THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH ( 3)

I congratulate the 9th Senate for the speed and record time it confirmed the Ministerial nominees submitted by Mr President to assist him in governance. Though I disagree with the process and outcomes of the proceedings the Senate must be commended.

May I also congratulate the Ministers even though I am doing so reluctantly but for the few good men and women that are worthy of recognition and many that are reprehensible and not fit to occupy public office.

I never wanted to comment on the Ministerial list until when I saw the Senior Special Assistant to the President on assembly matters Sen. Eta Iyang on NTA News commending the Senate for expeditiously confirming the nominees. He added by saying that the nominees were subjected to vetting and cleared by the various security agencies.

I was amazed by his statement that all the Ministerial nominees passed through security vetting. If this is true what sort of security vetting they went through? Was the vetting limited to only confirming their names and tribes, the school’s they attended, the local governments, states or geopolitical zone they came from.

Was the vetting limited to questions about their gender males or females, their religion, Moslems, Christians or Atheists and above all if they were asked which political party they belong?

If these were the types of questions the security agencies grilled them on, then I can’t agree more that all of them could pass the vetting processes.

But if the vetting’s were done on character, competence, integrity, morality, capacity, incorruptibility and past performances. I am afraid many of them will not pass the scrutiny.

For the SSA to say they were all cleared something must be wrong somewhere, the Nigerian People must know where the failure was.

The Nigerian security agencies have men and women of competence and this is the truth. I have passed through this type of vetting during my carrier, I have seen them work and how they conduct themselves. They do their job with thoroughness, diligence and professionalism, they pry in all aspects of one’s life without exceptions when conducting such exercise.

My amazement is how can some of those characters on the Ministerial list be given clean bill of health. It is nonsensical to say they had all gone through the processes of vetting and none of them was disqualified.

I am worried because the whole world is looking at us. This is a globalised society, information can not be concealed and swept under the carpet like before everything is in the open. It will haunt us as nation among friends and foes.

After all our President is the tsar for the African Union on anti- corruption. He is respected and seen by some as the epitome of integrity. He stands tall among his equals we can not afford to gamble away all this good will for some intrinsic reasons.

Anti- corruption is the hallmark upon which this government was built and we do not expect less.

The President recently told Nigerians that during his first four years he worked with Ministers and People whom he did not know, but this time he will turn the table round. Nigerians believed him, but what played out during the Ministerial nominations does give the citizens the comfort the President had his ways.

You remember the controversy over the confirmation of the Chairman of the EFCC during life of the 8th Senate. The leadership argued they had security report from one of the security agency that forced them to with hold their accent. It caused a lot of hiccups between the executive and the assembly and to date the Chairman remains in acting capacity in spite of the good work he has been doing.

When shall as a people begin to act in civilised manner, recently the US labor Secretary Alex Acosta had to resign his appointment because he was accused of being lenient over 2008 plea deal he cut with Jeffrey Epstein the billionaire financier charged with operating sex trafficking ring involving 14 girls.

In the list of Minister submitted by the President there was the Minister and Attorney General of the Federation who withdrew a corruption case involving billions against a former governor yet he was cleared and confirmed for reappointment.

We have on the list governors who have mismanaged, bankrupted and indebted their states, some could not even pay salaries to their workers for months. We have among them “Distinguished”
Senators who have cases with EFCC. There were also some former Ministers who have shown incompetence, in the conduct of public affairs. In spite of all this they were all cleared to take another oath as members of the Federal Executive Council. For God sake why are we deceiving ourselves.

In a civilized society simple suspicion or allegations disqualifies a person from holding public office. People of integrity and good conscience on their own withdraw themselves from considerations for public office on a mare allegation in order clear names.

But here we are glorifying the bad and ugly with clean bill of health and rewarding their inadequacies with public offices they ought to be barred from.

The allegations against some of them are so weighty some are under investigation, some are before the courts. What kind of messages are sending to our children? What kind of society are we? What is really going on? What is really wrong with us? Are the security agencies compromised? Are they no longer advising to the “power that be” correctly? Have they chicken out because they are afraid of consequences?

Could these be some of the reasons our international friends and partners are telling us to first put our house in order before they could listen and do business with us? Your guess is as good as mine.

As I was writing this article the US President withdrew the name of his nominee a Republican congressman, Ratcliffe, for the post of Director National Intelligence because there was general out cry from the people over his competence and past records. This is type of things we want Mr President to do.

Remember Mr President you told the Nigeria People that you worked with Ministers and People you don’t know are those whom you submitted to the Senate a reflection of the people you know?

Mr. President you must listen to the people, avoid falling into the trap of what some of your advisers are telling you, posterity will judge you alone not your advisers.

It is not too late to right the disconnect. Mr President please take a hard look at names again and do the needful.
God save the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

NEED FOR CAUTION: Ruga or National Livestock Transformation Plan

In one of my article on this medium and my blog I wrote and cautioned that there would be no winner in the fight between the sedentary communities and pastoralist.

If we are still thinking in the past we better wake up. The Fulani man is no longer carrying just his Radio and Stick, the equation has changed.

Apart from the AK47 he is now carrying, he also has the economic power to purchase whatever he needs more than the sedentary farmer whose income dwindled over the years to less than dollar a day.

The Herdsmen also knows the terrain more than anyone of us. The former Governor General of Nigeria in his portrait of a Fulani gave an insight the Herdsmen are made up of.
As a people he said,
“They are ascetic, kind and generous, BUT Never fight a war (hot or cold) with the Fulani because they have:-
1. No rules of engagement (they just hit again and again)
2. No POW’s (they don’t take prisoners)
3. No mercy (once they pick you out as the enemy)
4. No fighting fatigue (they are forever fit and prepared, due to their lifestyle)
5. No need for adequate provisions and permanent abode (they live on very little and sleep in the wilderness)
6. No end to hostilities (they fight to finish)
7. No ignorance of terrain and location ( their lifestyle makes everyone of them a human GPS )
8. No deterrence due to casualties (they are strategically distributed all over West and Central Africa, and highly mobile)
9. No need for tranquillity (they have no permanent settlements which need peace to thrive).”
10. No fear of consequences.

