ARE WE ALL DEPRECIATED?

Are we all depreciated ? I am borrowing this word from Aisha Yusuf, the Co-convener of the BringBackOurGirls, BBOG, advocacy group when she described Hon. Minister of Power Fashola as one of the leaders who has depreciated since he got appointed into Buhari’s administration.

She explained that; “Some leaders build people around them. Others depreciate people around them.” She was reacting to a statement Fashola made while speaking at a special Town Hall Meeting on infrastructure organized by the Ministry of Information and Culture and the National Orientation Agency held in Ibadan, Oyo State. when he called on the people of the South West to support Buhari’s second term bid in order for them to regain power in 2023.

If this is agenda of the South West to regain power to their region, they must have seen and understood how power can be used for the benefits one’s people.

The North has been at the pinnacle power for almost four years and yet we have not seen its benefit in the region. Have we as a people been conflicted and depreciated to extent we have lost our monolithic regional out look to blind follower ship?

Politics is about opportunities, It is about how you use your opportunities to better the lot of your people. It is also an opportunity once lost can never be regained. I am making this statement in the light of the audio clip I would like to share with you. (Click the link below and listen before you proceed with the remaining text)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/16z8mi4_zZBcn2jRkhuiCg4_rrJvnaE0Y/view?usp=drivesdk

The North has been judged by our partners in the union as hangers on and parasites contributing nothing to the common wealth. And yet we don’t utilise our opportunity to build and strengthen our fragile situation in the union.

The North today represent the most backward part of Nigeria in every aspect of development. It is also socially, culturally, educationally, economically and politically backward. There is no part of the region that is not under one social uprising of some sort.

From the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East, the Herdsmen-Fulani conflicts in the Benue troughs , the Settler – Indigene conflicts in Plateau, the Kataf- Hausa tribal distrust in Kaduna now turned into religious issue, the killings and Kidnappings raging on in Zamfara which has defied solution, Kidnaping and Armed Banditry prevailing across the region, the Shite- Sunni religious in tolerance building up to a serious sectarian crisis.

The elite polarization of the communities for their political gains leading to the segregation of the society into “Us vs Them”, the emerging political polemics arising from the emergence of Atiku as second force in the political power game. The pull me “down syndrome” adopted by the elite to bring down every successful person. “if it is not me it must not be you”.

Take a hard look at the names of those placed on security watch list implicated in corruption charges most of them are from North. Are we the most corrupt? Are there no corruption not taking place in the other regions?

The fact of the matter is simple we hate ourselves. while the others have learnt long ago not to disgrace their people no matter what they do. They come to their defence in droves whenever they are threatened.

We in North expose our own to ridicule and relish in their humiliations. We have lost our sense of communality for the lust of power and self actualizations, the bond that kept us together as a people has been debased. What a pity.

So far all the governors that have been jailed are from the North and many would join them very soon. That is how far we love ourselves. Sometimes I disagree with the way governor El Rufai does his things, but in most cases you just have to give it to him. He represent my idea of how I expect the Northern elites to behave, bold, sharp and intelligent.

We don’t need to show weakness on issues simply because you want to appease the un appeaseables. His decision to pick a Muslim woman as his deputy in Kaduna state was seen by the Ibadan-Lagos press as sacrilege. They went to town shouting and postulating all sorts hypotheses as if he committed a blasphemy.

They blew the issues over the top as if Kaduna, is the only state in the country that has its leadership coming from the same religion.

They deliberately twisted the facts in order to make the whole thing look religious. They never complained when some states like Plateau and even some in the South West who have significant number of Muslims but have their leadership coming from the same religion.

El – Rufai knows that he will win the election in Kaduna without appeasing any one. He has the numbers and the fact that past governments shared the position in order bring every one on board. In his views these must not be seen as a sign of weakness. Rather it should be seen as an attempt to encourage peaceful coexistence between the people. He must have also felt the gesture was not appreciated.

To him democracy is about the will of the majority, that was why he decided to test the waters by putting his chances for the second term “on the line”. He looses more then any other person if his gamble doesn’t pay.

The second issues that dominated my thinking is the way the Northern elites are shouting Atiku is corrupt as if he deep his hand in the public treasury to become wealthy. The gentle man is an entrepreneur he knows where to put his money to generate profit.

Are we saying we are comfortable with the South Africans, the Chinese and other nationals buying the industries we put up for public sales under the privatization policy. I have seen the laughable arguments some elites were putting forward accusing Atiku for buying the privatised state industries for a peanut.

For God sake there were procedures put in place before those industries were sold. The processes were in the open, if you disagreed with them you had the opportunity to challenge the process in courts. More so the companies government sold were adjudged to be non performing, they had become drain pipe on the resources of government that was why they were sold.

Those who bought them took risk and the fact they turned them round, they should be praised but not criminalised.
We have heard how Tinubu amassed his wealth yet the South Westerners call him their leader not corrupt person. This is difference between them and us.

We all know under the current arrangement the PDP and APC are the dominant political parties in the country and will remain so for a very long time.
And going by the zoning formula adopted by the political parties the North has been given the chance to produce the candidates. In this regard the Presidential candidate for the two political parties would emerge from the North and yet we are vilifying all of them for one thing or other.

This is one thing the Igbos and the Yorubas will never do to their leaders. Recently the Yoruba youth group cautioned Tinubu to stop publicly abusing Obasanjo.

In our case is the opposite. We treat our leaders with contempt. This is pitiful situation we found ourselves in the North. Is this North the Balewas the Sardauna the Tarka had envisaged for us?

Have we in the light of audio clip presented squandered our opportunities. Have we as people failed to coordinate and take advantage of our opportunities.

