Category: Politics

THE DIRT IN THE INFORMATION HIGHWAY

I usually dont like to join issues with my colleques who comment on public affairs, but where I perceive injustice I tend to be on the side of the oppressed to ensure that fairness and balance which is the hallmark of the journalism ethos is seen to have been done.

It  is no longer in doubt that
Mr Kachikwu the Minister of State Petroluem leaked the 8-page letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari accusing Mr Baru  the GMD NNPC of “acts of insubordination, humiliation, disrespect and lack of due process in the award of contracts.”

Neither the Minister no his press crew have come out to deny the assertions being widely circulated in the main stream and social media that the memo was not leaked by him.

Its clear to me and to every decerning person that the Minister knows once the press got hold on to the document the consquencies of his action would have a huge damage on the image of the government more especially when the issues at stake borders on personalities and procurement processes.

As a public officer he ought to have known there are several ways he could reach to his boss. The leak to the press must be the last resort, if at all it must be persued.

In my little knowledge of how government works, the Minister could still use the following channels, if he perceives the Chief of Staff is becoming a stumbbling block to getting to his boss;
1. He could explore going through the  Vice President, unless if he tried and failed ;
2,. Convert whatever issues he wanted to discuss with President in to Council Memo. I am sure the minister is aware of the types of council memos they use to communicate among members of the Federal Executive Council.
3. Go through the National Economic Council of which he is member or at least attends as a revenue generating agency. The Minister knows the Vice President briefs the President on all decisions taken by the council;
4. Seek the intervention of the Party leadership if it becomes so absolutely neccessary.

But in all these the Minister choose to  gamble with the image of the government, simply because he feels the Cheif of staff and some other very close associates of the President whose  companies might have  benifitted from the procurement process.

Aware that  the leak certaintly would give press  the opportunity to pounce on the document and sensationise it with big catchy headlines that may embrass the government.

Now that he has seen the President and open up the the government to redicule. what kind of  damage control mechanism would the Minister put in place to deal with the situations he delibrately created, now that  Mr President has asked the Minister and the GMD, to find ways to work together?

In the light of the wanned trust between them how could this possibly happen?
Lest I forget before the Minister of state was up graded by Mr President he was the Group Managing Director of the same company and operated under the same rules and regulations. He approved contracts under the same threshold, he is now trying to blow whistle as if something  wrong took place.

Now that NNPc has told  its story, that all their actions were done according to extant rules and regulations.

In providing an eluminating explanation to the ensueing drama, one Ibrarhim Suleiman extensively quoting the Daily Nigeria said;  “the raging rift between the two oil czars, a senior NNPC official who preferred not to be named exclusively told DAILY NIGERIAN that the fight was beyond what was contained in the letter.
“The fight between Kachikwu and Baru emanated from two clauses within the NNPC. And these are the NNPC Act and the Clause in a correspondence from the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to the then GMD of NNPC (Ibe Kachikwu) regarding contracts.

“In the NNPC Act,” the source added, “it was stated clearly that the GMD NNPC will report directly to the Substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources, in this case President Muhammadu Buhari. Sadly for Kachikwu, the Act was silent on the GMD reporting to him.

“Secondly, in a letter dated June 26, 2015, the BPP clarified a clause regarding the power of the NNPC Tenders Board (and not the NNPC Board) to award contracts without recourse to the Minister of State.

“The approval limit of the NNPC Tenders Board is $20m. But where such contracts exceed the tenders board’s limits, approval must be sought from the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

“And in the case of the $26billion Kachikwu claimed Baru spent without due process, it was the same Federal Executive Council, with Kachikwu as a member, that approved the contracts. How would Baru, who is not even a member of FEC, be blamed for side-stepping the minister and bypassing due process?” the insider queried.

To this effect the  BPP’s clarified this position to Mr Kachikwu on powers of NNPC Tenders Board to award contracts thus;
“The [NNPC] Governing Board is responsible for approval of the work programmes, corporate contract plans and budget while the [NNPC] Tenders Board is responsible for approval of day to day

“Strangely, the same Minister who obtained such clarifications from the BPP while serving as GMD NNPC has now turned against it,” the source added.

