Opinion - News Proofs

News:

Politics

Opinion

Showing posts with label Opinion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Opinion. Show all posts

Nigerian Army as agent of development, By Hyacinth Ogbu

Nigerian Army as agent of development, By Hyacinth Ogbu

By Hyacinth Ogbu 

Worldwide, the Army traditionally plays the role of securing the sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations. Excitingly, in Nigeria, the Army has gone a notch higher by establishing its imprimatur as a strong agent of development through the provision of awful and charming infrastructural facilities and social amenities to various communities in the country which play host to them.

Never in the recent history of Nigeria has the country been troubled by multifaceted insecurities than what it is experiencing at the moment. To say, civil security has been overwhelmed by these orchestrated insecurities is stating the obvious. However, the Nigerian Army has never belched each time it is called for intervention; but rescues the endangered Nigerians.

And almost always, the Nigerian Army has been the last resort and proved its mettle as the guardian angel of the Nigerian people. In the Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and North Central, the Army has shadowed as great and admirable emancipators of a people trapped by a vicious circle of violence and bloodbath.

Even with the resurgent insecurities, the Army has risen to task, especially in containing the acts of armed banditry and other criminalities troubling the Northwest. The launch of “Operation Sahel Sanity” by the COAS and leader of the counter-insurgency operations, Lt. Gen. TY Buratai has landed with resounding success; restoring peace and security. 

President Muhammadu Buhari has never flinched on his responsibility of deploying the Army to assist civil security to provide security and to ensure that there is peace in every part of Nigeria. 

But sometimes, appreciation from beneficiaries of an effort or project is difficult and rare. It is normal with human beings. In any case, one part of Nigeria that  deeply appreciatives  and excited with the Nigerian Army is the Southeast. This is a region once held captive in their fatherland by armed criminal elements. 

These evil men masterminded gruesome murders, violence, constantly sealed up the Southeast unlawfully and recklessly in exercise of barbaric might. Citizens  were subjected to untold hardships in the region. Innocent and law-abiding Nigerians became targets of molestations, harassments and intimidations by the criminal elements assembled into various gangs. Many Ndi’gbo and our visitors were even afraid to travel home to celebrate yuletide and new yam  festivities because these elements laced the killings with armed robbery and kidnappings.

Nonetheless, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General TY Buratai launched the first military exercise code named “Operation Python Dance I” (Egwu Eke I), spanning from November 27 to December 27, 2016. The one-month military exercise crushed the season of armed robberies, kidnappings, cultism, inter-communal clashes, herdsmen-farmers clashes and associated violence in Nigeria’s Southeast region. The Army patrols, road blocks and checkpoints restored instant peace, tranquility and security to a people immensely troubled by bands of armed criminals, ethnic militias, miscreants and hoodlums.

Similarly, a repeat edition of the “Operation Python Dance II” (Egwu Eke II) was also conducted in the Southeast a year later, in 2017. It recorded similar positive impacts in securing the lives and property of law-abiding Nigerians in the region. Largely, the Nigerian Army has been able to rescue a region once in the jaws of armed men, tormentors and killers. Every part of Nigeria has experienced the saving interventions of the Army.

But apart from performing its natural and constitutional obligations, the Nigerian Army has marketed itself uniquely under the Buhari Presidency and its leadership by Gen. Buratai for introducing a third mandate in its operations. The Nigerian Army today is vigorously pursuing the agenda of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)  in various sectors in host communities across Nigeria.

Anywhere there is the presence of the Nigerian Army, the host communities have had the special privilege of benefitting from water, road, electricity projects or health services. It is a deliberate strategy by Gen. Buratai  to win the heart and minds of host communities as well as endear them  to the Army. These critical capital projects have immensely supported civilian populations.

Therefore in 2017 in the Southeast, the 82 Division, Nigerian Army built an over N200 million water plant at  its Abakpa Cantonment Enugu.  It was personally commissioned by Gen. Buratai. The water treatment plant with a capacity of over one million litres per day was conceptualized to serve the military personnel of the Abakpa cantonment and the members of the host community of Abakpa.

Strikingly, though, the primary source of the water plant is the Ekulu River, but the efforts of the Nigerian Army in constructing the water treatment plant is the first time the Abakpa community accessed treated, portable and hygienic water in the history of their existence.  The residents were faced with the severe problem of availability of water. The natives usually go to distant places in search of water to perform domestic chores. But the Army had ended the era of suffering over water.  

And the Army has not rested on its oars in pursuing the agenda of repositioning the Army as well as consolidating on CSR gestures and benevolence  to host communities. A few days ago, Gen. Buratai performed the ground-breaking ceremony of the Nigerian Army Reference Hospital at Nkwagu Cantonment, Abakaliki, Ebonyi state.

The Army Reference Hospital is conceptualized as  a world class and state-of-the-art hospital designed to serve both the  Nigerian Army personnel and the civil populace in the South-East region of the country generally. Access to quality healthcare has been a major problem in most communities in Nigeria.  This is where the excitement over the project is derived.

Therefore, the decision of the Nigerian Army to avail the people of the Southeast this rare health facility is commendable and a legacy the people will enjoy for generations. It is an indication that the Army leadership, does not only think about security of the people, but also the health and physical wellbeing of Nigerians.

An elated Ebonyi state Governor David Umahi was full of eulogies for the Nigerian Army. The action of the Army leadership in establishing the Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Abakaliki  has for the umpteenth time confirmed to the Governor that the Service Chiefs are indeed committed to defending the territorial integrity of the country and fond of the Nigerian people.

This latest action by the Army has compelled Gov. Umahi to stoutly dispute the National Assembly (NASS)on sack of the Service Chiefs. Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of  the Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Gov. Umahi hotly disputed the position of the NASS demanding  for the sack of the Service Chiefs in the wake of resurgent insecurities.

The Governor rather canvassed for more support and funding to security agencies.  Particularly, Umahi echoed that the Nigerian Army is not only appreciated in the region, but a blessing to the Southeast. 

His words; “I want to disagree with the National Assembly in my own view about the change of service chiefs. One thing I have realized is that we like change too much in this country. We want everybody to taste every seat. That is not what we need at this critical time of our security challenges. What we need is cooperation with the security agencies. The Chief of Army staff is also a very committed person. Very friendly to the civil society.”

Interpreting the issue  with the eye  and wisdom of an elder and a true leader, Gov. Umahi aligned with the position of President Buhari by insisting that “I will be suggesting to Mr. President in support of his retaining the Service Chiefs that we should increase their funding of the Armed Forces, we should increase their logistics, we should increase the programme that will bring information to the security agencies.”

He added; “So, I support Mr. President that instead of changing the Service Chiefs he should rather increase their funding and increase the frequency of his meetings with them. And also encourage civil society to come up with information that will assist the security agencies.”

Clairvoyant minds have sighted the capacity of the Nigerian Army and believe that with a little support by government and the civil population, Gen. Buratai’s leadership of the Army will surmount all insecurities soonest. Gen.  Buratai’s leadership of the Army has seamlessly continued to win more converts for the Buhari administration, in degrees even far more than the core politicians. 

The latest verdict of Nigerians in the Southeast is crystal that the Service Chiefs, particularly the COAS are all performing excellent jobs. Gen. Buratai particularly has brought uncommon values and panache to the Army such as professionalism, discipline, loyalty and patriotism.  Even the doubting Thomases are now beginning to see the wisdom of President Buhari  in insisting on still keeping  the Service Chiefs in office. The effects are palpable, as seen by everyone from the activities of Operation Sahel Sanity in the Northwest to now the Southeast. #


Ogbu PhD wrote this piece from Ebonyi State University,
By Hyacinth Ogbu 

Worldwide, the Army traditionally plays the role of securing the sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations. Excitingly, in Nigeria, the Army has gone a notch higher by establishing its imprimatur as a strong agent of development through the provision of awful and charming infrastructural facilities and social amenities to various communities in the country which play host to them.

Never in the recent history of Nigeria has the country been troubled by multifaceted insecurities than what it is experiencing at the moment. To say, civil security has been overwhelmed by these orchestrated insecurities is stating the obvious. However, the Nigerian Army has never belched each time it is called for intervention; but rescues the endangered Nigerians.

And almost always, the Nigerian Army has been the last resort and proved its mettle as the guardian angel of the Nigerian people. In the Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and North Central, the Army has shadowed as great and admirable emancipators of a people trapped by a vicious circle of violence and bloodbath.

Even with the resurgent insecurities, the Army has risen to task, especially in containing the acts of armed banditry and other criminalities troubling the Northwest. The launch of “Operation Sahel Sanity” by the COAS and leader of the counter-insurgency operations, Lt. Gen. TY Buratai has landed with resounding success; restoring peace and security. 

President Muhammadu Buhari has never flinched on his responsibility of deploying the Army to assist civil security to provide security and to ensure that there is peace in every part of Nigeria. 

But sometimes, appreciation from beneficiaries of an effort or project is difficult and rare. It is normal with human beings. In any case, one part of Nigeria that  deeply appreciatives  and excited with the Nigerian Army is the Southeast. This is a region once held captive in their fatherland by armed criminal elements. 

These evil men masterminded gruesome murders, violence, constantly sealed up the Southeast unlawfully and recklessly in exercise of barbaric might. Citizens  were subjected to untold hardships in the region. Innocent and law-abiding Nigerians became targets of molestations, harassments and intimidations by the criminal elements assembled into various gangs. Many Ndi’gbo and our visitors were even afraid to travel home to celebrate yuletide and new yam  festivities because these elements laced the killings with armed robbery and kidnappings.

Nonetheless, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General TY Buratai launched the first military exercise code named “Operation Python Dance I” (Egwu Eke I), spanning from November 27 to December 27, 2016. The one-month military exercise crushed the season of armed robberies, kidnappings, cultism, inter-communal clashes, herdsmen-farmers clashes and associated violence in Nigeria’s Southeast region. The Army patrols, road blocks and checkpoints restored instant peace, tranquility and security to a people immensely troubled by bands of armed criminals, ethnic militias, miscreants and hoodlums.

Similarly, a repeat edition of the “Operation Python Dance II” (Egwu Eke II) was also conducted in the Southeast a year later, in 2017. It recorded similar positive impacts in securing the lives and property of law-abiding Nigerians in the region. Largely, the Nigerian Army has been able to rescue a region once in the jaws of armed men, tormentors and killers. Every part of Nigeria has experienced the saving interventions of the Army.

But apart from performing its natural and constitutional obligations, the Nigerian Army has marketed itself uniquely under the Buhari Presidency and its leadership by Gen. Buratai for introducing a third mandate in its operations. The Nigerian Army today is vigorously pursuing the agenda of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)  in various sectors in host communities across Nigeria.

Anywhere there is the presence of the Nigerian Army, the host communities have had the special privilege of benefitting from water, road, electricity projects or health services. It is a deliberate strategy by Gen. Buratai  to win the heart and minds of host communities as well as endear them  to the Army. These critical capital projects have immensely supported civilian populations.

Therefore in 2017 in the Southeast, the 82 Division, Nigerian Army built an over N200 million water plant at  its Abakpa Cantonment Enugu.  It was personally commissioned by Gen. Buratai. The water treatment plant with a capacity of over one million litres per day was conceptualized to serve the military personnel of the Abakpa cantonment and the members of the host community of Abakpa.

Strikingly, though, the primary source of the water plant is the Ekulu River, but the efforts of the Nigerian Army in constructing the water treatment plant is the first time the Abakpa community accessed treated, portable and hygienic water in the history of their existence.  The residents were faced with the severe problem of availability of water. The natives usually go to distant places in search of water to perform domestic chores. But the Army had ended the era of suffering over water.  

And the Army has not rested on its oars in pursuing the agenda of repositioning the Army as well as consolidating on CSR gestures and benevolence  to host communities. A few days ago, Gen. Buratai performed the ground-breaking ceremony of the Nigerian Army Reference Hospital at Nkwagu Cantonment, Abakaliki, Ebonyi state.

The Army Reference Hospital is conceptualized as  a world class and state-of-the-art hospital designed to serve both the  Nigerian Army personnel and the civil populace in the South-East region of the country generally. Access to quality healthcare has been a major problem in most communities in Nigeria.  This is where the excitement over the project is derived.

Therefore, the decision of the Nigerian Army to avail the people of the Southeast this rare health facility is commendable and a legacy the people will enjoy for generations. It is an indication that the Army leadership, does not only think about security of the people, but also the health and physical wellbeing of Nigerians.

An elated Ebonyi state Governor David Umahi was full of eulogies for the Nigerian Army. The action of the Army leadership in establishing the Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Abakaliki  has for the umpteenth time confirmed to the Governor that the Service Chiefs are indeed committed to defending the territorial integrity of the country and fond of the Nigerian people.

This latest action by the Army has compelled Gov. Umahi to stoutly dispute the National Assembly (NASS)on sack of the Service Chiefs. Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of  the Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Gov. Umahi hotly disputed the position of the NASS demanding  for the sack of the Service Chiefs in the wake of resurgent insecurities.

The Governor rather canvassed for more support and funding to security agencies.  Particularly, Umahi echoed that the Nigerian Army is not only appreciated in the region, but a blessing to the Southeast. 

His words; “I want to disagree with the National Assembly in my own view about the change of service chiefs. One thing I have realized is that we like change too much in this country. We want everybody to taste every seat. That is not what we need at this critical time of our security challenges. What we need is cooperation with the security agencies. The Chief of Army staff is also a very committed person. Very friendly to the civil society.”

Interpreting the issue  with the eye  and wisdom of an elder and a true leader, Gov. Umahi aligned with the position of President Buhari by insisting that “I will be suggesting to Mr. President in support of his retaining the Service Chiefs that we should increase their funding of the Armed Forces, we should increase their logistics, we should increase the programme that will bring information to the security agencies.”

He added; “So, I support Mr. President that instead of changing the Service Chiefs he should rather increase their funding and increase the frequency of his meetings with them. And also encourage civil society to come up with information that will assist the security agencies.”

Clairvoyant minds have sighted the capacity of the Nigerian Army and believe that with a little support by government and the civil population, Gen. Buratai’s leadership of the Army will surmount all insecurities soonest. Gen.  Buratai’s leadership of the Army has seamlessly continued to win more converts for the Buhari administration, in degrees even far more than the core politicians. 

The latest verdict of Nigerians in the Southeast is crystal that the Service Chiefs, particularly the COAS are all performing excellent jobs. Gen. Buratai particularly has brought uncommon values and panache to the Army such as professionalism, discipline, loyalty and patriotism.  Even the doubting Thomases are now beginning to see the wisdom of President Buhari  in insisting on still keeping  the Service Chiefs in office. The effects are palpable, as seen by everyone from the activities of Operation Sahel Sanity in the Northwest to now the Southeast. #


Ogbu PhD wrote this piece from Ebonyi State University,

Boko Haram : Understanding Why Borno Elites Must Do More, By Pita Agbese

Boko Haram : Understanding Why Borno Elites Must Do More, By Pita Agbese

 By Pita Agbese 

No insurgent group can operate for long by relying exclusively on its own resources. To operate beyond a few weeks, an insurgent group requires external resources such as money, territory, weapons, intelligence, materiel, and new recruits. It may also need ideological support derived from common ethnic, religious or regional identities. These resources may be given voluntarily, or the insurgent group may acquire them forcefully through looting and pillage. For instance, the insurgent group may be able to raise a huge sum of money from groups in the diaspora with which it shares bonds of ethnicity or religious identities. Such an avenue of funding from Palestinians living outside the Israeli-occupied territories has been crucial for the survival of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Without cutting off its sources of funding, it is difficult if not impossible to defeat an insurgent group. Thus, the resiliency of an insurgent group is the function of its support base.
Boko Haram, an insurgent group based largely in the North East geopolitical zone and using terrorism as its main insurgent strategy, has been terrorizing Nigeria and its closest neighbors, Chad, Cameron and Niger, since its violent phase began in 2009. It has survived, despite military and diplomatic onslaught by Nigeria and its neighbors, for more than eleven years. Part of its ability to survive has been its clever adaptability to changing circumstances, For instance, by establishing linkages with Islamic terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Islamic State, it has been able to draw on weapons, funding and fighters. As important as foreign assistance has been to Boko Haram’s resiliency, it could not have operated without assistance, voluntary or coerced, from its immediate geographical area of operation. It first, much of this assistance was coerced. Boko Haram would raid a village and steal food, looting banks and pilfering other essential commodities. It also killed people, abducted women and children and conscript men and young boys as fighters. Boko Haram has relied on assassinations of targeted individuals and those opposed to its ideology. Terrorizing people in the North East Zone and pillaging their resources allowed Boko Haram to sustain itself. Terrorism and pillaging were particularly useful to the terrorist organization when it seized a large swathe of Nigerian territory even before receiving outside help. Today, it no longer controls much of any territory. The thirteen local government areas that it had seized have been taking away from it.
Although Boko Haram no longer controls any definable territory of the Nigerian federation, it is still able to launch deadly attacks on the Nigerian population and the Nigerian armed forces. As military operations against the terrorist group has mounted, it has resorted to ambushing Nigerian soldiers. It is no longer able to launch spectacular attacks as it did in bombing police headquarters and UN offices in Abuja, but it remains a very deadly force. It has killed scores of Nigerian soldiers in the last few months. Much of its successes against the soldiers has derived from its ability to gather actionable intelligence on troop movements.