I have argued else where that our leaders have failed us but with the emerging exposition from the audio clip its clear to me they down played certain issues in order to allow peace reign. In the actual sense they were humiliated, that was they decided to take the posture of “sit down and look”

They did so not because they were afraid but because our culture and religion teaches us patient, tolerance and never join issues with leaders even if they were wrong.

The interview have so far exposed the fact our Presidency has been hijacked and we are not likely going see any significant changes even if we again support the President to come for second term.

Many would attack me by arguing that we now have peace and tranquillity in the North and they may possibly add by saying no part of the North is under the control the Boko Haram insurgency.

This may be partially true, but the only places that have some semblances of peace are in urban settlements. There are still so many roads in Borno and Yobe that you can freely drive on without the fear of being ambushed by insurgents.

Farming activities in the villages are yet to return to normal. People are still afraid to send their wards to schools for fear of abduction.
Boko Harams attack on militarily formation and soft target areas have not abated. Kidnaping, Herdsmen Farmer conflicts have continued to be part our realities in the North.

Phantom claims of infrastructural development in the North which are not supported by budgetary allocation and releases of funds as highlighted in the audio clips exemplifies our current situations.

Surprisingly, our elites are buying to the grand conspiracy dished out from the media as political talk hook line and sinker.

Our failure to rationalize between myth and reality is hurting us a people.

This is the fallacy of our time, to get out of it we must redefine our existence in the union, other wise we shall continue holding the horns of the cow while others keep milking it for their own good.

Our numerical strength which is the hall mark of democracy will not count to any advantage because we been conflicted and depreciated. May God give us the wisdom to understand and do the needful.

WHEN NO ONE LISTENS ANY MORE!!

When the society becomes debased; when anything goes; when there are no differences between the good the bad and ugly; When our simple morass no longer regulate the behaviour of the society; When the love that bonds and keep the society together has broken down; When the difference between the lawful and un lawful doesn’t matter any more;

When court judgement are longer respect; When hate speeches, false claims, divisiveness, killings for no just reasons permeates the society and becomes the norm; when good people and elders don’t speak any more out of fear.

When everything is reduced to parochialism, boot leaking, hero worshiping, greed, selfishness and self serving,

When the society is being segregated between us and them, When the society is redefining the way live and settle based on affinity and religion; When you never know where or who to ran for comfort or succour; Because the society no longer listen:

The remains of General Alkali was finally committed to mother earth his journey in this tortious planet has come to end tragically. He did not die in the battle field as soldier a profession he served meritoriously honour but in hands of some senseless bigots, who if pressed cant not tell the reason why they killed him.

It took the intervention of the military high command to un cover the death of Gen. Alkali.

Many have lost their love ones in similar circumstances their families would never know the truth of what happened.

Prophet Muhammad swt said in one of his traditions that, a time will come when the person who was killed will not know the reason why he was killed, and the person who killed him would not know the reason why he killed the person. These according to the prophecy is signalling the signs of end of time

The senseless killings in Kaduna which took so many lives, would have been worst if not for the proactive intervention of the governor.

The perilous situation in Zamfara resulting in the displacement and killings of many innocent people which is continuing with no end in sight.
The Taraba and Benue massacres, that left the communities still grappling to put behind them dastardly acts.

The Herdsmen – Farmer conflicts that has claimed several lives.

The Shite conflict right at nose of the seat of the government in Abuja were many lives were lost. If the situation is not carefully manage it has the potency to escalate because of the significant followership the sect in the country.

Recall this is was how the Boko Haram insurgency started when their leader was killed by the Police in Maiduguri.

The nation is still struggling to restore normalcy in the affected areas. A lot has been achieved but we are not there yet. This nation can not handle the fight in all these fronts.

We have seen what is happening Yemen between Houthi backed Iran and the Saudi- Emirate coalition. The senseless lost of lives, the suffering of the people more especially the vulnerable the “women and the children”

What is happening Libya is another one example we must avoid.

Southern Sudan is another example where elite selfishness has costed the young nation its chance to prosper and take its position in the comity of nations in spite of the massive natural the country posses.
We must not allow these matters to be politicized. We urge all people of good intentions who can intervene in order to avert the situation to speak. Remember the silence of the good on an issue is worst then the crimes of the bad people.

We have only one country and everything makes sense when it exists in peace so that all can partake and freely engage with one another without let or hindrance.

When a society does not learn from its past mistakes, that society in no distant future will be doomed to apocalypse.

We must always remember we are one people created by God to share the space called Nigeria, our differences are suppose to be our strength. We must use it to built a virile nation for good of this generation and those coming after we have long gone.

Let us bequeath to them one nation that exist peacefully under one God with shared cultures, religions and greater aspirations.

May Allah swt grant the repose souls of those who lost their lives in the senseless killings, eternal peace. And give to those who have suffered or lost their love ones the courage to move on and forgive.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

CHANGE THE CHANGE MAKER!!

Today I am going to be partisan (Man is a Political Animal) and for those who know my pedigree and where I am coming from will accuse me of playing partisanship but that is ok with me.

For this reason let me admit they are entitled to whatever opinions they can take from the narrative.

Firstly, after being a Nigerian, I come from the North East geopolitical zone of the country. And politics is all about benefits either to oneself, family, religion, community, local, state or country.

It is also about sharing that is why we always talk about dividend of democracy. In recognising this fundamental principle the Nigeria Constitution adopted as one of its basic tenants the philosophy of federal character.

The idea behind is to ensure even distribution of our national common wealth, so that no one region dominate and impoverish the other.

When this government came to power it appointed the army chief staff and the National security adviser from the North East, this was not by accident. It did so aware of the general complaints the previous government and the Security High Command were insincere and showed lack of commitments in the fight against Boko Haram.

Be it what it may President Buhari in a deft strategic move appointed Buratai and Mungono both of them from Borno State to take charge of the fight against the insurgency.