I am not a Fulani man but in the 60+ years I have lived on this planet have seen and lived to know the dangers of engagements with a Fulani man.

In my contributions to public discourse I tried to avoid being on the side of tribe, religion, regionalism, politics or all those things that divides the society. I hate and stand against all types of injustice, doubles standard and other vices that pull us down as a people

In this century at this time I am disappointed by some of the comments going round accredited our leaders and people of good conscience on the establishment of Ruga Plan.

I am particularly disappointed because issues that demand caution and retrospect are trivialised and politicised for personal gain and self actualization.

This conflict had been with us for generations. It has been in the front burner of our national conversations for ages, all that one needs to know about the conflict are there on the shelves in our Universities, Research centres, Government Vaults and Libraries across the country. The problem is we just don’t read.

Here we are the same people who lived for hundreds of years together sharing the same geographical space, culture, religion, identity and ancestral background speaking in discordant voices in our attempt to settle a national issue that we ought to collectively come together and solve.

Several lives and properties over the years have been lost due pastoralist and sedentary communities conflict on land, a resource that each and every one of us has a stake. The fact that some of us are sedentary while others are pastoralist does give any one of us special privilege on the natural resource we all have a right to own.

While conducting my research for this article I came across a piece written by Albert Oladapo Ogunwusi, a former editor of Nigerian Tribune now a lawyer based in the UK that gave an in sight on land ownership in the country. It also exposes the double standard of our leaders. The author started by giving an in sight how the land use Act came into being and how it was entrenched in the Nigerian constitution. In the narratives he explained that the whole issue began at the UN World Habitat Forum that held in Vancouver, Canada in 1976.

According to him the principal outcome of the conference was a resolve that governments should as much as possible provide land for citizens to build homes.

Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo then Head of state and his deputy, Brigadier Shehu Yaradua decided to implement that decision by seizing land from its traditional owners and vesting it in the state.

They approached the Nigerian Institute for Social and Economic Research, NISER, to give them a formula for seizing private property. NISER in its report advised against it.

The government rejected the advise of NISER went ahead and set up a seven-man panel to formulate a land policy to actualise the out come of the conference. Six of the members of the panel advised against it. Obasanjo invited the remaining member to write a minority report which later became the Land Use Decree that was later entrenched in subsequent constitutions as the Land Use Act.

Thereof the land administration was vested in the state governors. The citizen owner became a mere occupant holding a lease signed by the governor allowing his occupancy for a tenure of years.

The Fulani Man are traditionally itinerant herdsmen who rear cows all year round from the Gambia to the Cameroons. They have no attachment to land.

He explained that when Usman Dan Fodio lead his Jihad in 1804 and had established Fulani reign in several Hausa and non-Hausa states north of the Niger, it was easy to impose a land tenure system similar to what we have in the Land Use Act. It was easy to implement in the North because land matter was vested in the community.

The situation was a different story in the South. In the South West, land was vested in private ownership through purchase, war, settlement etcetera.
In many Yoruba families, the father is buried within a few meters of the son. Ownership devolved through the generations as private property. The major traditional occupations were land based farming, hunting and war.

In the East it is even worse. Land is a prized possession and a major mark of progeny.

In the South-south, it is pure gold. The Atlantic shelf is in constant competition for the little land available-12,000 square kilometres of the region is mangrove, useful only for fishing.

The attitude to land is justifiably different in various parts of the country.

Every one knows the life of the Fulani man revolves around his cattle. He moves around the country seeking for pastures depending on the times of the year. He does not care to own a land.

The climate change in last decade has affected most of the regions of the world and this has some significant consequences in our global life pattern.

The Fulani whose life revolves around his cattle, is in a constant move locating greener pastures and arguably the most affected by the climate change.

For those of them that are within the shores of Nigeria, the shrinking of the Lake Chad, the seasonal drying of rivers and other sources of water, the growing threat of desertification in the Sahel Savannah, and the activities of the Boko Haram in the North East Region has forced the herdsmen to look for better grazing area in the inter land, where the vagaries of the climate change is lesser.

The south with it’s vociferous press chose to ignore the real issues causing the discomfort but rather amplified the threat to land grab by the Fulani whose son is today the President of Nigeria.

Their fears were emboldened by some northern minorities who for decades jump on to anything that could cause confusion in their pursuit for personal clan demands. They claim that by creating the Ruga settlements in some parts of the country is an attempt to ‘Fulanise’ the country.

Asake, a leader of the Middle Belt Forum in support of this assertion in an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday said, “the term ‘Ruga’ was a Fulani word and it was thus hypocritical of anyone to say when it is implemented across the nation, it would not be exclusive to Fulani.

He also alluded to fact that in 1987, the then government of Kaduna State approved Ruga settlements in the old Kachia Local Government Area which now comprises Zangon Kataf, Chikun, Kajuru, and Kachia Local Government Areas. the Fulani began to expand these settlements and today, some of them are being converted to Emirates. His argument is similar to those who are constructing the thesis of ‘Fulanization’ of Nigeria and ‘Islamization’ of West Africa,

The second group argue by creating the ruga it is an attempt of grabbing other people’s land to create fiefdoms that will come to consume their community.

The third group are those who believe this matter should be handled with caution because it has potential to implored. Professor Ango Abdullahi, the leader of the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF). In response to a question during an interview, with MOSES ALAO, when asked on the threat by “a group known as the Coalition of Northern Groups, issued a threat to the Federal Government to see to the implementation of the policy, while leading ethnic associations like the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere and others replied with counter-threats.

