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The APC ship is sinking…

By Reuben Abati,

When we wrote much earlier that the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nigeria’s ruling party was a coalition of strange bedfellows and a one-chance special purpose vehicle to get rid of President Goodluck Jonathan by all and any means possible, we were accused of sour grapes. When we argued even much earlier that Nigeria’s Presidential seat of power was jinxed and that there was and there is a spiritual side to power and politics in Nigeria, we were asked to shut up. The new power brokers were so much at home with their taken authority they boasted that no demons could touch them and that they were so self-secure, they were even snoring inside the Villa. Al- hamdulillahi, they have been snoring since then.

They have allowed the demons to take charge and they have stubbornly refused to listen. When we wrote again that the APC was going to implode most certainly, and that the implosion was an accident waiting to happen, they turned round after the 2018 APC Convention to say that the analysis had been proven wrong. They got a new chairman whose stock-in-trade is propaganda and volubility, but now, a few weeks later, we have been proven right. The APC is imploding, it has in fact imploded, its sins have caught up with it, its nemesis is on grand display and some characters are learning very bitter lessons.  It is not for me to gloat over this but to do my duty as a professional critic of the Nigerian condition.

This, then, is not a partisan piece; it is a subtle reminder of facts. But I don’t pity the APC and its members. Their hubris is self-made, self-inflicted and self-mismanaged. They over-promised, they have under-delivered. When President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office in 2015, the majority of Nigerians looked up to him as the miracle man, the messiah who would help to straighten Nigeria, and who with the force of his integrity will sort out Nigeria’s moral and governmental crisis. It was some kind of mass hypnotism that brought him to power because as we have seen, Nigerian was not even facing any major social, political and economic crisis of today’s proportions.

The majorities – Yoruba and Hausa/Fulani – were just tired of having a President from a minority group in power and they ganged up, gave him a bad name and got rid of him. You can argue with me over this, but I think on the whole since then, Nigeria’s minority groups have been  expected to admit that their man had his own issues and so, lick their wounds and seek how they can be re-accommodated into the country’s power game, not on their own terms but on the terms of the majorities. This game plan would have worked perfectly except that Buhari who was raised to the level of a moral and leadership icon could not live up to the bill. Nigerians have been taught one bitter lesson, through him, about power and leadership: no man can give that which he does not have. President Buhari has not been able to give what he does not have. His government has thrown up more contradictions than ever. His party is disemboweling. And I don’t pity him. I don’t sympathize with him either. What a man sows, he shall reap.

The APC ship that he captains is sinking, and some of us are giggling, for we have been proven right.  Very soon, we may have the captain himself, screaming SOS and Ahoy, calling for help. In the last week, 15 Senators and 37 members of the House of Representatives jumped ship. They swam across the sea to join another political party, the same party that they abandoned in 2014, that is the PDP, in what is clearly a demonstration of should I say –  contrition?.  I know – you don’t need to remind me, that our politicians of course don’t subscribe to any ideology other than the ideology of self and stomach, and that is why these politicians always behave strangely.

The new APC Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, for example, likes to talk, and he has been talking as if his Chairmanship of the ruling party puts him in charge of Nigeria. He has dismissed the obvious implosion of the APC as a non-event and I think he is just playing the ostrich.  Oshiomhole talks too much. He must be reminded that he is not in an Edo village anymore as a Governor and he is no longer a labour leader.  He is occupying centre stage, and he has to learn to talk like a man of the centre not as someone who a return to the village has robbed of cosmopolitan values.  He would have plenty of time to talk politics, as we move towards 2019, but the manner in which he has been chewing his fingers and feet and uttering drivel is part of the problem with the APC. His drivel alone is enough to sink the APC ship.

Unfortunately, President Buhari has also been behaving as if he does not know or he does not care about the utter cluelessness of his team. I suspect he knows, but his arrogance is perhaps his hubris. He doesn’t care because he does not think that Nigerians are important enough. He projects a vision, an image, and optics of power in contradistinction to the objectives of democratic governance. How on earth would a sitting and present-minded President allow the festering of the Saraki problem, to cite one obvious example?  Senate President Bukola Saraki is the biggest problem Buhari has today.

As a No. 3 citizen who has been abused, harassed and intimidated by the Executive arm of government, after he was taken to the Code of Conduct tribunal and other courts, and called a thief publicly and labeled a godfather of armed robbers, Saraki is now taking his pound of flesh and he has proven that he is a master of the game. Foreign diplomats now meet with him regularly and those who believe that the Buhari myth is over and ended are clustering around him.  He helped to create the APC; he is helping to destroying it and he will. One lesson here is that those who come to power on the wings of conspiracy must realize, early enough, that the same conspiracy can consume them. President Buhari is a victim of the same conspiracy that brought him to power. He is at this sorry point because he burned the bridge that brought him to power.

His failure to manage and sustain that conspiracy has resulted in the defection of Saraki and his supporters, (of course Saraki would soon defect), members of the National Assembly and the likes of Buba Galadima, who boast confidently that they and others brought Buhari into politics. Let it be remembered that in 2014/15, Buhari was indeed a strong force in his own constituency and in the South West. The combined force of his successful marketing in those two strongholds made his ascendancy unstoppable. But today, those who voted for him in Kano are burning the broom, the symbol of the party; and in the South West, the main man who carried him on his back, that is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has lost significant advantages. Across Nigeria, the ordinary man is no longer impressed by the Buhari persona.  In the arena of politics, at least three Governors have more or less deserted the APC, namely the governors of Kwara, Sokoto and Benue and the dubious attempt to impeach he latter, that is the Governor of Benue State can only strengthen his resolve and the anger of his people. Playing the ostrich would not make the problem lighter. Please tell Oshionhole and co. There are probably more fifth columnists in the APC today than there were at any other time in the displaced PDP. History in a sense, is repeating itself.

President Muhammadu Buhari in case anyone has forgotten is the second military leader to return to power under a civilian dispensation; before him was General Olusegun Obasanjo. The symbolism and meaning of military exit and re-entry in Nigerian politics is that in spite of democracy, we are reminded of the continuing place of, or the intrusion of the military in Nigerian politics. Obasanjo may have kept that story alive, but Buhari has ruined whatever is left of it. The mood today is that no retired soldier is good enough for the biggest job in the land.  The moral high ground that the officers claimed, the high horse that they climbed, their sanctimonious claims of being more disciplined, patriotic, and honest, in or out of uniform, has been exploded. President Buhari for example came to power on the wings of the claim that he will fight and end corruption, and punish corrupt persons.