There are speculations that Boko Haram gains intelligence on troop movements because of saboteurs within the armed forces. While such rumors cannot be dismissed with flippancy, it must be noted that Boko Haram cannot gather such intelligence and operate with deadly accuracy without some open or tacit support from the local communities where it operates. Whether such support is voluntary or coerced, it must be recognized that military actions alone, short of a scorched-earth policy, would not eradicate the scourge of Boko Haram. As frustrating as it is not to unleash every firepower in the arsenal of the Nigerian armed forces against Boko Haram, that frustration must be tempered with the reality that fighting against Boko Haram in ways that violate Nigerian and international law would be counterproductive.

The only viable option is to engender greater cooperation from the communities where Boko Haram operates. First, it must be clearly demonstrated to the communities that despite sharing ethnic, religious and regional affinities with Boko Haram, Boko Haram’s goals are antithetical to the welfare, peace and security of the zone. What does Boko Haram want and how are its goals and objective in direct conflict with the interests of the people in the region? The terrorist group has spelt out its goals and objectives. It has also vividly made clear through extreme violence, the strategies it uses and intends to use in achieving its set goals and objectives.
Boko Haram’s aims and objectives are quite clear. Its’ leader, Abubakar Shekau, has publicly stated what the group stands for. As he puts it, “we are an Islamic caliphate. We have nothing to do Nigeria. We don’t believe in this name.” Among the most fundamental of Boko Haram’s goals and objectives are following: the overthrow of the Nigerian government and its replacement it with an Islamic State; the rejection of Westernization, including forbidding any participation in Western-style political activity such as voting in elections and running as candidates; and prohibition against engagement in social activities. Boko Haram also rejects Western-style secular education and it seeks to replace secular education with an unspecified Islamic education. The terrorist group is particularly vehemently opposed to girls receiving Western education and it has demonstrated its disdain and its total rejection of Western education by killing students, abducting them and forcefully marrying off the female students, and bombing schools as well as assassinating teachers. Boko Haram rejects the Nigerian government labelling its leaders, even if they are Muslims, as infidels.
Until March 2015 when Boko Haram was forcibly driven out of the Nigerian territories that it had seized, Boko Haram had established what it called an Islamic State in those territories. We therefore have a clear idea of the type of society Boko Haram would create if its goal of overthrowing the Nigerian government was met. It would be a deadly and an ultra-conservative and highly theocratic state. Although it would be said to be an Islamic state, it would have very little resemblance to Islam. While Islam reveres learning and knowledge, Boko Haram’s Islamic caliphate would be anchored on abhorrence to learning and knowledge. It would be a caliphate steeped in ignorance and fear of knowledge. Boko Haram’s caliphate, from what we saw of the territories that it briefly administered, would be a highly autocratic state. It would not be rooted in justice, even for its Muslim population. It would also be a state anchored on prejudice as the non-Muslim population under its control would be subjected to extreme oppression, brutality and brigandage. Shekau himself has justified the abduction of non-Muslim girls proclaiming that Islam gives him right to enslave such abductees.

Most of the victims of Boko Haram’s capricious rule would be Muslims. This is already quite clear. Although proclaiming that it was fighting for Islam, most of Boko Haram’s victims have been Muslims. Yes, Boko Haram has attacked churches and killed hundreds of Christians but a large majority of its victims, in terms of those assassinated and bombed out of existence, have been Muslims. Thus, for Muslims openly and tacitly supporting the terrorist group, the sobering lesson is that if Boko Haram succeeds in its objectives, Muslims would be the worse for it. Muslims would not receive any education at all because while Boko Haram makes vague references to Islamic education, the contents of such education remain inchoate. Moreover, where are the teachers who would provide Boko Haram’s style of Islamic education?
Second, the fact that Boko Haram is willing to bring in foreign terrorists to help it overthrow the Nigerian government should be of concern to people in Boko Haram’s major theater of operation. If Boko Haram succeeds, it would deprive the people of their Nigerian identity without being able to provide a better identity for its inhabitants. A Boko Haram caliphate over Nigeria would be a pariah state. It cannot count on cooperation among its neighbors. It would have to deal with the Western countries whose culture and whose education Boko Haram has rejected, from a very weak position.

What Must Be Done

The Nigerian military needs maximum cooperation from communities in the North-East Zone to be able to decimate, and ultimately, eliminate Boko Haram. Some of the communities have set up vigilantes in the form of civilian joint task forces. This is commendable. Some members of these outfits have paid the supreme sacrifice as they have been killed by Boko Haram. While this level of cooperation is appreciated, it is not enough. The military needs other forms of proactive cooperation. It needs prompt and effective intelligence on Boko Haram to enable it launch attacks on the group and in helping to forestall attacks by Boko Haram. The military also requires the communities to stop aiding and abetting Boko Haram and from shielding Boko Haram leaders and fighters from justice.

It is equally important for people in the North-East Zone to recognize that Boko Haram cannot overthrow the Nigerian government or over-run the entire country. At best, Boko Haram may succeed in capturing and holding a swathe of the country but its ability to extend its territorial control beyond a few local government areas in the North-East is highly circumscribed. We have seen the dastardly acts that pass for Boko Haram’s administration of a conquered territory. I do not think that most people in that part of Nigeria would look forward to that type of violent, oppressive and capricious governance.

While some people may be taken in by Boko Haram’s trenchant criticisms of the Nigerian government as corrupt, it should be noted that Boko Haram does not present any viable alternative to corruption in Nigeria. In fact, a Boko Haram administration, as we have seen in the brief period it governed the occupied territories, is far more corrupt than the Nigerian government whose corruption Boko Haram condemns. It is corruption for the Boko Haram leadership to send young men, other people’s children, to die while Boko Haram leaders stay away from the battlefield.

Communities in the North-East must refrain from cooperating with Boko Haram, openly or tacitly. They also stop seeing members of Boko Haram as their own people. Boko Haram does not see them as their brothers and sisters, fathers and grandfathers and mothers, sisters and aunts. They just see them as objects to be sacrificed to attain their atrocious and immoral goals and objectives.

Prof Agbese is a scholar at the University of Northern Iowa, USA.
 By Pita Agbese 

No insurgent group can operate for long by relying exclusively on its own resources. To operate beyond a few weeks, an insurgent group requires external resources such as money, territory, weapons, intelligence, materiel, and new recruits. It may also need ideological support derived from common ethnic, religious or regional identities. These resources may be given voluntarily, or the insurgent group may acquire them forcefully through looting and pillage. For instance, the insurgent group may be able to raise a huge sum of money from groups in the diaspora with which it shares bonds of ethnicity or religious identities. Such an avenue of funding from Palestinians living outside the Israeli-occupied territories has been crucial for the survival of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Without cutting off its sources of funding, it is difficult if not impossible to defeat an insurgent group. Thus, the resiliency of an insurgent group is the function of its support base.
Boko Haram, an insurgent group based largely in the North East geopolitical zone and using terrorism as its main insurgent strategy, has been terrorizing Nigeria and its closest neighbors, Chad, Cameron and Niger, since its violent phase began in 2009. It has survived, despite military and diplomatic onslaught by Nigeria and its neighbors, for more than eleven years. Part of its ability to survive has been its clever adaptability to changing circumstances, For instance, by establishing linkages with Islamic terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Islamic State, it has been able to draw on weapons, funding and fighters. As important as foreign assistance has been to Boko Haram’s resiliency, it could not have operated without assistance, voluntary or coerced, from its immediate geographical area of operation. It first, much of this assistance was coerced. Boko Haram would raid a village and steal food, looting banks and pilfering other essential commodities. It also killed people, abducted women and children and conscript men and young boys as fighters. Boko Haram has relied on assassinations of targeted individuals and those opposed to its ideology. Terrorizing people in the North East Zone and pillaging their resources allowed Boko Haram to sustain itself. Terrorism and pillaging were particularly useful to the terrorist organization when it seized a large swathe of Nigerian territory even before receiving outside help. Today, it no longer controls much of any territory. The thirteen local government areas that it had seized have been taking away from it.
Although Boko Haram no longer controls any definable territory of the Nigerian federation, it is still able to launch deadly attacks on the Nigerian population and the Nigerian armed forces. As military operations against the terrorist group has mounted, it has resorted to ambushing Nigerian soldiers. It is no longer able to launch spectacular attacks as it did in bombing police headquarters and UN offices in Abuja, but it remains a very deadly force. It has killed scores of Nigerian soldiers in the last few months. Much of its successes against the soldiers has derived from its ability to gather actionable intelligence on troop movements.

There are speculations that Boko Haram gains intelligence on troop movements because of saboteurs within the armed forces. While such rumors cannot be dismissed with flippancy, it must be noted that Boko Haram cannot gather such intelligence and operate with deadly accuracy without some open or tacit support from the local communities where it operates. Whether such support is voluntary or coerced, it must be recognized that military actions alone, short of a scorched-earth policy, would not eradicate the scourge of Boko Haram. As frustrating as it is not to unleash every firepower in the arsenal of the Nigerian armed forces against Boko Haram, that frustration must be tempered with the reality that fighting against Boko Haram in ways that violate Nigerian and international law would be counterproductive.

The only viable option is to engender greater cooperation from the communities where Boko Haram operates. First, it must be clearly demonstrated to the communities that despite sharing ethnic, religious and regional affinities with Boko Haram, Boko Haram’s goals are antithetical to the welfare, peace and security of the zone. What does Boko Haram want and how are its goals and objective in direct conflict with the interests of the people in the region? The terrorist group has spelt out its goals and objectives. It has also vividly made clear through extreme violence, the strategies it uses and intends to use in achieving its set goals and objectives.
Boko Haram’s aims and objectives are quite clear. Its’ leader, Abubakar Shekau, has publicly stated what the group stands for. As he puts it, “we are an Islamic caliphate. We have nothing to do Nigeria. We don’t believe in this name.” Among the most fundamental of Boko Haram’s goals and objectives are following: the overthrow of the Nigerian government and its replacement it with an Islamic State; the rejection of Westernization, including forbidding any participation in Western-style political activity such as voting in elections and running as candidates; and prohibition against engagement in social activities. Boko Haram also rejects Western-style secular education and it seeks to replace secular education with an unspecified Islamic education. The terrorist group is particularly vehemently opposed to girls receiving Western education and it has demonstrated its disdain and its total rejection of Western education by killing students, abducting them and forcefully marrying off the female students, and bombing schools as well as assassinating teachers. Boko Haram rejects the Nigerian government labelling its leaders, even if they are Muslims, as infidels.
Until March 2015 when Boko Haram was forcibly driven out of the Nigerian territories that it had seized, Boko Haram had established what it called an Islamic State in those territories. We therefore have a clear idea of the type of society Boko Haram would create if its goal of overthrowing the Nigerian government was met. It would be a deadly and an ultra-conservative and highly theocratic state. Although it would be said to be an Islamic state, it would have very little resemblance to Islam. While Islam reveres learning and knowledge, Boko Haram’s Islamic caliphate would be anchored on abhorrence to learning and knowledge. It would be a caliphate steeped in ignorance and fear of knowledge. Boko Haram’s caliphate, from what we saw of the territories that it briefly administered, would be a highly autocratic state. It would not be rooted in justice, even for its Muslim population. It would also be a state anchored on prejudice as the non-Muslim population under its control would be subjected to extreme oppression, brutality and brigandage. Shekau himself has justified the abduction of non-Muslim girls proclaiming that Islam gives him right to enslave such abductees.

Most of the victims of Boko Haram’s capricious rule would be Muslims. This is already quite clear. Although proclaiming that it was fighting for Islam, most of Boko Haram’s victims have been Muslims. Yes, Boko Haram has attacked churches and killed hundreds of Christians but a large majority of its victims, in terms of those assassinated and bombed out of existence, have been Muslims. Thus, for Muslims openly and tacitly supporting the terrorist group, the sobering lesson is that if Boko Haram succeeds in its objectives, Muslims would be the worse for it. Muslims would not receive any education at all because while Boko Haram makes vague references to Islamic education, the contents of such education remain inchoate. Moreover, where are the teachers who would provide Boko Haram’s style of Islamic education?
Second, the fact that Boko Haram is willing to bring in foreign terrorists to help it overthrow the Nigerian government should be of concern to people in Boko Haram’s major theater of operation. If Boko Haram succeeds, it would deprive the people of their Nigerian identity without being able to provide a better identity for its inhabitants. A Boko Haram caliphate over Nigeria would be a pariah state. It cannot count on cooperation among its neighbors. It would have to deal with the Western countries whose culture and whose education Boko Haram has rejected, from a very weak position.

What Must Be Done

The Nigerian military needs maximum cooperation from communities in the North-East Zone to be able to decimate, and ultimately, eliminate Boko Haram. Some of the communities have set up vigilantes in the form of civilian joint task forces. This is commendable. Some members of these outfits have paid the supreme sacrifice as they have been killed by Boko Haram. While this level of cooperation is appreciated, it is not enough. The military needs other forms of proactive cooperation. It needs prompt and effective intelligence on Boko Haram to enable it launch attacks on the group and in helping to forestall attacks by Boko Haram. The military also requires the communities to stop aiding and abetting Boko Haram and from shielding Boko Haram leaders and fighters from justice.

It is equally important for people in the North-East Zone to recognize that Boko Haram cannot overthrow the Nigerian government or over-run the entire country. At best, Boko Haram may succeed in capturing and holding a swathe of the country but its ability to extend its territorial control beyond a few local government areas in the North-East is highly circumscribed. We have seen the dastardly acts that pass for Boko Haram’s administration of a conquered territory. I do not think that most people in that part of Nigeria would look forward to that type of violent, oppressive and capricious governance.

While some people may be taken in by Boko Haram’s trenchant criticisms of the Nigerian government as corrupt, it should be noted that Boko Haram does not present any viable alternative to corruption in Nigeria. In fact, a Boko Haram administration, as we have seen in the brief period it governed the occupied territories, is far more corrupt than the Nigerian government whose corruption Boko Haram condemns. It is corruption for the Boko Haram leadership to send young men, other people’s children, to die while Boko Haram leaders stay away from the battlefield.

Communities in the North-East must refrain from cooperating with Boko Haram, openly or tacitly. They also stop seeing members of Boko Haram as their own people. Boko Haram does not see them as their brothers and sisters, fathers and grandfathers and mothers, sisters and aunts. They just see them as objects to be sacrificed to attain their atrocious and immoral goals and objectives.

Prof Agbese is a scholar at the University of Northern Iowa, USA.

Buhari’s charming gestures to the South-East through Nigerian Army, By Stanley Ogbu

Buhari’s charming gestures to the South-East through Nigerian Army, By Stanley Ogbu

By Stanley Ogbu 
President Muhammadu Buhari is fast enchanting the hearts of South-Easterners with some improbable gestures through the Nigerian Army. Even the worst critic of the president is falling for his allure. Who wouldn't? In the last five years, President Buhari has brought steady development and progress to the region, unmatched by his predecessors. 

The groundbreaking ceremony of the Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Nkwagu Military Cantonment, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State is the latest. While this innovation has attracted widespread compliment, it is just another in a long list of numerous projects to alleviate the plight of the masses in the region.

Since assuming office in 2015, President Buhari has succeeded in changing the ill-perception of sentiment and bias driven against a particular zone. In the South-East, in particular, some forecasted that the president would chastise the region for not supporting his re-election.  

Not minding such intuition and criticisms, however, President Buhari like the true nationalist that he is, has continued to provide succour to the vast majority of the populace and drive projects that would have meaningful impacts on the lives of Nigerians irrespective of region.

The Army Reference Hospital in Abakaliki, according to the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, is designed to provide easily accessible and adequate health care services to Nigerian Army personnel and their families as well as the host communities.

This means the medical facility will not be for the exclusive access of military personnel, rather would serve the entire host community. 

As a strong critic of the Buhari administration and one who fervently opposed his election, I must admit that the passion this administration has shown in the development of the South-East made me swallow my words, without water. 

I vehemently opposed Buhari's presidency for three major reasons. Like many others, I was made to believe that his only agenda for the South-East is to deny it of any tangible project and to further make the region insecure, something of revenge for not supporting him.

I was one of those who had misinterpreted the president when he said those that gave him five per cent cannot be expected to be treated equally with others that offered more. Clearly, I blew the statement out of proportion.

However, with the ongoing projects in the South-East under this administration, I admit misjudging the president, hence I've begun to review my stand. 

Apart from the Second Niger Bridge which work has gone far and looked promising for delivery, the Buhari administration has shown that it has the interest of all at heart. 

Like the Army Reference Hospital in Abakaliki which construction is to start in earnest, the interventions of the administration in the region through the military, particularly the Nigerian Army, have been most remarkable. 

For one perceived to loathe the South-East, I was shocked when the same president approved the payment of the entitlements of war veterans that fought during the civil war.

The president is using the Army as a tool to touch more Nigerians. The South-East and indeed other parts of Nigerian have profited immensely from its Corporate Social Responsibility since the appointment of Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai. 

The Nigerian Army, in the past half-decade, provided basic social amenities aplenty in the region just as in other parts of the country.  Chiefly among them, potable drinking water, construction of bridges, the establishment of health centre res, provision of clothing and food items to communities. 

According to the Chief of Army Staff, these projects and services are meant to strengthen the existing civil-military relations and turn the minds of Nigerians towards the positive actions of the Nigerian Army towards providing security and development in the country.

