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

BEYOND THE MARKET SQUARE OF AFONJA'S APPOINTMENT AS SSA TO GOV. SANWO-OLU, By Fakunle Sheriff Ekundayo

BEYOND THE MARKET SQUARE OF AFONJA'S APPOINTMENT AS SSA TO GOV. SANWO-OLU, By Fakunle Sheriff Ekundayo

By Fakunle Sheriff Ekundayo

The noblest gift to mankind is happiness. And it can manifest in the lives of humanity in different forms.

For followers and admirers of diplomatic Oluomo Ade Akanbi, popularly referred as Afonja, they've  been enthralled by the birthday gift to one of their special breeds as he was appointed Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Lagos State Governor on youth development.

Observers from different quarters would argue that Afonja's appointment was long overdue. This is justified by his numerous engagement and influence on Lagos State politics across the social and economic spheres, as observed among aspiring youths in the state.

His strategic globetrotting across the 57 local government areas and local council development areas with a mission to engage in diplomatic sessions with council chairmen has served as one of the political investments that earmarked his personality for national relevance.

Afonja understands the power of the media from a high octane point of views. His ability to dissect political issues and raise alarm for the ship of the All Progressives Congress ( APC) not to sink has gradually positioned him as a young and vibrant advocate in Lagos politics.

Like the Eagle, Afonja's foresightedness extols the virtue of strategic positioning. His widely acclaimed love for APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, could be described as the golden principle that unlocked many paths of opportunities for him.

The diplomacy and strategic positioning of his annual program: Bola Tinubu Youth Summit (BTYS) has attracted millions of youths across Nigeria to embrace the Bola Ahmed Tinubu's philosophy, thereby stretching Afonja's personality cult beyond the realms of a social entrepreneur. He has over time conjure himself to serve as the change agent, the symbol of hope for the younger generation, and the 'Goal-getter' for many youths within the political culture of Lagos State APC.

And now, taking a cursory look beyond the market square that enliven the euphoria of Afonja's appointment as SSA; this is a signal that should be embraced wholeheartedly by productive youths in the State. His appointment, like some few others in recent times, must commence the evolution of youth ascendancy in governance.

Afonja's rise as SSA on youth development to Mr. Governor must put in motion, the spotlight on youth productivity in the grassroots.

Like Afonja, who is a round peg in a round hole, understands the terrain in the grassroots. His appointment should begin the new order for youth participation at the highest level of governance.

The new era of the ruling party in Lagos State must embrace the dynamism of survival by taking positive advantage of youth resourcefulness to sustain the legacy of the party.

Oluomo Ade Akanbi Afonja is our own. This appointment is a true reflection of the future and the direction with which the party is willing to adopt for posterity.

This opportunity to serve must open the door for loyal and passionate youths in the grassroots with ingenious skills to thrive. And there is no better way to uphold this discovery than with Afonja, as the new SSA on youth development.

 Sheriff Fakunle Ekundayo
*is the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Hon. Fatai Adekunle Ayoola, Executive chairman, Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area.*
*Sunday, September 27, 2020.*
By Fakunle Sheriff Ekundayo

The noblest gift to mankind is happiness. And it can manifest in the lives of humanity in different forms.

For followers and admirers of diplomatic Oluomo Ade Akanbi, popularly referred as Afonja, they've  been enthralled by the birthday gift to one of their special breeds as he was appointed Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Lagos State Governor on youth development.

Observers from different quarters would argue that Afonja's appointment was long overdue. This is justified by his numerous engagement and influence on Lagos State politics across the social and economic spheres, as observed among aspiring youths in the state.

His strategic globetrotting across the 57 local government areas and local council development areas with a mission to engage in diplomatic sessions with council chairmen has served as one of the political investments that earmarked his personality for national relevance.

Afonja understands the power of the media from a high octane point of views. His ability to dissect political issues and raise alarm for the ship of the All Progressives Congress ( APC) not to sink has gradually positioned him as a young and vibrant advocate in Lagos politics.

Like the Eagle, Afonja's foresightedness extols the virtue of strategic positioning. His widely acclaimed love for APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, could be described as the golden principle that unlocked many paths of opportunities for him.

The diplomacy and strategic positioning of his annual program: Bola Tinubu Youth Summit (BTYS) has attracted millions of youths across Nigeria to embrace the Bola Ahmed Tinubu's philosophy, thereby stretching Afonja's personality cult beyond the realms of a social entrepreneur. He has over time conjure himself to serve as the change agent, the symbol of hope for the younger generation, and the 'Goal-getter' for many youths within the political culture of Lagos State APC.

And now, taking a cursory look beyond the market square that enliven the euphoria of Afonja's appointment as SSA; this is a signal that should be embraced wholeheartedly by productive youths in the State. His appointment, like some few others in recent times, must commence the evolution of youth ascendancy in governance.

Afonja's rise as SSA on youth development to Mr. Governor must put in motion, the spotlight on youth productivity in the grassroots.

Like Afonja, who is a round peg in a round hole, understands the terrain in the grassroots. His appointment should begin the new order for youth participation at the highest level of governance.

The new era of the ruling party in Lagos State must embrace the dynamism of survival by taking positive advantage of youth resourcefulness to sustain the legacy of the party.

Oluomo Ade Akanbi Afonja is our own. This appointment is a true reflection of the future and the direction with which the party is willing to adopt for posterity.

This opportunity to serve must open the door for loyal and passionate youths in the grassroots with ingenious skills to thrive. And there is no better way to uphold this discovery than with Afonja, as the new SSA on youth development.

 Sheriff Fakunle Ekundayo
*is the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Hon. Fatai Adekunle Ayoola, Executive chairman, Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area.*
*Sunday, September 27, 2020.*

Zamfara: Between a Lover of Peace and Its Enemies, By Sani Mafara

Zamfara: Between a Lover of Peace and Its Enemies, By Sani Mafara

By Sani Mafara

Prior to May 2019 when Bello Matawalle assumed office as governor of Zamfara State, the northwestern state was under a seemingly endless siege. The state was a typical killing field, a boiling cauldron of bloodthirsty bandits and notorious kidnappers. Cattle rustlers and dare-devil miscreants were ruling over swathes of land with security forces battling tooth and nail to stop them. But since Matawalle took the seat of power in the state capital Gusau, the state has steadily experienced a new lease of life. A territory that was once awash with insecurity, where life was almost perpetually “nasty, brutish and short,” is now delightfully turning into a haven of peace and tranquility with everybody going about their normal duties. A lot of dislodged villagers are back in their homes and farmers chased out of their farms are about harvesting this year's yield in peace. 


The amiable governor, fortified by his bravery, also leveraged on his four-year experience as chairman of the House Committee on Security and Intelligence to ensure that the security challenge in his state is considerably addressed to the point of total success. His many strategies, which does not preclude the carrot and stick approach, are yielding expected results. Gradually, voluntarily, bandits  repent, giving themselves up, releasing hundreds of captives and turning in sophisticated weapons in exchange for pardon and most likely rehabilitation. 


In addition to this rare occurrence, hundreds of locally made weapons are being retrieved from the Yan-sa-kai, a local militia group whose destructive activities were fully endorsed, promoted and encouraged in the previous administration. On the count of securing the state and protecting lives, Zamfara state, under Governor Matawalle, is winning. This is something that Zamfara failed to witness in the years when suffered what seemed an unstoppable carnage. 


Yet, some pockets of disgruntled elements who are bent on ensuring that mayhem continues to reign across the state just for their own private selfish aims. 


For instance, just last week Usman Nagogo, the state commissioner of police, addressed a press conference at the Command Headquarters in Gusau, stating that the police acting on intelligence reports and credible information learnt that certain individuals were holding a meeting with leaders of repentant bandits with a view to enticing them with money and other gifts so that they can go back to the forest and return the state to the dark days of mayhem, carnage and bloodshed that had enveloped the state for a long time. Alhaji  Habu Dantabawa and 17 others were arrested at the venue of the meeting.


Explaining that the arrest of Alhaji Dantabawa and others were an intelligent-driven proactive action taken to curtail any act of banditry and related crimes in the state, the police commissioner said no responsible government would turn a blind eye by refusing to act appropriately when there is imminent to the lives and property of the citizens of the state.


But these suspected instigators of bloody chaos and instability also have their loyalists and foot-soldiers. The police boss noted that on September 13, 2020, a day after the police arrested and his collaborators, “miscreants and those who don’t mean well for the good people of the state” displayed rascality by acting in a way that breached the peace and calmness of Zamfara state with their invasion of the police headquarters. Describing their behavior as “barbaric,” Nagogo said their intention, apart from being to test the patience and resolve of the state, was also presumably to destroy any evidence that is likely to influence the outcome of the investigation.


The police commissioner acknowledged the productive partnership between the state government and the security agents, saying, “It is a well-known fact that the steps taken by state government have yielded positive impact in curtailing acts of kidnapping, cattle rustling and banditry in the state for the past one year.” To demonstrate its firm resolve to tackle insecurity, the state government purchased 200 operational vehicles for security agents to enhance security in the state.

Nagogo said as part of the effort of raising the bar of security, there is currently in place a combined force of 877 well-armed personnel stationed at strategic locations across the state, as well as 100 special forces ready to counter any threat to peace. Hundreds other personnel, he stated, have been kept in line to be deployed to other vulnerable areas in the state. Acknowledging the state government’s responsiveness to the welfare of the security agents, the police commissioner said: “It is worthy of note that all these personnel posted to these places are being paid their allowances, feeding and any other entitlements that may crop up from time to time by the Zamfara State Government.” 


There is no doubt that some politicians, out of sheer envy, are desperate to put a spanner in the smooth running of the Matawalle-led PDP government in Zamfara state. Earlier before the arrest of Alhaji Dantabawa and others, the police had arrested Abdulmalik Bungudu, also known as Zannan Bungudu, in Kaduna and brought him to face charges in Zamfara state. Bungudu, an associate of Abdulaziz Yari, the immediate past governor of the state, was brought back to the state to face charges of mobilizing thugs and armed bandits to harass and unleash mayhem on residents of his local governments.  But before not before any trial commenced, the suspect was freed and bailed by no less a person than Sani Gwamna, a man very well known for his foul connections.


It is by now obvious that despite Governor Matawalle’s determination to restore lasting peace in Zamfara, bitter politicians are at work to cause destabilization of his government, and the accusing finger is pointing in the direction of no less a person than former Governor Abdulaziz Yari. He is said to be the fly in the ointment, the disruptor of the much-desired peace and harmony in the state. It will be recalled that, based on intelligence report, Governor Matawalle once had cause to warn Yari against inciting the people whenever he visited the state. Yet, through the despicable activities of his known allies in the state, it’s obvious that the former governor is not ready to give his successor a breathing space.


Now is the time for the presidency to step in and call Yari, his allies and his backers to order. He should be told in strong terms to refrain from all acts of subversion whether directly or indirectly in the state. He should be told to let Matawalle be, if not ready to collaborate with the governor to return lasting peace to the state. That is the only way Zamfara state can develop and prosper. It is time to call it quit and allow Zamfara to enjoy its new leaf. 

Mafara is a lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
By Sani Mafara

Prior to May 2019 when Bello Matawalle assumed office as governor of Zamfara State, the northwestern state was under a seemingly endless siege. The state was a typical killing field, a boiling cauldron of bloodthirsty bandits and notorious kidnappers. Cattle rustlers and dare-devil miscreants were ruling over swathes of land with security forces battling tooth and nail to stop them. But since Matawalle took the seat of power in the state capital Gusau, the state has steadily experienced a new lease of life. A territory that was once awash with insecurity, where life was almost perpetually “nasty, brutish and short,” is now delightfully turning into a haven of peace and tranquility with everybody going about their normal duties. A lot of dislodged villagers are back in their homes and farmers chased out of their farms are about harvesting this year's yield in peace. 


The amiable governor, fortified by his bravery, also leveraged on his four-year experience as chairman of the House Committee on Security and Intelligence to ensure that the security challenge in his state is considerably addressed to the point of total success. His many strategies, which does not preclude the carrot and stick approach, are yielding expected results. Gradually, voluntarily, bandits  repent, giving themselves up, releasing hundreds of captives and turning in sophisticated weapons in exchange for pardon and most likely rehabilitation. 


In addition to this rare occurrence, hundreds of locally made weapons are being retrieved from the Yan-sa-kai, a local militia group whose destructive activities were fully endorsed, promoted and encouraged in the previous administration. On the count of securing the state and protecting lives, Zamfara state, under Governor Matawalle, is winning. This is something that Zamfara failed to witness in the years when suffered what seemed an unstoppable carnage. 


Yet, some pockets of disgruntled elements who are bent on ensuring that mayhem continues to reign across the state just for their own private selfish aims. 


For instance, just last week Usman Nagogo, the state commissioner of police, addressed a press conference at the Command Headquarters in Gusau, stating that the police acting on intelligence reports and credible information learnt that certain individuals were holding a meeting with leaders of repentant bandits with a view to enticing them with money and other gifts so that they can go back to the forest and return the state to the dark days of mayhem, carnage and bloodshed that had enveloped the state for a long time. Alhaji  Habu Dantabawa and 17 others were arrested at the venue of the meeting.


Explaining that the arrest of Alhaji Dantabawa and others were an intelligent-driven proactive action taken to curtail any act of banditry and related crimes in the state, the police commissioner said no responsible government would turn a blind eye by refusing to act appropriately when there is imminent to the lives and property of the citizens of the state.


But these suspected instigators of bloody chaos and instability also have their loyalists and foot-soldiers. The police boss noted that on September 13, 2020, a day after the police arrested and his collaborators, “miscreants and those who don’t mean well for the good people of the state” displayed rascality by acting in a way that breached the peace and calmness of Zamfara state with their invasion of the police headquarters. Describing their behavior as “barbaric,” Nagogo said their intention, apart from being to test the patience and resolve of the state, was also presumably to destroy any evidence that is likely to influence the outcome of the investigation.


The police commissioner acknowledged the productive partnership between the state government and the security agents, saying, “It is a well-known fact that the steps taken by state government have yielded positive impact in curtailing acts of kidnapping, cattle rustling and banditry in the state for the past one year.” To demonstrate its firm resolve to tackle insecurity, the state government purchased 200 operational vehicles for security agents to enhance security in the state.

Nagogo said as part of the effort of raising the bar of security, there is currently in place a combined force of 877 well-armed personnel stationed at strategic locations across the state, as well as 100 special forces ready to counter any threat to peace. Hundreds other personnel, he stated, have been kept in line to be deployed to other vulnerable areas in the state. Acknowledging the state government’s responsiveness to the welfare of the security agents, the police commissioner said: “It is worthy of note that all these personnel posted to these places are being paid their allowances, feeding and any other entitlements that may crop up from time to time by the Zamfara State Government.” 


There is no doubt that some politicians, out of sheer envy, are desperate to put a spanner in the smooth running of the Matawalle-led PDP government in Zamfara state. Earlier before the arrest of Alhaji Dantabawa and others, the police had arrested Abdulmalik Bungudu, also known as Zannan Bungudu, in Kaduna and brought him to face charges in Zamfara state. Bungudu, an associate of Abdulaziz Yari, the immediate past governor of the state, was brought back to the state to face charges of mobilizing thugs and armed bandits to harass and unleash mayhem on residents of his local governments.  But before not before any trial commenced, the suspect was freed and bailed by no less a person than Sani Gwamna, a man very well known for his foul connections.


