A bad workman, the English say, always quarrels with his tools. So has it been with Nigerians since their first and most thoroughgoing 1960 Constitution, which was amended in 1963 to remove the British Queen as their head of state and create a fourth region, the Mid-West, out of the original three that had emerged from the 1914 amalgamation of the country by its British colonial masters.
So unhappy were we with the 1960 Constitution, which took decades of public debates all over the country and constitutional conferences at home and in the UK to arrive at, that we threw it away lock, stock and barrel, at the first opportunity we had to reconsider it. This was beginning from October 1975 when the military that had truncated our politics in 1966, citing corruption and inequity by politicians, inaugurated a 49-man Constitution Drafting Committee under the late Chief FRA Williams, to give the country a new blueprint for its governance.
On Monday, February 8, 2016, the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and some civil society organisations picketed the offices of electricity distribution companies nationwide. This was done while they protested against the 45 per cent hike in electricity tariff which took effect on February 1, 2015. The NLC president, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, “called on President Muhammadu Buhari to revisit the privatisation of the power sector as it was marred by corruption”, lamenting that the current increase would make it the fifth time the tariffs would go up since the privatisation exercise was concluded. Among other things, labour leaders accused government of acting in bad faith by taking sides with the private investors in the power sector against the suffering masses.
Initially, the political bird of Yahaya Bello, recently sworn in as Kogi State Governor, took off with one wing. James Faleke, who the All Progressives Congress designated as his Deputy Governor, declined, and didn’t show up for the swearing-in. He had sent a petition to the election tribunal to declare him governor instead.
Muiz Banire, the APC National Legal Adviser, says though the law requires a governorship candidate to contest with a running mate, it does not insist that he must be sworn into office with a Deputy Governor. Bello, resting on Section 186 of the Constitution, has now applied to the Kogi State House of Assembly that Simon Achonu be confirmed as his deputy. Don’t you think the law is an ass?
DURING his recent outing at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria met with several old timers of the ultimate Boys Club. One of those members of the club who welcomed our President was Robert Mugabe, the veteran guerilla fighter and intellectual who has been president of Zimbabwe since 1987.
He is the only ruler most Zimbabweans have ever known. He is determined to keep it that way in the nearest future. When an impertinent journalist asked Mr. Mugabe, “When are you going to say goodbye to the people of Zimbabwe?” He gave the apt retort: “Where are they going?”
In view of the milestone achieved in 2015 as a result of Jonathan’s gentlemanly departure, APC represents the worst thing that has happened to Nigerian democracy in recent times.
There are so many things wrong with the PDP. It is an understatement to insist it is a very imperfect political party. But for everything that is wrong with the PDP, the APC is worse. It is ludicrous to pretend the APC is squeaky-clean while the PDP is corrupt when a large chunk of APC members were formerly in the PDP. Today, both the Senate president and the speaker of the House of Representatives, for example, are former PDP members. These turncoats did not become new creations when they crossed over to the APC.
Last month, some of the principal suspects implicated in the probe of the $2.1 billion and N643 billion armsgate were nabbed by the Economic and Financial Commission. As investigation of the complaints could not be completed within 24 or 48 hours, the EFCC filed ex parte applications at the magistrate courts of the Federal Capital Territory for the remand of the suspects pursuant to Section 293 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 (ACJA). Based on the gravity of the offences diclosed in the supporting affidavits, the applications were granted by the magistrate courts. Not a few judges and lawyers have challenged the constitutional validity of section 293(1) of the ACJA which has vested magistrate courts with the power to issue remand orders for the detention of criminal suspects pending arraignment in courts of competent jurisdiction.
AT a time of monumental economic squeeze, such as Nigeria is currently experiencing, many wrong choices and misplaced priorities embraced by state governors when the economy was booming are bouncing back to haunt them. One of these is the indiscriminate building of airports across the country, which ignored the basic needs of the citizens.
Driven principally by political considerations, personal aggrandisement and loads of free oil cash flowing from the Federation Account in Abuja, governments at state and federal levels ignored the essential requirement of commercial viability as they embarked on one airport project after the other. Even when the next airport was just less than an hour’s drive from their bases, some governors still felt the inordinate need for new airports to complement their status as private jet owners. The result is that the country’s entire landscape is now dotted with odd assortments of abandoned and unviable airport projects.
Under the immediate past government of President Goodluck Jonathan, the Boko Haram insurgents had a field day, killing and maiming innocent citizens at will; the situation got so bad that, even soldiers that were supposed to fight the insurgents ran away from battlefront, claiming the terrorist had far more superior fire power than they did. But now with the Dasukigate scandal, we all know that the funds meant to procure arms and ammunition were diverted into private pockets while the terrorists kept on killing helpless citizens, and the government turned a blind eye to everything that was happening.
It is appalling to observe that Boko Haram under Jonathan’s administration killed innocent people indiscriminately, from innocuous bystanders to impeccant school children. In total, there have been numerous terrorist attacks with heavy causality figures across Northern Nigeria, since December 2010. As a matter of fact, there have been several bomb attacks across the North since May 2011. A series of bomb attacks occurred in many states, including Borno, Bauchi, Katsina, Adamawa, Kaduna, Yobe, Kano and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Yet, it was practically impossible for the State Security Service to unravel the sponsors of the group, where their lethal weapons came from, and their modus operandi. The analyses of the Boko Haram insurgents were predicated on conjecture and second-guessing; these could not have helped the country out of the precarious situation.
