finance Law in 2004.

Arase is touted as the most educated and enlightened Police Boss in the history of the Force. He is a Fellow of the Nigerian Defence College (FDC). He has travelled extensively and studied in some of the best universities in the world. For instance he completed the National Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety at Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA in 2011 and 2013. He attended the workshop on Identifying Key Needs and Developing Training Best Practices on Counter Terrorism in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, with focus on Counter-Terrorism, Rule of Law and National Security Management.

Arase has had an interesting career as a police officer as he has occupied several key positions at various times. He served as the Deputy Commissioner of Police, State CID, Panti-Yaba, Lagos between 2009-2011. He then served as Commissioner of Police in Akwa Ibom State Command from August 2011 to March 2012. Arase was elevated to the post of Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Force Intelligence Bureau at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, from March 2012 to August 2014.

Since his appointment, Arase has repeatedly told those who care to listen of his plans to completely change the face of policing in Nigeria and to reposition the Police to deal with the challenges of modern law enforcement. It is clear that it will no longer be business as usual in the NPF and Nigeria as there is a new Sheriff in town. For hard-working and dutiful Police Officers, handsome rewards await them. However, there are difficult days ahead for the crooked, indolent and inefficient.

In a recent interview with one of the national dailies, Arase outlined some of his dreams and vision for the Force. Hear him: “We are really concerned about our community relationship with the members of the public. We have issues with perception management in the NPF. That, we are trying to change. We cannot do that without partnering with the communities.”

Continuing, he said: “That informs why we are planning a summit where we will be able to partner with the various communities. The issue of insurgency cannot be solved by policemen alone. We need the public to give us information which can be processed into intelligence for us to be able to deal with the problems.

“The country is very vast and there is no way 350,000 police officers can cover the security space. We need to really get members of the public and the communities involved. We are not allergic to criticisms. Once they are constructive and can create a pathway for us to follow, we will be very happy,” the IGP further stated.

Arase then promised to give Nigerians the best Police Force they require. Unlike in the past, Arase is ready to ensure that police officers place high premium on respecting the rights and dignity of every Nigerian. He is ready to build a Police that is comparable to even the best-run Police in the world.

His words: “I can assure Nigerians that we want to give them the best Police Force they require. The rights of Nigerians are paramount. I do not like it when people are detained indiscriminately without sufficient evidence. We can do things better in line with international best practices. This is exactly what we want to do.

“We also observed that the capacity of our officers has to be heightened. We are concerned. I am very passionate and concerned about the welfare of inspectors and rank and file. If I am not talking about corruption, I must be able to put something in place to discourage my officers from being corrupt. During their course of duty, I should be able to provide my men bottles of water or snacks.

“Those issues we can put in place to discourage corruption will be done. We have platforms through which people can interact with us. Our website: www.stopthebribes.net is robust. The people can interface with the platform. We analyse it on a daily and weekly basis. Areas where these things are prevalent, I tell the commissioners to take action. If the commissioners and area commanders are doing their job, mine will be just to provide strategy and leadership.”

Arase has definitely demonstrated capacity to give Nigerians a police force that is responsible and humane especially with the support of the public.   So, if you are a Nigerian or you live in Nigeria, this is the time to put the country first. Remember security is everyone’s business and Arase needs the support of Nigerians to reform the NPF and build an institution that can cope and manage policing challenges in a modern society. He also needs the support of every Nigerian to tackle the raging insecurity and other social vices that plague our society. Let us all support the change Solomon Ehigiator Arase represents.

•Itua is a Public Affairs Analyst

]]>
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/arase-and-repositioning-of-nigeria-police/feed/ 0
An education agenda for Buhari http://sunnewsonline.com/new/an-education-agenda-for-buhari/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/an-education-agenda-for-buhari/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2015 01:07:08 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=126349 With the inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s 5th democratically elected President, expectations are high across the land of a new beginning for the country. ]]>

By Kunle Akogun

With the inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s 5th democratically elected President, expectations are high across the land of a new beginning for the country. It is obvious that Nigeria is currently hemorrhaging in all sectors of the economy. The education sector, in particular, is currently battling with corruption, inadequate funding, inadequate access by qualified students to university education, deficient curriculum content that results in the yearly production of virtually unemployable graduates, low quality of teachers at all levels, as well as steady dwindling performance of students in public examinations, among others.

It is a well-known fact that any nation that truly desires to attain all-round economic development must have a sound education sector that will enhance human capital development. This is why the Buhari administration must make education one of its cardinal priorities and give it the urgent intervention it requires.

It is true that the immediate past President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, made some efforts towards increasing access to tertiary education with the establishment of more universities across all geo-political zones of the country. But this in itself could at best be described as mere palliative. For, shorn of the political end that such indiscriminate proliferation of universities were meant to serve, every right thinking individual knows  that what the country actually needed was the expansion of the facilities in existing public universities and improvement in the quality of the instructions they dole out to their students. Thus, rather than just establishing more universities that could not be adequately staffed with qualified lecturers, the right thing to do would have been to ensure that existing ones are properly equipped and adequately funded for optimum performance.

To be sure, the paucity of admission opportunities into Nigerian universities is one of the toughest challenges facing Nigerian youths today. Despite meeting all admission requirements including excellent performance at university-organised post-UTME examinations in addition to making above cut-off marks in the almighty JAMB entrance examinations, many admission seekers yearly fail in their attempts to get into the universities.

The reason for this is simple:   All the nation’s 147 or so universities could only admit about 520,000 of the 1,735,720 students that sat for last year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). The University of Ilorin that is reputed to be the most subscribed university, by admission seekers, for instance, could only admit just 12,000 of the over 105,000 candidates that applied to the University in the 2014/2015 academic session.

The truth is that the current carrying capacity of the accredited tertiary institutions in the country is abysmally low. This scenario has not only driven many promising youth out of the shores of the country in search of university admission, it has also fuelled the proliferation of fake and sub-standard ‘private universities’ in the country to which desperate admission seekers fall victims every year.

This situation is a serious cause for concern and all hands must be on deck to rescue the nation from the spectre of sub-standard and ill-trained manpower in the future, a situation that could arise if the army of graduates from some of foreign ‘universities’ eventually pour back into the country.  In view of this, there is a need to increase the capacity of Nigerian tertiary institutions to be able to accommodate more admission seekers. The Buhari administration should, as a matter of urgency, revisit the mega-varsity plan mooted some time ago by the Jonathan administration. In one of its meetings in April 2013, the National Economic Council (NEC) recommended to the then Federal Executive Council the conversion of one university in each of the six geo-political zones of the country to the status of a Mega University.

The recommendation was informed by the need to expand the number of intakes by creating universities that will be able to admit up to 200,000 students each, at a go, as against the present less than 10,000 admitted yearly by some of the biggest universities in the country. The thinking is that when the scheme takes off, the six mega-universities would be able to collectively admit up to a maximum of 1.2million students yearly. If this happens, the number of qualified admission seekers that are yearly denied places in the nation’s tertiary institutions would be drastically reduced.

However, as forward-looking as this proposal seemed, that administration failed to get it off the drawing table. Meanwhile, the number of admission seekers in the country keeps rising every year, with the concomitant result that more and more desperate admission seekers are being driven to fake degree mills.

The creation of these mega universities could be one of the best first steps to be taken by the Buhari administration, as it would be a desirable remedial measure to tackle university admission problems in the country. And if this is done, the University of Ilorin should be considered for the slot of the North-central Zone, while the University of Lagos could get the South-west slot, the University of Benin, the South-south slot and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, could be given the South-east slot. The North-west and North-east slots could go to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and the University of Maiduguri, respectively.

Another sore thumb in the nation’s education sector that yearns for urgent presidential surgical attention is the sickening non-employability of most of the graduates being churned out yearly by the nation’s tertiary educational institutions. No fewer than 1.8 million young Nigerians pour yearly into the almost saturated labour market. Statistics have shown than more than 60 percent of these “freshly minted” graduates are patently unemployable while less than 10 percent get absorbed into the labour market, one way or the other.

It is an open economic secret that Nigeria is currently facing what could be described as “The paradox of economic growth without development”. This is as a result of the country’s unemployment crisis in the face of national economic growth, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). On the average, Nigeria’s GDP has witnessed a relative growth when compared with the economies of many countries in the world. This growth has, however, not translated into job creation, as hundreds of thousands of graduates and other school leavers remain unemployed several years after leaving schools. Economists have described this unfortunate situation as “jobless growth”, as, unlike the reported growth in some other economies, Nigeria’s has been a case of “growth without development”.

One of the reasons for this situation is the deficiency in the country’s education curriculum, especially at the tertiary level, which places undue emphasis on theoretical contents at the expense of the practical components.

•Akogun is the Head, Corporate Affairs, University of Ilorin

 

]]>
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/an-education-agenda-for-buhari/feed/ 0
Another bloody bombing season http://sunnewsonline.com/new/another-bloody-bombing-season/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/another-bloody-bombing-season/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2015 01:05:39 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=126346 It has, indeed, been a very bloody season in the country as Boko Haram insurgents intensified their campaign of terror with bombings in Maiduguri, Potiskum, Kano, Kaduna and Jos, which left scores of Nigerians dead and many others injured.]]>

walesokunbi2010@yahoo.com,08111813039

Wale Sokunbi CURRENTS


It has, indeed, been a very bloody season in the country as Boko Haram insurgents intensified their campaign of terror with bombings in Maiduguri, Potiskum, Kano, Kaduna and Jos, which left scores of Nigerians dead and many others injured.

At a time that Nigerians expected that we would have gotten a handle to this insurgency problem and be making some headway in the battle to kick the insurgents out of the country, the Boko Haramists appear to be digging in and sending a strong message to the country that the change of government in Abuja has not in any way diminished their appetite for blood, and their capacity to exact it from the Nigerian people at will.

It has become necessary for the government and all men and women of goodwill in the country to put on their thinking caps and begin to think of an ingenuous way out of the Boko Haram debacle. It would appear now that no one can really claim to be safe in the country, especially in the northern parts, as bombs may go off in markets, schools, churches and, indeed, anywhere that people gather in large numbers in those areas. With the reported movement of over 40 Boko Haram suspects to the Ezinifite/Ekwulobia Prison in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State in the Eastern part of the country, and the growing population of hundreds of persons of indistinct origins flooding into Lagos in the Western part of the country as okada riders on a daily basis, it may just be a matter of months before we have a conflagration that will not be limited to the Northern part of the country.

In this regard, the protests against the movement of Boko Haram suspects to the Eastern part of the country are not at all misplaced. The spreading of the suspects to prisons in other parts of the country, when the offences for which they are being held were committed in the North, could be the beginning of the expansion of the theatre of Boko Haram to that part of the country, more so as the prison has been reported not to be a high security facility. With the penchant for jail breaks in places where the insurgents are kept, who says that Boko Haram would not launch a daredevil attack on the prison to free its members one day?

On a serious note, the time has come for the new government to review its strategies against this insurgency. Nigerians cannot live forever with reports of deadly attacks and killings of scores of innocent Nigerians almost on a basis in the country.

It is good that President Muhammadu Buhari began his campaign against the sect with the engagement of the support and cooperation of neighbouring countries who are now part of the coalition against the insurgents. He has also visited a number of other foreign countries, including France, to seek support for the war against insurgents. He has also released billions of dollars for the fight against terror and has been engaging military chiefs, promising and giving them all the support they need to win this war.

It would appear, however, that all these initiatives are not achieving the desired results, at least not just yet.

So, what next? As sad as it would appear, it seems that the dialogue option is once again on the table. The Federal Government has said it would not oppose negotiations with the group if it decides to opt for it.  President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has advised the sect to accept the olive branch.

While the consideration of a possible dialogue with the sect may appear to be a sign of weakness on the part of the Federal authorities, and has, in fact been opposed by some residents of the affected communities, it may not hurt Nigeria to engage the insurgency on its own terms to arrive at an end to this insurgency. While the prospect of victory over Boko Haram on the battle ground is possible, it is certain to come at a very huge cost in the blood of Nigerians and money that the nation can ill afford.

One thing is clear. And, that is the need for new strategies to end this insurgency. The mindless killings have gone on for too long. This is the time for ingenuity and quick thinking in the effort to bring it to a halt.


Re: NASS leadership: Another uppercut for APC


By Alex Obioha

Thank you for your opinion of Wednesday, July 1, 2015.  I wish to state that NASS Standing Orders 28, 29 and 31 do not really mean that the persons for said offices must be selected by the NEC or leaders of the ruling party. I think that people are reading a different meaning into the orders because it has been the practice with previous ruling political parties.If you look again at the explanation clause or conclusion of each of the orders in reference, it states respectively, for each of the offices or leadership positions as follows: The …. leader shall be a senator nominated from the party with the highest number of senators. This clause means from the party. It did not say political party executives or office.Also, if the nomination and election is to be conducted in the National Assembly, it simply means that the right to nominate is with the members of the party in the Assembly with the highest number of senators.It is believed that the party may want to influence such nominations and elections as has been the case for some time now but the said orders did not strictly or specifically assign such right to party executives. Nigerians should   also understand that the NASS is a unique body like every other union, association or organisation. It is incumbent on the members of the body to elect their own officers. You will agree with me that change is a difficult phenomenon and sometimes always resisted by those who wish to maintain the status quo. If change is the mantra of the ruling party and Nigerians voted for it, I believe that we are now seeing change in action.

The truth is that change in the NASS partly started with the PDP during President Obasanjos tenure and manifested fully during the last government. Therefore, the present ruling party should be wise to accept the change that has taken place. Otherwise, its members will frustrate themselves and governance.Finally, as the era of political godfathers is dead, this era of overbearing party influence in such institutions will die.