Apart from the fact they are fine officers they came from the region which is the flash point of the insurgency. He put them there possibly to achieve two things, firstly they have affinity with the region and must therefore take the campaign against the insurgent seriously because they have a stake.

Secondly the government wanted to exculpated itself from the accusations from leaders of the zone that government was not serious in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency.

Thank God the situation is now relatively under control but we are not there yet.
In this regard I would like share the Hausa saying which states that “ for a wealth to be in your community its better if its in your family house, better still it would be if it is in your mothers room, and more better if you are the one who have it”

When the party primaries were concluded with the emergence of Atiku as the Presidential candidate of one of the dominant political parties, my political impartiality was put to test for several reasons.

Firstly, after being a Nigerian, I came from the North East geo political region, arguably the most devastated part of Nigeria in the last decade. It is un questionably the most poorest, the disadvantaged, politically, economically, socially and culturally today. It represents all indices of underdevelopment.

The Boko Haram insurgency has destroyed the region’s infrastructure, stunted its growth, wiped out most of its able bodied youth. Enrolment into primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions in most of the communities in the last ten years has been zero. The region in no distant future would suffer from generational gap.

Farming, commerce, education, cultural and social activities of the people was debased and destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgency. There is no family in the region which is not taking care of at least two or three refugees displaced by the insurgency.

The down turn in the living conditions of the peoples has over the years nose dived to the lowest level, abject poverty, disease mal nutrition characterise the region. The living condition of the people has become so pathetic, miserable and desperate to the extent that even the affluent and most benevolent amongst its people hardly visit home, because they can not handle the demands of the people.

The destruction of the infrastructure in the region is un imaginable.

The region is begging for attention, help and understanding from other constituent regions of the country.

I don’t want to sound sectional, but I was compelled by a statement credited to former Governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwakwaso, to show my love for the region openly.

In Benin when he addressed PDP delegates and members during his nationwide tour to pick “its presidential candidate from the North West”. For somebody like him to make such statement he must have understood the benefits of the President emerging from his geo political zone.

When the choice of the presidential candidates became between Atiku and Buhari both of them of the Fulani stalk one from Daura, in Katsina State and the other from Jada, Adamawa state both of them Muslims and Northerners.

I was faced with problem of choice. I was torn in between my desire of being politically correct and my idiosyncrasies as some one who love his region (North East) and the North as my larger constituency.

The zoning arrangements of the office of the President further confounded my issues. My, ID, Ego, and Super Ego kept suggesting to me which among the two candidate would have my vote for the President come 2019.

Beyond the fact that both of them deserve to have my vote but for the subterranean politics supported by the zoning formula adopted by the parties. Going by this it is natural that my considerations would be tilting are towards Atiku.

My ID that was drawing towards President Buhari now an octogenarian and some one who had instances of ill health seem to be waning.

The fact that he was once the Head of state of this country and currently the occupant of the Aso Villa suggest that we need a fresh hands in the State house.

Buhari came to the throne with a promise of change when he ran for election in 2015, Nigerians voted for him overwhelmingly, but nearly four years after we have not seen the change.

I still remain without light for upwards of three days in a row in Abuja, which is suppose to be the centre of excellency as far as Nigeria is concerned. Several roads in the mega city are un marked.

The security lights are not functioning which makes driving un safe more especially in the night, many of the roads in the expanding city are un tarred. No public water supply in most part of the cadastral zones, residents rely on un controlled sinking of boreholes and dams with all its attendant problems on the environment.

No efficient sewage those that are available remain blocked, the waste disposal system are not working, filth and dirt litter the streets. The litany of problems goes on and on.

If these gloomy picture is what obtains in Abuja. what situations in the states is better not imagined. These are issues that touches the life of the citizens and they don’t need greater thinking to be corrected but yet they exist.

The economy is not out of the wood yet, though the dollar has stabilised between 362 – 365, I still believe there is no reason we should be buying the America Dollar at this cost.

The health sector has not improved, this is exemplified by the President constant visit to the UK for medical treatment. The rise in kidney and liver diseases arising from un affordable health care and the use of traditional medicines as alternative which further aggravates its occurrences of the diseases is disturbing.

The worsening state and complete failure of the health care delivery systems is regrettable and alarming.
The double digit inflation in the economy and ballooning of both domestic and foreign debt profile of the country are some of the issues that would swing my votes.

So far the government is only hammering on its anti corruption crusade which to me is a mix bag of success if at all they are succeeding.
In the nearly four years that this government is in power, it has shown that it can not stop corruption or occurrences of corrupt practices within the system.

Yes, lets give it to the President that he is personally incorruptible but the corruption going on under his nose is absurd. The country is operating under a constitution that gives the President the executive power to deal with all issues as far as the executive branch is concerned.

All employees under the executive branch are operating under the delegated powers of the President. It presupposes that the President has the right to hire and fire. if there are issues of impropriety in the system the president must act.

His in actions in relation to matters of corruption, abuse of power by his employees is to say the least disappointing.

The success of the government is first of all the success of the President before any other person. Similarly if there were failures, posterity will hold the President as such.

This reminds of the Islamic teaching that leaders would be brought on the day of judgement in chains and God would ask every one of their followers, if the leader was just to them before they would be cleared to enter heaven, leadership is therefore a big responsibility.

We all support the anti corruption crusade. What we disagree with is the way its being carried out. We frown at the way it has been reduced to hype, labelling and dealing with the opposition for personal political gains.

The government must not also allow the crusade against anti corruption to take away its attention from dealing with vital issues that form the core responsibilities of governance, such as poverty alleviation, hunger, disease, in security, unemployment and mass poverty.

The economy and infrastructural development must not pushed to the back seat in the name fighting corruption.