Barely three years later, some of the worst scams ever in Nigerian history have been witnessed under his watch: his Minister of Finance, the equivalent of a Chancellor of the Exchequer in the UK, and Secretary of the Treasury in the United States has been implicated in an unexplained case of forgery, misrepresentation and perjury. His Minister of State for Petroleum and the Group Managing Director of the country’s oil company, NNPC got into an ego-driven argument about NNPC finances and made some disturbing revelations – nobody is looking into those disclosures. A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation was caught in a state of compromise and abuse; he got a mere slap on the wrist, he lost his position and appointed his own successor-   and he has since returned to the corridors of favour; and so on and so forth. Now, even a Special Adviser to the President on Prosecutions has been accused of forging his secondary school level certificate.

And these are all APC men, the party that promised paradise and delivered hell, even within its own quarters.  Some members of the party have been boasting that whether Nigerians like it or not, the APC will win the 2019 general elections and President Buhari will be re-elected.  It is most strange that members of a party leading the most populous country in the Black World in an age of democracy would step forward to make such a statement. So, why are we all obtaining, keeping and securing our voters’ cards if the APC elite is so sure that our votes mean nothing? The only explanation can only be that they are politicians and not democrats. They want Buhari back, because they are using him to serve their own interests and they are ready to commit any atrocity in his name.

As I have argued before now, President Buhari’s biggest protection lies in the legacy that he leaves behind. The people he listens to, those who claim to be his managers or handlers, those who speak for or claim to speak for him, have done incalculable damage to the minimum legacy that he can lay claim to – being the second former military Head of State to serve as Nigeria’s civilian President.  They insist after a fashion that he will be back in 2019 and that his legacy can be reconstructed. But here is what I think: If Buhari wins in 2019, he may have the big challenge of legitimacy to deal with. This is my point given the tragedy of the APC ship that has capsized.

But I also think that the PDP or whatever other opposition groups that may emerge can only displace Buhari or take advantage of the failure of the APC, if they come up with a credible and acceptable Presidential candidate. The APC may be sinking with Buhari as Captain but the opposition will need a strong alternative candidate and better ideas to change the game. For now, Nigerians are still where they have been in the last three years… in the valley of uncertainty.

Governor Ortom and The Herdsmen

By Reuben Abati,

Samuel Ortom, the Governor of Benue State, former motor-park tout, former motor-park Chairman and driver, and former Minister of the Federal Republic, a self-made man by all accounts, has since defected back to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). This was his original party before he joined the Buhari bandwagon and became an APC man. Now he is back to the PDP, on the grounds that he can no longer condone the killing of his people by Fulani herdsmen, the biggest problem he has had to deal with as Governor of Benue State.

Of course, he also has very powerful Abuja-based political adversaries like the former Governor of the state, George Akume now a Senator, and others who want him out of office.  Samuel Ortom is thus caught between a moral dilemma and the reality of political survival. To protect himself with, I believe, the latter weighing more heavily on his scale of choice, he has chosen to abandon the APC. Good for him as he dances up and down.

However, the attempt to impeach him by eight out of the 30 members of the Benue State House of Assembly is yet an indication of the sinking ship of the ruling APC. What Ortom faces is the assault of political herdsmen! These guys are so desperate and frustrated they don’t seem to give a damn. Constitutionally, eight members of a House cannot impeach a sitting Governor. Section 68 (1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution talks about the fate of legislators who defect from their political parties, but the entire Constitution is silent on what can be done to Governors who defect from their political parties while still in office. And yet, eight members of the Benue State House of Assembly, purportedly enjoying police protection stormed the House in Makurdi yesterday, got policemen to lock out the other 22 members and served a notice of impeachment on Ortom. Ortom does not deserve to be so shabbily treated. The so-called impeachment notice is null and void.  It is worthless and stupid.

If the APC is aggrieved that Ortom has jumped their ship, the only option available to them is to go to court.  Which is fine because at least one party chieftain has threatened that Ortom and any other defecting Governor who refuses to drown with the APC, will be sued. But to turn the law on its head and deploy state instruments of coercion to achieve illegal ends is unacceptable in the circumstance. Oshiomhole should talk less and pay attention to matters such as this, which project him as a willing undertaker of the APC.

Ekiti election: A few words

By Reuben Abati,

I have up until this moment resisted the temptation to comment on the just concluded gubernatorial elections in Ekiti state for the simple reason that the more the facts of the process emerged, the more confusing they seemed. About a week later, certain things have however become clear which deserve our attention.

One, the Ekiti gubernatorial election is a classic Nigerian type of election. It was certainly a do-or-die election, in which the two main parties involved were determined to win by all costs and by any means possible. Nigerian politicians believe that whoever wins and gets declared has the upper hand. Win first and if the other party likes, he can go to the tribunal or the appellate courts. But just don’t lose at the first instance. Whatever happens thereafter is a matter of chance and technicality. In this regard, the APC smartly outwitted the PDP, and the victory seems sweet. However, the reduction of the Nigerian electoral process to such tragic melodrama certainly does not serve our democracy well. There were no heroes in the Ekiti election, only villains.

Two, there is no evidence here or elsewhere that the Nigerian electorate has learnt any lessons from past experiences. They openly collected money, from all possible sides in the conflict. Vote buying sets us back by a long stretch. Tethered as it is to a transactional root, Nigerian democracy is physically challenged. This is sad, and it is important that reports of vote-buying by both local and international observers should be investigated. A cash and carry voting process is a violation of free choice.

Three, the Ekiti election presents us with perhaps the most brazen case of godfatherism that we have yet seen. There were two major candidates, Olusola Eleka of the PDP and Kayode Fayemi of the APC. But the whole thing soon became a contest between Fayemi and the out-going Governor, Ayo Fayose. You would think Fayose was the one on the ballot. He danced more than the bride and cried more than the bereaved. Why do outgoing Governors insist on anointing their own successors and dictating to the electorate? They abridge the people’s choice by seeking to impose their own will. They are driven not by public good but their own insecurity.

