Weekly political notes
Sanusi, Soludo Won’t Be Probed For Criticising Buhari — Presidency
The Presidency has refuted social media reports that the tenures of Lamido Sanusi and Charles Soludo, as Central Bank Governors, would soon be probed. The reports had alleged that the Federal Government had concluded arrangements to probe the tenures of the two former CBN governors over their recent views on the state of the nation’s economy.
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mallam Garba Shehu, however, in a tweeted message, said the Presidency was not aware that Messrs. Sanusi and Soludo would be probed for offering suggestions to the President.
He said: “The check I made today indicated that the Presidency is unaware of the reported probe of Sarkin Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi 11 and Prof. Soludo. “Where did that report come from? It is not a crime to offer suggestions.”
There is nothing surprising in the Presidency’s response. That there was rumour at all that Soludo and Sanusi would be probed is a superfluity, as any attempt to gag them on the basis of their recent criticisms of the government’s economic policies would have amounted to pettiness, intolerance and vindictiveness on part of the government.
Besides, constructive criticism against government policies by experts should not been seen as an affront, but a wakeup call. But that does not mean that if there is any question that Soludo and Sanusi need to answer on their stewardship, while in public office, they should not be made to do so. They have answered such questions before now. They should always be ready to make clarifications when the need arises.
After all, the major thrust of holding public office is to always account for stewardship. Theirs, and that of other former and present public office holders should not be different.
Nigeria, Britain Join Forces Against Treasury Looters
LOOTERS who plan to hide their illicit wealth in Britain will face a hostile environment, with the signing of a pact by the two countries.
Britain will facilitate the return of stolen assets on the condition that, the Federal Government will ensure that stolen assets recovered from both within and outside the country will be put to judicious use and that such assets will not be re-looted.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami (SAN) signed for Nigeria, while Minister of State for Immigration Robert Goodwill signed for Britain at a ceremony held in Abuja. The memorandum of understanding is specifically on modalities for the return of stolen assets.
Malami said: “The position of the law in Nigeria today is that all funds recovered should be paid directly into the Consolidated Revenue Account. Unfortunately, that has not always been the case under the previous administration.”
As good as the agreement sounds, there is need for proper and strict implementation. Several of such agreements had been signed in the past and recently, but Nigerians are yet to see or feel the impact. That is why many may not be too enthusiastic about this.
Anyway, hope, the agreement is not another publicity stunt by government to justify and boost its anti-corruption fight that has received some serious bashings for poor handling.
Because several recovered loots have always been re-looted by those in the corridors of power before now, British government should always publicise any stolen asset or loot returned to Nigeria. This will help Nigerians to monitor it and hold the government accountable.
Meanwhile, the agreement may have confirmed that Britain is fantastically the safe haven for Nigerian looters, which made some Nigerians fantastically corrupt people.
Don’t Bomb Niger Delta, Umar Warns Buhari
Former Military Governor of Kaduna State, Col. Abubakar Umar (rtd), has warned President Muhammadu Buhari against deploying troops and military hardware in the Niger Delta to halt the activities of militants in the region.
Umar said the Federal Government’s planned use of force to rout militants, especially the Niger Delta Avengers, was not the best option; adding that the militants were still amenable to dialogue.
He argued that the Niger Delta militants could not be said to be terrorists in the real sense of the word, warning that collateral damages arising from any military option in that region would be colossal.
Umar’s admonition is not new. Such had been given by some concerned Nigerians before now. The only thing new is that it is coming at a time President Buhari seems to have made up his mind to deploy military force in the Niger Delta.
It is apparent that doing so now may not be in the interest of the government and peace in the region, considering that the militants have declared ceasefire and have signified interest in dialogue.
No doubt, the military’s action and inaction in the region in the last few days is raising question on the genuineness and sincerity of government to dialogue with the militants.
What looked like a confirmation of an impending attack was the recent statement credited to the President in Nairobi, Kenya Capital, saying that he will treat the Niger Delta militants like Boko Haram terrorists. One thing that is certain is that no one, including President Buhari himself can predict or pontificate on the outcome of such military battle in the region.