It is by now obvious that despite Governor Matawalle’s determination to restore lasting peace in Zamfara, bitter politicians are at work to cause destabilization of his government, and the accusing finger is pointing in the direction of no less a person than former Governor Abdulaziz Yari. He is said to be the fly in the ointment, the disruptor of the much-desired peace and harmony in the state. It will be recalled that, based on intelligence report, Governor Matawalle once had cause to warn Yari against inciting the people whenever he visited the state. Yet, through the despicable activities of his known allies in the state, it’s obvious that the former governor is not ready to give his successor a breathing space.


Now is the time for the presidency to step in and call Yari, his allies and his backers to order. He should be told in strong terms to refrain from all acts of subversion whether directly or indirectly in the state. He should be told to let Matawalle be, if not ready to collaborate with the governor to return lasting peace to the state. That is the only way Zamfara state can develop and prosper. It is time to call it quit and allow Zamfara to enjoy its new leaf. 

Mafara is a lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria

Gana and the end of an error, By Okanga Agila

Gana and the end of an error, By Okanga Agila

By Okanga Agila 

The country has been awash with tales on how the Nigerian Army killed the dreaded militia leader in Benue state Terwase Akwaza ( Gana). It has indeed been a sad commentary as some highly placed individuals within the Benue-Taraba axis have been making futile attempts at glorifying the late Gana, while vilifying the Nigerian Army despite the avalanche of crimes against humanity hanging on his neck 

I used the word glorify and vilify because it is indeed an anomaly for any right-thinking human being to question the end of the error called Gana. I have wondered in my closet if Nigeria has indeed degenerated to a level where inanities are glorified, and acts of patriotism are criticized, demonized and denigrated. This is the case with the death of one individual who would go down memory lane as the worst deceit that has come out of Nigeria in recent times.

As a first, since the return of democracy in Nigeria in 1999, there has been an upsurge of activities of militant groups all struggling for relevance in the scheme of things. It also ushered in all kinds of ethnic warlords and generals without barracks who only turn their guns against the innocent poor masses. We have had them in the northeast in the form of Boko Haram. In the North West in the form of bandits’ lord and other parts of Nigeria. 

This was the starkness of the reality on the ground. The likes of Gana also evolved from the era and reigned supreme because they carved a niche for themselves as political thugs willing to do and undo for the right price. We must also admit that indeed it was common knowledge that election periods are usually a money-making time for those with the capacity to snatch ballot boxes, and those with the capacity to intimidate and harass political opponents.

But there was something about the Gana episode in Benue state. Aside from the fact that he was a willing pawn for politicians in the state, he also smartly carved political and economic relevance around his operations by setting up a group of daredevil young boys ready to kill with little or no provocation. 

Gana was such a smart chap that ensured that he reigned supreme in the Benue-Taraba axis. What most people didn’t know was the fact that Gana was a Fulani herdsman, a Tiv farmer, a Muslim as well as a Christian.  He switched skin effortlessly depending on the assignment at hand. Today he could orchestrate an attack on farmers and the blame would go to the Fulani herdsmen. The next day he could also stage reprisal attack on Fulani herdsmen, and the blame would go to the farmers.

He would also orchestrate attacks against Christian communities, and the blame would go to the Muslim communities and vice versa. That was how dexterous Gana was during his lifetime and was mostly responsible for the unrest in parts of North Central consisting of Benue, Plateau, Taraba and Nasarawa states. Gana indeed fooled every one of us. He set us up against ourselves and our brothers. He gave us the wrong cause to be worried about. And even in death, some of his patrons want to continue in the same fashion in the foolery with the allegations that Gana was killed extrajudicially.   

I am sure that Nigerians would be shocked when they realized that Gana made all of us believed that herdsmen were responsible for the killings which he was supervising on behalf of his clients. His modus operandi was so deft that he leaves no trail behind. But all of these could not have lasted forever because the security agencies were on his track. I believe he knew this much before he opted for an amnesty deal with the state government.

I have my reservations about the amnesty deal with the Benue state government. Given what we know about Gana and his network, I won’t be shocked if the amnesty deal is a creation of Gana as a means of evading justice for the crime he has committed against humanity. There is that possibility because Gana indeed was very smart and of many parts that succeeded in manipulating the political class in these states for the fact that he at one point or the other had executed “job” for both sides of the divide.  

If that is not the case, I wonder why some politicians would attempt to downplay the atrocities committed by Gana and instead of commending the Nigerian Army for ending an era of deceit, sorrow, tears and blood it instead spearheaded a campaign of calumny against the Nigerian Army and a celebration of life for a militia leader who was an error by all ramification and a disgrace to humanity.

It could also be that Gana was being ferried from his enclave to a new abode where he would get the much-needed protection as his days were numbered with the security agencies constantly on his trail. In some quarters, it was speculated that Gana begged the traditional rulers to take him to his governor that he could surrender to escape justice. Whatever is the case, the fact remains that Gana’s time was up, and there was nothing he and his patrons could do.  

Even with the various eye witness accounts that stated that when troops encountered his convoy, he made spirited attempts to manoeuvre including engaging the troops in a shootout and attempting to disappear afterwards. But the bullets were faster than him this time. 

I think at this point, we must not mourn Gana but our foolishness that an illiterate could use all of us and even in death we want to be singing his praises despite his atrocities. At this point, I think something is fundamentally wrong with the political class in Benue state and all those that have attempted to sing the praises of Gana to high heavens over one shadowy amnesty deal.

Okanga  is a traditional warrior and wrote from Agila.
By Okanga Agila 

The country has been awash with tales on how the Nigerian Army killed the dreaded militia leader in Benue state Terwase Akwaza ( Gana). It has indeed been a sad commentary as some highly placed individuals within the Benue-Taraba axis have been making futile attempts at glorifying the late Gana, while vilifying the Nigerian Army despite the avalanche of crimes against humanity hanging on his neck 

I used the word glorify and vilify because it is indeed an anomaly for any right-thinking human being to question the end of the error called Gana. I have wondered in my closet if Nigeria has indeed degenerated to a level where inanities are glorified, and acts of patriotism are criticized, demonized and denigrated. This is the case with the death of one individual who would go down memory lane as the worst deceit that has come out of Nigeria in recent times.

As a first, since the return of democracy in Nigeria in 1999, there has been an upsurge of activities of militant groups all struggling for relevance in the scheme of things. It also ushered in all kinds of ethnic warlords and generals without barracks who only turn their guns against the innocent poor masses. We have had them in the northeast in the form of Boko Haram. In the North West in the form of bandits’ lord and other parts of Nigeria. 

This was the starkness of the reality on the ground. The likes of Gana also evolved from the era and reigned supreme because they carved a niche for themselves as political thugs willing to do and undo for the right price. We must also admit that indeed it was common knowledge that election periods are usually a money-making time for those with the capacity to snatch ballot boxes, and those with the capacity to intimidate and harass political opponents.

But there was something about the Gana episode in Benue state. Aside from the fact that he was a willing pawn for politicians in the state, he also smartly carved political and economic relevance around his operations by setting up a group of daredevil young boys ready to kill with little or no provocation. 

Gana was such a smart chap that ensured that he reigned supreme in the Benue-Taraba axis. What most people didn’t know was the fact that Gana was a Fulani herdsman, a Tiv farmer, a Muslim as well as a Christian.  He switched skin effortlessly depending on the assignment at hand. Today he could orchestrate an attack on farmers and the blame would go to the Fulani herdsmen. The next day he could also stage reprisal attack on Fulani herdsmen, and the blame would go to the farmers.

He would also orchestrate attacks against Christian communities, and the blame would go to the Muslim communities and vice versa. That was how dexterous Gana was during his lifetime and was mostly responsible for the unrest in parts of North Central consisting of Benue, Plateau, Taraba and Nasarawa states. Gana indeed fooled every one of us. He set us up against ourselves and our brothers. He gave us the wrong cause to be worried about. And even in death, some of his patrons want to continue in the same fashion in the foolery with the allegations that Gana was killed extrajudicially.   

I am sure that Nigerians would be shocked when they realized that Gana made all of us believed that herdsmen were responsible for the killings which he was supervising on behalf of his clients. His modus operandi was so deft that he leaves no trail behind. But all of these could not have lasted forever because the security agencies were on his track. I believe he knew this much before he opted for an amnesty deal with the state government.

I have my reservations about the amnesty deal with the Benue state government. Given what we know about Gana and his network, I won’t be shocked if the amnesty deal is a creation of Gana as a means of evading justice for the crime he has committed against humanity. There is that possibility because Gana indeed was very smart and of many parts that succeeded in manipulating the political class in these states for the fact that he at one point or the other had executed “job” for both sides of the divide.  

If that is not the case, I wonder why some politicians would attempt to downplay the atrocities committed by Gana and instead of commending the Nigerian Army for ending an era of deceit, sorrow, tears and blood it instead spearheaded a campaign of calumny against the Nigerian Army and a celebration of life for a militia leader who was an error by all ramification and a disgrace to humanity.

It could also be that Gana was being ferried from his enclave to a new abode where he would get the much-needed protection as his days were numbered with the security agencies constantly on his trail. In some quarters, it was speculated that Gana begged the traditional rulers to take him to his governor that he could surrender to escape justice. Whatever is the case, the fact remains that Gana’s time was up, and there was nothing he and his patrons could do.  

Even with the various eye witness accounts that stated that when troops encountered his convoy, he made spirited attempts to manoeuvre including engaging the troops in a shootout and attempting to disappear afterwards. But the bullets were faster than him this time. 

I think at this point, we must not mourn Gana but our foolishness that an illiterate could use all of us and even in death we want to be singing his praises despite his atrocities. At this point, I think something is fundamentally wrong with the political class in Benue state and all those that have attempted to sing the praises of Gana to high heavens over one shadowy amnesty deal.

Okanga  is a traditional warrior and wrote from Agila.

Security: Where President Buhari's Trumpet is Loudest, By Mohammed Ali

Security: Where President Buhari's Trumpet is Loudest, By Mohammed Ali

By Mohammed Ali 

It was the late Premier of Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, who said that if you do not blow your trumpet, nobody will; as others would be busy blowing theirs.

Incidentally, President Muhammadu Buhari is one who does not believe in blowing his trumpet.

Until last week when he charged government functionaries to showcase the achievements of his administration, the retired General who has been a governor, minister of petroleum, head of state and  now president, with many success stories to tell, believes more in action than words.

That is why despite the innumerable number of achievements recorded in his his current tenure as president, he hardly takes the gong to the market square to soak in self adulation, through either media chats or interviews or other avenues for self glorification.

From his mien, it is obvious he would rather his works speak for him. 

This contrasts sharply to the policy of previous  administrations where everything including the erection of bill boards are commissioned with fanfare, repeated on various platforms, and publicists sent ahead to blow the act out of proportion and make it appear like Nigeria has finally launched its own nuclear weapon.

President Buhari, within this year alone, has achieved quite a lot despite the Covid -19 challenges.

For instance, work has gone far on the Second Niger Bridge, power generation has increased substantially while long stretches of roads have been constructed. 

The administration has also increased the minimum wage and allowances of youth corpers, enrolled many less privileged in its social security scheme, the N-Power; and pulled many out of the unemployed market, but has moved on as if nothing happened. 

The administration has also handled the issue fo Covid -19 very well to check its spread but did not celebrate it like a previous administration did with the handling of Ebola.

But one area where even if the President decides not to utter a word about it, but which others have taken upon themselves to adumbrate due to the massive impact on the lives of many citizens, is in the area of security. 

Almost on a daily basis, people whose lives have been affected by the commitment shown by the current administration in addressing the security situation in the country have been coming out to commend the President from all parts of Nigeria like the Northeast, North west, North central, Southeast and South West.

They have been full of gratitude to the President for restoring  peace and order in those regions.

They proclaim on rooftops and other platforms that Nigeria has moved from a country that was perpetually under siege, to one that is sufficiently in peace.

From a nation which could not account for a large swathe of its territory, to one that is effectively in charge of one hundred percent of its territory.

Just this week, several armed bandits were killed at their hideout at the Kwiambana forest area of Zamfara State in massive strikes conducted by Operation Hadarin Daji which destroyed the logistics facilities of bandits following credible intelligence which established a cluster of huts and other structures at the edge of the forest serving as hideout for notorious bandit leaders.

Jets and helicopter gunships, procured by the President Buhari administration, were used in the operation.

The Nigerian Army has also moved from mere counter strategies to establishing special super camps where the logistics for counter offensive are handy and offensives are launched on the camp of the criminals. 

The military has moved from running away from the battlefield to bringing criminals on their knees and ordering them to surrender!

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai only this week, ordered troops to deal ruthlessly with criminals and bandits, kidnappers and marauders in the North west and all parts of Nigeria. 

This is even as the military is currently conducting Operation Sahel Danity and Hadarin Daji in Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna, Sokoto, Niger and Kebbi states.

The army has also penetrated criminal fortresses in Kuyelo and Birnin Gwari with sustained long range fighting patrols and other offensive military actions to totally and ruthlessly clear the areas of criminals, terrorists and bandits.

The Kaduna-Abuja expressway has also been cleared and criminal activities like kidnappings reduced.

All these are in addition to what the military is doing in the Northeast where it has not only recovered territories and freed communities from terrorists attacks but has made it difficult for the terrorists to attack communities at will.

Some months ago, troops of the Nigerian Army stationed in  Damasak, Mobbar Local Government Area of Borno State, repelled attacks by Boko Haram insurgents who came in 13 gun trucks and swarmed the area at about 2:30 pm.

The troops overpowered the insurgents in a battle which lasted for over two hours.

Residents were to report that several dead bodies of the terrorists littered the ground in the area after the operation.

The ground operation was followed by another one by the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation Lafiya Dole which obliterated a Boko Haram  meeting venue, along with other structures, and killed several of their fighters at Mainyakare on the fringes of the Sambisa Forest in Borno State.

Official figures say the military has eliminated about 2,000 number of terrorists and bandits in the North in the last three months with over 1600 killed in the Northeast and 392 bandits in the North West and North Central regions.

In the Northcentral, the current administration through the military has also freed communities from attacks and raids and many are now living normal lives and have returned to their farms.

The killing of the notorious criminal, Terwase Akwaza, also known as Gana, who has been terrorising the three states of Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa has also been greeted with wild jubilation. 

Little wonder the opposition is silent when it comes to the issue of security, as that is one area they cannot challenge the President. 

In all honesty, the President doesn’t even need a trumpet to blow his achievements in the area of security as they are visible enough for even the blind to see and loud enough for the deaf to hear.

Ali is a public affairs analyst based in Gusau.
By Mohammed Ali 

It was the late Premier of Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, who said that if you do not blow your trumpet, nobody will; as others would be busy blowing theirs.

Incidentally, President Muhammadu Buhari is one who does not believe in blowing his trumpet.

Until last week when he charged government functionaries to showcase the achievements of his administration, the retired General who has been a governor, minister of petroleum, head of state and  now president, with many success stories to tell, believes more in action than words.