By rejecting Fayose’s candidate, it can be said that the people rejected his presumptuousness. And by the way, what manner of man is Olusola Eleka?  He accepted and projected himself as a puppet throughout the entire process. Many Nigerians do not even know him as a candidate. He was absent, voiceless and timid. If he had won, he probably would have ceded authority to his Godfather and allowed him to do a third term by default.  He did not deserve to win. If I had a stake in the matter, I certainly would not have voted for him.  His spinelessness is disgusting. But Fayemi should also not be over-triumphant. He may end up with a hostile and aggressive PDP-dominated House of Assembly. The war with Fayose may also only just have begun. It will be naïve to under-estimate Fayose.

Four, the electoral commission, INEC, still has to clean up its act ahead of the 2019 general elections. Its performance in Ekiti is far from satisfactory. What we have seen is that the professional political elite is prepared to do battle in 2019, and that promises to be a really fierce battle. Voter education will be most critical; the people’s readiness to sell their votes speaks to the level of poverty and depravity in the country.  Nigeria itself needs to be saved.

Dasuki’s bail and the Attorney General

By Reuben Abati

It is more than two weeks now since His Lordship Justice Ijeoma L. Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, gave clear, positive and unambiguous orders in the matter between Col Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd) as applicant and three persons – the Director General, State Security Services, the State Security Services and the Attorney General of the Federation as respondents. His Lordship affirmed that the continued detention of the respondent by the operatives of the second respondent, under the instruction of the first respondent since 29th December 2015, without granting him administrative bail, “is a violation of his fundamental right to liberty under Section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999”. The Court grants Dasuki bail, with clear conditions that must be fulfilled, and even goes further to add that “where there is any interview with the Applicant by the Respondents in respect of those allegations, the Applicant shall not be detained and such interview shall be conducted on working days only between 9.00 hours to 18.000 hours.”

This would be about the fifth time that a court of competent jurisdiction, including the Federal High Court, the Federal High Court of the Federal Capital Territory and the ECOWAS Court will grant Col. Dasuki bail, and the Federal Government will refuse to obey the orders of the court.  Commitment to the rule of law is by far, the strongest demonstration of the democratic credentials of a government. Failure to respect the rule of law translates into the rule of men and blatant dictatorship, if not fascism. It is scandalous that a government whose leader is the only President to have been invited to address the International Criminal Court on issues of justice and the rule of law, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute, and who gave a commitment before that Court that his government is indeed committed to the rule of law and fundamental human freedoms, is to be seen to be abusing the courts of the land and violating the judicial process. This hypocrisy is condemnable. The disobedience of the courts in the Dasuki case is not the only one of its type; it is a pattern that we have seen since 2015.

What is worse is that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has been in the forefront of this entrenchment of a culture of impunity and official lawlessness. When the ECOWAS Court in October 2016 ruled that Colonel Sambo Dasuki’s continued detention was a violation of his fundamental rights, an aide of the AGF reportedly said the Ministry of Justice was studying the judgement. Close to two years later, they are still studying the judgement! In some other instances, they don’t even bother to study anything before telling the courts to shut up.  But it is perhaps in reacting to the latest ruling by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu that the Attorney General fully revealed the mind of the government.  He has been quoted as saying, and he has not denied saying so, that the Federal Government will not release Dasuki from detention because according to him, Col. Sambo Dasuki is responsible for the killing of more than 100, 000 Nigerians, and so, he is being kept by the state in the interest of the “larger pubic good”, because  “government is about the people and not only for an individual.”

I respect Abubakar Malami. He is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and as desperate as things may be in this country, we have not yet reached a level where the SAN certificate can be procured at the famous Oluwole market. It is earned. Senior Advocates are therefore respected because they are at the peak of their chosen profession as distinguished persons. Malami, SAN, certainly knows the law but with due respect, what he has said about the Dasuki case is sheer, reckless twaddle. Every lawyer, even while serving clients, is expected to be an officer in the temple of justice. The Attorney General of the Federation is the chief law officer of the country, and the chief legal adviser to government. In Sections 150 and 174, the Nigerian Constitution places enormous responsibilities and burdens on his shoulders. Nowhere in that Constitution is he required to engage in beer-parlour talk; serve partisan interests or function as anybody’s sycophant. AGF Malami should know that he cannot by administrative fiat disobey a court of law, to do so would amount to a clear abuse of court, and an act of contempt. If there are any compelling arguments to warrant the continued detention of Dasuki, the best place to canvass those arguments would be in the court of law, and through an appeal process.

Knowing this, the AGF indeed made some reference to the possibility of an appeal, but what he seems to have done is to convict Dasuki. The former National Security Adviser was arraigned on charges of illegal possession of fire-arms, breach of public trust and illegal diversion of $2.1 billion. Malami amends the charge list, ex facie curiae, when he says the accused was responsible for more than 100, 000 deaths. This is most strange, for, the Attorney-General, no matter how heavy the pressure of his work may be, must be seen to be the chief protector of due process, standards and best practice. He cannot be seen to be acting as the accuser, the jury and the judge in either the Sambo Dasuki case or any other matter. This will amount to a violation of the doctrine of the separation of powers. The Attorney General’s personal opinion cannot override the duty of the court to grant every accused person the right to fair hearing.

Section 36(5) of the Nigerian Constitution provides for a presumption of innocence. In the absence of conviction, it is unfair to lock Dasuki up and throw away the key, and to at the same time, take away his dignity and liberty, and prosecute him in the court of public opinion. The sacred duty of the Attorney General of the Federation is to ensure that the letters of the Constitution take precedence. The liberty of any Nigerian should not be deprived except through due process. The spectacle of an Attorney General advising the Federal Government to disobey the courts must also be shocking to all lawyers and every party involved in the administration of justice. Except there is a supernatural reason for such a development, which is unknown to us, it makes no sense within the province of the law to so act, because the Attorney-General, in the contemplation of the Constitution, is an officer of the law and not a marabout.

This is the more reason why we should re-open the debate about the possibility of separating the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. The National Assembly is accordingly enjoined to take a second look at Section 150 of the Constitution and amend it in order to resolve an inherent conflict which places the protection of the rule of law at the mercy of the strength of character of the occupier of that office as currently defined. Section 150 states that: “There shall be an Attorney-General of the Federation who shall be the Chief Law Officer of the Federation and a Minister of the Government of the Federation.”  Let me try and define the conflict.