More impressive, though, the ventures cut across religious and ethnic barriers in the six geopolitical zones of the country. In the South-East, for instance, Central Primary School in Akpochiro and medical centres in Mbaito, both in Imo State were renovated.

The Nigerian Army took this Corporate Social Responsibility to another level by inaugurating four solar-powered water projects in different settlements in Obeititu autonomous community of Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State.

A glut of intervention programmes in the six geopolitical zones of the country has aided the army to provide other essential services in the region which includes assisting civil authority initiatives in the provision of essential services like petroleum product distribution, telecommunications, medical and educational services.

The Nigerian Army, in a bid to ensure peace and security in all parts of the country also stepped ahead to settle disputes and conflicts in the South-East. It held a stakeholders peace meeting involving traditional, religious, political and youth leaders with the conflicting communities of Azuofia Edda, Okpuitumo, Ofomana in Osopong community of Abakaliki Local Government Area in Ebonyi State and their counterparts in Ogorude and Ofumuna communities in Obubra Local Government Area of Cross River State. 

On top of that, the Nigerian medical and other corps have also been rendering invaluable services to communities thereby alleviating the suffering of the masses. And in the bid to enhance the cordial relationship with the civil populace, the military commissioned an Armed Forces Radio for swift dissemination of information. The army then established a team to monitor and report human rights violations by soldiers.

Further to that in 2016, it set up a desk to prevent human right violations while ensuring close monitoring of such allegations. More are in the pipeline. For now, let Ndi'Igbo cut the president some slack. He deserves our support. 

Ogbu is a legal practitioner based in Abakaliki.
By Stanley Ogbu 
President Muhammadu Buhari is fast enchanting the hearts of South-Easterners with some improbable gestures through the Nigerian Army. Even the worst critic of the president is falling for his allure. Who wouldn't? In the last five years, President Buhari has brought steady development and progress to the region, unmatched by his predecessors. 

The groundbreaking ceremony of the Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Nkwagu Military Cantonment, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State is the latest. While this innovation has attracted widespread compliment, it is just another in a long list of numerous projects to alleviate the plight of the masses in the region.

Since assuming office in 2015, President Buhari has succeeded in changing the ill-perception of sentiment and bias driven against a particular zone. In the South-East, in particular, some forecasted that the president would chastise the region for not supporting his re-election.  

Not minding such intuition and criticisms, however, President Buhari like the true nationalist that he is, has continued to provide succour to the vast majority of the populace and drive projects that would have meaningful impacts on the lives of Nigerians irrespective of region.

The Army Reference Hospital in Abakaliki, according to the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, is designed to provide easily accessible and adequate health care services to Nigerian Army personnel and their families as well as the host communities.

This means the medical facility will not be for the exclusive access of military personnel, rather would serve the entire host community. 

As a strong critic of the Buhari administration and one who fervently opposed his election, I must admit that the passion this administration has shown in the development of the South-East made me swallow my words, without water. 

I vehemently opposed Buhari's presidency for three major reasons. Like many others, I was made to believe that his only agenda for the South-East is to deny it of any tangible project and to further make the region insecure, something of revenge for not supporting him.

I was one of those who had misinterpreted the president when he said those that gave him five per cent cannot be expected to be treated equally with others that offered more. Clearly, I blew the statement out of proportion.

However, with the ongoing projects in the South-East under this administration, I admit misjudging the president, hence I've begun to review my stand. 

Apart from the Second Niger Bridge which work has gone far and looked promising for delivery, the Buhari administration has shown that it has the interest of all at heart. 

Like the Army Reference Hospital in Abakaliki which construction is to start in earnest, the interventions of the administration in the region through the military, particularly the Nigerian Army, have been most remarkable. 

For one perceived to loathe the South-East, I was shocked when the same president approved the payment of the entitlements of war veterans that fought during the civil war.

The president is using the Army as a tool to touch more Nigerians. The South-East and indeed other parts of Nigerian have profited immensely from its Corporate Social Responsibility since the appointment of Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai. 

The Nigerian Army, in the past half-decade, provided basic social amenities aplenty in the region just as in other parts of the country.  Chiefly among them, potable drinking water, construction of bridges, the establishment of health centre res, provision of clothing and food items to communities. 

According to the Chief of Army Staff, these projects and services are meant to strengthen the existing civil-military relations and turn the minds of Nigerians towards the positive actions of the Nigerian Army towards providing security and development in the country.

More impressive, though, the ventures cut across religious and ethnic barriers in the six geopolitical zones of the country. In the South-East, for instance, Central Primary School in Akpochiro and medical centres in Mbaito, both in Imo State were renovated.

The Nigerian Army took this Corporate Social Responsibility to another level by inaugurating four solar-powered water projects in different settlements in Obeititu autonomous community of Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State.

A glut of intervention programmes in the six geopolitical zones of the country has aided the army to provide other essential services in the region which includes assisting civil authority initiatives in the provision of essential services like petroleum product distribution, telecommunications, medical and educational services.

The Nigerian Army, in a bid to ensure peace and security in all parts of the country also stepped ahead to settle disputes and conflicts in the South-East. It held a stakeholders peace meeting involving traditional, religious, political and youth leaders with the conflicting communities of Azuofia Edda, Okpuitumo, Ofomana in Osopong community of Abakaliki Local Government Area in Ebonyi State and their counterparts in Ogorude and Ofumuna communities in Obubra Local Government Area of Cross River State. 

On top of that, the Nigerian medical and other corps have also been rendering invaluable services to communities thereby alleviating the suffering of the masses. And in the bid to enhance the cordial relationship with the civil populace, the military commissioned an Armed Forces Radio for swift dissemination of information. The army then established a team to monitor and report human rights violations by soldiers.

Further to that in 2016, it set up a desk to prevent human right violations while ensuring close monitoring of such allegations. More are in the pipeline. For now, let Ndi'Igbo cut the president some slack. He deserves our support. 

Ogbu is a legal practitioner based in Abakaliki.

Our Governors and the security threats in northern Nigeria, By Ghazali Al-Mustapha

Our Governors and the security threats in northern Nigeria, By Ghazali Al-Mustapha



By Ghazali Al-Mustapha 

It is now a common sight for governors to sprint to Abuja to seek respite each time there's perceived security breach in their respective states. They do so at a lightning pace. Usain Bolt will feel like a proud father. 

In their customary pattern, the governors are billed to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari again later this week after Tuesday's National Security Council meeting. The planned gathering has drawn concern from across the board, especially after the purported attack on the convoy of Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, said to be on his way back after distributing relief materials to Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs.

There were also claims of an attempt by insurgents to take over the state capital, Maiduguri in addition to the security challenges in Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna, Niger, Plateau and Benue states where banditry, abductions and cattle rustling have become rife. 

As the governors prepare to embark on another athletic exercise, however, the focus has once again shifted from the main issues resulting in the security threats in the north to politics. Once more, certain forces have tried to paint a gory image, depicting that the insecurity has to do with the Service Chiefs.

The President, though, by involving relevant stakeholders like the governors and other political appointees for the next meeting has shown that he understands the issues beyond a single narrative and is willing to interrogate the situation at the appropriate quarters. On their part, meanwhile, the governors exhibited despondency and utter cluelessness whenever security issues arise. 

The governors hide under the ridiculous fabric that since they do not control any of the security agencies, the mandate falls on the Federal Government to address such problems. Doing so, they completely ignore the fact that as chief executives of specific spaces, they constitute the first line of defence with their constitutionally assigned roles of ensuring the security and well being of citizens in their respective states.

Recall that at the end of a meeting with the President on security matters in 2017, the state governors were made to realise their greater roles in providing adequate security for citizens even more than Abuja. The same year, the Northern Governors’ Forum met and decided to collectively tackle the issue of insecurity bedevilling the region as one entity instead of leaving it to the individual states affected to do so.

In a communiqué read by the chairman of the forum, then Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, the governors took other measures like resolving to accept the recommendations of the Body of the Attorneys General of the 19 Northern States to domesticate the model Penal and  Fiscal Responsibility Law and the model Administration of Criminal Justice Law through the necessary legislative actions by subjecting them to the individual peculiarities of the states.

They also identified some of the factors that make the security situation in the region intractable to the porous borders which they say allows criminal elements to move freely within the West African sub-region; access to arms through the black-market and the lack of strong legal framework.

The governors went further admitting that the huge forests in the north allow bandits to easily move from a place, making it difficult to engage them in combat.

But they unanimously agreed that the military has been overtasked with the task of ensuring adequate security as they were in operation in almost all parts of the country. 

This underscores the fact that the issues are beyond what combat operations alone can handle. Additional proactive measures must be taken to avoid deterioration to the point where military engagement would be required like putting in place a comprehensive business plan as well as opening discussions to boost power supply and offer financial assistance to citizens. They acknowledged that the military has done much to reduce the magnitude of violence in the region.

For instance from 2009 when violence broke out in the Northeast till now, the military has done a lot to bring the situation under control. These are obvious in the fact that the military had recaptured an area spanning 20 local councils with a population of about two million inhabitants in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States once taken over and declared a caliphate by the insurgents.

Admittedly, so much was lost due to the activities of the insurgents; the destruction of infrastructure and large-scale humanitarian crisis owing to the sacking of many communities. But the military was able to reverse all that, making it difficult for the terrorists to continue such attacks while opening markets and roads hitherto closed.

Governors and politicians in states like Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe which were initially ravaged by Boko Haram have taken the initiative to cooperate fully with the military in terms of logistical support, frequent consultations and provision of relevant actionable intelligence.

They have also made steps to disabuse the minds of their youths against violence, engaging them in productive economic activities and involving communities in early detection. However, their counterpart in Borno and to some extent, Yobe, have fallen short in that regard.

This perhaps explains why insurgency has almost been obliterated in the aforementioned states yet continued to escalate in Borno and Yobe as the governors and elders abandoned their own duties to the military. 

The current governor of Borno, unfortunately, unlike his colleagues, seems not to have grasped the enormity of the task on his shoulders, instead of jumping at the slightest instance to blame the military. He isn't alone, though. 

The politicals elites in Borno have remained on the sidelines, doing almost nothing to support the military. There are reports that they chose to act that way as they were profiting from the smuggling businesses and the take over of the multi-million naira fishing business in Baga.

There's is also the report of the lack of conscious efforts to reduce the level of poverty in Borno which is making insurgency to thrive in the state.

One, however, expects that since the stakeholders and political class have realized that the military cannot do all, they should have stepped up efforts, embarking on alternative dispute resolution mechanism, ensuring fairness and justice in the conflict between communities and providing the enabling environment for all citizens to cohabit with one another without any fear of molestation. 

To tackle insecurity squarely, Zulum and other governors obviously need to do more than embark on their usual trip to Abuja. They have to provide leadership at the various levels including the local government and communities.

They need to ensure that political thugs who were armed during the last elections are disarmed and deradicalized as quickly as possible. The governor also needs to be in constant consultation with citizens of their respective states. Only then can they dash to the nation's capital and no one would bother. Absolutely none.

Al-Mustapha is a security expert and wrote from Kaduna.


By Ghazali Al-Mustapha 

It is now a common sight for governors to sprint to Abuja to seek respite each time there's perceived security breach in their respective states. They do so at a lightning pace. Usain Bolt will feel like a proud father. 

In their customary pattern, the governors are billed to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari again later this week after Tuesday's National Security Council meeting. The planned gathering has drawn concern from across the board, especially after the purported attack on the convoy of Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, said to be on his way back after distributing relief materials to Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs.

There were also claims of an attempt by insurgents to take over the state capital, Maiduguri in addition to the security challenges in Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna, Niger, Plateau and Benue states where banditry, abductions and cattle rustling have become rife. 

As the governors prepare to embark on another athletic exercise, however, the focus has once again shifted from the main issues resulting in the security threats in the north to politics. Once more, certain forces have tried to paint a gory image, depicting that the insecurity has to do with the Service Chiefs.

The President, though, by involving relevant stakeholders like the governors and other political appointees for the next meeting has shown that he understands the issues beyond a single narrative and is willing to interrogate the situation at the appropriate quarters. On their part, meanwhile, the governors exhibited despondency and utter cluelessness whenever security issues arise. 

The governors hide under the ridiculous fabric that since they do not control any of the security agencies, the mandate falls on the Federal Government to address such problems. Doing so, they completely ignore the fact that as chief executives of specific spaces, they constitute the first line of defence with their constitutionally assigned roles of ensuring the security and well being of citizens in their respective states.

Recall that at the end of a meeting with the President on security matters in 2017, the state governors were made to realise their greater roles in providing adequate security for citizens even more than Abuja. The same year, the Northern Governors’ Forum met and decided to collectively tackle the issue of insecurity bedevilling the region as one entity instead of leaving it to the individual states affected to do so.

In a communiqué read by the chairman of the forum, then Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, the governors took other measures like resolving to accept the recommendations of the Body of the Attorneys General of the 19 Northern States to domesticate the model Penal and  Fiscal Responsibility Law and the model Administration of Criminal Justice Law through the necessary legislative actions by subjecting them to the individual peculiarities of the states.

They also identified some of the factors that make the security situation in the region intractable to the porous borders which they say allows criminal elements to move freely within the West African sub-region; access to arms through the black-market and the lack of strong legal framework.

The governors went further admitting that the huge forests in the north allow bandits to easily move from a place, making it difficult to engage them in combat.

But they unanimously agreed that the military has been overtasked with the task of ensuring adequate security as they were in operation in almost all parts of the country. 

This underscores the fact that the issues are beyond what combat operations alone can handle. Additional proactive measures must be taken to avoid deterioration to the point where military engagement would be required like putting in place a comprehensive business plan as well as opening discussions to boost power supply and offer financial assistance to citizens. They acknowledged that the military has done much to reduce the magnitude of violence in the region.

For instance from 2009 when violence broke out in the Northeast till now, the military has done a lot to bring the situation under control. These are obvious in the fact that the military had recaptured an area spanning 20 local councils with a population of about two million inhabitants in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States once taken over and declared a caliphate by the insurgents.

Admittedly, so much was lost due to the activities of the insurgents; the destruction of infrastructure and large-scale humanitarian crisis owing to the sacking of many communities. But the military was able to reverse all that, making it difficult for the terrorists to continue such attacks while opening markets and roads hitherto closed.

Governors and politicians in states like Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe which were initially ravaged by Boko Haram have taken the initiative to cooperate fully with the military in terms of logistical support, frequent consultations and provision of relevant actionable intelligence.

They have also made steps to disabuse the minds of their youths against violence, engaging them in productive economic activities and involving communities in early detection. However, their counterpart in Borno and to some extent, Yobe, have fallen short in that regard.

This perhaps explains why insurgency has almost been obliterated in the aforementioned states yet continued to escalate in Borno and Yobe as the governors and elders abandoned their own duties to the military. 

The current governor of Borno, unfortunately, unlike his colleagues, seems not to have grasped the enormity of the task on his shoulders, instead of jumping at the slightest instance to blame the military. He isn't alone, though. 

The politicals elites in Borno have remained on the sidelines, doing almost nothing to support the military. There are reports that they chose to act that way as they were profiting from the smuggling businesses and the take over of the multi-million naira fishing business in Baga.

There's is also the report of the lack of conscious efforts to reduce the level of poverty in Borno which is making insurgency to thrive in the state.

One, however, expects that since the stakeholders and political class have realized that the military cannot do all, they should have stepped up efforts, embarking on alternative dispute resolution mechanism, ensuring fairness and justice in the conflict between communities and providing the enabling environment for all citizens to cohabit with one another without any fear of molestation. 

To tackle insecurity squarely, Zulum and other governors obviously need to do more than embark on their usual trip to Abuja. They have to provide leadership at the various levels including the local government and communities.

They need to ensure that political thugs who were armed during the last elections are disarmed and deradicalized as quickly as possible. The governor also needs to be in constant consultation with citizens of their respective states. Only then can they dash to the nation's capital and no one would bother. Absolutely none.

Al-Mustapha is a security expert and wrote from Kaduna.

Lack of political collaboration, not military sabotage responsible for the resurgence of Boko Haram, ex-Senate President, Ebute writes Governors Forum

Lack of political collaboration, not military sabotage responsible for the resurgence of Boko Haram, ex-Senate President, Ebute writes Governors Forum

By Dansu Peter 

Third Republic Senate President, Senator Ameh Ebute, says a lack of political collaboration and not sabotage on the military's part is behind renewed Boko Haram/ISWAP activities in the country. 

The elder statesman made this known in an open letter to the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) on Wednesday.

According to Senator Ebute, while Boko Haram/ISWAP threats have almost vanished in neighbouring states, it persists in Borno due to the unwillingness of political leaders to partner and support the military. 

The erstwhile lawmaker urged the NGF to call their counterpart from Borno, Babagana Zulum, to order, adding that his administration hasn't been cooperative with authorities towards ending the Boko Haram scourge. 

"If the truth must be told, with the way and manner the political authorities in the state are treating the threats posed by Boko Haram, we might experience the worse soon," the letter reads in part.

"In our opinion, it is an anomaly to assume that the task of securing Borno State is the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government alone. 

"The case of Borno state is unfortunate because it has remained the unresolvable base of the insurgency not because the Federal Government has not lived up to expectations, but because the current government in the state has not deemed it necessary to support the military in their operations.

"Has the state government been cooperative with the military authorities towards ending the Boko Haram scourge? These questions are because all we see in the media is either the state Governor is attacking military commanders at checkpoints or his Deputy speaking to our selfless men and women in a very derogatory manner."