•Pastor Obioha writes from  Abuja

 

 

]]>
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/another-bloody-bombing-season/feed/ 0
Jega’s exit and the uncertainty in INEC http://sunnewsonline.com/new/jegas-exit-and-the-uncertainty-in-inec/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/jegas-exit-and-the-uncertainty-in-inec/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 01:50:07 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=126235 President Buhari’s directive to INEC National Commissioner, Amina Zakari, to take over the reins of the organisation few hours after the exit of Professor Attahiru Jega is untidy. ]]>

BY Olufemi Olusola

President Buhari’s directive to INEC National Commissioner, Amina Zakari, to take over the reins of the organisation few hours after the exit of Professor Attahiru Jega is untidy. This is because Jega had just handed over to another National Commissioner  in the organisation prior to his exit from the agency after his five-year tenure.

The president should have been properly advised that as long as the tenure of the national commissioners subsists, the chairman could always hand over to any of them. This is the way it had been done whenever Prof. Jega was outside the country or Abuja. He usually handed over to any of his colleagues without recourse to the president. The chairperson cum leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not like any other appointment the way the presidency seemed to have wrongly construed it in this instance. The power of the president to appoint a chairman and members of INEC and other executive bodies under sections 153 and 154 in particular can only be exercised in consultation with the Council of State and the confirmation of the Senate after screening.

The president cannot act alone on the appointment of the Chairperson of INEC as he has done, but as required by the constitution, given the sensitivity of the election management body. The position of an Acting-Chairperson of INEC does not appear in any statute empowering the president to so act, where it may occur in contingency as on this occasion, this is a matter inherent in the independent actions of the Commission. There is no provision in the constitution that gives the president power to direct routinely who should be an acting chairman. Insofar as there are commissioners whose tenure subsists, handing-over to one another is a routine administrative process that hallmarks the independence of INEC. What has taken place now is a direct incursion, if not invasion, of the independence of the election management body.

Eternal vigilance, the saying goes, is the price a free democratic society must pay to retain its democratic rights, especially the right of democratic choice of its leaders at periodic elections. All sons and daughters of Oduduwa and Nigerians value this political right above all other rights and are ever ready to champion, defend and protect a body like INEC from being a tool in the hands of any individual or groups. Never again should Nigeria be returned to the Prof. Maurice lwu era, particularly after Prof. Jega’s commendable achievements, particularly in the area of growing public confidence in the electoral process.

The people of the South West whose votes along with those of other Nigerians brought this new government, expect that everyone, particularly President Buhari, who is a beneficiary of an INEC headed by Jega, would ensure that anyone who is to take over from Jega, should be someone that commands public confidence, trust and must be untainted and free from the baggage of nepotism. One thing that Nigerians and the world would credit and remember former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan for, is his appointment of Prof. Jega that was universally applauded, as well as his non-interference in the administrative affairs of INEC, which led to a significant improvement in the electoral process, such that an opposition party could win the last general election.

Unexpectedly, the exit of Professor Jega has unwittingly exposed the new government of President Buhari as someone who all lovers of freedom must pay close attention to. We need to note the unfolding script and the very disturbing development in INEC. This recent event calls to mind the restraining advice of our late sage, Pa Obafemi Awolowo in 1986. This was on the eve of the take-off of the Ibrahim Babangida-organised Political Bureau meant to fashion a governance framework. Awo declared that “whenever Nigerians expect that a new dawn has come, they would be disappointed”.. .

To be fair, thirty days is not enough to assess a new government but for us in the South West who voted for and gave President Buhari the much-needed constitutional requirement of 25%, which he never got from the three geo-political zones of the South in his three previous unsuccessful attempts, except the 2015 General elections, but now the South West is being told or reminded daily that its votes are less in value to other zones with bogus figures and as such, do not deserve certain positions.  However, the people of the South West can see early enough a clear danger to our most cherished value of freedom of choice for the sons and daughters of Oduduwa in future elections.  Hence, we would not stand by and watch the take-over by an individual or groups who may eventually destroy a very key national institution like INEC, by the choice of a leader made few hours after Prof. Jega’s exit. More than ever before, Nigerians are now interested in who takes over after Prof. Jega and the entire composition of that commission.

The curious replacement of one Ambasador Wali whom Professor Jega handed over to with Alhaja Amina Bala Zakari by the Buhari administration few hours after his exit, given her well known and established family ties with the president, that both cannot deny, poses a worrisome and very early significant threat to the independence of the national electoral commission, an institution that all Nigerians should protect and watch very closely. Professor Jega it was reported, between  the 1st and 2nd of June 2015, wrote to the Presidency informing it of his impending exit by 30th June, a fact the government ought to be aware of from administrative diligence.

However, until the morning of Professor Jega’s exit, government did not respond. Why? Given the exit dates of the national electoral commissioners, with Alhaji Wali expected to exit statutorily by August 11th, 2015, and Alhaja Zakari by July 21st, 2015, Professor Jega handed over to Ambassador Wali. A very sensible and logical decision, considering the ample time the government may require to appoint a new substantive chairman and national commissioners under section 154 of the constitution. Jega handed over to the National Commissioner with a longer exit date. But, his decision was upturned within hours, without thought for the wider ramifications of this action  for the independence of INEC, public impression of the ruling party and other stakeholders in the country.

•Dr. Olusola,  Secretary, South West Sustainable Electoral Process Study Group, writes from Ibadan.

 

]]>
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/jegas-exit-and-the-uncertainty-in-inec/feed/ 0
Why we should not stampede Buhari http://sunnewsonline.com/new/why-we-should-not-stampede-buhari/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/why-we-should-not-stampede-buhari/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 01:48:41 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=126233 A new dawn and epoch of optimism has been bequeathed on the Nigerian landscape by the decisive victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the March 28 2015 presidential poll. ]]>

BY ENUMA W. OKOLI

A new dawn and epoch of optimism has been bequeathed on the Nigerian landscape by the decisive victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the March 28 2015 presidential poll. The victory, indeed, followed a long drawn battle which had the whole country, nay, the continent and the world, on edge. There were palpable fears that the country could implode and descend into unimaginable chaos.  However, the aftermath of the elections made many believe that President Buhari’s victory was divinely ordained, as all naysayers and doomsday prophets were proved wrong. Rather than the predicted doomsday scenario, the whole country was enveloped in   relief, joy and peace following the victory of the ‘Peoples General’. This has understandably triggered off great expectations.

These high expectations of the majority of Nigerians are not totally unexpected, given the level of rot and uncertainties on our national landscape prior to the presidential polls. Hence, the victory of President Buhari can be adjudged as the outcome of “the peoples’ referendum” on who should direct their affairs for the next four years.

Since the swearing of the president into office on May 29, a lot of “water has passed under the bridge” as the proverbial saying goes. One thing that has gained currency and prominence is the legendary impatience of majority of anxious Nigerians at the perceived slow pace at which the Buhari administration has taken off. Just as informed watchers have predicted, the burden of expectations which the Buhari administration is likely to face from many Nigerians is enormous. It has, therefore, become imperative to set the records straight, so as to help manage the expectations that people have of the new administration.

The haste which many impatient people want the new administration to embrace cannot be in the best interest of Nigeria   and Nigerians. This is because of the fact that a meticulous and deliberate process of administration is certain to be more beneficial for the greater interest of the country at this time. From the reports of the transition committee headed by the respected Ahmed Joda, it is obvious that the new administration of President Buhari is starting from a shaky ground. This points to the fact that there is a Herculean task before the new administration.

It is also public knowledge that the previous administration did not pass on vital information to the Joda-led transition committee almost throughout the interregnum between the elections and swearing in. Not surprisingly, this slowed down the pace of the transition committee and delayed it in coming out with a comprehensive report about the general state of things in the country.  It is this report that is expected to “chart the road” and serve as a working template for the new administration of President Buhari.

If we take a cursory look at the trajectory of past events in the country, we will observe that most of the policy flip flops and policy reversals with their attendant confusion and distortion in the polity were caused by haste and inadequate study of policy trends and objectives.

The country has suffered much from this in the past, and we cannot afford to continue to follow this same path of “too much motion and too little movement”.

A corollary to this fact is for us to appreciate the size and state of the country/federal bureaucracy which Buhari is inheriting. In order for a smooth take off of this new administration, comprehensive and careful planning needs to be carried out.

In project management and administration, the need to get the planning stage right is very important. This is because all other stages in the project /administration life cycle depend on the planning stage. Once the planning stage is gotten right, it can be taken for granted that all other things will work well if meticulous care is applied.

The best analogy that suffices here can be likened to the foundation of a high rise building which must be solid and deep enough for the entire high rise building to stand upon.

Nigerians should give the President enough time to plan the trajectory of his administration, because if this is done, we shall all benefit tremendously from it.

Besides, for the “change” mantra of the administration to be really meaningful to all and sundry, much time needs to be dedicated to the planning process for a full maximization of the different dimensions of the change we so much desire.

It is also trite to remind us of the level of rot in the system which this administration is inheriting as well as the financial constraints imposed on oil producing nations globally by the drop in oil price. Most sectors of the Nigerian economy are at their nadir point. With the economy in so such a bad state, part of strategies which the Buhari administration has adopted to bail the economy out of its dire straits is the desire for a very lean government. This is expected to lead to a drastic cut in the number of ministries and even federal parastatals. This commendable approach of the new government requires time, so that a workable framework for the operation of the expected change can be produced. The anticipated effect of this is the expected savings the government will make in overhead costs which will be ploughed back into the development of critical infrastructure.

Another area in which some critics have attempted to stampede the new administration is in the delay in constituting the new federal cabinet, and the appointment of persons into other key offices. Most of us can attest to the modest and silent achievements of the administration in the past one month, even without key appointments being made.

The modest achievements in the improvement in the general security situation, the reduction/near absence of vehicular queues at filling stations across the country, the improvements in the power situation, the expected commencement of operations by the nation’s refineries, the goodwill and renewed interest in Nigeria by the international community and so on show that there may be no direct correlation between the time of setting up a federal cabinet and achieving positive results. Besides, the ascension of the Buhari administration into office can be likened to a people’s revolution, based on a desire for a fresh start. In other words, painstaking search needs to be carried out to identify credible Nigerians who share the passion and vision of the People’s General for a new Nigeria.

The issue of appointments needs not be over-flogged as there is existing precedence set by previous administrations where appointments into key offices were not done for as long as sixty days after the inception of those administrations.  It is important for us to appreciate the president as someone who has been around for some time. Nigerians should rest assured that he is not coming to lead a rookie administration.

By nature, the president is not given to impulsiveness. He cuts the image of an administrator who always thinks through his actions before he takes them. When such actions are eventually executed, the finesse of such actions is enduring and clear for all to see.

The Buhari administration is a project for all Nigerians in which everyone is a stakeholder. Hence, we should not attempt to stampede the administration, but rather support it for the general good of all.

•Mr. Okoli is the author of President Buhari’s biography: General Muhammadu Buhari: Principled and Transparent

 
]]>
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/why-we-should-not-stampede-buhari/feed/ 0
Buhari and the principle of Nkiruka http://sunnewsonline.com/new/buhari-and-the-principle-of-nkiruka/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/buhari-and-the-principle-of-nkiruka/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 01:47:20 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=126231 The 2007 presidential election had come and gone, we had ‘lost’ our petition at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (the Court of Appeal) in which we were misrepresented as having ]]>

By Mike Ahamba

The 2007 presidential election had come and gone, we had ‘lost’ our petition at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (the Court of Appeal) in which we were misrepresented as having proferred evidence from only four states when, indeed, we had evidence from 33 states properly documented, and our appeal at Supreme Court was pending. I had rushed to the United States for my routine medicals usually under the guidance of my younger sister, Rev (Dr.) Ruby Ibekwe. It was late in September when the alarm rang out that I was afflicted with a serious ailment which required urgent surgery.

I worried very much about what would be the fixture of our presidential petition appeal hearing at the Supreme Court which was being expected at the time. Ruby was scared that I was so concerned that I had, in fact, made it clear to her that I would submit myself to surgery only after my address before the Supreme Court.

A combined effort of my sister and her friendly colleagues yielded a Robotic Surgeon at Methodist Hospital, Houston. Date fixed was 27th October, 2008. Robotic surgery is very expensive. I informed General Muhammadu Buhari and he dispatched substantial assistance. I was grateful for this, but that was not what touched me most.

About mid-October, I got news that hearing had been fixed for 23rd October, 2008 at the Supreme Court. There would be only three days between the hearing and the fixed date for the surgery. Flight time would reduce it to less than a day. But, pre-surgery tests and examinations required at least seven days. I told my sister that the surgery had to be postponed. An argument ensured. The husband, Dr. Sam Ibekwe, intervened.

But, I informed them that I would feel better if things went wrong in the Court in my presence, not in my absence. I told them I had disconnected my reverse gear on the issue, and insisted on further postponement of the surgery.

I then called G.M.B and told him about the effect of the Supreme Court fixture on my surgery date. It was at this point that he made a statement that really touched me very much. He said: “Mike, please if your coming for this case will put your life in any type of risk, forget the case, it is not worth your life” Then he added ‘please Mike, allow your doctors to decide.” I thanked him.

However, I insisted on going home.Fortunately, my doctors said that there was not likely to be any change in my health condition within two months. Thank God, the Robotic surgeon co-operated and rescheduled me for 4th November, 2008.

I came back to Nigeria and addressed the Court on 23rd October, 2008, and proceeded from the Supreme Court straight to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport en route USA same day feeling very relieved.