According to him, “the whole bone of contention was because while Mr Kachikwu realized he was powerless to influence Baru as Minister of State in terms of contracts and other demands, the Minister could still not stand watching Baru having unfettered access to the President.

If the CUPSNIGERIA have seen or read the write up of Ibrahim Suleim and that of Daily Nigeria or conducted a more indepth ressearch I am sure they  would have  been a bit rational and circumspect in their write up, that is going round calling the chief of staff names like.
“ABBA KYARI – THE FACE OF EVIL AT THE PRESIDENCY”
Dr. Idris Ahmed who authored the article referred to above is a PHD holder I want to believe, he must have known the value of a good researched work for him to play in galary by writting without indept research and impute on the personlity of people is not fair.

Here are some of the things he wrote;
“The corrupt and unpatriotic Abba Kyari has a frightening influence at the Presidency, to the extent that most people in the know view him as the second  powerful” man at presdency, after the President himself” Is this true? if Abba is the second most powerful man in the house where then did he place the Vice president who is constitutionally regarded as the number 2 in the heirachy.  At least we witnessed situations when the VP became the acting President a couple of times.
He also accused the chief of staff of committing crimes against the Nigerian state part the crimes he said Abba committed is; “The latest one being denying the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachukwu, from seeing the President. Regardless of the wrongs or rights of his spat with Dr. Maikanti Baru,  as a Minister of the Federal Republic, Dr. Kachukwu has the right to have audience with his boss and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic. It is therefore very embarrassing and demeaning to the office of the President and image of Nigeria at home and around the world, for Buhari to learn about the Kachukwu/Maikanti saga through the media!”
Since Dr Idriss, and his cups group are well educated  I expected them to try finding out what job descriptions and the schedules of the Chief of Staff.
Allow me deviate and draw the attention  of “CUPS to the international dimension they introduced in to the discussion. Are they aware why the American President dismissed his chief of Staff recently and what happened during the alpointment of a new person?   In accepting his nomination to the office of the chief of staff, General Kerry,  a fine officer and a gentleman. told  President Trump that  he would accept the nomination on the condition that he would be allowed to determine who sees and what goes in to the presidents office. I am sure by now you must started rationalizing some of the duties of the chief of staff. My brother the chief  is a gate keeper, he articulate the President’s programme. The President has alot on his plate. And afterall at the end of the day, it is the President who decides who he sees.
Dont you think Kachukwu didnt know this? He delibrately choose to leak his letter to the press for personal reasons? He has so many ways to reach to the President, some of which I mentioned in my opening paragraph.
I was also amazed by the type of venom and out pouring the “cupsnigeria” lampoon the the Chief of staff, the hate was apparent as if the groups has a bone to pick with Abba.

I can recall similar pattern of behavior were used to force President Jonathan to sacrifice his chief  of staff for un substantiated corruption claims. Thank God President Buhari is not given to such kind of frivolity of pull him down syndrome. He listens but allows due process to take its course, before he takes any decision in respective of who was at the receiving end. 

“Cupsnigeria” further  claimed in their article that they fearless and this what they said;
” Despite the colossal evidence against him, we understand that the Nigerian media are afraid of exposing Abba Kyari, for fear of reprisals. “We at CUPS are NOT. We are ferociously independent and fearless in our reporting. We will always tell the truth, no matter whose ox is being gored”

while we salute “CUPS” for their resolve to be fearless we expect them to also be social responsible. This is the hallmark of journalism and the goals of public affairs commentators, fairness and balance in dealing with all matters that affect public affairs and public officers, should be handled responsibily.

A mare statement without coresponding incontrovertible evidence to support any comment on public affairs  are part of the junck journalism we can do without. I therefore appeal to all my colleques in this business to respect the rights of individuals and ensure that what they ditch out  to the public are factual materials devoid of sentiments and personal idiosyncracies.

 HOW DIRTY IS POLITICS?

I was born in a very small viliage sorrounded by hilly terrain, which according to my grandfather, the location was strategically  selected by our ancesstors to provide fortress and to  shield  the community from attacks by rival commuities. 