Ebute further advised Zulum to take a queue from governors of Yobe, Bauchi, Adamawa and Gombe states, all of whom, according to the ex-Senate President have always been on the side of the troops. 

The reverse, he said, has dampened the morale of the troops and in turn, bolstered criminal activities. 

His words: "The governors of Yobe, Bauchi, and Adamawa and Gombe states have indeed set examples worthy of emulation for their continuous support towards ensuring there is no resurgence of Boko Haram in their domains. This they have achieved by working day and night with the military."

Challenging the governors to avail more resources for the military, Senator Ebute, however, reiterated that the troops must be encouraged and appreciated to continue to give in their best in the task at hand. 

"Governors as Chief Security Officers are aware that resources are needed in security operations. As such, they must advocate for more resources for the military to aid their operations," he said. 

"The military must be encouraged and appreciated to continue to give in their best in the task at hand. The psychological implication of these cannot be overemphasized."
By Dansu Peter 

Third Republic Senate President, Senator Ameh Ebute, says a lack of political collaboration and not sabotage on the military's part is behind renewed Boko Haram/ISWAP activities in the country. 

The elder statesman made this known in an open letter to the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) on Wednesday.

According to Senator Ebute, while Boko Haram/ISWAP threats have almost vanished in neighbouring states, it persists in Borno due to the unwillingness of political leaders to partner and support the military. 

The erstwhile lawmaker urged the NGF to call their counterpart from Borno, Babagana Zulum, to order, adding that his administration hasn't been cooperative with authorities towards ending the Boko Haram scourge. 

"If the truth must be told, with the way and manner the political authorities in the state are treating the threats posed by Boko Haram, we might experience the worse soon," the letter reads in part.

"In our opinion, it is an anomaly to assume that the task of securing Borno State is the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government alone. 

"The case of Borno state is unfortunate because it has remained the unresolvable base of the insurgency not because the Federal Government has not lived up to expectations, but because the current government in the state has not deemed it necessary to support the military in their operations.

"Has the state government been cooperative with the military authorities towards ending the Boko Haram scourge? These questions are because all we see in the media is either the state Governor is attacking military commanders at checkpoints or his Deputy speaking to our selfless men and women in a very derogatory manner."

Ebute further advised Zulum to take a queue from governors of Yobe, Bauchi, Adamawa and Gombe states, all of whom, according to the ex-Senate President have always been on the side of the troops. 

The reverse, he said, has dampened the morale of the troops and in turn, bolstered criminal activities. 

His words: "The governors of Yobe, Bauchi, and Adamawa and Gombe states have indeed set examples worthy of emulation for their continuous support towards ensuring there is no resurgence of Boko Haram in their domains. This they have achieved by working day and night with the military."

Challenging the governors to avail more resources for the military, Senator Ebute, however, reiterated that the troops must be encouraged and appreciated to continue to give in their best in the task at hand. 

"Governors as Chief Security Officers are aware that resources are needed in security operations. As such, they must advocate for more resources for the military to aid their operations," he said. 

"The military must be encouraged and appreciated to continue to give in their best in the task at hand. The psychological implication of these cannot be overemphasized."

HOW ZULUM IS WORSENING THE SECURITY SITUATION IN BORNO State, By Imamudeen Abba

HOW ZULUM IS WORSENING THE SECURITY SITUATION IN BORNO State, By Imamudeen Abba

By Imamudeen Abba 

Two persons have governed Borno since the advent of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria. Ali Modu Sheriff and Kashim Shettima who governed the state within the period, used different approaches in tackling the menace though they also have their faults.

While Sheriff can be accused of not taking the necessary steps that would have nipped the Boko Haram scourge in the bud, his approach in handling the issues definitely did not exacerbate the security situation in the state.

If anything, he cooperated fully with the federal troops which enabled the Yar’adua administration to clamp down on the terrorists that led to the capture of their leader, Mohammed Yusuf and made them go underground for more than two years.

Shettima on the other hand handled the matter with maturity and also cooperated fully with the military, though he at one time alleged that the terrorists were more equipped than the military.

But his comments which caused uproar then, showed sympathy to the troops as he was only wishing they had more weapons to fight the terrorists with. But the current governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum who has the benefit of learning from the experiences of his predecessors, seem not ready to do that as he seems more absorbed with playing to the gallery.

Prof. Zulum, unlike Sheriff and Shettima, who would rather be discreet and allow the military to do the talking about the security situation in the state, has become loquacious, using every platform and occasion to go gibberish about security issues

He has done that one time too many that he is beginning to sound like a broken record talking from both sides of the mouth. This is a complete departure from the norm in security circles where discretion is seen as the better part of valour. Worse still, his stock in trade has been to openly accuse the military of one act infraction or the other.

This has gone on for some time that many are beginning to suspect his public outing on security issues.

His first major gaffe was in January when he accosted military men on check point duties and accused them of extorting travellers. He drew his conclusions based on hearsay without giving the military the benefit of fair hearing. 

Days after he made that blunder, the Maiduguri- Damaturu road, which used to be the safest in the state became impassable as the military not wanting to be seen as benefiting from check points as accused by the governor, momentarily withdrew. He was later to apologise saying the swiftness with which the army announced readiness to immediately investigate conducts involving stop and search of passengers in Maiduguri was commendable. 

He said the speedy response from the army headquarters only reaffirms what every Nigerian already knows about the exceptional leadership credentials of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, and many others that have done so much for Borno and Nigeria. But before the apology, many hapless travellers have fallen victims of the insurgents. 

About a month later when there was an attack on Auno, near Maiduguri, Zulum accused soldiers of abandoning residents at the mercy of Boko Haram insurgents alleging further that soldiers meant to secure the community desert the people around 5pm on a daily basis. The military replied that the troops were conducting clearance operation at other locations when the attack happened and that it will not deliberately allow people to be killed by insurgents. But by then, the harm has been done.

Zulum seems to have a different understanding of his role as the chief security officer of the state as he interprets that to mean he must be in confrontation with the military. Before Zulum became governor, the military had dome excellently well in its field operations recapturing 11 local governments hitherto captured and placed under the authority of the insurgents. 

The military had also killed a vast number of the insurgents making many of them to flee to other countries. It was the sustained efforts of the military that made it possible for elections to take in place in Borno state and for Zulum to be elected governor. Even after Zulum became governor, the military did not relent in its efforts 

When the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai relocated to the Northeast in April, Nigerian troops within a short time were able to sustain repeated onslaught against the terrorists.

Between April and July when the Chief of army Staff went to present reports to the President, the military had killed over 1400 of the insurgents including not less than 20 of their top commanders while many of their informants were arrested. 

Many of the terrorists also surrendered having come under superior fire power. The height of the victory was when the Boko Haram leader was heard crying in an audio message about how he and his men have been overwhelmed by the troops.

But the Zulum vituperations undermines all that. It portrays the military as lacking in discipline and professionalism that a civilian had to be the one intervening to remind them of how to go about doing their jobs. For instance, the governor has even threatened that after Sallah that he is going back to Kukawa and that if the military are not ready that he will use hunters. He said, "After Sallah, we will go back to Kukawa. We will give time to the military; but if they will not clear Baga, we will mobilise our hunters and vigilantes to recapture Baga… we can’t continue like this. People have taken their destiny in their hands."

This is mere playing to the gallery as everybody knows that hunters lack the sophistication to engage terrorists.

Such comments from the governor are totally unnecessary and amount to asking the people to ignore the military and take laws into their hands.

Such statements should not come from a governor who has sworn an oath to defend the constitution.

Abba wrote this piece from Maiduguri.
By Imamudeen Abba 

Two persons have governed Borno since the advent of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria. Ali Modu Sheriff and Kashim Shettima who governed the state within the period, used different approaches in tackling the menace though they also have their faults.

While Sheriff can be accused of not taking the necessary steps that would have nipped the Boko Haram scourge in the bud, his approach in handling the issues definitely did not exacerbate the security situation in the state.

If anything, he cooperated fully with the federal troops which enabled the Yar’adua administration to clamp down on the terrorists that led to the capture of their leader, Mohammed Yusuf and made them go underground for more than two years.

Shettima on the other hand handled the matter with maturity and also cooperated fully with the military, though he at one time alleged that the terrorists were more equipped than the military.

But his comments which caused uproar then, showed sympathy to the troops as he was only wishing they had more weapons to fight the terrorists with. But the current governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum who has the benefit of learning from the experiences of his predecessors, seem not ready to do that as he seems more absorbed with playing to the gallery.

Prof. Zulum, unlike Sheriff and Shettima, who would rather be discreet and allow the military to do the talking about the security situation in the state, has become loquacious, using every platform and occasion to go gibberish about security issues

He has done that one time too many that he is beginning to sound like a broken record talking from both sides of the mouth. This is a complete departure from the norm in security circles where discretion is seen as the better part of valour. Worse still, his stock in trade has been to openly accuse the military of one act infraction or the other.

This has gone on for some time that many are beginning to suspect his public outing on security issues.

His first major gaffe was in January when he accosted military men on check point duties and accused them of extorting travellers. He drew his conclusions based on hearsay without giving the military the benefit of fair hearing. 

Days after he made that blunder, the Maiduguri- Damaturu road, which used to be the safest in the state became impassable as the military not wanting to be seen as benefiting from check points as accused by the governor, momentarily withdrew. He was later to apologise saying the swiftness with which the army announced readiness to immediately investigate conducts involving stop and search of passengers in Maiduguri was commendable. 

He said the speedy response from the army headquarters only reaffirms what every Nigerian already knows about the exceptional leadership credentials of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, and many others that have done so much for Borno and Nigeria. But before the apology, many hapless travellers have fallen victims of the insurgents. 

About a month later when there was an attack on Auno, near Maiduguri, Zulum accused soldiers of abandoning residents at the mercy of Boko Haram insurgents alleging further that soldiers meant to secure the community desert the people around 5pm on a daily basis. The military replied that the troops were conducting clearance operation at other locations when the attack happened and that it will not deliberately allow people to be killed by insurgents. But by then, the harm has been done.

Zulum seems to have a different understanding of his role as the chief security officer of the state as he interprets that to mean he must be in confrontation with the military. Before Zulum became governor, the military had dome excellently well in its field operations recapturing 11 local governments hitherto captured and placed under the authority of the insurgents. 

The military had also killed a vast number of the insurgents making many of them to flee to other countries. It was the sustained efforts of the military that made it possible for elections to take in place in Borno state and for Zulum to be elected governor. Even after Zulum became governor, the military did not relent in its efforts 

When the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai relocated to the Northeast in April, Nigerian troops within a short time were able to sustain repeated onslaught against the terrorists.

Between April and July when the Chief of army Staff went to present reports to the President, the military had killed over 1400 of the insurgents including not less than 20 of their top commanders while many of their informants were arrested. 

Many of the terrorists also surrendered having come under superior fire power. The height of the victory was when the Boko Haram leader was heard crying in an audio message about how he and his men have been overwhelmed by the troops.

But the Zulum vituperations undermines all that. It portrays the military as lacking in discipline and professionalism that a civilian had to be the one intervening to remind them of how to go about doing their jobs. For instance, the governor has even threatened that after Sallah that he is going back to Kukawa and that if the military are not ready that he will use hunters. He said, "After Sallah, we will go back to Kukawa. We will give time to the military; but if they will not clear Baga, we will mobilise our hunters and vigilantes to recapture Baga… we can’t continue like this. People have taken their destiny in their hands."

This is mere playing to the gallery as everybody knows that hunters lack the sophistication to engage terrorists.

Such comments from the governor are totally unnecessary and amount to asking the people to ignore the military and take laws into their hands.

Such statements should not come from a governor who has sworn an oath to defend the constitution.

Abba wrote this piece from Maiduguri.

Who is Afraid of Sadiya Farooq? By Ernest Attah

Who is Afraid of Sadiya Farooq? By Ernest Attah

By Ernest Attah 

I have watched in absolute disbelief the series of coordinated attacks on the personality of the Honourable minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development. At some point, I got confused and wondered what her sins were and whether it was worth the scathing attacks on her person.

First and foremost, I must add that we are a country in need of help with the way and manner we have elected to destroy people and institutions whenever we are pursuant of our selfish desires, not minding whose ox is gored.
This is mainly responsible for the rot in the system because everybody wants a share of the national cake. Should you dare to stand out of the crowd by doing the right thing, you can be assured that your head would be used for sacrifice to the demons that have held this country down for so long.

I empathized with President Muhammadu Buhari when during the interaction with journalists after the Sallah prayers, he stated that there had been a betrayal of trust in some of the agencies that have come under public scrutiny of late. I could not but agree with him because trust is indeed a burden.  

For these individuals that have betrayed the public trust, the society sees nothing wrong with their actions. But those that have elected to maintain that trust in service to the country, are indeed viewed as the villains that must be crucified at all cost. This is the starkness of reality before our own very eyes.

I have longed asked the question of who is afraid of Sadiya Farouq since I noticed the orchestrated attacks on her personality right from the lockdown period where she led her ministry to ensure the proper distribution of palliatives as well as the conditional cash transfers to vulnerable groups in the country. 

I began to smell the rat from that period. I suspected that she ensured a transparent process and monies and food items didn't end up in private pockets as it is the norm and for daring to do things right she must be crucified at all cost.

The recent one is by one Emmanuel Onwuibiko of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) where he made all manner of allegations against Hajia Sadiya Farouq. I was worried not because of the half-truths, but with the fact that the majority of us have been blinded by filthy lucre that we elected to sell our souls to the demon. 
The Emmanuel Onwuiboko treatise was very despicable even though he cleverly tried to veil his intent from the word go. He tried to come from the angel of a concerned Nigeria whose work at HURIWA revolves around the interest of the people. While in truth, it is evident that he has recently been conscripted into the bandwagon of those that have been detailed to demonize Hajia Sadiya Farouq. 

The series of coordinated attack is coming from a high place because of the financial implication of sustaining such a campaign week in and week out. I know what it takes to maintain such campaign of calumny in Nigeria today with the likes of Emmanuel Onwuiboko involved. I challenge him to prove me wrong as history is replete with tales of how the same HURIWA under Emmanuel Onwuibuiko has been the darling of agents of cheap blackmail. 

I would guess that her towering credentials and impeccable track record has become a source of worry to some highly placed Nigerians, especially those who benefited from the old regime in the management of social intervention for citizens. These individuals might be livid that it is no longer business as usual, and as such, they must get their pound of flesh from the woman that has proved a hard nut to crack.

I think that the government should design a strategy where it would protect some of its star performers against the hawks that have fed fat from the system. If this is not done, I can bet that some of those that are passionate about service to the country might either get overwhelmed or join the bandwagon and open the treasury pot for hawks and vultures to feed fat while the rest of the citizens suffer in abject poverty. 

If not for anything, the campaign against Hajia Sadiya Farouq has made her resolute in the discharge of her duties. I say this because the attacks have not deterred her. She remains active and carryout out her duties with such finesse to the chagrin of those that have vowed to pull her down by all means necessary. 

As strange as this might sound, I also have a feeling that there might be some insider conspirators in the campaign to discredit the minister. I say this because of how things work within the civil service circle. It’s either they do not like the transparent way she has handled the affairs of the ministry or somebody or group somewhere has eyes in the social intervention funds and the only way they can access it is either to blackmail the minster into submission or get her out of the way outrightly. This is the order of the day, and it's the new normal because those with the interest of the country are few and the likes of Hajia Sadiya Farouq are also few in this country. 

Back to Emmanuel Onwubiko and his marauding gang. He must retrace his steps at the risk of him bagging the title of strategic blackmail consultant. I say this because thinking that Nigerians cannot distinguish between the presentation of facts and character assassination would be the height of foolery. 

Yes, I know his argument rests in the fact that he can ask questions which ordinarily should elicit a response. But a situation where you have drawn your conclusion before asking the question makes you the judge in your case. This is what Emmanuel Onwubiko has attempted to do by misleading the public through his HURIWA platform that begins and ends with him. 

I must add that sadly, a large chunk of the members of the unsuspecting general public might believe his half-truths about Hajia Sadiya Farouq. But again, that is the price you pay when you elect to stand upright in service to the country. The scavengers would come for you with their fangs and not until they draw blood, they won't let go.
I can only but empathize with the Hajia Sadiya Farouq as she receives the bashing of her life for daring to be different. My candid advice to her is to stay strong and focused. However, the day she buckles and plays ball with these individuals and groups that would be the beginning of the end of a once glorious chapter in service to the country.  

On a final note, throwing stones at the minister is uncalled for and unacceptable. Even the pull-Down syndrome, in this case, has been taken too far hence the need for caution. If there is evidence to back up claims, the rational thing to do is to present to the relevant agencies of government and not this vicious campaign of calumny. Those afraid of Sadiya Farouq must be afraid of her.

Attah writes for TheNigerian News, London.
By Ernest Attah 

I have watched in absolute disbelief the series of coordinated attacks on the personality of the Honourable minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development. At some point, I got confused and wondered what her sins were and whether it was worth the scathing attacks on her person.

First and foremost, I must add that we are a country in need of help with the way and manner we have elected to destroy people and institutions whenever we are pursuant of our selfish desires, not minding whose ox is gored.
This is mainly responsible for the rot in the system because everybody wants a share of the national cake. Should you dare to stand out of the crowd by doing the right thing, you can be assured that your head would be used for sacrifice to the demons that have held this country down for so long.

