Category: News

THE FINAL LAP

Thank God it will soon be all over a week from now. The catchy jingles, the swearing, the manoeuvrings, the lies, the hate campaigns, the venom that characterise the 2019 political campaigns will go down in to the annals of our political history as one of the most vitriolic.

Just like it started it may not produce the desired leaders we envisaged, but the recycling of elites, failed promises and the continued immiseration of the poor.

The rich will re group and plan how they are going to continue sharing our common wealth, life goes on as usual.

The free lunch, the stipend dished out as transport allowances to move people from one campaign rallies to another will stop coming.

The gates of the fortresses of the super rich that were wide open during the elections will shut, living behind stern looking gendarmes, buzu’s, local security personnel with their thick moustaches and red eyes barricading the entrances of the houses of the political mentors, signalling the party is all over.

Soon also the conviviality that developed with those in Executive position will be lost. As they retreat to their guarded sanctuaries in the Presidential Palaces and State Government houses to take their much deserved rest from the one month of gallivanting the length and breath of our great country.

The telephone and mobile phone numbers that were exchanged during the campaigns will either removed, changed or switched off permanently. The appeal for votes will end and the partying begins.
Soon for many who have sold their conscience for pittance, blind following coloured by religion, ethnic, sectional, god fatherism and subterranean considerations the reality of hunger, mass poverty insecurity, nepotism, and miss governance will now confront them as sudden as they lost their rights to have a say on their destinies.

The youth brigades, the Ecomog the Sara Suka, etc, children of the under privilege that were introduced to the use of illicit drugs, will turn on the society to cause havoc, when their sources of funds for the purchase the drugs dries.

Some of them may never recover from the crave of the drugs, they will go under to swell the ranks of the under world criminals.

Some may be forced or recruited by the insurgents, as they readily become their sources of funds to satisfy their in satiable need for the drugs that would keep them going.

These are some of the ugly aftermath of the way we conduct politics.

Conversely. the children of the super rich and the politicians we blindly supported would return to their campuses at Oxford, Harvard and other high brow universities spread across the western world.

The real losers in all these is the Nigeria State and the Nigerian People. Another cycle of short changing us will begin.

The promises that were made during the campaigns will remain unfulfilled. Both the losers and the winners of the elections would come together to find a common ground on how to continue improving their bank balances. While they smile on their ways to the banks, the generality of the Nigerian public would burry their faces in shame questioning providence and blaming God for their collective failures.

The cycle of lamentations, frustrations and clinging on to destiny as the cause for our misery would begin, something which we had the opportunity to avert and change.

My dear brothers we still have a week within which to look closely and separate the shafts from weeds. We must not allow sentiments of whatever colouration deter us from being on the path of the truth and honour. We know what the politicians are capable of doing.

This country has gone to cliffs before. God has always been their for us, how much more He would be their for us is absolutely not for us to decide or chose. The choice we have control over is the opportunity granted to us by liberal democracy. The right to change our leaders every four years. How well we utilise our franchise is the key.

The soap box drama will soon come to an end, it also goes with our aspirations for the next four years and may be even beyond.

The future is now in our hands to decide. Whatever needs to be said has been said, from the wise counselling of our elders, the clergy, the media, the intellectuals, the political analyst and the stupid rhetoric dished out from soap box, it is now up to us to think, make sense out of it and vote wisely.

I wish you peaceful and safe election.
Long live the Federal Relublic of Nigeria.

NIGERIA AT CROSS ROAD

Since my last piece on the 17th of January 2019. I thought it would be my last until the elections were over. This is because of my believe in the Nigerian project transcends beyond the love for any one person. Surprisingly, however the “Nigerian people are not just getting it”.

My disappointments were in the manner, politicians, elites and the Nigerian public look at public issues not beyond their personal idiosyncrasies.

Matters of national concerns are treated with naivety and pettiness all in the name of partisanship, tribal cleavages, religious or subterranean considerations.

To borrow the words of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 American elections when things became so incomprehensible she referred to some followers of Trump as “basket of deplorable”

Here at home Aisha Yusuf, the Co-convener of the BringBackOurGirls, BBOG, advocacy group in venting her frustrations with attitude of the “Hon. Minister of Power Fashola, she described him as one of the leaders who has depreciated since he got appointed into Buhari’s administration”.

She explained that; “Some leaders build people around them. Others depreciate people around them.” Are the Nigerian people depreciated under the Buhari administration?

Have we all been compromised? Have we all lost our thinking caps and rationality? Has our nationalist and patriotic zeal deserted us? Have we all been Zombied as popularised by Late musician Fela? These are some of the questions begging for answers.

Here we are some few days to the Presidential election, yet confused as ever. The muddy political waters we are navigating is getting darker by the day. Nigeria is at the precipice. No one knows for sure where we are heading to. What is certain however the elections might hold, whether or not it will meet international best standard is a subject for another debate.

In trying to understand what is going on in the political space, it may be instructive to review the actions of the political actors and gladiators since INEC lifted the ban on political campaign on November 18th 2018.

The general expectations of every Nigerian and our friends in the international community are that the country would build on the successes recorded in the past elections, but alas the whole exercise seems to heading for a collusion course.

