The on-going protests in the South-East requires creative handling by the federal government, governors of states that comprise the zone and Igbo leaders of thought to avoid unnecessary escalation of the situation. But the arrogant, insensitive, and threatening comments by a few military officers and cowardly hasty condemnation by some prominent Ndigbo are disingenuous, because both sides are trivialising the key issues of marginalisation, exclusion and alienation raised by the Biafran agitators, which lie at the heart of the troublesome unresolved “national question”.
Dr. Chu S. P. Okongwu in his 2004 tributes to Ukpabi Asika, took an aside in his eulogies to emphasize the following: “The generation born after the civil war will not know that the former Eastern region, comprising East-Central State, South-Eastern state, and Rivers state, enjoyed a highly developed road network, with probably the highest quality road density in sub-Saharan Africa. These had been damaged or neglected during the war. Ukpabi Asika planned to reconstruct and modernize these.
Action was also taken to upgrade and transfer to central government responsibility some trunk ‘B’ roads (1, 240 kilometers) and introduce some new federal highways and alignments… .” Dr. Okongwu was East Central State’s Commissioner forEconomic Planning from 1970-1975, and presumably has the data. But that’s besides the point. The real point is that assertion that the East had the “highest quality road density in Sub-sahara Africa” before the damages of war and neglect ruined it all.
In January 2014, former President Goodluck Jonathan in his own wisdom, decided to appoint Air Marshal Alex S. Badeh as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). Almost immediately, a United States-based Nigerian journalist Abiodun Ladepo circulated an opinion on the web suggesting that Badeh was too fat to head our military. I thought my colleague’s opinion particularly his assertion that Badeh was “the most out of shape officer” he had ever seen was rather harsh and uncharitable. When Badeh assumed office, he spent ample time pointing accusing fingers at a section of the press for being anti-government.
After a while, I found too many problems with his management of the Military but felt that whatever went wrong ought to be overlooked in view of those difficult days of Boko Haram when our troops ran away from the enemy claiming that they were ill-equipped; while their families embarked on public demonstrations against the posting of their bread winners to the battle front.I imagined that he probably had people like Ladepo in mind. Two issues convinced me to further investigate Ladepo’s critical assessment of the then CDS. First, at a show in Lagos last year, one comedian said he too could become Nigeria’s Chief of defence Staff. His claim to the office was that he was almost as fat as the incumbent. He also said that when Badeh was appointed CDS, Baba Obasanjo laughed for a very long time adding that the last time he saw the former President, Baba was still laughing over the appointment. Knowing the dangers of Obasanjo’s unending laughter, I convinced myself at the end of the show that Badeh was a man to watch.
After delivering a devastating message on politics and politicians two Saturdays ago, Kogi State voters were expected to follow through with a tutorial to the country on how best to manage an electoral conundrum consequent upon both the death of one of the candidates in the election and lack of constitutional clarity. Alas, just when it mattered most, they wilted. But whether the wilting was caused by a lack of political depth or lack of principles is hard to say at the moment. By a substantial margin of 240,867 votes to 199,514 votes, the Kogi electorate had given the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket of Abubakar Audu and his running mate, Abiodun Faleke, a commanding lead over the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket of Governor Idris Wada and his deputy, Yomi Awoniyi.
Some 41,300 votes were said to be outstanding, nearly half of which were cancelled or unlawful votes that had no business being regarded as outstanding. The rest of the votes had not been cast at all. Out of the 41,300 votes potentially left to be cast, sources within INEC had indicated that approximately 25,000 were backed by permanent voter cards (PVCs).
There is no better illustration of the political programme of waste and senseless consumption than the creation of 36 states and 774 local governments out of the four pre-coup regions under a federal system inherited by the first military government.
- Initiate action to amend our Constitution with a view to devolving powers, duties and responsibilities to states and local governments in order to entrench true Federalism and the Federal spirit;
- Restructure government for a leaner, more efficient and adequately compensated public service;
- Balance across regions by the creation of 6 new Regional Economic Development Agencies (REDAs) to act as champions of sub-regional competitiveness;
- Put in place a N300 billion regional growth fund (average of N50bn in each geo-political region) to be managed by the REDAs, encourage private sector enterprise and support to help places currently reliant on the public sector —FROM Buhari/APC MANIFESTO
I concur with Mr. Deji Adeyanju. The most heartless and reprehensible thing that our government could have done is to cover-up the fact that 105 of our soldiers were killed by Boko Haram a few days ago. To do such a thing is simply evil.
