Category: News

WHEN PUBLIC OFFICERS NO LONGER PAY FOR THE CONSEQUENCIES OF THEIR INDISCRETIONS

The Senior Special Assistant to President on media and publicity on his twitter page apologise to the Nigerian people for the misleading statement he made on the number of school children abducted by the Bundits in kankara a village in Katsina State.

This is following the revelation by national and international news sources that more than 300 students were rounded up and abducted by the bandits. Garba Shehu told the BBC Hausa service that only 10 students were abducted by the group.

In a separate interview with the governor of Katsina State, who confirmed over 300 students were abducted after the attack.This gaffe by Shehu triggered outrage on the social media with many calling for the sacking of the senior special assistant.

This kind of indiscretion by the SSA is becoming one too many. Recall the recent comment by the SSA when 43 farmers were killed by the Boko Haram insurgents on their farms at Zabaramari in Borno state. The SSA also said “the farmers did not get permission before they went to their farms” what a callous and unguided statement to make under the circumstance.

The SSA in an infamous apology statement claimed, the fake news he circulated was as a result of lack of synergy in the multiple sources of his information. He went on to say, “I apologize for the incorrect communication citing that only 10 students were kidnapped at the science school, Kankara. This communication of numbers was provided by persons that should ideally know. These numbers were seen to conflict with what was available at that time.”
“Please understand that this communication was in no way done to downplay the seriousness of the situation. Please accept my sincere apologies on this matter as we continue to move our great Nation Nigeria forward. Thank you”

In another separate tweet Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, on her verified Twitter handle, on Thursday afternoon claimed that all the schoolboys had been rescued.The tweet was shared some minutes before the Bandits released a video showing the captured boys were in their custody.

The tweet reads “ Yaaaa. The 333 boys captured in Katsina have been rescued. Alhamdullilah!@MBuhari administration has brought back our boys**#Bring Back OurBoys. OurBoys are Back. The tweet was deleted as quickly as it was hurriedly posted. She Claimed her account was hacked a situation many saw as a face saving strategy.

My worry about all these, the misinformation came from professionals who by virtue of their standing in the media circle know how humiliating it could be on the journalism profession when they become purveyors of fake news.

When Garba appealed for forgiveness from Nigerian for his shortcoming many must have forgiven him a lot were considering doing the same after all ”to err is human to forgive is divine”

While Nigerian are still considering to forgive Shehu, he came up with another ridiculous write up that shows he was not actually remorseful and sincere in his appeal for forgiveness.

He continued with his rascality when the school children were actually rescued through the efforts of Miyeti Allah national chairman, the Zamfara state governor and the military. As we now know the truth how the children were rescued as revealed by Matuwale the Zamfara governor.

To appreciate the rascality of Garba Shehu we shall reproduce what he wrote in whole for you to judge. While we add our commentary to all the arguments put forward by Garba in defence of his benefactors.

“FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE SAFE RETURN OF 344 KANKARA SCHOOLBOYS
By Garba Shehu
The safe return of all 344 boys kidnapped from the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, in Katsina State would be celebrated in any decent part of the world where empathy overrides cheap politics. And for a good cause.”
Who is playing politics here is it Garba or the Nigerian people? Your statements on the un folding events shows lack of empathy and is tainted with politics.

Of course Nigerians are relived the students were rescued in good time. Garba may wish find out the anguish the parents of Chibok girl whom their children are yet to be rescued then he would know how happy Nigerians are or not.
He went to add that “The outpouring of sighs, cries of relief and joy over the return of the boys reverberated beyond their immediate families. As the news spread far and wide, the global community is cheering the boys’ reunion with their families”

They are doing so because the memory of the pitiful situation of the Chibok girls are still vivid in their minds and they know how in competent our system is. So their relief is not out sympathy but fears.

Garba also called the whole event as a watershed. “This moment is a watershed for Nigeria. It holds out hope that Nigerian citizens can feel safe wherever they are”
Really, is Garba really serious about this are we really safe? Is he living in a different world? Might be we need to ask the SSA to give Nigerians a lecture on public safety. We shall then see if he is not booed or stoned.

He went to quote his boss by saying “It is precisely as President Muhammadu Buhari described it: “A big relief to their families, the entire country and international community.” Indeed what else can he say.

He also added by saying, “We are glad that the UN Secretary General, Antonio Gutteres just sent a thank you message, appreciating what Nigeria has achieved”.
Very gratifying to hear this, has the UN Secretary General also not reminded his boss about the Chibok girls that are yet to be reunited with their families. Lest I forget is Leah Sharibu the Dapchi school girl abducted from Yobe state rescued from the Boko Haram and united with her family. The achievement Shehu is referring to can only be complete when all the Chibok girls and Leah are return to their families.

Garba then identified the following as the take away from the disturbing national embarrassment;

  1. “The Buhari Administration has the will and has demonstrated unquestionable capacity to protect Nigerians. Those who doubt this Government’s resolve are mischievous. It is an administration empowered to draw enormous resilience from innate reservoirs of human resources, a network of reliable intelligence sources, and demonstrated expertise in scenario building and mediation”.
    Is it? Wasn’t Garba in his appeal for forgiveness blaming his sources of information and intelligence for feeding him with conflicting information as a result of which he gaffe in the number of the abducted children. Since when has the situation changed that he is now praise-singing the quality of intelligence and the resilience of the security aparatus. Which one does he want us to believe?

The SSA also claimed, ‘’Under enormous pressures from local and international sources, those charged with coordinating the boys’ safe return held tight, stayed focused, refusing to succumb to doubts, taunts, and conspiracy theories. They eventually got the job done most transparently and brought back the boys”.

