Category: News

WE ARE NOT OUT OF THE WOODS YET EVEN WITH THE COVID- 19 VACCINE

WE ARE NOT OUT OF THE WOODS EVEN WITH THE COVID-19 VACCINE
Recently I posed the question “when shall we have our shots of the Covid-19 Vaccine” in one of my article on this platform. I argued the West and it’s capitalist conglomerates are developing the vaccines but they would first take care of their people before considering the global South – South. This is in view of the devastating effects of the Pandemic on their population and economies. The vaccine is here and they are doing what was predicted.

One year since the WHO declared the COVID-19 as a pandemic, meaning there is no part of the world that is immune from the disease.

As at today the world infection rate surpasses 128,223,872 million confirmed cases with 2,804,120 million death globally. Of this the Americas recorded 55,941,329 Million confirmed cases while Europe had 44,809,120 Million.South East Asia had a total of 14,911,540 Million confirmed cases. Eastern Mediterranean had 7,564,704. Million, Africa had 3,083, 436 with western Pacific having 1, 912, 547 million cases. Source (WHO).

The world leading economies of North America and Western Europe are currently the communities most devastated by the Pandemic. And this means there will be consequences on the world economic systems.

The rush for cure or vaccine by these power houses to contain the spread of the virus even though outwardly it seems humanistic, the underlying interest of the capitalist corporate institutions are for profit. This dual interest is dangerously pushing the world to adopt a protectionist approach in the global distribution of the vaccines.

But will the efforts meet up with the scientific demand of creating “Herd Immunity” that would facilitate the containment of the virus spread in Africa and in many of the countries in the global south – south?

To understand the politics of the vaccine in relation to creating “Herd Immunity” the question most germane to ask would be what is herd immunity?
“Herd immunity” is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that can occur with some diseases when a sufficient percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through vaccination or previous infections, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity.
The next most pertinent question would be what percentage of the population of a given people would be required to be vaccinated in order to achieve “herd immunity” against COVID-19 in the World or a Country?

In demographics, the world population as at March 2020 was estimated at about 7.8 billion people (Wikipedia)

Available literature shows that “Herd immunity” thresholds for COVID-19 are only estimates at this point. This is due to lack of previous clinical records on COVID-19. But experts generally agree that somewhere between 70% and 85% of the population must be protected to suppress the spread of the virus.This means about two third of the world population representing about 4.5 billion people have to be vaccinated in order to achieve the required global “herd immunity” threshold.

What would then be the options and the implication of this to Nigeria and other developing economies?

Nigeria is the 7th most populous country of the world with it’s population now put at 206 million people. As at today the Nigerian had 162,762 confirmed cases with 2,056 death from COVID-19. Source (WHO)To achieve the country “herd immunity” some 70% to 85% of the population must be vaccinated, meaning about 154.5 million Nigerian must be vaccinated before we can achieve a country wide “herd immunity”

How can this is happen in the light of lack of “buy-in” by a significant percent of the population who think the disease does not even exist. More so the refusal by many to have their shots of the vaccine poses a serious set back to the roll out plan.

Other observed issues include; Firstly, The present distribution pattern of the vaccine put the third world countries at disadvantage since all the producers of the vaccines are located in the first world and they are creating laws and bottle necks to ensure their societies are served first. The corporations that produced vaccine are under intense pressure to suspend delivery to other countries outside their spheres.

Secondly, many countries in developing nations, Nigeria inclusive do not have capacities to sustain the regime of some the vaccines and more importantly some also lack the resources to ensure steady supply.

Thirdly, the denial of the existence of the disease among a greater percentage of the population also poses a serious challenge.

Fourthly, the general apathy on the part of even the elites and majority of the population to receive their shots confounds the efforts of attaining “herd immunity” in most societies of the third world countries

Gratifying as it is, Nigeria on the 2nd of March 2021 Nigeria received its first shipment of 3.94 million doses of the vaccine a far cry from the 154.5 million doses needed to achieve the country “herd immunity”

The AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID 19 vaccine recieved from Serum Institute, India through an arrangement facilitated by COVAX in partnership with CEPI, GAVI, UNICEF and WHO.

The government has since commenced the vaccination exercise through the National Health Care Development Agency. According to unconfirmed sources Nigeria plans to vaccinate 40% of it’s population before the end of 2021 and hopes to achieve 70% by the end of 2022.