That is why despite the innumerable number of achievements recorded in his his current tenure as president, he hardly takes the gong to the market square to soak in self adulation, through either media chats or interviews or other avenues for self glorification.

From his mien, it is obvious he would rather his works speak for him. 

This contrasts sharply to the policy of previous  administrations where everything including the erection of bill boards are commissioned with fanfare, repeated on various platforms, and publicists sent ahead to blow the act out of proportion and make it appear like Nigeria has finally launched its own nuclear weapon.

President Buhari, within this year alone, has achieved quite a lot despite the Covid -19 challenges.

For instance, work has gone far on the Second Niger Bridge, power generation has increased substantially while long stretches of roads have been constructed. 

The administration has also increased the minimum wage and allowances of youth corpers, enrolled many less privileged in its social security scheme, the N-Power; and pulled many out of the unemployed market, but has moved on as if nothing happened. 

The administration has also handled the issue fo Covid -19 very well to check its spread but did not celebrate it like a previous administration did with the handling of Ebola.

But one area where even if the President decides not to utter a word about it, but which others have taken upon themselves to adumbrate due to the massive impact on the lives of many citizens, is in the area of security. 

Almost on a daily basis, people whose lives have been affected by the commitment shown by the current administration in addressing the security situation in the country have been coming out to commend the President from all parts of Nigeria like the Northeast, North west, North central, Southeast and South West.

They have been full of gratitude to the President for restoring  peace and order in those regions.

They proclaim on rooftops and other platforms that Nigeria has moved from a country that was perpetually under siege, to one that is sufficiently in peace.

From a nation which could not account for a large swathe of its territory, to one that is effectively in charge of one hundred percent of its territory.

Just this week, several armed bandits were killed at their hideout at the Kwiambana forest area of Zamfara State in massive strikes conducted by Operation Hadarin Daji which destroyed the logistics facilities of bandits following credible intelligence which established a cluster of huts and other structures at the edge of the forest serving as hideout for notorious bandit leaders.

Jets and helicopter gunships, procured by the President Buhari administration, were used in the operation.

The Nigerian Army has also moved from mere counter strategies to establishing special super camps where the logistics for counter offensive are handy and offensives are launched on the camp of the criminals. 

The military has moved from running away from the battlefield to bringing criminals on their knees and ordering them to surrender!

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai only this week, ordered troops to deal ruthlessly with criminals and bandits, kidnappers and marauders in the North west and all parts of Nigeria. 

This is even as the military is currently conducting Operation Sahel Danity and Hadarin Daji in Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna, Sokoto, Niger and Kebbi states.

The army has also penetrated criminal fortresses in Kuyelo and Birnin Gwari with sustained long range fighting patrols and other offensive military actions to totally and ruthlessly clear the areas of criminals, terrorists and bandits.

The Kaduna-Abuja expressway has also been cleared and criminal activities like kidnappings reduced.

All these are in addition to what the military is doing in the Northeast where it has not only recovered territories and freed communities from terrorists attacks but has made it difficult for the terrorists to attack communities at will.

Some months ago, troops of the Nigerian Army stationed in  Damasak, Mobbar Local Government Area of Borno State, repelled attacks by Boko Haram insurgents who came in 13 gun trucks and swarmed the area at about 2:30 pm.

The troops overpowered the insurgents in a battle which lasted for over two hours.

Residents were to report that several dead bodies of the terrorists littered the ground in the area after the operation.

The ground operation was followed by another one by the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation Lafiya Dole which obliterated a Boko Haram  meeting venue, along with other structures, and killed several of their fighters at Mainyakare on the fringes of the Sambisa Forest in Borno State.

Official figures say the military has eliminated about 2,000 number of terrorists and bandits in the North in the last three months with over 1600 killed in the Northeast and 392 bandits in the North West and North Central regions.

In the Northcentral, the current administration through the military has also freed communities from attacks and raids and many are now living normal lives and have returned to their farms.

The killing of the notorious criminal, Terwase Akwaza, also known as Gana, who has been terrorising the three states of Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa has also been greeted with wild jubilation. 

Little wonder the opposition is silent when it comes to the issue of security, as that is one area they cannot challenge the President. 

In all honesty, the President doesn’t even need a trumpet to blow his achievements in the area of security as they are visible enough for even the blind to see and loud enough for the deaf to hear.

Ali is a public affairs analyst based in Gusau.

NIGERIAN ARMY: WELCOMING BURATAI’S PRAGMATISM IN THE SOUTH WEST, By Ayokunle Ojo

NIGERIAN ARMY: WELCOMING BURATAI’S PRAGMATISM IN THE SOUTH WEST, By Ayokunle Ojo

By Ayokunle Ojo 

The news of the events in Osun State a few days ago is quite a refreshing one, especially times like this when good and cheery news are hardly reported. The Chief of Army staff COAS Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai was in the state of Osun to launch some projects that were executed by the Army Corps of engineers. The projects are considered as landmark special intervention programs which are part of the several COAS contributions in support of the Nigerian army non kinetic line of operations.

One of the projects is the construction of a Bailey bridge across river Osun at Kuta, Aiyedire Local Government Area, the bridge is a link between Kuta- Ikoyi on Ede Road. It is interesting to know that this area has yearned for a solid link bridge like this since independence only for a COAS from a totally different region of the country to be the one to deliver such a great project to the good people of Kuta .

Surely economic activities in that area will not be the same again. The fascinating thing about this project is the fact that it touches the people right at the point of their need. Unlike some other phony intervention programs that are just used to siphon money, this project is an answer to years of prayers and deprivation.

Also commissioned on the same day is a hospital project in Asamu in Ola oluwa Local government area. The hospital is to be managed by the 2nd division of the Nigerian army. This is indeed a very kind gesture from the army leadership. This project will no doubt save lives. It will also help the state government in its drive to make health care available to all , especially for those residing in the rural areas, who are actually the most underserved when it comes to health care delivery in our nation.

Events like this have now become typical of the Army under Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai. Despite attending to its constitutional responsibility of protecting the nation against external and internal aggression, the army still finds time and resources to attend to the needs of the society and communities where they serve. I consider this very noble and very admirable.

Since his appointment as COAS in July 2015, his actions and activities stand him out as a goal getter. His handling of the Boko Haram insurgency issue as soon as he assumed office, in compliance to Mr President’s order that the command and control Headquarters of the theatre of operation of the war against Boko Haram be relocated to Borno and within few months by mid-2016, we had started witnessing great progress in the war against Boko Haram.

Before assuming office as chief of army staff, almost 14 local governments were under control of the Boko Haram terrorist group. Carrying out deadly attacks on whole local government areas, kidnapping people in their hundred and in some cases thousand. It was really a very bleak point in our national history. I won’t envy him at the time he took up the job to be COAS.

A few years later, he has been able to change the tide of events. The army under Buratai’s leadership has gallantly fought back, recovered lost territories and in fact decimated the Boko Haram terrorist group. Most states in the North East region that were under Boko Haram siege are now relatively safe. Yobe , Adamawa , Bauchi ,Gombe are all now relatively free from Boko Haram attacks.

Some remnants of the fleeing Boko Haram terrorist must have joined up with some criminal elements around the north east region to form some of these bandit groups that were causing mayhem in some North western states.  The army moved in to clear off the bandits, the launching of the operation Sahel Sanity in the North West states turned out to be a game changer. Many bandits camps in the forests have been cleared with many bandits killed and several others arrested.

Operation crocodile smile in the south west region, operation python dance in the southeast region, operation delta safe in the South south region all performed up to expectation and yielded the desired results.

All the above have been written to show that even in his field of soldiering Lt Gen Buratai has performed excellently well but there is yet another side to his record as COAS that may not be that visible, which is the positioning of the army to engage in programs and projects that touch the life of the people aside combatting.

Buratai has redefined corporate social responsibility CSR in the Nigerian Army and indeed Nigeria. The truth is, Buratai comes across as a very compassionate man. You can tell that from his disposition to work. One of the first things he did upon assumption of office is to begin the process of better welfare packages for the men and women of the army.  He not only improved the welfare packages , he also ensured that allowances for  soldiers on the battlefield went directly into their account to avoid the issue of short changing them as was the case before now.

Under his leadership the Nigeria army has engaged in massive CSR programs like never before. The Nigeria Army has been at the forefront of several developmental projects in the north east region. Rebuilding roads that have been damaged by Boko Haram insurgents, rebuilding bombed bridges, helping with resettling Internally Displaced Persons IDP back into their communities etc.

The army built a million litres water treatment plant in Abakpa Enugu state, renovated schools in Imo State, repaired roads in Kaduna state, renovated many hospitals across the country. The siting of a world class Army reference hospital in Abakaliki, the building of a world class Army University in Bui Borno state. The Army has indeed set a new margin in CSR models in Nigeria. If only other institutions and organizations whether government or private could emulate what the Nigeria Army is doing with CSR, you can only imagine the rate of development this country would be witnessing by now.

The army though having its core responsibility still finds time to impact their immediate communities wherever their barracks or formations are located. What can be the excuse of other organizations not to follow suit. I mean who else has a more difficult job than the Nigeria Army, yet they still find time to do that much good.

Lt Gen Buratai perhaps due to his very strategic thought process, understands clearly the need to have the support of the local community in winning any battle within the area of operation. So he strategically tries to win the people to his side so as to get their support in the fight against the terrorist or any other criminal group

That is perhaps the reason why he prioritizes army intervention programs along communities where the army is operating in order to win the hearts and support of the locals. This strategy turns out to be very potent and effective in winning the several ongoing battles against all sorts of criminality.

One thing that is now very clear to me is the fact that leadership is very key, in fact leadership is everything. Once you have the right leadership in place chances that things will go very well are high. It is very crucial that we begin to look out for people with great character and competence to lead us in various sectors of our lives. It is now evident that getting leadership right is almost tantamount to getting it all right.

  That is why I commend President Buhari for making an excellent choice in the appointment of Yusuf Buratai as the head of the army. This is by far one of the best appointments Mr President made. He was appointed at about one of the most challenging times for our Army in its entire history, yet he was able to weather the storm and stabilize the country. This feat cannot be achieved by just any mediocre.

We commend Mr President for having faith in Lt Gen Buaratai and , we are glad he has not disappointed the trust Mr President had for him. The lesson here for us all is to be committed to our work and to always give our utmost best in whatever assignment we are given.

The main essence of this write up is to encourage organizations that have the wherewithal to help society to always do so, without being prompted to do so. Take a cue from what the Nigeria army is doing and emulate them in your own little way. It will surprise you how every little actually helps.

We seem to be a society where organizations and perhaps most of us do not seem to be giving back enough to society , it is never too late to begin though. It is highly refreshing that despite the many negative things that are written about the army, they are yet the one organization leading the way in supporting local communities with much needed infrastructural intervention.

My advice to the COAS Lt Gen Tukur Buratai is that he should not relent in the good that he is doing knowing well that only God can reward a man beyond his expectation. I am sure most Nigerians appreciate you already. Your boss Mr President also appreciates you. The men and women of the Nigeria army really appreciate you. This is enough encouragement for you to continue with your good works and if possible double up on them. History and posterity will definitely be kind to you.

Ojo is a public affairs analyst based in Lagos.
By Ayokunle Ojo 

The news of the events in Osun State a few days ago is quite a refreshing one, especially times like this when good and cheery news are hardly reported. The Chief of Army staff COAS Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai was in the state of Osun to launch some projects that were executed by the Army Corps of engineers. The projects are considered as landmark special intervention programs which are part of the several COAS contributions in support of the Nigerian army non kinetic line of operations.

One of the projects is the construction of a Bailey bridge across river Osun at Kuta, Aiyedire Local Government Area, the bridge is a link between Kuta- Ikoyi on Ede Road. It is interesting to know that this area has yearned for a solid link bridge like this since independence only for a COAS from a totally different region of the country to be the one to deliver such a great project to the good people of Kuta .

Surely economic activities in that area will not be the same again. The fascinating thing about this project is the fact that it touches the people right at the point of their need. Unlike some other phony intervention programs that are just used to siphon money, this project is an answer to years of prayers and deprivation.

Also commissioned on the same day is a hospital project in Asamu in Ola oluwa Local government area. The hospital is to be managed by the 2nd division of the Nigerian army. This is indeed a very kind gesture from the army leadership. This project will no doubt save lives. It will also help the state government in its drive to make health care available to all , especially for those residing in the rural areas, who are actually the most underserved when it comes to health care delivery in our nation.

Events like this have now become typical of the Army under Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai. Despite attending to its constitutional responsibility of protecting the nation against external and internal aggression, the army still finds time and resources to attend to the needs of the society and communities where they serve. I consider this very noble and very admirable.

Since his appointment as COAS in July 2015, his actions and activities stand him out as a goal getter. His handling of the Boko Haram insurgency issue as soon as he assumed office, in compliance to Mr President’s order that the command and control Headquarters of the theatre of operation of the war against Boko Haram be relocated to Borno and within few months by mid-2016, we had started witnessing great progress in the war against Boko Haram.

Before assuming office as chief of army staff, almost 14 local governments were under control of the Boko Haram terrorist group. Carrying out deadly attacks on whole local government areas, kidnapping people in their hundred and in some cases thousand. It was really a very bleak point in our national history. I won’t envy him at the time he took up the job to be COAS.

A few years later, he has been able to change the tide of events. The army under Buratai’s leadership has gallantly fought back, recovered lost territories and in fact decimated the Boko Haram terrorist group. Most states in the North East region that were under Boko Haram siege are now relatively safe. Yobe , Adamawa , Bauchi ,Gombe are all now relatively free from Boko Haram attacks.

Some remnants of the fleeing Boko Haram terrorist must have joined up with some criminal elements around the north east region to form some of these bandit groups that were causing mayhem in some North western states.  The army moved in to clear off the bandits, the launching of the operation Sahel Sanity in the North West states turned out to be a game changer. Many bandits camps in the forests have been cleared with many bandits killed and several others arrested.

Operation crocodile smile in the south west region, operation python dance in the southeast region, operation delta safe in the South south region all performed up to expectation and yielded the desired results.

All the above have been written to show that even in his field of soldiering Lt Gen Buratai has performed excellently well but there is yet another side to his record as COAS that may not be that visible, which is the positioning of the army to engage in programs and projects that touch the life of the people aside combatting.

Buratai has redefined corporate social responsibility CSR in the Nigerian Army and indeed Nigeria. The truth is, Buratai comes across as a very compassionate man. You can tell that from his disposition to work. One of the first things he did upon assumption of office is to begin the process of better welfare packages for the men and women of the army.  He not only improved the welfare packages , he also ensured that allowances for  soldiers on the battlefield went directly into their account to avoid the issue of short changing them as was the case before now.

Under his leadership the Nigeria army has engaged in massive CSR programs like never before. The Nigeria Army has been at the forefront of several developmental projects in the north east region. Rebuilding roads that have been damaged by Boko Haram insurgents, rebuilding bombed bridges, helping with resettling Internally Displaced Persons IDP back into their communities etc.