He summarised by saying the issue is a very simple matter, “but if Nigerians decide that they will politicise it the way they have politicised it now, so be it”.
“It is politics; there is nothing except politics in the whole issue. The government is indecisive because of politics and people are playing politics with the issue. If this is the way they will go about playing with the issue, so be it”, Look, “I have told you that the herdsmen have been living side by side with farmers for over three to four hundred years before the British came here. Why is it now and not before that we are having this level of crisis? This thing has been going on. But people have politicised it and if they have decided that is the way it will be, so let it be.

The other side of the debate is the way government is handling the issue. The government is talking from both sides of it’s mouth. The National Economic Council NEC headed by the Vice President is saying that the Ruga Programme is not consistent with “the National Livestock Transformation Plan.” It is on this premise the President suspended the whole program.

Taking a closer at the two programmes they seem to be one and the same thing only that the other is claiming participation in the NLTP is voluntary. The intended targets are the same and processes are not significantly different

The most puzzling about all this, why is government not following the process of policy formulation. The core matter under consideration fell within the preview of the Federal Ministry Agriculture, it ought to therefore drive the policy in conjunction with the National Council on Agriculture, where all states commissioners of Agriculture are members. Such policies must always start from the bottom and move up the ladder.

The matter should have first started at Ministerial level from where the Minister seeks for a Federal Executive Council approval before other layers of higher decision making processes such the National Council of State and National Economic Council could be involved.

Ordinarily Since the policy seems to be contentious, the President would have consulted widely and thereafter refer the matter to the National Economic Council and National Council of State for buying in and possible advice. It is evident the process have not been followed that was why the President had to intervene in the manner he did.

When I set out writing this article the Obasanjo letter has not came to the public domain. The letter succeeded in telling us that due process and broader consultations is a necessary aspect of governance, once pushed to the back burner for whatever reason government is likely to falter resulting in a serious policy disconnect with the yearnings of the people, that is why we are where we are today.

Nigeria recently invited the President of the Republic of Rwanda Paul Kigali to teach us about how we can fight corruption. What actually we should have asked him do is to talk to us about how his country overcome the issues of tribalism that resulted in one of the worst genocide on the Africa continent that claimed over one million lives.

Rwanda has since closed that dark chapter in their national history. They have moved on and have become the envy of all.

Nigeria has passed through a civil war that claimed almost the lives of the same number of people. We have survived it. We must not allow issues that we can easily handle push the country to the precipice again.

This country belongs to all of us, the choices to remain one people, one indivisible country is in our hands. Elections have come and gone, we must not before the next circle destroy what we have built over the years. We must learn to be magnanimous in victory and promote inclusiveness in governance.

The world is full of such examples, we have seen what happened in the former Yugoslavia, Dafur, Rwanda and what is currently going on in Somalia.

Caution and broader consultations not blame game is what is required. We must learn from other people’s mistakes.

We must tread on the path of caution and wisdom, in order to deal with the explosive situations hanging on us as a nation. May reason to prevail.

KILL THE MESSAGE NOT THE MESSENGER

When every conversation is seen to be toxic and offensive simply because the truth is being told. When the free press is muzzled because it gives the opposition the window to speak; when the apparatus of cohesion of the state descend on the high and low who speaks the truth simply because the truth is what the “power that be” does not want to hear or know; when every counter view or opinion is seen as a direct assault on those in power it must, therefore, be killed; These are the absurdities of our time.

Democratic governments are seen to be the best form of government majorly because it was built on the concept that people are the sovereign.

The contemporary interpretation of democracy from the political point of view posits that it is a system of government in which a country’s political leaders are chosen by the people in regular, free and fair elections.

The people have a choice between different candidates and parties who want the power to govern. The people can criticize and replace their elected leaders and representatives if they do not perform well.

The people are sovereign, they are the highest authority and government is based on the will of the people. Elected representatives at the national and local levels must listen to the people and be responsive to their needs. That is why democracy depends upon a literate, knowledgeable citizenry whose access to information enables it to participate as fully as possible in the public life of their society and to criticize unwise or tyrannical government officials or policies.

Citizens and their elected representatives must recognize that democracy depends upon the widest possible access to uncensored ideas, data, and opinions.

All people should have the right to form their own opinions and express them individually or in peaceful assemblies.
Free societies create a “marketplace of ideas” where people exchange their views on any number of issues. Once this is trampled upon the system becomes autocratic and tyrannical.

The fear of concentrating power in a particular individual or arm of government has the potency of tilting that government towards dictatorship.

Whenever a government felt it can longer be responsive to its crying citizen and thinks that only it has the panacea or solution to all issues then we must kiss democratic processes goodbye.

This government “won its election” on the premise that it would move this country to the “Next Level” in doing so we advise, it must allow the opposition to exist. It must be prepared to listen to counter views even if they are not tandem with its views.

Any society that does not give room for counter views and opinions is not likely to progress.

One of the major difference between democracy and other forms of governments is its the ability to condone free flow of information, free access, free and fair elections at certain intervals, listen to and give room for counter views.

To strangulate the system and the citizenry to adopt a culture of silence will be a mockery of the next level of progress the government is promising us.

We do not need to Kill the messenger simply because you do not like the message. No government strives better without the opposition. They must be allowed to exist. It is what makes democracy tick.

If people are gored to keep quiet out of fear of reprisals by the state the society would be the loser. Criticism is part of governance it must be allowed to flourish. This country belongs to all of us we have a stake in the way its govern.

The government is free to ignore the message but it must not kill the messenger, it may need him to legitimize the next round of elections.

DEMOSTRATIONS OF SHAME- WORRY NOT ABBA KYARI

When I first came in contact with Abba Kyari before he was appointed the chief of staff to the President my initial impression about him was a mixed feeling.
His unassuming posture endeared him in my mind while the state of his feeble physical appearance gave me the discomfort he may not stand the rigour of the office.

Like always when I am faced with some complex situations I try to engage and compare notes with my mentor, as I find him to be very objective not judgemental. He gives his honest assessment of issues even if it does not effect him.

He shrugged and smiled at my comment but later turned to me and said give Abba some time he is capable, of conquering and dominating his environment. He added by saying the guy is brilliant, hardworking and sneaky. I was relieved because that is the quality of the person you require for the job.