The government must not in the pursuit of power build an agenda for lies, deceit, misrepresentation of facts, scare tactics as means of discrediting the credentials of its opponents. After all the parties have a lot of issues of corruption in their baggages.

It must not blame and label some as corrupt, while looking the other way when it comes to corruption issues affecting people close to it in the name of gaining some votes and political existences.

I have argued on this medium that the election in 2019 would be decided by competence and capacity.

The principles of good leadership apply at all levels of social hierarchy, whether it relates to running a country, operating a business, keeping a household in order, or maintaining a positive marriage. Among the key issues is how leaders treat and regard the people they are responsible for.

When people think “political” they think about the candidate running for office, running around, giving speeches, and shaking hands.

Political competence in the organizational sense is understanding what you can and cannot control, assessing the timing of taking action, identifying allies (and resistors), and determining exactly who you need on your side for you to push your change agenda forward.

Political competence is about mapping the political terrain, gaining support, and leading a coalition. Political competence is critical to successful leadership.

There are no shortage of good ideas. There are always suggestions of how to do the work better, faster, and more efficient than before. The rub is to get others to get on board with the new idea. Political competence is a lever that leaders can use to get their idea off the ground.

Political competence allows leaders not only to get support, but also to seriously engage the key players that they will need to implement their idea.

Even with the best intentions, the greatest ideas, the most exquisite processes of execution, without political competence, you are unlikely to have success. Political competence isn’t a textbook process, but it is an ongoing exercise of seeing and analyzing the world around you, and building a coalition of support that will see your agenda implemented.

Leadership is not something that one person can do alone. An organizational lone ranger is the person who single-mindedly pursues their idea. They might assign tasks to others here and there, but they take sole responsibility for their change effort. Because they don’t take the time to engage others, there isn’t a collective sense of ownership or pride in the end result.

Lone rangers tend to trample on others in their gallop toward the finish line, and unwittingly create divisions and dissent that didn’t exist before.

At the other extreme are the consensus builders. They are focused of getting everyone into the tent before taking action. They thrive on constant meetings and endless hallway chats. While the lone ranger may end up with a tangible result, the consensus builder has people on their side, but they often don’t get things done.

Political competence is the balance between the single-minded pursuit of the lone ranger and the warm reach of the consensus builder.

Politically competent leaders have a goal in mind, and the political sense to engage others to join them in their effort to ultimately get things done.

In our situation we have agreed the President “may be incorruptible” and have best of intentions but he is being surrounded by the bad and ugly with a few very good men.

Faced with this reality we must therefore “change the change maker” because he has failed to change our situations.

We are living in a jet age the country can not afford the extra time they are asking for. Because some people spent sixteen without doing “anything,” we don’t have the luxury of time on our hands to wait for sixteen year to experience growth and development.

The world would not be waiting for us. We must if need be keep changing the leadership every four years until we get it right.

ATIKU THE MOST VILIFIED

Before you continue vilifying and labelling Atiku corrupt and call him all sorts of un printable names, you need take a step back and ponder on What God said about entrepreneurship, work and wealth generation.

God in the noble Quran said, He created the universe for the benefit of all human beings and made the resources of this earth available to man who has the responsibility to make use of them, to mould them, and to transform them according to his needs.” .

Islam clearly puts human kind in an activist role in shaping their destiny. Humans are responsible for pursuing opportunities; regardless of the resources they currently control, to meet their needs.
It places entrepreneurship as the preferred economic behavioural model for Muslims. In the Qur’an there are clear references to the ‘work’ one does and the ‘wealth’ or
bounty’ that one is expected to seek. “…

On earth will be your dwelling place and your means of livelihood for a time.” (Qur’an 2:36) “…to men is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn. But ask God of His bounty, for God has full knowledge of all things.” (Qur’an 4:32) “It is We (God) who have placed you with authority on earth, and provided you therein with means for the fulfilment of your life…” (Qur’an 7:10) “And say: Work (amal), soon will God observe your work…” (Qur’an 9:105) “We have made the night and the day… that we may seek bounty from your Lord…” (Qur’an 17:12) “It is out of His Mercy that he has made for you the night and day that you may rest therein and that you may seek of His bounty; in order that you may be grateful.” (Qur’an 28:73)

The verses above make it clear that Muslims are expected to work for a living and that work is seen as an activity that is consistent with God’s will and has moral value.

The verses referenced clearly state that God created the night so that one can rest in order to seek God’s bounty during the day. Additionally, the creation of wealth is seen as God’s

The Bible also gave a the historical narrative about entrepreneurship and work ethic.

My Christian brothers know from Genesis 13 that Abram was very wealthy in livestock, gold, and silver. By the time he had to rescue Lot in Genesis 14, he had over 300 trained men, presumably trained in the use of arms.

Beyond his wealth, Abram was an entrepreneur. The evidence for this is in Genesis 13, when Abram and Lot separate and Lot chooses to go to the fertile plain. This was an area favourably compared to the Garden of Eden.
Presumably Abram got a less attractive, less fertile area, yet he continued to prosper. Lot’s material and spiritual condition both deteriorated due to his choice. He started out as wealthy as his uncle Abram, but ended up living in cave (Genesis 19).

After getting the lesser land, Abram’s wealth grew, as did his faith and walk with the Lord. By Genesis 21 Abraham (as God had renamed him by this time) was making treaties with kings and generals. Abraham had a faith and God-given vision of the future, and the perseverance to leave his home, obey, and see the task through.

Solomon was unique among Jewish kings, as he seems to be the only one to have seen and profited from the geographical advantage of his kingdom. Ancient Israel was located on two great ancient trading routes, the King’s Highway and Way of the Sea (the Via Maris), in addition to several lesser routes.

Solomon engaged in trade, and he appears to be the only Jewish king to fully exploit the advantages afforded by these routes (1 Kings 5, 9).