The Nigerians people expected the process would be lively full of issues and pleasing anecdotes.
I am sure many are missing the good jokes of the former first lady Mrs Jonathan. We were mesmerised by the grammatical lexicon she developed while it lasted.

The vibrancy, the good commentaries in both the social and mainstream media provided good readings. It also added drama to the whole electoral process.

The tolerance and civility of the Jonathan administration also provided good opportunities for the citizens to engage and make meaningful contributions.

Equally, the general expectations for the 2019 elections were, it would provide a more conducive environment for politicking more especially when the President and the government are saying they are operating on “high moral ground”

Unfortunately, the reverse is the case. The political space became replete with a lot of venom, hate speeches, mudslinging, threats, selective punishments, and deliberate disinformation aimed diverting voters attentions from the real issues that ought to dominate the campaign messages.

The choices presented to the Nigerian people at the beginning of the campaigns by the dormant political parties were swept under the carpet or evaporated all together.

No one hears anything about the “Moving Nigeria to the next level” anymore, all we hear and see are four fingers representing the wasted four years and the additional four years they are asking the Nigeria people to grant them to squander again.

The government in trying to cover its short comings and under performance, wittingly re directing the campaign strategies to “tit for tat” propaganda technique. It did so by hammering on any unimaginable issues they feel would appeal to their base, thereby forcing the opposition to derail from its “Lets get Nigeria Working Again”

The President refusal to attend the presidential debate afters his disastrous outing at the town hall meeting watched nation wide sent some jitters in the minds of his handlers thereby prompting them to shield him away from the Presidential debate in order to avert another national disgrace.

In a civilised society the President performance during the town hall meeting should have sent the message to APC to start shopping for a new Presidential candidate.

The suspension of the country’s CJN some few weeks to the election on the premise that the President was advised by the CCT was another attempt to overheat the polity, knowing fully well the order was in contradiction with the provisions of the 1999 constitution as amended.

The President and his handlers knew their action would divert attention of Nigerians from the real issues the campaign ought to address.

Other major issues that are worrying and causing the President’s handlers sleepless nights were the lies they told the Nigerian people that the opposition presidential candidate would be arrested for money laundering once he sets his foot on the American soil. This has since become history.

The Amina saga, the INEC commissioner whom the coalition of political parties kicked against her involvement in the collation of electoral results because of her affinity to the President now reversed by INEC was also very unsettling to the presidency.

The resurgence of Boko Haram activities in the North East, where the government claimed it has won the war is another big worry. The relative peace upon which government is using to appeal to the sentiments of the citizens is being eroded gradually.

The President talked about his successes in containing the insecurity in the country in his campaign speech at Kano. He even ask the crowed to check with their brothers in the North East to confirm.

But what President did not ask his brethren in the North West to confirm is the rising killings and kidnappings in Zamfara now spreading to Katsina and some parts of sokoto and kebbi states the geo political region of the President.

On the whole the President knew the security situation in the country is not abating and the oppositions are cashing on the governments failure in winning public opinions.

The health issues of the President which hither to has been managed from the public glare, suddenly took the centre stage when the President showed some signs of vulnerability during the town hall meeting and his in comprehension of what is happening in his immediate environment especially during the rallies, at one point he introduced a senatorial candidate as the presidential flag bearer of the APC, he had to be corrected severally before he got it right, these exposed his in ability to continue governance.

The coalition of political parties have since after the town hall meeting gone to court calling for an order for the President to submit himself for medical examination. The coalition also in their prayer to the court demanded for an order to compel INEC to delist the President name from those contesting for election.

The logic behind all this will manifest itself in the future and the handlers of the president are aware of the intentions of CUPP unless of course they want to put the country in another logjam.
I have on this medium argued the 2019 general election would be decided by confidence, capacity and competence not anti corruption.

Events in the recent past has shown that the anti corruption propaganda the government was using as a strategy to destroy the opposition candidate will not fly the kite.

This is because government has shown its soft spot for hobnobbing with the corrupt. This assumption is supported by the statement accredited to the National Chairman of the APC in which he said “when you sin join the APC and you would cleansed”

Again Atiku’s successful journey to America and his performance at the “KADIRA AHMED” town hall meeting during which he addressed all issues regarding how got rich has busted the anti corruption campaign propaganda and evaporated all arguments associated with it.

By his performance in the town hall meeting, the journey to and return from America, the former Vice President has demonstrated confidence, competence, capacity and has purged himself from the corruption issues the government is hanging on his neck.

The President in similar performance during the town hall meeting anchored by the same Kadira Ahmed instead of helping his candidature exposed his vulnerability, in qcompetence and capacity to govern.

In an established democracy and a literate society the disastrous performance of the President in that interview will cost the party the election. The party Should have by now started scampering and shopping for a replacement.

But this is Nigeria, “the Nigerian factor” will always come into play. In spite of the fact, the country has gone through similar conundrum during the Yar’Adua reign, when the Senate had to come to the rescue of the nation by invoking a non constitutional provision coined as “doctrine of necessity” to solve the logjam.

In the case of the CJN the government and its protagonist are saying the CJN ought have resigned in order to save the sanctity of the judiciary this may be desirable, but the contraption should not be used as a means of deliberately diverting attentions from the real issues of hunger, disease, poverty, in security that are suppose to form the narratives of election campaigns.