I usually don’t doubt his assessment on an issues. I hold on to whatever he tells me seriously. My mentor is never flippant, brutally frank and honest that is why many people are not at home with him.

With this information, I tried to know more about Abba Kyari. I googled the internet to know his antecedents. I was shocked with what I saw. From then onwards I started under studying the gentleman.

Sorry, l did not tell you at that time, I was working under the office of the Vice President office as a Director, Abba has just been appointed the chief of staff to the President. In no time he took control and proved my mentor right, since then he keeps surprising in respective of what people say or write about him. His major sin is, he likes his people, who wouldn’t?

The office of the Chief of Staff is central to the Presidency. It is the clearing house for all communications in and out of the Villa. It is the last bus stop for anyone who would like to engage with the President.

The appointments and schedules of the President are handled by the office. The holder of that office, must to some extent know the President well for him to function effectively. That is why appointment to the office is personal to the President. It does not go through Parliamentary or Party considerations. We know it is appointments season but let us not destroy someone for self aggrandisement.

I was amazed when I saw on television that some group who call themselves Concerned APC National Stakeholders (CANS), were demonstrating calling on President Muhammad Buhari to sack the chief of staff.

The reason the group gave for the removal of the Abba, he is part of the cabal.
The President through his Presidential aide, Garba Shehu, came and said “the demonstration will change nothing as Buhari alone will decide who he will work with and who he will sack. The demonstrators must know this and put it in their thick sculls and save the us from their rantings.

That is what expected to come from the Presidency. Why are this group calling for the removal of Abba? I am sure they don’t understand the role of Abba in the system.

The office of the chief of staff is strategic. It processes and plans the calendar of the President.
It analyse all issues that requires the consideration of the President. It does so by consulting and subjecting matters requiring consideration through extant rules and due process to aid the President take informed decision.

His main duty is advisory based on facts devoid partisanship. The President always takes the final decision.

In all Presidency be it in Nigeria or anywhere, we have what we call the “President’s Men”. Under this group are layers of personal advisers depending on their interactions with the President. You always hear nomenclatures such as the kitchen cabinet members, the cabal etc.

The President, also have other non visible advisers, the public does not know of, who are central in the process of decision making.

Unfortunately, Abba does not belong to those group. He is the face of the President, that is why he gets the bashing and called all sorts of names.

Remove Abba today, the next person who comes on board will suffer similar accusations. The crime of Abba, he is just doing his job, doing the things the President wants him to do.

Remember during Jonathan era, when similar interest groups and the mass media, were shouting, demanding for the removal of the then Chief of Staff Mr. Aiyegbeni Oghiadome, calling him all sorts of names.

The former President succumbed to the pressure. No sooner he was removed, the phantom accusations went with the winds because they were bunches of lies, fabricated just to get him out.

Remember Yar Adua, inherited his Chief of Staff from Gen.Obasanjo, Gen. Abdullahi Mohammed. When he was removed the office was closed. Tanimu took over as the Principal Private Secretary, to the President doing the same job of the Chief of Staff. I don’t have to you remind how he was treated.

I am glad the President responded so quickly by nipping the bud so early, it would have distracted him from choosing a good cabinet and attending to other state matters confronting him.

Worry not Abba, those behind the demonstration would soon be uncovered and exposed for who they are, continue with your good work. Good luck.

CRY NOT YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS

There are some life experiences that stick in the mind, not because they can not be forgotten, but because of the enduring impact they make in ones adult life.

While growing in my little village, a small community where everyone knows one another. We were taught to fear, respect and speak the truth to people in authority.

The first group are the Emirs, the village heads, community leaders and Imams. They were feared, revered and respected. Their words represent the collective wisdom of the community. They were known to be hard talking, brutally frank and not selfish.

These group of leaders double as the Imams and Judges. They settle community disputes and say it like it is. You don’t involve them in matters of public interest and expect them to be frivolous. We grew up looking up to them for guidance and wisdom that is why they are respected and revered.

Secondly, early in my career in the Civil Service I was taught about Processes, Rules and Regulations by our seniors. They mentors us in order to bring the best out us to be a good public officer. They represent everything but dishonesty. They were feared because they were incorruptible and fearless. This gave them leverage not to be afraid to speak the truth once Rules and Regulations are not followed.

I remember the likes of Gujubawu, Sabo Potiskum, Adamu Fika, Mohammed Umar the Joda’s and many more who could stand up to those in higher authority and tell them the truth once Procedures, Rules and Regulations in the conduct of public affairs were broken or on its way to be floated.

They were Ministers, Secretary to the Governments, Head of Service, Permanent Secretaries, Commissioners, Chairmen of Boards of Parastatals of those days. How many of their types are there in the system today? This is the background from where I am coming.

Today the society has become morally decadent, dishonest and corrupt, both in conduct and actions. The fear of speaking the truth has eroded our morale campus. It has reached the level of anomie. It has become our draw back as a society and a nation.

if you speak the truth you are labelled as uncounched, undiplomatic or disrespectful, impatient, young or too much in a hurry, enemy of the state number one, you must be dealt with, this is the fallacy of our time.

Counters views and opinions are not welcomed. No serious person now offer advice on some observed disconnect going on in the society. Men of integrity no longer want to occupy public office or partake in politics. The whole system is now only good for the bad, ugly, boot leakers, kleptomaniacs and praise singers.

His Royal Highness Sunusi Lamido Sunusi II became a victim of this social and political milieu, He is among the few remaining standing, who have refused to be cajoled and gagged in to adopting the culture of silence “sit down and look”.

Might be he does not understand this, but with his level of exposure, sophistication, and education, I doubt it if my assumption could be true. He is just one person who likes telling the truth by calling a spade a spade.

HRH does not just give talk for the sake of just talking. He is an accomplished person, who excelled in his chosen career. He was the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. He is current Emir of Kano, all these roles carry with them the responsibilities to speak the truth and intelligently.