The army built a million litres water treatment plant in Abakpa Enugu state, renovated schools in Imo State, repaired roads in Kaduna state, renovated many hospitals across the country. The siting of a world class Army reference hospital in Abakaliki, the building of a world class Army University in Bui Borno state. The Army has indeed set a new margin in CSR models in Nigeria. If only other institutions and organizations whether government or private could emulate what the Nigeria Army is doing with CSR, you can only imagine the rate of development this country would be witnessing by now.

The army though having its core responsibility still finds time to impact their immediate communities wherever their barracks or formations are located. What can be the excuse of other organizations not to follow suit. I mean who else has a more difficult job than the Nigeria Army, yet they still find time to do that much good.

Lt Gen Buratai perhaps due to his very strategic thought process, understands clearly the need to have the support of the local community in winning any battle within the area of operation. So he strategically tries to win the people to his side so as to get their support in the fight against the terrorist or any other criminal group

That is perhaps the reason why he prioritizes army intervention programs along communities where the army is operating in order to win the hearts and support of the locals. This strategy turns out to be very potent and effective in winning the several ongoing battles against all sorts of criminality.

One thing that is now very clear to me is the fact that leadership is very key, in fact leadership is everything. Once you have the right leadership in place chances that things will go very well are high. It is very crucial that we begin to look out for people with great character and competence to lead us in various sectors of our lives. It is now evident that getting leadership right is almost tantamount to getting it all right.

  That is why I commend President Buhari for making an excellent choice in the appointment of Yusuf Buratai as the head of the army. This is by far one of the best appointments Mr President made. He was appointed at about one of the most challenging times for our Army in its entire history, yet he was able to weather the storm and stabilize the country. This feat cannot be achieved by just any mediocre.

We commend Mr President for having faith in Lt Gen Buaratai and , we are glad he has not disappointed the trust Mr President had for him. The lesson here for us all is to be committed to our work and to always give our utmost best in whatever assignment we are given.

The main essence of this write up is to encourage organizations that have the wherewithal to help society to always do so, without being prompted to do so. Take a cue from what the Nigeria army is doing and emulate them in your own little way. It will surprise you how every little actually helps.

We seem to be a society where organizations and perhaps most of us do not seem to be giving back enough to society , it is never too late to begin though. It is highly refreshing that despite the many negative things that are written about the army, they are yet the one organization leading the way in supporting local communities with much needed infrastructural intervention.

My advice to the COAS Lt Gen Tukur Buratai is that he should not relent in the good that he is doing knowing well that only God can reward a man beyond his expectation. I am sure most Nigerians appreciate you already. Your boss Mr President also appreciates you. The men and women of the Nigeria army really appreciate you. This is enough encouragement for you to continue with your good works and if possible double up on them. History and posterity will definitely be kind to you.

Ojo is a public affairs analyst based in Lagos.

President Buhari’s successes on the war against insurgency, By Dr. Abubakar Gana

President Buhari’s successes on the war against insurgency, By Dr. Abubakar Gana

By Abubakar Gana PhD 

The issue of insecurity has dominated the discourse in Nigeria in recent times. In some quarters it has been stated that the security situation in the country had degenerated and that Nigeria is tilting towards a failed state. This school of thought lent their argument on the perceived crisis in North-East Nigeria with the Boko Haram Insurgency, as well as the criminal activities of bandits and other criminal gangs in North West and some parts of North Central Nigeria.

While it is within the rights of these individuals and groups to bear their minds of burning national issues, however, such must be expressed within the ambit of reasonability and decorum. This piece is a product of extensive research undertaken to understand the efforts of the Muhammadu Buhari led administration in the war against insurgency in Nigeria and other forms of criminalities. 

Flashback to 2014. Nigeria was on the brinks; the Boko Haram insurgents ran riots in North-East Nigeria as well as other parts of the country including the federal capital territory, which indeed witnessed scores of Boko Haram attacks on critical government infrastructures.

Nigerians were held spell-bound by the daring nature with which the Boko Haram group and other criminal elements altered our socio-economic life at the detriment of sustainable peace and development. Nigerians from all walks of life lived in fear not knowing where the next bombs were going to detonate. It was such a sorry sight as the government of the day seems clueless and with no solution in sight with regards addressing the challenges posed by the criminal activities of the Boko Haram groups as well as other criminal elements. 

This is also aside from the fact that the Boko Haram group was gradually making good their threat of establishing caliphates in North-East Nigeria as well as other parts of the country. It was that bad and not until the coming on board of President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria would have caved into the pressure mounted by the Boko Haram insurgents and there would have been no country called Nigeria today.

In all sense of fairness, I think the assessment of the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the area of security has not been objective. Most times I wonder if we are that blind to miss the many gains recorded in the war against Boko Haram insurgency in North-East Nigeria. I also wonder if Nigerians are not aware that before the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari, Boko Haram controlled over 16 local government areas in states in North-East Nigeria. And maybe Nigerians forgot that at some point in our lives nowhere was safe anymore as the Boko Haram group freely detonates bombs in motor parks, places of worships and other public places not just in North-East Nigeria, even in the Federal Capital Territory.

It suffices to state that before the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari, we had an armed force that was highly demoralized with the lack of fighting equipment and morale to address the security challenges in the country.  The Boko Haram insurgents indeed demystified all that the Nigerian Army was known for in terms of professionalism. Yes, it was that bad. But today the same cannot be said. 

And this is where I am of the considered opinion that indeed President Muhammadu Buhari has demonstrated a strong political will towards addressing the various security challenges in the country. The exploits of the Nigerian Army in the prosecution of the war against terrorism is just one example that Nigerians ought to highlight in their assessment of President Muhammadu Buhari.  

That aside, the Nigerian Army of today has been transformed into a professional fighting force that has shown outstanding commitment to the preservation of the territorial integrity of the country, as well as its constant interventions in internal security operations in the country. As at the last count, over 40 different operations and exercises have been launched in the last five years by the Nigerian Armed Forces to contain various security challenges across the country. And these operations have been hugely successful. 

I take the recent case of Operation Sahel Sanity launched to tackle bandits, kidnappers and other criminal gangs in states in North-West Nigeria. The successes recorded by Operation Sahel Sanity have led to its extension by three months and this time around to cover states in North Central that are experiencing pockets of security challenges. 

I can go on non-stop of the successes recorded in the war against insurgency and other militant groups in the country. However, two things stand out for me. They are the fact that no Nigerian territory is under the control of the Boko Haram group, and secondly, since the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari, the capacity of the Boko Haram group to carry out attacks in the Federal Capital Tertiary as well as other states in the country were curtailed to the barest minimum. 

We must learn to call a spade a spade in this country if we are desirous of making substantial gains. We must admit where necessary and also commend when necessary. We must not be carried away by the political propaganda that has been ferociously deployed against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to demonize him and pitch the people against him in fulfilment of their evil desires for the country.  

I dare say since the return of democracy in Nigeria in 1999; no president has done a fraction of what President Muhammadu Buhari has done in terms of strengthening and repositioning the Armed Forces for better productivity to deal with 21st-century security challenges. In five years, the Armed Forces in Nigeria was transformed into a force to reckon with as evident in the way and manner it has successfully prosecuted the Boko Haram insurgency as well as other security threats in the country. I must also add that available reports indicate that Nigeria’s counter-insurgency operation in North-East Nigeria is now a reference point in counter-insurgency operations.

Gana is a public affairs commentator based in Abuja.
By Abubakar Gana PhD 

The issue of insecurity has dominated the discourse in Nigeria in recent times. In some quarters it has been stated that the security situation in the country had degenerated and that Nigeria is tilting towards a failed state. This school of thought lent their argument on the perceived crisis in North-East Nigeria with the Boko Haram Insurgency, as well as the criminal activities of bandits and other criminal gangs in North West and some parts of North Central Nigeria.

While it is within the rights of these individuals and groups to bear their minds of burning national issues, however, such must be expressed within the ambit of reasonability and decorum. This piece is a product of extensive research undertaken to understand the efforts of the Muhammadu Buhari led administration in the war against insurgency in Nigeria and other forms of criminalities. 

Flashback to 2014. Nigeria was on the brinks; the Boko Haram insurgents ran riots in North-East Nigeria as well as other parts of the country including the federal capital territory, which indeed witnessed scores of Boko Haram attacks on critical government infrastructures.

Nigerians were held spell-bound by the daring nature with which the Boko Haram group and other criminal elements altered our socio-economic life at the detriment of sustainable peace and development. Nigerians from all walks of life lived in fear not knowing where the next bombs were going to detonate. It was such a sorry sight as the government of the day seems clueless and with no solution in sight with regards addressing the challenges posed by the criminal activities of the Boko Haram groups as well as other criminal elements. 

This is also aside from the fact that the Boko Haram group was gradually making good their threat of establishing caliphates in North-East Nigeria as well as other parts of the country. It was that bad and not until the coming on board of President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria would have caved into the pressure mounted by the Boko Haram insurgents and there would have been no country called Nigeria today.

In all sense of fairness, I think the assessment of the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the area of security has not been objective. Most times I wonder if we are that blind to miss the many gains recorded in the war against Boko Haram insurgency in North-East Nigeria. I also wonder if Nigerians are not aware that before the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari, Boko Haram controlled over 16 local government areas in states in North-East Nigeria. And maybe Nigerians forgot that at some point in our lives nowhere was safe anymore as the Boko Haram group freely detonates bombs in motor parks, places of worships and other public places not just in North-East Nigeria, even in the Federal Capital Territory.

It suffices to state that before the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari, we had an armed force that was highly demoralized with the lack of fighting equipment and morale to address the security challenges in the country.  The Boko Haram insurgents indeed demystified all that the Nigerian Army was known for in terms of professionalism. Yes, it was that bad. But today the same cannot be said. 

And this is where I am of the considered opinion that indeed President Muhammadu Buhari has demonstrated a strong political will towards addressing the various security challenges in the country. The exploits of the Nigerian Army in the prosecution of the war against terrorism is just one example that Nigerians ought to highlight in their assessment of President Muhammadu Buhari.  

That aside, the Nigerian Army of today has been transformed into a professional fighting force that has shown outstanding commitment to the preservation of the territorial integrity of the country, as well as its constant interventions in internal security operations in the country. As at the last count, over 40 different operations and exercises have been launched in the last five years by the Nigerian Armed Forces to contain various security challenges across the country. And these operations have been hugely successful. 

I take the recent case of Operation Sahel Sanity launched to tackle bandits, kidnappers and other criminal gangs in states in North-West Nigeria. The successes recorded by Operation Sahel Sanity have led to its extension by three months and this time around to cover states in North Central that are experiencing pockets of security challenges. 

I can go on non-stop of the successes recorded in the war against insurgency and other militant groups in the country. However, two things stand out for me. They are the fact that no Nigerian territory is under the control of the Boko Haram group, and secondly, since the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari, the capacity of the Boko Haram group to carry out attacks in the Federal Capital Tertiary as well as other states in the country were curtailed to the barest minimum. 

We must learn to call a spade a spade in this country if we are desirous of making substantial gains. We must admit where necessary and also commend when necessary. We must not be carried away by the political propaganda that has been ferociously deployed against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to demonize him and pitch the people against him in fulfilment of their evil desires for the country.  

I dare say since the return of democracy in Nigeria in 1999; no president has done a fraction of what President Muhammadu Buhari has done in terms of strengthening and repositioning the Armed Forces for better productivity to deal with 21st-century security challenges. In five years, the Armed Forces in Nigeria was transformed into a force to reckon with as evident in the way and manner it has successfully prosecuted the Boko Haram insurgency as well as other security threats in the country. I must also add that available reports indicate that Nigeria’s counter-insurgency operation in North-East Nigeria is now a reference point in counter-insurgency operations.

Gana is a public affairs commentator based in Abuja.

Obasanjo: Shun prophets of doom, pray for Nigeria’s unity - Inter-Faith

Obasanjo: Shun prophets of doom, pray for Nigeria’s unity - Inter-Faith

By Dansu Peter 

Following a statement credited to former President Olusegun Obasanjo about Nigeria's unity, the National Inter-Faith and Religious Organizations for Peace (NIFROP) has urged Nigerians to ignore "prophets of doom" and pray for the country. 

Obasanjo had alleged that "Nigeria is fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state" due to the recent mismanagement. 

The ex-president's remarks attracted widespread criticism from many Nigerians who blamed him for being part of the problems of the nation. 

However, in reaction, NIFROP has charged Nigerians to shun end-time preachers on the unity of Nigeria and instead focus their energy in embracing peace and unity. 

In a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Bishop Sunday Garuba, the group said that the bulk of the challenges in the country are a product of the failures of past successive government, Obasanjo inclusive.  

While urging Nigerians to shun divisive tendencies, it, however, advised the nation to extend their support to the Muhammadu Buhari administration in its efforts towards addressing the various economic and security challenges in the country. 

"The National Inter-Faith and Religious Organizations for Peace views the statement credited to former President Olusegun Obasanjo wherein he alleged that Nigeria was drifting to a failed and badly divided state under President Muhammadu Buhari as uncharitable and unbecoming of a man who is supposed to be guided by decorum in his public conduct and utterances as an elder statesman," the statement reads. 

"We are constrained to remind former President Olusegun Obasanjo that whatever is it that is the case in Nigeria is a product of the insincerity of past leaders (Olusegun Obasanjo) inclusive since the return of democracy in Nigeria in 1999. 

"It is indeed sad that the likes of Olusegun Obasanjo would elect to stand the truth on its head in furtherance of the disdain he has exhibited towards the Muhamammadu Buhari administration since 2015. 

" The National Inter-Faith and Religious Organizations for Peace wishes to advise Nigerians on the need to thread with caution whenever some supposed elder statesmen making public statements that are capable of threatening peace and unity in the country.  Nigerians must ignore such end-time preachers on the unity of Nigeria instead embrace peace and unity of the country which remains sacrosanct. 

" The book of Ephesians 4; 25 emphasizes the place for truth in our daily living. 'Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another'. 

"It is our considered opinion that this bible verse should appeal to the conscience of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and further guide his public conduct and posturing about the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

"We are also using this medium to task the true patriots in Nigeria irrespective of religion or ethnicity to rise for Nigeria at all times and shun divisive tendencies. We also call on all well-meaning Nigerians to extend their support to the Muhammadu Buhari administration in its efforts towards addressing the various economic and security challenges in the country". 

The National Inter-Faith and Religious Organizations for Peace added that in the fullness of time, the promoters of evil and violence in Nigeria would be exposed and put to shame. 

It said the wrath of God would soon descend on these persons who have been despicable in their support for the forces of evil against Nigeria. 

The group, however, assured that " indeed God is interested in the business of Nigeria and administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and terefore any individual, group or association that plots evil against Nigeria and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari shall receive the wrath of God." 

Consequently, it affirmed that "all those that have been distracting and undermining the Armed Forces should have a rethink and change from their ways as the prayers and supplication of the faithful's for the success of the Armed Forces in their operations have been answered by God". 
By Dansu Peter 

Following a statement credited to former President Olusegun Obasanjo about Nigeria's unity, the National Inter-Faith and Religious Organizations for Peace (NIFROP) has urged Nigerians to ignore "prophets of doom" and pray for the country. 

Obasanjo had alleged that "Nigeria is fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state" due to the recent mismanagement. 

The ex-president's remarks attracted widespread criticism from many Nigerians who blamed him for being part of the problems of the nation. 