Nigerian people would grateful if the President in the light of his historical ill health and recent exposure of his demeanour at the town hall meeting and in other events submit himself to proper medical examination to determine his continued suitability to govern.

Our position is base on the fact, the President has in many fora stated he is not obsessed about power and we want believe him. But we also know that “power corrupts, power corrupts absolutely”. We pray the President will choose to be on the side of moral high ground he preaches and do the needful.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE

In the next 30 days from today all the mudslinging, the scaremongering and the dirty politics will be decided by the ballot box, as in many elections in the past.

The one before us in my opinion is still between the devil and deep blue sea.

The politicians now in the arena seeking for our franchise throwing jabs at each other have shown to us they have not learnt from our past mistakes.

To me it looks like “business as usual”. They are engaging in the same rhetoric and would return to their dining tables enjoying their spoils at the expense of the masses.

They will be feasting on our common wealth as before laughing on their ways to banks and the board rooms of the companies that control the economic machines that oils the wealth of the nation.

They share common board room in the institutions that control our common wealth. They own the Oil wells, the Banks, the Bureau de Change, the Financial Institutions, the Airlines, the Discos, the Companies that control the input and out put chain in the economy etc.

When they meet in those board rooms they don’t talk about which party they belong, rather they speak as a family and how they would protect their common wealth from the masses whom they promised a lot but knew they are un attainable.

They may not stop at that as they would also take over the Executive, the Judiciary and Legislative arms of government living us the citizens with nothing but lamentations and further Impoverishment.

The scare tactics that characterise the campaign polemics will now shift from their common political enemies to the masses.

The security agencies will now start issuing statements that reads “ it will deal with all individuals, groups or association, who try to break the peace”. “The clergy will appeal for peace and forgiveness”. “The elder state men would call for understanding”. The appeals keeps coming from all directions, but the real truth is, they are all part of the common group that are living fat on us. Non of them really have the masses in their minds.

It is then that we shall belatedly realise that the polemics has turned against us. We chicken out blaming God for our destiny, something we could have controlled ourselves.

The issues of anti corruption will be pushed to back burner. The normal black outs and fuel crises would resume. Kidnappings, herdsmen farmer conflict returns, hyper inflation, the fight against boko haram insurgency would be down graded. Nepotism and leadership arrogance takes over before the next circle of election. Integrity and anti corruption would be the first to go.

Whether you belong to the “lets get Nigeria working again” or “moving Nigeria to the next level” the choice is one and same thing.

We have at least seen from the Vice Presidential debate, there is nothing new but continuation of the status quo.

Let us I forget until something un expectedly happens there may be no Presidential debate because the occupant of the Aso Villa is being protected by his party from partaking in the debate.

For whatever reason they are doing so is up to them and the Nigerian to rationalise.

We must not allow ourselves to be deceived by the anti corruption group because we have now seen their antecedents.

They wine and dine with the filthy and the corrupt and yet they claim integrity. I would like remind you of the popular Hausa proverb that says “Abokin barawo barawone” Which literally translate into “ A thief friend is a thief”

We must not condescend, we must not be taken for granted, we must not allow them to be heading to banks laughing at our immiseration.

We must not allow ourselves to be buried in our shame lamenting how we sacrificed our future for little change, sugar, rice and detergents that lasted only for the period of the elections.

We must remember the process of short changing us will continue to be perfected in the board rooms, the hallow chambers and the council rooms spread across the country.

We must not allow our idiosyncrasies, god fatherism, subtrenain and other political considerations becloud our sense of judgement in deciding where our votes should go.

Our destinies are in our vote, so vote wisely. Its not too late.

THE UPROAR IN THE ASSEMBLY:

When everything else fails, when the centre that bind us together can no longer hold. When everything defies logic and common sense. When our collective social mores is debased. When everyone else tell lies just in order to achieve certain benefits. That society is bound to apocalypse. Sadly, this has become the fallacy bedevilling our leaders today from the small to the mighty.

The show of shame in the national Assembly where Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members of the National Assembly are calling the President a liar, speaks volumes about how things are done in this country.

Before 2015 who would have imagined the President will be treated in this manner by any one, talk less by the Distinguished and Honourable members of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The President must not listen to his praise singers and those who came to his defence on the show of shame at the national assembly. He must not reduce the whole saga to politics. It goes beyond that. He must consider the breach seriously. It shows dissent in the way government business is being conducted.

A friend recently send to me a video clip where the President was saying this; “ I don’t have companies, I don’t attach much to materialism, especially materialism on things that will affect the development of the country, I have a clear conscious, I feel I can face God with confidence”.

In this the President is claiming a high moral ground. He is simply telling us he has no faults. He believes God forbids, if he dies today he would be beyond reproach by his creator.

For me these are some of the things I find disturbing with the President’s attitude. The fact that you think you are clean doesn’t make one a saint. You may be good in one area and found wanting in the others, after all we are human beings.

My concerns about the President statements is rooted in the fact under the President are the good, the bad and ugly appointees, whose actions and in actions have some vicarious effect on the high moral grounds of the President.