Who are those conspiring? if any Shehu is part of the conspiracy theories? Your singular action of spreading fake news in order to protect your benefactors makes you part of the conspirators.

He also complained, “Our Security Forces often do not get the accolades they deserve. Once more, the Nigerian Military has delivered on the big stage. They had a plan, kept to it, and got the job done without firing a single shot. This is important because one casualty, one dead schoolboy, could have traumatized President Buhari and the parents. One dead student would have tainted the rescue mission. The President wanted the boys back alive and delivered to their parents. As a compassionate father figure, he would have been pained if one life had been lost in the rescue process. Bravo to the Nigerian Military and our security agencies for a well-coordinated and professionally executed mission to the President’s order reuniting the boys with their parents. There are not enough words to thank our gallant men and women in uniform, the military that continues to, make sacrifices for many of us to enjoy and express our freedoms in its various forms and shapes. Millions of appreciative citizens applaud the success of the Army in bringing back the Kankara Schoolboys. Well done, boys!”

Here he goes again, the fact that nobody was killed was not the effort of the Military. You need to hear the interview given by the Zamfara state governor how the whole saga played out. Might be he will do some re-appraisal of his characterization of the events that led to the rescue of boys.

  1. Terrorists have lost the lead narrative with the military and our security personnel’s excellent performance in rescuing the boys without any incident. They can run, but they can no longer hide. The momentum now lies with our forces, and one should expect a new push against violent forces and their sponsors”.

May I ask Garba how many of the bandits have been captured? How many of their identified hideouts been taken over or decimated by the security agents. Are the bandits not waiting for another opportunity to strike giving the fact no one anticipated such abduction would ever happen again in the light of what happen at Chibok and Yobe.

Can Garba tell us how the Americans came and rescued their citizen? Did they use our local security or the Miyetti Allah? Is Garba aware that the Abuja- Kaduna road is still not safe to travel day or night?

  1. ” One must never take for granted the Nigerian spirit of brotherhood or their love for their President. Nigerians are far more united than it would seem, reviewing news reports and social media pages. Nigerians also love this President and have absolute trust in his ability to protect them. The outpouring of solidarity and support for the administration cuts across all divides, from far and wide, from expected and unexpected quarters. Nigerians have shown that in moments of national grief, they are truly their brother’s keepers and the events of the last few days have clearly demonstrated this residue.

Garba, must know Nigerians elected Mr President because of the love they have for him. But ask them now how many can still vote for him? Where are outpouring and solidarity coming from?
Is Shehu reading the same news newspapers, following the social media Nigerian has access to or is he just being delusional.

Shehu also blamed Nigerians for seeking gratification from where they did not saw;

  1. “There will always be profiteers from other people’s misfortune. The lack of patriotism shown by few unnecessary elements in a moment of national distress was crass, shameful and despicable. If they are not directly affected by a tragedy or no immediate family member involved, it is fair game for them and time to gloat or even make a few fast bucks. Indeed emergency activists thought they could cash in on these schoolboys and their parents’ misfortune devoid of their conscience. While patriotic Nigerians prayed for the boys’ quick return, these merchants of fortune were renting crowds, creating certain suspicious hashtags, opening bank accounts for the sole aim of soliciting funds for a cause they thought would linger. What will they do now with the one million T-Shirts they have produced? This is hugely shameful. These scavengers should now be honourable enough to refund the monies they have so far collected for the now futile campaign to discredit their fatherland”

Those people shehu is calling profiteers are patriotic Nigeria who have the courage to say it like it is. Unlike him instead of speaking the truth he tried to downplay gravity of the abduction to only 10 students.

Democracy flourishes when people have the right to hold counter views, speak out whenever they observe some dislocations in the way they are governed. This is the major difference between dictatorship and liberal democracy.
If there is anyone who is profiteering in the debacle is the likes of Garba and his cohorts who are benefiting from their official positions by spreading fake news and demeaning the status of the government and the office they hold.

In a civilised society, Shehu ought to have resigned or shown the way out for his arrogance and indiscretions. But this is a government that condones every irritations, tantrums and indiscretions by public officers no matter how weighty it is.

Nobody seems to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions. Everything goes un punished. Public officers now arrogantly embarrass the country and abuse our sensibilities as a people and get away with it because nobody cares. This how pathetic the situation is.
May I call on the Nigerian Union of Journalist or Guild of Editors the two associations whom Garba Shehu and his cohorts belong to caution or sanction such indiscretions from members of our noble profession.

IS IT MISTAKE, ARROGANCE, OR POWER?

I get pissed off when journalists exhibit profound ignorance or take a nonsensical position about issues that affect our lives as a people. I started journalism carrier 43 years ago until when I veered into public administration as I realised the once noble profession I choose for myself was on the verge of being bastardized by junk journalism.

Journalism as practice has it’s code of ethics that distinguishes it from other professions, just because someone has the flair to write, it does not make him a journalist. He must under go journalism training to be admitted into the noble profession. In a civilized society people appointed as Communication Directors or Press Secretaries in addition to whatever degree or qualification they have, must attend some kind of professional training in journalism that will equip them for the sensitive job. Unfortunately people are appointed to job because they are party spokespersons, or friends to those in the position of power. when they come to the job they become praise singers and embarrassment to the system. Many are there for the glamour and pecuniary benefits.

If it is true Garba Shehu said what he is accused of “ that those farmers massacred in Borno did not get permission before they went to work on their farms on that fateful day then something must be wrong somewhere. It is absurd, reckless, callous, tendentious and regrettable.