However, in reaction, NIFROP has charged Nigerians to shun end-time preachers on the unity of Nigeria and instead focus their energy in embracing peace and unity. 

In a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Bishop Sunday Garuba, the group said that the bulk of the challenges in the country are a product of the failures of past successive government, Obasanjo inclusive.  

While urging Nigerians to shun divisive tendencies, it, however, advised the nation to extend their support to the Muhammadu Buhari administration in its efforts towards addressing the various economic and security challenges in the country. 

"The National Inter-Faith and Religious Organizations for Peace views the statement credited to former President Olusegun Obasanjo wherein he alleged that Nigeria was drifting to a failed and badly divided state under President Muhammadu Buhari as uncharitable and unbecoming of a man who is supposed to be guided by decorum in his public conduct and utterances as an elder statesman," the statement reads. 

"We are constrained to remind former President Olusegun Obasanjo that whatever is it that is the case in Nigeria is a product of the insincerity of past leaders (Olusegun Obasanjo) inclusive since the return of democracy in Nigeria in 1999. 

"It is indeed sad that the likes of Olusegun Obasanjo would elect to stand the truth on its head in furtherance of the disdain he has exhibited towards the Muhamammadu Buhari administration since 2015. 

" The National Inter-Faith and Religious Organizations for Peace wishes to advise Nigerians on the need to thread with caution whenever some supposed elder statesmen making public statements that are capable of threatening peace and unity in the country.  Nigerians must ignore such end-time preachers on the unity of Nigeria instead embrace peace and unity of the country which remains sacrosanct. 

" The book of Ephesians 4; 25 emphasizes the place for truth in our daily living. 'Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another'. 

"It is our considered opinion that this bible verse should appeal to the conscience of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and further guide his public conduct and posturing about the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

"We are also using this medium to task the true patriots in Nigeria irrespective of religion or ethnicity to rise for Nigeria at all times and shun divisive tendencies. We also call on all well-meaning Nigerians to extend their support to the Muhammadu Buhari administration in its efforts towards addressing the various economic and security challenges in the country". 

The National Inter-Faith and Religious Organizations for Peace added that in the fullness of time, the promoters of evil and violence in Nigeria would be exposed and put to shame. 

It said the wrath of God would soon descend on these persons who have been despicable in their support for the forces of evil against Nigeria. 

The group, however, assured that " indeed God is interested in the business of Nigeria and administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and terefore any individual, group or association that plots evil against Nigeria and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari shall receive the wrath of God." 

Consequently, it affirmed that "all those that have been distracting and undermining the Armed Forces should have a rethink and change from their ways as the prayers and supplication of the faithful's for the success of the Armed Forces in their operations have been answered by God". 

Mohammed Yusuf and Gana: What Benue Is Not Telling Us!, By Bernard Kifasi

Mohammed Yusuf and Gana: What Benue Is Not Telling Us!, By Bernard Kifasi

By Bernard Kifasi 

The death of Terwase Akwaza popularly known as Gana, has generated some discourses in the country with the narrative of some politicians in Benue State. There seem to be an attempt to glorify his grave misdeeds that have seen to the death of thousands in parts of Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa states. This, in my opinion, should give Nigerians a cause to express worry.  

The Benue politicians who have been his benefactors have consequently launched a despicable campaign to blackmail the Nigerian Army for bringing an end to the inglorious era perpetuated by Gana. This fact they can’t come to terms with hence the despicable narrative been pushed in the public space. 

As a first, Gana wasn't deserving of an Amnesty. That greatly shows how morally bankrupt some politicians are.  His reign of terror in states in North Central was deadly and with the active support from some politicians that found his nefarious activities suitable for political purposes. I recalled sometime in 2019, Governor Samuel Ortom had accused a former governor of the state and serving senator, George Akume of employing the services of Gana, to rig the presidential and governorship elections. What does this tell us?

At this point, I think it is imperative to put issues in proper perspectives as regards who Gana was in his lifetime. Gana was a tool that was available for use by politicians in Benue State in the perpetuation of crimes against the people. He was the head of a dreaded militia group that wreaked havoc in the state as well as neighbouring states for political expediency to suit the purpose.    

He consequently reigned with the support of these same politicians that now want to turn the truth on its head and castigate the military for coming to the rescue of the people in bringing to an end the life of the harbinger of death who in his elements confronted soldiers conducting stop and search operations along the Makurdi-Gboko road. 

Upon his death, the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom and a former governor of the state, Gabriel Suswan have come out to accuse the Nigerian Army of extra-judicial killing and as well making a comparison with the death of the founder of the Boko Haram terrorist group, Mohammed Yusuf.  

This comparison got me thinking about the integrity of some political leaders in Benue State. They have in a most despicable manner attempted to vilify the efforts of the Nigerian Army in addressing the security challenges in the state. 

In this case, the facts are different. This is a clear case of gun engagements with the military on the road as various independent investigations have confirmed. Multiple sources have corroborated these facts, and it tends to look like only Governor Samuel Ortom, and Gabriel Suswam are desperate to manufacture their version of the story at the expense of the truth. 

It is indeed a statement of the fact that Gana killed innocent Nigerians at will. Some he buried alive for ritual purpose. He was a Chief above the Chiefs. He was a political lord who was willing to kill for the right price. This much he confessed in an interview with Channels Television where is stated that he was approached to cause mayhem in Taraba state and he gave them a bill of one billion naira. Hear his words: "I told them to give me one billion naira, but they refused and offered me 50 million naira. I rejected it because there is a strong presence of security people in the state. They later offered me 350 million naira, and I rejected it because it was too small."

This is the same militia leader that these politicians are trying to glorify. If this is not an irony and wickedness, I don’t know what else to call it. Again, what the general public might not know is the fact that Gana was one person who could disguise and kill people in the name of herdsmen to put the entire state on fire. Gana was everything wrong with the Nigerian society and the political class. He represented everything unacceptable with the system where politicians in high places patronize people of questionable character to torment their enemies and keep their people in penury. He was responsible for the escalation of crisis between the Tivs and the Jukuns as he would always mastermind attacks and make it look like someone was trying to hit at his people. 

I make bold to state that the so-called Amnesty Programme initiated by the governor of Benue state and his co-travellers was ostensibly to secure his loyalty. So in a way, the confrontation that Gana had with the soldiers at the checkpoint that ultimately led to his death didn’t go down well with them because it indeed altered their political game plan to continue to fan the embers of disunity in the country. 

I recall that at numerous forums, it has been stated that the issue of the herders-farmers crisis in parts of North Central is a political arrangement put in place as a means of achieving political goals. And Gana was the chief implementer of that political arrangement. And now that he is dead, his political patrons are finding it difficult to come to terms with the reality. 

The political leaders in Benue state indeed have many explanations to make to Nigerians with regards the funding of the nefarious activities of Gana and his militia members in perpetuating conflict in Benue and neighbouring states in North Central Nigeria.

These politicians, by all intent and purposes, are worse than the devil because it is inexcusable for them to attempt to vilify the Nigerian Army in this regard. It is ordinarily expected that the rational thing that ought to have been done is to commend the Nigerian Army for this feat, rather than paint a different picture in the ignoble attempt to deceive members of the unsuspecting general public. 

At this point, I am glad that the life and times of Gana is coming to the public space. It is becoming clear that Gana was a political stooge whose stock in trade was to kill and maim for political reasons and of course for the right fee.    

It is thus my considered opinion that in a typical Africa set-up, people like Gana should be buried in the forest, so no child is ever allowed his memories. I do hope that the appropriate authorities will do the needful to reveal further those politicians that sponsored the nefarious activities of Gana while he reigned supreme in the perpetuation of evil against the people and at the detriment of peace and security. 

The likes of the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom and his buddy, Gabriel Suswan should desist from insulting the sensibilities of Nigerians with their rhetoric aimed at deceiving Nigerians on the true identity of Terwase Akwaza.  A word should be enough for the wise!

Kifasi is a retired civil servant and wrote from Jalingo.
By Bernard Kifasi 

The death of Terwase Akwaza popularly known as Gana, has generated some discourses in the country with the narrative of some politicians in Benue State. There seem to be an attempt to glorify his grave misdeeds that have seen to the death of thousands in parts of Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa states. This, in my opinion, should give Nigerians a cause to express worry.  

The Benue politicians who have been his benefactors have consequently launched a despicable campaign to blackmail the Nigerian Army for bringing an end to the inglorious era perpetuated by Gana. This fact they can’t come to terms with hence the despicable narrative been pushed in the public space. 

As a first, Gana wasn't deserving of an Amnesty. That greatly shows how morally bankrupt some politicians are.  His reign of terror in states in North Central was deadly and with the active support from some politicians that found his nefarious activities suitable for political purposes. I recalled sometime in 2019, Governor Samuel Ortom had accused a former governor of the state and serving senator, George Akume of employing the services of Gana, to rig the presidential and governorship elections. What does this tell us?

At this point, I think it is imperative to put issues in proper perspectives as regards who Gana was in his lifetime. Gana was a tool that was available for use by politicians in Benue State in the perpetuation of crimes against the people. He was the head of a dreaded militia group that wreaked havoc in the state as well as neighbouring states for political expediency to suit the purpose.    

He consequently reigned with the support of these same politicians that now want to turn the truth on its head and castigate the military for coming to the rescue of the people in bringing to an end the life of the harbinger of death who in his elements confronted soldiers conducting stop and search operations along the Makurdi-Gboko road. 

Upon his death, the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom and a former governor of the state, Gabriel Suswan have come out to accuse the Nigerian Army of extra-judicial killing and as well making a comparison with the death of the founder of the Boko Haram terrorist group, Mohammed Yusuf.  

This comparison got me thinking about the integrity of some political leaders in Benue State. They have in a most despicable manner attempted to vilify the efforts of the Nigerian Army in addressing the security challenges in the state. 

In this case, the facts are different. This is a clear case of gun engagements with the military on the road as various independent investigations have confirmed. Multiple sources have corroborated these facts, and it tends to look like only Governor Samuel Ortom, and Gabriel Suswam are desperate to manufacture their version of the story at the expense of the truth. 

It is indeed a statement of the fact that Gana killed innocent Nigerians at will. Some he buried alive for ritual purpose. He was a Chief above the Chiefs. He was a political lord who was willing to kill for the right price. This much he confessed in an interview with Channels Television where is stated that he was approached to cause mayhem in Taraba state and he gave them a bill of one billion naira. Hear his words: "I told them to give me one billion naira, but they refused and offered me 50 million naira. I rejected it because there is a strong presence of security people in the state. They later offered me 350 million naira, and I rejected it because it was too small."

This is the same militia leader that these politicians are trying to glorify. If this is not an irony and wickedness, I don’t know what else to call it. Again, what the general public might not know is the fact that Gana was one person who could disguise and kill people in the name of herdsmen to put the entire state on fire. Gana was everything wrong with the Nigerian society and the political class. He represented everything unacceptable with the system where politicians in high places patronize people of questionable character to torment their enemies and keep their people in penury. He was responsible for the escalation of crisis between the Tivs and the Jukuns as he would always mastermind attacks and make it look like someone was trying to hit at his people. 

I make bold to state that the so-called Amnesty Programme initiated by the governor of Benue state and his co-travellers was ostensibly to secure his loyalty. So in a way, the confrontation that Gana had with the soldiers at the checkpoint that ultimately led to his death didn’t go down well with them because it indeed altered their political game plan to continue to fan the embers of disunity in the country. 

I recall that at numerous forums, it has been stated that the issue of the herders-farmers crisis in parts of North Central is a political arrangement put in place as a means of achieving political goals. And Gana was the chief implementer of that political arrangement. And now that he is dead, his political patrons are finding it difficult to come to terms with the reality. 

The political leaders in Benue state indeed have many explanations to make to Nigerians with regards the funding of the nefarious activities of Gana and his militia members in perpetuating conflict in Benue and neighbouring states in North Central Nigeria.

These politicians, by all intent and purposes, are worse than the devil because it is inexcusable for them to attempt to vilify the Nigerian Army in this regard. It is ordinarily expected that the rational thing that ought to have been done is to commend the Nigerian Army for this feat, rather than paint a different picture in the ignoble attempt to deceive members of the unsuspecting general public. 

At this point, I am glad that the life and times of Gana is coming to the public space. It is becoming clear that Gana was a political stooge whose stock in trade was to kill and maim for political reasons and of course for the right fee.    

It is thus my considered opinion that in a typical Africa set-up, people like Gana should be buried in the forest, so no child is ever allowed his memories. I do hope that the appropriate authorities will do the needful to reveal further those politicians that sponsored the nefarious activities of Gana while he reigned supreme in the perpetuation of evil against the people and at the detriment of peace and security. 

The likes of the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom and his buddy, Gabriel Suswan should desist from insulting the sensibilities of Nigerians with their rhetoric aimed at deceiving Nigerians on the true identity of Terwase Akwaza.  A word should be enough for the wise!

Kifasi is a retired civil servant and wrote from Jalingo.

Re- “A Time to Heal;” but Suswam, God does not work by your dictates!, By John Manwo

Re- “A Time to Heal;” but Suswam, God does not work by your dictates!, By John Manwo

By John Manwo 

The incumbent Senator representing Benue North-East Senatorial district in the National Assembly (NASS), Rt.Hon. Dr. Gabriel Torwua Suswam has stopped consternating me as a personality, anywhere in the mould of a leader. I have closely monitored Sen. Suswam in the last few years only to disappointingly discover he is a vicious undertaker of the pernicious breed.  

But some Nigerians are bizarre people. We gleefully chase after worthless leaders in a manner worse than flies will celebrate rotten meat. And to my utter amazement, this is done in a very obsequious and denigrating fashion. The real pandemic with us the people of Sankera, Suswam’s birthplace is that both the youths, adults and the aged indulge in this ingratiating adulation in demeaning condescension to seek for crumbs or special favours.

Therefore, if you stand to condemn it, you are deemed the anti-masses’ tiny and lone voice. And your persistence is only to your peril. Those to attack you most in whatever manner possible are the same people emasculated, abandoned, neglected and confined to a life of penury by the same leader. Nonetheless, some of us would remain undeterred and continue to raise a voice for our voiceless and battered people of Sankera because the expectation to see our people better now and in future. 

I dare to remind the Senator, his acolytes and the people of Sankera again, Suswam has confined us to perpetual servitude! 

On September 8, 2020, something fascinating happened in the area. The backlash from Sen. Suswam, however, particularly smacked off another deliberate gaffe in his avowed determination to dwarf everyone in Sankera to stand as the lone, unchallengeable political and economic “leader” of his kinsmen.

Suswam issued a public statement, following the death of a notorious armed bandit and criminal, Terwase Akwaza Agbadu alias Gana. He met his waterloo during a shootout with troops of the Nigerian Army on a special assignment of Operation Ayem Akpatema III in Benue and its environs to curb incidences of banditry, kidnapping, cultism et al.   

The perceived lapses by unconsecrated minds about the circumstances leading to Gana’s tragic death in the hands of security agents last Tuesday is not of ultimate relevance at this point. But for Suswam to seek to veil the truth and ubiquitously mourn the death of a deadly armed bandit nested by his antics and eventual death as revealed by the contents of his public statement at the expense of his people was what shocked me endlessly.

