The outgoing Governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, has said the disappearance of the Accountant-General of Delta State, Cyril Agbele, six days to handover to a new administration was in bad faith.
The governor, who stated this Thursday when permanent secretaries and retired permanent secretaries paid him a farewell visit at Government House, Asaba, expressed surprise that after a fruitful discussion on arrangements for the inauguration of the new administration, including security and entertainment, the accountant-general made himself incommunicado.
According to him, “the accountant general has disappeared in the last five – six days. The truth is that on Thursday we met and I told him we have some payments to make in the areas of the swearing-in ceremony coming up tomorrow, he did not object, he did not say no and on Sunday, I was calling him but he was not picking my calls.”
For the All Progressives Congress (APC), managing victory at the top might prove more difficult than the achieving the peoples mandate to wrest power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Since its feat at the 2015 general elections, there seem to be uneasy calm within the fold, especially as regards sharing principal positions in the National Assembly.
The past weeks have seen intense lobbying, accusations and counter-accusations, denials and endorsements. Yet, it is not clear which way the party will go.
Though the party hierarchy had come out to say that it would not sacrifice competence on the altar of zoning, in deciding who gets what at the National Assembly, it could prove more than a herculean task, whichever path the party decides to toe.
As Muhammadu Buhari assumes office today as Nigeria’s fourth elected president since 1999, this article, first published on April 17, rings true as it did five weeks ago:
At the height of the campaign, the story was told of Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to one of the northern states. I think it was Zamfara. After a couple of whistle stops, starting from Kano, he arrived at the palace of the traditional ruler in Gusau many hours behind schedule.
When he was leaving the palace, the last thing he expected was to find the huge, cheering crowd still waiting to catch a glimpse of his entourage, well after midnight.
As the horde pressed on his motorcade, Buhari leaned toward his running mate, Yemi Osinbajo, and said, “Can you see the faces of the people out there! Can you see the weight of expectation? They think that if we win, Nigeria will change the next day!”
FOR the first time in Nigeria’s history, an elected president is today handing power to another elected president following an election that was, by and large, free, fair and comparatively peaceful.
President Goodluck Jonathan, in particular, deserves much credit for conceding defeat promptly and elegantly.
I was present when, just three months ago former President Jonathan and his main opponent and incoming President, General Muhammadu Buhari, agreed to peaceful presidential elections by signing an inter-party agreement committing them and their parties to taking active measures to prevent electoral violence before, during and after the elections. They also agreed to respect the outcome of the ballot.
I am concerned because I know the whole world would be paying close attention to Nigeria that day. I worry not just because of the import of the occasion but because some of the world leaders comprising Presidents, Vice Presidents and Foreign Ministers would be in Abuja as part of their country’s delegation. The Inauguration of a new President is about the closest Nigeria would ever get to hosting an international event like the Olympics or the World Cup or a papal visit or the visit of Her Royal Majesty the Queen of England. I recall the 1956 visit of the Queen Elizabeth the Second, 3 years after her coronation in 1953. The visit was flawless because it was organized by the then Colonial Administration.
Organizing such events is not new in Nigeria, but the times have changed. I am aware that due to the foresight and vision of Obafemi Awolowo, Nigeria successfully hosted the Dick Tiger /Gene Fulmer Middle Weight fight at the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan half a century ago. The Lanlate Sattellite Station at Ibarapa Local Government near Ibadan had made it possible to beam the fight to the whole world at a time that Satellite technology was still in its infancy.
THE Igbo stirred up controversy by the way they voted in the last presidential and national assembly elections. This has put the people in a very precarious position in the new government of Muhammadu Buhari and has generated a question of what fiddle they could play in the scheme of things.
From the results announced afterward, the South East States except Imo gave their almost undivided votes to President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Presidential and National Assembly polls.
Simply put, Ndigbo are perceived to have voted themselves out of relevance in the APC government except a miracle happens that could integrate them into the system.
Looking at the scenario, the Igbo who have been lucky in the past to play second, third or fourth fiddle would play no fiddle at all in the new government. As perceived, no Igbo person will be President, Vice President, Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker, House of Reps or Deputy Speaker, House of Reps.
The flags are out. Armed forces personnel and police officers have, for weeks, been diligently rehearsing for the swearing-in ceremony that will take place in Eagle Square. I have watched some of their marching-and-music practice sessions and my heart has soared with patriotic pride because they and their brass band and their handsome prancing horses look and sound so impressive.
I will be at the swearing-in ceremony; and, like millions of other Nigerians who campaigned and voted for APC – and will either be in Eagle Square or watching on TV – I will jubilantly cheer The General on and shed a few tears of joy.
It is no surprise that a few days after the Federal Ministry of Finance published the details of what the Federal and State governments received from the Excess Crude Account over the past four years, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has launched an attack against the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. His article “Economy: Okonjo-Iweala’s hidden figures” is full of gaping holes, both in facts and logic.