The National Health Care Development Agencies has released a portal for online registration and according the to drop down, priorities would be given to frontline health care workers, those in high risk areas like entry points, contact tracing teams , teachers, the elderly, those with co -morbidities such as cancer, diabetes, asthma, HIV and AIDS. This will be followed by the general public.

The emergence of the new variant of the virus has rendered whatever good news about the vaccine a suspect as the global spike of infection of the new COVID-19 cases rose for a fifth consecutive week with over 3.8 million new cases reported. The number of new deaths also increased for the second consecutive week increasing by 5% compared to last week with over 64,000 death.

All regions of the world reported increases in number of cases with largest happening in South East Asia, Western Pacific and African. Going by this it is clear the world is not out of the woods yet.

The implications of the trajectory of cases in low in come nations means their vaccine rollout plan is disproportionate to those achieved in developed economies.

The take from this discussion, Africa and other countries in the south- south must continue with the processes put in place to keep their environments safer.
We must continue with the principles of the 3Cs, meaning avoid living in closed, crowded or involved close contact, wear the face mask, regularly and thoroughly clean hands with alcohol- based hand rub or wash them with soap and water and continue with all other protocols we were told to do at the initial outbreak of the pandemic.

We must not loose our guards in the light of the availability of the vaccine. The drive of attaining the “herd immunity” is going to take time and resources which our economies may not readily support. Government must not relent in advocacy to keep the society informed. Where the need arises legislations and enforcement must be strengthned. We cannot afford to be lazy, our health system can not withstand the pandemic spike now being reported.

The world developed economies may soon achieve the “herd immunity” and they are luckily come up with stringent measures that may curtail global movement of goods and services and international travels.
The combined actions of the capitalist corporations and the effect of the pandemic will take it’s tolls on our fragile economies and this can be devastating.

The West may soon contain the devastating effects of disease and as soon as they are comfortable, their capitalist corporations that developed the vaccines will start counting their losses and this will be transferred on us and we must pay with our meagre resources.

It also does not end there, the charlatans and bad companies are working and may soon come up with cheaper vaccines, they will be dangling them in the faces our corrupt leaders and bureaucrats, who for their pecuniary reasons, gladly welcome buy and flood the system with fake vaccines, thereby exposing us to greater serious health hazards.
The key for our governments under the circumstance is to maintain and sustain whatever arrangements they have with COVAX, WHO and other arms of the United Nations.

As for the way forward, we must maintain strict compliance with the rudimentary protocol that brought the world to where it is today, progress must be gradual based on our abilities, resources and achievements worldwide.

The COVID-19 whether we like it or not will be with us for a long time. We must be prepared to accept it as a way of living and live with it until the world is able to defeat the scourge. There is no short cut in this game.

GOVERNOR BUNI APC WILL RULE FOR 32 YEARS A WISH OR REALITY


I am not recanting all the good things I said about Governor Buni, though he is making me uncomfortably jittery going by the way he is stiching the gaps in the APC. Every move he made in recent times endears him to those who are following events in the political space. The commitment, the dedication he is handling the job as the interim chairman of the APC should be gratifying even to those who did not like his appointment. Frankly speaking not many could have done the job he is doing it.

He is doing it so well that I am uncomfortable we may be heading for one party state in the 2023 elections.

If you are from Yobe my home state the strategy is working with the hand writing clearly on the wall for every doubting ‘Thomas’ to see. It will fool hardy under the circumstance for any of the political parties in Yobe to contemplate fielding a candidate in the 2023 gubernatorial elections. The election has been dusted and worn unless something un imaginable happens.

In Yobe today, the party is Buni. The gentleman has taken over every thing and earned the respect of every one with his style of politics. He speak the truth and never say anything bad about other leaders no matter how bad they were, those close to him know, they dare not cross the red line. The norm for him is what can you do to move Yobe forward in respective of your political persuasions.

This is how simplistic Buni looks at issues. But don’t get me wrong I am not saying he is not partisan, he only has an uncommon way of operating behind a façade glaced with sincerity that appeals to human sensibilities. A modern age politician no bravado but purpose. The guy is infectious, so genuine in his outlook. He lives you guessing what would be his next move. He does not betray any emotions, always cool, collected, cunningly aggressive and focused. He pounces on his opportunities and take them, by the time you begin to think it is history mission accomplished.