I empathized with President Muhammadu Buhari when during the interaction with journalists after the Sallah prayers, he stated that there had been a betrayal of trust in some of the agencies that have come under public scrutiny of late. I could not but agree with him because trust is indeed a burden.  

For these individuals that have betrayed the public trust, the society sees nothing wrong with their actions. But those that have elected to maintain that trust in service to the country, are indeed viewed as the villains that must be crucified at all cost. This is the starkness of reality before our own very eyes.

I have longed asked the question of who is afraid of Sadiya Farouq since I noticed the orchestrated attacks on her personality right from the lockdown period where she led her ministry to ensure the proper distribution of palliatives as well as the conditional cash transfers to vulnerable groups in the country. 

I began to smell the rat from that period. I suspected that she ensured a transparent process and monies and food items didn't end up in private pockets as it is the norm and for daring to do things right she must be crucified at all cost.

The recent one is by one Emmanuel Onwuibiko of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) where he made all manner of allegations against Hajia Sadiya Farouq. I was worried not because of the half-truths, but with the fact that the majority of us have been blinded by filthy lucre that we elected to sell our souls to the demon. 
The Emmanuel Onwuiboko treatise was very despicable even though he cleverly tried to veil his intent from the word go. He tried to come from the angel of a concerned Nigeria whose work at HURIWA revolves around the interest of the people. While in truth, it is evident that he has recently been conscripted into the bandwagon of those that have been detailed to demonize Hajia Sadiya Farouq. 

The series of coordinated attack is coming from a high place because of the financial implication of sustaining such a campaign week in and week out. I know what it takes to maintain such campaign of calumny in Nigeria today with the likes of Emmanuel Onwuiboko involved. I challenge him to prove me wrong as history is replete with tales of how the same HURIWA under Emmanuel Onwuibuiko has been the darling of agents of cheap blackmail. 

I would guess that her towering credentials and impeccable track record has become a source of worry to some highly placed Nigerians, especially those who benefited from the old regime in the management of social intervention for citizens. These individuals might be livid that it is no longer business as usual, and as such, they must get their pound of flesh from the woman that has proved a hard nut to crack.

I think that the government should design a strategy where it would protect some of its star performers against the hawks that have fed fat from the system. If this is not done, I can bet that some of those that are passionate about service to the country might either get overwhelmed or join the bandwagon and open the treasury pot for hawks and vultures to feed fat while the rest of the citizens suffer in abject poverty. 

If not for anything, the campaign against Hajia Sadiya Farouq has made her resolute in the discharge of her duties. I say this because the attacks have not deterred her. She remains active and carryout out her duties with such finesse to the chagrin of those that have vowed to pull her down by all means necessary. 

As strange as this might sound, I also have a feeling that there might be some insider conspirators in the campaign to discredit the minister. I say this because of how things work within the civil service circle. It’s either they do not like the transparent way she has handled the affairs of the ministry or somebody or group somewhere has eyes in the social intervention funds and the only way they can access it is either to blackmail the minster into submission or get her out of the way outrightly. This is the order of the day, and it's the new normal because those with the interest of the country are few and the likes of Hajia Sadiya Farouq are also few in this country. 

Back to Emmanuel Onwubiko and his marauding gang. He must retrace his steps at the risk of him bagging the title of strategic blackmail consultant. I say this because thinking that Nigerians cannot distinguish between the presentation of facts and character assassination would be the height of foolery. 

Yes, I know his argument rests in the fact that he can ask questions which ordinarily should elicit a response. But a situation where you have drawn your conclusion before asking the question makes you the judge in your case. This is what Emmanuel Onwubiko has attempted to do by misleading the public through his HURIWA platform that begins and ends with him. 

I must add that sadly, a large chunk of the members of the unsuspecting general public might believe his half-truths about Hajia Sadiya Farouq. But again, that is the price you pay when you elect to stand upright in service to the country. The scavengers would come for you with their fangs and not until they draw blood, they won't let go.
I can only but empathize with the Hajia Sadiya Farouq as she receives the bashing of her life for daring to be different. My candid advice to her is to stay strong and focused. However, the day she buckles and plays ball with these individuals and groups that would be the beginning of the end of a once glorious chapter in service to the country.  

On a final note, throwing stones at the minister is uncalled for and unacceptable. Even the pull-Down syndrome, in this case, has been taken too far hence the need for caution. If there is evidence to back up claims, the rational thing to do is to present to the relevant agencies of government and not this vicious campaign of calumny. Those afraid of Sadiya Farouq must be afraid of her.

Attah writes for TheNigerian News, London.

Boko Haram/ISWAP: Who is after the military, By Sani Muhamamdu

Boko Haram/ISWAP: Who is after the military, By Sani Muhamamdu

By Sani Muhamamdu 

The seeming recent castigation of the military by Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum has revived new posers in Nigeria’s grapple with terrorism. That poser is: who is the Nigeria military fighting in its anti-terrorism war? The answer to this poser would be instructive in how Boko Haram’s campaign of terror would be ended.  

The Borno State Governor’s convoy had come under attack from gunmen as he made his way to go distribute relief materials in a part of the state. The jury is still out as to whether that attack was the handwork of Boko Haram or something more insidious that could herald new variables in the security breaches that are plaguing the Lake Chad Basin.

If these new variables do arise, they will not be quite new in the sense that the people of Borno state and environ are no strangers to treachery from people who should ordinarily protect them by virtue of the responsibility imposed by their office. These leaders however turn around to be the very thorn in the flesh of their constituents. Scholars have traced the root of Boko Haram to the political class, which empowered fanatical hoodlums to advance their political fortunes; they engaged in treacherous acts like promising the strict implementation of Sharia code to impassioned youth just so that they can use these urchins to deal with political opponents, something that is not quite possible in a country governed by a secular constitution, only to walk back on the same promise when they have gained office.

It bears mentioning that opportunities were lost to tame the genie that was set free from the bottle in the early days of Boko Haram. Rather than owning up to the crime they have committed in producing the conditions that created the terrorists, politicians in Borno misled the whole of Nigeria until the terror group was born. Latter efforts by the military and security agencies to   clear the state of these criminal met with all manners of resistance.  Some of these politicians went as far as providing shelter for wanted Boko Haram members and this is not forgetting that under the previous administration, the political class in Borno state freed scores of high-profile terrorists by simply citing orders from above whenever troops arrested them.

The tantrum thrown by Governor Zulum is therefore worrisome because it flags other prospects in the nation’s anti-terrorism war. Just who is the Nigerian Army, the entire military, fighting in Nigeria’s northeast? This question is pertinent because there is more than meets the eye if the governor of Borno state is the one verbally, and even actively, putting the military down for terrorists. It raises the possibility that while the officers and men of the Nigerian Army and the other military branches are patriotically laying down their lives to defeat Boko Haram, politicians, with some as high ranking as the governor, are actually interested in sustaining the insurgency. Only such interest will make Governor Zulum diss the military to the point where he thinks local hunters could do the job. 

Whatever support Governor Zulum plans to give local hunters to protect his state from terrorists would certainly lead to the total eradication of Boko Haram if same is extended to the Nigerian military. A quick note here is that support in this sense does not refer to buying Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), feeding allowance or mundane material support because giving those to hunters will not yield much. One can safely infer that the kind of support that Zulum has in mind when he mentioned hunters as alternatives will involve rallying the traditional and religious institutions behind them in addition to rapidly rebuilding communities so that the people will have the sense of purpose that will empower them to reorganize into societies that will contribute to defeating the insurgency.  

But Zulum is not doing any of these in support of the government troops, rather he is pursuing an agenda that has all the markings of being inimical to the collective desire for peace by Nigerians. His attempt to set the troops up by crying about sabotage in the military when he is not the President or the Chief of Army Staff smells foul. It shows that something is wrong and curiously it appears he was given a script to act by those that have decided against the run of play that the service chief must leave office on the erroneous impression that they must be converted into civil servants, a position that has now been dismissed by better informed Nigerians. 

The politicization of the terrorist activities in Borno state has taken a dangerous direction in that the politicians have become vociferous in attacking the military even when it is apparent that is they who need lessons in patriotism because if there is anyone that wants the crisis to continue it is Borno politicians with their associates and not a patriotic military. The extent to which they have thrown caution to the wind is such that one of them, Zullum’s cabinet member went on record to accuse that the the military is in Baga to trade in fish. While nothing can be farther from the truth than this, the damage is nonetheless done because the local population will withhold support from the military on account of spurious tales like this. It seems Governor Zulum’s outburst was not a spontaneous reaction but something that has been rehearsed to further sour relations between the local population and the military.  He will have to prove that he did what he did without malice.  

Even when malice has been ruled out for Zulum, his associates and the political class in the state, it becomes necessary to interrogate if and how they benefit from the insurgency. At the start of the insurgency, the political class had hired these terrorists to snuff the life out of opponents, they had used their “boys” to commit copycat opportunistic crimes that were attributed to terrorists, politicians have benefitted from violence keeping people away from voting so that they can win elections in which they are not popular, they have gained from collecting allocations that they not have to account for since they can use Boko Haram violence as justification for not executing contracts for which they and their cronies have taken money. None of these political criminalities diminished under Zulum, who may now be aiming to worsen the insurgency so that the political class of that state may further rape its treasury. Maybe unknowingly, the governor is caving into a political class that prefer that the state continue to remain in perpetual chaos than the peace which the military has continued to fight to gift Nigerians. 

Unfortunately, this same military is now being accused of sabotaging government’s efforts in Borno State. One would be right to ask, “what efforts?”  Can Zulum show his administration’s blueprint towards ending the insurgency? He should ask the neighbouring states what they did to make their states unattractive to Boko Haram terrorists. He should think of calling for a summit of Borno sons and daughters to debate the issues. 

The Governor cannot take such proactive step as long as he continues to fraternize with Borno’s political class, the cause of the problem and fuel that has kept its fire burning.  For him to marshal the bravery needed for such shift he must first stop his predisposition to blame game and addiction to lamentation. Borno might have been suffering for long but the solution lies within Zulum’s grasp alongside his associates in the state. Additionally, he must accept that the military, other security agencies and the Civilian JTF alone cannot solve the problem. There must be leadership and public mobilization against the Boko Haram terrorists and that is where he comes in as the Governor, in whom the electorate have entrusted the mandate to restore their lives to normalcy. 

For the sake of the people of Borno state and families that have borne the brunt of the insurgency, let us all hope that Zulum does not get his wish of having the military leave Borno state for him and his hunters. Should that happen, Zulum will not have the luxury of staging an attack on himself because the beasts that the political class of his state has reared will tear him to shreds.

What the Governor should do is to play his own part, which includes learning to keep quiet and shun theatrics while calling his associates to order so that the military will know what enemies it is fighting on behalf of the nation.

Muhammadu is a public affairs analyst and wrote this piece from Abuja.
By Sani Muhamamdu 

The seeming recent castigation of the military by Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum has revived new posers in Nigeria’s grapple with terrorism. That poser is: who is the Nigeria military fighting in its anti-terrorism war? The answer to this poser would be instructive in how Boko Haram’s campaign of terror would be ended.  

The Borno State Governor’s convoy had come under attack from gunmen as he made his way to go distribute relief materials in a part of the state. The jury is still out as to whether that attack was the handwork of Boko Haram or something more insidious that could herald new variables in the security breaches that are plaguing the Lake Chad Basin.

If these new variables do arise, they will not be quite new in the sense that the people of Borno state and environ are no strangers to treachery from people who should ordinarily protect them by virtue of the responsibility imposed by their office. These leaders however turn around to be the very thorn in the flesh of their constituents. Scholars have traced the root of Boko Haram to the political class, which empowered fanatical hoodlums to advance their political fortunes; they engaged in treacherous acts like promising the strict implementation of Sharia code to impassioned youth just so that they can use these urchins to deal with political opponents, something that is not quite possible in a country governed by a secular constitution, only to walk back on the same promise when they have gained office.

It bears mentioning that opportunities were lost to tame the genie that was set free from the bottle in the early days of Boko Haram. Rather than owning up to the crime they have committed in producing the conditions that created the terrorists, politicians in Borno misled the whole of Nigeria until the terror group was born. Latter efforts by the military and security agencies to   clear the state of these criminal met with all manners of resistance.  Some of these politicians went as far as providing shelter for wanted Boko Haram members and this is not forgetting that under the previous administration, the political class in Borno state freed scores of high-profile terrorists by simply citing orders from above whenever troops arrested them.

The tantrum thrown by Governor Zulum is therefore worrisome because it flags other prospects in the nation’s anti-terrorism war. Just who is the Nigerian Army, the entire military, fighting in Nigeria’s northeast? This question is pertinent because there is more than meets the eye if the governor of Borno state is the one verbally, and even actively, putting the military down for terrorists. It raises the possibility that while the officers and men of the Nigerian Army and the other military branches are patriotically laying down their lives to defeat Boko Haram, politicians, with some as high ranking as the governor, are actually interested in sustaining the insurgency. Only such interest will make Governor Zulum diss the military to the point where he thinks local hunters could do the job. 

Whatever support Governor Zulum plans to give local hunters to protect his state from terrorists would certainly lead to the total eradication of Boko Haram if same is extended to the Nigerian military. A quick note here is that support in this sense does not refer to buying Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), feeding allowance or mundane material support because giving those to hunters will not yield much. One can safely infer that the kind of support that Zulum has in mind when he mentioned hunters as alternatives will involve rallying the traditional and religious institutions behind them in addition to rapidly rebuilding communities so that the people will have the sense of purpose that will empower them to reorganize into societies that will contribute to defeating the insurgency.  

But Zulum is not doing any of these in support of the government troops, rather he is pursuing an agenda that has all the markings of being inimical to the collective desire for peace by Nigerians. His attempt to set the troops up by crying about sabotage in the military when he is not the President or the Chief of Army Staff smells foul. It shows that something is wrong and curiously it appears he was given a script to act by those that have decided against the run of play that the service chief must leave office on the erroneous impression that they must be converted into civil servants, a position that has now been dismissed by better informed Nigerians. 

The politicization of the terrorist activities in Borno state has taken a dangerous direction in that the politicians have become vociferous in attacking the military even when it is apparent that is they who need lessons in patriotism because if there is anyone that wants the crisis to continue it is Borno politicians with their associates and not a patriotic military. The extent to which they have thrown caution to the wind is such that one of them, Zullum’s cabinet member went on record to accuse that the the military is in Baga to trade in fish. While nothing can be farther from the truth than this, the damage is nonetheless done because the local population will withhold support from the military on account of spurious tales like this. It seems Governor Zulum’s outburst was not a spontaneous reaction but something that has been rehearsed to further sour relations between the local population and the military.  He will have to prove that he did what he did without malice.  

Even when malice has been ruled out for Zulum, his associates and the political class in the state, it becomes necessary to interrogate if and how they benefit from the insurgency. At the start of the insurgency, the political class had hired these terrorists to snuff the life out of opponents, they had used their “boys” to commit copycat opportunistic crimes that were attributed to terrorists, politicians have benefitted from violence keeping people away from voting so that they can win elections in which they are not popular, they have gained from collecting allocations that they not have to account for since they can use Boko Haram violence as justification for not executing contracts for which they and their cronies have taken money. None of these political criminalities diminished under Zulum, who may now be aiming to worsen the insurgency so that the political class of that state may further rape its treasury. Maybe unknowingly, the governor is caving into a political class that prefer that the state continue to remain in perpetual chaos than the peace which the military has continued to fight to gift Nigerians. 

Unfortunately, this same military is now being accused of sabotaging government’s efforts in Borno State. One would be right to ask, “what efforts?”  Can Zulum show his administration’s blueprint towards ending the insurgency? He should ask the neighbouring states what they did to make their states unattractive to Boko Haram terrorists. He should think of calling for a summit of Borno sons and daughters to debate the issues. 

The Governor cannot take such proactive step as long as he continues to fraternize with Borno’s political class, the cause of the problem and fuel that has kept its fire burning.  For him to marshal the bravery needed for such shift he must first stop his predisposition to blame game and addiction to lamentation. Borno might have been suffering for long but the solution lies within Zulum’s grasp alongside his associates in the state. Additionally, he must accept that the military, other security agencies and the Civilian JTF alone cannot solve the problem. There must be leadership and public mobilization against the Boko Haram terrorists and that is where he comes in as the Governor, in whom the electorate have entrusted the mandate to restore their lives to normalcy. 

For the sake of the people of Borno state and families that have borne the brunt of the insurgency, let us all hope that Zulum does not get his wish of having the military leave Borno state for him and his hunters. Should that happen, Zulum will not have the luxury of staging an attack on himself because the beasts that the political class of his state has reared will tear him to shreds.

What the Governor should do is to play his own part, which includes learning to keep quiet and shun theatrics while calling his associates to order so that the military will know what enemies it is fighting on behalf of the nation.

Muhammadu is a public affairs analyst and wrote this piece from Abuja.

Akpabio, Ojugboh and the 40 thieves, By Fejiro Oliver

Akpabio, Ojugboh and the 40 thieves, By Fejiro Oliver

By Fejiro Oliver

"When I saw corruption, I was forced to find truth on my own. I couldn’t swallow the hypocrisy"
... Barry White

My Dear President

I bring you Calvary greetings. Before I start, I swear that everything you will read here is nothing but the truth and a reflection of the minds of well-meaning sons and daughters of the Niger Delta extraction. So help me God.