The Attorney General of the Federation as “Chief Law Officer” of the Federation is necessarily performing a professional function, part of which is further explained in Section 174. He is expected to know the law, enforce due process and advance the cause of justice. He is a technocrat, and that is why he must be a lawyer of not less than 10 years experience. A Minister of the Government of the Federation is basically a political appointee, exercising delegated authority as determined by his appointor – the President of the Federal Republic. While the Attorney General’s commitment should be strictly to the rule of law, the Minister is judged and retained by his boss, and party members on the basis of his or her loyalty, the quality or non-quality of it. Not too many men can walk this tightrope successfully, balancing these two functions and the conflicting expectations, and this has been the major challenge with the idea of combining in one person the functions of an Attorney General and Minister of Justice. .

To be fair, even in the United States where there is only an Attorney General, who functions independently of the Presidency, there is always conflict. This is the main story, for example, of James Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty (2018). Comey insists that loyalty to the country and the rule of law is more important than loyalty to Mr. President. I am paraphrasing him of course, but it is a book that Abubakar Malami should read. An amendment of Section 150 of our Constitution should create a separate office of the Attorney General of the Federation, which will be completely independent, and whose occupier will have a security of tenure, and no party or political affiliation. There can then be a Minister of Justice, who if he wishes can attend party functions and go to the Villa every day to shoot the breeze. As long as he is not in any position to do any damage to persons and institutions, he can be as political as he wants.

What we cannot afford is an Attorney General who would behave in such manner, mixing the law with politics, cherry-picking in the temple of justice, and politicizing the management of cases.  We have enough anarchy in the country already; we do not need to extend the frontiers of anarchy by allowing government to break the law. The men of today should guard against setting dangerous precedents that could consume them and the country tomorrow. The rate at which institutions have been bastardized to pave way for recriminations and vengefulness is bound to bounce back negatively and our democracy will be worse for it. Abubakar Malami is the 23rd Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Nigerian Federation. He should be more keenly aware of the twin-burdens of law and history that rest on his shoulders  – by doing what is right in all matters and to all men.

Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun

Minister Adeosun’s NYSC Certificate

By Reuben Abati

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun has been in the eye of the storm, and that is putting it mildly. While I believe that she may be the target of a conspiracy against her by persons on whose toes she may have stepped, (otherwise, who is still worrying these days about NYSC certificate?),

it seems she herself has not helped matters by refusing to say a word to explain her dilemma. If she thinks the matter will blow away, the fact that the Federal Government has now intervened with the unconvincing claim that a probe is underway is a sure recipe for mischief.

There are three weighty issues involved, in fact four: (1) she has been called a dodger. The NYSC Act does not permit anyone below the age of 30 to dodge a mandatory call to national service, except under circumstances that do not apply to her. At the time of her graduation from university, the Minister was 22 years old; (2) she is also being accused of forgery, or being an accessory to the act of forgery.

The NYSC has not been helpful by suggesting that although she applied for a certificate of exemption, after dodging the NYSC for eight years, the exemption certificate with her is unknown to them; (3) she is also being accused of having made false representation of herself on the basis of which she has taken very high jobs in Nigeria – first as a Commissioner and now as a Minister. (4) some persons have labeled this an act of corruption, obviously in order to score a point against the government she is serving. It is a tough moment for her.

Still, Mrs. Adeosun should be given the benefit of the doubt, which she is entitled to, but her silence is not golden at all: we need to hear her own side of the story, within a reasonable period of time. The burden of proof having shifted to her, her refusal to talk is a clear evidence of withholding which could destroy any presumption of innocence in her favour. It is also wrong for anyone to say on her behalf that at the time of her graduation, she was not a Nigerian citizen because she was born in England. Section 25(1) (c) of the 1999 Constitution states clearly that Nigerian citizenship includes “every person born outside Nigeria either of whose parents is a citizen of Nigeria”.

So at what point did she renounce her Nigerian citizenship? And does she have a work permit to enable her work in Nigeria if indeed she is a foreigner? There are many lessons here for all young persons who were “born abroad” or who may not be excited about the NYSC.

Hadi Sirika and the return of Nigeria Airways

By Reuben Abati

One of the usual features on Nigerian social media is the nostalgic passion with which Nigerians often distribute pictures of the old Nigeria Airways and how that company once considered one of the best in Africa was mismanaged and made to fail. Established in 1958, it was liquidated in 2003.

I have seen pictures of old tickets, images of Nigeria Airways pilots and crew, and for anyone who travelled with Nigeria Airways, you cannot but be moved to pity.  Pity yes, because while Nigeria, the most populated country in Africa can no longer manage an airline of its own, the African skies are dominated by such airlines as Ethiopian airlines, Air Maroc, Kenya Airways, and South African airlines. Rwanda has a functional airline too. There is also Air Namibia.

The assets of the Nigeria Airways of old have not only been liquidated; most of its former staffs are wasting away. In the aviation sector, Nigeria has the biggest market in Africa, and has signed Bilateral Air Service Agreements with over 70 countries, but it lacks the capacity to compete. Even the few private airlines operating within the country are barely struggling to survive.

The agony of the Nigerian air traveller is not something to be imagined: we all face a daily grind of disappointment from airlines that cancel flights at will and offer no explanation. When you complain, the airlines simply tell you that things are very hard. So, if things are hard, are they supposed to be so shabby? The other month, the door of an aircraft on the domestic route flew off as the plane landed.

That has not stopped Nigerians from patronizing that same airline. Most of the country’s airports are also poorly equipped and poorly maintained. The air-conditioning rarely works; the toilets are a nightmare. Aviation is big business but more than that, it is a major catalyst for economic growth and development. If there is any sector that is in urgent need of rescue, the Nigerian aviation sector is that sector.

It is therefore a thing of interest that the Federal Government says it is now determined to revitalize the aviation sector and bring back Nigeria Airways or Air Nigeria as it has been referred to. This much was disclosed when the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika received a certificate of no objection, an Outline Business Case certificate of compliance it is called, from the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC).  Tomorrow July 18, in London, Minister Sirika is launching a Road Show to attract investors, and formally unveil the name, the logo, the colour scheme and the structure of the national carrier.