The Bible tells us Solomon was extremely wealthy, but he had to create his fortune, as much of it did not exist before (I Kings 3, 4:26).

Solomon generated wealth by bringing peace to the kingdom, which allowed him to use his resources for production, rather than protection. In addition, he encouraged trade and was the only Jewish king with a trading fleet

It is clear the two major religion of world support the right of Man and Woman to pursue trade and be wealthy. They also both agree one should do so with “Tawaaqul” honesty.

Where is the hate and anger against the rich coming from?

Who is Atiku Abubakar? Born on November 25, 1946 in Jada a village in the Adamawa State, from a humble family background being the only child of both parents he knew very early he needed security.

His father died when he was very young. He recognised early that for him to survive this uncaring world he had to be bullish in the pursuit of his world’s desires.

His lonely childhood, the death of father, and separation of his parents early in life created fears in him that he vowed never to allow his children suffer similar fate. These fears also led him to marry four wives. Today he has 26 children from his from all his spouses.

Atiku worked for the Nigeria Customs Service for 20 years during which he rose to the second highest rank in the Service before joined politics. He is 71 and Masha Allah in good health.

Life is a choice between what one wants to be. If you choose to be entrepreneur and become rich and wealthy no body stops from doing that.

Conversely, if you choose to remain poor is up to you, but it does not in any way make you more superior then the other person in conduct, capacity and before eyes of God.

Donald Trump is one the most wealthiest person who became the American President. As an entrepreneur he amassed his wealth and became a billionaire through real estate development.

Many in American don’t like him but his rating keep going up. His economic success and the rising job numbers is endearing him to the American people and this is happening in less than two years in to his presidency.

Many also did like how he amassed his wealth yet nobody labelled him as corrupt. I cannot recall any mention of him being corrupt by the opposition during the 2016 Presidential campaign. He has been accused for other anti social behaviours and complict of interest but certainly not labelled corrupt.

Atiku never hid his source of wealth. He started with real estate business through a loan of N31,000 from the bank and built his first house in Yola, and re invested the proceeds from the rent by building more property in Yola.
In 1981 he acquired 2,500 hectares of land near Yola to start a maize and cotton farm. The business suffered some set backs and the closed the farm.

He later moved the business to trading, buying and selling truckloads of rice, flour and sugar.

Abubakar’s break through in business came when he met Gabrielle Volpi, an Italian businessman, who invited him to set up Nigeria Container Services (NICOTES), a logistics company operating within the Ports. NICOTES would go on to provide immense wealth to Abubakar.

Conflict of interest accusations trailed him on account of his involvement in business while still in service.
Atiku, exculpated himself of any wrong doing as his involvement in the company was limited to the ownership of shares which is permitted by extant rules and regulation of the civil service. NICOTES would later be rebranded in to INTELS,

The business empire kept expanding in to other areas such as the beverage manufacturing plant in Yola, the animal feed factory as well as the AFTI University in Yola. These are the genesis of the wealth of Atiku for which he now being labelled as corrupt.

Why are the opposition calling Atiku corrupt knowing fully they can not prove the allegation in court?

How can his pursuit for wealth be wrong in the light of the religious references we made earlier? His only crime is that he is successful and people generally hate success.

The Dangotes, Odetola, Alhassawas, Tinubus, Indimis, Mangals,Magnus, Elumelus, Authur Ezes are some of the successful business entrepreneurs in Nigeria, are they likely to suffer similar treatment when they decide to ran for public office? How can good people join politic if we treat them with disdain.

I know many would say they did not worked for the public service that may be true, but I challenge any one to show me one person in Nigeria that his business dealings are not interconnect with the public common wealth and also to show cause that they are 100 percent transparent.

The term corruption and corrupt persons has been reduced to a construct and label used selectively by the powerful to serve certain defined interest.

Don’t get me wrong I abhor corruption and corrupt practices but I dislike using un proven cases of corruption to destroy and smear your opponents for personal political gains.

If really the government want to be truthful in the fight against corruption, it must not be selective. No public officer in this country should be shielded from corruption investigation. But this in so far as we do not protect others on the presumption that the anti corruption investigation would denigrate some public offices.

The fact that we have isolated the occupants of some public offices from corruption investigations no body would believe our campaign against corruption to be truthful.

If you allow the big fish to roam the streets causing the nation all sorts of problems then we must not chase, persecute, destroy the weak and vulnerable.

The Nigerian people are tired of the mud slinging, name calling and accusations of corruption that can not be proven in court law.

This government has the opportunity to show case its achievements in the nearly four years it been in power to win our franchise.

Enough of the anti corruption crusade hype that is not taking us any where but to greater penury, mass poverty hunger, disease, in security, unemployment, divisiveness and hate in the society.

We must revert to issues based campaign. To put the anti-corruption war in the front burner, and using it to promoted fear and intimidation as instruments of governance” is to say the least counter productive as the two party have a lot in their baggage on corruption.

To use lies, deceit, misrepresentation of facts, scare tactics as means of discrediting the credentials of opponents will only over heat the polity and encourage thuggery in the conduct of the political campaigns.

So, lets us go back to issues based campaigns, embark on political debates, shun violence, stop vilifying opponents and encourage supporters to play by the rule of the game.

The fight against corruption will only make sense to the Nigeria people if it goes hand in hand with other social issues that would make life meaningful.

People are dying of hunger, homes are broken, unemployment, inflation, in security, lack of power and failing infrastructure are on the increase.

The essence of government is to make lives of the people better and not by further impoverising them.

The penury and dis enchantment in the society is widening by the day. Let us go back to the basics the opportunity to get things right is the hands of the Nigeria people.

The beauty of democracy is that every four years it gives people the opportunity to change those who govern them. Your vote is your power use them wisely.

FEAR, SCARE TACTICS OR COMPETENCE!