Let me rehearse what epitomized the life of Gana and as even chanted by Suswam in his odious press statement. While alive Gana and his armed criminal gangs recklessly killed, tormented and terrorized the people of Sankera. His tentacles of criminalities extended from Benue to the neighbouring states of Taraba and Nasarawa for years.

I praise Suswam for recounting that while Gana reigned and massacred his people for years, the economic and social life of the people grounded to a halt; and partisan times became the theatre of wars, with mindless bloodletting spearheaded and perpetrated by the Gana armed gang. It got to preposterous limits where Gana’s boys banned relations of their victims of carnage from burying the dead. 

The once vibrant Sankera crumbled completely. Even our friends elsewhere dreaded and stopped visiting us for fear of being murdered in cold blood. Our people have lived under this horror for years and all previous attempts to arrest Gana were foiled, frustrated or unsuccessful. 

Finally, when security agents got hold of the repulsive criminal, Suswam,  our representative in NASS who folded his arms and watched while we suffered for years with a barrage of afflictions; indignities and lost the little we ever possessed to Gana and his gangs lamented over his death under the vexatious guise of points of flouting the law.   

What I hate so much are pretences. Sen. Suswam’s statement shows he is belatedly pandering to the feelings of his minions or those in his camp who feel touched by Gana’s unexpected death. It certainly cannot reflect the feelings of the generality of people of Sankera. I have not experienced where leaders make open remonstrations for an armed criminal who has caused his people so many pains by merely citing presumed flouted aspects of the law.

It implies Suswam’s concealed yet compelled by circumstances to expose his secret sponsorship of Gana and his armed gangs to unleash years of terror on the people; impoverish them the more by attacking their sources of economic sustenance and render the people pathetically impotent or very feeble in perpetuity. The aim is to continue to manipulate them during partisan times for his selfish agenda and cohorts.

It has unmistakably dawned on me why, despite the enormous economic resources and potentials of Sankera, it has slipped back to the backseat of development and stunted growth among all Tiv lineages. It is now crystal to be the reason, Sen. Suswam as a former two tenured House of Reps member; Benue Governor and now Senator, Sankera area flourishes in bloodshed rather than development. Instead, he has cursed his same people who have continued to bless him.

I least expected, though, that our lives would not matter to him to the extent of publicly proclaiming it to us and the people of Nigeria as reflected in his embarrassing public statement. By doing so in the aftermath of Gana’s death, Suswam undisguisedly told us, he had wished and passed a death sentence on us long ago. Some of the people were deeply engrossed in fantasies not to notice Suswam’s antics.

I state boldly that the lives of our people are worthless to Suswam; so also, the lives of security agents who have borne the risk of death all these years in the pursuit of Gana, with some paying the ultimate price of death. And today, when Gana fell by the same sword he embraced and exercised freely on innocent and law-abiding people, Suswam is empathizing with him publicly.

As if, this nonsensicality is not enough, Sen. Suswam has gone ahead to seek to vilify the esteemed reputation of the Nigerian Army for daring to murder a dangerous armed bandit in a gun battle. The consolation Suswam and cahoots is bandying to curry public support that the Benue State Government (BNSG) had initiated the Phase II of the State Amnesty Programme, just to implicate the gallant soldiers who performed the operation against Gana and his gang is hogwash.

We cannot be fooled all the times. BNSG’s State Security Council declared Terwase Akwaza Agbadu wanted in 2020, with an initial bounty of N10 million. In July 2020, Gov. Samuel Ortom raised the stakes to N50 million.

So, at what point was the declaration of Gana as wanted to be vacated by the Benue State Security Council for Gov. Ortom to claim of organizing a Phase II of Amnesty Programme to have necessarily restrained the ceaseless soldiers scouting for the arrest of Gana?  This is Suswam’s strongest point of emphasis, yet he claims to have practised law for three decades.

That Amnesty Programme Phase II was a kangaroo arrangement and a sham. And the brave soldiers who braved death;  eventually got Gana and some members of his gang after months in the scrubs deserves their reward. For the people of Sankera, however, the death of Gana is a big breather and we extend gracious thankfulness to the team as a token of our appreciation.

Again, what this incident has confirmed about Sen. Suswam’s personality is that he is a man of double standards. He was never with the people all through the years Gana unleashed mayhem on the innocent kinsmen, women and children alike. It's now obvious Suswam defended Gana both in the political and corporate world. 

Manwo is a teacher and wrote this article from Katsina-Ala, Benue State.
By John Manwo 

The incumbent Senator representing Benue North-East Senatorial district in the National Assembly (NASS), Rt.Hon. Dr. Gabriel Torwua Suswam has stopped consternating me as a personality, anywhere in the mould of a leader. I have closely monitored Sen. Suswam in the last few years only to disappointingly discover he is a vicious undertaker of the pernicious breed.  

But some Nigerians are bizarre people. We gleefully chase after worthless leaders in a manner worse than flies will celebrate rotten meat. And to my utter amazement, this is done in a very obsequious and denigrating fashion. The real pandemic with us the people of Sankera, Suswam’s birthplace is that both the youths, adults and the aged indulge in this ingratiating adulation in demeaning condescension to seek for crumbs or special favours.

Therefore, if you stand to condemn it, you are deemed the anti-masses’ tiny and lone voice. And your persistence is only to your peril. Those to attack you most in whatever manner possible are the same people emasculated, abandoned, neglected and confined to a life of penury by the same leader. Nonetheless, some of us would remain undeterred and continue to raise a voice for our voiceless and battered people of Sankera because the expectation to see our people better now and in future. 

I dare to remind the Senator, his acolytes and the people of Sankera again, Suswam has confined us to perpetual servitude! 

On September 8, 2020, something fascinating happened in the area. The backlash from Sen. Suswam, however, particularly smacked off another deliberate gaffe in his avowed determination to dwarf everyone in Sankera to stand as the lone, unchallengeable political and economic “leader” of his kinsmen.

Suswam issued a public statement, following the death of a notorious armed bandit and criminal, Terwase Akwaza Agbadu alias Gana. He met his waterloo during a shootout with troops of the Nigerian Army on a special assignment of Operation Ayem Akpatema III in Benue and its environs to curb incidences of banditry, kidnapping, cultism et al.   

The perceived lapses by unconsecrated minds about the circumstances leading to Gana’s tragic death in the hands of security agents last Tuesday is not of ultimate relevance at this point. But for Suswam to seek to veil the truth and ubiquitously mourn the death of a deadly armed bandit nested by his antics and eventual death as revealed by the contents of his public statement at the expense of his people was what shocked me endlessly.

Let me rehearse what epitomized the life of Gana and as even chanted by Suswam in his odious press statement. While alive Gana and his armed criminal gangs recklessly killed, tormented and terrorized the people of Sankera. His tentacles of criminalities extended from Benue to the neighbouring states of Taraba and Nasarawa for years.

I praise Suswam for recounting that while Gana reigned and massacred his people for years, the economic and social life of the people grounded to a halt; and partisan times became the theatre of wars, with mindless bloodletting spearheaded and perpetrated by the Gana armed gang. It got to preposterous limits where Gana’s boys banned relations of their victims of carnage from burying the dead. 

The once vibrant Sankera crumbled completely. Even our friends elsewhere dreaded and stopped visiting us for fear of being murdered in cold blood. Our people have lived under this horror for years and all previous attempts to arrest Gana were foiled, frustrated or unsuccessful. 

Finally, when security agents got hold of the repulsive criminal, Suswam,  our representative in NASS who folded his arms and watched while we suffered for years with a barrage of afflictions; indignities and lost the little we ever possessed to Gana and his gangs lamented over his death under the vexatious guise of points of flouting the law.   

What I hate so much are pretences. Sen. Suswam’s statement shows he is belatedly pandering to the feelings of his minions or those in his camp who feel touched by Gana’s unexpected death. It certainly cannot reflect the feelings of the generality of people of Sankera. I have not experienced where leaders make open remonstrations for an armed criminal who has caused his people so many pains by merely citing presumed flouted aspects of the law.

It implies Suswam’s concealed yet compelled by circumstances to expose his secret sponsorship of Gana and his armed gangs to unleash years of terror on the people; impoverish them the more by attacking their sources of economic sustenance and render the people pathetically impotent or very feeble in perpetuity. The aim is to continue to manipulate them during partisan times for his selfish agenda and cohorts.

It has unmistakably dawned on me why, despite the enormous economic resources and potentials of Sankera, it has slipped back to the backseat of development and stunted growth among all Tiv lineages. It is now crystal to be the reason, Sen. Suswam as a former two tenured House of Reps member; Benue Governor and now Senator, Sankera area flourishes in bloodshed rather than development. Instead, he has cursed his same people who have continued to bless him.

I least expected, though, that our lives would not matter to him to the extent of publicly proclaiming it to us and the people of Nigeria as reflected in his embarrassing public statement. By doing so in the aftermath of Gana’s death, Suswam undisguisedly told us, he had wished and passed a death sentence on us long ago. Some of the people were deeply engrossed in fantasies not to notice Suswam’s antics.

I state boldly that the lives of our people are worthless to Suswam; so also, the lives of security agents who have borne the risk of death all these years in the pursuit of Gana, with some paying the ultimate price of death. And today, when Gana fell by the same sword he embraced and exercised freely on innocent and law-abiding people, Suswam is empathizing with him publicly.

As if, this nonsensicality is not enough, Sen. Suswam has gone ahead to seek to vilify the esteemed reputation of the Nigerian Army for daring to murder a dangerous armed bandit in a gun battle. The consolation Suswam and cahoots is bandying to curry public support that the Benue State Government (BNSG) had initiated the Phase II of the State Amnesty Programme, just to implicate the gallant soldiers who performed the operation against Gana and his gang is hogwash.

We cannot be fooled all the times. BNSG’s State Security Council declared Terwase Akwaza Agbadu wanted in 2020, with an initial bounty of N10 million. In July 2020, Gov. Samuel Ortom raised the stakes to N50 million.

So, at what point was the declaration of Gana as wanted to be vacated by the Benue State Security Council for Gov. Ortom to claim of organizing a Phase II of Amnesty Programme to have necessarily restrained the ceaseless soldiers scouting for the arrest of Gana?  This is Suswam’s strongest point of emphasis, yet he claims to have practised law for three decades.

That Amnesty Programme Phase II was a kangaroo arrangement and a sham. And the brave soldiers who braved death;  eventually got Gana and some members of his gang after months in the scrubs deserves their reward. For the people of Sankera, however, the death of Gana is a big breather and we extend gracious thankfulness to the team as a token of our appreciation.

Again, what this incident has confirmed about Sen. Suswam’s personality is that he is a man of double standards. He was never with the people all through the years Gana unleashed mayhem on the innocent kinsmen, women and children alike. It's now obvious Suswam defended Gana both in the political and corporate world. 

Manwo is a teacher and wrote this article from Katsina-Ala, Benue State.

Who is the man, Sesi Whingan? The profile of a quintessential young Philanthropist

Who is the man, Sesi Whingan? The profile of a quintessential young Philanthropist


Sesi Whingan
Sesi Oluwaseun Whingan 

Not too many have heard of Prince Sesi Whingan until his passion for humanitarian services propelled him to begin a life as a philanthropist, after successful excellent spell  in both public and private careers as a Journalist, civil servant, property development consultant and the Managing Director of renown property firm, Pogs Luxury, Lagos. 

Sesi, despite his relatively young age has since impacted not just in lives of so many many individuals, but  also, some communities in Badagry. His Philanthropic gestures have resulted in remodeling of lives of many youths, aged and widows in Badagry and beyond, through a foundation he established and christened, Sesi Whingan Foundation. No wonder many described him as a new breed of a rare quintessential future leader from Badagry corridor. 

Born into the royal Family of Maseno in Ikoga Zebbe in Badagry Local Government of Lagos State in 80s, Prince Sesi started his primary and secondary education at  St. Benedette Nursery and Primary school and  Oba community High School, both in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital between in 1990 and 2002. 

He graduated in 2009 from the prestigious Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye in Ogun State, where he bagged his First Degree Certificate in Mass Communications. The overzealous young chap later obtained his MBA certification  in the United Kingdom, from the renowned Anglia Ruskin University. 

Before rising to the coveted positions he currently occupies as the Managing Director of Fogs Luxury, and the Regional Manager and Partner of FAB Pharmaceutical Nigeria Limited; Sesi Whingan worked as an Administrative Officer at Nsi Atai Local Government in Akwa - Ibom State. The same local government he had his compulsory National Youths Service Scheme, the NYSC, until 2011 after he graduated. Before then, he worked at Paramount FM radio station and Gateway Mirror between 2003 and 2008 as article writer, correspondent, and Assistant Scripts Editor respectively. 

Sesi later delved into the business world of property development and consultancy, simultaneously while working in private firm. 

Having been successful entrepreneur, Sesi's hunger for humanitarian services and social responsibility  propelled him to establish a foundation in 2017 which he named Sesi Whingan Foundation. A Non-Governmental Organization that has brought soccour to many, especially the youths, aged, the downtrodden and less privileged in Badagry.
Samples of items distributed by Sesi Whingan Foundation during Covid-19 


Team Sesi Whingan Foundation presenting cash gift to a physically challenged beneficiary
 
Samples of bagged food items loaded
for distributed by Sesi Whingan Foundation during Covid-19 Pandemic

Since inception, Sesi Whingan Foundation has embarked on numerous social responsibilities among others;  through the foundation, Sesi has distributed cash gifts and food items to the aged, widows and less-privileged within Badagry, he has also rehabilitated the Agric Road and other roads in Ikoga Zebbe, distribution of cash and other incentives to community and religious leaders; both Christians and Muslims, empowerment of some market women to boost their trade. 
During the rehabilitation of Agric road, Ikoga Zebbe by Sesi Whingan Foundation 

Sesi's name become more a household name, especially during the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic, where his foundation distributed food items and cash worth millions of naira across the length and breadth of Badagry Federation, to cushion the effect of the pandemic. 

The CEO of Sesi Whingan Foundation personally involving in the distribution of palliatives during Covid-19 pandemic
 

Men of Sesi Whingan Foundation distributing palliatives to beneficiaries 
during Covid-19 Pandemic


Men of Sesi Whingan Foundation distributing palliatives to beneficiaries 
during Covid-19 Pandemic


The humanitarian gestures by Sesi torched so many lives in Olorunda LCDA, Badagry West and Central, at a time when many hardly fed due to the lockdown effects of Covid-19. 

Sesi is a son to Chief Pius Whingan, a business mogul, a notable chieftain of All Progressives Congress, APC, and a former Supervisor of Agriculture in Badagry Local Government.

 
A sample of bagged food items 
distributed by Sesi Whingan Foundation 
during Covid-19 Pandemic
 
Samples of bagged food items loaded
for distributed by Sesi Whingan Foundation 
during Covid-19 Pandemic
 


Sesi Whingan
Sesi Oluwaseun Whingan 

Not too many have heard of Prince Sesi Whingan until his passion for humanitarian services propelled him to begin a life as a philanthropist, after successful excellent spell  in both public and private careers as a Journalist, civil servant, property development consultant and the Managing Director of renown property firm, Pogs Luxury, Lagos. 