Obviously, for daring to publish how the ECA was shared and showing that governors who cannot pay salaries have no excuses, Okonjo-Iweala is being targeted. It is noteworthy that several of their colleagues have been able to manage their finances reasonably well under these same difficult circumstances.
It longer matters whether I go by the date two of my uncles gave as my date of birth or by the date my great mother gave. I can confirm that I am now a Septuagenarian. My uncles the late Chief Ade Osunneye and the late Mr Mojeed Mago Ogunjobi were both insistent that I was born May 29 1943 before they both left Ago-Iwoye for Lagos January 1944. My illiterate but extremely brilliant mother said she was delivered of a baby boy by the Olori of Oba Osiyemi, who was a staff nurse and pregnant, after the Ebumawe had ascended the throne in 1944, and by her authenticated calculation, I was born May 29 1945!
As Nigerians celebrate Nigeria’s so-called Democracy Day this May 29, and the man of the hour takes over the baton from Jonathan, I will be celebrating Ago-Iwoye the city that nurtured me from cradle to adolescence, hence this piece in commemoration of my official 70th birthday is dedicated to Olodumare, my incomparable parents and the city of my birth.
The article written in 2009 is hereby reproduced fort your reading pleasure.
“Silver Rain will give Nigerian viewers a real good time”…..JULIET ASANTE (Excerpts of interview with writer, director,)
What’s inspired the movie Silver Rain?
Silver Rain is an aspirational story; it’s about moving up the ladder, it is a social story, it is a class-war story, about an ambitious market girl who decides that she wants to find love outside of her class and she starts a class war. It is based on a real meeting. I met a market girl in Ghana; one of those girls who help you carry your goods in the market — which is ubiquitous in African cities… I met one of them and she is a northerner; like what you’d call Hausa in Nigeria — (see, we are one people and we share so many similarities) — and her dad had over 40 kids and many wives. When I met her, she was 17 and her parents hadn’t seen her for 7 years; she had run away from home when she was 10, so I was the first person to take her home after all that time. When I met her family, they were shocked because they all thought she was dead. Back in Accra, they sleep on the street, in the market they lay under horrible conditions but when they get up, they smile and you can never tell even if they haven’t eaten! That was very inspiring coming from the other side of town… and that basically is the story of an average African; we live under very bad conditions but we wake up happy each day and I say Africans are magicians. That’s the inspiration behind the film; the strength of the people.
Once President-elect Muhammadu Buhari assumes office, he will focus his searchlight on the circumstances surrounding the secret sale of Digital Dividend Spectrum (DDS) licences valued at over $1 billion in the last few months by President Goodluck Jonathan.
It is believed that due process was not followed.
Already, one of the terms of reference handed to the Alhaji Ahmed Joda-led transition committee last week was to provide a brief overview of the goings-on at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), among other key government agencies, and provide quick-fixes within 30 days, 100 days and six months for the Buhari-led government.
Nigeria’s President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, arrived at the Presidential Villa today after his unannounced trip to London. Reports are that the President-elect arrived a few minutes early to his 11am arrival time.
President-elect Buhari was accompanied by the Vice President-elect Yemi Osinbajo, and members of the APC Transition Committee including its Chairman Ahmed Joda, the APC Chairman John Oyegun, as well as Lai Mohammed, Rotimi Ameachi, Tam David West, amongst others.
Buhari told the media during a press conference after his tour of Aso Rock that “[President Jonathan’s] telephone call changed the course of Nigeria’s political history.” President-elect Buhari noted that President Jonathan could have made things very difficult for Nigeria, but by choosing to accept the outcome of the 2015 election, but rather he chose the “path of honor.”
During the heady days of the Late General Sani Abacha regime, a group of patriotic politicians who defied the odds by remaining at home formed the G-34 which pressed for the return to democratic rule by pressuring the General to jettison his sinister ambition to succeed himself. Some of the prominent names were Alex Ekwueme, the former Vice-President and Solomon Lar, a former governor of Plateau state. The sudden death of the dark-goggled general threw the political space open but sadly the soul of the Peoples Democratic Party which was a quasi-metamorphosis of the G-34 was hijacked by conservative forces who ironically worked for the Abacha regime and earlier military ones before him. The late Bola Ige while shopping for a political party to join saw the strange bed fellows in the PDP, shook his head and hurriedly changed his mind.
In the run up to his inauguration, President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, has been telling the nation of his plans and policy direction and one of those policies is his stated intention to resume the search for oil in Northern Nigeria and specifically in the Lake Chad region of Borno State. Ironically, Borno is one of the states ravaged by the scourge of terrorism which has set that state and the entire Northeast region back in almost every index of human development.