My fears are hinged on the strategic innovations and consolidations the Governor is bringing to the APC. If what is going on in Yobe is replicated in the administration of the national headquarters of the APC, he is now leading in interim capacity, it will be difficult for any political party to un lodge the party in the presidential election in 2023.

I argue, with the power of incumbency, and the number of APC governors that in their first term, the way elections are conducted in this country it would be a big task for any opposition party to win the presidential election.

Another big plus for APC is Governor Mala himself, if he is able to prevent, contain any dissent and break way within the party close to the general elections, in spite of how people feel about the Buhari administration the APC may still prevail.

Governor Buni must have noticed this as he has recently shifted his focus to fine tunning his strategic plan to keep the party in leadership even after he must handed over the leadership of the party to the elected party officials.

To ensure that nothing goes wrong after he leaves, he recently constituted a 61 man strategic committee comprising of 12 governors, of the APC all in their first term and brought in some new influential members who crossed from the opposition party under the Mala peace initiative to add value to whatever his committee is doing. Among the members are the two former speaker of the House of representative Oludumeji Bankole, Yakubu Dogara and Benga Daniel who was at one time the campaign manager Atiku 2019.

A situation indicating the rancor within the party is no longer an issue. The aim now is to consolidate the good job done and to forestall issues that are likely to arise from the party conventions.

Conversely, the PDP is still struggling with how to reposition the party. The controversy raging within the party, is where the Presidential slot would be zoned. This is consuming the energy of the party and seriously distracting the Sarki peace committee. A situation governor Mala has strategically avoided to dominate his efforts rather he is focusing on reconciling the warring members of the party poaching from the opposition party and deflecting all issues relating to where the presidential candidate of the party could emerge and so far is working well for the party.

No wonder therefore in the speech inaugrating the contact/strategy committee governor Buni revealed that “the party intends to rule for 32 years twice the period PDP ruled, what an ambitious plan?

He also mandated the committee to conduct need assessment survey from party members and the general public, create a statement of vision, mission and core values of the party that will foster unity….’’
He added the contact committee must consolidate the achievements of his committee in building a strong party with solid structure that would make APC to stand the test of time.

This is how visionary leaders emerge, very unselfish, focused, resolute always looking at the wider picture beyond personal or group interest.

Will Boko Haram Become A Blessing For the North East?

Sometimes I deliberately take the pessimistic approach to public issues not because I want them to fail rather my pessimism arises from some real historical events that are in the open domain but people shy away from furthering the narrative even when they are so obvious and important for our survival as a people.

When the governors of the North East muted the idea to come together to tackle issues of common interest affecting the region, even the one as weighty as the Boko Haram insurgency. I always take the skeptical approach and give such efforts half chance the process will succeed in light of the past attempts to achieve this. All the same I condescended at least to this because of the nature of the problems. Cautiously, I became an avid follower of the unfolding events.

Last week the 4th meeting of the forum took place in Bauchi it gave me hope my pessimism turned into optimism the current generation of the governors in the sub region may get it right this time around.

To those who knew the bitterness that kept the constituent states of the North East apart for so long would ask, is this new marriage of convenience real? is it a situation forced by the realities of the Boko Haram insurgency? is the rebirth of brotherhood which ought to have been there in light of our common historical destinies? will it like other attempts in the past dissipate as soon as the insurgency is over?

This assumption is informed by the historical fact since the demise of the North Eastern state as an entity the six states that emerged have been at each others neck outwitting one another to grab whatever comes for the zone. The level of distrust amongst the states is phenomenal one would begin to wonder if these people have once lived together.

The antagonism arose as a result of the disagreements in the asset sharing formula created by military to distribute the common assets inherited from the nuclear state. A situation that was terribly mishandled by the military during the process of state creations.

This acrimonious relationship widened the gap between the old and new states. It kept them apart for too long as if they never lived together as one people in spite their ancestral, cultural linages, inter marriages.

When the Boko Haram insurgencies started the states within sub region felt it was a particular problem of a particular group people and paid little attention to the plight of their brothers in the epicenter of the insurgency. They never imagined the contagion could spread. The failure to share information on the movement of insurgents, arrogance, tribalism, religion and lack of empathy by other communities gave the insurgency a fertile ground develop and mature and is now consuming the region.