As President Obama was being elected, I slept under anesthesia for 111/2 hours. I was supposed to recuperate for at least two months in the USA post surgery. But I came back after three weeks promising to keep all the rules, and I did, substantially though. I was, in addition to the Presidential Petition, concerned about the Niger State and Kaduna State Governorship election appeals then also pending.

Judgment day at the Supreme Court was fixed for 12th December, 2008. By the grace of God, I was able to attend, camouflaging my problems effectively. The Justices came in, and I listened calmly as a lead judgment that had no business with the record of Appeal was read out by Hon. Justice Niki Tobi (retired). If the Court of Appeal judgment was an assault on individual conscience, Justice Niki Tobi’s lead judgment was like taking me to a judicial abattoir for dissection. The election was no longer the issue; Mike Ahamba was. I found myself in both physical and emotional pain in Court that day.

At the end of the 4-3 majority judgment, lead counsel from all sides addressed the Court. When it came to my turn, I struggled, I must confess, against succumbing to emotion. So, I cut it short and simply said: “Thank you My Lords, ‘Nkiruka’!”’. And I resumed my seat. The CJN (Presiding) asked with apparent anxiety: ‘what does that mean?’ I responded that the Igbo word simply meant that the future was greater!

I recollect the occasion now because the future has proved to be greater for G.M.B. How prophetic that divine-directed statement has proved to be. Buhari is now President of Nigeria! This could not have been contemplated on that afternoon of 12th December, 2008.

The future will always be greater for those who do not stay down on being knocked down, but do stand up and slug on. Twice under my watch G.M.B was knocked down with below-the-belt blows. He did not stay down. The third knock down was not under my watch; but he did get up a third time. Now the mission is accomplished.

‘Nkiruka’ is a principle of faith to be clung to by the courageous, the resilient, the perseverers, the patient, and the objective-driven persons. G.M.B had in his political efforts exemplified the principle in this simple Igbo name usually for females.

I verily believe that this life which we all live is a video clip shot by the Almighty God Himself. What we see is what is momentarily on the screen, our today.

Our knowledge of what the next scene, the tomorrow, portends is denied us by our Creator. The principle of ‘Nkiruka’, as an elixir of hope and drive into the unknown tomorrow, sustains the dynamics of life. It sustains achievers, it has sustained our G.M.B.

So, for our dear country, for all of us the citizen thereof, and even for our new President, my message remains: NKIRUKA. We must in unity look forward to that future, collectively protect and preserve it to make it greater as General Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, President, Federal Republic of Nigeria has done.

Congrats, Mr. President. May Nigeria be further blessed through you while once again, I solemnly declare: NKIRUKA!

•Chief M. I. Ahamba, SAN, is the Ugo Lorji

 
]]>
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/buhari-and-the-principle-of-nkiruka/feed/ 0
Fire-storms in Buhari’s plate http://sunnewsonline.com/new/fire-storms-in-buharis-plate/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/fire-storms-in-buharis-plate/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 01:45:56 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=126229 TRANSITION from one government to another can sometimes be painful and frustrating. The pain is more and the frustration even undesirably bad politically,]]>

Tuesday with Dan Onwukwe

08111813033

dan_onwukwe@yahoo.com


TRANSITION from one government to another can sometimes be painful and frustrating. The pain is more and the frustration even undesirably bad politically, when a party new in power begins the task of governance with internal crisis and the President being accused of having a sectional agenda. This cannot be the best way President Muhammadu Buhari would have wished for.

No newly inaugurated administration would ever wish to have started in such a seeming disarray as the All Progressives Congress(APC) after 16 years in opposition. Sadly, the greater part of President Buhari’s 39 days in office has been spent defending a ledger of accusations rather than enunciating policies that will meet huge public expectations.

In the last couple of days, the President and his party, have found themselves in this dug in position. While the crisis in the APC over the election of its principal officials remains unresolved, the President is accused by some people, of pursuing a “Northern agenda”. All of these have created a voracious appetite for drama and cheap gossips.   The fact that a President is not judged as other men, issues about him, or against him, should not be seen as frivolous gossips. They are matters of public interest. Let’s first  put in perspective, the allegation of a ‘Northern  agenda’. It began way back during the electioneering campaigns in 2014.

Then, a former Inspector General of Police, and Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum(ACF), Ibrahim Coomassie, apparently in a fit of desperation ,flew off the handle like a loose canon. He said the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Cngress (APC), as Buhari was then, had been adopted candidate of the North, and as reported by a section of the media, will pursue a largely norther interest if elected President. He later denied he made such comment.

In a similar, petulant manner, the Chairman of the Northern Elders Forum(NEF)and former Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Prof. Ango Abdullahi, whose incendiary comments in the past had created hate along ethnic and religious lines re-affirmed Coomassie claims. This may have cost Buhari a lot of votes in the South- South geo-political zone in particular.

Nonetheless, Buhari won. It is heartening to observe that many northern elites don’t support Coomassie and Ango Abdullahi’s sectional position. But the fear persists regarding the nature and spread of the President’s  appointments. Will it reflect federal character or sectional interests?.                                                                    What’s responsible for this allegation? Well, quite a few developments, top of which are the President’s recent appointments, which are said to be lopsided in favour of the North. On the surface of this allegation, it is a popular argument by the President’s critics, even though it’s too early in the day to rush to such conclusion that Buhari is a President of the “North” or that he has a “Northern agenda”.   But look at the appointments he has made so far. There are about eleven of them. Few of them will suffice here: Mrs. Amina Bala Zakari is Acting Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (Jigawa State); Director, Dept. of Petroleum Resources, Mordecai Danteni Baba Ladan, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris (Kano), State House Chief of Protocol, Mallam Lawal Abdullahi Kazaure, the Aide De Camp, Lt. Col. Muhammed Lawal Abubakar.  It is however heartening that the President’s spokesman,  Mr .Femi Adesina has swiftly denied that the President was acting a Northern script. According to Mr.Adesina, the President has a “national agenda”, and that he(Buhari)received a “national mandate”. All that the President’s media aide said are obvious, that is to say, Buhari received a popular vote. What’s not obvious however is whether the President does recognise that he would not become President by the votes of the North only.

Nonetheless, President Buhari should be given the benefit of the doubt. All the same, it bears repeating that it will be uncharitable to pigeon-hole the President as “belonging” to a section of the country. There are hundreds of appointments available to the President to make, including ministerial and board appointments. It’s therefore too early to say how the day has been until the sun goes down. Every section wants to belong, not to be treated as “outsiders” in the polity. I want to believe that the President is acutely mindful that his candidacy was almost overshadowed by unsubstantiated allegations that he was a northern irredentist.

The President should not make the mistake of allowing himself be defined by critics as to what kind of President he is or what shape his presidency will take in the next four years. The whole country is his constituency. He “belongs to all”.

But, questions continue to be asked if indeed the President and the ruling APC are ready to governor rather if the President is not overwhelmed already by the challenge of the office. Those who make such claims point to the harvest of crises that  bedevil the party in the National Assembly and the inability of the President to form his cabinet more than five weeks after he was sworn in.

All of these, it must be said can affect the performance of the President and the fulfillment of his promises. Insecurity remains a present danger as it was during Jonathan presidency, if not worse. Boko Haram is making in-roads beyond the their safe havens in the North East. Weekend’s multiple attacks in Zamfara which claimed at least thirty lives, the suicide attack inside a church in Potiskum, Yobe state in which five persons, including a pastor were killed, and the bomb blasts in Jos which claimed 44 lives and 47 injured, are clear evidence that President Buhari is having a firestorm in his plate. He should not lose sight of the fact that one of the things that got him elected was the incapacity of the former administration to rein in the insurgents and his(Buhari’s) own assurance to give Boko Haram a bloody nose.

Available statistics show that about 450 Nigerians have been killed by the insurgents in 35 days under Buhari’s watch. That is horrendous enough to give critics the audacity to claim that Buhari is not better than the man he replaced or as may be as “clueless” as the ex-president.


]]>
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/fire-storms-in-buharis-plate/feed/ 0
Celebrating Nigerian Army at 152 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/celebrating-nigerian-army-at-152/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/celebrating-nigerian-army-at-152/#comments Sun, 05 Jul 2015 23:40:25 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=126090 BY SANI KUKASHEKA USMAN The history of the Ni­gerian Army dates back to 1863 when Lieutenant Glover assembled mostly north­ern able-bodied men to protect the Royal Niger Company, which was re­ferred to as the “Glover Hausas”. Since then, the Army has undergone transformation in nomen­clature, size and weap­onry. Today, it is embark­ing on Army Aviation [...]]]>

BY SANI KUKASHEKA USMAN

The history of the Ni­gerian Army dates back to 1863 when Lieutenant Glover assembled mostly north­ern able-bodied men to protect the Royal Niger Company, which was re­ferred to as the “Glover Hausas”. Since then, the Army has undergone transformation in nomen­clature, size and weap­onry. Today, it is embark­ing on Army Aviation and boasts of modern so­phisticated weapons and training institutions that not only train its officers and soldiers, but civil­ians thus, contributing to knowledge and national development.

Although the exact date Lt Glover formed his Glover’s Hausas is now faded, the 6th of July came to be adopted as the Nigerian Army Day. The day became significant because it marks a turning point in the history of Nigerian Army. It marked the day when the Nige­rian civil war began in 1967 to keep the country united. It is on record that the first shot of the war was fired on 6th July 1967 Garkem, near Ogoja in present day Cross River State.

Many would question the cel­ebration when the nation is still at a war with one of the most terrorist groups known in hu­man history- the Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) – for almost five years. Indeed the Army and of course all Nigerians have cause to rejoice and cele­brate the Nigerian Army for its longevity and accomplishments more so given its recent spate of successes in the fight against terrorism and insurgency in Ni­geria.

The Nigerian Army has gone through a lot within the last one year: the fight against in­surgency; vilification by some sections of the public, media and most unfortunately, Am­nesty International. It was able to weather the storm and re­mains ever strong, a bastion of national security and rallying point of national unity.

Since the last celebration in 2014, the Army has accom­plished so much in the areas of training, procurement and administration that helped in turning the tide against the terrorists. It now has a new aviation wing and established a command and control cen­tre at the epicentre of the war against terror. Sometime ago, some personnel of the Nigerian Army exhibited cowardly be­haviour and took to their heels at the sight of approaching ter­rorists. Today, however, the story has changed as soldiers are now pursuing insurgents re­lentlessly. The show of solidar­ity, support and understanding of Nigerians at the most trying moments of the Nigerian Army is worth celebrating.

So many detractors among whom were highly placed per­sonalities and retired senior military officers have tried, albeit unsuccessfully to tarnish the name and reputation of the Nigerian Army but the encour­aging resolve of majority of Ni­gerians to stand solidly behind their Army is heartwarming. Nigerian soldiers have recap­tured and dominated all the ter­ritories hitherto held by Boko Haram terrorists including Baga, Gwoza, Marte, Bama, Monguno, Dikwa, Michika and Mubi amongst others.

The Nigerian Army has made tremendous sacrifices in ensur­ing the safety of lives and prop­erties of Nigerians. We have lost so many precious lives of officers and men in the cause of securing our great nation from the terrorists and other crimi­nals such as illegal oil bunker­ers, kidnappers and armed rob­bers.

Despite these laudable achievements recorded in the last year however, the 2015 Army Day celebrations will be low keyed.Conscious of the mood of the nation and its all-important constitutional duties especially as regards the de­fense of the territorial integrity of our dear nation, the Nigerian Army cannot presently afford elaborate celebrations with dis­plays, pomp and pageantry as was the case in the past. This year’s celebration was solemn based on commitment to the successful conclusion of the fight against Boko Haram ter­rorists and the recognition of the sacrifice of our officers and soldiers. It is also to honour our departed colleagues who have recently paid the supreme sacrifice in the defence of our country.

Part of the activities that marked this year’s NADCEL was special prayer and wreath laying at the military cemetery in Maiduguri. This is particu­larly significant because apart from the prayers, it goes a long way to show the bond between those that paid the supreme sacrifice in Operation Zaman Lafiya and their surviving col­leagues. Similarly, those most deserving would also be pre­sented with medals for their bravery and perseverance.

It is important to again as­sure Nigerians that, officers and men of the Nigerian Army are really conscious of our con­stitutional duties and the high expectations of Nigerians.

Therefore, more than ever before, the Nigerian Army is determined to destroy Boko Haram terrorists’ camps, en­claves and wherever their op­erational bases might be locat­ed. However, we appeal for the continued support, prayers and understanding of the public. Nigerians should see the fight against terrorism and insurgen­cy as a collective responsibil­ity. The Nigerian army owe it a duty to support and encourage the army to enable it succeed.

.Colonel Usman is the Act­ing Director Army Public Re­lations, Nigerian Army Head­quarters Abuja

]]>
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/celebrating-nigerian-army-at-152/feed/ 0
Ahaneku’s giant strides at UNIZIK http://sunnewsonline.com/new/ahanekus-giant-strides-at-unizik/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/ahanekus-giant-strides-at-unizik/#comments Sun, 05 Jul 2015 23:37:51 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=126088 BY CHIDI EBERE The environment at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Uni­versity, Awka (NAU) otherwise known as UNIZIK is currently exciting. The University has never had it so good since it was established. UNIZIK came into being as an offshoot of the defunct Anambra State University of Technology (ASUTECH) which was es­tablished through Law No. 7 of [...]]]>

BY CHIDI EBERE

The environment at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Uni­versity, Awka (NAU) otherwise known as UNIZIK is currently exciting. The University has never had it so good since it was established. UNIZIK came into being as an offshoot of the defunct Anambra State University of Technology (ASUTECH) which was es­tablished through Law No. 7 of July 30, 1980 by the Gov­ernment of the old Anam­bra State and operated as a multi-campus university, with campuses in Abakiliki, Enugu, Awka and Nnewi.