It all sounds so exciting and I am sure many Nigerians who agonise daily over how other African countries seem to succeed where we keep failing would like to see Nigeria run its own national airline and create opportunities for the business sector. The only problem that I see is that there is so much that is opaque in the proposals that have been put forward so far by Mr. Sirika. Being a former pilot, the Minister is definitely not a tyro in the business, but as he engages both the local and international audience, there are many questions that must be addressed. I intend to raise a few of these in this preliminary comment.

The Ministry of Transportation and ICRC, the regulatory body, do not seem to be on the same page. The ICRC and similar institutions involved may face challenges with their own reputation. The Outline Business Case Certificate by the ICRC seems to agree only in principle that a national carrier can be established. It goes further to give specific conditions under which this may be done, and the Minister himself has quoted some of these conditions which the Ministry under his watch seems to be breaching already.

Having noted that the business case and market study submitted to it are “in substantial compliance with the ICRC Act, 2005 and the National Policy on Public Private Partnership”, the ICRC avers: “This certificate is granted on the condition that the Federal Government demonstrates her commitment to leverage private sector capital and expertise towards the establishment of the National Carrier through the provision of an upfront grant/Viability Gap Funding (VGF) to fund aircraft acquisition/start-up capital.

The FGN also agrees to zero contribution to airline management decisions and zero management control by the government. Any attempt to impose government control over the management of the Airline invalidates this certificate and the entire process”.

It goes further: “In view of the fact that the mitigating conditions for the project may change over time, this Certificate is valid for 12 months from the date indicated below. This certificate is therefore issued to enable the Ministry commence an international open competitive bidding process to procure a world-class strategic investor to manage, operate, maintain, and invest in the National Carrier.”

The ICRC provides further information on its website with regard to other aviation sector projects including the development of an aerotropolis, the establishment of a maintenance, repair and overhaul centre (MRO) and the development of cargo/agro-allied airport terminals.

Except the role of the infrastructure concession regulatory body is a mere formality, I do not see any evidence that the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Ministry of Transportation (Aviation) is keen about compliance with the strict provisions outlined in the Certificate of No Objection.

The Road Show scheduled for Farnborough, London, tomorrow, does not sound like “an open competitive bidding”; it is a launch. Do you do a roadshow for a transaction that does not yet exist, or for a company that is not yet in existence? Minister Sirika and whoever his transaction advisers may be have already determined that the proposed airline would cost the Nigeria government $8.8 million.  How was that arrived at? He has also talked about a take-off grant of $300 million to purchase 5 aircraft to be delivered by December 19?

There certainly must be some known best practices in the setting up of a national carrier. Whatever business model, that we are following does not look like the very best. Who starts an airline by first buying aircraft at full cost? Hadi Sirika reportedly met with officials of Boeing, the aircraft maker in May. Would it not be better to lease the proposed five aircraft from Boeing and enter into a partnership agreement with them, with a private investor in charge of the new airline?

The ICRC says the Federal Government must not operate or control the proposed airline.  This is precisely what Hadi Sirika and his team are already doing.  And if they say no, and insist that the private sector is already involved in the project, perhaps Mr. Sirika will disclose this tomorrow in London! But let him also disclose basic information about when the tender was placed for an “open competitive bidding.”

And if there was no tender, who is that person who may have appropriated the power to determine the private sector partners for the national carrier? And when Mr. Sirika talks about a N300 million for the purchase of five aircraft to be delivered by December 2018, he should be asked where that money is coming from? Is it provided for in the 2018 budget?  And if so, under what line entry, or will the money come through virement?

The National Assembly should raise these questions. Nobody should use taxpayer’s funds to buy some end-of-life aircraft and claim that they are setting up an airline for Nigerians.

I also find it curious that all the relevant persons and agencies that should be involved in the planning of something as important as a national airline have been quiet. Did the National Economic Council headed by the Vice-President discuss the matter for example? Is the Ministry of National Planning aware of it? Is the proposed airline part of the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP), and what is the framework in place to ensure fairness and transparency? Is the substantive Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi even involved in this at all; his studied silence is odd.  Or abi the thing no concern am?

If Nigeria must have a national airline again, then we must get it right. This is my point. The ICRC is obviously insisting on private sector control and management, because it was government inefficiency that killed off the old Nigeria Airways. The airline became a gravy train for the big men in high places.

They used the planes for their private purposes, including going for weekend parties in London at government expense. Directors of government agencies and departments travelled with the airline on free tickets. Nigeria Airways was supposed to provide a hub for the aviation sector in Africa, its eventual mismanagement made that impossible. We must learn from history in order not to repeat it. Sirika says the proposed airline will take advantage of the African Single Air Transport Market.

The Open Skies Agreement is part of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement – 44 countries signed up to it in Kigali in March. Nigeria wants to benefit from this agreement, but it is yet to make up its mind about the value of African integration and free trade. You see our people?  “We want to buy aircraft, we want to buy aircraft…” That’s all I hear them saying as if an aircraft is a toddler’s toy.

I raise another poser: why do we even have to create a brand new national airline from the scratch. The Federal Government, through the Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) is already in possession of three airlines that are indebted to AMCON: Arik Air, Aero and whatever is left of Virgin Nigeria or Air Nigeria.  AMCON’s mandate is to rescue these airlines and put them back on their feet. Can they not form the nucleus of the proposed national carrier;  and turned, surviving assets and all, into one airline that Nigeria can brand for national purpose under the management of competent investors, and with government providing the needed oxygen?

Would this not be more advisable than embarking on a new set of opaque transactions? Government can rescue moribund airlines such as the ones I have mentioned, encourage quality private sector participation, and just ensure a level playing field. A national airline that will be under the control of the Minister of Transportation in charge of Aviation, will sooner than later constitute itself into a threat to industry competitiveness.

What remains is a moral question. Whatever the Federal Government decides to do eventually, it would be most unfair to set up a new national carrier without resolving the lingering matter of the unpaid entitlements and benefits of the old Nigeria Airways staff. When that company crashed, many lives were destroyed. Some of the pilots ended up as taxi drivers; many of the crew had to go and learn new trade, a few got jobs with the new commercial airlines.