A soldier ought to be honoured in death and this is especially so if he died in the course of doing his duty and fighting for his nation.
Kogi: Of a soporific INEC and a listless professor – was INEC error a deliberate ethnic plot? By Femi Orebe
If the three INEC commissioners deployed, and the state electoral commissioner suddenly lost concentration, what was a supposedly erudite Professor Kucha thinking about, not knowing there was no way 25, 000 votes can overtake 41, 000?
Lawyers were at the forefront of the revolution that gave rise to the American declaration of independence. Majority of delegates to the constitutional convention that gave birth to the American independence were lawyers. Britain and America, the two leading democracies in the world were, at the same time, simultaneously led by lawyers. Lawyers were at the vanguard of a new constitution in Ghana. Lawyers led the constitutional reforms in South Africa and Zambia. Nigeria has produced its sizeable number of great lawyers who are untainted by the common vices that afflict ordinary folks. Lawyers are nation builders. They are influential agents of change in the society with prominent responsibility to build practical and pragmatic democracy founded on the Rule of Law and the constitution – Elder Dele Adesina SAN, in Kunle Ogunsakin’s ‘FOR THE LOVE OF THEIR NATION(Lawyers as agents of change in Nigeria).
Pray, if the above is true, why are some senior Nigerian lawyers, even judges, doing everything to subject the noble profession to outright profanity by putting financial gratification before national interest?
Just as it crossed my mind to write this week about the still-missing Chibok schoolgirls, Prof. Wole Soyinka (our own WS), yet again reminded us all, a couple of days ago, of that terrible blot on the nation’s conscience (if the country has one). Speaking at the official opening of a “Mega-school” named after him in Ejigbo, State of Osun, by the governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, WS lamented that “It is a shame that the nation cannot account for over 200 girls in Chibok,” even as we speak.
It is difficult for me to get my mind round the very fact that over 200 secondary schoolgirls kidnapped by the sadistic terrorist group, Boko Haram, since April last year (a year and 7 months ago) are still missing; that the country the poor schoolgirls called their own could go to sleep for one day, talk less of 540 days, unable to determine their whereabouts, talk less moving to bring them back home!
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) is talking too much and I don’t know who to call, to call him to order. He wasn’t talking like this during the 12 years (between 2003 and 2015) that he was in the trenches, pushing to assume the presidency. He had maintained a dignified taciturnity that somehow helped his cause in 2015. If he spoke, it was to say why Nigeria should not be allowed to obliterate under the PDP 60-year power rolling plan. And because he spoke less, the mystic around his persona was maintained. He was seen as a very serious minded retired general, who understood that better substance was in action rather than in propaganda.
But change has come since May 29 and Buhari has changed too. He now exhibits a very annoying loquacity; always talking not even speaking. Some actually say he is talking anyhow on global stages. In 181 days or so, PMB has visited 10 countries. He has visited more countries than he has visited states or even cities in Nigeria. Each time, he has had something to talk about Nigeria and the line has been very consistent. Nigeria is morally bankrupt due to years of bankrupt leadership. He would add that his mission to effect a turn-around is increasingly looking bleak in the light of daily revelations of the depth of bankruptcy the country has sunk.
Bond yields fall on rate decision
THERE were indications that Nigeria would raise N129.17 billion ($649.10 million) worth of local currency denominated Treasury Bills (T-Bills), with varying maturities of three months and one year on December 2.
The debt instrument, according to Central Bank of Nigeria, will be made up of N17.85 billion for the three-month paper; N18 billion in the six-month paper; and N93.32 billion in the one year bill, through the Dutch Auction System.
Niger Delta activist and member of the 2014 National Conference, Ms. Annkio Briggs, has said that the people of the South-South have no expectation of benefiting from the appointment of former Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, as Minister of Transportation.
She said even though the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had allegedly blacklisted the Niger Delta on the list of areas that would benefit from the new government, people of the region have equal rights with those in other regions.
DESPITE recent call by former Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, for an increase in Value Added Tax (VAT), an expert has warned that “government will collapse in no time,” if the suggestion is followed.
“I am sure and I hope President Buhari would not do this,” said former KPMG Chairman and former Minister of Finance under the Sani Abacha government, Etubom Anthony Ani.
• FG didn’t tamper with salary package, says Presidency
The Presidency denied yesterday that it had tampered with the remuneration of the newly appointed ministers. According to additional information received last night, the ministers’ package is same with what obtained in the Jonathan Administration.
Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the President “has not tampered with the salaries and allowances of Federal Ministers.
Madam Beauty Siasia, the kidnapped 72-year-old mother of Nigeria’s Under 23 Coach, Samson Siasia, regained freedom yesterday after 12 days in captivity.
She was abducted on November 16, 2015.
The abductors reportedly abandoned her at about 1.30am on the popular East-West Road, the major gateway linking the South-South to other parts of the country.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) running mate in the stalemated governorship election in Kogi State, Mr. Abiodun Faleke, is not disposed to the party’s choice of Alhaji Yahaya Bello as replacement for the late Prince Abubakar Audu.
Faleke yesterday wrote a second letter to the party’s national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun in apparent reaction to the APC decision to pick Bello to replace Audu ahead of the supplementary election scheduled for this weekend. He insisted that he is not prepared to give up his ‘mandate’ for any reason whatsoever.
Secretary to Government counters El-Rufai’s claim Jonathan spent N64bn on independence anniversaries ….. PREMIUM TIMES
Contrary to recent claims by the Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, that former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration spent billions on Nigeria’s independence anniversary celebrations between 2011 and 2014, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation has confirmed that the governor lied.
Following the decision by President Muhummadu Buhari to approve only N70 million for the 55th Independence anniversary celebrations on October 1, 2015, Mr. El-Rufai had sparked a controversy with his claim that the immediate past administration wasted N64 billion on the same event in five years.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday night disclosed that more than 10,000 persons were killed and over two million displaced internally by terrorists in Nigeria in the last six years.
He said the majority of the internally displaced persons are women and children.
According to a statement on Saturday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President spoke at a banquet hosted by Queen Elizabeth II for Heads of State and Government participating in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta.
A survey by United States (US) based Guttmacher Institute and Ipas Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that focuses on female reproductive rights, showed that, in spite of Nigeria’s highly restrictive abortion law, the estimated abortion rate was 33abortions per 1, 000 women aged 15-49 in 2012 and it has increased in 2015.The report said not less than 1. 2 million induced abortions take place in various parts of Nigeria annually. The report, presented in Abuja, showed that the South-South region is in the lead, while the South West is at the bottom of the ladder. North East is in the second position.
In furtherance of his administration’s effort to boost foreign direct investment, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode will join other participants for this year’s edition of the Global African Investment Summit taking place in London next week.
He is expected to deliver a keynote address on investment opportunities in Lagos.
According to a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, the Summit will afford the Governor the opportunity to intimate willing investors on the various opportunities that abound in the state.
Elections the world over are usually characterised by mouth-watering campaign promises by politicians and their Political Parties with a view to out-playing their opponents.
These campaign promises vary from people to people, nations to nations and again, depending on the peculiar needs of the electorates and that is why one cannot think of having a promise of clean and portable water, good and Motorable Roads or even provision of electricity from aspiring political office holders in countries like France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, America, UK, Russia and the likes. Aside the provision of welfare for Citizenry and other talks on issues of international relations, talks on petty promises like roads, electricity and others as mentioned earlier could only make sense in developing countries like Nigeria.
And talking about Nigeria, the last general elections made a very great news in terms of campaigns and the usual/unusual promises that came along with it.
From party to party, state to state and from candidate to candidate, electoral promises kept thronging the polity.
At the Federal Level, some mouth-watering promises were made by APC, the eventual party which resulted from the amalgamation of ACN, CPC, fAPGA – meaning factional APGA and other parties of like minds, (like minds at least as of then). These ranged from Decisive fight against corruption, provision of meal for young learners of public schools, provision of employment for the growing army of jobless Nigerians, all of which are now very controversial because of the perceived government’s apparent jettisoning of the promises but most controversial of them all is the #5000 promised the legions of the jobless Nigerians which ostensibly was meant to serve as palliative pending the “arrival” of the jobs that are NOT there and which might NOT even come unless a very decisive and obviously pragmatic step is taken.
This is a country where once upon a time, jobs cum works were searching for workers and in a good number of instances, many would-have-been serial applicants had their employment letters delivered to them few months or weeks ahead of the completion of their studies. Information has it that some prospective workers even had more than one job waiting for them as they prepared to leave the citadel of knowledge. This magnanimity from the then corporate world did not result from the nicety of the employers of labour but the prevailing circumstances of the then Nigeria compelled the hirers to seek for the workforce commensurate to the harvest and the various processes leading to the harvest.