When I wrote on this platform, the 2019 general elections would be determined by “ anti corruption or competence” many thought I was playing politics.

Be it what it may, the real fear how the fight against corruption would turn the 2019 general elections dirty has started coming to the fore.

Reuben Abati in his opinion piece, “the spirit of error” in Nigeria politics, raised some of the concerns we were fearing will dominate the political agenda for 2019 general elections. According to him the announcement by the government to effectuate Executive Order No 6, under which “it proposes to place a travel ban on some yet unnamed and undisclosed Nigerians.

Under the Order, the government seeks to stop persons indicted for corruption from travelling abroad, and to attach their properties. The argument by government spokespersons that they are relying on a judgement by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Abuja Federal High Court has been exposed for what it is: a lie, a ruse, an attempt to misinterpret the court, knowing that the judge is not likely to engage in a market-place explanation of its own ruling.

The Attorney General of the Federation can apply Executive Order No 6, only through the instrumentality of a Court Order. By by-passing the Court, the Executive arm seeks to be the judge, the jury and the executioner in its own case. It usurps the roles of the judiciary and the legislature, and serves notice of a return to dictatorship.

The Order as proposed has been correctly described as a reincarnation of the notorious Decree 2 of 1984 and a violation of Section 41 of the 1999 Constitution”.

He further highlighted that “The newspapers published a list of 50 names but the Executive has since announced that it has not published any list, but the people concerned know themselves.

The combined effect of this opaqueness is that the government has imposed a regime of fear on the people. A secret watch list which can be applied at will is an act of intimidation against the Nigerian people. It is reckless and unwise, because political intimidation is the worst, most brazen form of rigging! In an election season, it is scary.

As a strategy, it makes no sense. At a time when the President and his party need the people’s votes, an open subversion of the rule of law is not a good method of votes solicitation. Whoever chose this time to take Nigeria back to 1984, has only strengthened the resolve of those who are already whispering that a second term for President Buhari would translate into misery for Nigerians. Executive Order No. 6, rather than further advance the anti-corruption war, has merely promoted fear and intimidation as instruments of governance”.

The constant reminder by the President assuring the citizens of fair and free elections in 2019 in every fora he speaks recently, raises some concern as if there is something to the contrary.

The elections that were conducted in Osun and the party primaries especially those in Lagos, Zamfara and other states of the federation does not give comfort to that effect.

The hate write ups, the mud slinging, the mundane and un proven corruption claims in the social media on matters not decided by a court of competent jurisdiction used as campaign strategy is overtly over heating the polity.

The attack on the Clergy, the Mullah and Persons of good intentions who speak on how to improve the way we are governed are turning things upside down.

A livid example is the reconciliation effort spearhead by Reverend Father Kukah attended by Shiek Gumi between the former President Obasanjo, and Vice Atiku Abubakar the PDP presidential candidate. The governments spokes persons, in response went berserk accusing the duo for joining religion with politics.

The two clergy men had to come out to defend and exculpate themselves from the accusation labelled against them in the public court.

The claim made by the government during the 2018 Nigeria Bar Association Conference that “the rule of law could be violated and that the Supreme Court had given them the right to do so in the Asari Dokubo case is not good for the state of our law

Reuben, in the same article cautioned the anti corruption strategy would not fly the kite this time around, he said “ In 2014/15, the APC’s selling point was President Muhammadu Buhari. He was promoted as a nationalist, man of integrity and a reformed democrat. He promised to fight corruption and the people hailed him. They were tired of the PDP. They wanted change. Many believed in him as the messiah who will turn Nigeria around.

Close to four years later, President Buhari is now at that point where most Nigerian leaders find themselves, covered by that standard, unscientific excuse: “the good man who is surrounded by bad people, bad advisers and bad politicians.” The economy under his watch is slow and unproductive. In three months the country’s debt profile has jumped from N22. 4 triilion to $73.21 billion and the country wants to borrow more. Many Nigerians no longer consider that a good strategy. They are similarly skeptical about the war against corruption.

Senator Saidu Dansadau a front line politician the chairman of the National Rescue Movement said “the strategy that Buhari is the only incorruptible leader in Nigeria no longer sells

The notion being promoted that Buhari is the only credible person that can rule Nigeria is longer tenable. That all other politicians are thieves is a ruse.

Painting Atiku as corrupt, and the disposition that enabled him to be rich is contrary to the reality on ground. Their effort to create in the minds of every common man that anybody that is rich is corrupt is ludicrous and self serving.

Unfortunately, they have even gotten the clerics to preach that people who are rich to the level of Atiku are thieves”.
He added that people have forgotten that even in spiritual history, we were told by the Bible and the Quran, there were disciples and prophets of God who were rich.

Some were engineers and successful businessmen. That shows that business, entrepreneurship is a noble career. Since prophets and disciples in our spiritual history do businesses and they became very rich, it is wrong to assume that whoever is rich in the society is corrupt”.

He also testified that during his tenure as the Chairman, Public Accounts Committee of the Senate for two years and as a member of the committee for eight years, He was in a better position to know if there were any corrupt practices traced to Atiku.

To him therefore the campaign against Atiku being corrupt is a deliberate attempt to twist facts intended to get the buy in by the clerics and the press to promote the rhetoric”.

When we said the 2019 general election will be determined by “anti corruption or competence” we fore saw the strategy that was developing aimed at instilling fears in the mind of the citizens and to energise their base to come out and vote in spite of their misery and suffering.

The collective desires of the Nigerian people for issues based campaign seems to be fretting in the air as there were really no issues to discuss.

The only area which is less contentious for the government to embrace and build it 2019 campaign strategy is the fight against “corruption”. And the government has perfected this strategy so well by and using it to create “fear and scare tactics” that you don’t “give back the government to corrupt people”.