Sesi, despite his relatively young age has since impacted not just in lives of so many many individuals, but  also, some communities in Badagry. His Philanthropic gestures have resulted in remodeling of lives of many youths, aged and widows in Badagry and beyond, through a foundation he established and christened, Sesi Whingan Foundation. No wonder many described him as a new breed of a rare quintessential future leader from Badagry corridor. 

Born into the royal Family of Maseno in Ikoga Zebbe in Badagry Local Government of Lagos State in 80s, Prince Sesi started his primary and secondary education at  St. Benedette Nursery and Primary school and  Oba community High School, both in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital between in 1990 and 2002. 

He graduated in 2009 from the prestigious Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye in Ogun State, where he bagged his First Degree Certificate in Mass Communications. The overzealous young chap later obtained his MBA certification  in the United Kingdom, from the renowned Anglia Ruskin University. 

Before rising to the coveted positions he currently occupies as the Managing Director of Fogs Luxury, and the Regional Manager and Partner of FAB Pharmaceutical Nigeria Limited; Sesi Whingan worked as an Administrative Officer at Nsi Atai Local Government in Akwa - Ibom State. The same local government he had his compulsory National Youths Service Scheme, the NYSC, until 2011 after he graduated. Before then, he worked at Paramount FM radio station and Gateway Mirror between 2003 and 2008 as article writer, correspondent, and Assistant Scripts Editor respectively. 

Sesi later delved into the business world of property development and consultancy, simultaneously while working in private firm. 

Having been successful entrepreneur, Sesi's hunger for humanitarian services and social responsibility  propelled him to establish a foundation in 2017 which he named Sesi Whingan Foundation. A Non-Governmental Organization that has brought soccour to many, especially the youths, aged, the downtrodden and less privileged in Badagry.
Samples of items distributed by Sesi Whingan Foundation during Covid-19 


Team Sesi Whingan Foundation presenting cash gift to a physically challenged beneficiary
 
Samples of bagged food items loaded
for distributed by Sesi Whingan Foundation during Covid-19 Pandemic

Since inception, Sesi Whingan Foundation has embarked on numerous social responsibilities among others;  through the foundation, Sesi has distributed cash gifts and food items to the aged, widows and less-privileged within Badagry, he has also rehabilitated the Agric Road and other roads in Ikoga Zebbe, distribution of cash and other incentives to community and religious leaders; both Christians and Muslims, empowerment of some market women to boost their trade. 
During the rehabilitation of Agric road, Ikoga Zebbe by Sesi Whingan Foundation 

Sesi's name become more a household name, especially during the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic, where his foundation distributed food items and cash worth millions of naira across the length and breadth of Badagry Federation, to cushion the effect of the pandemic. 

The CEO of Sesi Whingan Foundation personally involving in the distribution of palliatives during Covid-19 pandemic
 

Men of Sesi Whingan Foundation distributing palliatives to beneficiaries 
during Covid-19 Pandemic


Men of Sesi Whingan Foundation distributing palliatives to beneficiaries 
during Covid-19 Pandemic


The humanitarian gestures by Sesi torched so many lives in Olorunda LCDA, Badagry West and Central, at a time when many hardly fed due to the lockdown effects of Covid-19. 

Sesi is a son to Chief Pius Whingan, a business mogul, a notable chieftain of All Progressives Congress, APC, and a former Supervisor of Agriculture in Badagry Local Government.

 
A sample of bagged food items 
distributed by Sesi Whingan Foundation 
during Covid-19 Pandemic
 
Samples of bagged food items loaded
for distributed by Sesi Whingan Foundation 
during Covid-19 Pandemic
 

My North-East experience and prayers for President Buhari, By Brown Adeyemi

My North-East experience and prayers for President Buhari, By Brown Adeyemi

By Brown Adeyemi 

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayer, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” 1 Timothy 2:1-2.

I am excited about the happenings in North-East, Nigeria. I also marvelled at what I saw on the ground, which is a complete departure of what we read on the pages of newspapers every day. I must add that I was somewhat confused and wondered if it was the same North-East Nigeria that was ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgents that I had visited.  

In Nigeria, we must admit that it has been such a herculean task when it comes to leadership. Since the advent of our democratic experience in 1999, Nigerians have reeled under various leaders whose actions and inactions brought out the best, as well as the beast in us. In all of these, I can't help but heap praises on President Muhammadu Buhari for his leadership strides, especially in the rebuilding of the economy of North-East Nigeria.  

I know some might be wondering why I started this piece with prayers from the scriptures. Some might also want to ask what is in North-East Nigeria that is worth celebrating given the wanton level of destructions occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgency. But I have a shocker for this category of people. 

Since the Boko Haram crisis started in North-East, Nigeria, it has been quite an emotional one for me having lived my childhood years in the region. In those years, I recall how we use to transverse Borno to Yobe, Gombe and Bauchi States. I also remember how bubbly the region was in terms of agricultural activities and when its harvest time it is also a beehive of activities with Nigerians from various parts of the country trooping en masse to for commercial purposes. Then boom. All of that stopped and the order of the day was sorrow, tears and blood—quite a sad episode. 

Since then, I hadn’t had the opportunity to revisit North-East Nigeria until recently when I took the bulls by the horn and embarked on a road trip from Abuja. Even though I was advised against a road trip, I still went ahead. I must confess that it was worth every inch of it and I indeed fed my eyes with nature at its purest form given the fact that we are in the raining season.

Life has indeed returned to North-East, Nigeria. Farming activities have commenced in droves, and, amazingly, this fact in North-East Nigeria does not make front pages in the newspapers. All through my journey through states in the North East, I would say that the presence of security operatives on the highway was minimal. You could travel for close to 50-kilometre stretch before encountering soldiers on patrol.
You are not harassed or intimidated. You are only questioned if you looked suspicious. My journey was smooth, and I could not believe my eyes. I also wondered where the bulk of the information from North-East Nigeria emanates from. Could it be that some people somewhere sit in the comfort of their offices and conjure situations in their heads and pass such misinformation to the general public? 

I also wondered why the governors of states in the North East also have not found it expedient to tell the real situation of things in the region. Maybe they find it politically necessary for such silence. But whatever be the case, and with what I saw on the ground in North-East Nigeria, my joy knew no bound and I could not but sing the praises of President Muhammadu Buhari to high heavens. 

For those that have not had the opportunity to visit any of the states in North-East Nigeria, it might sound too good to be true that indeed peace had returned to the region. But that is what it is, and all credit must go to President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as the Nigerian Military for bringing hope alive and for ensuring that the activities of the Boko Haram insurgent group are curtailed to the barest minimum.

In all of my stay during the trip and the places I visited in these states, I must add that there is however an urgent need for infrastructural development in some of the communities that were left devastated during the thick of the Boko Haram crisis. The various states government must rise to this occasion by ensuring that these destroyed infrastructures are rebuilt to complete the resettlement process in these communities. This is on the fact that since there has been the massive return of those that were displaced back to their communities; it would only be fair if the government ensures that life returns to normalcy for them through the provision of necessary infrastructures.  

My experience in North-East Nigeria is worth the while, and I am glad that President Muhammadu Buhari has indeed provided that leadership needed in the country to overcome our challenges. The experience has also opened my eyes to the realization that the task of making Nigeria great is not for the leaders alone. It is a task that requires all hands to be on deck and without exemption. 

I also wondered who would have ever thought that the situation in North-East Nigeria can improve with the experiences of past administrations where over 16 local government areas were under the control of the Boko Haram insurgents, where monies meant for the prosecution of the war ended up in private pockets while the casualty figures increased dramatically daily.  

I must also add that if the Muhammadu Buhari administration had continued in the same fashion as previous administrations, restoring peace and normalcy in the North East region would remain a mirage for eternity. If the leadership of the Nigerian Military had diverted monies meant for the welfare of troops, as well as the purchase of arms, displacing the Boko Haram group from their operational headquarters in Sambisa forest would have been grossly impossible. And if the Nigerian Army has not risen to the occasion, my trip by road to states in North-East Nigeria would have been impossible. 

I returned from my trip across states in North-East Nigeria with nothing but admiration for President Muhammadu Buhari for his extraordinary efforts towards the return of normalcy to North-East Nigeria. I also commend the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai for the way and manner he has led the troops in confronting the Boko Haram threat since 2015 and for no betraying the trust of the people unlike in times past.

What the generality of Nigerians might not be aware of is the fact that the Muhammadu Buhari administration indeed got it right with regards North-East Nigeria and as citizens, we duty-bound to extend our support at all times. We must continue to appreciate the sacrifices of our troops in the trenches that have laboured day and night to ensure that North-East Nigeria is what it is today.

In all of these, I can only pray that God, in His infinite mercies, continues to be with President Muhammadu Buhari as he pilots the affairs of the country. I pray for good health and a sound mind. Indeed President Muhammadu Buhari redefined leadership.

Adeyemi is a development consultant wrote from Lokoja.
By Brown Adeyemi 

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayer, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” 1 Timothy 2:1-2.

I am excited about the happenings in North-East, Nigeria. I also marvelled at what I saw on the ground, which is a complete departure of what we read on the pages of newspapers every day. I must add that I was somewhat confused and wondered if it was the same North-East Nigeria that was ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgents that I had visited.  

In Nigeria, we must admit that it has been such a herculean task when it comes to leadership. Since the advent of our democratic experience in 1999, Nigerians have reeled under various leaders whose actions and inactions brought out the best, as well as the beast in us. In all of these, I can't help but heap praises on President Muhammadu Buhari for his leadership strides, especially in the rebuilding of the economy of North-East Nigeria.  

I know some might be wondering why I started this piece with prayers from the scriptures. Some might also want to ask what is in North-East Nigeria that is worth celebrating given the wanton level of destructions occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgency. But I have a shocker for this category of people. 

Since the Boko Haram crisis started in North-East, Nigeria, it has been quite an emotional one for me having lived my childhood years in the region. In those years, I recall how we use to transverse Borno to Yobe, Gombe and Bauchi States. I also remember how bubbly the region was in terms of agricultural activities and when its harvest time it is also a beehive of activities with Nigerians from various parts of the country trooping en masse to for commercial purposes. Then boom. All of that stopped and the order of the day was sorrow, tears and blood—quite a sad episode. 

Since then, I hadn’t had the opportunity to revisit North-East Nigeria until recently when I took the bulls by the horn and embarked on a road trip from Abuja. Even though I was advised against a road trip, I still went ahead. I must confess that it was worth every inch of it and I indeed fed my eyes with nature at its purest form given the fact that we are in the raining season.

Life has indeed returned to North-East, Nigeria. Farming activities have commenced in droves, and, amazingly, this fact in North-East Nigeria does not make front pages in the newspapers. All through my journey through states in the North East, I would say that the presence of security operatives on the highway was minimal. You could travel for close to 50-kilometre stretch before encountering soldiers on patrol.
You are not harassed or intimidated. You are only questioned if you looked suspicious. My journey was smooth, and I could not believe my eyes. I also wondered where the bulk of the information from North-East Nigeria emanates from. Could it be that some people somewhere sit in the comfort of their offices and conjure situations in their heads and pass such misinformation to the general public? 

I also wondered why the governors of states in the North East also have not found it expedient to tell the real situation of things in the region. Maybe they find it politically necessary for such silence. But whatever be the case, and with what I saw on the ground in North-East Nigeria, my joy knew no bound and I could not but sing the praises of President Muhammadu Buhari to high heavens. 

For those that have not had the opportunity to visit any of the states in North-East Nigeria, it might sound too good to be true that indeed peace had returned to the region. But that is what it is, and all credit must go to President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as the Nigerian Military for bringing hope alive and for ensuring that the activities of the Boko Haram insurgent group are curtailed to the barest minimum.

In all of my stay during the trip and the places I visited in these states, I must add that there is however an urgent need for infrastructural development in some of the communities that were left devastated during the thick of the Boko Haram crisis. The various states government must rise to this occasion by ensuring that these destroyed infrastructures are rebuilt to complete the resettlement process in these communities. This is on the fact that since there has been the massive return of those that were displaced back to their communities; it would only be fair if the government ensures that life returns to normalcy for them through the provision of necessary infrastructures.  

My experience in North-East Nigeria is worth the while, and I am glad that President Muhammadu Buhari has indeed provided that leadership needed in the country to overcome our challenges. The experience has also opened my eyes to the realization that the task of making Nigeria great is not for the leaders alone. It is a task that requires all hands to be on deck and without exemption. 

I also wondered who would have ever thought that the situation in North-East Nigeria can improve with the experiences of past administrations where over 16 local government areas were under the control of the Boko Haram insurgents, where monies meant for the prosecution of the war ended up in private pockets while the casualty figures increased dramatically daily.  

I must also add that if the Muhammadu Buhari administration had continued in the same fashion as previous administrations, restoring peace and normalcy in the North East region would remain a mirage for eternity. If the leadership of the Nigerian Military had diverted monies meant for the welfare of troops, as well as the purchase of arms, displacing the Boko Haram group from their operational headquarters in Sambisa forest would have been grossly impossible. And if the Nigerian Army has not risen to the occasion, my trip by road to states in North-East Nigeria would have been impossible. 

I returned from my trip across states in North-East Nigeria with nothing but admiration for President Muhammadu Buhari for his extraordinary efforts towards the return of normalcy to North-East Nigeria. I also commend the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai for the way and manner he has led the troops in confronting the Boko Haram threat since 2015 and for no betraying the trust of the people unlike in times past.

What the generality of Nigerians might not be aware of is the fact that the Muhammadu Buhari administration indeed got it right with regards North-East Nigeria and as citizens, we duty-bound to extend our support at all times. We must continue to appreciate the sacrifices of our troops in the trenches that have laboured day and night to ensure that North-East Nigeria is what it is today.

In all of these, I can only pray that God, in His infinite mercies, continues to be with President Muhammadu Buhari as he pilots the affairs of the country. I pray for good health and a sound mind. Indeed President Muhammadu Buhari redefined leadership.

Adeyemi is a development consultant wrote from Lokoja.

Buhari, North-East and the Uncommon Transformation, By Alexandra Amuta

Buhari, North-East and the Uncommon Transformation, By Alexandra Amuta

By Alexandra Amuta 

On the 28th of July, 2020, Nigerian governors elected under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his achievements in securing the lives and properties of Nigerians. This by no means is a significant development given its emphasis by the Constitution and how past administrations have failed in that aspect.

The APC governors that gave the commendation included those of Borno, Gombe, and Yobe States which were the most affected by the Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorism in Northeast Nigeria between 2012 and 2015. The only state which has suffered almost equal devastation but was missing at the meeting is Adamawa.

The APC governors at the virtual meeting involving the President and members of the interim National Working Committee of their party assessed the prevailing situation in the Northeast and resolved that it would be uncharitable if they fail to commend the president for what he has done in defending the country's territorial integrity; restoring law and order.

Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, the Governor of Kebbi State and Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum, Senator Atiku Bagudu, thanked President Buhari for his initiatives which have brought peace, succour and relief to the people of the Northeast. 

Those who are not aware of the extent of devastation in the region are bound to pass the commendation as a non-event but the governors knew what they were pointing their fingers at.

While those sceptical of the achievements of the current administration are bound to underestimate the extent of the intervention in the Northeast, the facts, however, speak of an uncommon transformation.