I am sure the President has not forgotten that he is the ruler of one God’s own country called Nigeria? A country now given the label of being the poorest capital of the world. A country blessed by God to be great but many of it citizens are dying by the day for lack of security, hunger, diseases and mass poverty. A country where many go to bed without having their last meal for the day because they can not afford it.

Has the President also forgotten that he will stand before God and the Nigerian people to account for his leadership? Claiming a moral high ground in order to achieve certain benefits does not make him a just ruler.

Pious leaders that came before us always prayed to God for continuous guidance and asking for forgiveness and for God to cover their short comings. They never proudly show piousness because they know there is a lot to leadership then integrity.

I hope when the President was making those statement he factored the fact that every Nigerian would be asked by God if he was a just ruler to them.
I am saying this with the realisation of the fact that;
1. Nigeria has been judged the poorest capital of the world and its not doing well in the world ranking of corrupt countries. This means there is prevalence of mass poverty which translates to people going to bed hungry;
2. Recall that during the time of caliphate Umar (RA). He goes around the city of Madina in the night to find out whether there is a single resident of the city who went to bed hungry because he could not afford to cook food for the night. He was concerned because as leader he knows God would call him to account. Can the President purge himself before God why so many Nigerians go to bed on empty stomach?
3. The President took oath and promised he will protect the lives and property of the Nigerian people, can he say this was achieved, in the light of what is going on in Zamfara alone?
4. Power outages, total black outs, high tariff for electricity charged by the Discos, sometimes for power not even supplied and no body cares because the Discos are owned by the influential elites, the rich and powerful in the society;
5. The failure of our national infrastructures such as in educations, roads, health etc.

Today the universities are closed for months and nobody is talking about it, because the children of the rich and the powerful are safely studying in Universities around the world.

The pathetic situations in our health sectors also calls for the reflections of the President more especially when he himself had to travel abroad for medical treatments on many occasions leaving behind the indigent and the poor to contend with the bad facilities in our hospitals;

6. Abuse of due processes and disregard of court orders and selective application of the law also does not give confidence to the citizens. The society has been divided in to the touchable and un touchable,

7. Elites conspiracies against the poor thereby short changing them of the benefits of nationhood;
8. Nepotism, Tribalism and Religion now determines who gets what and who goes where;

9. Unemployment and selective employment only for the children of privileged and powerful abounds;

These are some of the paradoxes of our social reality which the President has sworn to protect, when he presented himself for election to highest office of the land in 2015.

Almost four years down the lane his government has not yet changed our situations but is now asking for four more years in order to “take us to the next level”

I am sure some apologist of the government will take me on this by saying that the President was not the cause of the Nigerian problems. Yes this may be true but how many Nigerians would say they are unhappy with the way the country is being governed?

Leadership is beyond integrity alone you may be the most morally perfect leader this country has ever produced but you may also be the most in effective leader ever to govern the nation.

Consequently, the purpose of leadership is to able to touch and change the lives of the people in the most positive way.
Human beings can be deceived, cajoled and coerced to internalise what they have been fed by the powerful and to believe it as right, because they are limited in capacity to know the truth. But God knows the hidden and the un spoken.

Integrity may be high on the virtues of a leader but is certainly not everything.
Leadership is also about ability, competence, capacity and how effective the leader was in changing the fortunes of the country by making it great.

The world is full of the history of morally upright leaders and how they woefully failed in governance.

To reduce everything to integrity, means we may be missing the point, especially in our circumstances where the four years of integrity succeeded in only producing high level of chaos, poverty, hunger, disease, kidnapping, killings and in security.

It has also reduced the whole campaign for the 2019 to scaremongering, name calling and labelling. If you are not with them you are a thief. The state agencies of anti corruption must therefore swoop on you. If you are with them then you can be invited to a dinner.

Its a pity for the oppositions they have to contend with this un fair environment the state has perfected for its own benefits.

The gullible Nigerian have also fallen victims to the propaganda techniques that portrays the government as the best we could ever have .

The most vilified in all this is Atiku the Waziri of Adamawa who is being punished for being rich. He has been sentenced in the public court as guilty of an offence a normal court of competent jurisdiction has not found him guilty. The law has been turned upside down “You are guilty as charged” it is no longer “You are innocent until proven guilty”

The of lack of issues based political campaign has made the political arena dull, predictive and scary.
This is also exacerbated by the conspiracy of the main stream media in their un equal treatment of the oppositions in the dissemination of political massages.

The major losers in all this is Nigeria and the gullible Nigerian people who have been hoodwinked in to believing the lies dished out to them by the compromised media and the politicians continuously on daily basis as the truth.

This may be the reason behind the uproar at the National Assembly, but it is up to the President to demand to know more from the people he co opted to assist him in running of the affairs of the state, whether they are feeding him with lies or the truth

THE PROTEST OF SHAME

Some few weeks ago a group of protesters under banner of Forum of Non Governmental Organisations in Nigeria led by its Chairman Comrade Wole Badmus demonstrated and presented a letter containing their grievances on why the US government should not grant visa to Atiku Abubakar the PDP Presidential candidate in the 2019 general election.

In their petitions to the US Ambassador the group alleged that;
Atiku, who is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in next year’s presidential election, was allegedly involved in a bribery scandal for which Senator William Jefferson was tried and jailed for 13 years in 2009.