Not long ago in a similar vociferous press conference the Minister of information threatened to ban the CNN in Nigeria because they aired film footage of the SAS protest in Lagos. This kind of outburst seems to suggest a pattern of behavior of senior officials in charge of promoting the government image have developed. It is sad that my colleques of the pen have been corrupted by power to the extent they are abusing the basic tenants of there profession.

CNN has since responded that it stand by it’s report and warned if the Minister did not shut up, the network will air a more worst video footage. The Minister has since recluse to his den at ministry’s headquarters without carrying out his threat. The minister ought to have known CNN is not a local media they are group of professionals who are not afraid, influenced by power or some kind of gratifications.

My worry in all these senior officials of the state ought to have known there are conduct of behavior expected from them even though their appointments are political. In a civilized society both the Minister of information and senior adviser to the president on media ought have resigned their appointments or shown the way out.

Lest I forget the chief of Army Staff in a verified Facebook page post made at 7:53pm on the 1st of December said ‘’there is general misunderstanding of what insurgency and terrorism entail “ that there is the likelihood of terrorism persisting in Nigeria for another 20 years” It only depends on the level of escalation and appropriate responses by all stakeholders both civil and military authorities….’’

If the general made these statements some few months before the massacre, ordinarily it would have been considered a good warning and a call on the public to be part of the crusade. But for him to say this some few days after the killings underscores the insensitivity and general pattern of behaviour of officials of this government.
The questions to ask are, what embolden these state officials to behave the way the did? Are there no checks and balance in governance? Where is the failure coming from? For how long can we allow this type of behavior in the conduct of government affairs to continue? Your responses are solicited, please.

When shall we our shots of the Covid19 Vaccine

WHEN SHALL WE HAVE OUR SHOTS OF THE COVID19 VACCINE?
When the United Nations Health Organization declared COVID 19 as a Pandemic, which means no part of the world is immune. Unlike the HIV which its occurrences is preventable through human choice. In the case of COVID19, the virus can spread from an infected person’s mouth or nose in small liquid particles when they cough, sneeze, speak, sing or breathe heavily. These liquid particles are in different sizes, ranging from larger ‘respiratory droplets’ to smaller ‘aerosols’.

Other people can catch COVID-19 when the virus gets into their mouth, nose or eyes, which is more likely to happen when people are in direct or close contact (less than 1 metre apart) with an infected person. Man being a social animal always like to cuddle cannot escape the threat of the virus. Which also means we are in all these together, we must fight and control the spread of virus together. As the virus does not distinguish on the basis of colour, nationality, rich or poor.

The spontaneity in how the developed countries and their Non-governmental organization embarked on advocacy to create awareness of the disease is not out of pity for us but their safety and economic survival.

The disease has so far claimed over one million lives worldwide. The rush for the search of the vaccine was unprecedented in human history. The speedy authorization for its use underscores the devastation COVID19 is impacting on the lives of the people and economies of the world.

Now that a vaccine has been found, the concern would be shifted to distribution and who benefit first.

Sadly, nobody is now thinking about the have not. Even in light of the fact the most vulnerable and affected groups are from the underdeveloped countries of the world.

The less-developed economies may soon find themselves out of the global equation. Soon the most vulnerable would be left to the monopolist capitalist firms that developed the vaccine and the non-governmental organizations whose roles are a suspect in such circumstances as they too are part owners of the global conglomerates.

The race for the vaccine may have been humantarian, the underline push is guided by profit supported by monies from the super-rich countries. Soon the rush for the dumping of the vaccine in the developing countries will take centre stage despite the devastation of their economies by COVID19.

Equally worrying most third world countries do not have the facilities to store the vaccine at the sub-zero temperature that support the vitality of the vaccine.

Regrettably, also I have not heard any of the countries in the global south-south developing the vaccine. When shall the dumping begin? And how long will it take for our governments to come to our aid?

This is a society where many still feel COVID19 is a white man disease. Many still don’t believe the disease is real. Even when available statistics show most of those who died from the disease in the developed economies are the less privilege, blacks and Hispanics.

The truth is the white man has now developed his vaccine, soon they will control the effects of the pandemic in their society, while we continue to wallow in our denials and ignorance.

My advice to the CDC, they must not relent their efforts to maintain the social distancing, wearing of facemask, hand washing and other basic hygiene that kept us going. As we patiently await when the vaccine handouts would start coming from the developed economies for us to have shots. GOD SAVE US

IS THE “INNOVATION” WORKING FOR YOBE?


When governor Gaidam decided to build a cargo airport in Damaturu many criticized the project as a misplaced priority simply because the Maiduguri International airport is just 130km away from Damaturu the Yobe state capital. Today however the need for the airport is becoming increasingly desirable in the light of the Boko Harm insurgency that has turned the Maiduguri – Damaturu road a heaven for their activities.

Visitors to Yobe now fly either to Bauchi, Gombe or Jigawa and drive a distance twice the difference between Maiduguri and Damaturu to reach their destinations in Yobe.

When Yobe was created on the 27th of August 1991 it was one of the most backward part of the former Borno with a great deficit of infrastructure. I can still recall how we commuted between Maiduguri and Damaturu because there was no infrastructure to readily cater for the emJigawa state bureaucracy.

Twenty Nine years (29) since the state was created it is still lagging among the states they were created together. Under development, mass poverty, high illiteracy and mortality rate, and deficit of infrastructure is still pulling down the developmental efforts of the state.

Previous governments have tried to move the state forward but their efforts were stonewalled by one exigency or the other. Late Governor Mamman Ali saw the problem and was about to implement his vision for the state but death came calling and that deprived the state of someone who could have laid a foundation for growth of the state.