In 1991, following the split of the old Anambra State into Anambra and Enugu states, the Awka and Nnewi campuses of the former ASUTECH were merged to form Azikiwe Uni­versity by the Anambra State Edict No.5 of November 26 1991. Nnamdi Azikiwe University was taken over by the Federal Gov­ernment by Decree No. 34 of July 15, 1992 during the admin­istration of Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife. In other words, UNIZIK was established in 1992 but the institution is today living to its true meaning.

Certainly, the institution’s present status as a leading Uni­versity in Nigeria is by no means accidental. It is made possible by the drive, mission and vision of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Eberendu Ahaneku. In his one year of administering the Uni­versity, Prof. Ahaneku has really proved the Governing Council of the institution right for the great confidence reposed on him by choosing him ahead of the oth­er contenders who vied for the number one position exactly one year ago. In his maiden address to the staff and management of the University shortly after he took over from his predecessor, Ahaneku stated that he would ensure a well defined ideal cul­ture and institutional character in the University by promoting the institution’s values which as enshrined in the motto of the school as Discipline, Self reli­ance and Excellence. He charged the staff and management of the University to rededicate them­selves to commitment, ideals and be focused in their services to the institution, to always re­gard themselves as models in the society.

In many ways than one, the VC’s charge was well received by the staff and management while the students are already reciprocating the good gestures. Based on his pledge to pursue excellence in academics, sci­ence, technology and agricul­tural centres aimed at reducing unemployment in the society and producing well groomed graduates, Prof Ahaneku has steadily been leading UNIZIK to scores on enviable heights in academic glories as well as improving on the physical de­velopment of the institution. For instance, under his super­vision, the Biotechnology Cen­tre of the school now produces distilled water. The centre has commenced the production of distilled water and ice laboratory for pharmaceutical purposes. It is still within this period that a student of UNIZIK, 21 year old Sandra Muna Okorie won the Most Beautiful Face in Nigeria and it was highly celebrated both in the university community and beyond. While that euphoria was still on, UNIZIK under Ahaneku recorded another feat as a staff, Ogboso E. Ogboso took first po­sition in African Arts Exhibition held at Eagle Square, Maitama Sule Abuja between July 18 and 24 2014. With these develop­ments, the gate was opened for a deluge of beautiful performanc­es from UNIZIK students and members of staff.

The entire UNIZIK communi­ty was upbeat as the Mechanical Engineering Department made a great breakthrough in construc­tion and research by constructing a mobile vehicle named Autozik car. While viewing the wonder car, the VC, expressed happiness over the breakthrough. It was with the same excitement that greeted Dr. Dan Chukwu who became member of the Council of Historical Society of Nigeria just as UNIZIK Research Team took first position in Nigeria As­sociation of Petroleum Geolo­gists Competition. This excep­tional feat qualified the UNIZIK team for the Imperial Barel Award held in March this year.

On his part, the VC has en­sured that the process of admis­sion into the University is now very effective and efficient. His words: “You would have noticed that we have upgraded our ad­mission style and processes to what I consider the 21st Century Approach whereby we, not just depended on the old analogue style of evolution”. Most things in the university have being digitalized. Following JAMB’s release of results, the university applied the same measure JAMB used in screening their candi­dates for the JAMB exams, by deploying the level of technolo­gy; the Biometric capturing used that to authenticate the candi­dates who presented themselves for admission in the 2014/2015 sessions. When more than 405 candidates abandoned the exams and ran away; those who came impersonate.

About 88 candidates were ar­rested and handed over to the se­curity agents who processed and charged some of them to court on the basis of exam misconduct”. Truly admissions into UNIZIK follows due process and are or­derly conducted. Ahaneku has also done very well in the Con­tinuing Education Programme and the result has been very won­derful as traders and artisans can now be differentiated from the real students who have come to the University to read and study. The VC has equally been practis­ing what he is teaching the same way he has been rewarding ex­cellence and punishing failures and those who promote laziness.

On physical infrastructure, Ahaneku is struggling with com­pletion of the university main gate which was awarded by his predecessor and he has made a pledge to complete and commis­sion other structures like the Faculty of Arts Building and Science Village including the Main Entrance very soon.

The VC made the following assertion shortly after he was elected as the administrator of federal institution: “This institu­tion, Nnamdi Azikiwe Universi­ty, is named after the legendary and Great Zik of Africa, the man who was adjudged as Nigeria’s greatest political Evangelist. Zik was an African statesman, path­finder of the Nigerian national­ism and a proud Blackman.

In other words, UNIZIK should be standard bearer in quality education and our aim is to ensure that this university is graded as the best in Nigeria, one of the first 10 in Africa and among the world’s leading insti­tutions of higher learning”. In­deed, the VC, Ahaneku has been living up to expectation since he was voted the University’s helmsman almost one year now.

For instance, under his ad­ministration, Ahaneku started his dream plans on making the University an enviable citadel of learning and one of the best not just in the country but on the continent. To this effect, the VC commenced the completion of the Arthur Eze Main Avenue of the Campus and the Emeka Of­for road. These roads have been asphalted. With these accom­plishments, his next four years in the University will really make Institution one of the best, not just in Nigeria but in Africa.

.Ebere writes from Awka.

]]>
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/ahanekus-giant-strides-at-unizik/feed/ 0
South Sudan’s nightmare http://sunnewsonline.com/new/south-sudans-nightmare/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/south-sudans-nightmare/#comments Sun, 05 Jul 2015 23:37:02 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=126086 BY COSMAS ODOEMENA The war in South Sudan has continued to es­calate and ravage the poor nation with no end in sight and it seems much of the world hardly takes notice. Lives are lost at an alarm­ing rate that in certain places where it is worst, people no longer bother to count the number [...]]]>

BY COSMAS ODOEMENA

The war in South Sudan has continued to es­calate and ravage the poor nation with no end in sight and it seems much of the world hardly takes notice. Lives are lost at an alarm­ing rate that in certain places where it is worst, people no longer bother to count the number of the dead. Civil war is like a body in self-destruc­tive mode. It is the worst thing that can happen to any nation. Recovery can take years. Even with that the scar remains.

In what has been termed a “senseless war” civilians have become the main target as sol­diers of the two warring sides have no time for rules of en­gagement. Children watch their parents’ throats slit and they too have become victims of the mas­sacre. Boys have been castrated and left to bleed to death. Girls as young as eight have been gang raped. Some were raped and burned alive.

Children who should be in school have become soldiers without even knowing why they are fighting. An estimated 1.5 million people are now refu­gees. Hunger and disease com­pete with the soldiers for lives to take.

For a once promising nation, it is tragic to see South Sudan’s dream turn to a nightmare.

There was this uneasy feeling when South Sudan was celebrat­ing its independence as a new na­tion that made me write an opin­ion piece published in the July 21, 2011 issue of The Guardian, it was entitled “More hurdles for South Sudan.” I told South Su­dan to celebrate with “restraint” for I had a “déjà vu.” I also said President Kiir may be raising the Constitution too early. That there might still be need to work on it. Perhaps in a country as diverse as South Sudan, a true federal system of government might be better.

I had added “Unfortunately, the way African countries are structured has always made it hard to exorcise completely the ghost of colonisation, and the attachment to ethnicity, sectari­anism, and tribalism. Soon, the South Sudanese might begin to fight over the national cake. It is then they will remember “I’m Dinka,” “I’m Murle,” “I’m Nuer.” “Or, “Hey, the oil is on our own soil” No, it is our turn to rule”, and before you know it another carving knife. And the cycle begins.” I advised that “The country must guard against these.” I asked that “A proper political structure must be put in place.” And that “It should take care the infamous word “Ko­kora” derived from Bari local language which literally means ‘separation’ doesn’t come to haunt it.”

I also advised their leaders to read any book on how to be a bad leader, so that way they will know how to rule. I concluded with “This new country cannot afford to fail. The snigger that would resound from its detrac­tors will be deafening. Many Sudanese will genuinely miss their “kin,” but you can’t rule out a Pharaoh, and a few Egyp­tians.”

This was a country that the world had a lot of hope for. This is America’s foreign investment gone awry. When a lengthy and bloody war between the Suda­nese government in the north and the South separatists raged on President George W. Bush put his weight behind those in the south. President Bush also helped in the peace agreement in 2005 which brought about inde­pendence in July 2011. Bush and Mr. Kiir became close friends so much so that Bush gave him a Stetson hat which has become Kiir’s trademark.

The ethnic and political strug­gle between President Salva Kiir, and his former Vice Presi­dent, Riek Machar, has been responsible for a war that has turned internecine. A country that is not even four years yet has become the continent’s great failure.

It all started in December 2013 when President Kiir who is of the Dinka ethnic extraction, fin­gered Mr. Machar, who is a Nuer of plotting a coup. It divided the military, and other ethnic groups supported either of them, and in no time South Sudan began to bleed. All efforts by President Barack Obama’s administration, the United Nations and the Afri­can Union to broker peace have failed so far.

Perhaps South Sudan is a les­son to those who are fixated on breaking away from another country, that it is no guarantee that there will be peace in the new nation. Power is coveted in South Sudan because whoever has it has control of the nation’s oil.

The latest peace move by Ke­nya’s President Uhuru Kenya with the two warring leaders, like earlier moves, has led to nothing. But the country needs all the help it can get. America midwifed its birth, so it must do more. Russia and China as allies cannot fold their arms.

There should be tough sanc­tions not only on the government but also on their big business men who may be heard by both sides. Arms embargo should be imposed.

Illiteracy has a large role to play in this war. Only 27 percent are literate, and so, many dwell on ethnicity and tribalism over nationalism. Also, as many are not educated they don’t have skills for jobs or to create them. So tribes compete over few gov­ernment jobs. And if one tribe is seen to be more favoured with the jobs the government is seen to be unfair, leading to strife.

New schools should be built which bring the various tribes together to build unity and na­tionality. South Sudan’s leaders also need tutelage on democracy and the rule of law.

It is unfortunate that the gen­eral elections which were billed for 2016 have been shifted till 2018 because of breakdown in ceasefire agreement. A free and fair election can go a long way. The extension of Mr Kiir’s tenure by whatever reason, no matter how genuine, will pro­long the war unless something changes.

We know Nigeria has its own problems but it must not lose its “birthright” as Africa’s big brother. President Muhammadu Buhari should use Nigeria’s ex­perience in Liberia to also help bring peace to South Sudan.

Suffering South Sudanese are in a desperate situation. They need all the help they can get.

.Odoemena, medical practi­tioner, writes from Lagos.

]]>
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/south-sudans-nightmare/feed/ 0
PEOPLE’S PARLIAMENT http://sunnewsonline.com/new/peoples-parliament-2/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/peoples-parliament-2/#comments Sat, 04 Jul 2015 23:44:23 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=126010 By SHOLAOSHUNKEYE 08056180011 sholaoshunkeye@yahoo.co.uk Dear readers, there is only one word to describe your reactions to the views that I have expressed on this page since I resumed writing some weeks back: exhilarating. Your letters came in del­uge each Sunday. Whether positive or negative, they are very illuminating. And I would be doing myself a great injustice [...]]]>

By SHOLAOSHUNKEYE 08056180011 sholaoshunkeye@yahoo.co.uk

Dear readers, there is only one word to describe your reactions to the views that I have expressed on this page since I resumed writing some weeks back: exhilarating. Your letters came in del­uge each Sunday. Whether positive or negative, they are very illuminating. And I would be doing myself a great injustice if I fail to let people hear your own ‘side of the stories’.

Consequently, the column is de­voted to you today. And we shall be doing this as occasion demands. Enjoy.

ON YUGUDA AND WIVES

 

PROBE THE VANDALS

If Nigeria must get out of the fi­nancial mess plaguing the nation as of today, if the precedence for accountability must be set for our leaders, now is the time to probe the immediate past administration at all levels. Witch-hunt or no witch-hunt, vendetta or no vendetta, our people cannot continue to suffer or governments continue to cry for paucity of funds and borrow to meet the needs of the people while money that could be recov­ered from these vandals is enough to revive the economy. That is the change Nigerians craved for.

-Sam Muoh, 07061392936

GOD, I FEEL LIKE KILL­ING SOMEBODY

Shola, I agree with you completely on your article titled: Yuguda and Wives. May your pen never run dry. But the issue is: if the present governor had been Yuguda’s choice for a successor, from the same PDP, those cars would not have been recovered not to talk of making it public. Honestly, I feel like killing somebody. May God help Nige­ria.

C.O. Nwachukwu, 08063623521

FIRING SQUAD FOR THIEVING OFFICIALS

If you experience the pains that majority of the citizens undergo in in this country order to feed every day, you will advocate for the shoot­ing of Yuguda and his co-travellers. That should be their reward.

-Anonymous, 08182773468

WHY THIEVING GOVERNORS SCRAMBLE FOR SENATE…

I just read Yuguda and Wives for the second time. At first, I had thought it was about a family af­fair, then, I saw that it was another classical case of squandering of Nigeria’s riches. What you forgot to add is that the mega stealing that these past governors perpetrated in their states is the very reason they all scrambled to go to the Senate so they could get another immu­nity to cover their tracks. These are the type of rogues naïve Nigerians are looking up to for ‘Change’. God help Nigeria.