He knows why people invite him to give talks and what they expect to hear from him at seminars and during occasions. They do so because they want to hear the truth and the truth is what they would get from him.

I have never met HRH in real life, but I try to read his mind. Why would he in spite all his life experiences, from his questionable removable as CBN governor, the first attempt by Ganduje and his cohorts to remove him from office, the historical deposition of his grandfather as the emir Kano, still continue to speak the truth and confront the power that is, knowing fully well truth is what they don’t want to hear.

HRH also knows his ascension to the exalted throne of the Emir of Kano, seems distant and “an uphill task”, if one knows the history of Kano and yet God made it easy for him.

As someone who is religiously grounded in Islamic knowledge and Sharia. An intellectual who has transverse the globe giving talks, he can not afford to be frivolous while presenting papers to his audience. People look up to him for quality presentation. His background doesn’t give him the excuse of presenting watery paper, just because he is afraid of annoying the “powers that be”

Ganduje who is a wounded lion, caught on tape collecting bribe doesn’t have the moral capacity to stand up to HRH’s influence in Kano if not for the opportunity of political authority.

A thief who was caught on tape collecting kick backs has no moral justification to do what he is doing. In a civilized society would have been in the gulag continuing with his sleep disorder, but for the lacuna in the constitution that gave immunity of arrest to the holders of the Executive branch.

What is then the grouse of Ganduje against HRH? The answer to these are multi dimensional. The first being the scathing judgement HRH passed on the $1.8 billion loan package for the laying of light rail in Kano, Ganduje, was trying to secure from China EXIM Bank. Only God knows how many more Dollars he would added to his kitty in the light of his in satiable greed for the green bucks.

HRH in a speech at the Kaduna investment summit tongue-lashed the idea behind the reason for the loan. He said, “At the end of the day, what do you benefit from it? (Meaning the loan) when your citizen will ride on a train and when you ride on a train, in northern Nigeria, in a state like Kano or Katsina, where are you going to? You are not going to an industrial estate to work. You are not going to school? You are not going to the farm. You borrow money from China to invest in trains so that your citizens can ride on them and go for weddings and naming ceremonies,”

Ganduje did not forgive HRH for truncating the mega proceeds accruing from the rail project. To take his pounds of flesh,he ordered the Kano Public Complaints Anticorruption Commission to go after the emirate council’s finances, it was clear to all, that the governor had risen to axe Mr Sanusi.

While the probe was on, the government ordered its halt citing intervention by prominent Nigerians and reconciliation between the governor and the emir.
Secondly, HRH was said to have passed some harsh verdict on Mr Buhari’s economic policies as it relates to foreign exchange, alleging at one point that the government was breeding corruption.

Thirdly, what broke the camels back was what HRH, said in the build-up to the 2019 polls, in what many interpreted as an indirect de-campaigning of Mr Buhari, the emir charged electorates to go after competent candidates, arguing that those who have only integrity as their selling point should not be trusted with public office.

The assumption is that if leader runs on integrity alone, that integrity only benefits the leader and serves only him alone. But if you chose a leader with capacity he would able to deliver. And the benefit permeates throughout the society.

Ganduje who was enmeshed in his own corruption saga, and preparing for his second term bid saw a window to hit at HRH in order to increase his chances and divert attention from the petition before the tribunal bordering on issues arising from the 2019 gubernatorial election in Kano.

He also used the opportunity to rebuild his lost image with the Presidency, by showing as if he is fighting the fight for the President “brilliant” you would say!

To understand the context of what is going on in Kano, one needs to ask the What, Who, When, Where, Why and How. Before accusing HRH of choosing the wrong channel to speak.

The what and who in the matter are so clear, we therefore do not have to labour ourselves trying to explain.

The when and the where refers to the time and place the statements were made.

In the case of the Chinese Loan, HRH made those observation at the Kaduna investment summit. From the theme of the summit what HRH said was in tandem with goals and objective of the summit.

The second statement occurred in the build-up to the 2019 polls, when Mr Sanusi addressed a sermon in what many interpreted as an indirect de-campaigning of Mr Buhari and Ganduje, the emir charged electorates to go after competent candidates, arguing that those who have only integrity as their selling point should not be trusted with public office.

Every Muslim knows speaking from the pulpit on Friday is a practice of the Messenger of Allah swt when he decides to address his people on issues of concern to society.

Here again what HRH did was in tandem with sunnah of the prophet (SA). This tradition is still kept by the Imams and they speak fearlessly.

The next issue is the why and how? HRH, an astute administrator and a leader knows when and how to speak to his community for effective empathy.

The How is the method and the vehicle to pass on those messages.

Human communication over time has undergone great transformation, from the gong, the bush fire, drawings on stones, the advent of paper, radio, television, internet and social media.

The old method of communication from “one to many” is know being challenged by from “one to one”. Nothing under the Sun can now be hidden like before. That is why governments all over world are trying to whittle the power of the social media.

To assume that HRH was wrong in speaking to the “power that be” by using a wrong channels is just like deliberately refusing to accept the realities of our times. This is given the fact that governments now does not listen to honest advice. They treat those who give them with suspicions, and disdain, even if those advices were given in secret.

Leakages and deliberate manipulations of such advices has forced many including the whistle blowers, shying away from engaging with authorities.

Those faulting HRH for speaking at seminars, on the pulpit during Friday sermons are just doing so out of mischief. They are boot leakers, the praise singers the job seekers, the bad and the ugly, this society can do without.

This country does not need the Paul Kigame, the Ruwandan President, to tell us the truth. We have men and women of good conscience who have been doing that, but were not appreciated.

What Kigame said at the Democracy Day lecture was not different from what the Sunusi, El Rufai, Soyinka, Obasanjo, Naja’atu, Danjumma were telling us.

How many of them could have said what Kigame told us, without being accused of one thing or the other. They would have been called with some un printable names, branded as anti establishment. The whole matter would have been reduced to partisanship, religion, the north vs the south, and yet the cream of the society, that were there applauded the scathing rebuke we were subjected to.