There was a time former Nigeria Airways staff formed a union and they used to carry placards to lament their fate and the injustice that they suffered. I don’t see those placards anymore; they have probably given up hope, and some of them may have died.

Not to pay their entitlements – calculated at a total of N45 billion, and already approved for payment by the Federal Executive Council more than a year ago, would be an assault on their memory and an act of cruelty.

Atiku Abubakar… the man of his own class

By Funsho Ademoye

Presidential election campaign has begin gathering momentum and both the pretenders, that have filled the Nigeria political stage as well as the few contenders that have shown their faces, are both making promises of what they can deliver. The biggest of it all, are promises coming from failed political officers’ holders, to Nigeria citizens, with return ticket to Mars’ in 2019 if voted in, and worthy of note is the man that has spent more time abroad looking after his health than days he has spent in active governance promising ‘heaven on earth’ in just a year to another election.

In reality, we don’t want to wake up in 2020, just as it happening now, and be calling on God for His intervention for the deceptive change that is coated with anti-corruption war that we would have consciously but ignorantly voted for.

Ideally, nation building is ten per cent about prayer and ninety percent about doing the right thing by voting the right candidate with right national vision into political office, not a person who wants to grab 5000 hectares of land in states across the federation for an ethinic group he belongs to in the name of cattle colony.

It is about what we choose to do with our PVCs in 2019 as Nigeria citizens that will determine what will become of us as a people post 2019 election. We don’t want to be like the tick that kills itself, thinking it is killing the dog. We should not look back after 2019 and begin to count our loses instead of our democratic gains.

The bitter truth is that loses are what we are counting in Nigeria of today under the current government that came into power with the promise of change which is rooted in falsehood and ethnic bigotry. Human killings is our new normal all over the county as a result of insecurity and gross negligence of government primary responsibility of protecting lives and properties.

With few months ahead 2019 election, not only are all of the so called able contestants suddenly in top form of their lives. This is evident in the way and manner the ‘accidental politicians’ that we have today are busy criss-crossing the length and breadth of the country soliciting support and ‘begging’ the kingmakers of the land for them to be anointed as the ‘saviour’ of the project called Nigeria.

Also interesting about Nigeria presidential race is a sudden awakening of lots of pretenders. This isn’t surprising at all as we are currently in the era of false change that has brought untold hardship and unimaginable agonies on the Nigerian masses that were cajoled to embrace the ‘change’ mantra that has no specific direction in terms of economic and social transformation of the most populous black nation on earth – the poor masses have been politically defrauded once again.

Among the few contenders and capable hands that can be trusted with the affairs of Nigeria at this moment is the former Vice President of Nigeria, Waziri of Adamawa, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is an accomplished businessman, a detribalised individual, a visionary leader, someone with the burden to serve and a man that has been proven and tested when it comes to governance and leadership.

He is a generalist and a political titan – one man that dwarfs any political, industrial and charitable acheivements of anyone currently in the race to occupying the highest seat of the land. He was an exemplary public servant. A man of integrity that believes in proper restructuring of Nigeria as well as equality and dignity of all Nigerians lives irrespective of tribal or religious affiliations.

Atiku is an entrepreneur of note, a distinguished administrator and manager. Waziri Adamawa is one man whose immediate family diversity represents the Nigeria we really want. Every region in Nigeria can be said to be represented in his immediate family without any form of prejudice.

He is a seasoned democrats and a true federalist at heart unlike the clueless autocrat and ethnic bigot that we currently have at the helm of affairs in Nigeria. Knowing the threat that Waziri Adamawa, a political generalissimo in his own right, poses to the institutionalised corruption and ethnic bigotry of the acclaimed ‘owners of Nigeria’, many salacious false accusations and propaganda have been thrown into public domain to dissuade him politically. The reality is that truth will always triumph over falsehood.

As a leader, “If you are emotionally attached to your tribe, religion or political leaning to the point that truth and justice become secondy considerations, your education is useless. Your exposure is useless. If you cannot reason beyond petty sentiments, you are a liability to mankind,” said another political juggernaut, late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo. It is no wonder that the situation of one of the most blessed nation on earth is what it is today because of the calibre of people we often entrust with power. Of course, when the clueless is in power, the whole nation will without doubt groan continually in pain!

Africa Diaspora Mobilisation Movement, as a progressive minded organisation, has weighed all the available options of both the contenders and the pretenders in 2019 Nigeria presidential race – including the clueless incumbent Nigeria president – and we have come to the conclusion that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is in the class of his own as the only genuine contestant for Nigeria presidential seat that possesses all the needed criteria befitting a Nigeria president.

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri Adamawa, is the only man in Nigeria political terrain of today, that has set a hard to surpass benchmark before now in public service. With our collective support, we strongly believe that he possesses the capacity and the needed experience to deliver to us the Nigeria of our dream in our lifetime. He has done it before as the executive vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and he is more than willing to do it again, even in greater dimension, as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Ademoye is coordinator Africa Diaspora Mobilisation Movement, South Africa chapter.

Macron’s visit to Lagos

By Reuben Abati

One of the major highlights in Lagos recently was the event of the Lagos State Governor, playing host to two Presidents – President Emmanuel Macron of France and President Hage Geingob of Namibia. Lagos is no longer just the economic hub of Nigeria; it is gradually becoming a major centre for international diplomacy.

President Macron’s visit in particular had all the markings of soft power diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, citizen diplomacy and economic diplomacy. Lagosians are yet to recover from the excitement that was generated by that visit and Macron’s humility and humanity as well.

Macron’s visit has done more for Nigerian-France relations than any other initiative since a cat and mouse relationship was established between both countries in the 60s. Nigeria has always been resentful of France’s leaning towards its Francophone former colonies, and its support for Biafra during the civil war.

A 2018 visit by France’s youthful President has endeared France to many Nigerians. The Lagos state government not only rolled out the carpet, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode played the role of a perfect host.

For President Macron, the visit was a kind of homecoming, and a journey of remembrance, having lived and worked at the French Embassy in Lagos 25 years ago. He visited the New Afrika Shrine, where he danced, pumped hands, took selfies, paid homage to Fela and Afro-beat and spoke the language of the streets: “What happens at the shrine stays at the shrine”, he said.