It uses, lies, deceit, misrepresentation of facts and attacks on the credentials of their opponents, all aimed at playing on the sensivity their base. They know this strategy works because people react to fear not the love for any one person. The options before Nigerians in the 2019 elections are two “anti corruption and competence”.

If you are a Buhari apologist you would embrace the anti corruption agenda as the best that has ever to Nigeria even though you know the intrinsic reason for anti corruption is merely a tactical move to scare intimidate, cajole energise people to remain in check so that they do not see the other bad side of the government.

But before you exercise your franchise be informed the difference between the “corrupt PDP government” citizens are brainwashed to accept and what we are witnessing in the APC government is to say the least marginal or non existent

Today if you want to avoid being the guest of the EFCC just ran to Presidency show your loyalty and you would be protected.

If you steal public funds and want to avoid being classified as corrupt pick the membership card of the APC or decamp to the party you would be cleansed and never to be labelled as corrupt. The anti corruption agencies would never go after you even at the prodding of the courts or public opinion.

Conversely, if you are the few remaining still looking forward to issues based campaign bordering on competency and capacity then you have to look beyond your idiosyncrasies and the scare tactics being popularised in media as agenda for political campaigns.

The government has shown in competence in dealing with the issues relating to the economy, power supply, in security, poverty reduction, hunger and un employment and above all its disregard for fiscal policy and budget implementation.

The governments failure is no longer in the realm of abstract but reality. The hopes that we held on believing Buhari was the messiah has evaporated and these has exposed the under belly of the government dismal performance in all the sectors.

Atiku has proved competence in all his business dealings and has handled all matters of State devolve to him diligently. You may hate him for being rich but certainly not corrupt or lack of capacity.

The choice for 2019 remains between “anti corruption and competence” the pendulum will tilt on either side depending on how wisely you vote.

WHAT DETERMINES 2019 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION “ANTI CORRUPTION OR COMPETENCE”?

Barring any unforeseen occurrences the major political actors in the 2019 presidential have emerged.

With the conclusion of the party primaries and the emergence of President Muhammad Buhari of APC and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the PDP,.

Both of them of the Fulani stock, one from Jada, Adamawa State and the other from Daura, Katsina State the fight for who occupies the presidential Villa on the May 29th 2019 has began.

The journey would be guided by issues but the leading tophic on the agenda for the debate will eventually narrow down on “competence and anti corruption”.

Prior the 2015 general election President Muhammad Buhari whose pedigree as an in corruptible general earned him blind support of the electorates.

This led to the ouster of the sixteen years of the PDP government in 2015.
His name became synonymous with the 2015 elections. Infact the Buhari tsunami led to the election of many of the un electable in government.

Buhari worn the election on the change mantra and anti corruption.
Three and half years down the lane the corruption fighter Is now dogged with corruption from within.

Atiku the former Vice President under the Obasanjo Administration one of the founding member of the PDP carries the stigma of corruption associated with his party.

This in spite of the fact that neither him or his principal (Obj) have ever been charged to court for corrupt practices. But he has been sentenced in the public court as corrupt because of the successes in his businesses.

The dictum now being popularised in the fight against corruption that “You are guilty until proven innocent” has some serious consequences on the citizens. It has hurt and destroyed many innocent people.

The concept itself is antithesis to the provision of the constitution and legal jurisprudence, which advocates “ You are innocent until proven guilty.

The labelling of corruption may not stick this time around because the Buhari government in last three and half years have not come out clean on the accusations of corrupt practices.

The Buhari apologist may argue that the President is clean, but how true is this assertion?

But even for the sake of argument, let us give it to the President that he is in corruptible.

But how can one explain the corruption going on under the nose of the President.

The NNPC saga, where the President is holding the portfolio of a Minister the Ministry of Petroleum.

The corruption issues associated with the chief of staff to the President.

The detention of the ADC to his wife by Dss for allegedly stealing over two billion naira of her money, which the state is now claiming he was collecting from state governments without her knowledge.

The corruption saga that led to the removal of the former SGF Babachir.

The hob knobbing the government is having with corrupt officials that have milked the treasury of their states dry and ran to the government for succour.

Recently, it took the court to compel the EFCC to investigate the stupendous wealth of one of the senior member of the APC whether this would be obeyed is another story all together. The list is endless.

It is this selective application of the fight against corruption, that is fighting the corruption agencies back.

For me if the law is allowed to take it course most of the people now parading themselves on the streets causing all sorts problems and confusion should have been in the gulag,

On the competence scale its on record the American President, regrettably was quoted to have referred to the Nigerian President as “lifeless”, this goes to show how some of the leaders of the world perceive the president, as some one who lacks capacity.

Atiku, certainly can not be accused of in competence, “lifeless” or some one who lacks capacity, his pedigree in business and as the Vice President is clearly there for everyone to assess.

But he too would face big task of purging himself from the baggage of corruption that characterised the tenure of the government of which he was a senior member.

In this regard, both the candidates have their weaknesses and strength. While Mr. President is seen to be in corruptible the issue of lack of capacity hangs over his head.

Atiku, arguably has the competence and capacity to deliver, but the corruption issues of their government will constitute a dark cloud over his head as well.

The choice in 2019 may be reduced between “competence and anti corruption” depending on which side of the divide you stand.

That is why we are saying, the “labelling of corruption” may not fly the kite this time around. As both parties have enough issues bordering on corruption in their baggage.

The voters may hold the key to where the needle on the Scale would tilt during the election but will their ballot count?

My take on this depends on how those we have entrusted with the conduct of the national elections allow the process to go full circle with out manipulation of the out come. I know we have been promised impartiality but what happened in the Osun election speaks volumes.

The Police and other Security Agencies must be impartial so that the process plays out completely for the good of democracy and the country and let the best be.