If one of the basic reason for the creation of states was to assuage the fears of the minority tribes against domination by majority tribes, then the idea of state creation has woefully failed. Time, again and again it has shown whenever new states were created, new minorities emerge. The whole process became a solution looking for problem.

The notion that by creating more states development will spread and come to the doorsteps of the communities, translating into better living condition and greater participation of the people seems to be obliterated by the massive failure of the local government administrations across the country and to some extent even the ability of most of the states standing on their own without funding support from the central government exposes the fragile nature of the state system as they are constituted today.

The fact that the governors of the North East, have now agreed to work together is a welcome development in the light of the fictionalization of the Nigerian society.

We have for long squandered the socio political advantage we held when this nation was growing. We have lost the legacies and leadership that produced the likes of Balewas, Kashim Ibrahims, Inuwa Bakaris, Deribes, Tugas, Dipcharimas, that was the when the North East was calling the shots in the economic and political leadership of this country.

For the region to remain relevant this change of attitude is a welcome development even though it being is propelled by a distressing historical event such the Boko Haram insurgency.

We must learn from our past mistakes build on it and develop lasting legacies that would outlive the current demands of the insurgency forcing us to rethink and come together once more. We must look back remember the times when the region was strategically, economically, politically, and socio-culturally in the fore front of affairs of this country.

We must also realize the political terrain of this country has changed, to remain game players, we must use these renewed opportunities to relaunch the region in the political space and claim our rightful position.

The idea of monolithic North is no longer tenable. It is nothing but a self-serving concept, we must discard the old thinking to become a force in Nigerian equation in order to deal with the havoc created by the insurgency.

No one will do it for us. We must remain and work as a blog to be heard. The experiences gained from the 2019 general elections where the region backed away from supporting one of it’s own was instructive and lamentable. We have heard the positions of the governors of the North West. Politics is all about alignments, give and take and consensus building. We must use our blog advantage for the good our people and this can only be achieve when we redefine our participation in the Northern politics first.

The idea that some part of the country have arrogated to them self the right to rule is an empty threat in light of the political structure of the country more especially when it comes to who becomes the number citizen. We must refuse to be bullied to accept the second citizen position with our comparative advantage.

The lessons learnt from the Boko Haram insurgency will no matter how one feels about it have a far reaching implications in our future relationships with other parts of the union.

Finally I commend the maturity and the diligence of the governors of the forum in articulating the regions positions in the several communiques they have released so far which many found germane.

The most rewarding of all is the courage and sacrifice demonstrated by governors to concede the location of the forums headquarters to Maiduguri, the nuclear headquarters of the region. It was bold and worthy of praise. No one could have contemplated this would happen some twenty years ago. Time heals, I hope this would be the beginning of region waxing together as a people and entity.

That being said, I still reminisce the good times we had when we were together, life was sweeter, more communal and progressive. The diversity in culture, tribes and religion bonded us more as a community than what divides us today.

We look forward to more fruitful engagements of the Forum in the future by developing our human capital and abundant common natural resources endowed to region by God.
Long live the North East Governors Forum.

THE HOUSE OF SPENCER

Of recent I have been pondering to find a way to describe the current state of the Nigeria nation. As I was cracking my brain a friend of mine shared a link with me, the pop up led me to an old comedy series, ‘some mothers do have them’ Intuitively like the Greek scientists who were looking for reasons, why when things were thrown up they come down. Reflectively, he concluded there must be certain forces that draw the object down. That was how the law of gravity was discovered. This ended my tortious search for how to describe the state of affairs of the Union.

The comedy series in my opinion best typifies the state of the union and I decided to caption this article the ‘House of Spencer’

Who is Frank Spencer? He was the lead character in a popular British comedy series, “Some mother’s do have them”.
The comedy series was written by Raymond Allen, and broadcast on BBC television from 1973-1975. The story centred around Frank Spencer a well-meaning, ineffectual, and utterly accident-prone mummy’s boy.
Frank was the sweetest walking area you could ever want to meet. Most of the time Spencer starts with good intentions in everything he does but it ends disastrously. Without a doubt, this is the reality of our nation today.

Today, Nigeria have a leader most people accepts as honest, incorruptible and patriotic but is surrounded by people of questionable characters, dishonest and corrupt, who destroy whatever the good intentions of the leader in seconds. The state has become a house of a circus where everyone does his things without recourse to procedure and processes. Public officers speak as if there are no rules for the game.

