It seems President Muhammadu Buhari doesn’t know that elections are over and it is time to start actualizing his promises. The first few days of a new President in office matter a great deal. Acting authoritatively within 24 hours of being sworn will send the right signal to all that he is ready to implement change. Buhari has already failed in this regard. He is supposed to hit the ground running considering the mirage of problems facing this nation. The new President simply hit the ground and sat down there. The cabal controlling Nigeria has already ringed him. He could not appoint a Secretary to the Federal Government, seven days after his inauguration. He could not even appoint a Chief of Staff. He is struggling with his list of ministers. So many interest groups within his ruling All Progressives Congress are holding him by the jugular. Ogbonnaya Onu and Rotimi Amaechi are battling for the position of SGF. Buhari should be reminded that a forward-looking leader like David Cameron of the United Kingdom announced his cabinet with 48 hours of emerging victorious.Our dear Buhari could not even appoint a spokesman. He ended up appointing spokesmen. I have never heard of this in any sane society. He has Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu appointed as spokesmen just to satisfy diverse interest groups. Ever heard of leaders like Barack Obama or David Cameron operating with spokesmen? This is an agenda for chaos in the media management area.
I can’t understand why Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Barde and Army Chief, Kenneth Minimah are still in office. If we are talking about change and wiping out Boko Haram, the men in charge of the war’s Command and Control ought not to be in office by this time. Buhari obviously has no blueprint on how to handle Boko Haram. These bastards have killed over 300 people in the last seven days. The President has directed that the defence headquarters be moved to Maiduguri. There is clearly no sense in this. Buhari simply wants to jeopadise the Command and Control Centre. The United States did not move the Pentagon to the Gulf region during the Gulf war. Yet, they decapitated Iraqi forces. United Kingdom did not move its defence headquarters to the Falkland during the war with Argentina over the Falkland. Buhari’s directive is an archaic military strategy. This is obviously unnecessary in modern warfare. Obviously, our dear President has no blueprint for tackling the Boko Haram problem. All he did during the election was to excoriate Goodluck Jonathan’s security failure. He had no plans of his own.
The next thing the President did was to dash to Niger and Chad to talk to their leaders about curtailing Boko Haram. Yes, this would help in shortening trans-border terrorism. But how will this stop ongoing suicide bombings inside Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states by the blood-thirsty Boko Haram? The suicide bombers are obviously not crossing into the country from the neighbouring countries. They are within the country, manufacturing and using Improvised Explosive Devices. They are using petrol and gas cylinders, all obtained within the country, for suicide bombings. Intelligence gathering and technology are key to detecting and curtailing the deadly activities of these suicide bombers. We need to put our internal security in order before running to Chad and Niger republics.
I am also surprised that heads of failed government departments and agencies that have done collateral damages to this country are still in office eight days after Buhari’s inauguration. How can the leadership of the Customs and Excise still be in office by this time? Why should the leadership of the NNPC and the NERC still be in office? The leadership of the FIRS is still in office, yet we are talking about change. Change in this direction should come within 24 hours. We are still waiting for our dear President to act.
Buhari response to the power crisis in his inauguration speech was also appalling. How can the President say that, “careful studies are under way during this transition to identify the quickest, safest and most cost-effective way to bring light and relief to Nigerians.” So, the President did not do a thorough study of the power crisis and the way forward before campaigning to take over from Jonathan? So, the President has no blueprint on how to tackle the power crisis?
So, Buhari is just about assembling a team to decide on what to do? That should have been in his bag already. It is part of what is called hitting the ground running in governance. I hope we have not entered a one chance bus? I guess that was why Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo sent him his own blueprint on the power crisis. My humble suggestion is for Buhari to quickly go after Atiku Abubakar and collect his comprehensive blueprint on how to tackle crisis in virtually all the sectors of our economy. A better-prepared Atiku commissioned a very reliable team to do this during his campaign for Presidency. But the APC painfully denied him their Presidential ticket. It is a pity that a well-prepared Atiku may never become the President of this country because we always celebrate mediocrity.
Buhari has also left many bemused by his refusal to make public his asset declaration. Garba Shehu said, “President Muhammadu Buhari has declared his assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau as required by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. If anyone is interested in knowing details of his asset worth, such a person can avail himself or herself of the use of Freedom of Information Act to seek the information from the bureau.” What an insult. One of Buhari’s key campaign promises was public declaration of assets and liabilities. How can he now do this to Nigerians? Late President Umaru Yar’Adua made public his asset declaration after submitting to the Code of Conduct Bureau. Clearly, Buhari has something to hide. The National Secretary of the Labour Party, Kayode Ajulo was right when he accused the President of failing to keep the covenant he had with Nigerians to publish his assets publicly. Ajulo said: “The promise on the declaration of assets made to Nigerians was to woo voters. Now, the voters have fulfilled their part of the agreement. It is left for Buhari to fulfill the other part, failure of which is a clear violation of the social contract he had with millions of Nigerians.”
Now, the President has approval for 15 Special Advisers. What does he want to do with all these men? These Special Advisers will also have a retinue of special assistants. They will also need to maintain offices and vehicles. So, where is the belt tightening which our President promised in this scenario? On removal of fuel subsidy, Buhari is still shivering, eight days after inauguration. May Allah help Nigeria.