The group’s convener, Wole Badmus, said: Granting (Atiku’s) visa request will amount to a negation of the Patriot Act which makes the acceptance of foreign corruption proceeds a U.S. money laundering offence.
“It also makes a mockery of the United Nations (UN) Convention Against Corruption enacted in 2003 in which the U.S. played an active role in its enactment and presently ratified by over 40 countries.
“It is also against the spirit of investigative group dedicated to combating foreign corruption by Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) formed in 2003 by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
He added by saying; “granting such request makes a mess of a President Bush Presidential Proclamation 7750 denying U.S. visa to foreign officials involved with corruption, and other supporting legislations by the congress.”

He noted that if the U.S. denied the former vice president its visa for 13 years and now grants it to him in the twilight of his presidential election, it will be tantamount to making a mockery of the UN convention against corruption.
Badmus added that if the U.S. that is seen as a global seat of democracy, rule of law and transparency grants its visa to Atiku, the country would have aided him to score a cheap political goal.

He ended by strongly advising the United States Embassy against granting this request as doing so has the capacity of portraying the great American state as being supportive of illicit transactions and gross abuse of public office for personal aggrandisement.

“This is apart from the tacit and covert electoral gain such can confer him as the general correct perception in our country now is that Atiku is being denied America Visa because of proven cases of money laundering and financial crimes against him.”

He advice the US to, “stay clear of Nigeria’s internal politics”; “No issuance of politically motivated visa to Atiku”; “Senator Jefferson was jailed, Lady Jennifer was jailed, Atiku must also be jailed in the U.S.”; “Nigerians say no to America’s interference in the nation’s politics”; and “Go, Atiku Go to jail in America.”

Ordinarily, the group action may be seen to be patriotic but for their suggestions that granting Atiku visa request would amount to supporting his candidature for the 2019 general election puts the groups efforts to questions. Have they also asked themselves whose chances their actions would promote in the 2019 general elections?

The groups call for Atiku to be taken to jail in America is hateful and this kind of statements should not come from a Non Governmental Organisation such as the one he represents.

It also raises the questions why is the group silent for 13years and why it chooses this period to speak? The group by its action has shown partisanship and has therefore ruled itself from monitoring of the 2019 general by exposing where it belongs. But before we return to that let us consider the following pertinent questions;

Q1. when has the issuance of visa which is a personal matter become an issue to a Non Governmental organisation such as the group under reference?

2. How “a political” the group is in the light of the fact that INEC the agency responsible for conducting election has cleared Atiku to stand for the Presidential Election in 2019?

3. How can the group purge itself from being accused as agent of the opposition masquerading under the banner of the Non Governmental organisation in order to gain the sympathy of the public and promote partisan agenda?

4. Has Atiku been charged or indicted by any of court of competent jurisdiction either in the US or Nigeria for any of the crimes he is being accused of?
5. Why is the group playing the card of the third columnist?

6. How can mare suspicion of commitment of crime become an indictment?

7, Is the position of the group not consistent with the government’s position especially in the light of the same demand accredited to the Minister of Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, when he appealed to the U.S. government not to grant Mr Abubakar a visa as this would send the wrong signal to the country on who the U.S. was supporting politically in 2019”?

These are some of the issues we shall examine in the light of the statement accredited to US embassy in Nigeria regarding its policies on granting or denial of visa to individuals.

The US Embassy in its response to several inquiries regarding the non issuance of visa to the Waziri of Adamawa to visit the US which has been politicised spoke through its Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Lagos, Mr. Brussel Brooks, that; “ the issuance of U.S. visa to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, and anyone else. is strictly a confidential matter” He added that, “the U.S. Government will not discuss the issue in public for any reason.

Mr Brooks enjoined candidates at all levels to focus on issue-based campaigns and avoid distractions.
With the position taken by the US embassy it is our expectation that the Forum of Non-Governmental Organisations in Nigeria led by Comrade Wole Badmus, should have taken the advice and acted by stopping their members from embarking on the disgraceful, shameful and unnecessary protest that became a national embarrassment.

This singular act by the group has robbed the organisation the genuine patriotic sentiments they wanted to portray on behalf of the gullible Nigerians. Their actions were un called for and it ended by exposing the under belly of their hidden agenda.
It has also reduced the group to the level of political thugs usually hired by the politicians to over heat the polity.

The Comrade and his group must know the US embassy does not need their prodding to grant or deny visa to any Nigerian or anyone else because they have the means and capacity to deal with such cases.

Let me also use this opportunity to educate Mr. Badmus that Nigeria has an extradition treaty with the US and it can request through the due processes of law to get Atiku extradited to the US to face the consequence of his actions.

Further more if the US government wanted Atiku arrested for the offence he committed against the United States as alleged, it would have done so 13years ago. After all Atiku has in the last 13 years since the matter under reference was on the table visited several countries that the US has extradition treaty, and they could have picked him from there.

The case of the leader of WikiLeaks now holed up in the Bolivian Embassy in London. The arrest of the Heir apparent of Huawei a Chinese technology company in Canada on the request of the US for violating American embargo on Iran shows clearly how the US does not need any advise from Badmus and his group if they have to pick Atiku and try him in the Us.