Governor Gaidam tried to carry on with vision but was distracted by the Boko Haram insurgency and bitter politics

When Buni took over power in 2019 with his sophistication, exposure and good temperament brought some kind of hope and rekindled the feeling the state now has a leader who has the vision and confrontment to change the way things are done. Despite this, I had my initial fears because of the populist way Buni ascended to power. Being everyone’s governor there was the fear he may be distracted by blind following and exuberance of power. But so far he has shown some exemplary leadership and my fears are beginning to wane.

I am particularly impressed with his approach to leadership. He earned my respect when on assumption to duty he gathered experienced technocrats in respective of their party affiliations to come up with a blueprint on issues that are central to the developmental needs of the state.

When HE began to gradually unfold his plan for the state you can feel the positivity and the vision a situation the state lacked. To avoid the trap that stalled the success of his predecessors, Buni adopted Continuity, Consolidation and Innovation as the policy thrust of his administration. Fascinated by this catch words, what caught my attention was the key word “innovation” he intends to bring to the administration of a state that is generally agrarian . This fueled my curiosity to became an avid follower of his programs

In the one and half years or so since Buni Administration started the government has awarded several contracts that touched lives of the people from the mundane construction of houses, rehabilitation of existing infrastructure, Road construction and social safety net programs for the IDP and the indigent.

Curiously after reviewing the programs, the question I asked, where is the ‘’innovations” in all these? For someone who does not know Yobe you may not see the difference in what is going on but some things stood out that underlines the vision of the governor for the state.

Firstly, I started by exposing how backward Yobe was in every human development indices when the state was curved from the former Borno. The reason was to expose how the development policy of the past administrations were concentrated only the state capitals thereby depriving the other parts of the state meaningful development. Buni knew this and the innovation he introduced is spread of developmental projects equally among the other centers of the state. A cursory look of the 58 contracts he has so far awarded reflects the outlook of his administration as the peoples governor.

Secondly, Buni knew the state can not sustain the over dependence of the both elite and citizens on meagre resources the state collects as it’s share from the federation account. The innovation he introduced here is to free the state from over dependence on federal allocation. To achieve this he embarked on the industrialization of the state and at the time opening the commercial base of the state through the development ultra modern markets and other revenue generating ventures.

As a consequence of this the government has since activated and upgraded the Yobe fertilizer blending plant, aluminum roofing company, flour mills, the sack making company and the Nguru oil which my sources have confirmed is also receiving attention.

Damaturu, the state capital will soon boast of an ultra central modern market 29years after the state was created. Yobe is the only state in Nigeria, which the capital has no central market. Damuturu still relies on the local market that opens for only a day in the week. The governor did not stop there but he is also building similar markets in Gashua, Nguru, Potiskum Gaidam and Buni the most cosmopolitan settlements in the state

Another well thought out program is the construction of a comprehensive long Truck garage at Potiskum equipped with modern hotel and service centre. Any visitor to Potiskum can confirm it is the hub for all long truck vehicles from all parts of the country, the revenue this may generate would be awesome.

Another significant innovation introduced to the system is changing the way government conducts its business. As a ‘’young man” Buni knew there is a generational gap in the machinery of the state administration and for him to avoid the system becoming a clog in his desire to perform. He has to tinker with the machinery of the government without rocking the boat. His blending of the old brigade with those of his peers to bridge the generational gap to get things done shows how well prepared he is for the state administration.

Finally, when I started this discourse I deliberately referred to the cargo airport Gaidam started for the state which many saw as means of siphoning the state resources. But now with the benefit hindsight, people can see how within a short time something that was thought frivolous could become significant. It is gratifying that Buni has adopted as his policy thrust the concept of continuity and consolidation of his predecessor’s program. The community should learn from this, that is how great leaders build their societies.

We, therefore, urge His leniency to continue with his visionary views by continuing with the development of the Cargo Airport so that the project does not become a white elephant and a drain pipe of the state resources.

Recently, I travelled to Calabar on the ‘Ibom Air” an airline owned by the Akwa Ibom government very efficient and profitable. While flying the carrier the only thought that came mind was for Yobe state to understudy the carrier so that Yobe could become the regional hub for the North East and also serve as a gateway for air travellers to the neighbouring countries of Chad, Niger, Cameroon and by extension to other West African countries. By this also the strategic and economic reasons for building cargo airport would be achieved.
Your Excellency this is done you have the time and the connection for this to work out. You may have noises along the way but that how great leaders develop their society. Even me that I am singing your virtues today will criticize you when I see some lapses in the way you are governing us.

The way things are going, you may not need to come out to campaign in the second term as are you proving to be the governor for all in both actions and deeds.

While we applaud the way Your Excellency is opening other parts of the state, we urge you to begin modernizing Damaturu with modern infrastructures that would make it a befitting capital we envy when visits to sister states.

Lest I forget, permit me to acknowledge the great work you are doing for the APC nationally as well.

IS THE “INNOVATION” WORKING FOR YOBE

IS THE “INNOVATION” WORKING FOR YOBE?
When governor Gaidam decided to build a cargo airport in Damaturu many criticized the project as a misplaced priority simply because the Maiduguri International airport is just 130km away from Damaturu the Yobe state capital. Today however the need for the airport is becoming increasingly desirable in the light of the Boko Harm insurgency that has turned the Maiduguri – Damaturu road a heaven for their activities.

Visitors to Yobe now fly either to Bauchi, Gombe or Jigawa and drive a distance twice the difference between Maiduguri and Damaturu to reach their destinations in Yobe.