When I wrote in my previous article “the culture of silence” many felt it was a joke. The truth is gradually emerging.

They can succeed in removing HRH from office and whittle his influence by breaking the Emirate into pieces. They can also force us to look the other way. But what they can not succeed in doing is to break the resolve of his HRH from speaking the truth.

It may be Sunusi today, tomorrow it could be the Caliphate, the Elkanemi, the Zazzau, the Lamido, the Nupe, the Tor Tivs, these are remaining institutions that represent the Northern Hegemony.
We must not allow “them” to destroy our remaining cultural legacies as a people.

I call on all northern leaders, people of good conscience, and our friends in other part of the country who can prevail on Ganduje to talk him out of this diabolical, madness and game plan that serves no one. It would only end in dividing rather then uniting us.

We must not simply keep quite because we are not involved or afraid of losing our positions.

I am not against the rule of law, but where things are done to settle personal scores, people of good conscience must act to subvert impunity.

More especially, when the person in the vanguard for the enforcement of the rule of law has his hand soiled in the muddy waters.

To Ganduje I want him ponder on this. You may succeed in removing Sunusi from office but you can not change his history.

Look around you, kwankwaso, whom you rode on his back to become what you are today, spent eight years in the same office as governor you are arrogantly holding to. You were there as his deputy remember?

Today he is no body compared to you only because of the advantage of instrumentality of power, which gives you access.

Four years is not a long period in human life, it will come to pass. And you will discover you are nobody. The money you stole can not buy you respect.

You can never be Sunusi even if you depose him as the Emir. You can not remove the royal blue blood in him. He will always be referred to as a prince, even if depose him as Emir. Don’t forget you are a no body and will remain so.

The power you are holding to is transient, the moment it eludes you, when you turn round there will be no body behind you, those that are misleading you, will speedily desert you as they came. A word is enough for the wise.

To HRH we urge you to continue speaking the truth, continue believing in Allah swt. if what the conspiracy theorist are planning is your destiny no one in this world can stop or change it for you. You know this perhaps better than I do? Let me end this discourse by borrowing from the American slang “ what is going to be is going to be”

In God we trust, “cry not Your Royal Highness.

THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH (2)

Since I wrote the inconvenient truth (1). I have been contemplating whether to proceed with second part of the write up. I have been juggling the idea in my thought processes until when Governor Ganduje, suddenly decided to vulcanise the Kano Emirate council into five.

Ordinarily, the creation of additional emirates shouldn’t be a problem but for the diabolical motives behind the actions of the governor aimed at whittling the influence of His Royal Highness Sanusi Lamido Sunusi II

Ganduje, has since denied the insinuations that he was being vindictive, the lame reasons he gave for his action is far from the truth.
The crime of HRH SLS ll is he spoke the truth and truth is what the politicians don’t want to hear.

But before we look in to the merits or demerits of the Ganduje’s action, let us go back to the prepositions in our initial article “ The inconvenient truth (1)”.
We had in that article shown how the creation of states have failed to solve the problems of minorities.

The people who once shared cultural linkages, speak the same language and have lived together harmoniously for centuries were arbitrary dichotomised by the fiat of a Military decree.

The hegemony that existed was broken, the hither to peacefully loving people became arch enemies. The domination of the majority tribe continued while the misery of the minorities were exacerbated each time additional states were created. The whole process became “ Spencer’s World”. A good intention producing a bad result.

To say that we are not better off under the Regional Government is an understatement. The more the merrier.

History has shown how the Military realised so early the mistakes they committed in the creation of states. General Gowon, in his defence of state creation said, “ the political situation at that time was very difficult. “There was fears of the country breaking up, fears of domination by the majority”.

The creation of 12 States by the Gowon administration was the most genuine effort to address the issues arising from civil war. Subsequent attempts by other Military Juntas were purely political and self serving.

General Babangida was the Military leader who created the Six (6) geopolitical zones for whatever reasons he did this, is still un explained, as he to was an actor in the state creation. Hopefully one day he will give the reason in his memoire.

We have also learnt from good authority that former Nigerian Vice President, Late Dr Alex Ekweme constructed and nurtured the idea for the restructuring of Nigeria in to six geopolitical zone.

In an interview he granted to staff of the Saturday Vanguard, Onochie Anibeze, Emmanuel Aziken and Emeka Mamah in 2016 on the occasion of Nigeria’s Independence anniversary just before his 84th birthday, he gave an insight into the processes that led to the clamour for restructuring and how it came about.

They asked him whether the six geopolitical zones was his idea alone?
He said, the only person who contributed to the idea was his friend, Bisi Onabanjo. According to report the duo discussed the subject matter when they were in prison.

The 2005 Constitutional Conference, provided for him the opportunity to get official rubber stamp for the idea. Even though his effort to convince the conference to adopted the six geopolitical zones failed. He however succeeded in getting the support of the then Military Head of state late General Sani Abacha.

A development that for the first time divided the One North philosophy which the Southern intellectual and politicians thought would break the hegemony of the feudal Northern champions and the hold the North has over the polity.

Before then, political transactions in the country had been conducted on the basis of North, South, East, and West in which the North prevailed over the polity on account of its numerical supremacy.

The rationale that the six geopolitical zones would resolve the problems of the minority, was not the intrinsic reason for the call for restructuring. The unspoken reason for doing this was to whittle the numerical advantage the North has over the other regions.

The diabolical under belly of the movers agitating for the creation six geopolitical zones was exposed, when the hidden agenda of the group aimed at creating a regional parity between the regions became manifest.

The persuasive reasoning the advocates put forward to convince their audience was not different from that of the military when the states were created.

They expounded the theory that within each region, there are majority and minority group.

In the West, the Yoruba were the majority group, and the minority group were grouped together in what became the Midwest.

In the East, the Igbo were the majority and the minority group called themselves the COR State – Calabar, Ogoja, Rivers.