Life was so serene, peaceful and communal, everybody knows one another, a bonded community. The bond was so strong that everyone was a brothers keeper. The elderly were seen as fathers to all, custodians of wisdom, they were reverred and respected. They exude power and authority. can discipline, direct courses of events with an un questionable authority.  Things remained that way until when some groups of people from the cities started coming to the villiages with drum beats, dishing out gifts and making promises they can transform the communities.

Slightly over half a century since they started coming the lives of my people have not changed. In fact what they succeeded in doing is destroying our communality by introducing individualism, hate and deceit.

The first change I notice that took place so early since they arrived was the breakage in the bond that kept the community together. The community no longer respect the supremacy of the elders, families now dont talk to each other as a unit of association, brothers are no longer eating together, quarrels between peoples increased,  

Community disputes are no longer settled through dialogue. By the day everything that made us diffrent as a people was destroyed.

But since I was so young I dare not ask questions, life went on as usual until one day I surmoned the courage to ask my school teacher in one of our civic class. why are things no longer the same  with us?

He responded  by saying its “POLITICS” as I was too young to grasp what it means the subject was dropped.

Several years after my teacher told me it was “POLITICS” I grew up with disdain for “politics and politicians”  I am not a student of politics but my training as a Journalist and Administrator later in life exposed me to know that politics is a noble profession and to some extent we aslo have good politicians. However the way politicians, practice politics makes it dirty and un appealing to people of good conscience. 

As I grow older and started developing interest in politics, I perceived so early that to be a good politician, you must be very good in deceit, a back bitter, a liar, an ingrate, a betrayer, abusive, arrogant, a cheat and disloyal. 

Humbled by my background I also found so early that these habits are not noble. In order to find answers to my delima.  I spoke and asked politicians and some few  good  and fine gentlemen who I believed  had  the qualities and capacity to provide good leadership to this country. 

The responses I got from them were very disturbing and worrying. Many of replied that no descent person would like to enter the political arena with level of vindictiveness, tardiness, and the lack of the undetstanding of the rule of the game by the actors in the political space. 

They argued that the mess and the rot in the system are so huge and better not contemplated. And this gave rise why most descent people are shying away from politics.

They reasoned that most of the actors in the field are, uncultured, job seekers, corrupt, inept, morally bankrupt, kleptomaniacs, haters, brutes, insensitive and unware of the  nobility of the profession. Their only stock in trade is to cajole, abuse and amass wealth.This is how good people perceive politics and politicians.

In my effort to encourage them change their mind set I appeal to them after our discussions that if good people like them would have nothing to do with politics, how can we correct the system. if we continue to allow the chalatants, the bad and the ugly in our society to lead us and continue to determine our fates. Their final reaction often after our conversations were  just a smile.

These smiles that kept poking my thoughts. I begin to ask myself were they thinking I am mad or something?

But the reality playing out in our real world by the political class and even from those occupying public offices seems to confirm why our political space is dirty. 

Until recently, Governor Ahmed el Rufai, some one who I hitherto  loved and believed in as one of the few Northern political elites that can make a diffrence because of his past performance as the Minister of FCT. 

His venom on the Honourable Minister Women Affairs, when she declared to support the former Vice Presidnet Atiku Abubakar, should he decide to contest the Presidential election come 2019.  As a democrat El Rufai should know that not everyone in the same party share the same ideology and believe in one person or leader. 

Amina was not wrong to feel the way she did, at least she was bold and frank,  unlike her other colleques who in the mist of the night attend all noctral meetings to strategise their next political move. It is a well known fact that APC is an amalgamation of various shades of opinions nurtured from various camps that make up the party. we have the Buhari’s, the Asiwoju’s, the Turaki’s and the Kwankwaso’s these cleavages still exit and operate amourphrously till today and they are not likely to fizzle out very soon. 

Another disturbing statement he made was the one against late President Yar’adua while addressing the APC stakeholders meeting at Murtala Mohammed Square, Kaduna. Governor Rufai warned that he was ready to confront whoever tests his will as the leader of the party in the state. That he is a dogged fighter. He added by saying “I had fought with two presidents. Umaru Yar’Adua ended in his grave, while President Goodluck Jonathan ended in Otueke.