When Yobe was created on the 27th of August 1991 it was one of the most backward part of the former Borno with a great deficit of infrastructure. I can still recall how we commuted between Maiduguri and Damaturu because there was no infrastructure to readily cater for the emJigawa state bureaucracy.

Twenty Nine years (29) since the state was created it is still lagging among the states they were created together. Under development, mass poverty, high illiteracy and mortality rate, and deficit of infrastructure is still pulling down the developmental efforts of the state.

Previous governments have tried to move the state forward but their efforts were stonewalled by one exigency or the other. Late Governor Mamman Ali saw the problem and was about to implement his vision for the state but death came calling and that deprived the state of someone who could have laid a foundation for growth of the state.

Governor Gaidam tried to carry on with vision but was distracted by the Boko Haram insurgency and bitter politics

When Buni took over power in 2019 with his sophistication, exposure and good temperament brought some kind of hope and rekindled the feeling the state now has a leader who has the vision and confrontment to change the way things are done. Despite this, I had my initial fears because of the populist way Buni ascended to power. Being everyone’s governor there was the fear he may be distracted by blind following and exuberance of power. But so far he has shown some exemplary leadership and my fears are beginning to wane.

I am particularly impressed with his approach to leadership. He earned my respect when on assumption to duty he gathered experienced technocrats in respective of their party affiliations to come up with a blueprint on issues that are central to the developmental needs of the state.

When HE began to gradually unfold his plan for the state you can feel the positivity and the vision a situation the state lacked. To avoid the trap that stalled the success of his predecessors, Buni adopted Continuity, Consolidation and Innovation as the policy thrust of his administration. Fascinated by this catch words, what caught my attention was the key word “innovation” he intends to bring to the administration of a state that is generally agrarian . This fueled my curiosity to became an avid follower of his programs

In the one and half years or so since Buni Administration started the government has awarded several contracts that touched lives of the people from the mundane construction of houses, rehabilitation of existing infrastructure, Road construction and social safety net programs for the IDP and the indigent.

Curiously after reviewing the programs, the question I asked, where is the ‘’innovations” in all these? For someone who does not know Yobe you may not see the difference in what is going on but some things stood out that underlines the vision of the governor for the state.

Firstly, I started by exposing how backward Yobe was in every human development indices when the state was curved from the former Borno. The reason was to expose how the development policy of the past administrations were concentrated only the state capitals thereby depriving the other parts of the state meaningful development. Buni knew this and the innovation he introduced is spread of developmental projects equally among the other centers of the state. A cursory look of the 58 contracts he has so far awarded reflects the outlook of his administration as the peoples governor.

Secondly, Buni knew the state can not sustain the over dependence of the both elite and citizens on meagre resources the state collects as it’s share from the federation account. The innovation he introduced here is to free the state from over dependence on federal allocation. To achieve this he embarked on the industrialization of the state and at the time opening the commercial base of the state through the development ultra modern markets and other revenue generating ventures.

As a consequence of this the government has since activated and upgraded the Yobe fertilizer blending plant, aluminum roofing company, flour mills, the sack making company and the Nguru oil which my sources have confirmed is also receiving attention.

Damaturu, the state capital will soon boast of an ultra central modern market 29years after the state was created. Yobe is the only state in Nigeria, which the capital has no central market. Damuturu still relies on the local market that opens for only a day in the week. The governor did not stop there but he is also building similar markets in Gashua, Nguru, Potiskum Gaidam and Buni the most cosmopolitan settlements in the state

Another well thought out program is the construction of a comprehensive long Truck garage at Potiskum equipped with modern hotel and service centre. Any visitor to Potiskum can confirm it is the hub for all long truck vehicles from all parts of the country, the revenue this may generate would be awesome.

Another significant innovation introduced to the system is changing the way government conducts its business. As a ‘’young man” Buni knew there is a generational gap in the machinery of the state administration and for him to avoid the system becoming a clog in his desire to perform. He has to tinker with the machinery of the government without rocking the boat. His blending of the old brigade with those of his peers to bridge the generational gap to get things done shows how well prepared he is for the state administration.

Finally, when I started this discourse I deliberately referred to the cargo airport Gaidam started for the state which many saw as means of siphoning the state resources. But now with the benefit hindsight, people can see how within a short time something that was thought frivolous could become significant. It is gratifying that Buni has adopted as his policy thrust the concept of continuity and consolidation of his predecessor’s program. The community should learn from this, that is how great leaders build their societies.

We, therefore, urge His leniency to continue with his visionary views by continuing with the development of the Cargo Airport so that the project does not become a white elephant and a drain pipe of the state resources.

Recently, I travelled to Calabar on the ‘Ibom Air” an airline owned by the Akwa Ibom government very efficient and profitable. While flying the carrier the only thought that came mind was for Yobe state to understudy the carrier so that Yobe could become the regional hub for the North East and also serve as a gateway for air travellers to the neighbouring countries of Chad, Niger, Cameroon and by extension to other West African countries. By this also the strategic and economic reasons for building cargo airport would be achieved.
Your Excellency this is done you have the time and the connection for this to work out. You may have noises along the way but that how great leaders develop their society. Even me that I am singing your virtues today will criticize you when I see some lapses in the way you are governing us.

The way things are going, you may not need to come out to campaign in the second term as are you proving to be the governor for all in both actions and deeds.

While we applaud the way Your Excellency is opening other parts of the state, we urge you to begin modernizing Damaturu with modern infrastructures that would make it a befitting capital we envy when we visits sister states.

Lest I forget, permit me to acknowledge the great work you are doing for the APC nationally as well.

NOW THAT THE PROTESTS ARE OVER WHAT NEXT?