In fact what Comrade Badmus should have done is to take his fellow protesters to Aso Villa and ask why the Nigerian Government failed to arrest Atiku and send him to jail for crime they are alleging he committed in the US, after all the money they claim he stole belongs to the Nigerian people.

The group had in their letter acknowledged, the US government had already demonstrated its commitment to stand by all its legislations referenced in the petition by showing leadership in the trial and the sentencing of its nationals to various prison terms for the offences our nation has failed to hold its citizens accountable.

To camouflage under the umbrella of a respectable Forum of the Non Governmental organisations in Nigeria and play politics is absurd, dishonest and embarrassing, more especially when the US Embassy had already made its position known on issues regarding visa issuance.

To play to the gallery for cheap political gains will end in self destructions for the organisation. As a people we must not open our dirty linens in the public for the whole world to laugh at us. There are processes and procedures to explore on all issues before we draft our gullible citizens on the streets to demonstrate.

The honour to do the right thing is on us. We must stand up and do the right things before others could respect us. Do we really need to ask the US to arrest Atiku and send him to jail America? After all the alleged stolen money belongs to the Nigerian people?

Atiku has not ran away from Nigeria in fact he has even challenged anybody, who has any evidence that he was involved in corrupt practices to produce it.

if we can’t do it our selves then we must shut up. We must not continue looking for solutions to our problems else where.

THE NEED FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT

Sunday, November 18th 2018 is yet another milestone in our journey towards building an enduring democracy in Nigeria. The ban on partisan politics was officially lifted by the INEC following at statement that read: “Political parties who have fielded candidates for the February 16th, 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections will by Sunday, 18th November 2018, commence campaigns across the country.

“This is in line with the Timetable and Schedule of Activities issued by the Commission and in accordance with Section 99(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) which provides that ‘the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day’.

The major actors in the political process took to the streets with each unveiling their policy thrust on how they intend to convince the Nigeria people to give them their franchise.

The APC under incumbent President Muhammad Buhari promised to take Nigeria to the “Next Level”.
While the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who is the Presidential candidate of the PDP Promised to “Get Nigeria Working Again”.

Now that the two major actors in the political process have unveiled their policy thrust to convince Nigerians to give them the opportunity to serve in the most exalted office in the land. We as public affairs commentators are left with the duty of analysing those policy thrust and sharing our political perspectives with the Nigerian people.

President Muhammad Buhari while kick starting his campaign for the 2019 general election at a conference hall at the Presidential Villa unveiled how he intends to take Nigeria People to the “Next Level”.

In a well crafted speech which he started by high lighting the state of the Nation when he took over in 2015 and how He promised to “change the country”. And this is how he said it. “Four years ago, we promised Nigerians real change – in what we do and how we do it. Nigerians sent a clear message in the last election, and our platform offered a new, ambitious plan for a secure, prosperous and corruption-free country.

“We have worked hard to fulfil our promises – and while the road may have been difficult, over the last three and a half years, we have laid the foundations for a strong, stable and prosperous country for the majority of our people”. He emphasized by stating that the work they did in the nearly fours years are; “Foundational work (and) is not often visible, neither is it glamorous – but it is vital to achieving the kind of country we desire”.

He also subtly accused his predecessors for the rot in the system when he said; “Judging by the prior depth of decay, deterioration and disrepair that Nigeria had sunken into, we are certain that these past few years have put us in good stead to trudge on the “Next Level” of building an even stronger nation for our people”.

The President continued by listing the achievement of his government in the last four years; “We were a nation at war – but we delivered on our commitment to secure the territorial integrity of our nation in the face of a raging insurgency that devastated many parts of the North East. We liberated 17 Local Government Areas from the grip of insurgency.
Brokering and sustaining peace in the Niger Delta has also been crucial to stabilising the polity”.

We supported state governments with bailouts that enabled them to pay workers on their payroll.
We believe we can implement the painstaking and comprehensive policy and work we have done to bring an end to the perennial conflict between farmers and herders – a conflict which is heightened by a struggle for land, water and pasture and the effects of climate change.

Corruption is an existential threat to Nigeria. Despite the gains we have made in closing the gates, we know that there is still much ground to cover to stop systemic corruption.

Nigeria more than ever before needs a stable focussed government to move the agenda for our country forward. Join us to the “Next Level” of prosperous, strong and stable Nigeria

The former Vice President in similar event in Yola unveiled his policy thrust for the 2019 general election with the premise to; “Get Nigeria working Again”
The policy thrust of the Atiku campaign is based on the policy document and his televised address to the Nigerian People where he posited that “Nigeria was once working”.

According to him when he was the Vice President of the Federal Republic and chairman of the National Economic Council under Obasanjo- Atiku government, “they exited Nigeria from the Paris club debt overhang, they grew the economy to be one of the largest in Africa, introduced the Gsm revolution, Reformed the Pension Administrations Introduced the National Health Insurance System, they also had a plan known as “NEEDS” which worked, they reformed the civil service by cutting waste in government spending through its monetization programme, created the ICC and EFCC, Provided a living wage for the civil servant then.
According to him these are the foundation work needed by all nation to leap to the next stage of development.