MIXED BAG OF FORTUNES

The party primaries have come and gone. It left behind gales of dissatisfaction and wider disunity amongst the losers and the winners.

The process of healing the wounds it created will now begin but that is politics for you.

The question we have to ask ourselves is whether the process has successfully produced the leaders we so desired?

And whether it has met democratic international best practices of selecting political leaders?

To say yes or no depends on which side of the divide you belong.

My take on this, it was clear from the on set we are heading for a disaster. The discordant voices generated by the political parties as to which of the process they would deploy for the selection of their flag bearers was rooted in selfishness and self aggrandisement.

The resolve by some of the parties to use combination of the Direct and In Direct primaries, sent a serious warning signs to those who care to ponder on what the likely out come of the process would be.

The 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Electoral Act as amended both allowed the use of Direct and In Direct primary as a process for conducting party primaries.

Paragraph 15, Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 constitution as amended and the Electoral Act 2010 as amended provides that all the political parties are required to conduct primary elections to distil and submit to INEC their party flag bearers, contesting for elections in to the offices of the President, Members of the National and State Assemblies and the Local Government Councils

In a more civilised society the options provided by the constitution and electoral act, intended to strengthen and deepen the process of democracy would have been good for the polity. But alas in our situation, it created window for un wholesome Practices by the actors.

The lacuna gave rise to what played out during the party primaries.

By law one can say without fear of contradictions that what the parties did were in line with the provisions of the constitution and electoral act.

But can we safely say, the actions of the political actors in the conduct of the exercise a reflection of the intended out come of what the crafters of the Nigerians constitution envisaged?

It is in this light, we shall examine the circus and the sham that characterised the recently concluded party primaries

The term direct and indirect primaries are not new. They have been in use all over the world as a method of narrowing the choices of the candidates to stand for general election on the platform of a political party.

An indirect primary is an election in which voters do not choose between candidates for an office, but elect people who then choose candidate at party convention. It is one of the oldest forms of elections, and is still used today.

The direct primary came about as reform aimed at deepening democracy, it empowers ordinary party members to pick candidates for office, rather than leaving that decision to party insiders.

If both were managed very well, the processes are capable of producing credible results.

What we witnessed in the past few days in some of the cases were nothing but outright mockery to democracy and democratic processes. It was a sham and a national disgrace.

The whole process was typified by Cronyism; the senate un finished leadership struggle; God fatherism; Incumbency factor; Executive influence; Party preferences; Bridge building; Money politics; Corrupt practises; Delegate manipulations and Leadership deficit.

The blind desire by the powerful to install surrogates and lackeys in order cover their thievery, filth and shoddy deals exposes the un belly of the Whole exercise. It robbed most of the states the opportunity of selecting credible candidates.

The un finished politics of leadership in the National Assembly also had significant effect on the out come of the primary election, as both parties ensured that all sitting Senators and Members do not loose their seats. The reason is to ensure they do not turn against the party in the unfinished saga over the leadership of the national assembly.

God fatherism also played a serious factor during the primaries. some top politicians are strategizing for 2023 elections, they were keen in ensuring that they install as many Governors, Senators and Members to use them as lynch pin in 2023.

The Party Executives also criminally soiled their hands by arbitrarily manipulating the delegate lists and in some cases out rightly changing delegates list or even sacking the entire state party executive and replacing them with cronies that are ready to do their biddings.

Money was also widely used to corrupt the process. Vote buying and manipulation of party electoral officials through various inducements were wide spread resulting in many states changing the dates and venue of the primaries to favour their agenda.

Delegate stealing and manipulations in some states deprived other candidates access to delegates.

The venues for primary elections were in some cases moved away from there original locations at dying minutes to government houses, there by depriving some of the contestants access to the process.

Some of the manifest undesirable out comes the process produced are; flawed leadership, since the process used in selecting the future leaders are flawed, muddled with nepotism, corruption, cronyism, the leadership that emerged through this process would be anything but good.

Most of the leaders that emerged are nothing but stooges, tailor made to serve the interest of their benefactors and to some extent also work for themselves to ensure the continuation of the vicious circle of recruitment into politics.

No meaningful things will come out of them but the under development of the Nigeria State. They would forever remain stooges and grateful to their god fathers at the expense of our collective interest.

Unemployment and youth restiveness will continue to dog and haunt the society.

Peace will continue to elude the society. In security will also continue un abated as stop gap measures will remain the tool in fighting insurgency and other ills in the society.

The society will remain polarised as result of the hate and divisiveness accentuated by the primaries.

Corruption will become more pervasive in the system as the agencies fighting corruption are going to be whittled down by the corrupt leaders that emerged.

They would frustrate the agencies because the leaders, in themselves came through flawed and corrupt process. They would in turn render the corruption agencies comatose.

Who are the losers in all these? Is it the Nigeria State or the “Good People of conscience” who could have done something to stop the sinking ship to the abyss, but decide to look the other way in order not soil their names and integrity.

If the political parties in themselves could not organise a credible primary, then they have lost the right to shout and call INEC names for giving them, what they gave to themselves.

This vicious circle will continue as long as good people refuse to join politics. Their in actions will forever allow the charlatans to govern us and run the country down.

We have one Nigeria and it is our collective responsibilities to stop and arrest the decline. We must not allow ours fears to dominate us, the notion of “sit down and look” will not take us any where but to self destruction.

This country is blessed with good people, all that is needed is the will to fight injustice.

We must not allow ourselves to be mocked in the comity of nations. Nigeria has the capacity to do better then what we are presenting as our best to the world.

My appeal is to those good people and agencies of government responsible in the conduct of our elections to strive and do the right thing.

Hope is not lost all together. We still have about five month to the general election to make amends and ensure the process works well. Anything short of that is an invitation to anarchy and the collapse of the Nigerian State.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.