We have warned elsewhere that boxing people to adopt the culture of silence may not be in the overall interest of the nation in the long ran, it may explode. Silence does not always mean capitulation, it requires just a simple trigger to implode and become something big.

When the very few good men in society can no longer speak the truth. When voices of reason choose not to “ask or tell” then something is fundamentally wrong with that society. If every opinion is attacked with vigour and venom. When elders in the society are attacked, bruised and called all sorts of names for speaking the truth or telling the leadership there are some concerns in the society. They say so not because they just want to speak. They speak because they were once there or have over time acquired the intellect or wisdom to perceive situations much earlier then many of us could perceive.

When those in power are not easily reachable or have become impervious to dialogue or genuine discourse because they find every piece of advice detestable or at variance in the way they do things. When the leadership becomes enmeshed in power and corrupted by it.
When they only listen to the sweet songs of their praise singers, who are prepared to tell them what they want hear and ready to defend them at any cost because they want to maintain the in inflow of the largesse to their bank accounts regardless of how honorable and good intention the advises were.

The outcome of such contempt to our elders and the disregard to our common cultures, ethos and morass, will only bring chaos, confusion, civil disobedience and break of the peace.

When lawlessness breaks the same voices that were rejected are now sought after to calm nerves, unfortunately by then the damage must have been done.
We must as a people before the next circle breaks tell ourselves the home truth and begin to listen to voices of reason no matter where it is coming from

The reasons that brought about the protest that compelled government to disband SARs did not start just yesterday, it has been their with us for sometime. People of good conscience have warned the authorities but they decided to look the other way. What happened, happened because we failed to read the red alerts.

SARs, was just one of the few frustrations in the society our few good men have been talking about but were ignored. I did not believe most of the atrocities labelled against SARS, until when I heard Fulani Kwajafa, the person who created SARS regretting that if he knew the outfit would stoop so low, he wouldn’t have contemplated forming the command.

Compol. Kwajafa (rtd) was a respected and a real professional policeman during his time, to hear him say what he said about SARS was amazing.

Be it what it may, we must use whatever experiences acquired from SARS protest and the breaking of government ware houses where palliatives meant for the citizens during the COVID 19 lockdown and reflect. The protest exposed the underbelly of those who are suppose to be our rulers for who they are. The bottom line is it brought to bare the deep hunger and anger in the society.

The government must as a matter priority dig deep to uncover those frustrations in society and deal with it.
The lessons learnt from the two incidents must be the basis upon which the government must use to rebuild public confidence. Amazingly however the body language of those in power and their surrogates are not giving anyone hope that lessons have been learnt.

The discordant voices going round in dealing with the aftermath of the protest suggest otherwise. The blame game will not take the country anywhere but to the dark alley. We must be prepared to allow opposing voices to be after all that is the beauty of democracy. May wisdom prevail.

THE DUAL MANDATE – CRY NOT YOBEANS.


Ordinarily, I don’t write about people in power unless compelled by certain exigencies that outweigh my resolve.


Recently I had reason to visit my home state and stayed there for forty days as a journalist and public affairs commentator, I have through my interaction with the community been confronted with hues and cries of the people on the absence of the governor in the state. This gross misunderstanding of the roles of His Excellency Governor Mai Mala Buni as the Chief Executive of the state and acting chieftain of his political party may be worrisome but in a real sense, the state may be better for it.

When the National working Committee of the APC announced his appointment as the interim National Chairman, of APC, the fear the assignment may take the attention of the governor away from pressing state affairs became a matter of serious concern.

Dual mandates are well-established part of the political culture though in others it may be prohibited by law. When Buni was appointed by NWC to serve as the interim Chairman APC, the opposition political party challenged the idea. In response to this, the APC defended its action that the NWC has the right under the parties constitution to appoint any member of the party to carry out some special assignments. The matter was settled as quickly as it was raised as all the political parties are complicit in assigning party responsibilities to their governors to handle.

The groundswell of dissatisfaction and disinformation regarding His Excellency’s absence from the state grew out of ignorance, partisanship, greed or unnecessary fears.

Though people of Yobe may have every reason to be worried and fearful, Buni cannot be blamed for the situation he found himself.

Before, Buni became the governor of Yobe state he was the National Secretary of the APC, it was the position he held up to the end of the 2019 elections. With the party coming out from a general election and he being number two in the party hierarchy, the responsibilities on him were awesome. He couldn’t have just walked away and leave some vacuum in the party secretariat.

The period after the election was a crucial moment for him, especially in face of the looming crisis developing in the leadership of Adam Oshomole that consumed the entire membership of the National Executive Committee.

There was also the gubernatorial elections in Edo and Osun a project very dear to both the two major political parties

As the immediate National Secretary of the APC for six years, the National Working Committee could find no better person who could come on board quickly to lead the party in an interim capacity to reconcile the warring party members and prepare the party for the next national convention and the elections in Edo and Osun just like the PDP appointed Wike and Makinde to prosecute the two elections. This is scenario Buni found himself. To blame him for dividing his time to carry out these onerous dual mandate may be self-serving.

Having heard the cries going around I decided to dig deep to identify the reasons for the restiveness. Some of the salient reasons I was able to uncover we’re, when Buni took over the mantle of leadership from his predecessor who had been there for ten years people expected governor Buni to take some drastic and dramatic changes in the machinery of government. But Buni being a real party Man knew the disadvantage of grandstanding on such issues, that was why his administration trod on the path of caution.

In trying to placate both sides of the party membership. The government adopted the policy of Continuity, Consolidation and Innovation.