The policy document he unveiled in Adamawa represent his agenda with the Nigeria people.
The key messages of the of the documents are;
1. Nigeria is under performing;
2. There are some structural fault-lines;
3. The unity of the Nigerian state under threat.

The document also discussed about his covenant with the Nigerian people in which it believes;
“Nigeria can deliver; Nigeria can surpass its own growth expectations; Nigeria can realise beyond its dreams; It then went on to “pledge to the Nigeria people that: “WE CAN GET NIGERIA WORKING AGAIN”

To achieve this the document high lighted how it want to get there. This is defined by its mission to;
1. Ensure unity of the Nigerian state:
2. Ensure the security of lives and properties of the Nigeria people;
3. Ensure the prosperity of the Nigerian people and the state.

These will be achieved through;
1. Building the economy of our dream;
2. Job creation and entrepreneurship development;
3. Poverty Alleviation and economic empowerment;
4. Infrastructural dev.
5. National security;
6. Anti corruption;
7. Good Governance etc
The policy thrust document ended by asking the question. “ why is the different? Is it?

These are some of the issues we would navigate and see what makes the prepositions submitted by the two parties different and whether or not there is a paradigm shift.
Conceptually all the documents addressed the issues that are core in our journey to towards economic and political growth and building a just and egalitarian society.

Specifically, they both talked about how they can deal with issues relating to; wealth creation, anti corruption, health care, security, education, poverty alleviation, unemployment and good governance etc.

The fundamental difference of the two are, while President Buhari is saying, he would take Nigeria to the “Next Level”. The former Vice President Atiku is saying, lets “Get Nigeria Working Again”
Now lets examine the two clichés in the light of their performances as highlighted.

The President started by saying that four years ago, they promised Nigerians real change. To do these they offered Nigerians an ambitious plan for a secure, prosperous and corruption-free country”. The question to ask is Nigerians prosperous today? has our living conditions changed? has Nigerian become a corruption free country? The answer to these are NO.

Infact the living conditions of Nigerian people has in the real sense worsened mass poverty, hunger, frustrations, un employment, in security and general restiveness in the society has continued un abated.

The President accepted this when he said, “the work we did in the last three and half years was “Foundational” which means they have not been able to achieve their goals. The Nigerian state has been there for 58 years and certainly it can not be at foundation level governance is about continuity and developing what others started.

The President also in his speech said ” We were a nation at war – but we delivered on our commitment to secure the territorial integrity of our nation in the face of a raging insurgency that devastated many parts of the North East. We liberated 17 Local Government Areas from the grip of insurgency.” Yes, there may be no local government under the direct control of the insurgents but one can not say for certain the war has been won.

Infact on same day the President was making that famous speech, Boko Haram insurgents attacked and killed several Military personnel. We have in previous write ups argued that the war against the insurgency was only successful in the urban centres and this position put to the President by His Royal Highness the Shehu of Borno when he said “ the threat of Boko Haram is still very potent as farmers are being attacked and killed on a daily basis in the villages and communities surrounding Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. “Quite a number of farmers are being killed and kidnapped on a daily basis around Molai General Area, which is just 10 kilometres away from the metropolis, along Maiduguri – Damboa – Biu road. “Most of the surrounding villages and communities in Konduga, Damboa, Mafa and other local government areas have been razed down in the last two weeks. “We plead that the federal government and the security agencies review the strategies in nipping this lingering crisis in the bud.”

The President claimed of brokering and sustaining peace in the Niger Delta but the truth is, the relative peace in the Niger Delta region was as a result combination of efforts that predates his administration.

In the fight against corruption the president claimed the introduction of the Single Treasury Account has according to him “made it more difficult for ministries, departments and agencies to exercise the unrestrained liberties that helped foster a climate conducive to corruption. Yes the TSA has curtailed the ability of Ministries and Extra Ministerial Departments to have direct control over the IGR they generated, but it has in no way stopped them access to resources.

The president’s assumption that the nation’s wealth is now being invested in capital projects to expand infrastructure and connect people, goods and opportunities by rail, road and air” is also suspect because all the projects he mentioned under infrastructural developments apart from the road that are financed from budget line allocation, the others are being financed through borrowing from the Chinese and other International Financial Agencies thereby adding to rising debt profile of the country. In fact the opposition is accusing his government for borrowing in last three and half years more than the entire amount it borrowed in sixteen years.

The Federal Government bail out to the state governments to pay workers on their payroll can not be seen as an achievement rather it is a way of encouraging the states to continue with their mis application of public funds, which has become the hall mark of their tenure.

These are the murky waters the President want us to navigate in the next four years. Whether or not these wishes are going to translate in to reality, the President want us to believe he has integrity to do that. Success as we know it does not rely on integrity alone but it must go hand in hand with capacity and competence which the administration has shown lack of it.

The events of the past fours years and the President’s style of leadership does not give us the comfort he would deliver on those promises.

Our premise was informed by lamentations contained in the letter Reverend Father Kukah wrote to the President telling him about the Nigerian situation, “You know sir, that you rode into town like a knight in shining armour, carrying the joys, pains, anxieties and fears of a people whose broken dreams had littered and turned the landscape into a kaleidoscopic scenery of desolation and despair.
“In your campaigns, you promised to restore a sense of national pride in us by slaying the dragon of corruption, banishing the retrogressive scourge of Boko Haram, bringing back our daughters from Chibok and making our country and citizens truly safe.