He also granted an interview to the BBC where he spoke pidgin English. The following day, President Macron commissioned the Alliance Francaise building in Lagos, named Mike Adenuga Centre, and conferred on Otunba Mike Adenuga, one of France’s highest honours.

Not done, President Macron was a guest of the Tony Elumelu Foundation where he addressed over 2, 000 African entrepreneurs and interacted with young business leaders. Congratulations to the Lagos State Government, Otunba Mike Adenuga and the Tony Elumelu Foundation and to President Macron: that was really good and profound.

The Adebayo Adedeji example

By Reuben Abati

Professor Adebayo Adedeji, the towering intellectual, scholar, pan-Africanist, international civil servant and pioneer Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and Under-Secretary General of the United Nations (1975 -1991) died on April 25, 2018 at the ripe age of 87.

He was buried on July 6, in his home-town of Ijebu-Ode in Ogun State. On July 7, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) organised a symposium in his honour and memory in Lagos, with the theme: “Africa’s Development Agenda: Lessons from the Adebayo Adedeji years and policy options for the 21st Century.” I was privileged to be one of the participants at this event, which included participants from across Africa – Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Senegal, Namibia, Liberia, Ethiopia, Cameroon – scholars, administrators, public intellectuals, economists, policy experts, who one after the other paid tributes to Professor Adedeji.

There was a serving President in attendance- H. E. Hage Geingob, President of Namibia, and two former Presidents – Dr Yakubu Gowon of Nigeria and Dr. Amos Sawyer of Liberia. Professor Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, Governor of the County Government of Kisumu, Kenya, a political scientist and scholar, delivered the keynote address. Apart from the tributes, the symposium later focused during three different sessions on three big issues viz: Africa’s economic development, governance and the challenges of economic transformation in Africa and Adebayo Adedeji in the trajectory of public administration and development in Africa.

I want to commend Ms Vera Songwe and her team at the ECA for putting together what turned out to be a befitting tribute and a fruitful symposium. Out of all the events that have been organized in celebration of the passing of Professor Adebayo Adedeji, I find the ECA’s loyalty to him most instructive. On May 14, 2018, the ECA had in fact also held a lecture in honour of Professor Adedeji. Instituted in 2015, the Professor Adebayo Adedeji Lecture Series is a major annual event on the ECA calendar, and that international body has consistently celebrated him during his lifetime and now, after. There is an important lesson here for institutions and governments in Africa.

We often find it difficult to remember, we forget too easily, and in the hot egoistic environment that Africa is, once a man leaves a position or organization, he is soon forgotten and pushed aside and his achievements are trampled upon by ambitious successors. In its various activities, the Economic Commission for Africa continues to prove that it is an institution that is driven by values, memory and ethics. By remembering and identifying icons and past memory for present constructions, we link the past with the present and erect new paradigms in the corridors of history.

What the Nigerian government has failed to do for Adedeji is what the ECA has done for him, by properly promoting him as an icon, and placing the right emphasis on his significance. In Nigeria, governments detest memory. They prefer to quarrel with the past. It is in part for this reason, I believe, that Nigerian government officials were conspicuously absent at the Adedeji symposium.

There is yet another reason. As far as I can remember, the Nigerian government itself has not done anything visibly in honour of Adedeji except the release of a routine obituary statement by President Muhammadu Buhari noting Adedeji’s passing. A few government officials also showed up at his burial in Ijebu Ode on July 6, wearing resplendent agbada. They probably just knew Adedeji as that old Ijebu intellectual and had no real inkling about his place in history. Nigerian leaders love ceremonies, any ceremony that would give them an opportunity to wear fine clothes and shoes, take photographs, and pretend to be what they are not.

But when it comes to a discussion of ideas, you won’t find them paying attention. The anti-intellectualism of not just Nigerian leaders but African leaders in general, with very few exceptions, is largely responsible for the crisis of mis-governance in the continent. A leadership elite that enjoys ceremonies and avoids ideas and intellection cannot summon the necessary capacity for the transformation of the continent. The silence, even in the South West, about Professor Adebayo Adedeji is not proportional to his greatness. It is scandalous.

In Nigeria, history is no longer a compulsory part of the curriculum, memory is short and emotions are more important than good reason, still, it is disturbing for an Adebayo Adedeji, dying at 87, to be unsung. And yet, he was in his life-time, one of Nigeria’s most prominent policy makers and ambassador on the international stage. Nigeria has been blessed with a number of international civil servants to whom present and future generations owe a debt of respect and gratitude. They include Simeon Adebo, Nigeria’s first Permanent Representative to the United Nations, his protégé, Professor Adebayo Adedeji, pioneer Executive Secretary of the ECA, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, also Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, who was also one of the speakers at the Adedeji memorial symposium, Alhaji Uthman Yola, UN Under-Secretary General, and Chief Emeka Anyaoku who made his mark at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London as an official, and later as Secretary-General.

There are others, many of whom also attended the Adedeji symposium, and who after retiring from service have been largely abandoned by Nigeria, whereas these are persons who should be properly de-briefed and given fresh opportunities in the governance and leadership process, considering their cosmopolitan experience and professional exposure and contacts. Adedeji suffered a similar fate, even if President Olusegun Obasanjo called him to service again in 2000 to help re-design the Nigerian civil service.

He was for the most part, “a prophet without honour in his own home”; his ambition to become Nigeria’s President never got off the drawing table, but the international community embraced him and continued to make use of his talents and influence till he chose on his own to retire from active public service in 2010, when he turned 80.

For all his international accomplishments however, Nigeria, a country that no longer knows how to manage and appreciate its talents, made Adedeji in his early years. He became a Professor at the age of 36 at the then University of Ife, and was one of the leading lights of the then famous Ife school in economics, social sciences and public administration. At the age of 40, General Yakubu Gowon, shortly after the civil war, appointed him Nigeria’s Minister for Economic Development and Reconstruction.

Adedeji was not only instrumental to the planning, design and implementation of the Third National Development Plan, he was at the forefront of the rebuilding, rehabilitation and the reconstruction of Nigeria after the war. Instructively, he was the first Director-General and Chairman of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme – one of the post-civil war national unity projects introduced by the Gowon administration.