 It is ok for the Governor to be a dogged fighter however his comments on the dead was what baffled me, as a muslims he ought to have known that this kind of statements will have consquencies as Islam frawns at speaking of the dead. where has the social,  cultural, religious and campus of the governor gone?

With these type of statements coming from him, it keeps poking my thoughts, is this the person whom I hitherto would have hero worshipped, looked up to as one of the most enterpring and promising leader that may one day lead us out of the woods?

My like for him wanned further when I read the comments of his bosses, particularly those from the former Vice President Atiku when el-Rufai accussed him of having a hand in the $40 million Halliburton scandal. This is person whom Atiku was instrumental in bringing into government and making him Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, and eventually a minister. 

In referrence to the same El Rufai President Obasanjo also said “A leader must know the character and ability of his subordinates. “”Character wise, Nasir has not much going for him” He continued by saying “My vivid recollection of him (el rufai) is his penchant for lying, for unfair embellishment of stories and his inability to sustain loyalty for long.  “he is a pathological purveyor of untruths and half-truths with little or no regard for integrity. “In all of this, he unwittingly does more harm than good to himself’.

The question to ask here is Ahmed el Rufai really  doing harm just to himself alone or to even to his generations that  are likely to take the leadership of this country in the future?

Let me no deviate soo much the import of my writting is not on Ahmed El Rufai, somebody who I still cherish and respect. He incidently became my model in the discourse because he has recently  been in news  for so many bad reasons and  I thought he ought to  have been circumspect. 

My respect for him must have wanned slightly but it is an undenial  fact that he is fine, gentle, competent and a good man,. Even those who have a pound of flesh to pick with him can not deny the fact that he has first class brain. 

This is what Atiku said about him “I read his book and it confirmed my impression of him as a man of first-class brain but arrogant, full of himself, immature and nauseating, trying to make up for his diminutive stature in what is called “the small man syndrome” 

Their boss Pres. Obasanjo also described him as  “a talented young man who can always deliver under close supervision”. 

What prompted me to write this article is the level of the breakdowm of our communal bondage moral upbringing and respect for the elders and constituted authorities. 

The north is known for its homeginity, our respect for culture, social up bringing and above all the supremacy our religion that binds us together. But with the introduction of Liberal Social democracy, the thread that keeps us together has broken down. We no longer respect our elders, our religions does not hold us together anymore, greed, individualism, nepotism and lack of respect for our elders and constituted authority keeps tearing us apart. 

Today we are people without leaders. we do not speak with one voice and in the face of the contradictions in our body polity, how can we hold together to face the seroous challenges. How can we as a people survive the on slaught and peacefully exist within the developing contradictions. 

We need to step back and take hard look at our current state of affairs and do the needful for our next generations.

WHERE DO YOU STAND

The unfolding events in our political space keeps preaking the relative peace, I am falsely begining to enjoy because of the low activity of Boko Harm in the North East Region, where I come from. My hope was once the security challenges are ebbed away, we shall begin to engage in rehabiltations and reconstructions. Little did I imagined that the agitations for resource control and the succession agenda spearded by an unknown quantity called Nnamdi Kanu would overheat the polity. The response by the Northern Youth calling the bluffs of Kanu, giving the Ibos ultimatum to leave the North raised the level of  my discomfort, considering the fact that if the situation is not carefully managed by our Elders and Politacal class, the gullible Nigerians will be loosers.

Continue reading “WHERE DO YOU STAND”

Governance – PENCOM 1

Recently in a lively discussions with my colleagues after attending pre-retirement training session organised by our employers to prepare us for life in retirement. one of our colleague could not hide his disdain why the trainers were asking us, what plan we have for life after retirement? I did not partake in the discussion. My take at that time was that haven attained the age of 60 years and spent 35 years of meritorious service and having been contributing to the National Pension Scheme. what else I do need to do.

Continue reading “Governance – PENCOM 1”