At the height of the Boko Haram devastation of the Northeast, many schools were forced to shut down as they were being attacked and burnt. The number of out-of-school children rose to about eight million representing 60 per cent of the figure in Nigeria. 

People were compelled to live in perpetual fear with many abandoning their homes to go and squat in other parts of the country. Boko Haram destroyed everything that represents development in the region.

The group had since 2013 serially obliterated telecommunication equipment in a number of LGs in the Northeast as part of their techniques to prevent communities from alerting one another and reaching out to security agencies.

One of the telecoms operators which quantified the damage on its facilities said 57 of its sites have been destroyed by the insurgents and require urgent attention.

Life became a living hell for the people, cut off from other parts of the country who were subjected to living under the most dehumanizing conditions.

Boko Haram also frustrated movements by destroying roads and blowing off bridges. Where they couldn't erode, they mount roadblocks to kill unsuspecting travellers. 

In the past, many roads in the Northeast were avoided as they had become death traps where the insurgents could appear and slaughter people at will.

Not just the ordinary people but even political leaders such as governors and senators could not travel to their hometowns by road. Worse still, Nigeria lost territories as 20 local government councils came under the terrorists' control, administered as states under their caliphate. People became refugees in their own country as they fled from violent attacks.  

The loss in economic terms was even more enormous. But with the coming of the current administration, such attacks have been halted and people are breathing fresh air. Fear has been eliminated as major towns in the Northeast like Biu, Gombe, Ashaka, Mubi, Yola, Potiskum, Gashua, Geidam and Damaturu, have been peaceful and cannot recall the last time it went through such terrible experiences. All the local councils in the state hitherto taken by the insurgents have been recaptured and people now live their normal lives. 

In all these, President Buhari has proven that he is concerned about the problems in the Northeast and that he is for the masses of this country. Beyond the military conquest, his administration has initiated interventions for the rebuilding of the infrastructural facilities in the region. 

The result is that schools have been rebuilt, roads reconstructed and reopened, while hospitals have been equipped and communication gadgets reinstalled. The uncommon transformation going on in the Northeast is such that taps are now running in major towns and electricity restored.

Amuta is a development analyst and wrote from Lagos.
By Alexandra Amuta 

On the 28th of July, 2020, Nigerian governors elected under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his achievements in securing the lives and properties of Nigerians. This by no means is a significant development given its emphasis by the Constitution and how past administrations have failed in that aspect.

The APC governors that gave the commendation included those of Borno, Gombe, and Yobe States which were the most affected by the Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorism in Northeast Nigeria between 2012 and 2015. The only state which has suffered almost equal devastation but was missing at the meeting is Adamawa.

The APC governors at the virtual meeting involving the President and members of the interim National Working Committee of their party assessed the prevailing situation in the Northeast and resolved that it would be uncharitable if they fail to commend the president for what he has done in defending the country's territorial integrity; restoring law and order.

Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, the Governor of Kebbi State and Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum, Senator Atiku Bagudu, thanked President Buhari for his initiatives which have brought peace, succour and relief to the people of the Northeast. 

Those who are not aware of the extent of devastation in the region are bound to pass the commendation as a non-event but the governors knew what they were pointing their fingers at.

While those sceptical of the achievements of the current administration are bound to underestimate the extent of the intervention in the Northeast, the facts, however, speak of an uncommon transformation.

At the height of the Boko Haram devastation of the Northeast, many schools were forced to shut down as they were being attacked and burnt. The number of out-of-school children rose to about eight million representing 60 per cent of the figure in Nigeria. 

People were compelled to live in perpetual fear with many abandoning their homes to go and squat in other parts of the country. Boko Haram destroyed everything that represents development in the region.

The group had since 2013 serially obliterated telecommunication equipment in a number of LGs in the Northeast as part of their techniques to prevent communities from alerting one another and reaching out to security agencies.

One of the telecoms operators which quantified the damage on its facilities said 57 of its sites have been destroyed by the insurgents and require urgent attention.

Life became a living hell for the people, cut off from other parts of the country who were subjected to living under the most dehumanizing conditions.

Boko Haram also frustrated movements by destroying roads and blowing off bridges. Where they couldn't erode, they mount roadblocks to kill unsuspecting travellers. 

In the past, many roads in the Northeast were avoided as they had become death traps where the insurgents could appear and slaughter people at will.

Not just the ordinary people but even political leaders such as governors and senators could not travel to their hometowns by road. Worse still, Nigeria lost territories as 20 local government councils came under the terrorists' control, administered as states under their caliphate. People became refugees in their own country as they fled from violent attacks.  

The loss in economic terms was even more enormous. But with the coming of the current administration, such attacks have been halted and people are breathing fresh air. Fear has been eliminated as major towns in the Northeast like Biu, Gombe, Ashaka, Mubi, Yola, Potiskum, Gashua, Geidam and Damaturu, have been peaceful and cannot recall the last time it went through such terrible experiences. All the local councils in the state hitherto taken by the insurgents have been recaptured and people now live their normal lives. 

In all these, President Buhari has proven that he is concerned about the problems in the Northeast and that he is for the masses of this country. Beyond the military conquest, his administration has initiated interventions for the rebuilding of the infrastructural facilities in the region. 

The result is that schools have been rebuilt, roads reconstructed and reopened, while hospitals have been equipped and communication gadgets reinstalled. The uncommon transformation going on in the Northeast is such that taps are now running in major towns and electricity restored.

Amuta is a development analyst and wrote from Lagos.

PMB and the northeast: Giving credit when due, By Dr. Abubakar Gana

PMB and the northeast: Giving credit when due, By Dr. Abubakar Gana

By Dr. Abubakar Gana

Indeed these are interesting times in Nigeria. I am sad as well as happy for the revelations regarding the commitment of the Federal Government in the prosecution of the war against terrorism. For far too long, we have been fed with various tales from North-East Nigeria so much so that Nigerians do not know what to believe anymore.

This is indeed sad and an indication that something is wrong somewhere with regards to the actual state of affairs in that region. Being a development researcher with a particular interest in the North-East, I make bold to say that I have transverse the length and breadth of the region on various occasions in the assessment of the true state of affairs.

This piece is informed by a tour organized by the Global Amnesty Watch in the assessment of the efforts of the government in the restoration of normalcy to the once-troubled region. I had mixed feelings over the revelations that came about with the findings from the tour.

Initially, I was sceptical about this assessment tour given that I had previously sojourned the region on the invitation of an international Non-Governmental Organization sometime in 2014. I must, however, admit that it was such a huge risk in the sense that the environment was not convenient with the level of insecurity at that time.

This was also a period when the activities of the Boko Haram group were rife and occasioned with lots of killings and displacement of people in various communities. It was scary, and I must confess that I was fed with lots of misinformation and made to believe that the insurgency would last a minimum of 20 years before the North-East can recover from its effect.

I won’t say that we were deceived by the international NGO that organized the tour, though. Rather, they were brainwashed to believe a narrative and little did we know it was all part of a plot to justify their continued stay in the North-East and to attract more funding for their operations which has been questioned in several quarters.

Just like other researchers that were co-opted into the tour by the international NGO, we didn't see the handwriting on the wall. We consequently went to town with all sorts of conjectures that suits the narrative of the group in their effort for the continued justification of their stay in the region.

Just like this international NGO misled us into believing that it would take Nigeria at least two decades to rebuild communities in the North-East fully, the same narrative was pushed towards donor agencies and countries. How was this possible? These NGO depicted a very terrible picture of the situation in the zone. Some went as far as organizing chaotic conditions in IDP camps, record and then send to donor partners and agencies.

That is not all. Some of these NGOs also went as far as bribing locals to comment negatively on the efforts of government towards alleviating their plight and protecting them from the Boko Haram scourge. It was that terrible. However, I must admit that my participation in the tour put together by the Global Amnesty Watch has indeed brought a lot of hard facts to the fore with regards to the actual state of affairs in the North-East.

As a first, I must give credit to President Muhammadu Buhari for his unalloyed display of commitment in the prosecution of the war against Boko Haram insurgency.

The revelations garnered proved that there is indeed a grand conspiracy against Nigeria in its efforts towards addressing the challenges posed by the Boko Haram terrorist group in the North-East.

This tour took us to Bauchi, Gombe and Yobe states. I must add that it was an eye-opener. Nigerians should not believe the propaganda planted in the media as regards the state of affairs in the North-East. I saw things for myself, unlike in the previous tour organized by the NGOs. I was not given video recordings to rely on; I was not given lengthy reports to read. Instead, we were allowed to take pictures and interact freely to form an objective opinion.

We were not under pressure to take a position; rather, we were encouraged to be as objective as possible with a view to putting issues in proper perspective. I must state that indeed tremendous work has taken place in North-East Nigeria after years of devastation by the Boko Haram insurgents. Aside from the efforts of the Nigerian Military which is essentially addressing the security threats, the government has indeed done all that is required towards rebuilding its economy through the provision of infrastructures and other conditions necessary for the return of normalcy.

It is my considered opinion that Nigerians would come to appreciate President Buhari more with the level of commitment he has displayed. Make no mistake, it takes a leader with a heart for the people to be this committed. It also takes one with an uncommon heart to govern with such passion as displayed by President Buhari.

The revelations from this tour of North-East Nigeria suffices and amongst the reasons why all Nigerians must continue to support this administration. And to think that all of these notable achievements have happened in the space of five years is quite commendable.

We must always give credit to whom it's due, and it is my honest opinion that President Buhari is passionate about the growth and sustainable development of Nigeria. From my experience in the North-East, I can only imagine what is going on in other parts of the country. Yes, some might want to argue that the president hasn’t done much; I would understand such positions because we are in an era where there are lots of politically motivated conspiracies against the government in not just tackling insecurity, but other critical sectors of the economy.

The reportage of events in North-East Nigeria is one example. I am glad that at least I can now base my assessment of President Buhari objectively as a result of the first-hand experience and not hearsays, rumours, fairytale reports and propaganda.

It is consequently my firm belief that in the fullness of time, Nigerians would see through the conspiracies and come to appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari. I am glad that the tour is still ongoing and the revelations so far are pleasing as well as reassuring that Nigeria is indeed on a steady path to growth and sustainable development.

At the end of this tour, I firmly believe that more revelations would come to the fore and Nigerians would have no choice but to appreciate and support the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, giving him credit accordingly.

Gana PhD is a conflict resolution expert and wrote from Maiduguri
By Dr. Abubakar Gana

Indeed these are interesting times in Nigeria. I am sad as well as happy for the revelations regarding the commitment of the Federal Government in the prosecution of the war against terrorism. For far too long, we have been fed with various tales from North-East Nigeria so much so that Nigerians do not know what to believe anymore.

This is indeed sad and an indication that something is wrong somewhere with regards to the actual state of affairs in that region. Being a development researcher with a particular interest in the North-East, I make bold to say that I have transverse the length and breadth of the region on various occasions in the assessment of the true state of affairs.

This piece is informed by a tour organized by the Global Amnesty Watch in the assessment of the efforts of the government in the restoration of normalcy to the once-troubled region. I had mixed feelings over the revelations that came about with the findings from the tour.

Initially, I was sceptical about this assessment tour given that I had previously sojourned the region on the invitation of an international Non-Governmental Organization sometime in 2014. I must, however, admit that it was such a huge risk in the sense that the environment was not convenient with the level of insecurity at that time.

This was also a period when the activities of the Boko Haram group were rife and occasioned with lots of killings and displacement of people in various communities. It was scary, and I must confess that I was fed with lots of misinformation and made to believe that the insurgency would last a minimum of 20 years before the North-East can recover from its effect.

I won’t say that we were deceived by the international NGO that organized the tour, though. Rather, they were brainwashed to believe a narrative and little did we know it was all part of a plot to justify their continued stay in the North-East and to attract more funding for their operations which has been questioned in several quarters.

Just like other researchers that were co-opted into the tour by the international NGO, we didn't see the handwriting on the wall. We consequently went to town with all sorts of conjectures that suits the narrative of the group in their effort for the continued justification of their stay in the region.

Just like this international NGO misled us into believing that it would take Nigeria at least two decades to rebuild communities in the North-East fully, the same narrative was pushed towards donor agencies and countries. How was this possible? These NGO depicted a very terrible picture of the situation in the zone. Some went as far as organizing chaotic conditions in IDP camps, record and then send to donor partners and agencies.

That is not all. Some of these NGOs also went as far as bribing locals to comment negatively on the efforts of government towards alleviating their plight and protecting them from the Boko Haram scourge. It was that terrible. However, I must admit that my participation in the tour put together by the Global Amnesty Watch has indeed brought a lot of hard facts to the fore with regards to the actual state of affairs in the North-East.

As a first, I must give credit to President Muhammadu Buhari for his unalloyed display of commitment in the prosecution of the war against Boko Haram insurgency.

The revelations garnered proved that there is indeed a grand conspiracy against Nigeria in its efforts towards addressing the challenges posed by the Boko Haram terrorist group in the North-East.

This tour took us to Bauchi, Gombe and Yobe states. I must add that it was an eye-opener. Nigerians should not believe the propaganda planted in the media as regards the state of affairs in the North-East. I saw things for myself, unlike in the previous tour organized by the NGOs. I was not given video recordings to rely on; I was not given lengthy reports to read. Instead, we were allowed to take pictures and interact freely to form an objective opinion.

We were not under pressure to take a position; rather, we were encouraged to be as objective as possible with a view to putting issues in proper perspective. I must state that indeed tremendous work has taken place in North-East Nigeria after years of devastation by the Boko Haram insurgents. Aside from the efforts of the Nigerian Military which is essentially addressing the security threats, the government has indeed done all that is required towards rebuilding its economy through the provision of infrastructures and other conditions necessary for the return of normalcy.

It is my considered opinion that Nigerians would come to appreciate President Buhari more with the level of commitment he has displayed. Make no mistake, it takes a leader with a heart for the people to be this committed. It also takes one with an uncommon heart to govern with such passion as displayed by President Buhari.

The revelations from this tour of North-East Nigeria suffices and amongst the reasons why all Nigerians must continue to support this administration. And to think that all of these notable achievements have happened in the space of five years is quite commendable.

We must always give credit to whom it's due, and it is my honest opinion that President Buhari is passionate about the growth and sustainable development of Nigeria. From my experience in the North-East, I can only imagine what is going on in other parts of the country. Yes, some might want to argue that the president hasn’t done much; I would understand such positions because we are in an era where there are lots of politically motivated conspiracies against the government in not just tackling insecurity, but other critical sectors of the economy.

The reportage of events in North-East Nigeria is one example. I am glad that at least I can now base my assessment of President Buhari objectively as a result of the first-hand experience and not hearsays, rumours, fairytale reports and propaganda.

It is consequently my firm belief that in the fullness of time, Nigerians would see through the conspiracies and come to appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari. I am glad that the tour is still ongoing and the revelations so far are pleasing as well as reassuring that Nigeria is indeed on a steady path to growth and sustainable development.

At the end of this tour, I firmly believe that more revelations would come to the fore and Nigerians would have no choice but to appreciate and support the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, giving him credit accordingly.

Gana PhD is a conflict resolution expert and wrote from Maiduguri

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