-Romanus Ndehigwo, 08024209181

Idiiroko, Ogun State

SHOLA, YOU’RE AN APC LOYALIST

Your columns are replete with blame game and APC mentality. It seems you are an APC loyalist in disguise. You mean if you do not criticize past administration, you won’t write again?

Anonymous, 08038904822

LIKE BAUCHI, LIKE RIVERS…

Re-Yuguda and Wives made a strong point. Your case invariably justifies Gov. Wike’s own current moves, i.e. government cars’ sei­zure from aides of his immediate predecessor, which many are fault­ing. But in my own opinion, prob­ing all pasts will be fairer and more justifying. It will make the whole approach look more robust and meticulous. Your piece is very ap­preciated.

-Archangel Onyeazor, 07060517030

Abuja.

INSTRUCTIVE AND TIME­LY…

Shola, I find your column, Yuguda and Wives, not only interesting and timely, but more importantly, ana­lytical, patriotic and informative. Your last three concluding para­graphs were indeed instructive and constructive. Thanks.

D.H. Bell, 08034347850

HELP BUHARI CLEAN THE AU­GEAN STABLE

You nailed it (the matter) right on the head. All right-thinking in­dividuals should support the new government’s efforts at cleaning the rot in our polity. Nigeria will be great again.

-Uchechukwu Ezeogu, 08030548032

Abuja

Re: OUR CONSUMERIST ASSEMBLY

NATIONAL LEGISLA-THIEVES AND N8.4BN DRESS-UP ALLOWANCE

Dear Mr. Oshunkeye, attempting to justify the squandering of N8.64 billion on ‘dress-up’ allowance for National Legis-lat-thief Houses should long have ceased from be­ing bizarre to nice, honest-to-heav­en, God-fearing folks like you. The first query should be as regards the type of government we run. Does Nigeria’s brand of democracy showcase a near example of the Greek definition of the word? Hard­ly! What we have here is a combina­tion of Boethusian-plutocracy and witchcraft that thrives on the blood of the community. The day truly Nigeria becomes one nation would be the day we shall take back our neighbourly oppressors and build our Nation for us all.

-Michael Iheanacho, 08037509247

Lagos

NIGERIANS ARE NO FOOLS

Shola, true as your concerns in OUR CONSUMERIST ASSEMBLY are potent and worrisome, we must be careful about the way we anal­yse issues. Survival of Nigeria is an all-encompassing responsibility. The jumbo pays to legislators had been there before this 8th Assem­bly.

If the previous governments had put estates in place to accommo­date subsequent sets in progres­sive form, from 1999, the issue of housing allowance for the federal lawmakers would not have arisen by now. From the calculation of your data, each of them would take N19 million per annum, which is less than what some Corporate Ex­ecutives earn for such. How many Nigerians make honest income that some legislators are playing holier-than-thou with promises to donate theirs to assuage unpaid workers’ salary? Balderdash! Nigerians are no fools. A reduction might trigger a bill asking for cuts in salaries; en­compassing all economic outfits in Nigeria. Hell let loose?

-Lai Ashadele, 07067677806,

Lagos.

THIS IS NOT THE CHANGE WE VOTED FOR

Shola, I congratulate you on your article, OUR CONSUMERIST AS­SEMBLY. With regards to the much trumpeted ‘Change’, let it be known that we only changed names and nothing more. When you sell dog and buy monkey, a squad of ani­mals is in the home. If a lawmaker goes home with such staggering amount of money just to dress up, then, where is the change they are all crying about?

-Longy Otumbadi Ihedi, 08022343934

WHY THEY KILL TO WIN ELECTIONS

After reading your piece, OUR CONSUMERIST ASSEMBLY, the first question I asked myself was: what did the RMAFC have in mind by allocating such salaries and al­lowances to our NASS members? It is It is incredulous. It is not ordinary. I suggest it is high time Nigerians rose and opposed this open rob­bery by the very people we elected to represent us. No wonder some politicians would go to any length to win elections. We all should pro­test against prodigal behaviour.

-Uzomba Kanu J.,08032910874

Isuikwuato

MATTERS MISCELLA­NEOUS

STOP THE BABEL; GET TO WORK

We seem to be in a season of criticisms. The PDP is always lam­pooning APC, and vice and versa. But common sense should tell Ni­gerians that these co-criticisms are not for the interest of the nation but their own selfish interest. In fact, if I had my way, I would clamp the mouths of all politicians to prevent them from speaking with both sides of their mouths. Rather than all these talk-talk, APC should settle down to serious issues of governance, while PDP engages in constructive criticisms and do less to distract President Buhari.

-Romanus Ndehigwo, 08057907482

Idiiroko, Ogun State

THAT SHOW OF SHAME BY (DIS)HONORABLE MEMBERS…

What happened in the lower chamber of the National Assembly because of leadership positions is very unfortunate. It is a show of shame for the (dis)honourable members. Their conduct is a na­tional disgrace.

The earlier they understand that they are representing the people who voted them to power, and who expect them to deliver dividends of democracy, and not punches for democracy, the better for all of us. They must know that they are not there for their self-interest or mak­ing money. Nigerians would not accept any stupid brawl again. The show of shame in our legislature must stop. The international com­munity is watching us.

-Chika Gordon Nnorom, 07084644222

Umukabia

SARAKI AND ALL THAT…

It is time for Senator Bukola Saraki to celebrate his position as President of the Senate because he worked against the wish of APC and other Senators.

Gordon Chika Nnorom.egbemode

]]>
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/peoples-parliament-2/feed/ 0
Senate beyond the noise http://sunnewsonline.com/new/senate-beyond-the-noise/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/senate-beyond-the-noise/#comments Sat, 04 Jul 2015 23:25:35 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=125980 BY YUSUPH OLANIYONU It is just three weeks since the Eight Senate was inaugurated on the proclamation pre­pared by President Muhammadu Buhari. Since then, a lot has happened within the institu­tion which under normal circumstances should have attracted positive attention from members of the public, including the ardent critic of the nation’s legislature. However, all [...]]]>

BY YUSUPH OLANIYONU

It is just three weeks since the Eight Senate was inaugurated on the proclamation pre­pared by President Muhammadu Buhari. Since then, a lot has happened within the institu­tion which under normal circumstances should have attracted positive attention from members of the public, including the ardent critic of the nation’s legislature. However, all the develop­ments in that upper chamber of our legislature had been overshadowed by the din emanating from the circumstances in which its leadership emerged.

The quest and hunger for sensationalism and controversy by the press and its audience as well as the deliberate propaganda by a power group in the polity has made it impossible for people to see the Senate beyond the externally propelled and inspired schemings, quarrel and struggle for power that at­tended the election and selection of its leadership.

After the June 9 inauguration in which Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki was elected Senate Presi­dent, he has continued to articulate the issues which he believed should be the focus of the eight Senate. The man had talked about the need for the Senate in particular, and the National Assembly, as a whole, to be prepared to support the programmes, poli­cies and projects of President Buhari with enabling laws, motions and moral force necessary for their accomplishment. The President had spoken about addressing the issues of security, unemployment, corruption, development of agriculture and mining as ways to diversify the economy, improving on power and fuel supply, among others.

The Senate President therefore believe there is need for the federal legislature to develop a legisla­tive agenda which will complement the identified direction of the Presidency. There are two indica­tors that can give anybody the direction that Saraki is already nudging the Senate. One is the various groups that the Senate President has hosted so far. Another one is the committees that he has set up and the address to the visitors and the committee members.

The Senate President had deliberately opened his office doors to visitors who can be of help to the realisation of his plans. First to visit was the civil society. They visited Senator Saraki exactly a week after his election as Senate President. Their visit was to open discussion with the Senate President on how to create an open, transparent and just process in the affairs of the federal legislature.

In his address to the group under the aegis of Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) and Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Saraki said the 8th Senate has an agenda to bring the lawmak­ing process through broader participation. “ We are determined to have a more focused legislative session that will prioritise on bills that will help us deal with revenue leakages, inculcate accountabil­ity, reduce impunity and ensure prudence in our public governance through a concerted oversight function”.

He enjoined the civil society to help “galvanize civil support and provide field feedback that will enrich the deliberation and implementation of these agenda”. “We believe that this will further enrich our democratic process, guarantee public buy-in and ultimately empower our people”. The ultimate aim of engaging with the civil society is “to help the government of the day to actualise its policy agenda of reducing unemployment, infra­structure renewal, improvement of the business environment, power generation, justice delivery and agriculture”.

By June 24, the next critical group of visitors were the National Executive Council members of the Nigeria Bar Association led by Mr. Augustine Aleghe (SAN). The Senate President believe there is need for partnership between the bar and the law making institution so that the instrumentality of the law can be used to effect the positive change that APC promised Nigerians in the last general elections. He told the senior lawyers that “ the NBA has been at the forefront of advocating and advancing legal and political reforms in Nigeria (and) the change that our people voted for is in line with the ideals the NBA has consistently advocat­ed over the years : better justice system, account­ability, improved business environment , reform of the criminal justice system and the advancement of our people’s rights and opportunities”.

He said the federal legislature under his leader­ship aim to help the executive plug the loopholes in the revenue mobilization and management sys­tems which have made accountability of public funds very weak, leading to brazen corruption and mismanagement in the system.

From now on, he said the Senate will improve on the budgeting process to make it easier for scru­tiny, interrogation and accountability.

Saraki appealed to the NBA to help the Senate to achieve a reform of the justice system to im­prove justice delivery system, strengthen alterna­tive dispute resolution systems, reduce delay in courts, improve our people’s confidence in its processes and incentive arbitration and remove regulatory bureaucratic bottleneck.

Then, the oil sector operators gathered under the umbrella of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce to discuss with the Senate President. The Senate President used the occasion to articulate the ob­jective of the Eight Senate which included part­nering with the government on how to deal with the common challenge of falling price of oil in the international market.

“We are desirous of having an oil industry comparable in structure, systems and output with international best practices…The oil and gas in­dustry in Nigeria needs to evolve . We know the importance of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in making this happen”, the Senate President’s speech directly posed a challenge to the team led by Mrs Elisabeth Proust, the Managing Director of Total Oil.

As he told the OPTS, the Senate President in an earlier speech while receiving the delegation from Shell Production and Development Company led by the MD, Mr. Osagie Okunbor stated that the falling oil price presented a golden opportunity for the oil companies to retool and become much more efficient and proactive.

“It is high time we eliminated gas flaring in the country, deal with oil spills and third party related spills in a manner that is responsible and just to those affected”, he said. He expressed the willing­ness of the Senate to work with operators in the oil industry to ensure that the PIB is passed into law to stimulate investment in the industry.

“We are open to your suggestions and opinion on how we can move the industry forward so that investment decisions are not tied down. We are determined to ensure that our partnerships endures and we can do our best to promote the growth of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria so that it becomes an index for measuring interna­tional best practices, competition, transparency and environmental friendliness”, he said.

In the last three weeks too, Saraki played host to envoys from United States, Britain, China and France, all of whom came to assess the man and listen to his agenda, particularly to judge whether he shares the same goals and objectives with the new President of Nigeria. However, all the en­voys had left fully satisfied that a compe­tent, mature, exposed and intelligent man is heading the new Senate and that there is no cause for alarm in the synergy that will exist between the two critical arms of government in Nigeria that is destined to change for the better.

Incidentally, the Senate President had used all the occasions to also tell his guests about the two committees he inau­gurated on June 25 with the aim of mark­edly defining the road map for the Senate. The Committee on Finance of the Senate is billed to submit its report this week. The report is aimed at opening up the financial process in the Senate for public scrutiny so that members of the public can easily access the facts and figures on the finances of the institution. The plan is to eliminate rumour and exaggeration concerning the budget and funding of the senate. This will encourage accountability, transpar­ency and financial discipline in the Senate.

As for the committee on Legislative Agenda, their duty is to develop a plan of action for the Senate. The primary aim of the plan is to improve on service de­livery to the people.. This plan of action becomes the barometer and standard with which members of the public can measure the success or otherwise of the Eight Sen­ate. Thus, the Senate is putting itself up for public scrutiny, judgement and periodic assessment.

Accompanying the Senate President to these sessions were Senators from the two parties who also use the occasion to familiarise themselves with the goals and objectives of the new Senate leadership. One would think that debating some of these plans, goals and objectives emanat­ing form these sessions with degrees will help the legislative institution to grow and serve the purpose for which the members are elected, rather than focusing on the is­sue of what complexion the leadership has and which camp they belong to or who is sporting their candidacy.

Olaniyonu is Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to the Sen­ate President.

]]>
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/senate-beyond-the-noise/feed/ 0
Strategic cultural agenda in the season of change(2) http://sunnewsonline.com/new/strategic-cultural-agenda-in-the-season-of-change2/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/strategic-cultural-agenda-in-the-season-of-change2/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 23:25:26 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=125914 REFLECTIONS  BY OLU OBAFEMI SMS Only: 08033341157  Email: omoajon@yahoo.com We may pretend not to know, or are genuinely oblivious of it that there is Ideologi­cal brainwashing and the reversion of the history and values of Ni­geria through foreign hegemonic propa­ganda, generating internalized inferior­ity complex and cultural cringe resulting in cultural alienation within the global context. All [...]]]>

REFLECTIONS  BY OLU OBAFEMI SMS Only: 08033341157 
Email: omoajon@yahoo.com

We may pretend not to know, or are genuinely oblivious of it that there is Ideologi­cal brainwashing and the reversion of the history and values of Ni­geria through foreign hegemonic propa­ganda, generating internalized inferior­ity complex and cultural cringe resulting in cultural alienation within the global context. All of these have the potential of weakening our nation’s sense of cultural identity

For a long time now, piracy and the syndicated theft of Nigeria’s intellectual property, especially in the areas of antiques, artefacts, books, music and film, have ravaged our cultural industry.