Decorum, diplomacy, rules regulations and decency in the conduct of public affairs were thrown to the woods.
Policies are crafted without being carefully subjected to rudiments of public policy, incubation, development, planning, execution and implementation. The whole process seems to be in disarray, chaotic you begin to wonder whether it has passed through those responsible for the articulation of the policies.

This government came on the premise of “ moving the country to the next level”, is what is going on really what was articulated in the “next level agenda”? Or has the push for who becomes the next President in 2023 taken its toll on the good intentions of government and has rewritten the “next level agenda”. In spite of the fact, the President has not gone halfway through his tenure.

We have in the past one year witnessed how embarrassing the image-makers of the government had rubbished, bruised and destroyed whatever was the remaining positive public image of the government in their unguided comments on public affairs. They did so in their frantic efforts to create excuses for the shortcomings in the house of spencer.

The reaction to the massacre of farmers in Borno state, the abduction of the school children at Kankara, the current spate of the unguided comments by the governors of Ondo, Benue states and the rebuttal by the governor of Bauchi state which some find offensive is overheating the political space. This tit for tat among public officers and political class should not be allowed. It breeds acrimonious relationships between the citizenry and it has the tendency to implode.

The rancorous session in the senate where some distinguished Senators were calling the Fulani herders criminals and some implying they have lost their rights to reside in any part of the country as a citizen as guaranteed by the 1979 Nigerian Constitution as amended is absurd and pitiful.

The uncompromising voices of leaders of sub-regional groupings that constitute the house of spencer also add to the dilemma the Union is passing through.

The clergymen are not quite as well, the dust raised by the speech accredited to Reverend Kukah during the Christmas Mass and the debate for and against the speech by some religious leaders leave much to be desired.

The comment by the former President which the authorities adjudged distastefully is some of the regrettable outpourings we witnessed in recent times.

Our penchant to consider every genuine effort to address issues of concern in our national lives as an attack on government is retrogressive and diversionary. The fear of retribution by the authorities has forced many good people not to offer their advice on issues of public concern.

All these were happening in light of the falling living conditions of the Nigerian people.

The crushing value of the Naira resulting in hyperinflation in the economy. Mass corruption, the growing spate of insecurity, armed banditry, cybercrime, abductions, massive policy summersaults and failures. The resultant effect of this, each time policy ideas are muted, it is dead on arrival.

While other nation-states are frantically sourcing for vaccines to deal with the dangers posed by COVID 19, we are talking about ownership of land a resource that belongs to us all.

Another most worrying issue in the house of spencer is the level of divisiveness and the widening gap of mistrust among the citizenry. The drums of war being amplified by those who feed on our commonwealth and want the union to crush are ever-growing louder.

The lesson to be learnt from this is to reflect on our history, no nation-state survived two civil war. The amber of war being spearheaded by our leaders will consume us all. There may be no Nigeria after this if we allow things to continue the way they are. There will also be no winners in this.

While other nations are consolidating, building on their diversity, here we are still talking about land a possession that belongs to all Nigerians under the law. To deny any section of the citizenry their right to ownership of the land based on ancestral claim is the negation of the provision of the Constitution that gives every citizen the right to own and reside anywhere in the Union.

However, if we have chosen to end the union there are better ways to do it. We must not kill ourselves before we part ways. We may still need one another even if the house of spencer breaks.

The common borders that must exist after the demise of the house of spencer will still keep us together as neighbours and must find a way to live with it. The history of the Union has been there for decades and so it will remain long after we part ways

We can draw lines to create new boundaries but we cannot unwind some of the cultural, and social affinities that had kept us together for generations in spite the imperfections therein.

We must therefore stop the unguided utterances spearheaded by some disillusioned, selfish opportunistic leaders, who are where they are because the process of elections and getting into the public office are faulty.

For those gullible Nigerians who out of sheer cupidity at the slightest prodding by their political and socio-cultural benefactors, rampage, destroy, kill and cause mayhem should know they are the losers.

They must always remember those selfish leaders of the Union, who trick them to kill, damage and breach the peace, have their air crafts on high throttle ready to fire and check out with their families when the worst happens.

We must also remember the dictum “United we stand Divided we fall”. Long live the “House of Spencer”.

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.

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.

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

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.