When you set up the Interim Management Committee (IMC) to oversee the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) after stepping down the initial names sent to the National Assembly, we didn’t scream down the heavens because we were already tired of the thieves who masqueraded as MDs and Executive Directors of the commission over the years and truly yearned for the long awaited forensic audit to be carried out.

Little did we know that the worst sets of rogues that will make Lawrence Anini look like a Saint that will ever grace the NDDC and turn the place into what Warri folks call “their cocoyam farm”. Since Godswill Akpabio was appointed the Minister of Niger Delta, the place has known no rest. He has imported the looting syndrome that he inflicted in Akwa Ibom into the NDDC and abandoned the other works that his ministry is supposed to do and channeled all his energy on NDDC.

With his appointing of Cairo Ojugboh, a known soldier of liars as the Acting Executive Director of Projects, the restiveness became worse than the actual days of agitation and struggle for the recognition of the Niger Delta as the region that lays the golden eggs. Rather than sanitizing the place, the duo has turned it into their conquered kingdom, awarding contracts to friends and cronies. Contractors daily cry out on how they pay Cairo Ojugboh 30% of payments made to them and anyone who does not agree to this is not paid. It is an open secret that for years, 10% was the norm but the Minister and Cairo have been alleged to up the game by taking more from these contractors who borrow money from banks to finance these projects. How do we expect them to deliver quality jobs when they know that Akpabio and Godswill are by the corners like hungry vultures waiting to descend on the monies that will be paid them?

Mr President, this is not the time for you to turn blind eyes to these wanton stealing of the NDDC funds especially to the tune of over N50 billion that Akpabio and Cairo have squandered on irrelevant projects that makes no meaning to any Niger Deltan? How do we begin to explain in future to our children that a certain Cairo Ojugboh and his gang of 40 thieves paid themselves N1.5 billion under the time of COVID-19 while they shared only noodles to the people and it was under your reign? How do we tell the next generation that you were the President and Akpabio alongside his Man Friday Cairo paid almost N1 billion for image management and reputation that were never done but money channeled into their private purses and you did nothing? Pray Mr President, how do we write the history of Niger Delta and say that you appointed a Minister who imposed IMC on you and awarded media jobs to a shabby engineering company, awarded procurement of Lassa fever kits to a roadside company that sells electric bulbs in Port Harcourt as well as another company that sells hair creams in same Port Harcourt? Just imagine the curse those unborn kids will place on you and Yusuf for watching while their future was toyed with by two failed professionals; one who read law but never practiced. As a matter of fact, his call to bar certificate do not bear correct names and he’s not aware till date, except now that he will be reading this article. The other one read Medicine and didn’t also practice but jumped into politics where he has turned to political Hushpuppi. Maybe you can begin to ask him about some properties that his godfather Tony Anenih showed to him but are nowhere to be found today.

That a former Acting MD of the Commission, Joi Nunieh, who should know better and truly know has accused the Minister of bombing pipelines just to sabotage the economy and he has not been picked up by the security agencies makes one begin to wonder if he has not placed the Presidency under a spell from the mystical city of Punjab, India. In his days in Akwa Ibom as a governor, he was serially accused of practicing mbiam which is diabolical. He is yet to deny it till date. Could he have blown the mbiam breeze on Mr President during one of their meetings or via handshake? If he has, may Allah in his infinite mercy open upon your eyes to do the needful and save NDDC from total collapse.

Joi Nunieh did not just make allegations but backed it up with witnesses from the Presidency and staff of the commission. They are too grave to be ignored. 

For Cairo Ojugboh, you should truly believe when Joi alleged that he said he can kill for Akpabio before asking the reason why he sent him on such a dangerous mission. Mr. President, it is said in Delta North that Cairo is a dreaded killer who masterminded the murder of security details attached to Nduka Irabor during their tussle for the House of Representatives. That incident left a lifetime emotional trauma on Irabor that he never contemplated running for any election again as long as Cairo Ojugboh remains alive. If that was a one off gist, stories abound on how he slapped a former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Martins Okonta with magical hands during a shouting bout that almost made him run mad. I don’t believe in fairy tales but the bible admonishes that in the mouth of two witnesses, truth is established. Perhaps, we can begin to source for these witnesses who will tell us how dangerous it is to have Cairo Ojugboh as a member of NDDC even on part time basis.

For anyone to begin to insinuate that the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege who has been your biggest supporter from the South South is behind the scandals surrounding the IMC NDDC is enough for Mr President to not only dissolve the entire board but even shut down the entire NDDC for one year. For heaven sake, has Cairo Ojugboh no honor left in him that he will accuse the most performing Senator from the Southern part of the country of instigating crisis when he has never benefitted one contract from NDDC, has no payment there that the forensic audit will expose and does not even know the MD’s office to send people to collect jobs.

Just like every well-meaning Niger Deltans, the DSP is concerned that 20 years after establishing the NDDC, it has no meaningful projects to claim and just when he though the IMC is the Daniel come to judgment, he began to weep when he began reading of allegations of billions missing. It is natural that as the major representative of the South and political leader of the South South which includes both PDP and APC, he backed his colleagues in the hallowed chambers to support the probe of the IMC. I do not believe that as a President, you sent Godswill there as the supervising minister to steal ahead of his Vice Presidential aspiration for 2023 or Cairo Ojugboh to loot ahead of his 2023 Senatorial ambition. It is important that even the watchman is watched.

Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) who watched over the anti-corruption agencies was also watched by the SSS and NFIU. Today, their reports which the Presidential panel is acting on has led to his suspension and possible dismissal. If you could order Magu’s arrest, detention and investigation, Godswill Akpabio and Cairo Ojugboh should be immediately arrested. They cannot continue to seat in the same office where they have every opportunity to doctor documents, steal files and destroy evidences against them. 

Mr President, without sounding undemocratic, I will urge you to just switch your brain back to 1985 and tell SARS to pick up Akpabio and Cairo, tie them to two drums and have ten SARS officers stay in front of them and behind them to be shot to death. Their looting has caused many deaths to Niger Deltans and we will not shout as sons and daughters of the soil for ordering the shooting of these two useless sons that God mistakenly sent to our soil instead of Iraq. They need no fair hearing again Sir, for Joi Nunieh statement and many reports in the public is all that is needed to do this. If this is done Mr President, I can assure you that in years to come, we will reap the benefit of this benevolence and probably name the NDDC building after you, and God willing even name the commission to Muhammadu Buhari Development Commission (MBDC). 
Yours in Anti-Corruption struggle

These little things matter
Fejiro Oliver, an investigative journalist can be reached on +2348022050733 (SMS ONLY). He tweets with @fejirooliver86 and IG Handle @kingofqueendom

DISCLAIMER 
Every expression, claims, narrations, impressions and opinions narrated in this article purely represent that of the writers and Not of this website '. 

By Fejiro Oliver

"When I saw corruption, I was forced to find truth on my own. I couldn’t swallow the hypocrisy"
... Barry White

My Dear President

I bring you Calvary greetings. Before I start, I swear that everything you will read here is nothing but the truth and a reflection of the minds of well-meaning sons and daughters of the Niger Delta extraction. So help me God.

When you set up the Interim Management Committee (IMC) to oversee the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) after stepping down the initial names sent to the National Assembly, we didn’t scream down the heavens because we were already tired of the thieves who masqueraded as MDs and Executive Directors of the commission over the years and truly yearned for the long awaited forensic audit to be carried out.

Little did we know that the worst sets of rogues that will make Lawrence Anini look like a Saint that will ever grace the NDDC and turn the place into what Warri folks call “their cocoyam farm”. Since Godswill Akpabio was appointed the Minister of Niger Delta, the place has known no rest. He has imported the looting syndrome that he inflicted in Akwa Ibom into the NDDC and abandoned the other works that his ministry is supposed to do and channeled all his energy on NDDC.

With his appointing of Cairo Ojugboh, a known soldier of liars as the Acting Executive Director of Projects, the restiveness became worse than the actual days of agitation and struggle for the recognition of the Niger Delta as the region that lays the golden eggs. Rather than sanitizing the place, the duo has turned it into their conquered kingdom, awarding contracts to friends and cronies. Contractors daily cry out on how they pay Cairo Ojugboh 30% of payments made to them and anyone who does not agree to this is not paid. It is an open secret that for years, 10% was the norm but the Minister and Cairo have been alleged to up the game by taking more from these contractors who borrow money from banks to finance these projects. How do we expect them to deliver quality jobs when they know that Akpabio and Godswill are by the corners like hungry vultures waiting to descend on the monies that will be paid them?

Mr President, this is not the time for you to turn blind eyes to these wanton stealing of the NDDC funds especially to the tune of over N50 billion that Akpabio and Cairo have squandered on irrelevant projects that makes no meaning to any Niger Deltan? How do we begin to explain in future to our children that a certain Cairo Ojugboh and his gang of 40 thieves paid themselves N1.5 billion under the time of COVID-19 while they shared only noodles to the people and it was under your reign? How do we tell the next generation that you were the President and Akpabio alongside his Man Friday Cairo paid almost N1 billion for image management and reputation that were never done but money channeled into their private purses and you did nothing? Pray Mr President, how do we write the history of Niger Delta and say that you appointed a Minister who imposed IMC on you and awarded media jobs to a shabby engineering company, awarded procurement of Lassa fever kits to a roadside company that sells electric bulbs in Port Harcourt as well as another company that sells hair creams in same Port Harcourt? Just imagine the curse those unborn kids will place on you and Yusuf for watching while their future was toyed with by two failed professionals; one who read law but never practiced. As a matter of fact, his call to bar certificate do not bear correct names and he’s not aware till date, except now that he will be reading this article. The other one read Medicine and didn’t also practice but jumped into politics where he has turned to political Hushpuppi. Maybe you can begin to ask him about some properties that his godfather Tony Anenih showed to him but are nowhere to be found today.

That a former Acting MD of the Commission, Joi Nunieh, who should know better and truly know has accused the Minister of bombing pipelines just to sabotage the economy and he has not been picked up by the security agencies makes one begin to wonder if he has not placed the Presidency under a spell from the mystical city of Punjab, India. In his days in Akwa Ibom as a governor, he was serially accused of practicing mbiam which is diabolical. He is yet to deny it till date. Could he have blown the mbiam breeze on Mr President during one of their meetings or via handshake? If he has, may Allah in his infinite mercy open upon your eyes to do the needful and save NDDC from total collapse.

Joi Nunieh did not just make allegations but backed it up with witnesses from the Presidency and staff of the commission. They are too grave to be ignored. 

For Cairo Ojugboh, you should truly believe when Joi alleged that he said he can kill for Akpabio before asking the reason why he sent him on such a dangerous mission. Mr. President, it is said in Delta North that Cairo is a dreaded killer who masterminded the murder of security details attached to Nduka Irabor during their tussle for the House of Representatives. That incident left a lifetime emotional trauma on Irabor that he never contemplated running for any election again as long as Cairo Ojugboh remains alive. If that was a one off gist, stories abound on how he slapped a former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Martins Okonta with magical hands during a shouting bout that almost made him run mad. I don’t believe in fairy tales but the bible admonishes that in the mouth of two witnesses, truth is established. Perhaps, we can begin to source for these witnesses who will tell us how dangerous it is to have Cairo Ojugboh as a member of NDDC even on part time basis.

For anyone to begin to insinuate that the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege who has been your biggest supporter from the South South is behind the scandals surrounding the IMC NDDC is enough for Mr President to not only dissolve the entire board but even shut down the entire NDDC for one year. For heaven sake, has Cairo Ojugboh no honor left in him that he will accuse the most performing Senator from the Southern part of the country of instigating crisis when he has never benefitted one contract from NDDC, has no payment there that the forensic audit will expose and does not even know the MD’s office to send people to collect jobs.

Just like every well-meaning Niger Deltans, the DSP is concerned that 20 years after establishing the NDDC, it has no meaningful projects to claim and just when he though the IMC is the Daniel come to judgment, he began to weep when he began reading of allegations of billions missing. It is natural that as the major representative of the South and political leader of the South South which includes both PDP and APC, he backed his colleagues in the hallowed chambers to support the probe of the IMC. I do not believe that as a President, you sent Godswill there as the supervising minister to steal ahead of his Vice Presidential aspiration for 2023 or Cairo Ojugboh to loot ahead of his 2023 Senatorial ambition. It is important that even the watchman is watched.

Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) who watched over the anti-corruption agencies was also watched by the SSS and NFIU. Today, their reports which the Presidential panel is acting on has led to his suspension and possible dismissal. If you could order Magu’s arrest, detention and investigation, Godswill Akpabio and Cairo Ojugboh should be immediately arrested. They cannot continue to seat in the same office where they have every opportunity to doctor documents, steal files and destroy evidences against them. 

Mr President, without sounding undemocratic, I will urge you to just switch your brain back to 1985 and tell SARS to pick up Akpabio and Cairo, tie them to two drums and have ten SARS officers stay in front of them and behind them to be shot to death. Their looting has caused many deaths to Niger Deltans and we will not shout as sons and daughters of the soil for ordering the shooting of these two useless sons that God mistakenly sent to our soil instead of Iraq. They need no fair hearing again Sir, for Joi Nunieh statement and many reports in the public is all that is needed to do this. If this is done Mr President, I can assure you that in years to come, we will reap the benefit of this benevolence and probably name the NDDC building after you, and God willing even name the commission to Muhammadu Buhari Development Commission (MBDC). 
Yours in Anti-Corruption struggle

These little things matter
Fejiro Oliver, an investigative journalist can be reached on +2348022050733 (SMS ONLY). He tweets with @fejirooliver86 and IG Handle @kingofqueendom

DISCLAIMER 
Every expression, claims, narrations, impressions and opinions narrated in this article purely represent that of the writers and Not of this website '. 

PMB, Nigerian Armed Forces have done far better than other countries on the fight against terrorism - ANPE

PMB, Nigerian Armed Forces have done far better than other countries on the fight against terrorism - ANPE

...... lauds FG’s actions on Covid-19, economic development

By Dansu Peter 

The Association of Nigerian Professionals in Europe (ANPE) says President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian Armed Forces have done much better than other countries in the fight against terrorism. 

The group of Nigerians also hailed the Federal Government's response to the coronavirus pandemic and the general socio-economic development of the country. 

ANPE made this known in a communique signed by its President, Dr Agwu Onyeke and seven others at the end of a virtual consultative assembly held by its leadership on the state of affairs in Nigeria.

Among others, ANPE unanimously agreed that the spate of insecurity had been propelled by politicians that want to score political points as well as distract the Service Chiefs.  

It added that "no country facing the multilayers of security threats like Nigeria has done better in the handling of the various threats". 

While hailing the security heads for discharging their duties despite the campaign of calumny, the group said troops have displayed an enviable level of professionalism in tackling insecurity. 

However, ANPE advised Nigerians not to give in to conspiracy theories by dubious entities doubting the existence of COVID-19. 

Introduction: 

The Association of Nigerian Professionals in Europe is the umbrella body of Nigerian professionals in various fields of endeavours in Europe. The association amongst other things serves a think tank of ideas for the socio-economic development of Nigerian through its robust database that consists of distinguished Nigerians that have excelled in their chosen fields that span through finance and economics, politics, engineering, international relations, banking, criminology, insurance, science and technology and other areas of human endeavours.

The Association of Nigerian Professionals in Europe has over the years availed developmental ideas and policy framework to past administrations in Nigeria at the various tiers of government to hasten the socio-economic development of Nigeria.

The Convocation of the virtual consultative assembly: 

The leadership of the Association of Nigerian Professionals in Europe in the light of the issues bedevilling Nigeria convoked an emergency consultative assembly to deliberate on the state of the nation.

The emergency consultative assembly was attended by members from various countries in Europe to deliberate on the state of the nation Nigeria. 

The Deliberations: 

The deliberations touched on critical sectors of the Nigerian economy such as insecurity, COVID 19 pandemic, and the general socio-economic development of Nigeria. After extensive debates and paper presentations by members in various disciplines, the following resolves were made:

The Resolve: 

Insecurity: 

The Association of Nigerian Professionals unanimously agreed that the spate of insecurity in Nigeria had been propelled mainly by politicians that want to score political points towards the 2023 general elections.

That there seems to be a grand plot to undermine the efforts of the government to address the security challenges in the country through the sponsorship of groups to cause violence and bloodletting in some parts of the country to paint a general picture of incapacity of the government to provide sound leadership direction in the country. 

That there is also a grand plot to cause a distraction for the Service Chiefs in the country through the sponsorship of a distractive campaign calling for the sack of Service Chiefs in the country.  

COVID 19 Pandemic: 

That indeed, the outbreak of COVID 19 has affected the socio-economic development of Nigeria as it is globally.

That the number of cases has been on the increase due to the testing of more people by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) 

That community transmission is at its peak due to the nonchalance of Nigerian citizens towards the observation of the laid down government protocol towards halting the further spread of the disease.  

That a large chunk of Nigerians does not believe in the existence of COVID 19 and the need to adhere to all laid down precautions.

Our Position: 

The Association of Nigerian Professionals in Europe after extensive deliberations on the state of the nation in Nigeria as a result of this makes the following statements:

That no country facing the multilayers of security threats like Nigeria has done better in the handling of the various threats. 