Furthermore, we are condemned, so to speak, to art entertainment and education through the Tubes. The unsafeness of the streets at night for theatre productions compels obsession with home videos and popular culture fad. We do not say this to demean the home video culture, but it is its growing dominance co the utter exclusion of other performance traditions that we call at­tention to.

Worse still, and on the sociological and eco­nomic plane, the material poverty of the citizens which makes it difficult for them to patronize leisure and entertainment industries limit the growth potential of our cultural industries, which in paradox, is an important potential source of our national recovery.

We restate the vibrant opportunities that lie in wait for our nation through change of attitude to our culture and its virile, untapped industries. A government which is founded on the premise of change must seize these opportunities which I just, again, highlight below;

Pre-colonial cultural, material commonality. Our diverse cultures bound us and seal our des­tinies. There linguistic interconnection between most Nigerian ethnic groups. For instance, the kwa linguistic family of the Niger- Benue lan­guage groups show that our languages are far less distant and different than we are usually made to believe

These two realities reveal our cultural conti­nuity, evidenced in our on our recoverable mate­rial antiquity remains —Nok, Ife, Benin, Bida, Igbo-Ukwu, Bornu.

  • Our cultures are resilient with a capacity to survive external hegemonic aggression. Our very survival of colonial and imperial history is a veritable evidence of this fact. This was why co­lonialism did not truly conquer us. Achebe once said that you cannot conquer a people whose language you do not speak.
  • Demographic strength of Nigeria wit youth budge. Nigeria is one the fastest growing people in the world, especially in the youth cohort.
  • From pre-colonial times, we have lived a collectivist, communal life as a people. So we can talk of a cultural ideology which is essen­tially prescribes for us a Collectivist/communal­ist humanism.
  • And we carry a long history and heritage which binds our present with ad past and proj­ects into the future inexorably.
  • We have a multi-religious cosmogony that predates and which includes the two Abrahamic religions of Islam and Christianity
  • There is subtending an indigenous technol­ogy across the nation, in spite of Westernization and Globalization, upon which our technological breakthrough can be built. Note that Industrial revolution of Britain in the Eighteen century was built on its indigenous technologies.
  • The richness of the nation in cultural and cre­ative industry with regard to tourism, museum and monuments
  • The widely acclaimed and enduring Nige­rian spirit for skills, entrepreneurship can and should be positively cultivated and harnessed utilizing our cultural resources and endowments.
  • We have mentioned the abundance of topo­graphic landscapes and their aesthetic delight as potential cultural tourist destinies—caves, mountains, valleys, springs, water-falls, grooves, etc This is a skeletal view of the cultural wealth that is buried in our cultural sub-soil and upon which the transformation which we yearn for pe­rennially and which this government can begin to address for now and the future should be built.

In case we forget, we have established instru­ments to build this transformation, through cul­ture upon. We can embark upon the conscious implementation of the provisions of our existing National Cultural Policy of 1988 and its subse­quent Amendment in 2001 through the budget­ary empowerment of the existing culture Para­statals

We should strengthen the Nigeria Copyright Commission as a regulatory body which can de­tect and punish any anti-intellectual property ac­tivities, theft of intellectual property in any form and to censure and regulate all artistic and cre­ative products for distribution and consumption

We have spoken of the urgent need to provide social infrastructure and set aside an appreciable percentage of the GDP to cultural and creative industries as stipulated in both the Cultural Pol­icy of Nigeria (CPN) and the Nigerian Consti­tution. This is how the Policy and the Tourism Grand Plan can become the veritable instrument for socio-cultural and socio-economic transfor­mation of Nigeria.

Through this operational strategy, we should mobilize and motivate the citizenry, disseminate and propagate ideas which promote national pride, solidarity and national consciousness. We can also evolve from our plurality a national culture whose indicators manifest in African and world affairs. It behoves us to promote a cultural educational system which motivates and stimu­lates creativity that draws significantly on our in­digenous and tradition and values such as respect for humanity and human dignity, respect for le­gitimate authority, dignity of labour and respect for positive Nigeria’s moral society

This, in essence, impels the establishment of codes of behaviour which are compatible with our tradition of humanism and disciplined moral society; sustaining disciplined environmental and societal conditions which enhance quality of life, produce responsible citizenship and an ordered society;

Our cultural Parastatals, we must re-iterate, in a restructured or merged form, should be strengthened to re-create the cultural industries to fast-track the growth of rural economies through the boundless body of crafts and ancil­lary industries such as Ivory, Bronze, Leather works, Textiles Brass, Glass casting, basketry, produced in different parts of the country—as a way of addressing poverty and unemployment through cultural enterprises.

Alongside these enterprises and in a secure social polity, we need to sensitize investors to the need to invest in the arts and crafts sector so as to encourage enterprise development and export oriented production

Let me restate for the avoidance of doubt, the need for the nation to deploy her indigenous languages as an important vehicle of cultural expression, national development and cohesion to strengthen national security in the area of cul­tural communication. In stating this, I emphasize the necessity of fully and faithfully implement­ing the long- standing policy embedded in the 1979 Constitution of entrenching three Nigerian Languages, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba as languages to be deployed for National Assembly business; including the insertion, of many more Nigerian languages inserted in the school curriculum with a mandate that students in primary and second­ary schools should study at least one other lan­guage beside their mother tongue in their WAEC and NECO.

As we seek to counter, terminate and destroy ideology of non—state actors and terrorists like Boko Haram, we need to improve our commu­nication strategies through crafting and carving the indigenous languages most proximal to the zones of insurgency and militancy by deploying news casting, feature broadcasts and interviews to be done on the radio and television to provide counter-terrorist and insurgency narratives and propaganda. Language carries values and basis of a people’s identity, their sense of particular­ity as members of the human race. Language as vehicle of culture, is ‘the collective memory bank of a people’s experience in history. Thus, our indigenous languages need to be codified for the preservation, documentation and expression of scientific and technological innovation, inven­tion and economic transformation.

I have proposed many times the need to build, learning from Emeritus Professor Ayo Bamgbose, a technology culture expressed in indigenous Nigerian language/languages to be facilitated by establishing indigenous languages technology centres where indigenous language laboratories help codify findings and outcomes of our technological and scientific research.

We can then seek collaboration with interna­tional cultural organizations for the promotion of cultural diplomacy and cultural industrial growth. These are just titbits that require studied elaboration in this season of change.

  • This is the concluding part of this article, first published on June 20.

 

]]>
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/strategic-cultural-agenda-in-the-season-of-change2/feed/ 0
A bull and the fallen rider http://sunnewsonline.com/new/a-bull-and-the-fallen-rider/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/a-bull-and-the-fallen-rider/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 23:00:40 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=125881 President Buhari need to make hay and be strategically agile to rema in on top of matters, ride political under currents, and be able to forestal l any strange quirky happenstance that may cause Nigerians to be disenchanted in his presidency. St rategic agilit y is the abi l it y to be pro ­act [...]]]>

President Buhari need to make hay and be strategically agile to rema in on top of matters, ride political under currents, and be able to forestal l any strange quirky happenstance that may cause Nigerians to be disenchanted in his presidency. St rategic agilit y is the abi l it y to be pro ­act ive. At the risk of being pilloried, I wish to share with the reading public, a dream I had late in Apri l this year, three days after I had prayed for the President and asked the LOR D to tel l me someth ing about him, if He please s: I saw a big, fat-fleshed bull that came out with a rider on top, who wore a tra­ditional ‘’Babariga’ cap. As the bull walked, it jerked , though not vigor­ously, and the rider struggled to remain on top but he eventually fell off to the ground.

When he stood up, he had a bemused smile on his face and I noticed he was light-framed and bespectacled. Farther, in front, I saw a herd of cows jumping over a gully from the east side (my right hand side in the dream) to the west side even as some other cows tried to copulate. I woke up and pondered what these things could be, and mind went to President Buhari. I interpret­ed the jumping cows to mean defections from APC to PDP. I shared the dream with close associates, some of who have now related it to what happened recently in the National Assembly where PDP Senators helped Senator Bucolic Saracen of APC to emerge as Senate President. Some also interpreted the fallen rider to be Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. May be, or not. But my mind went to President Buhari.

Let me recall that late in December 2013, I also had a dream and saw ex-Pres­ident Goodluck Jonathan fall to the ground in a courtroom after he gulped a mug of lager beer before an unknown man who wore babariga or agbada with cap, and sat as a presiding judge. I woke up and concluded the ex- President would most likely not return to office a second term and I made it public in an article entitled ‘’ Signs of the Times’’, which was published in Sun newspaper of Monday, January 27, 2014 (interested readers may wish to google the article). I repeated what I saw in the dream in another article captioned ‘’Insight to Jonathan and Buhari’s Con­test’’, published also in Sun newspaper of January 21, 2015, close to the presidential election of March 28, 2015. The rest as they say, is now history.

For purposes of stability, continu­ity and peace in the polity, I wish to say three major things to President Buhari: One, without him being un-presidential, he should maintain harmony and work in tandem with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu except if the latter attempts to wield undue influ­ence. Tinubu is a strategist and a major vessel God used to give Buhari victory. He worked hard to gentrify and package Bu­hari and did everything to ensure his wide acceptance in the South, and his victory at the polls. The President may wish to avoid actions that could create a moral burden for himself, split APC and possibly trigger acrimony between the politically sensitive and dogged South-West, and the politi­cally tough and domineering North, which could jeopardise the peace of the country. Two, President Buhari should consign to the trash can all the superfluous adulations that gushed from the emotional reposito­ries of fair-weather sailors and such as are adept in genuflecting at presidential courts and power centres for selfish gain, and who have tended to dangerously deify him by over trusting in the Buhari factor to rid Nigeria of her maladies in one fell swoop. Three, with due respect, the President may have to hone his dexterity in the complex­ity of power play. He appears to be simple. Politics is a sophisticated art and science. It is about interests, power play, conflicts, negotiations and resolutions, which de­mand tact, lateral thinking, strategy, le­verage, swiftness, and sometimes, arm-twisting. It is not a turf for the simple. I was surprised the President agreed to hold a meeting with APC Senators on the day of election at the National Assembly. In a magical moment, PDP took the wind off the sail of a teething APC and left the largely inchoate party bemused. The Presi­dent as the leader of the party may have to be more proactive on key issues that con­cern his party.

President Buhari has come a long way. Unlike his two predecessors, ex-presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, his journey to Aso Rock was tough but he was tenacious. While ex- President Jonathan got to Aso Rock by wind sail, Chief Obasanjo was practically begged and cajoled by a caucus of key power brokers to become President and when he finally agreed but complained on his financial standing, a ‘‘money rain’’ started. A business mogul from the South-East said in a press report that he was the first to put down the sum of N100mil­lion for a start. The marked differences in the ways the three leaders got to Aso Rock speaks of the dynamism of God and the truism of each mortal having to pass through their idiographic paths as charted by the invisible hands of the Creator.

I thank God Buhari did not clinch the Presidency for the three times he tried early on, and I say so with every sense of responsibility. And I also thank God he succeeded now. There has been a meta­morphosis of Buhari. Buhari of today is no longer the Buhari of yester year though his essence, which is disdain for ill-gotten wealth and crass material acquisition re­mains. Buhari of yester year had a com­munist mind-set, was fierce and with a will of steel. But Buhari of today is a septua­genarian, which is a blessing, but he has metamorphosed into a ‘’born-again’’ dem­ocrat and can no longer rule by fiat but by the tenets of democracy and its associated constraints and limitations.

President Buhari is expected to deliver ‘’change’’ that is change indeed on a best effort basis in order to avoid taking Nigeri­an’s to a crossroads with gross disappoint­ment and disenchantment which could cul­minate in the manifestation of my dream of a bull and the fallen rider. God forbid.

Rev Arize Nwobu, a Sociologist and Public Policy Analyst, is the Founder, The Beautiful Gate Church. He wrote via “mailto:arizenwobu@yahoo.com” ari­zenwobu@yahoo.com Tel: 08033021230.

]]>
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/a-bull-and-the-fallen-rider/feed/ 0
President Buhari: My eight-year prayer answered http://sunnewsonline.com/new/president-buhari-my-eight-year-prayer-answered/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/president-buhari-my-eight-year-prayer-answered/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 23:00:37 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=125880 I published an art icle in 20 07, which I titled, IF ONLY BUHARI WAS PRESIDENT! I was basically la­menting the corruption and mis­rule of the then ruling PDP. In par­ticular, I lamented the impunit y of individuals who PDP had placed above the law of the land, author i zing them to com mit [...]]]>

I published an art icle in 20 07, which I titled, IF ONLY BUHARI WAS
PRESIDENT! I was basically la­menting the corruption and mis­rule of the then ruling PDP. In par­ticular, I lamented the impunit y of individuals who PDP had placed above the law of the land, author i zing them to com mit any atrocit y and get away w ith it! It is common knowledge that many PDP politicians literally and figurat ively got away with mur­der throughout the si xteen year s of the part y’s atrocious control of Nige­ria.

If only Buhari was president, I la­mented in 2007, we would not have to listen to Anthony Anenih (Mr. Fix-it) and his obnoxious pronouncement that year that “no pot is big enough to cook me in Nigeria.” Just in case you do not understand his impudence, Anenih sim­ply meant that he was above the law; that he could do whatever he wanted in Nigeria and get away with it! If only Bu­hari was president, Anenih would not be free in the society to threaten the safety of Nigerians that challenged him to ac­count for the three hundred billion naira that he was given to build and/or service our roads. Orji Uzor Kalu was one of his few courageous antagonists, and An­enih didn’t take it kindly. If only Buhari was president, he would have promptly made a pot big enough to cook a million Anenihs!