A Word for Akinwunmi Ambode
My family has a longer history with Lagos than most of those claiming to be Lagosians today. My late father relocated to Lagos over 80 years ago. Many can now understand why I write about my beloved Lagos with so much passion. One of the areas in which previous governments in the state had performed abysmally in the last 32 years is the construction of inner roads. The Lateef Jakande era remains golden in this area. It was an era when equal emphasis was placed on arterial and inner roads. This motivated development and enhanced the value of property in several communities in Lagos. Thriving small businesses also emerged in these communities, thanks to paved roads.
My beloved Mende Village in Kosofe Local Government benefitted from this. Jakande provide us paved roads with standard drainages. But the reverse has been the case in the last 32 in blighted communities across the state. Governor Akinwunmi Ambode must return to this golden era. He needs to pay a visit (unaccompanied) to blighted communities in Ikorodu North and Ikorodu West to understand the magnitude of what I am talking about. Most of these places are worse than war zones.
In the entire Ikorodu West LCDA, there are only three pot-hole-ridden roads with decaying asphalt. Over 500 other inner roads are tattered. Many in these areas have relocated and abandoned their buildings. The situation is the same in Abule Egba, Abesan, Iyana Ipaje and the rest. The easiest way of touching lives and motivating development in blighted communities is through massive construction of inner roads. Ambode must return to this path of honour.
Kashamu Buruji and the Shame of NDLEA
The invasion of Kashamu Buruji’s house in Lagos by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency for days last week was an absolute abuse of power. It was sheer madness. The United States will clearly not treat any of its citizens like that. It is even more painful that the NDLEA tried to abduct Buruji, the Senator-elect for Ogun East. They invaded his house without a court-approved warrant of arrest. I am not a fan of Buruji. I also don’t belong to the group that thinks Buruji is guilty even before being put on trial. I am a strong believer in the rule of law – equality before the law, supremacy of the law and civil liberty. Yes, the NDLEA said it had received a formal extradition request on Buruji from the government of the United States of America. There is a process to be followed before arresting him. The NDLEA must first approach the court to obtain a warrant of arrest and subsequently secure an extradition approval. Ahmadu Giade, Chairman of the NDLEA is an experienced man and should know this. I believe Giade clearly knows this but chose to behave like a motor park tout. The action of Giade and his boys was repulsive and indecent. It was the height of lawlessness. I was relieved when Justice Ibrahim Buba, in a bench ruling last week pronounced the action of the NDLEA as sub judice and ordered the men of the Nigerian police to ensure that NDLEA operatives vacate Buruji’s premises “without a free for all.” Giade must be called to order. We are all hoping for a new Nigeria. A new Nigeria where the rule of law will guide all our actions and inactions. A new Nigeria where every suspect in deemed innocent until proved guilty by a court of law. As at today, Buruji remains a suspect and must be so treated until proved guilty by a court of law. He should not be assumed guilty in the court of Giade. Human rights activists must put pressure on the NDLEA to discontinue its strings of illegalities and stop embarrassing Nigerians.
The Ignominy of Ekiti APC Legislators
I was so relieved when the tenure of the 19 mischievous Ekiti APC lawmakers came to an end on Thursday. These men did everything possible to destroy Ekiti State in the name of fighting Governor Ayodele Fayose. They wanted to get through the back door, what they could not get through the ballot box. On Monday, and with just three days left in their tenure, they were still scheming to illegally impeach Fayose. They obviously know that impeachment is a process and not a three-day thing. This tells you how desperate these men were. These 19 APC lawmakers showed no respect for the laws of this country. For me, they are simply rascals. I remember clearly that a Federal High Court in Abuja warned parties in a suit filed by the factional Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Dele Olugbemi and six other PDP lawmakers, seeking an order declaring the seats of the 19 APC lawmakers vacant and the impeachment processes purportedly commenced by the APC lawmakers null and void, to maintain status quo ante bellum. The judge warned that it would be contemptuous for any of the parties to the case to do anything that will affect the merit of the matter, citing the case of Ojukwu vs. Gov of Lagos State (1985).
Adewale Omirin, the leader of the recalcitrant lawmakers had himself gone to court to challenge his impeachment and later withdrew the case, meaning that he accepted he had been impeached, and a cost of N100,000 was awarded against him. So, why the sudden drive again on Monday to harass Fayose? Many will be shocked to know that the issue of money was responsible for the last minute effort to harass the Ekiti governor. These lawmakers on their own walked out of Ekiti State claiming imaginary threats to their lives. For seven months, they did not sit or work in the Assembly. Legally, they have forfeited their seats for not appearing in the house for over 21 days. In the process of negotiating peace terms, they insisted on being paid salaries for the months they did not work. Fayose agreed and paid them. That was not enough. They wanted the governor to also pay seven months “running cost” to them. Cost of running what? Thanks to God, these trouble makers are now history. Finally, Ekiti State will witness peace. How I wish Fayose can still stop the illegal salaries paid to them.
Ring True with Yemi Adebowale,