That the Nigerian Military has displayed an enviable level of professionalism in tackling insecurity in Nigeria.

That the Nigerian Army has been exceptional in the prosecution of the Boko Haram war in North-East Nigeria

That the various heads of security agencies have continued to be focused in the discharge of their duties despite the campaign of calumny against them in the media.

That investigation has shown that the government has improved on Defense spending and accountability in the last five years.

That a regime of transparency and discipline has been enthroned in the military, notably the Nigerian Army under Lt. Gen TY Buratai. 

That the government response to the COVID 19 pandemic has been outstanding given the circumstances

That the Nigerian Police Force has been outstanding in the handling of cases of kidnappings and farmer-herder crisis 

Recommendation/Conclusion: 

The Association of Nigerian Professionals in Europe wishes to conclude that the COVID19 pandemic has hampered the socio-economic development in Nigeria. However, the response of the government has been impressive through its various interventions. 

We state that though great efforts are in place, more still has to be done in ensuring that the effect of the COVID19 pandemic in Nigeria is mitigated. 

The Association of Nigerian Professionals in Europe also commends the Service Chiefs in Nigeria (Army, Navy, Air force, Police and the DSS) for their commitment towards addressing the various security challenges in the country. 

The Association of Nigerian Professionals in Europe acknowledges that no nation facing the kind of multilayered insurgency like Nigeria is facing has done better than Nigeria.   

The Association of Nigerian Professionals in Europe lauds the government on its investments in critical infrastructures across the country, which to an extent is driven by the current borrowing plan of the government. This is indeed commendable and the right way of spending for the future, even though emphasis should be placed on other critical sectors that require adequate funding. 

The Association of Nigerian Professionals in Europe advises Nigerians not to give in to conspiracy theories by dubious entities doubting the existence of COVID 19, as it is real. No government is playing politics as the world has seen considerable improvements. 

Nigerians the world over are therefore encouraged to support the administration in any possible ways to ensure that insecurity is entirely addressed. 
...... lauds FG’s actions on Covid-19, economic development

By Dansu Peter 

The Association of Nigerian Professionals in Europe (ANPE) says President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian Armed Forces have done much better than other countries in the fight against terrorism. 

The group of Nigerians also hailed the Federal Government's response to the coronavirus pandemic and the general socio-economic development of the country. 

ANPE made this known in a communique signed by its President, Dr Agwu Onyeke and seven others at the end of a virtual consultative assembly held by its leadership on the state of affairs in Nigeria.

Among others, ANPE unanimously agreed that the spate of insecurity had been propelled by politicians that want to score political points as well as distract the Service Chiefs.  

It added that "no country facing the multilayers of security threats like Nigeria has done better in the handling of the various threats". 

While hailing the security heads for discharging their duties despite the campaign of calumny, the group said troops have displayed an enviable level of professionalism in tackling insecurity. 

However, ANPE advised Nigerians not to give in to conspiracy theories by dubious entities doubting the existence of COVID-19. 

Introduction: 

The Association of Nigerian Professionals in Europe is the umbrella body of Nigerian professionals in various fields of endeavours in Europe. The association amongst other things serves a think tank of ideas for the socio-economic development of Nigerian through its robust database that consists of distinguished Nigerians that have excelled in their chosen fields that span through finance and economics, politics, engineering, international relations, banking, criminology, insurance, science and technology and other areas of human endeavours.

The Association of Nigerian Professionals in Europe has over the years availed developmental ideas and policy framework to past administrations in Nigeria at the various tiers of government to hasten the socio-economic development of Nigeria.

The Convocation of the virtual consultative assembly: 

The leadership of the Association of Nigerian Professionals in Europe in the light of the issues bedevilling Nigeria convoked an emergency consultative assembly to deliberate on the state of the nation.

The emergency consultative assembly was attended by members from various countries in Europe to deliberate on the state of the nation Nigeria. 

The Deliberations: 

The deliberations touched on critical sectors of the Nigerian economy such as insecurity, COVID 19 pandemic, and the general socio-economic development of Nigeria. After extensive debates and paper presentations by members in various disciplines, the following resolves were made:

The Resolve: 

Insecurity: 

The Association of Nigerian Professionals unanimously agreed that the spate of insecurity in Nigeria had been propelled mainly by politicians that want to score political points towards the 2023 general elections.

That there seems to be a grand plot to undermine the efforts of the government to address the security challenges in the country through the sponsorship of groups to cause violence and bloodletting in some parts of the country to paint a general picture of incapacity of the government to provide sound leadership direction in the country. 

That there is also a grand plot to cause a distraction for the Service Chiefs in the country through the sponsorship of a distractive campaign calling for the sack of Service Chiefs in the country.  

COVID 19 Pandemic: 

That indeed, the outbreak of COVID 19 has affected the socio-economic development of Nigeria as it is globally.

That the number of cases has been on the increase due to the testing of more people by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) 

That community transmission is at its peak due to the nonchalance of Nigerian citizens towards the observation of the laid down government protocol towards halting the further spread of the disease.  

That a large chunk of Nigerians does not believe in the existence of COVID 19 and the need to adhere to all laid down precautions.

Our Position: 

The Association of Nigerian Professionals in Europe after extensive deliberations on the state of the nation in Nigeria as a result of this makes the following statements:

That no country facing the multilayers of security threats like Nigeria has done better in the handling of the various threats. 

That the Nigerian Military has displayed an enviable level of professionalism in tackling insecurity in Nigeria.

That the Nigerian Army has been exceptional in the prosecution of the Boko Haram war in North-East Nigeria

That the various heads of security agencies have continued to be focused in the discharge of their duties despite the campaign of calumny against them in the media.

That investigation has shown that the government has improved on Defense spending and accountability in the last five years.

That a regime of transparency and discipline has been enthroned in the military, notably the Nigerian Army under Lt. Gen TY Buratai. 

That the government response to the COVID 19 pandemic has been outstanding given the circumstances

That the Nigerian Police Force has been outstanding in the handling of cases of kidnappings and farmer-herder crisis 

Recommendation/Conclusion: 

The Association of Nigerian Professionals in Europe wishes to conclude that the COVID19 pandemic has hampered the socio-economic development in Nigeria. However, the response of the government has been impressive through its various interventions. 

We state that though great efforts are in place, more still has to be done in ensuring that the effect of the COVID19 pandemic in Nigeria is mitigated. 

The Association of Nigerian Professionals in Europe also commends the Service Chiefs in Nigeria (Army, Navy, Air force, Police and the DSS) for their commitment towards addressing the various security challenges in the country. 

The Association of Nigerian Professionals in Europe acknowledges that no nation facing the kind of multilayered insurgency like Nigeria is facing has done better than Nigeria.   

The Association of Nigerian Professionals in Europe lauds the government on its investments in critical infrastructures across the country, which to an extent is driven by the current borrowing plan of the government. This is indeed commendable and the right way of spending for the future, even though emphasis should be placed on other critical sectors that require adequate funding. 

The Association of Nigerian Professionals in Europe advises Nigerians not to give in to conspiracy theories by dubious entities doubting the existence of COVID 19, as it is real. No government is playing politics as the world has seen considerable improvements. 

Nigerians the world over are therefore encouraged to support the administration in any possible ways to ensure that insecurity is entirely addressed. 

Dr. Olowo Onaolapo, Lagos Fin. Commissioner @35; Deploying Private Sector Driven Template To The Developement Of Lagos, By Abubakar Yusuf- Momony

Dr. Olowo Onaolapo, Lagos Fin. Commissioner @35; Deploying Private Sector Driven Template To The Developement Of Lagos, By Abubakar Yusuf- Momony

By Abubakar Yusuf- Momony

In pace setting towards both public and private initiatives,Lagos State is rated to be at the forefront of all activities,this was in line with the appointement of a meticulous,articulate,reserved,hard working and intelligent private driven personalty, Dr RABIU ONAOLAPO  OLOWO's achievements to the economic development of Nigeria, in the last one decade and across the globe, trascends mere rhetorics,but on ground for public benefits.

Soon after the swearing in of the new administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in Lagos State by May 29 2019,the desire to engage people with high level acue, to assist in driving the socio-economic development of the new Lagos State,became germane,hence the assemblage of a well groomed professionals in various fields ,saw the new Finance Commissioner for lagos state,as one of the best hands purely selected on merit,devoid of political undertone,but based on perfomance indices from the private sector, to assist in redirection of the cosmopolitan Lagos economy, likened to a mini Nigeria in the next four years.

DR RABIU ONAOLAPO OLOWO who is 35 years, emerged as the youngest commissioners among other members of the state executive council, along with an intimidating resume exceptionally distinct from the previous order, that got the blessings of the political leaders of Lagos State and by extension Nigeria .

Dr RABIU at his youthful age, had already garnered a robust working experience at the top echelon of Banks, productuon,pharmaceuticals,and other financial institutions at the top level, that led to his establishment of a wholly private training school, Rablo Woods CFLC, sole ACF trainer in Nigeria and Ghana, likened to Lagos Business School,whose scope had gone beyond the areas of human capital developement, trainings and re-trainings of top,middle and high level private and public establishments, geared towards improving their productivity and professional stead in crime and fraud management, both in public and private private sectors, with a potential qualification and proficiency certificate as Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), on graduation.

Dr OLOWO's strides in this area saw him as a Finance strategy leader, certified fraud examiner, conference speaker, and venture capitalist whose in-depth training is being deployed to manage a robust Nigeria economies in Finance Management, payments and assist the anti graft agencies, to reduce fraud, control a seamless and transparent accounting system in Nigeria.

A graduate of first class in  Accounting from Kogi state University KSU ,Anyigba, chattered accountant with ICAN in his early days of graduation in 2007, post graduate program(MSC), at the University of Lagos,and bagged his PhD in his early 30's from the same institution.

A public speaker both within and outside the shores of Nigeria which included Ghana,Johannesburg in South Africa and other foreign countries.

His involvement in the current administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has taken the state to another level of developement in Agriculture, Education,Health, Infrastructural developement and Social services,as the state government response to emergencies is unprecedented in the current dispensation.

As Finance Commissioner,Dr Olowo has engaged both private and public sector as well as mobilise  chunk of funds from the stock market, through bond arrangement, to trigger more developement in all facets of Lagos State and it's environs,payable at ease for years,with less pressure on governance and stress free.

At the build up to the current global emergency of COVID-19,the commissioner did not hesitate in mobilising funds on daily basis,to meet the ever growing expectations of the people on the unforseen circumstances, that occassioned the unprovisioned situation on the state budget.

In line with the state Governor's directives,he was deeply involved in both provision of Finance and logistics, to address the novel pandemic that reduced to the barest minimum,the effects of the scourge.

The Finance Commissioner in conjunction with his colleagues were deeply engaged in the day to day media briefing,and also provided for emergency situation,that reduced drastically,the spread of the disease.

As Dr Olowo Rabiu Onaolapo mark an additional year,it is my believe that his decision to pitch tent with the public sector,will be an opportunity to develop another strides towards fiscal and economic discipline, to the cosmopolitan state of Lagos in the next few years,and by extension Nigeria at large.

Accept my Congratulations,and Happy Birthday,wishing you many more years on the surface of the earth,and in the services to your father Land.   

Abubakar Yusuf- Momony Is A Media Consultant,Writes From Abuja.
By Abubakar Yusuf- Momony

In pace setting towards both public and private initiatives,Lagos State is rated to be at the forefront of all activities,this was in line with the appointement of a meticulous,articulate,reserved,hard working and intelligent private driven personalty, Dr RABIU ONAOLAPO  OLOWO's achievements to the economic development of Nigeria, in the last one decade and across the globe, trascends mere rhetorics,but on ground for public benefits.

Soon after the swearing in of the new administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in Lagos State by May 29 2019,the desire to engage people with high level acue, to assist in driving the socio-economic development of the new Lagos State,became germane,hence the assemblage of a well groomed professionals in various fields ,saw the new Finance Commissioner for lagos state,as one of the best hands purely selected on merit,devoid of political undertone,but based on perfomance indices from the private sector, to assist in redirection of the cosmopolitan Lagos economy, likened to a mini Nigeria in the next four years.

DR RABIU ONAOLAPO OLOWO who is 35 years, emerged as the youngest commissioners among other members of the state executive council, along with an intimidating resume exceptionally distinct from the previous order, that got the blessings of the political leaders of Lagos State and by extension Nigeria .

Dr RABIU at his youthful age, had already garnered a robust working experience at the top echelon of Banks, productuon,pharmaceuticals,and other financial institutions at the top level, that led to his establishment of a wholly private training school, Rablo Woods CFLC, sole ACF trainer in Nigeria and Ghana, likened to Lagos Business School,whose scope had gone beyond the areas of human capital developement, trainings and re-trainings of top,middle and high level private and public establishments, geared towards improving their productivity and professional stead in crime and fraud management, both in public and private private sectors, with a potential qualification and proficiency certificate as Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), on graduation.

Dr OLOWO's strides in this area saw him as a Finance strategy leader, certified fraud examiner, conference speaker, and venture capitalist whose in-depth training is being deployed to manage a robust Nigeria economies in Finance Management, payments and assist the anti graft agencies, to reduce fraud, control a seamless and transparent accounting system in Nigeria.

A graduate of first class in  Accounting from Kogi state University KSU ,Anyigba, chattered accountant with ICAN in his early days of graduation in 2007, post graduate program(MSC), at the University of Lagos,and bagged his PhD in his early 30's from the same institution.

A public speaker both within and outside the shores of Nigeria which included Ghana,Johannesburg in South Africa and other foreign countries.

His involvement in the current administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has taken the state to another level of developement in Agriculture, Education,Health, Infrastructural developement and Social services,as the state government response to emergencies is unprecedented in the current dispensation.

As Finance Commissioner,Dr Olowo has engaged both private and public sector as well as mobilise  chunk of funds from the stock market, through bond arrangement, to trigger more developement in all facets of Lagos State and it's environs,payable at ease for years,with less pressure on governance and stress free.

At the build up to the current global emergency of COVID-19,the commissioner did not hesitate in mobilising funds on daily basis,to meet the ever growing expectations of the people on the unforseen circumstances, that occassioned the unprovisioned situation on the state budget.

In line with the state Governor's directives,he was deeply involved in both provision of Finance and logistics, to address the novel pandemic that reduced to the barest minimum,the effects of the scourge.

The Finance Commissioner in conjunction with his colleagues were deeply engaged in the day to day media briefing,and also provided for emergency situation,that reduced drastically,the spread of the disease.

As Dr Olowo Rabiu Onaolapo mark an additional year,it is my believe that his decision to pitch tent with the public sector,will be an opportunity to develop another strides towards fiscal and economic discipline, to the cosmopolitan state of Lagos in the next few years,and by extension Nigeria at large.

Accept my Congratulations,and Happy Birthday,wishing you many more years on the surface of the earth,and in the services to your father Land.   

Abubakar Yusuf- Momony Is A Media Consultant,Writes From Abuja.

Tinubu and 21yrs of unbroken democracy in Nigeria, By Tunde Rahman

Tinubu and 21yrs of unbroken democracy in Nigeria, By Tunde Rahman

By Tunde Rahman

Twenty years in the life of a nation may be a short period of time. But when such a span of time embodies something meaningful and impactful, it is extremely noteworthy. And so Nigeria at present is celebrating two decades of uninterrupted democracy since the democratic restoration of 1999. Considering where the country is coming from- a long period of coups and counter coups, 30 months civil war, three previous short-lived attempts at democratic rule, military dictatorship of the worst form occasioning all kinds of experiments and fraudulent political engineering including an annulment of a free and fair election and then a brutal dictatorship during which many were either killed or maimed- having another democratic resurgence lasting 21 years, and still counting, is indeed significant.

Operating a democracy, the best form of government mankind has evolved, has never been easy anywhere, talk less in Nigeria. For our democracy to have endured all of 20 years means Nigerians have invested heavily in its success. We all deserve special congratulations for working to entrench democracy in the land. These investments have come at great costs, which, however, have not been borne in equal measure. Some Nigerians sacrificed so much for it, including paying the supreme price like business mogul Bashorun MKO Abiola, the winner of the annulled June 12 election, his wife, Kudirat and journalist, Bagauda Kalto, among others. Many were incarcerated. Thousands who suffered immense pain in diverse manners remain nameless and faceless. Some were forced on exile for a long period.

One of those who had to flee into exile to escape the death squads of the Abacha military junta over the agitation for the de-annulment of the June 12 election from where he played a leading role in continuing the struggle is Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress National Leader. In exile, Asiwaju became a critical rallying point for the opposition, making things uncomfortable for the Abacha junta back home until that regime collapsed. Following the promise of the succeeding General Abdulsalam Abubakar regime to hand over power, Asiwaju Tinubu returned to the country from exile in 1998. In no time at all, he became one of the leading lights who formed the Alliance for Democracy, one of the three main political parties of the time. Persuaded by his close associates and friends, Asiwaju threw his hat into the ring for the governorship of Lagos. Against the remonstrations of those who wanted to impose a candidate on the AD, he and his associates insisted on open primaries buoyed by support from some temperate leaders of that party. With open primaries, he emerged the governorship candidate of the party, contested for the 1999 governorship election and was elected.