I also lamented that Obasanjo had had the impudence to announce to us prior to the 2007 presidential election that it was a “do-or-die” task for him to rig Bu­hari out, and he succeeded, because he was aware that if Buhari won, Obasanjo would make history as the man that was freed from prison to become president, and then thrown right back to rot in pris­on after his presidency, for his numerous punishable offences.

Mind you, I was not saying that I disliked the late Yar’Adua who had just ‘won’ the presidency when I published my lamentation. No, sir! I did like the guy, and I believed that he would prob­ably make a great president. In fact, he did show some good signs in the little time he was in power before he became incapacitated by poor health. My only problem was that Yar ’Adua was not likely to hold the PDP gangsters that ruined this country responsible for their atrocities, especially not Obasanjo who rigged him into power. I lamented be­cause no matter how decent Yar’Adua was, his strange bed-fellowship with the gangsters meant that gangsters were still in power in Nigeria, because, he might not have the character of Buhari to keep everybody in line!

If Buhari was president in 2007, Ah­madu Ali, then the PDP BOT Chairman, would not have the audacity to order our loot-makers, sorry, I mean lawmakers then not to impeach the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Madam Etteh, who had committed several im­peachable offences.

If Buhari was president, Ali would not have the audacity to publicly threat­en to recall any lawmaker that dared to flout his obnoxious order. The man was completely ignorant of the fact that the right to recall lawmakers belongs to ‘We The People’ of Nigeria, according to the Nigerian constitution! And, of course, I marveled and lamented that the so-called prominent Nigerians sat back and listened to such blatant, insulting rob­bery of our rights by Ali and his likes. If only Buhari was president, he would have taught Ali that the power to recall lawmakers belongs to the people of Ni­geria.

Well, this is 2015, and, finally, Buhari has become Nigeria’s president! My prayer has finally been answered eight years after. Correction; the prayer has actually been about 12 years, because it started in 2003. The first time I ever voted in Nigeria was 2003, and I only voted for Muhammad Buhari for presi­dent— governors and lawmakers did not deserve my vote!

Of course, I have said all this because I believe in Buhari’s integrity to fight corruption. In spite of anything that any­body may have against him, I still see Mr. President as the best of all the peo­ple that I have seen in Nigeria’s presi­dential races in recent years; and I will tell you why—I truly believe he will fight corruption, period! If you ask me, and even if no one asks me, I still say he does not even have to do anything else for us—just the corruption war!

Of course, this tells you that I consider corruption the sole bane of Nigeria. Yes, indeed!!! We have poor roads; why? Corruption! Corrupt people embezzled funds budgeted for roads, and they are still walking the streets. Electricity situ­ation is alarmingly poor; why? Mr. Cor­ruption again! Billions of dollars were budgeted to give us electricity as good as America’s electricity; but it all went into private bank accounts. Our refiner­ies are not working; so, in spite of our abundant crude oil and gas deposits, we are paying more for fuel and gas than countries without crude oil, thereby sky­rocketing the prices of every commodity and service; why? Mr. Corruption, once again!!! And so on, and on, and on. God endowed Nigeria with more than enough resources to be as developed as the USA or any country in Europe, but we have remained in the 18th century due to Mr. Corruption.

So, all we have to do is kill Mr. Cor­ruption, and everything in our society will fall in place. Jerry Rawlings liter­ally killed Mr. Corruption in Ghana a few years back; look what he has done for Ghana’s economy and environment! Take one instance—with the death of Mr. Corruption in Nigeria, fuel will be constantly available at very cheap price, maybe as low as twenty naira per litter, because there will be no corrupt cabals sabotaging our existing refineries and obstructing the building of new ones as it has been all through PDP’s regime— cabals instituted by the PDP itself! Roads will improve because there will be no more crooks to receive billions of naira for roads without anything to show for it, as in Obasanjo’s regime! And, there will be no more female Ministers squandering tens of billions of naira just on senseless, worthless private jet jam­borees alone, as we had in Jonathan’s regime. Check this out—Buhari was only President-Elect when some of the hitherto controversial funds suddenly started returning already!

I have cited just a few sectors of our economy; but the facts are true about all the sectors—just remove corruption, and everything in Nigeria will be good, period!!! Jonathan lost my vote for his weakness to fight corruption, especially his weakness to control his female Min­isters, some of whom Nigerians have al­leged to be his mistresses of some sort.

Now, let me conclude with my feel­ings about some simplistic criticism of Buhari’s administration that I have heard from Nigerians. He is only five days in office as I write this, but Nige­rians are already calling him names and complaining that he has not eradicated Boko Haram insurgency; he has not brought back the Chibok girls; he has not done this, and he has not done that—within just five days? Haba Nigerians! Much of the criticism is purely sense­less!!! Don’t get me wrong o. I have not said anywhere that Buhari is a saint—no human is!

But I do say that anybody condemn­ing him already is not showing maturity. I do maintain that he has the charac­teristics to fight corruption, and he has shown some examples already, which we have all heard about, such as rebuff­ing “unnecessary” expensive presiden­tial receptions. Haba again, Nigerians! Let’s give Mr. President a chance first… No Bullshitting!!!

. Agina writes from the USA: harry­agina@yahoo.com

]]>
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/president-buhari-my-eight-year-prayer-answered/feed/ 0
Memories of my late father, Suleiman Gambari http://sunnewsonline.com/new/memories-of-my-late-father-suleiman-gambari/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/memories-of-my-late-father-suleiman-gambari/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 00:51:52 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=125769 On June 28, 2014, at about 7 pm, I got a call from my mother that my father had been taken to hospital. ‎It was a Saturday and by the next day, I headed for Ilorin from Abuja. I had to go by road as there were no flights out of Abuja to Ilorin on Sunday morning. ]]>

By Aishah Gambari

On June 28, 2014, at about  7 pm, I got a call from my mother that my father had been taken to hospital. ‎It was a Saturday and by the next day, I headed for Ilorin from Abuja. I had to go by road as there were no flights out of Abuja to Ilorin on Sunday morning.

As we set out on the trip, I couldn’t help but think about him. He had received treatment in Abuja the previous month and was certified okay before he travelled to rest in Ilorin. While in Abuja, we shared a lot. He told me stories of how he started his career. How he wished to be enrolled in the Army and eventually became a journalist. Perhaps, the most interesting part of the story was how he met my mum. They went to the same primary school and were not the best of friends. But fate brought them together many years later as husband and wife. It began when my mother travelled to Kaduna where my dad was working.  I also thought about how we argued endlessly about me  reading law and how I insisted on studying Mass Communication.

As these thoughts flashed in and out of my mind,  I decided to put a call to him. I called severally with no answer. I kept calling until someone suddenly picked up his phone. Rather than hear daddy’s voice as he usually calls out my name “Hajia Aishah, Allah ya yi miki albarka”, anytime I called him,  it was my mum’s voice I heard. She said dad had been under close monitoring and could not pick calls. Then, it dawned on me that there was trouble.

For him not to pick calls on that day,  I knew something serious had happened. But, I kept praying and hoping that everything would be alright.

After eight hours drive from Abuja, we arrived in Ilorin. Immediately, I headed to ‎the hospital. Getting there, I called my mum who sent someone to pick me up at the hospital entrance to lead me to the private ward where my dad was.  There he was lying in excruciating pains. I broke down immediately because I just couldn’t imagine  seeing him in that state. This was a man who hardly falls sick. Not once has he ever  complained of headache.

Being the eldest child around at that time, I had to quickly pull myself together and be strong for my mum and younger siblings. I called the doctor in charge of his case and he briefed me about his findings. He recommended several tests, including ultrasound scans which we immediately conducted.

By the evening of that same day, while sitting by the edge of his bed, he opened his eyes. The first thing he said to me in Hausa was “Aishah, kin zo ne, ai da kin bari. Zan samu lafia In shaa Allah.”  meaning  Aishah, you came, you shouldn’t have bothered, I will be fine by Allah’s will.  He then looked up and smiled, while I smiled back too.

We were at the hospital until July 2, 2014. ‎That morning, he called me and he started talking about where he has what, and what I should do with them. I got frightened and insisted that he takes some rest. He insisted on talking, but I called my mum in and we both found a way of making him rest.

The intriguing  thing about the whole situation was that until he took his last breath, he had hope. He kept repeating that we shouldn’t worry, he would be fine.

On the  morning of July 3, 2014, my worst fear was confirmed. That morning, I sat by his bedside and started reciting various prayers for a sick person from the Quran. By this time, he couldn’t talk again neither was he able to eat anything all day. His eyes were open which suggested he wasn’t asleep. My mum and younger sister who were also there joined in the prayers.

It was during the month of Ramadan and we decided to seize the opportunity to intensify prayers for him. By the evening of that day, his condition started deteriorating. We were all scared and we kept praying. The doctors came in and out trying to revive him. And at 6:36pm, just as everyone was getting ready to break their fast, he lost the battle. He gave up the ghost!

Then pandemonium followed. My dad’s elder sister, her kids and his mum were all present. Everyone started crying.  My mum broke down immediately. My sister was also down. I was the only one who tried to hold myself so that I could take care of my mum and my sister.  While many other families were breaking their fast in comfort, we broke our fast with tears.It was the worst day of my life. I went close to his body, felt his pulse again just to be sure because his eyes were still open. Nay, he’s gone! We closed his eyes, covered him up and said prayers for the repose of his soul. It was a day I will never forget.

Here was my father, my best friend, my mentor, my teacher, my strength being taken away forever. I realised I would never have a father again. There will be no one to fill that gap he left behind.  No one ‎can ever replace him in our lives.

Suleiman Gambari was born into the Royal family of Ilorin by the then District Head of Lanwa, Mallam Muhammadu Laufe, son of Shuaibu Bawa the 7th Emir of Ilorin. He was the brother of the 9th Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Sulu Gambari Mohammed. Suleiman Gambari is the great grandson of Mallam Abdul Salam, the first Emir of Ilorin, who was the son of Sheikh Salihu Moddibo Alfa -Alimi, the founder of the Fulani dynasty of the ancient city of Ilorin.  Sheihk Alimi was one of the trusted flag bearers and disciples of the great Jihadist and Islamic scholar, Amir Almumunin, Sheikh Usman Danfodio from whom he received a flag of authority and a letter of investitude to establish orthodox Islamic religion and government in Ilorin in 1831.

Gambari,  a renowned journalist started his early career life with the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations in Sokoto, in 1969. In 1970, he was transferred to Kaduna and subsequently joined the Nigeria Defence Academy, (NDA) and was attached to the Training branch of the Academy.

In 1975, he decided to take journalism as a career and he applied and got a job with the New Nigerian Newspapers in 1978 as a reporter. He attended series of journalism professional courses at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ),  Lagos, between 1981 and 1983. Since then, he held various Editorial positions in the New Nigerian newspapers. First, he was appointed Editorial Representative in Zaria, Kaduna State. He was also a State Editor in Minna, Niger State, Sokoto, Kano and Ilorin between 1984 and 1987.

•Aishah, a journalist, is the daughter of veteran journalist and lawyer, Suleiman Gambari.

 

 

]]>
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/memories-of-my-late-father-suleiman-gambari/feed/ 0
Oshiomhole, Okonjo-Iweala, what happened to our money? http://sunnewsonline.com/new/oshiomhole-okonjo-iweala-what-happened-to-our-money/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/oshiomhole-okonjo-iweala-what-happened-to-our-money/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 00:49:46 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=125767 On Monday, shortly after President Mohammadu Buhari inaugurated a four-man panel made up of Governors Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), Ibrahim Dankwambo ( Gombe), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom) and Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna) to probe the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC),]]>

Bolaji Tunji

Nigeria on My Mind

bolajitunji@gmail.com,0805 423 8905 SMS ONLY


On Monday, shortly after President Mohammadu Buhari inaugurated a four-man panel made up of Governors Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), Ibrahim Dankwambo ( Gombe), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom) and Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna) to probe the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), an agency which has assumed notoriety over every form of financial malfeansces bedeviling the country, over how N3.8trillion was spent in three years, Governor Oshiomhole on same day accused former finance minister, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of spending $2.1bn in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) without authorization . The governor, in his accusation said, “the last time the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy reported to the Council and it is in the minutes, she reported by November 2014, that we had $4.1 billion( in the Excess Crude Account) but today the Accountant General Office reported we have $2.0 billion, which means the Honourable Minister spent $2.1billion without authority of the NEC. And that money was not distributed to states, it was not paid to the three tiers of government”.

The Edo governor said N8.1 trillion was generated from oil sales within three years while NNPC remitted only N4.3 trillion leaving an outstanding of N3.8trillion unaccounted for. “What it means is that NNPC withheld and spent N3.8 trillion.

The major revelation here is that the entire federation — the federal government, the states and all the 774 local governments— the amount the NNPC paid into the federation account for distribution to these three tiers of government came to N4.3 trillion and NNPC alone took and spent N3.8 trillion.”

That was not all, to me, the high point of the revelation from the governor was his seeming innocuous statement that it was the first time that the NNPC and the office of the Accountant General of the Federation were compelled to provide  written report  as they relate to the sales of the Nigeria crude from 2012 to May 2015 to  the NEC meeting. And this was at the instruction of the president.

The above revelations, if true, should not really be new to discerning Nigerians and those who have always followed development in governance. This has only confirmed what we have always known about the high level of profligacy and lack of due process in financial matters relating to our “commonwealth”.