To echo two maxims of justice, it is better to order a fresh election than to let a candidate profit from one that is manifestly not free or fair, and where there is an electoral wrong, there should be a remedy. How else would politicians desist from political brigandage? This calls for far-reaching electoral reforms to make petitions less a matter of purblind judicial discretion or timidity and more of a defence of the will of the people as the bedrock of democracy.
The recent spate of summary but affirmative decisions of the Supreme Court in hotly contested governorship election petitions gives dire warning of the urgent need for comprehensive electoral reform. Obviously, the Supreme Court relishes its image as a fearsome exponent of legal realism. Oliver Wendell Holmes, American jurist and avatar of this school, laid down its doctrine as “The prophecies of what the courts will do in fact, and nothing more pretentious” (emphasis original). Despite its capacity for judicial retardation and political cynicism, the Court has been gleefully torturing our civic sensibility with this doctrine for 35 years. One might say, “The votes of judges of the Nigerian Supreme Court, and no ballots more pretentious, determine elections.”
Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, is not one of my favourite Nigerians.
For me, he approximates to what his Yoruba people call omo ita agbalagba (roughly translated as delinquent adult). I know I’m very wrong with this characterisation of the grand old man, but I just can’t seem to come off this bias.
TODAY, most developing countries suffering from high unemployment or aspiring to achieve a policy of export-led growth are advised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to resort to devaluation. IMF feels that a lower value for the domestic currency will increase the price for imports and at the same time making exports cheaper.
This ultimately encourages increase in domestic production, which through the economic multiplier effect creates more employment and increases the gross domestic product (GDP) though not immediately. The idea behind pushing developing economies to embrace the IMF prescription is that maintaining a relatively low exchange rate helps them to build up foreign reserves, which can serve as a cushion against future financial shocks.
Since President Muhammadu Buhari got to office in May last year and declared a fierce war on corruption, it has been revelations galore on a daily basis. We all knew that things were very bad, quite well, but what we probably didn’t know was the degree of rot that had pervaded the system. In truth, from the revelations so far, which, I am sure, is still just a tip of the iceberg, the system reeks of an offensive odour that could make any sane person easily throw up.
The figures being reeled out are frightening and the methodology employed by these crooks to fleece the treasury is cheap and unbelievable. Companies are incorporated overnight, bank accounts are opened within the twinkle of an eye and before you can say Jack Robinson, the accounts begin to overflow with huge, mouth-watering cash. The implication is that the system appears too porous and vulnerable to abuse as if there are no safety nets. But safety nets or not, Nigerians are just incredibly criminally intelligent. From the messengers in the ministries to the small, medium and big “ogas at the top”, it is a close-knit web of conspiracy and bare-faced stealing all the way.
Nigeria’s secret police have been giving more details about the alleged recruiter for Islamic State (IS) they arrested in the north of the country.
A statement from the police said Abdussalam Enesi Yunusa is part of a terrorist cell funded by a Sudanese man on behalf of IS in West Africa.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has said the Federal Government is concluding plans to complete the reconstruction of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road, Lagos, within the next two years.
Fashola also stated that the Federal Government inherited a debt of N1tn as outstanding payments to road contractors across the country.
All vehicles with tinted glasses are to be searched before being allowed into the Presidential Villa, the Presidency said yesterday.
It is all part of the measures to forestall terror attacks at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, according to the Chief Security Officer (CSO) to President Muhammadu Buhari, B Abubakar. In a January 26 circular, he directed all tinted cars and other vehicles to be thoroughly searched.
states airports portfolio
Ekiti N22 billion
Osun N11 billion
Nasarawa N20 billion
Zamfara N28 billion
Abia Not available
Anambra N20 billion
Ogun N22 billion
Lagos N102 billion
Existing states’ Portfolio
•APC wants to create confusion, says governor
The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the 2015 governorship election in Rivers State, Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside, yesterday raised doubts about the fairness of the Supreme Court judgment that affirmed the election of Governor Nyesom Wike.
He said Wike had a foreknowledge of the judgment —going by his actions and utterances.
President Barack Obama is proposing about $200 million in new military spending to confront Islamist militants in north and west Africa, U.S. defense officials said ahead of Tuesday’s budget rollouts for the next fiscal year.
U.S. officials declined to specify to which nations the funding would be directed. The disclosure comes as the United States and its allies discuss ways to halt the spread of Islamic State in Libya and elsewhere in Africa from its self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq.
The Federal Ministry of Health has advised nursing mothers to refrain from using traditional medicine and other concoctions in neonatal care, to minimise neonatal morbidity and mortality rate.
Mrs Ezioma Madu, the Chief Health Educator, Family Health Department, of the ministry, gave the advice on Tuesday in Umuahia, the Abia capital, during a one-day advocacy programme.
Police in central India arrested a goat and its owner for repeatedly damaging a senior bureaucrat’s garden, a local official said on Tuesday. Police in Chhattisgarh state sprang into action on Monday, registering a case against the man and his animal for chewing up the district magistrate’s garden.