“We waited in hope right to the end of the first year, but somehow, amidst some hazy weather, all we heard was the sound of screeching tyres with the plane carrying our hopes seemingly unable to take off.

“It finally did but we had barely gained altitude when sickness struck and you spent the better part of a year seeking healing.

“The nation prayed for you and miraculously, you recovered. Evidently, you had been saved for a purpose. Our prayer is that this realisation will help you understand that you have a date with history and divine judgment.

“For now, before your eyes and in your hands, our country, our communities, our people are all in a state of stupor” this situation has not significantly changed since he made those statements.

Consequently, the new cliché that the government is going to take us to “next level” is tendentious and misleading.
In his admission to the failure to change our lives under the “change Mantra” which they now call the period “foundational”.

We must remind the President and his writers, that Nigeria is 58 years old and to assume that we are still at foundation level is either they don’t understand how government works or they are just being wise by half.

From colonialism to date all the governments that came contributed their quarter in bringing us to where we are today. To assume that only them can solve the problems of Nigeria is not only dishonest but an insult to our collective contributions in our journey towards nationhood.

Is Buhari therefore promising to take us to the next level of insecurity, abuse of court order, high level of poverty, hunger, Farmer – Herdsmen conflict, religious divisiveness, election thuggery, selective anti corruption application, harbouring of corrupts officials as long as they have electoral values, segregating the society in to “them vs us”?

His counter part in PDP is arguing that when they were in government “Nigeria was Working”.
He went on to say that when he was the Vice President of the Federal Republic and chairman of the National Economic Council they exited Nigeria from the Paris club and other International Financial Agencies debt overhang; they grew the economy to be one of the largest in Africa; Introduced the Gsm revolution; Reformed the Pension Administrations; Introduced the National Health Insurance System; Created the ICC and EFCC the agencies the Buhari government are using to fight the anti corruption crusade; These are truism and no body can deny these facts. The plan to get “Nigeria Working Again” if based on the above premises are hard to debunk.

This not withstanding however issues of corruption and lack of integrity the PDP government is now being accused of is putting dark cloud on Atiku’s campaign for the Presidency. Rightly so being a founding member of the party and its Vice President for a period of eight years. Atiku is vicariously a party to the sad period of the PDP’s history in government. Just like he is also a party to the failures of the APC’ government which he just left.

Knowing very well he stands in between the political history of the two major political parties, he decided to cut a niche for himself by saying lets “Get Nigeria Working Again”

This must be his tacit admission of the fact that things are not working well with the two political parties. But as a democrat he must compete on a platform and the best happens to be that of his original party.

The point he is trying to make is that the Party can be a vehicle while the Person on the platform is the driver and he is the one who can make the difference.

The world is full of those examples. In South Africa when Nelson Mandela left, Mbeki took over and he was removed in his second tenure. Zuma who took over was also removed for alleged corrupt practices, but that did not change or the destroy the ANC as a party.

In the USA when Obama took over from Bush a Republican, part of reason for his success at the polls was the financial crisis that resulted in America going in to recession.

The Democrats spent eight years under Obama and in spite of his high approval rating, strong economy and job creation, it could not stop the Republicans from coming back to power with Trump who himself was first a democrat before pitching his camp with the Republican, in spite of his many baggages.

The inter play between the Party and the Individuals that drives its fortunes are therefore mutually inclusive one can not happen without the other. Actors can be changed the party remains to build again and Atiku know this very well.

In analysing the two policy documents presented to the Nigerian people, the former President of the Nigeria Bar Association Mr Olisa Agbakoba, In an appearance on Arise TV, he described as a “complete disaster”, the “Next Level” campaign document launched by President Muhammadu Buhari 2019 presidential campaign organization.
He dismissed Buhari organization campaign document as a mere “handout” as it allegedly lacks the “conceptual overhang” expected of a document prepared to show a road-map of what the President intends to do if elected.

According to him, “The one for Atiku is 80 percent. It’s got the right stuff in it. It needs more work, but it’s a working document. It’s something I can live with. I see nice things there. It’s a conceptual framework that creates microeconomic stability. It’s got all the nice indices in it”.

“On evaluation, it is clear that the economic blueprint unveiled by Atiku addresses national needs than Buhari’s economic plans.

In spite of this however the Political actors have now defined the way forward for 2019 general election.

If you are among those who believe in “Getting Nigeria Working Again” they have provided a justifiable reason for you to vote for them.

Conversely, if you are on the side of the “foundation makers” and believe they can take you to “next level” the choice is yours.

I would like to end this discourse with the words of the former Head of State General Abdulsalam Abubakar in a lecture he delivered at National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, on ‘Election and Security in Nigeria: Policy Options and Strategies’. He said, “every citizen must do their duty; you must not sell your vote, you must register to vote, and stop criticising the failures of government if you will not go and vote them out if they are not doing their job”.

With this, the choice is now before the Nigeria people. The drum beat has started. Good luck.

ARE WE ALL DEPRECIATED?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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