But before I digress, it is noteworthy to hear what the former Minister has to say to this and whether her response addressed the issues raised by the governor.

Immediately after  Gov Oshiomhole’s revelation, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, through her  spokesperson, Paul Nwabuikwu, said the allegations were “false, malicious and totally without foundation” adding,“It is clear that this is the latest chapter of a political witch-hunt by elements who are attempting to use the respected National Economic Council for ignoble purposes having failed abysmally in their previous attempts to tar the Okonjo-Iweala name,”

She said throughout her tenure, she introduced and ensured the publication of allocation to the various tiers of government adding that decisions on expenditures were always discussed at the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) attended by finance commissioners from the 36 states, which her accusers  choose to ignore.

Of course, the Governor has again responded with far weightier revelations which further worsened the situation and implied that the country had been seriously short changed in the management of the economy by the last administration. He said the former minister’s revelation that she published what went to the tiers of government did not include what accrued into the federation account from which the monies were distributed. Coming short of saying the minister lied, Gov Oshiomhole said she knows how to play around with figures while her ministry and the NNPC’s supervising ministry-petroleum resources ministry, “ always worked together to refuse to transfer to the Federation Account huge sums of money that ought to have accrued to the government”.

I have decided to narrate the whole sequence of events in order for readers to grasp the full import of what the two parties said.

Governor Oshiomhole is not a frivolous person and would not make baseless allegations. He is someone that I have known ever since my days in The  Guardian newspaper when he wadded into the industrial crisis we had then as President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). He does not work without a full understanding of the issues at stake, with his facts at his fingertips. Apart from that, he knows how to put all these together to advantage and he’s a man who can give as much as he got.

On this premise, it is difficult to fault him on what he has said. The former minister also comes with a rich background where financial fidelity is sacrosanct, coupled with the fact that she has an image that she has to protect. It would be disappointing both for some Nigerians and the International community to find out that under her watch as finance minister and the coordinating minister of the economy, things were not the way they were supposed to be.

The matter is worthy of further probe and President Buhari has actually started well with the setting up of the panel. The main concern I have presently is the fact that the statement of the Edo governor was rather too early. The tendency is to think that with the statement by the governor, Mrs  Okonjo-Iweala has already been found guilty.  This is what the panel must guide against.

But the former minister needs to tell us more than what she has said so far. There are still many allegations and many grey areas  that the minister has to clear. Is it true that NEC, under the previous administration did not get written reports on what was accruing to the government during the last administration? Also, how was the ECA operated and how was it supposed to be operated? These are just a few of the questions that the minister must provide answer for.

President Buhari, we all know is a straight arrow, a fair man. The panel’s work must equally reflect this side of the president. It should be fair in its probe should not be an avenue for political witch hunt. Politics is over, we must all work for the sustenance and continued financial viability of the country, irrespective of party affiliation. That is the only lasting legacy that this generation can give the coming one.

 

]]>
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/oshiomhole-okonjo-iweala-what-happened-to-our-money/feed/ 0
NASS crisis and APC leaders’ antics http://sunnewsonline.com/new/nass-crisis-and-apc-leaders-antics/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/nass-crisis-and-apc-leaders-antics/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 00:46:57 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=125765 It is certainly not a matter of conjecture to say that the fracas among the All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers on the floor of the Federal House of Representatives, June 26, has raised more questions than answers on the integrity of our lawmakers and the commitment of the]]>

BY Tanko Adamu

It is certainly not a matter of conjecture to say that the fracas among the All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers on the floor of the Federal House of Representatives,  June 26, has raised more questions  than answers on the integrity of our lawmakers and the commitment of the leadership of the APC to truly push for genuine change in line with acceptable democratic principles.  

Typical of Anezi Okoro’s 1972 classic novel, One Week, One Trouble, members  of the 8th National Assembly, since inauguration, have displayed susceptibility and willingness to do everything, including the absurd, but without, the patriotic zeal for things that border on national interest.

While not many Nigerians were taken aback by the brouhaha on the floor of the  House of Representatives, particularly watching the lawmakers engaging one another in fisticuffs before the cameras over appointments to leadership positions, it defies understanding that the APC leaders, after promising to adhere to democratic tenets, are themselves, attempting to manipulate the process.

From the election of principal officers of the Senate to that of the Federal House of Representatives, the processes seemed cast on trouble-mode. First, the APC leadership said it had zoned the position of the Senate President to the North-Central and later swiftly to the North-East after two major contenders from North Central signified interest. In a twinkle of an eye, the party announced it was leaving the contest open. No reason was given for the party’s perceived inconsistency but discerning Nigerians saw it as a tactical and welcome development to prevent avoidable bickering within the rank and file of the party.

Strange though, especially coming after the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) that relished zoning, most Nigerians saw the move as a clear sign of better things to come and a way of redefining party politics for the good of the country. But, just as the drums were being rolled out to praise the new APC government and leadership to high heavens, a twist was suddenly added to what, today, has become a drama that is reaching a bizarre denouement too fast.

Perhaps, having done its homework well or so it seems, and not ashamed to follow in the footsteps of the PDP, which it had roundly berated for imposition of candidates and worse still, unfit ones, the party suddenly reversed itself by settling for zoning. It zoned the position of Senate President to North-East and Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives to the South-West.

Expectedly, in no time, news began to slip out about those interested in vying for the positions and the difficulty the party was encountering as it tried to harmonize the candidates in line with what it christened a party position.

‎The party’s peace moves failed probably because there were  insinuations that its leadership was bent on circumventing the process to make way for the emergence of “anointed candidates”. This suspicion, coupled with high handedness, set the stage for the situation in the National Assembly now.  Or, how else can one explain the fact that after the party claimed it zoned positions to certain parts of the country, it still shackled members from the zones and prevented them from freely choosing who should represent them?

It is worse when one contemplates what is common knowledge that even in the party hierarchy, not everyone is carried along.

While the party, as in other climes, remains supreme and has the power to discipline any erring member or decide how its programmes are to be implemented, as well as how its principal officers are to be elected in a democratic setting such as ours, it remains to be seen how such supremacy could stand in the face of perceived partisanship by party leaders.

This, no doubt, is the trouble with the APC today.  Its leadership has failed to prove its honesty in the handling of the crisis. For instance, no one knows when and where the party leadership, which includes members of the National Working Committee (NWC), National Executive Council. (NEC), all governors elected on its platform, various caucuses and Board of Trustees (BoT), met and agreed on who should be appointed to positions at the National Assembly. Did these groups meet to decide on the so-called party decision? For now, there is no evidence in the affirmative. If, yes, who and who, were present? Where are the Ogbonnaya Onus, or, is ‘party leadership’ only made up of a select few “democratic” as claimed by Chief Bisi Akande?

Really, where has the BoT,  NEC and the different caucuses been since the crisis started? Why has the APC not called a meeting of its governors and senators-elect except for the party meeting held on the day election of National Assembly principal officers was held?

One recalls the processes leading to the selection of the party’s presidential candidate and his Vice, the party chairman and other principal officers, including members of the NWC, especially how the process satisfied the basic tenets of inclusivity, reason for which the APC was able to coast to victory, PDP’s hate campaigns notwithstanding.

It is unfortunate that after  condemning the PDP over its culture of imposition, APC leaders by their body language are seemingly following in the same footsteps. This is why it defies reason to blame the crisis at the National Assembly on President Muhammadu Buhari. What could Buhari have done? Truth be told, even Buhari cannot force anyone on anybody.

Interestingly, what is happening today in APC is not new to party politics. Only a few years ago, some North-East members of the PDP revolted against the imposition of Bamanga Tukur as the zone’s candidate for the party chairmanship position. Although against all odds, the party hierarchy had its way, it was only a matter of time for the majority to later have their pound of flesh or so it seems, as Tukur was forced to quit in shameful circumstances. Tukur induced crisis and the Governors’ Forum 16 over 19 debacle finally buried the PDP.

Today, everything clearly points to the same scenario, and understandably, too, as concerns mount that except some APC leaders swallow their pride in the interest of the party and nation, the party would be in danger of losing the goodwill it mustered before and during the elections.

Not only that, the party will provide comic relief for PDP members, even as members will forever regret letting the opportunity of leading Nigeria slip. One only hopes reason prevails at the end in the interest of the nation.

•Adamu writes from Kaduna

]]>
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/nass-crisis-and-apc-leaders-antics/feed/ 0
Nigerians want action, no excuses http://sunnewsonline.com/new/nigerians-want-action-no-excuses/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/nigerians-want-action-no-excuses/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 00:45:33 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=125763 The new Federal Government headed by President Muhammadu Buhari should without being prompted hit the ground running with great speed because the job at hand is enormous or so we were made to believe during the electioneering campaigns. ]]>

Afara Lane

Robert Obioha, 08111813041, robobioha@yahoo.com


The new Federal Government headed by President Muhammadu Buhari should without being prompted hit the ground running with great speed because the job at hand is enormous or so we were made to believe during the electioneering campaigns. The All Progressives Congress (APC) campaigned in such a way that Nigerians were assured that change has come and all their existential problems would be over immediately the change crusaders assumed office. That is exactly what Buhari should aim at fulfilling.

We are still in that mood of high expectation because Buhari and his party promised us so much and we fell to the bait waiting for El Dorado. Therefore, Nigerians would expect no less from the new occupant of Aso Rock. Buhari and his co-travellers should not disappoint Nigerians. It is our fervent prayers that they do not.

We say this because to whom much is given, much is also expected.  Nigerians gave Buhari so much on March 28 and he won the presidential poll at his 4th attempt. Having prepared enough before getting our nod to preside over the nation, he must keep his word. He must reciprocate that gesture by fulfilling his election promises. He should know that his four-year tenure has started running and Nigerians have started counting and taking records of events preparatory to 2019, another pay day for elected officials. Good enough, his victory was not challenged at the tribunal. So, he cannot claim to being distracted.

He has no time to waste. Time is of essence in this job and it is never a luxury. This is not a critique on the administration. Some may argue that one month is early enough for any form of assessment of the administration. While that may seem true, it can also be argued that one month is enough to showcase the administration’s roadmap and what Nigerians would expect from it. Our modest effort here is, therefore, to point out certain things that should not be neglected by the Buhari administration, especially time.

Nigerians will not, in the least, entertain any excuses from Buhari for not fulfilling his election promises, which are legion. All the talks over meeting empty treasury or recovering of loots, probes and the magnitude of the problem met are entirely his headache because he gave us his word that he would solve our problems and that he would do it better than his predecessor even at 72.

Moreover, Buhari should understand that the campaigns are indeed over. He should be pragmatic in speech and infuse hope and not despair. We are in a period of action and action is all that Nigerians want from now onwards, no more, no less. Buhari won the presidential election because Nigerians believed in him and gave him their votes and maximum support. President Buhari should do exactly what he promised to Nigerians. Nigerians kept records of those utopian promises that make them believe and even see Buhari as a miracle worker and a magician combined.

Our politicians should learn how to keep election promises and failure to do so will attract serious sanctions. Apart from drawing the attention of the politician concerned to such pitfalls, the pay day will surely come. Nigerians started counting for Buhari immediately he took the oath of office on May 29. He should wake up and apply speed to the job at hand. To most Nigerians, Buhari is damn too slow now. There is great room for improvement.

Nigerians love action and they want Buhari to move with some measure of speed. Having appointed some of his aides, the president should send to the National Assembly his ministerial list whether he wants to reduce the number from what former President Goodluck Jonathan had or maintain the status quo depends entirely on him. We strongly believe that one month in the life of an administration is long enough to compile the list of credible Nigerians that will assist him run the government. It is enough to show which direction the government is heading. He should not make Nigerians to become impatient with him so soon. We had thought that the ministerial list would have been ready before May 29. After all, he won the election in March. The delay in having ministers now cannot be easily explained to Nigerians, and cannot be excused.

But since he promised to run a lean administration and possibly cut down the cost of governance, reducing the number of his ministers should be his best option. His appointment of ministers now will show Nigerians those that the government is bringing to the table and possibly the shape of things to come. He got it right with his appointment of media aides. He also got it right for allowing the National Assembly to elect their officers. The outcome of that exercise is a pointer that Buhari will not interfere with the affairs of the legislature. We expect him to extend the same gesture to the judiciary.  We hope he will get it right with other appointments, especially the ministers that will be crucial to driving his change policy.

It is given that a country of over 150 million people cannot be lacking in talents and star performers. So why is it taking Buhari pretty long time to name his ministers? Is this the change Nigerians voted for or should they expect another? We need answers and assurances that change has birthed. It will be recalled that during the campaigns, Buhari promised among others to ensure security of lives and property, create jobs, unite the country and rebuild the economy and its dilapidated infrastructure. He also promised to do something on electricity supply, health care and education. Nigerians are still hopeful that he would fulfill his promises hence they are asking him to commence work in earnest. Nigerians do not necessarily ask so much from their government. If the new administration can fulfill its promises, Nigerians would laud it.

Beyond what Buhari has promised to do for Nigerians, it will also be good if his government can ensure that there is 24-hour supply of potable water and good electricity to every part of Nigeria. Giving Nigerians good drinking water and clean energy will impact on other sectors and aid overall national development. Above all, it will be better if the government prioritize on a few things it can do well within a four-year time frame than to engage in so many things at a time without much success. In all, speed is essential.

νCorrigendum: In my last week’s piece: “Notes from New York,” I inadvertently wrote that the capital of New York State is New York instead of Albany. Thanks to Francis for pointing it out. The error is regretted.

]]>
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/nigerians-want-action-no-excuses/feed/ 0