If oil is found in the Lake Chad region, it will go a long way in reviving the economy of the Northeast. However, Buhari’s plan has met with some criticism especially in the South were a number of pundits and analysts see the plan as an expensive wild goose chase that would not yield anything.
I believe we are being short-sighted when we criticise such a plan. Nigeria needs multiple streams of income now more than ever. And if Niger and Chad have struck oil in commercial quantities, it stands to reason that the chances of oil being found in Northern Nigeria and especially the Lake Chad region are higher than we had previously thought when we abandoned the search for oil in that region over a decade ago.
The 2015 elections have finally come and gone. The fever pitched atmosphere that characterised and inundated the polity pre-election has been doused by the seemingly credible, free and fair election of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. The pre-election doomsday prophesies and innuendoes that the elections were going to make or mar the unity of the country, has come to pass. The commendable performance of the umpire of the elections under the stewardship of Prof. Attaihiru Jega should be recognised and must be commended. The conduct of the two gladiators (the outgoing and incoming presidents) before, during and after the elections must also be acclaimed. More especially, the gesture of President Goodluck Jonathan and the symbolic phone call to concede defeat even before the final results were officially announced should highly be extolled and would go down well in the annals of history. Never in the history of our burgeoning democracy has such magnanimity and statesmanship been exhibited by a politician aspiring for the highest office of the land. The gesture, without a doubt, forestalled any hatched plans by evil doers to scuttle the latter stages of the elections. Definitely, this is a milestone that is indelible in the history of Nigeria.
We at PREMIUM TIMES have watched with the rest of the world some very disturbing signal events taking place on the African continent. These events may strike many as mere news items, the likes of which are main staple of our round-the-clock news world in this age. But we hasten to point out that these events have overwhelming significance for African self-presentations before the rest of the world and how the rest of the world sees us and our continental homeland.
In the ongoing saga of African migrants seeking better lives beyond Africa’s shores, we are witnessing a tragedy of monumental proportions. Barely three weeks ago, almost 1,000 African lives were lost in a single incident. So colossal was this single incident that the European Union was forced to reverse itself on its search and rescue policy. And the Italian foreign minister declared that the human trafficking in the Mediterranean Sea is the 21st century equivalent of the European Slave Trade across the Atlantic Ocean that lasted for three centuries and has now been declared, retrospectively, a crime against humanity. Almost everyday since that major loss of African lives, more lives are lost. There has been absolute silence on the thousands of Africans who do not even make it to the Mediterranean coast and die on a daily basis in the treacherous Sahara desert.
OLATUNJI Dare’s piece, Osoba: The veteran politician at bay, recently published in the papers, was an elegant public relations stunt. Any reader without the knowledge of the politics of Ogun State in recent years will come to the conclusion that the current governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, shortchanged Chief Olusegun Osoba.
From the very choice of the title, the writer meticulously crafted the piece to arouse public sympathy for Osoba and adroitly cast Amosun in bad light. Dr. Dare clearly scored an offside goal, which must be disallowed.
Wrote the columnist, “Hounded ceaselessly by Gbenga Daniel who never saw an opponent he did not want to destroy, Osoba went into political hibernation in Lagos, where he busied himself rebuilding the Ogun State ACN and positioning it to return to power in 2007 with Ibikunle Amosun, a former PDP Senator, as Governor… Then, things began to go sour. Osoba could not get his nominees appointed to the state’s cabinet or given senior positions in the Amosun Administration, I gather. Though chair of the ACN in Ogun State, his influence was at best slight. He found himself being pushed closer and closer to the margins.”
AS the country transits from one democratic dispensation to another, there is no gainsaying that the state of the nation’s economy is the focal point, especially with the unending fuel scarcity which is gradually grinding the nation to a halt.
No doubt, the best person to explain the state of the economy today is Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy (CME), whose management of the nation’s resources, in these past four years, has elicited different reactions from Nigerians.
As a member of the National Economic Council (NEC), I had spoken out at different times at NEC meetings and even in public on the way the economy is managed under Dr. Okonjo-Iweala. Again, I want to share my views with the public on some of the issues affecting the nation.
There have been moves to settle the constitution amendment row amicably.
A Presidency team led by the Attorney-General of the Federation Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), and National Assembly leaders yesterday met in Abuja on the stalemated amendments to the 1999 Constitution.
The Assembly has agreed to drop most of the 10 disputed amendments of the 65 passed by the two chambers.
One of the contentious amendments is payment of pensions for life for the President of the Senate, Deputy President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Deputy Speaker as well as principal officers of the legislature at the state level.
The National Assembly may forego the section on pensions because the economy cannot sustain it.
But as the two parties wound up the reconciliatory session, there were fresh hurdles on the new amendments, including how to pass these into law and assented to before May 29 when President Goodluck Jonathan will leave office.
There were two options on the card last night on how to address the challenges.