Politicians Behind Fulani
Herdsmen Attack — Segun Oni
National Deputy Chairman (South) of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Segun Oni, has accused politicians of complicity in the incessant attacks on communities across the country by suspected herdsmen. He said that the intent of the politicians was to destabilise the Federal Government.
While we wait for Oni to provide proof for his allegation, there is need for him to advise the APC-led government of which he is an insider to deal with the menace like it is doing with Boko Haram and has promised to do with the Niger Delta militants.
Leveling such allegation without evidence or specifics is more of playing to the gallery, than stating the obvious. Nigerians are not interested in knowing those behind the herdsmen. What bothers them is government’s urgent solution to their menace.
Is Oni saying that he knows their sponsors among the political class and still keeps it to his chest? Why not mention their names or surrender a list to the security agents with evidence, instead of leveling unfounded allegations?
Maybe sponsors of herdsmen are within the APC and disclosing their identities will not be in the interest of the party and government. Nigerians are against herdsmen attacks and government’s lackadaisical handling of it.
Nigeria’s Unity Negotiable, Says Prof. Ango Abdullahi
A former minister of education and member of the Northern Elders Forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, has said if Nigerians have found it difficult to live together in peace, the component units should find it convenient to go their separate ways.
Accusing the elite of being the cause of the nation’s multi-faceted challenges, Abdullahi said that if the amalgamation of the country in 1914 by Lord Lugard was a mistake, “each region should go separately.”
Abdullahi stated these on Tuesday in Abuja during the public presentation of two books: Boko Haram: The Charade vs Reality and The Life and Times of Umaru Turakin Bauchi, written by a former Diplomatic Editor of the Voice of America (VOA) and now visiting Professor in ABU, Zaria, Hadiza Wada.
The discordant tunes over calls for restructuring, especially in the North is not surprising. It is a welcome development and may be a sign that it is longer a monolithic North.
While Abdullahi’s view maybe positive towards restructuring, it does not explain how to go about. It is not enough for an elder statesman of Abdullahi’s status to causally say that each region can go separately, without stating clearly how and when. It is just like being smart by half or showing sign of exasperation.
As a longtime establishment person and one of the strong political leaders in the North today, he should move beyond rhetoric, by appealing and advising the powers-that-be today to allow for restructuring. That is the only way many will believe that he is truly patriotic.
Armed Herdsmen: Afenifere, Ohanaeze, ACF Disagree On Fayose’s Law
The pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, the Igbo socio-political organisation, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra have expressed support for the new grazing law in Ekiti State.
The umbrella body for northern groups, the Arewa Consultative Forum, however, said any law that contravened the constitution of the country would be illegal, adding that any Nigerian was free to move in any part of the country.
The divergent views over the Ekiti grazing law were expected because the law is first of its kind, apart from Sharia law, which many states in the North have adopted and are operating.
Of utmost concern should be whether the law will be implemented and how it will be implemented. Which agencies of government will enforce the law, knowing that Ekiti does not have a police of it’s own. This is another reason the country requires urgent restructuring. The Ekiti law is just one of the many abnormalities of the Nigerian Federation.
Meanwhile, hailing the law without testing its efficacy is like putting the cart before the horse. The success or failure of the law may determine if other states will embrace it.
Ondo Poll: Juju Scare At APC Secretariat
The crisis besetting the Ondo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress worsened on Monday as juju was placed at the entrance of the party’s secretariat along the Oyemekun Road in Akure.
The juju was to discourage people from entering the complex. Workers at the secretariat, who arrived as early as 8am, were shocked to see palm fronds and charms hung on the locked gates of the secretariat.
The Juju scare is a descent into diabolical and fetish practices, which Nigerian politicians have resort to in their desperation. If this could happen in the struggle for the APC governorship ticket, one can only imagine what would happen when the party gets power in the state.
This is not limited to the APC. It cuts across party lines, and the political class, who, in a desperate bid to grab political power or remain politically relevant can do anything. Ondo APC’s case became a public knowledge because of the internal crisis rocking the state chapter of the party ahead of the forthcoming guber poll.
Also, this may not be unconnected with the reason many decent and capable Nigerians stay away from politics, leaving charlatans and desperadoes to continue to dictate the pace of political leadership in the country since 1999.
Nigerians Are Hungry, Okogie Tells Buhari
The Emeritus Archbishop of Lagos, Cardinal Anthony Okogie, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to do something fast to address hunger across the country.