If his contributions to the return of democratic rule again in 1999 after almost 16 years of military rule was remarkable, his role in nurturing and deepening democracy in the land from that period onward is even more worthy of chronicling. Saying Asiwaju is a major pillar of the nation’s democracy that seized every opportunity to deepen the practice of transparent, responsive and accountable governance, federalism and the rule of law in Nigeria both in words and deeds is stating the obvious.

As governor, he put together a team of tested technocrats and experienced managers, unrivalled in Nigeria’s history, to help him actualize his vision for the state. It is not surprising that many of them are still holding top leadership positions at different levels in the country today. Tinubu and his team laid the foundation for a modern Lagos, fashioned out a master plan and engineered most of the innovations that spurred the unprecedented ongoing development and prosperity witnessed in Lagos today. As he brought radical changes to both the economic and political landscapes of Lagos, enhancing the state’s fortunes in the process, he also made significant contributions to fiscal federalism and constitutionalism.

Under his watch, Lagos challenged the Federal Government on many constitutional issues. His government filed as many as 14 cases at the Supreme Court and won all. One of such landmark cases was the one in respect of creation of additional local councils in the state, with the Supreme Court upholding the validity of the new councils but stating that they remained inchoate until the National Assembly had done its part by listing those councils in the constitution. Nevertheless, the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) are alive and well today. They constitute the basis for accelerated rural development in Lagos State thanks to Tinubu’s vision and courage.

At the inception of this democratic dispensation in 1999, for instance, the Federal Government routinely deducted funds as a first line charge from the Federation Account for what it called “Special Funds”. These included funding of the Joint Venture Contracts and NNPC priority projects, servicing of Federal Government’s external debt, funding of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and funding of the judiciary and other federal responsibilities. It was after the deduction of these monies that whatever was remaining was shared among the states and Local Government Councils. The robust legal challenge by Lagos State at the Supreme Court put a stop to this practice to the advantage of the states and local governments.

Again, it was the crusading legal action by Lagos State under Tinubu’s leadership that led the Supreme Court to declare that planning within the territorial jurisdiction of any state was a residual matter over which the states and not the Federal Government could exercise control. In the words of Tinubu’s Attorney General at the time, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), “The Supreme Court by a majority of four out of seven justices in a full constitutional court held that urban and regional planning as well as physical development were residual matters within the exclusive legislative and executive competence of states and that grant of approvals, permits and licences for building and physical development in Lagos State including under bridges, loops and highways set-back are the residual responsibility of the state government”.

When former President Obasanjo withheld revenue allocations to Lagos on account of the creation of those additional councils, Asiwaju was forced to look inward, devising ingenious means of funding the new councils and running the state. Such resourcefulness birthed the innovations that moved the state IGR from about N600 million monthly in 1999 to around N25billion and over N30billion monthly today. So significant was what Asiwaju and his team did in eight years that many continue to acknowledge his ingenuity.

In a tribute to the APC leader during his 67th birthday in March this year, President Muhammadu Buhari described Tinubu as one of the strong pillars of Nigeria’s democracy while also praising him for his selflessness in serving the country and contributing his quota towards making life better for our teeming people. “Asiwaju’s uncompromising posture in the face of injustice and refusal to follow the path of least resistance for personal gains stand him out today as a rare breed and one of the cornerstones of Nigeria’s democracy, especially with his track record of persistence, consistency and effective leadership,” the President said. “As the father of modern Lagos State,” Presidential Spokesman Femi Adesina quoted the President as commending “the visionary and inclusive leadership style that the Asiwaju provided for the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria for eight years, laying the foundation for a modern and technologically-driven city, and ensuring that every successive leader in the state sticks with the master plan of a greater Lagos.”

From the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Asiwaju and his associates moved to form first, the Action Congress (AC) and then the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) when the AD became polarised in the aftermath of the choice of that party’s presidential candidate for the 1999 poll among other contentious issues. In the 2003 election, Asiwaju became the only AD governor who survived the virulent onslaught of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which contrived to win the election at all cost in the South-west and credit Obasanjo with home-base support. It was to Asiwaju’s credit that he led the struggle in winning back, one by one, those South-west states illegally captured by the PDP through the courts, which upheld the cause of justice.

With the ACN now in firm control of the South-west, Asiwaju’s ACN began alliance talks towards the 2011 election with the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) led by then General Muhammadu Buhari, but that alliance fell through. It is instructive that that merger of the South-west and North-West progressives and other like minds, once predicted by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and which fell through in 2011, was eventually successfully and consummated in the build-up to the 2015 election, thus giving birth to the APC. For the first time in Nigeria’s political history, that rainbow coalition that is APC, unseated an incumbent president and formed government at the centre.

Since then, in a bid to get the party to wax stronger, Asiwaju and his cohorts have had to battle some undemocratic forces within the party and their underhand tactics. For instance, after the initial bright successes of the APC during which elective convention was the order of the day, some members wanted to foist dictatorship and automatic extension of tenure on the party. Asiwaju and other democrats successfully wrestled this move to the ground. Tinubu spearheaded the struggle for the adoption by APC of direct primaries as a method of picking the party’s candidates for elections, involving the generality of the party members as opposed to some small coterie of delegates. That agitation culminated in the election last year of a consummate labour activist and former governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, as APC chairman. Oshiomhole has been changing the narrative in APC to the admiration of many and discomfiture of others.

Asiwaju did much more. Which of those other onerous contributions should one highlight? Is it the crucial role he played in persuading the Federal Government to give June 12 the honour it deserved, thus bringing the matter of the annulled election to a proper close or the leadership he provided, as Co-chair of the APC presidential campaigns, in galvanising the party’s rank and file to work assiduously for the president’s re-election in March this year, knowing full well that President Buhari is a honest and patriotic leader who, in his first term, had taken concrete steps towards laying a firm foundation for a greater Nigeria?

Tinubu’s role as a leading advocate of the legitimation of June 12 has borne ample fruit with President Buhari conferring on the hero of June 12, late MKO Abiola, a post-humous Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) award while MKO’s  running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, received the Grand Commander of the Order of Niger award. The icing on the cake was the pronouncing of June 12 as Democracy Day by President Buhari. Now, the National Assembly has passed the bill making June 12 a public holiday and Nigeria’s Democracy Day. In the 2019 election, President Buhari posted a resounding victory, roundly defeating the PDP, and its candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, to win a second term which he began a few days ago.  

In their book-“Statesmanship and Political Leadership: Analyses of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic-A Festschrift in Honour of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu”, the authors of the book, edited by Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun (SAN) and Adewale Aderemi, Ph D, who interrogated Asiwaju’s role in Nigeria’s democracy, said of the APC leader: “At critical junctures since his emergence as a public figure in the early 1990s, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has been a pivotal figure in the equation, by a dint of political doggedness as the last line of resistance to the ruling party, which historically never ruled the South-west, not only weathered incredible political turmoil but also nurtured the dominant political platform of the region from the brink of disintegration to becoming the nucleus of the new ruling party, ousting the sixteen-year incumbency of the PDP in the process.”

Any need to add more. All that Asiwaju has accomplished hasn’t come easy. As common in the trajectories of great men like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe and many other leaders, Asiwaju has had his own fair share of treachery, deceit and campaigns of calumny, even by some of those he trusted. He has, however, weathered the storms. He is carrying on and waxing stronger. One of the tasks he has taken upon himself at present is safeguarding and strengthening party supremacy within the governing party and ensuring adherence to the party’s position in respect of emergence of the National Assembly’s presiding officers. Asiwaju has a lot more to offer. Surely, in the fullness of time and with the gift of life and continued good health, the fullness of his robust intellect, competence, and capability will be released in the service of our country.

Rahman, former Editor Thisday on Saturday and Sunday Newspapers, is Media Adviser to Asiwaju have Tinubu.
By Tunde Rahman

Twenty years in the life of a nation may be a short period of time. But when such a span of time embodies something meaningful and impactful, it is extremely noteworthy. And so Nigeria at present is celebrating two decades of uninterrupted democracy since the democratic restoration of 1999. Considering where the country is coming from- a long period of coups and counter coups, 30 months civil war, three previous short-lived attempts at democratic rule, military dictatorship of the worst form occasioning all kinds of experiments and fraudulent political engineering including an annulment of a free and fair election and then a brutal dictatorship during which many were either killed or maimed- having another democratic resurgence lasting 21 years, and still counting, is indeed significant.

Operating a democracy, the best form of government mankind has evolved, has never been easy anywhere, talk less in Nigeria. For our democracy to have endured all of 20 years means Nigerians have invested heavily in its success. We all deserve special congratulations for working to entrench democracy in the land. These investments have come at great costs, which, however, have not been borne in equal measure. Some Nigerians sacrificed so much for it, including paying the supreme price like business mogul Bashorun MKO Abiola, the winner of the annulled June 12 election, his wife, Kudirat and journalist, Bagauda Kalto, among others. Many were incarcerated. Thousands who suffered immense pain in diverse manners remain nameless and faceless. Some were forced on exile for a long period.

One of those who had to flee into exile to escape the death squads of the Abacha military junta over the agitation for the de-annulment of the June 12 election from where he played a leading role in continuing the struggle is Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress National Leader. In exile, Asiwaju became a critical rallying point for the opposition, making things uncomfortable for the Abacha junta back home until that regime collapsed. Following the promise of the succeeding General Abdulsalam Abubakar regime to hand over power, Asiwaju Tinubu returned to the country from exile in 1998. In no time at all, he became one of the leading lights who formed the Alliance for Democracy, one of the three main political parties of the time. Persuaded by his close associates and friends, Asiwaju threw his hat into the ring for the governorship of Lagos. Against the remonstrations of those who wanted to impose a candidate on the AD, he and his associates insisted on open primaries buoyed by support from some temperate leaders of that party. With open primaries, he emerged the governorship candidate of the party, contested for the 1999 governorship election and was elected.

If his contributions to the return of democratic rule again in 1999 after almost 16 years of military rule was remarkable, his role in nurturing and deepening democracy in the land from that period onward is even more worthy of chronicling. Saying Asiwaju is a major pillar of the nation’s democracy that seized every opportunity to deepen the practice of transparent, responsive and accountable governance, federalism and the rule of law in Nigeria both in words and deeds is stating the obvious.

As governor, he put together a team of tested technocrats and experienced managers, unrivalled in Nigeria’s history, to help him actualize his vision for the state. It is not surprising that many of them are still holding top leadership positions at different levels in the country today. Tinubu and his team laid the foundation for a modern Lagos, fashioned out a master plan and engineered most of the innovations that spurred the unprecedented ongoing development and prosperity witnessed in Lagos today. As he brought radical changes to both the economic and political landscapes of Lagos, enhancing the state’s fortunes in the process, he also made significant contributions to fiscal federalism and constitutionalism.

Under his watch, Lagos challenged the Federal Government on many constitutional issues. His government filed as many as 14 cases at the Supreme Court and won all. One of such landmark cases was the one in respect of creation of additional local councils in the state, with the Supreme Court upholding the validity of the new councils but stating that they remained inchoate until the National Assembly had done its part by listing those councils in the constitution. Nevertheless, the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) are alive and well today. They constitute the basis for accelerated rural development in Lagos State thanks to Tinubu’s vision and courage.

At the inception of this democratic dispensation in 1999, for instance, the Federal Government routinely deducted funds as a first line charge from the Federation Account for what it called “Special Funds”. These included funding of the Joint Venture Contracts and NNPC priority projects, servicing of Federal Government’s external debt, funding of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and funding of the judiciary and other federal responsibilities. It was after the deduction of these monies that whatever was remaining was shared among the states and Local Government Councils. The robust legal challenge by Lagos State at the Supreme Court put a stop to this practice to the advantage of the states and local governments.

Again, it was the crusading legal action by Lagos State under Tinubu’s leadership that led the Supreme Court to declare that planning within the territorial jurisdiction of any state was a residual matter over which the states and not the Federal Government could exercise control. In the words of Tinubu’s Attorney General at the time, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), “The Supreme Court by a majority of four out of seven justices in a full constitutional court held that urban and regional planning as well as physical development were residual matters within the exclusive legislative and executive competence of states and that grant of approvals, permits and licences for building and physical development in Lagos State including under bridges, loops and highways set-back are the residual responsibility of the state government”.

When former President Obasanjo withheld revenue allocations to Lagos on account of the creation of those additional councils, Asiwaju was forced to look inward, devising ingenious means of funding the new councils and running the state. Such resourcefulness birthed the innovations that moved the state IGR from about N600 million monthly in 1999 to around N25billion and over N30billion monthly today. So significant was what Asiwaju and his team did in eight years that many continue to acknowledge his ingenuity.

In a tribute to the APC leader during his 67th birthday in March this year, President Muhammadu Buhari described Tinubu as one of the strong pillars of Nigeria’s democracy while also praising him for his selflessness in serving the country and contributing his quota towards making life better for our teeming people. “Asiwaju’s uncompromising posture in the face of injustice and refusal to follow the path of least resistance for personal gains stand him out today as a rare breed and one of the cornerstones of Nigeria’s democracy, especially with his track record of persistence, consistency and effective leadership,” the President said. “As the father of modern Lagos State,” Presidential Spokesman Femi Adesina quoted the President as commending “the visionary and inclusive leadership style that the Asiwaju provided for the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria for eight years, laying the foundation for a modern and technologically-driven city, and ensuring that every successive leader in the state sticks with the master plan of a greater Lagos.”

From the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Asiwaju and his associates moved to form first, the Action Congress (AC) and then the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) when the AD became polarised in the aftermath of the choice of that party’s presidential candidate for the 1999 poll among other contentious issues. In the 2003 election, Asiwaju became the only AD governor who survived the virulent onslaught of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which contrived to win the election at all cost in the South-west and credit Obasanjo with home-base support. It was to Asiwaju’s credit that he led the struggle in winning back, one by one, those South-west states illegally captured by the PDP through the courts, which upheld the cause of justice.

With the ACN now in firm control of the South-west, Asiwaju’s ACN began alliance talks towards the 2011 election with the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) led by then General Muhammadu Buhari, but that alliance fell through. It is instructive that that merger of the South-west and North-West progressives and other like minds, once predicted by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and which fell through in 2011, was eventually successfully and consummated in the build-up to the 2015 election, thus giving birth to the APC. For the first time in Nigeria’s political history, that rainbow coalition that is APC, unseated an incumbent president and formed government at the centre.

Since then, in a bid to get the party to wax stronger, Asiwaju and his cohorts have had to battle some undemocratic forces within the party and their underhand tactics. For instance, after the initial bright successes of the APC during which elective convention was the order of the day, some members wanted to foist dictatorship and automatic extension of tenure on the party. Asiwaju and other democrats successfully wrestled this move to the ground. Tinubu spearheaded the struggle for the adoption by APC of direct primaries as a method of picking the party’s candidates for elections, involving the generality of the party members as opposed to some small coterie of delegates. That agitation culminated in the election last year of a consummate labour activist and former governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, as APC chairman. Oshiomhole has been changing the narrative in APC to the admiration of many and discomfiture of others.

Asiwaju did much more. Which of those other onerous contributions should one highlight? Is it the crucial role he played in persuading the Federal Government to give June 12 the honour it deserved, thus bringing the matter of the annulled election to a proper close or the leadership he provided, as Co-chair of the APC presidential campaigns, in galvanising the party’s rank and file to work assiduously for the president’s re-election in March this year, knowing full well that President Buhari is a honest and patriotic leader who, in his first term, had taken concrete steps towards laying a firm foundation for a greater Nigeria?

Tinubu’s role as a leading advocate of the legitimation of June 12 has borne ample fruit with President Buhari conferring on the hero of June 12, late MKO Abiola, a post-humous Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) award while MKO’s  running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, received the Grand Commander of the Order of Niger award. The icing on the cake was the pronouncing of June 12 as Democracy Day by President Buhari. Now, the National Assembly has passed the bill making June 12 a public holiday and Nigeria’s Democracy Day. In the 2019 election, President Buhari posted a resounding victory, roundly defeating the PDP, and its candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, to win a second term which he began a few days ago.  

In their book-“Statesmanship and Political Leadership: Analyses of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic-A Festschrift in Honour of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu”, the authors of the book, edited by Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun (SAN) and Adewale Aderemi, Ph D, who interrogated Asiwaju’s role in Nigeria’s democracy, said of the APC leader: “At critical junctures since his emergence as a public figure in the early 1990s, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has been a pivotal figure in the equation, by a dint of political doggedness as the last line of resistance to the ruling party, which historically never ruled the South-west, not only weathered incredible political turmoil but also nurtured the dominant political platform of the region from the brink of disintegration to becoming the nucleus of the new ruling party, ousting the sixteen-year incumbency of the PDP in the process.”

Any need to add more. All that Asiwaju has accomplished hasn’t come easy. As common in the trajectories of great men like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe and many other leaders, Asiwaju has had his own fair share of treachery, deceit and campaigns of calumny, even by some of those he trusted. He has, however, weathered the storms. He is carrying on and waxing stronger. One of the tasks he has taken upon himself at present is safeguarding and strengthening party supremacy within the governing party and ensuring adherence to the party’s position in respect of emergence of the National Assembly’s presiding officers. Asiwaju has a lot more to offer. Surely, in the fullness of time and with the gift of life and continued good health, the fullness of his robust intellect, competence, and capability will be released in the service of our country.

Rahman, former Editor Thisday on Saturday and Sunday Newspapers, is Media Adviser to Asiwaju have Tinubu.

Trending

randomposts

Like Us

fb/https://www.facebook.com/newsproof