In the North, Hausa Fulani were the majority group and the minority were mostly the Middle Belt and to some extent, the Kanuri.

So, you had a struggle within each region between the majority and the minority. To cure these problems, they opined there must be parity of regions, that is between the Old North and the Old South. It was on this assumption the geopolitical zones were conceived and manifested.

The North was divided into Northwest, Northeast and North-Central and the South was divided into Southeast, Southwest, and South-South.

The protagonist for the six geopolitical zones further argued that by having six zones you would have three majority regions as well as three minority regions comprising of the following, majority regions being the Northwest, mostly Hausa-Fulani. Southwest, mostly Yoruba and the Southeast , mostly Igbo.

The minority regions being Northeast where you have the Kanuri with a number of ethnic groups in Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa and Taraba; and in the North Central you have Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kogi, Kwara, Niger; and in the South you have the minorities in the former Midwestern Region and the minority of the Southeast region who together formed the South-South.

To them therefore instead of three regions, you now have six regions; three majority, three minority; three in the North, three in the South.

The arithmetic representation advanced by the proponent of the six geopolitical zones as a panacea for addressing issues of minority in Nigeria was over simplified by the group.

The whole concept was deceptive, it lacks deep thought and broader understanding of the historical issues the state creation has generated among the minority tribes they are trying to protect.

Nigeria is a country populated by over 250 linguistic groups, to dichotomise the country in to three majority and three minority regions and to assume it will solve the problems of the minorities is laughable and nonsensical.

The real reasons behind the restructuring is the appreciation of the fact that numbers in democracy determine who gets what.

The movers of the geopolitical zones have identified the numerical strength of the North, is not in their best political interest. When it comes to issues of political leadership and how politics could be played in Nigeria.

The fear that if the old status quo is maintained the North will always come together and dominate the polity. This became a matter of concern to the likes of late Ekweme and his cohorts.

They know the North with its numerical strength in a representative democracy will continue to provide leadership and must have a say in how the country can be governed. They tried succession which failed, and for them to deal with the Northern hegemony they have to find a way to whittle the Northern grip on power.

The narratives that arose from the creation of states have shown how communities that were hither to living together peacefully, can through some political manipulations be put against each other and become irreconcilable enemies.

They also realised how religion and tribal differences between the people in the North can be manipulated to disfranchise the community to their advantage.

Take for example the North Eastl Region, where I come from, since vulcanisation of the North Eastern state, the states that were created out of the region no longer share anything in common.

The acrimonious relationship that developed after the creation of Borno, Bauchi, Adamawa and later with the addition of Taraba, Yobe and Gombe is still with us to date. The enmity is phenomenal that we behave as if we never lived together as a people who shared common linkages, culture and religion.

Today there is no single entity that is jointly owned by the former North Eastern States as a legacy. This is the state those who wanted to destroy our hegemony wished us to be.

Of the six geopolitical groupings. only the South West can come out of arrangements with a greater advantage by emerging monolithic. And perhaps this is reason the Ekweame group and the south western agitators for restructuring have for first have found common ground on which they can do business together.

The South Western intellectual knew fully well if the six geopolitical structure is smuggled into the constitution they stand to gain more because their zone having one dominant linguistic group will emerge more stronger. They would have the advantage of having a blog vote in the contrived arrangement a situation they are denying the North.

The Ekweme, South East having lost the major chunk of the revenue accruing from oil, realised the numerical strength of the Ibos does not translate to any advantage as no Ibo state produces oil. That is why the Kanu group are calling for the re -Biafarization of the Region or out right secession.

The other card being played is religion. By extracting the North Central from the core North. The assumptions were that religion and tribalism will play a significant role in whittling the unity of the North. The intention was to create divisions as result of which it can exploited by South East and the South West when it comes to who becomes the leader of the country.

This game plan played out in the 2019 Presidential election and it became a welcome litmus test for the geopolitical purveyors.

I recall when the former Governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwakwaso, in Benin when he addressed PDP delegates and members during his nationwide tour, he asked the delegates to pick “its presidential candidate from the North West”. He said the North West must produce the next President of Nigeria because they have the highest number of registered voters.

The result of the 2019 Presidential election supported this argument. The think tank of President Buhari campaign team, were aware of the betrayal of the Yoruba group in the 2015 Presidential election where former President Good luck Jonathan went head to head interns of votes received from the south west in spite of the merger of the ACN and the APC .

This time around the handlers of the Buhari campaign did not rely so much on the south west to provide them with required number of votes to counter the South East who are likely blog voting the opposition party.

Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara Kebbi and Kaduna voted massively for the President in spite of the decimal performance of the President in his home zone.

The assumption that kidnapping and killings in the zone would affect the President chances did not happen.
The game plan worked out as the South West maintained their voting pattern.

The degrading of the activities of the Boko Harm in the North East also helped the President in spite of the fact that the opposition flag bearer came from the zone. I don’t intend to comment on other intervening variables for the Presidents high votes in the North East and North West because the subject matter is under ligation.

With the benefit of hindsight, where does this place the people coming from the minority zones of the North East and North Central?

The same permutations also applies to the other Southern clustered minority zones under the six geopolitical arrangement? (To be continued in “ The Inconvenient Truth 3).

ABUJA A CITY CRYING FOR HELP

It takes just a quick glance, maybe three seconds, for someone to evaluate you when you meet for the first time. In this short time, the other person forms an opinion about you based on your appearance, your body language, your demeanour, your mannerisms, and how you are dressed,

With every new encounter, you are evaluated and yet another person’s impression of you is formed. These first impressions can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo, and they often set the tone for the relationship that follows

Just like in the case of human impression nations state also create impression in the minds of their first time visitor, through their national icons that give one the idea whether things are working in a country.

Life is all about the first impression you create for your self or the entity that represent you.

The first impression begins with what a visitor sees on arrival at the gateways of a country. It tells you about how organized or unorganized a country is. It creates a permanent impression that determines your future relationships.