Okogie said in an open letter to the President on Monday that Buhari’s campaign slogan was anchored on change.
He said: “Today, cries of “hunger” could be heard across the length and breadth of our vast country. Hunger, not only for food, but also for good leadership, for peace, security and justice.
The content of Okogie’s epistle is not new and unexpected, considering the deteriorating living condition of an average Nigerian today.
So disappointing it is that in the face of the obvious challenges, the government is carrying on as if it is clueless or helpless. If the President is not asking for patience, his party men and supporters will be blaming the immediate past government.
While it may be true that the immediate past government mismanaged the country’s resources, it is high time the Buhari government found the way out of the mess. This is before Nigerians, out of hunger and hardships lose patience and act otherwise.
It is of note to remind President Buhari that a hungry man is an angry man. Saying that majority of Nigerians are dying and suffering now is like stating the obvious. It has never been like this before.
Niger Delta Leaders Used Oil Money As Pocket Money — Masari
Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Bello Masari has called on Niger Delta leaders to come clean on how they have spent oil money allocated to the region over the years.
“For six years,” Masari said, “we had a Niger Delta president. Let us see what difference he made in six years when he was president. When the excess crude account became pocket money, how much of the money went to the Niger Delta?”
While Masari’s claim may be worth investigating, it is not peculiar to the Niger-Delta leaders. Leaders across the country, including Masari have always used oil money as pocket money. So, making it a Niger-Delta issue now is the height of hypocrisy.
Hope Masari knows that he who lives in a glass house, do not throw stone. Is he ready to account for, how he spent oil money as Speaker, House of Representatives and now governor of Katsina State for almost two years? Is he saying that he never benefitted from oil money, when there is no groundnut money again?
There is nothing the Niger Delta leaders did with oil money that their northern counterparts did not do better. It is just a case of kettle now calling pot black. Or has Masari forgotten that the same oil money allocated to the Niger-Delta region for years was also allocated to the Northern region with nothing to show for it?
Falae Links Jonathan To N100m Election Funds Scam
A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, has submitted to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission an email correspondence between him and a former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih.
Falae tendered the email as an evidence in the probe linking him to N100m election funds
A source at the EFCC disclosed that in the email dated March 2015, Anenih, who played a supervisory role in the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation, informed Falae that N100m had been approved by Jonathan and would be handed over to him (Falae).
There is nothing new in Falae’s narrative. He never denied receiving money on behalf of his party. His position is that he did not know that the money was meant for arms purchase and that it was not his responsibility to find out.
It is now left for the anti-graft agency to prove the illegality of the money and Falae’s culpability. As a renowned public servant, Falae knows too well the workings of government and what constitutes corruption. Over to the EFCC!!!
Economic Crisis: PDP Demands Buhari’s Resignation
The Peoples Democratic Party, on Wednesday, railed against President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing his administration of incompetence, and saying he should step down after the nation slipped into economic recession. “We join all well meaning Nigerians to call on Mr. Buhari to resign if he is unable to reverse the disastrous economic decline he has brought on Nigerians,” the party said hours after figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics confirmed that Nigeria had slipped into recession.
The NBS said Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product contracted by 2.06 per cent, marking the first major recession in 29 years of Africa’s largest economy.
PDP’s demand is not unexpected and is not strange. It is playing its opposition role by trying to put the ruling party on its toes. It seems the demand for Buhari’s resignation is rash, because it is not enough for a president to resign because the economy has recessed. What is required of the PDP now is to criticise and at the same time offer solution. After all, no Nigerian is excluded from the recession.
The economy had been unstable even under the PDP government, which ultimately brought about the present economic quagmire. That does not mean that the situation is irredeemable. If and if only, Buhari’s government can listen and act faster with clear economic policies.
Lest we forget, the country has passed this road before and survived it. Recent of such was the global financial meltdown witnessed during the late president Umaru Musa Yar Adua’s administration.
So, the buck stops on the table of President Buhari and his team to take the country out of the woods.
This is because to whom much is given, much is expected. Besides, one cannot enter the kitchen and continue to complain of heat as if he didn’t know from onset that there is always heat in the kitchen.