It was indeed not surprising that General Gowon, Adedeji’s boss, attended his funeral in Ijebu-Ode, and was also at the ECA symposium where he gave a good account of himself as an intellectual in his own right: he not only responded to barbs thrown in his direction by irreverent intellectuals, he painstakingly explained the policies of the Gowon years.

In 1975, Professor Adedeji was appointed the pioneer Executive Secretary and UN Under-Secretary-General in charge of the ECA based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In this capacity Adedeji came of age – not necessarily as the longest serving ECA Executive Secretary, but as a man of formidable impact, intellect and resourcefulness. He transitioned from being a distinguished national servant to a distinguished international civil servant.

He built the ECA into an effective machinery for promoting the good interest and development of Africa and as a leading policy and research institution. Those who worked with him or came under his influence, attested at the Lagos Symposium, to his creativity, originality, pan-Africanism, abiding commitment to the future transformation of Africa, confidence, forceful personality and limitless capacity for hardwork. It was not all praises though. I got the impression that Adedeji was regarded behind his back, as an intellectual autocrat, who did not know how to accommodate crass incompetence or intellectual inadequacy.

He was respected and celebrated nonetheless for his distinction as a man of ideas, and for his commitment to African development and African issues. He was critical of the Western model of development and used the ECA as a platform for bringing an African perspective to bear on Western social science, and for seeking an alternative framework for African development and transformation. He led the search for Africa’s alternative framework for Structural Adjustment in the 80s. He also argued in various writings that Africa needed to be self-reliant and self-sufficient and for Africans to seek African solutions to African problems.

He was also a renowned visionary and architect of regional integration and co-operation in the African continent, believing that the whole is stronger than its integral parts and that an integrated Africa would play a stronger role in the global space. His efforts led to the emergence of regional communities such as COMESA, and ECOWAS, and he is today, generally regarded as “the father of ECOWAS”, and the thinker and main mind behind the Lagos Plan of Action (1980), the Final Act of Lagos (1980) and the Abuja Treaty (1991). He was also the main architect of the Africa Peer Review Mechanism designed to promote the objectives of good governance and responsive leadership in African states. Adedeji was outstanding in generating knowledge, providing leadership for the younger generation, designing and defining imperatives for the future with the force of his intellect, personality, example and capacity to manage processes and achieve results.

This was the man who was buried in Ijebu Ode on July 6 and who was celebrated by the institution he helped to build on July 7 in Lagos. His legacy is unblemished because ideas do not die. It is regrettable however, that his vision of African integration is still a work in progress and a scandal, that his own country, Nigeria has so far refused to sign or endorse the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCTA) which he helped to conceptualize in the 80s. It may be right to argue that endorsement or mere signature does not guarantee expected outcomes, but perhaps principles matter. It is also disturbing that the African Peer Review Mechanism no longer complies with the original objectives. It has been reduced at best to a talk shop, and a pitiable praise-singing forum for negligent African leaders.

The transformation of Africa remains a major task. Intra-African trade is a miserable 15%, foreign companies and portfolio investors largely dominate the economic space, the market is at loggerheads with governmental policies, poverty and inequality continue to thrive, and on top of it all, the continent suffers from a leadership crisis as sit-tight leaders change the Constitution and violate term limits.

The key take-away is that there is still a lot of work to be done to transform Africa, for the people’s good. S. K. Asante has described Adedeji as “an African Cassandra” and may be he is right. After his retirement in 1991, Adedeji established in his home town, an African Centre for Development and Strategic Studies (ACDESS) which soon became a watering hole for intellectuals and policy experts. With his retirement from active service at the age of 80, the Centre went into limbo. His children – 11 of them, the man was prolific in every department – should consider the possibility of handing over ACDESS and its resources including the proposed permanent site, to the Economic Commission for Africa, which definitely has the means to turn the centre into one of its major units across Africa, and thereby sustain the Adebayo Adedeji legacy.


Before killing Kemi Adeosun’s over NYSC certificate scandal

By Justice N Okoro

I am negotiating for a country where I can travel to and never return again, reason being that there are more idiots in Nigeria than there are ordinary or normal human beings.

At the speed through which Kemi’s alleged NYSC certificate forgery is presently trending speaks volume about how mischievous and gullible the public can be just at once. Why do Nigerians prefer negative news and feedback than progress and truth?

Are Nigerians by nature evil? Is there anything naturally wrong with the position of Nigeria in the world map? What is the relationship between Nigerians and falsehood? How many kilometers is hell fire to Nigeria? Can any good thing come from Nigeria? Why Nigerians prefer lies than honesty?

Before you kill aunt Kemi, listen to me, Kemi the Nigerian finance Minister is a lady I know in and out, she was born, raised and schooled in London. At 41, Kemi was appointed by her state Governor in Nigeria as commissioner for finance, to enable Kemi work in Nigeria she obtained her NYSC exemption certificate. These are few questions you need to answer before you kill aunt Kemi, can Kemi be enrolled for national service at the age of 41? Is aunt Kemi in possession of NYSC exemption certificate?

Aunt Kemi is now 51 years old, she is a Nigerian citizen born in Britain, she is serving under president Buhari as finance Minister. The following are the Genesis of aunt Kemi’s ordeals, “during the federal government executive council’s meeting, I requested as the finance Minister the comprehensive details of expenditure by every ministry, though with the NNPC as my core target”, can you now see it?

Corruption is fighting back in Nigeria, the above was the sin of aunt Kemi, the criminals who are the targets of aunt Kemi suddenly remembered that Kemi was trained in London and came into the country for the first time at age of 41.

Nigerians are yet to forgive Dele Ali for switching his citizenship and service to England and the English national team. Nigerian criminals would have celebrated aunt Kemi had she been the Queen’s general accountant and auditor, aunt Kemi’s sin is simply working with rogues.

Now the Premium Time that carried aunt Kemi’s alleged NYSC certificate forgery shows how backward Nigeria is in media and reportage, some times I perceive Nigerian dailies and broadcasting networks as mere gossip mills. Unverified reports are daily been dished to the illiterate and gullible Nigerian population, the worst is that most Nigerian journalists are mere political contractors and even worst than social media propagandists.

We have a long way to go as a nation, if we can no longer trust our news papers and broadways then we are in for a centuries problem, thank you and God bless you before you kill aunt Kemi.

I am, Justice N. Okoro.