Weekly political notes

Oby Ezekwesili

Oby Ezekwesili

Fulani Herdsmen Attacking Nigerians Are From Senegal, Mali — Northern Governors
The Northern Governor’s Forum, (NGF) said it has resolved to work with relevant stakeholders to secure Nigeria’s borders and register Fulani immigrants entering into the country to rear cattle.

The Chairman of the Forum, Kashim Shettima of Borno, disclosed this to journalists at the end of the forum’s meeting in Kaduna, on Tuesday.According to him, the governors observed that most of the herdsmen involved in issues of insecurity are immigrants from Senegal and Mali.“We also mapped out new strategies that would be used by the local Fulani herdsmen to rear their cattle without having to move across the country,” he said.

On the indigene/settler dichotomy, the governor said that there was a push by the forum towards national integration and cohesion so that every Nigerian could conveniently settle in any part of the country without suffering any form of discrimination.

Clearly, there is nothing new in the Northern governors’ narrative. Instead of registering the immigrant herdsmen without preventing them from killing innocent Nigerians, it is better to bar them from entering the country. Those of them found culpable of breaching public peace should be punished, instead of being pampered.

Are the governors saying because the herdsmen are not registered, that is why it has become difficult for the security agents to arrest them? But the same security agents have killed and arrested innocent Nigerians with ease. Again, if these Fulani herdsmen are foreigners, why the move by the Federal government to build a grazing reserve for them? Why won’t the government allow the local Fulani herdsmen, who are doing their private business to buy land and build their own grazing reserves?

Buhari Has Refused To Change
Wrong Economic Policies — Ezekwesili
A former Vice President of the World Bank for Africa, Obiageli Ezekwesili, has described the economic policies of the Buhari government as “confusing,” expressing regret that in spite of the confusion, the government remains “adamant.”

Ezekwesili, convener of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaigners and former minister, spoke in the current edition of the Interview Magazine.
Answering a question on the call for diversification, she said: “I am not a fan of the economic policies of this government so far; I feel it’s too tentative in making even the right policy decisions and even when it tries to make the right policy decisions, it has been in the breach.”
She cited the government’s monetary and fiscal policies as key areas of denial of “empirical evidence” and called for structural reforms and better citizens’ engagement.

Ezekwesili is on point, even though the government may still pretend it is well with the economy. But if one may ask, is it the problem of making right policy decisions or the ability to implement it to letter?

Nigeria, over the years has the best and finest policies on paper, but leaders have always lacked the political will and capacity to implement them. Even with Buhari’s government of change, it is obvious nothing has changed. It is not surprising that despite the economic recession, the government has not deemed it fit to tinker with its economic policies.

Uproar In Senate Over Buhari’s
Support For Babachir, Magu
There was uproar at the Senate on Tuesday over President Muhammadu Buhari’s continued support for the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), David Babachir and the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.

In two separate letters read by Senate President Bukola Saraki, President Buhari pointed out perceived flaws in the resolutions of the upper legislative chamber last December on Babachir and Magu.

Among the complaints in the President’s letter was that the Senate committee breached the rule of fair hearing by refusing to invite Babachir to any of its sections. The presidency also alleged that the report on which the lawmakers based their decision was interim, not the final report.

The uneasy calm in the chamber as Saraki read the letter suddenly broke into uproar, when he attempted to cut short a remark by the chairman of the ad hoc committee that investigated and indicted the SGF, Shehu Sani (APC Kaduna Central). The lawmakers resorted to chanting “Go ahead! Go ahead!! Go ahead!!!” to encourage Sani to continue his remark, despite Saraki’s interjection.When calm returned, Sani described the president’s letter against the Senate’s resolution on Babachir as “a funeral service of the anti-corruption war”.

According to him, the anti-graft campaign is so selective to the extent that when it has to do with the National Assembly, the judiciary and other segments of the society, the president uses insecticides, but when it concerns anybody in the executive arm of government, he uses deodorants.

The position of the presidency on the corruption allegations leveled against Magu and Babachir is not unexpected, considering that both men are beloved sons to whom President Buhari is well pleased. The reluctance with which the President Buhari ordered the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Malami to investigate the duo over the allegations was very suspicious and disturbing. Why the choice of the AGF and not the anti-corruption agencies to carry out the investigations? Why was it carried out in secret? The Presidency’s inability to disclose how it arrived at its decision on the matter raises more questions than answers.

It is expected of the presidency, if it is sincere, to make its findings public just like the way the National Assembly made that of Lawal public. The controversies and outrage that have continued to trail the Presidency’s position is an indication that Nigerians were disappointed with the handling of the investigation. It has shown that the anti-graft crusade of the government is selective indeed, with sacred cows in the seat of power.

2019 Presidency: Obasanjo
Drums Support For Southeast
Ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo has thrown his weight behind the Southeast geopolitical zone to produce the next president of the country in 2019.
 He said this on Tuesday, while playing host to the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ogun State chapter at his Abeokuta Hilltop residence.

Obasanjo said: “The problem of marginalisation and justice had been a major source of concern of conflict between ethnic and regional divisions, hence, his resolve to back the region. The region in the 57 years of independence of the country has not produced a democratically elected president, saying he worked for the emergence of South-South president in 2009 in the spirit of justice and fairness. Irrespective of the thinking of the people ahead of 2019, I personally think that Southeast should have a go at the Presidency too.”

Even though, Obasanjo’s declaration is nothing but the truth, his motive seems hypocritical. This is the same Obasanjo who never gave backing to Igbo presidency while in office as president, despite the fact that he was a product of his party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP’s) zoning principle. So, why the sudden support for Igbo presidency two years away from the election year? Having lost the civil war, won’t Igbos wait for 50 years before seeking political power in Nigeria as allegedly stated by Obasanjo while in office?

Some Igbos are already celebrating Obasanjo’s support, forgetting that in Nigeria’s political power game, it is not given on a platter of gold. It must be fought for with a lot intrigues, mudslings and undercurrents. In politics, there are no permanent enemy, but permanent interests. It will be good if Obasanjo can sincerely mobilise other Nigerians to support the Igbo to produce president in 2019. That is how he can show that he is not paying lips to Igbo presidency. But whether he will do so is a different ball game and a matter of time.

In this article:
Obiageli Ezekwesili
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