The welcome you receive at the airports, the working infrastructures that facilitate seamless transfer of luggage, and ease of locating utilities, contributes to impression forming by a first time visitor to a country.

A Capital City is the municipality exercising primary status in a country, state, province, or other administrative region, usually as its seat of government.

A capital is typically a city that physically encompasses the government’s offices and meeting places; the status as capital is often designated by its law or constitution.

Capital cities also serve as the prime economic, population, cultural, or intellectual centres of a nation. The totality of all these helps in how one forms an impression about a country.

Abuja is Africa’s first planned city designed by International Planning Associates, a consortium of three American firms. The city was initially designed to accommodate 3.5 million people. But it now accommodates more than six million residents.

The initial master plan of the city was distorted. The once bourgeoning capital is now crying asking what really went wrong?

The once pothole less beautiful roads that transcends the various districts are now ghost of themselves.

The gardens that were once used for recreational activities and places of reflections for residents, when they are tired with the confines of their homes has given way to beer parlours, fish, amala and pepper soup joints.

On weekends when residents needed the parks most to relax, and take in some fresh air, the parks are converted into prayer grounds for the rich who could afford to pay the rents.

The drainages on the main roads that facilitates transfer of water to the main canals have all there safety covers removed. The gapping hole now constitute a serious hazards to the pedestrians walking on the streets. God knows how many resident and visitors to the city who have suffered broken limbs as a result of this avoidable hazards.

In spite of all this we still commend the efforts of the Honourable Minister FCT, for trying to complete most of the abandon road projects under the master plan.

One other disturbing phenomenon that is becoming a source concern to the residents are the filling of heaps of refuse and over grown weeds that deface and pollute the serene air of the capital city is becoming worrisome.

The Minister must also take personal interest in the manner the contractors handling the road markings in the city.
Apart from the substandard paints the contractors are using for the road markings which last for few days, the jobs are being badly executed.
The Minister must know the road markings, Instead of making life a little more easier for the motorist it creates more confusion as a result of multiple markings.

The intention of making driving less cumbersome especially in nights is lost in the confusion by the shady job.
This effort alone if done properly, could have taken the stress off the motorist, as it may replace the total near collapse of the security lights and road signs through out the cities.

Abuja which is suppose to be bubbling with mesmerising and dazzling displays of light, becomes a glorified big village in the night. You often need the “google map drive” to navigate your way around the city in the night.

The Abuja Power Company AEDC have since abdicated on its social responsibility to the residents by choosing to provide power to the premier city only to those who have ability to pay.

It’s supply of electricity is now determined by your location. Residents are deprived of power not because power is not available, at least according to Minister of power, who said some states are now experiencing 24hrs of supply with other cities getting between 10- 17hrs. This cannot be to true unless if the Minister is living in a separate world.

AEDC now supply power based on return on investment. If you fall within the district area their revenue generation is below return on investment, they yank your area off the system and put you in perpetual darkness for days. They don’t even care to reach out and inform their consumers the reasons for the black out. One wonders if the company has no “Servicom” department to teach their staff on the basic requirements how to treat customer.

When residents call their emergency lines to report lack of power, AEDC always hastily promise to call back a promise it will never keep.

The distribution of power in Abuja is now based on the “have and have nots” The society is segregated into those who have the ability to pay and those that can not pay.

The strategy adopted here is, give power to those areas that have the ability to pay and play around with areas with less revenue yield.

I live in Kado Kuchi and we hardly have lights for 24hrs without interruption. Most times we remain without light for up wards of 72hrs in week. AEDC’s only excuse was they have faults on the line and this has been going on for over two years and no one cared to rectify.

The residents after so much agony decided to find the real reasons only to discover they are being punished. The explanation was there are some few unstructured settlements within the district operating without meters. The distribution company in retaliation always divert power meant for the district to other parts of the city that can pay.
Power is national resource that all citizens must have unfettered access. We must not be discriminated in the sharing of our national resource built with tax payer’s money.

I do not support consumers not paying for electricity they consume. Individuals can be punished if they fail to settle their bills but for the Commercial Manager to put profit above all other considerations by cutting supply to innocent consumers who are up to date in the payments of their bills is pathetic and unacceptable.

To cut the supply of a whole district arbitrarily is draconian, undemocratic and against natural justice. Profit should not be the major guiding principles in the provision of this vital national resource.

I am sure the intention of the privatisation of power supply in the country was not meant to punish or discriminate but to promote efficiency and effectiveness in the system.

We therefore call the electricity regulatory council to correct this unwholesome attitude of the Abuja power distribution company .

We equally invite the Consumer Protection Agency to investigate the matter and protect the citizens from the shylock companies that were handed over our national assets to stop treating us with contempt and disdain .

National Capitals are symbols that represent the best a country can offer, it speaks volumes and creates huge impression about a country.

If the goal of government is to attract investors, the sorry state of our power supply and infrastructure does not give confidence to any serious investor, more especially in a situation where even the capital city is not shielded from the darkness.

I remember in those days when government had to use big generators to provide the city with light 24/12 in order to create a positive impression for the nation.

As precursor to this most state governments copied this approach by adopting the use of solar panels to at least provide their state capital cities with lights. The purpose of doing these are to show how important the capital cities are, be it for the state or national, and how strategic they are in the life of a country.

As nation we must have national priorities. There are things that are not negotiable.They ought to be there to promote our national esteem and pride.

We must not allow our in capacities to block our thinking to do the most elementary things other smaller nations have achieved. We have the good people and resources to make this nation great.

No one will take us seriously as a people unless we change our attitudes and the way do things.

May I also appeal to Mr President to be circumspect in who makes it to the list of his next cabinet. Ability rather then cronyism, political, cultural and subterranean considerations should determine who becomes a Minister for him to achieve “the next level”

The President must not also allow himself to be pushed into doing things hastily. The bottom line is, whether these names come early or later He will still be blamed because the buck ends on his table.