Continuity, because of the deep relationship between him and his predecessor, they share similar aspirations for him therefore the most honourable thing to do is continue with programmes of his predecessor. While doing so the government would be able to consolidate on the actions started by the past administration.

To make the difference and put his footprints in the anal of history, he decided to introduce some innovation in the affairs of government that would improve the quality of governance and possibly inject some new blood in the system to reflect his aspirations for the state without rocking the boat.

This did not go down well with some segments of the parties members who were looking forward to post-election gratifications. when this did not happen as they expected frustration, despondency and petty bickering took over.

The second reason may be as a result of fears, the dual mandate could be impacting on the ability of HE in carrying out the state responsibilities. Here again, the fears may be unfounded in the light of the technological development available to our generation.
The Federal Executive today conducts virtual FEC meetings. Major companies of world because of Covid 19 now run their businesses through Zoom Meetings, Tele and Video Conferencing and other opportunities made possible by the new information technologies.

Information can now be assessed with a touch of a button. Doing business is now made a lot easier. We do agree empathy may be required in moving things forward but certainly with the technology on our side things move even faster than before. The idea of a globalized world is no longer a wish but a reality.

Thirdly, I do understand why the people are worried, Buni won his election as a populist candidate, he could have been elected without soliciting for anyone’s vote. He was generally accepted more or less as consensus candidate even before the votes were cast. So he is everyone’s governor a lot is therefore expected from him. This is how difficult things are for Buni and how lucky the gentleman is.

Finally the major overriding concern, Yobe being an agrarian state the government is the only industries everyone depends on it for their livelihood, the fear that the governor’s attention may be divided is palpable that is why people are talking about it.
This gross misunderstanding of the dual mandate compelled me to write and share my feelings about the circumstances the governor found himself.

The assignment may be temporary, but Yobe and Yobeans will benefit more from the burgeoning status governor Mai Mala is building in national politics. We need the experiences and the opportunities in it. We have for long been short-changed in the national scheme of things. For the short period, the state has one of its own in the leadership of the Senate the dividend of democracy is now cascading to us.

So cry not Yobeans with Mala who is considered as a bridge-builder an astute administrator a loyal party man, the future is yours to behold. Let us not pull him down with pettiness. We must pray and support them. Politics is all about how you change and improve your community and so far so good.

Good luck to all our sons and daughters that are carrying the flag for the state.

IS IT THE END OF FREE PRESS AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION?

Torn into shred between my Id, Ego and Super Ego, these three Freudian constructs are weighing heavily on my psyche, greatly inhibiting my desire to comment on public affairs issues. But since journalism is my calling my choices are limited.

The uncertainty in the environment, the toxicity from both the ruled and the rulers does not give any journalist or public affairs commentator the confidence to speak for the good of all.

The leadership and their agents have become so impervious to criticism even if they are constructive and in good taste.

Annoyingly, the general public have acquiesced to the culture of silence ‘’sit don and look” and abdicated on their rights as citizens to hold their leaders accountable for their actions and inactions.
The docility and the I don’t care attitude adopted by general public to issues that it ought to speak out and make its opinions known has reduced us as a people who do not know their rights or wrongs.

We have elected as a people to accept the scare and fear campaigns popularized by the leadership to borrow from the late music Icon, Fela’s, Zombies, follow-follow lyrics.

We have chicken in thereby mortgaging the future of this country and that of our children for immediate gratification, driven by a selfish interest to protect our nuances above that of the nation.

Our knack for blind following conditioned by tribal, religious, subtrenain, and geopolitical idiosyncrasies impacts negatively in our journey towards building a great nation anchored on fairness, unity, equity and the rule of law.

The harassment and the arrest of journalists for expressing opinions on public issues have become so alarming, it is no longer safe to speak out on matters that affect the general well being of the society.

The fear of whether is safe to write and comment on public affairs issues has robbed the public opportunity to engage and have their say in governance.

The once vibrant political space known for its tolerance for all shades of opinions has turned Gestapo. Labelling has become the order of the day. All that is required to silence counter views is to give ‘’the dog a bad name’’ so that it’s irritations to those in position power could be silenced.

The press which is referred unofficially as the fourth estate of the realm essentially exists in a Liberal democracy to checkmate the excesses of leaders so that they do not slide into dictatorship.

If every opinion expressed by the media or public affairs commentators is labelled as toxic and considered an attack on the leadership and the coercive agents of the state must deal with the sources of irritations, there will be no free press and freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution.
In it’s country report covering the period January to September 2019 Amnesty International, reported that 19 journalist, bloggers and media practitioners were subjected to attacks, these ranges from physical attacks, verbal assaults, death threats, surveillance, indiscriminate detention, to pressure to reveal sources. Many were charged under cybercrime Act and terrorism (prevention) (Amendment) Act 2013 and other laws

As if this is not enough the national assembly an institution which is suppose to be vanguard for the protection of democratic ethos came up with a bill that calls for death penalty all in the name of protection against ‘’fake news” and ‘’hate speech”.

Have we really reached the end game of commenting on public affairs issues? Is it the end of freedom of expression and free press?

In a democracy, the roles of harbingers of news, naturally brings them to a collision course with people in authority, however, when such infractions happen tolerance, civility and the rule of law takes the upper hand.

We must not allow some few individuals in the society who for their selfish interest destroy one of the remaining institution that gives us hope as a people. We must say no to those who want to kill free press and freedom of expression. Long live the federal republic Nigeria. Long live free press and freedom of expression.

WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER

When the center can no longer hold the society together. When the rule of law is debased because those who make the laws break it at will without consequences. When they arrogate to themselves the right to decide what is good for the society based on their own standards. Their arrogance and insensitivity to the plight of the people they govern has risen to the point of absurdity.
Are they really the people we voted into power? Has power corrupted them? or are they acting some kind of scripts we are not aware of? Has the dictum that “power corrupts, power corrupts absolutely” caught up with them? Be it what it may, they must not forget “we the people” every four years have the power to change those who rule us. Lest I forget if they allow our votes to count. INEC for once should in 2023 allow the process to work. The consequences of their failure are what is giving the politicians the guts to treat us the way they do. The politicians have come to believe they don’t need the ballot boxes to win elections, this must change.
When every power centre assumes it has become the law on to itself, operating in complete disregard of the laws that bound us together as a people and as a union, the predictable outcome would be a disaster.

A house divided can not hold but these are the realities of our times today. The servant has become the master.
They treat the citizens with disdain, contempt and disrespect, some even have the temerity of using the state cohesive agencies to intimidate, cajole and arrest innocent citizens, simply because they voiced their opinions or advised on critical national issues, forgetting that power is transient and rotational.

One of the basic tenants of democracy is the participation of citizens in governance where such rights are denied dictatorship flourishes.
Unfortunately, leaders whom we would have voted to higher positions come the next circle of elections have been exposed in their handling of the COVID 19 pandemic. Their undemocratic tendencies came to fore. They seem to have forgotten the people they are treating with contempt are the same people they rode on their backs to get to positions they found themselves today.

We warn however there is a limit to how far the society can be pushed. When despondency, utter confusion and hopelessness engulfs the society it is likely to react. History is replete with such examples and we have witnessed how societies have gone to the precipice on the account of leadership failures.
We have seen how demagogues and autocratic leaders destroyed their societies. The attitude playing out in our power centers does not give us any comfort the Union can hold us together.

The states are operating at cross path with the central government. Is this a deliberate policy or an indication the center and federating units are overwhelmed by issues? Is it a sign of weakness or failure? Can we allow this disunity to consume us? This is the reality facing us as a nation.

The attitude of some of the prodigal sons we collectively voted to power to run the affairs of the constituent part of the state is becoming disturbing, they operate as if we running multiple countries, they have become power-drunk that they longer listen to anyone.
We are first Nigerians before any other considerations. The way victims of the COVID 19 are being treated is dividing us more than any other thing. States close borders and lockdown societies without consideration of our interdependent existence.

Some dangerously engage in the segregation of the society by moving patients to their home states on the account they have the virus, this negates the concept of citizenship granted to all Nigerian by the constitution. It is also against the concept of exclusivity and concurrence of duties granted to the three tiers of government. Nigerians have the right to enjoy all facilities in any part of the country regardless of which state they come from, especially during this trying times.

The success of containing the spread of COVID19 in a society like ours where mass poverty and high level of illiteracy exists depends on several factors.
Firstly we must appreciate the fact our economy can not sustain the demand loaded on us by the developed economies and the World Health Organization, no matter how desirable their prescriptions are.

Social distancing, partial and complete lockdown of our cities and border closer between States though desirable may not succeed in a poverty-ridden society like ours. where interstate infrastructure needed for the movement of goods and services are almost absent.

Secondly, the literacy level and our religious interpretations of issues do not help matters when it comes to adoption of new ways of living. Ours is primitive society that hardly believe in science. We tend to accept all matters whether good or bad to predestination and move on, unlike in the developed world that everything happens has reason for it’s occurrence.

Thirdly our fragile economies can not withstand the kind of palliatives other economies of the world are providing for their citizens our people are yearning for. Our is a society where people go to bed without having their suffer, worst still people wake up the following morning without resources to have a decent breakfast, they live day by day. If you lock them for a long period of time without any tangible options, is like living between the devil and deep blue sea. In the absence of any support from the government, the options available to them would to stay home and die of hunger or go out and contract the virus either to live or die. Naturally, people will take the most easier option that appeals to them.

The politicization of the process by the state governments also hindered the success of the lockdown and social distancing. Many believed the whole campaign is political palliative meant to cushion the effect of lockdown are distributed as if we heading for elections.

when the whole thing started the PTF did a good job in advocacy and sensitization until when the states took control of the process.
There is also lack visible attempt by the government to convince the citizens on the way forward rather emphasis we’re more on enforcement and curtailing the mobility of the citizens through arbitrary contorted laws.

Isolation centers were also bereft of adequate facilities, testing equipment were not there or grossly inadequate. People are not idiots they soon came to realize the inadequacies of government. The process instead of giving people hope created fear, hopelessness and despondency took over.

Another major failure of the handling of COVID 19 was the public announcement of the names of those who contracted and died of the disease. We live in a traditional society people became sacred of stigmatization, as a result they refused go in for testing or contacting the CDC, even if they had the symptoms of the virus thereby facilitating family and community spread of the Virus. This is where we are today and perhaps unexplained rise of mortality in some communities.

If what the scientist are saying is correct one positive carrier has the potential of infecting at least 37 persons. As an airborne disease the threat is phenomenal.

We must therefore as a nation come together in respective of our political affiliations to fight the disease. The enemy we are fighting is invisible and does not respect space we are all in this together. The discordant approaches we are applying to deal with pandemic will not take us anywhere. Those in power must swallow their pride mere exhibition of arrogance and power will not help the situation.

Only last Saturday 30th of May 2020 the CDC reported over five hundred people tested positive the highest in a single day since the Pandemic started. We are not out of the wood yet more especially the cure or vaccine for COVID 19 is still in the realms of imagination.

We must therefore as nation rethink and learn from the mistakes of other countries. United we shall succeed divided we fail.